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The Increasingly Irrational Decisions of LB

As you all know by now, Sunday was supposed to be my first race of the season – and my very first race as a Saucony Hurricane. Instead, it was my first real DNS (did not start).

Not quite as exciting…OR something I’m particularly proud of and excited to write about. Obviously I remained in denial about the situation for as long as possible. So how does one go from proclaiming that a little bit of rest is all she needs to be able to run a race to deciding not to even start?

Well….without further ado, I present to you: “The Increasingly Poor Irrational Decisions of LB” (anyone else seen this show? No? Just me…?)

Friday night

Come home from cross training at the gym. At this point I have spent the entire afternoon Googling some form of the phrase: “pain arch runner” and have managed to convince myself that I have full-blown post-tib tendinitis, my right arch is slowly collapsing, and before I know it, I will be flat-footed and permanently injured. Kick myself for thinking that even cross training was a good idea. Spend a good portion of the evening trying to convince EC that my right ankle is, indeed, collapsing more than my left.

Saturday morning

Wake up. Immediately start icing foot. Get Ibuprofen from nearby drugstore. You know – to reduce the inflammation and all that jazz. Take Ibuprofen and head down to UPS with EC to pick up last year’s uniform that Saucony sent me for the race on Saturday. Fall immediately in love with the ViZiPRO pink and blather incessantly about how excited I am to race in it the next day.

2011 Hurricane UniformThis picture does not do justice to the wonderful brightness of this pink

Head to local running shoe store to explain my plight to the staff and look at inserts. Because obviously, even though I haven’t run with inserts for any of my adult life, I must need them now. You know – to support that dropping arch of mine. I have my gait quickly analyzed and the staff member tells me that I definitely over-pronate, but if anything – it’s more on my left foot than my right (What?!? He must not be seeing things correctly). I try on a couple of different types of inserts and even run up and down the street in one. I’ve made my decision – I will buy inserts and I will race in them tomorrow. All my problems will be solved.

Thankfully, I have EC with me. And with a few moments to reflect and speak rationally about the situation with him (combined with some hesitant remarks from the staff when I stated my plan out loud), I decide to hold off on the inserts…for now. I would still race, but without the extra support. And then if things didn’t get better, I’d go back and buy a pair.

(On a positive note, we did get EC fitted in a brand new pair of running shoes of his own. So the trip wasn’t a total bust)

Saturday afternoon

After running a few more errands, EC and I get back to my apartment. I put on compression socks, keep my feet up, and proceed to keep up a routine of icing for the rest of the day (along with taking another Ibuprofen). RICE at its finest. Still in denial, I look up the course map and start talking about places EC can stand to watch. You know, my foot is actually feeling a lot better. In fact, it’s practically good as new. I will definitely be running tomorrow.

Operation RICE for my stupid right foot is underway

Saturday evening

EC begins the long, tedious process of talking some sense into me (easier said than done). I brush him off, telling him that he doesn’t need to worry. I will start the race tomorrow and if I feel any pain at all, I will drop out. We both know this is a lie. He continues making logical statements. I continue arguing against them with increasingly illogical ones of my own:

But I need to run this race. I spent money on the registration. It wasn’t cheap, you know!

But the race sold out. If I don’t run, that means I’ll have taken a bib from someone else that could’ve run. I feel too awful!

You know – it would be different if I had broken my foot or something. {yes, clearly talking about a more severe injury that you could have is the rational thing to do in this situation}

It’s not like I have some serious injury.

But I’m not even limping around!

Look – it is SERIOUSLY fine. My foot does not hurt {stated as I ran around in circles in my apartment like a madwoman}.

I can’t just sit around tomorrow. I need to do a long run. Which obviously means that I need to do this race.

But I won’t even get my t-shirt….

Finally, with a few more tears than I’d like to admit, I accept defeat. What finally convinced me? Statements about prevention….and poker.

You’ll have to wait until my next post for the poker talk (I bet you’re excited!). But for now, we can focus on prevention. Something I strongly support in most aspects of my life (you know the old axiom – “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”). But when it comes to running – something I easily forget when I’m blinded by crazy.

Because even though my foot really was feeling better than it had, I knew that it still wasn’t 100%. I might have been able to make it through the race, but not without further damage. As EC so wisely said:

It’s not about the injury you have now. It’s about the injury you can prevent.

Which got me thinking about the question my old coach used to ask us when we were struggling with running through injury.

Would you rather run today, or run for the rest of your life?

While I don’t think racing a half marathon on a sore foot would have kept me out of commission for the rest of my life, the sentiment was the same. And could be re-phrased to something more like this:

Would you rather run today, or run on April 16th?

I needed to choose April 16th.

If this had been my goal race, there wouldn’t have been any question about whether I would run it. I would have gone out there and willed my foot to take me through one last run, knowing that I could ice and rest it for a long time after. But Hyannis was not my goal race. Sure, it would’ve been a great training run, and I was itching to race after many months away from it. But I needed to keep my eyes on the ultimate goal. Sometimes, when you’re in the midst of training, it’s easy to get caught up in what you need to do right now. And think that if you don’t do this long run, your training is out the window. Your hopes of running a marathon are over.

