Monday, August 14, 2006

Reining It In

Quitting is SO hard. But this is a situation in which I think dropping out is a good idea. I'm signed up for America's Finest City 1/2 Marathon. I was doing really well with my training. I had been running 3x/week, spacing it out, including 1 long run on the weekends. I was up to 10 miles, which I had done twice without any problems (surprisingly). I was feeling strong and proud of myself.

Then, I got my interesting stomach bug + fever-virus-thingie, and was laid up for almost 3 weeks. I went for a run for the first time since then this weekend. 4 miles. Felt great. Felt awesome, in fact. I'm amazed at how much I still have in me.

Now that the adrenaline is pumping, I'm frothing at the bit. I know I could probably do the 1/2 marathon next weekend. The plan was to try to do another 10 mile run this weekend, assess how it went, and then if all went well, do the 1/2 marathon next weekend verrrry slowly, maybe even walking the first few miles.

Sunday, we mapped out a 10-mile run. I have my new orthotics readjusted and put into a fresh pair of running shoes. Problem is, I'm having some pain in my outer right knee. Kind of odd b/c it started when I stopped training, which surprised me. I think it might be accumulated stress from doing the long runs the day after a race so many weeks in a row. I just didn't start noticing it until it stiffened up during the time off. It probably is an IT band issue since the pain is right on the outside knob of the knee that the tendons run over. I've had this before and I know exactly what I need to do: stretching, appropriate, targeted weight training, massage, new running shoes (yup), ice, NSAIDs, etc. So I know what to do with it.

However, my knee has convinced me it's not a good idea to do a half-marathon next weekend. I probably could do it. I know I could do it. And I want to really badly. But I just know if I do, I will need even more time off afterwards to heal from a running injury. If not my knee, something else. It's just not worth it. For the first time in my life, I'm going to hold back, and drop out of the race. I've never done this before. I hate it. I feel like I'm giving up. Like I'm quitting. But I know, in my gut, I'm doing the right thing. My body will thank me later for it. Did I make the right decision?


Paul said...

You might as well collect your shirt and have a well supported training run. You have people to GIVE you water while running. You can walk at anytime.

Your problem sounds like the foam roller is all you need to work it out. Stay away from NSAIDS, all they do is delay the natural healing response and put you days, if not weeks behind. ICE really isn't warranted (same problem) unless it's severe muscle trama. It'll slow down inflamation and the healing process.

I'd pitch the orthodics and learn how to run. That's probably where your problems are coming from. I ditched mine and haven't looked back.. I still laugh when the foot doc said "I don't know how you'll be able to run! You'll never get better."

A good strategy is to just run 3/4 of a mile and walk 1/4. That'll get you through the whole race easily and w/o pain. Just keep alternating and focus on enjoying the day!

Good luck to you.

Cliff said...

I have little experience with injury and so it is up to u.

Paul do have a good suggestion. When I trained for marathon last year, I stretch my long runs by run 10 min, walk 1 min (10:1). That helped a lot in keeping me fresh and not injuring myself.

As the question about whether to keep pushing or back off, that's a toughy. A knee probably is always a pain in the butt. I had numerous of those as well (bike seat too low, muscle imbalance etc.)

It ain't quitting if u are pulling yourself away from a race so u can keep yourself healthy, become stronger for the next race..(or just staying healthy is already good).

jameson said...

i would say yes. I don't think you have anything to prove or gain by pushing yourself through 13.1 miles if there is a chance it may set you back even more. You have already had a bunch of succesful races this year and skipping one race is defintely the right decision, especially with all the fun races you have lined up in the next couple of months.

There are a lot of half marathons out there, all through the winter. Just skip this one and find another. I am sure you body will be happy with your decision and thank you for it later!

Rachel said...

Paul--The orthotics have helped me get back on the right track. I have had a slew of running injuries that have improved since I've been using the orthotics. My feet just aren't designed to run naturally. I also have been working on running form and stretching/strengthening exercises. I think orthotics are great for those who need them so I'm not convinced they're hurting me yet.

Jameson--You're right. They're a ton of 1/2 marathons out there. As a matter of fact, I'm already signed up for the San Jose Rock 'N Roll one beginning of Oct.

bunnygirl said...

It really depends on your long-term goals, but if it were me, I think I'd enjoy this one as a volunteer and make sure I was 100% for the next one.

I've never gone into a race with a nagging injury and not come away the worse for it. But everyone is different.

qcmier said...

I wouldn't say you quit; you retreated to come back stronger on another day. If this was just another race, than let it go. I've had to sit out whole seasons because of various injuries. Last year for me was tough as I fought through everything from shin splints to sinus infections to sprained ankles .... and eventually pulled out three months before my A race. I haven't looked back as I have come back so much stronger this year.

Jack said...

I think if you have other opportunities to run a half then it is no big deal to pass one up if you are recovering from an injury. On the other side if you are feeling good on race day you could run it as a training run, e.g. much slower, which is less stressful on the legs. But I would only do this if you think you are healed. In any case I wouldn't call it quitting if you don't run because of injury (or sickness), I would call it being smart.

Jodi said...

Yeah, ditch this one and come out to Las Vegas in December to run one with me! It would be great to meet you ;)

I was thinking about doing a half ironman this past Sunday but dropped the run out of concern for my knees. They are one part of my body that I always try to listen to. Volunteering is a good idea. You had the day free anyway, right? :)

Jenö said...

I know it's a cliché, but it's true that only you know best. As you alluded to earlier, there's nothing wrong with resting, in fact there's everything right with resting.

Think of it this way: it's two hours sacrificed (not lightly, it appears) so that you may enjoy many more in the longer term.

jessie_tri_mn said...

I say you made the right decision. Even a 13 mile training run could set you back on a recovering injury. No need to extend it further. However, if you feel like 13 miles when you wake up that morning, just be careful!

TriSaraTops said...

I say yes. There is always another half on the horizon, like you said, and in my opinion, better to be over-rested than to push yourself too hard...of course, I'm saying this after I did a 10 mile run and then collapsed with brochial pneumonia the next day! ha ha So don't be like me. :)

Anonymous said...

you've gotta listen to your body first and your mind second...look at it this way, even if you were going to race it and decided to run slow, it's not gonna happen, once the adrenaline starts pumping you'll punch the pace right up. Also, have you tried joint meds for your knee? I find that they help a lot.

Habeela said...

I once saw a quote to the effect that wisdom is knowing what to say and then not saying it. In this case I think it would go something like knowing what you can do and not doing it. But don't apply that to everything or you'll stop doing everything. :)

Ellie said...

I think you made a good decision. Whichever way you went would have been an educated, well-thought-out decision. Paul made some good points but so did the folks who felt you should work on a future 1/2 instead of this one. Personally, I don't think it's worth risking further injury and over-fatigue and having a longer recovery period.

stephanie said...

Ditto what they said. You are not quitting. You are listening to your body and preventing more injury. You have nothing to prove in doing the race. By taking this one off, you'll be much stronger for the next one.