Bringing My Race To Its Knees

Scabby knees

After my (kinda, sorta, really yes but also no) triumph at the Run Oak Island Half Marathon, I vowed that I would make my next half my sub-2. I’ve got one coming up in a week or so. It was gonna be my race. Now? I’m not so sure.

Okay, to be fair, I was never really sure. I can’t be the only one who’s gone into a race expecting one outcome and experiencing another. In both directions, even – sometimes you pounce and sometimes you get trounced, you know? Mind you, trouncing seems to happen to me more often, but ya never know. 😅

There are so many factors that exist outside of your control: the weather. A last-minute cold from your kid or a coworker. Less water or fuel on course than expected. That undefinable X-factor that makes your body go mm, nope. Not today.

Another popular option: you can hurt yourself in advance!

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I took another tumble last week. This time, though, I know exactly how it happened: somebody left a loop of thick wire or cable on the trail, and I tripped on it I went down. HARD. Like, a I’mverticalnowaitI’mhorizontalHOWDIDIGETHERE?????? type of fall. (Oddly enough, I have tripped on the exact same type of loop once before… in Maryland. Do I have a stalker? It’s not paranoia if someone is actually out to get you!)

Lucky for me, there was no structural damage as far as I could tell – I hopped back up, did some experimental knee raises and kicks, and finished out the last 2 miles of my run. But back home, the soft tissue revolted: in addition to evident scrapes, I enjoyed bruising and even some swelling for the first day or two.

Veggie ice pack to salvage the race

Doubly lucky for me, I’ve had enough time to heal, and after a couple extra days off I’m running again without pain. The question is: can I run my hardest without pain? Can I go sub-2 coming off an injury, even a mild to moderate one?

Who knows? Maybe I can! Then again, maybe I can’t. And this may be controversial, but I’m gonna march into the ol’ race corral assuming I can’t. Not because I believe in defeatist internal monologuing, but because I don’t want to push myself to the point where I re-injure my knees and wind up in worse shape. I’m going to line up with the 2 hour pace group, sure, but if I need to drop back, I will.

After all, there are always other races, right? (I mean, usually. Except for much of 2020, but I think we all agreed to pretend that year never happened.) In fact, the week after that, there’s the Tower of Terror 10 Miler at WDW! Which I will almost certainly not PR, but I certainly don’t want to DNS over bum knees. Caution is the watchword, my friends. Mr. Serling, wait for me!

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall and on Instagram @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

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