When in reality, sometimes NOT running is much better for you in the end.

saucony guide 5

Now it’s Tuesday. I’m a couple of days removed from the situation, and am thinking much more rationally. Even though I’m still bummed about my big fat DNS, my life has gone on (what a surprise). I’m happy I didn’t choose to injure my foot further by being stubborn. And I’m hoping that the extra rest and cross training I am doing this week will help things heal, and allow me to race not once, but twice this coming weekend.

Next up – what marathon training and poker have in common. Or, I should say, my irrational approach to training and poker…

29 Responses to The Increasingly Irrational Decisions of LB

  1. I’d rather run on April 16th too! That’s such a tough call but you made the right one!
    Kristy@RunTheLongRoad´s last post ..Weekend Routine

  2. Good choice – even if it was painful!

    I HIGHLY recommend going to see a podiatrist who will make custom orthotics for you! I just did my first long run (14 miles) in my Sauconys + orthotics on Sunday and WOW was a difference. You WILL feel like an old lady – but it’s worth it.
    Michelle´s last post ..Weekly Menu & Workouts with Princesses and Oscars

    • I have this irrational (there’s that word again!) fear that the orthotics will be too stiff and clunky, and end up causing more problems in the long run. I ran in some when I was really young and got bad shin splits. It could be because I didn’t have very good ones, but I’ve been hesitant to go back ever since. Are yours specifically made for runners?

  3. The whole time I was running NY and my IT band was hurting, I kept thinking, “But, I can’t drop out! I’ve never even defaulted a tennis match!” It was my goal race so I did keep going.

    I think you made the right decision and I’m hoping you’ll be back to training as normal soon!

    Hoping I can come cheer you on April 16th! Got any cheer tips? :)
    Meggie´s last post ..Some Running Thinks

    • Ohhh I’ve got lots! :) Do you mean for Boston specifically, or just in general? Boston is one of my favorite races to spectate! I might actually like cheering for the runners more than I like running it (shhhh)

  4. Sounds like you made the right choice – after breaking my big toe in a few places, it was mostly healed so I decided to a 2 mile run that turned into a 4 mile run which resulted in 2 additional months of healing.

  5. I think you made a smart decision..but is running TWO races this weekend a good idea?? hope you are feeling better!
    Celia´s last post ..lessons from a great week of running

    • You’re right – it’s not! So I should re-phrase that. I am doing two races but not really racing either. The first is a 5K that EC wanted to do, so I’m going to run easy with him. The second is a 20-mile race that I’m doing as my long run. That one is more important (which is why I’m taking it easy during the 5K) and it’ll definitely be the harder effort of the two, since my goal is to run it at tempo/MGP. But I don’t plan on doing it all out either.

      And of course, worst case scenario – if my foot is still not feeling great on Saturday, I can pull out of the 5K.

  6. I recently bought a Saucony vest in ViziPro pink. It is so fun, I always get compliments on it, and I love having the little LED light for night runs. If I had the extra $ I’d get it in ViziPro orange.
    Sesa´s last post ..Let’s Make A Deal

  7. No, but i’s ok, because I was born in Leeds

  8. Oh gosh lady I feel for you. Honestly I do. not only am I totally there now in the sense that i can’t run and if i do it has to be slower than 9 minute miles – i did 3 at 11 min miles yesterday but i ahve also battled with the same pain for the past few months. however, my PT has pretty much let me run on it the whole time. it is just a flare up thing really.it can also be treated fairly easily, if that is the issue. if you want some exercises or whatever. anyway, i know the DNS is really hard. i have a few coming up myself, but i am proud of u for making the right choice and come April 16 I know you will be out there rocking it like usual :)
    Stephanie´s last post ..My New Favorite Number – 22 & My Foodie Penpal

  9. Hey Lauren,

    I just thought I would pass along another story from this weeks Hyannis half. I was supposed to run it as well, I actually got really excited that someone who’s blog I read was running it too ( you are waaaaaaaaaay faster). I ended up with a pretty bad head cold fri and sat and decided that I was going to be stubborn and rock the “nothing can stop me I’m a mechine” attitude for the race even though I felt less than wonderful Sunday. I made it 2.5 miles into the race before I felt like death…I then had the pleasent task of running back the way I came to get to my boyfriend and our car. My very first DNF… I completely feel for you! Its such a bummer to spend the money and get excited for the race only to have something beyond your control get in the way! Hope your foot is feeling better! Hyannis 20013!
    Allie

  10. Why yes I am commenting mostly to say I got the Todd Margaret reference!

    But also, it sounds like you did the smart thing. I had my first DNS earlier this month, in a half, due to very similar-sounding pain. It sucked. But I also don’t doubt it was the right call.

    I run in custom orthotics that are flexible instead of hard plastic. I think I need to get them checked, though, because I was probably supposed to do that after 500 miles and it’s been … um, more like 1500. Whoops.
    Kimra´s last post ..The First Weekend

    • I’m glad some people got it! :)

      Are the orthotics still holding up well, even after all those miles? I may look into the flexible ones if things don’t get better soon.

