I have spent the majority of my higher education learning about the physiology of the body during exercise. Thus, I love creating training plans for myself and my athletes that when training stress is applied, the body adapts for physiological gains. No training session is without hard work and every workout has a purpose. I love training my body and mind knowing that come race day I can perform with my trained body and current level of fitness.
Every day we make choices. Some choices we feel the effects right away whereas other choices we don't realize the outcome of our decision until later in life.
With 13,500 yards completed between Thurs and Saturday in the pool, I had plenty of time to think about my decision to not race the Jacksonville Bank Half Marathon. The race that I have dedicated every run training session to in the past 8 weeks. The race that I was determined to PR and break 1:30 and the race that would take me to a new level w/ my run training.
I achieved a lot in my run training but I was bummed when my right calf got very tight on Wednesday afternoon. Wearing different dress shoes over the past few days was likely the culprit but you can't control everything in life..only your reactions. I couldn't stop reminding myself that I have come so far with my run training and that was not something that was making me determined to run. It was a positive thought that made me so lucky that I had the opportunity to come so far w/ my run fitness.
I didn't cry, I didn't freak out and call every doctor I know and I didn't keep any emotions inside. I discussed my decision with my mental coach Gloria and of course, communicated with Karel in a calm manner.
With enjoyment that I have the ability as an athlete to make good decisions, I decided on Saturday (yesterday) that as my calf was feeling almost back to normal that I would not take a single risk in running the half marathon. Knowing that I trained for a PR, I purposely did not register just for the reason that if anything were to happen, I would not want to feel pressure to do this race. Also, I knew nothing good would come from running a race where I previously hesitated about running in it.
I am not in pain, I am not injured. I am taking precautions and I will not run until I feel 100% + 2 days. I can run without pain as Campy has made me run him two times around the block but I don't want to do any "tester" runs as I feel that is the worst thing an athlete can do is to "test" things out as the inflammation is going away and pain/aches subside.
I thought about this decision in the pool because I love to swim. I also thought about my decision today while I was on the bike because I love to bike. I also love to run.....but not in pain or with an injury. I love my active lifestyle and I believe that as a competitive athlete, I am focused on a consistent active lifestyle of training my body for performance gains. So, sometimes things change in the routine and instead of wasting energy on what you can't do - you just focus on what you can do. Instead of a minute decision turning into a 6-8 week mistake/regret, I am thankful for my acquired ability to not be a stubborn athlete. Not every decision is stubborn as I do realize that as athletes we have a lot of decisions to make on a day to day basis. But, there are times that we know what we should do and not what we want to do.
Although I can honestly say that in the past two years, I haven't had to think about a possible injury, before then, I was constantly making poor decisions and not being respectful to my body. Now I am a smarter athlete who knows what it feels like to race and train to my full potential with a strong, healthy body.
So, here was my thought process...
A tight calf that could not be "healed" with a massage this week means something isn't right. A tight calf may not be the reason why I am scared to run but it is my limiter. A tight calf may turn into a calf strain, a hurt achilles, plantar fascitis, shin splints, ITB tightness and perhaps even a stress fracture. None of this is worth it for a one hour and 29 minute race (well unlikely I would have been able to PR if I was hurt) and a t-shirt and a medal.
My calf is much better but I wasn't able to pass my two day rule. I am still working on lingering inflammation around my foot. It is strange that this developed during my taper but after a massage and after wearing different shoes for my TV segment something happened not in a run and never before in my run training. So all I can do is reflect, write it down in my Training Peaks and make sure I learn from this.
Learning lessons: I will go back to my two week prep for a race which includes 1 week of recovery then 1 week of taper (reduced volume, high intensity with adequate recovery). I get at least 1 massage a month but for my pre-race massage, I will get it on Sunday evening and take off on Monday. Lastly, I will remind myself that I have the ability to make good decisions with my body. I am so proud of myself for not racing and although at first it was a little frustrating, I did not waste any energy on this situation. My life is too good for me to miss out on anything.
So, now I can just live in Karel's success for he did race the Jacksonville Bank Half Marathon. Karel was a little sick with a stomach bug on Wed and Thurs and was really weak and tired for both days. He was able to bounce back to 70% on Fri and felt 90% better on Sat. I did not pressure him to do or not to do the race so he waited until 5pm on Saturday to make the decision to race. He did not train Thurs or Fri and did an easy 4 mile run on Saturday to test out his energy.
This morning Karel left around 6am for the race down the road and I was on my bike by 7am. I had a great pain free ride and anxiously awaited a text from Karel. I kept checking my watch and with the race starting at 7am, I figured he would text by 9am.
I pulled over on my bike to check my phone and received a text from Karel "That was the hardest thing ever! I suffered the last three miles. 1:22:22."
WOW - I couldn't believe it! A 7 minute PR for Karel in his 2nd ever stand-alone half marathon. He trained really hard and smart for this race and really pushed himself to see what he was capable of at this distance. He is now feeling "almost" back to normal and is looking forward to "triathlon" training. :)