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Do you view a race as a final exam or a reward for putting in the training?

Posted Jan 08 2010 3:24am
This weekend I'm going to Florida to possibly attempt some of the Disney Half Marathon. Confidence is low that I'll even get to the starting line let alone the finish line. My knee is, if anything, getting worse. I had to stop a bike workout the other day due to the pain and now it hurts almost all the time (as compared to before when it only hurt while running). The PT is wondering if anything else in additon to ITBS is going on. I have a follow up appointment with the ortho next week.

None of this stopped me from squeezing in an outdoor run (albeit a slow 2 miles) yesterday to celebrate the 37 degree heatwave in RockStarLand. Luckily Florida is always warm. Race start temperature is predicted to be...........29 degrees with rain? What kind of joke is that! (Hey Floridian weathermen: when it is 29 degrees precipitation is normally whiter than rain).

My main goal at Disney is to have fun and not injure myself. I had the same mindset when I ran the Dorchester Half Marathon last April after I tore my calf muscle diving out of the way of a nanny pushing a stroller with an infant in it through the end of a 15k race in Central Park. It took me a long time to recover from that injury but the Dorchester race ended with me happy even though I bailed after a painless 5 miles (my original hope was a painless 3 miles).

I also had this mindset when I did the Montauk Century in 2007. I was recovering from shoulder surgery and managed only two training rides coupled with a few spin classes beforehand. My plan was to do most of the ride before my body started complaining (somehow I thought I could easily do about 80 miles) and then limp it in. My body didn't really listen on that day (ok, when does it listen?) and I had a long way to limp in. I finished that century, it was much harder than it should have been, but I was glad I did it.

I read somewhere that some athletes view a race as a final exam while others view a race as a reward for training. I've never viewed a race as a reward and almost aways view a race as a exam (an "A" priority race is a final exam). That may mean something is wrong with me but I wish I could go into any race with the mindset of a race being a reward. So where does that leave me with the Disney Half? Reward or exam?

I don't have anything really to prove with finishing or not finishing this race and have bumped it down to a "C" priority. I have other half marathons already on the calendar for later this year that are more important to me. I'm not really viewing this race as a exam since, at best even if I finish, I hope to get an incomplete with more walking than running. I don't view it as a reward either since I really haven't put in the running training I would have needed to in order to make this a  reward. I think the best compromise for this race is to go for the reward of an incomplete.

This probably wasn't what they were looking for as an answer to the final exam or reward question but I'll make it work for me. What is the reward for training? I don't know but I bet it is a question on some final exam.
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