      • The actual orthotics themselves are holding up really well (and I actually wore them for a long time in my walking shoes too — so that’s even more miles). I got them as a relatively new runner and so my concern now is whether they’re still right for my form/stride/shoes/etc. But they’re in surprisingly good condition!
        Kimra´s last post ..The First Weekend

  11. I am the exact same way as you are in terms of preaching the importance of prevention and then running recklessly myself. I think the decision you made was probably harder than PR-ing the race itself, so give yourself some big time credit there. I had a few DNSs last year because I was injured…I didn’t even have a choice in the matter. Good for you, seriously. From one runner to another, I think it’s more admirable that you were careful than any fantastic race time. And really, when you’re running fast and pain free in your future races, you aren’t even going to remember skipping that race…totally worth it.
    Robyn´s last post ..Fuel Failing, Personal Nights, and Ranting about Target

  12. Good choice! Keep your eye on the prize…April 16th. I’m also struggling with an injury right now, Achilles tendonitis, and with Boston quickly approaching I can totally identify with your frustration and desire to run. I saw my doctor on Monday and he said something (well, lots of things) that really resonated with me…

    “You’ll run a better race feeling 10% under trained than 1% injured.”

    And with that, I’m cross training like a mad woman! Good luck healing and training!
    stephanie´s last post ..Weekend Recap: Mini Vacation

  13. I have been through that very same thought process, and DNS the Blessing of the Fleet race two years ago, and I’m so glad I didn’t. It’s such a hard decision to make, but you definitely made the right one. I saw the comment above about the custom orthotics, and I have to say that I got mine about a year and a half ago, and (knocking on wood furiously as I type this) the shin injury that had been plaguing me on and off for years seems to have finally been held at bay. I thought the same thing as you – that they’d be really hard and uncomfortable – but my PT recommended Dr. Sardella at University Foot Center in Providence, and he was fantastic. The orthotics he makes are very running-specific, and much softer and more comfortable. I highly recommend him, if you’re thinking of going that route. Good luck, and I hope your foot feels better soon!

  14. Very nice work on doing the smart thing, though I know how bad a DNS feels. I’m trying to practice this ounce of prevention business as well and it’s so difficult restraining myself from running as much as I would like. Hope your foot feels better soon! And don’t worry, I have also convinced myself my arch had collapsed. :-)

  15. “Would you rather run today, or run for the rest of your life?” Wise words… :-)

    Missing out on any race is frustrating but like you said, at least this wasn’t your A race. Last spring I had to miss my A race (Boston) but knowing that I was going to be able to run for the rest of my life got me through the 2 months I had to take off.

    I like the quote Stephanie’s doctor said. I’ll have to remember that one!
    Tia´s last post ..Tapering & Training

  16. I know it’s tough to DNS, I’ve been there, but you it sounds like you made the smart decision. Sometimes you need an unbiased opinion (EC!) to help you see the light. Hope you’re feeling better!
    Megan (The Runner’s Kitchen)´s last post ..Memory Lane

  17. Lauren – thank you for taking the courage to share your news with us. Thank you for valuing the long-term goals vs. the short term gain. As hard as it is, you have made the right decision. I hope you foot feels better soon and happy training, Miss Saucony Hurricane!

  18. Oh Lauren, I’m so sorry about the DNS! I would have acted just as irrationally, but you made the best decision! I really hope your foot is feeling better… And your arch hasn’t collapsed!
    Jen´s last post ..The comparison trap

  19. it’s funny, because reading this I thought multiple times: “hmm, that doesn’t seem irrational at all. I’ve done that. And that. Hmm, and that.” I think we runners are just naturally a little nuts? I’m glad you had EC for some rational thinking, and you were definitely smart to pick April 16! Hope the foot is feeling even better now!
    Kelly´s last post ..Leap day.

  20. I did that for a half marathon two years ago. I had run one two weeks before, and it was 40 degrees and pouring rain, and I had a cold already. Wisdom said don’t do it. I was sad for a while. So glad you have APRIL 16 to look forward to!!!
    Kristin Miller´s last post ..Glad Game Monday VI

  21. I like it when you get a little crazy, LB. It makes me feel less so. But I’m glad you’ve got your head screwed on straight these days and that you’ve got your eyes on the Boston prize. Rest today, run forever. That’s what you’d tell me, right?
    Ali´s last post ..Starting My Day With Speed

  22. I ended up getting my first DNS for Grandma’s Marathon back in 2010 when I thought I had a stress fracture in my foot…I’m still bummed about it because it was going to be 26.2 for my 26th birthday (and you only get to do that once!), but it would have been silly to try and run that two weeks after coming back from injury.

    Sorry to hear your foot is still hurting! More time off is definitely important, and April 16th is wayyyy more important in the game scheme of things. (And not so important too, hm.) Hopefully this rest time will help our bodies heal so we can still take on Boston.
    Susan´s last post ..love/hate

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