Sunday, November 10, 2013

Knowing when to be smart and when to be tough

Today is race day.  I won't be making it to the starting line.

I was supposed to be doing my second half marathon of the fall, the Last Chance Half.  I was excited about it, and feeling ready.  Honestly, I was expecting to set a PB, but I was expecting to put out a solid performance and prove to myself once again that I have got this.  I am a runner.

Until Friday.  When my stomach went into rebellion.  Which continued on Saturday.  It wasn't like some of the full fledged stomach bugs I've had.  After the intial couple hours, I've actually felt almost normal - as long as I don't eat and don't move around much.

I sent Angie, my coach, an email yesterday morning.  I told her I had a stomach bug and I wasn't sure where it put me for race day.  I mentioned that I'd dropped a couple pounds.  (Now, getting closer to race weight might make you faster, but not so much in the two days before the race.)  I told her that if I was feeling good race morning, I expected to race.  If I couldn't eat a proper breakfast, I definitely wouldn't.  I acknowledged the grey area in between those.

Angie also raised the concern that if I wasn't eating much the day before the race, I was put myself into a calorie hole that could get me into trouble on race day.

I spent a lot of time thinking about it.  Was I really sick enough to warrant a DNS (do not start)?  I could do this race.  I know I could.  I'm tough.

Yes.  I'm tough.  I've proved that.  Twice, I've done half marathons when I shouldn't have gone to the starting line.  Once, in a blizzard, where people broke bones on the race course.  Once, when I started the race with a broken bone, in the form of a stress fracture in my foot.

When it comes to training, I'm pretty smart.  When it comes to racing, I get into a mode where the only thing that matters is the race.  I forget smart and focus on tough.

Maybe it's time to learn a bit of balance.  Maybe the universe is teaching me a lesson.

One thing that hit me in Angie's email was this phrase: "You don't need to prove anything to anyone Deb."  My initial response was: "just to myself."  There's a little part of me that still feels like I'm Deb, the fat girl.  There's a part of me that is still in awe of the fact that I even can run.  It's like I still need to be reminded of it.

But, I don't.  I don't need to prove, even to myself, that I am capable of doing a half marathon.  I've done that 6 times, if I include my half ironman runs.  (And I'm definitely going to include them.)

Don't get me wrong, skipping this race is hard for me.  There's a reason it's called the "Last Chance Half Marathon".  It is the last half marathon of the season in this area.  It's not like in the spring where there's one almost every weekend.

But it doesn't change who I am or what I can do.  It has no long term effect on my training.  I am Deb.  I am a runner.  I am a triathlete.  I am tough.  I am also smart.

Sometimes it's harder to be smart then it is to be tough.

1 comment:

  1. Being tough can be a matter of being to dumb or stubborn to know when to quit. Then wondering why you always have to be tough to finish. You're right, it is harder to be smart than tough. But then you won't need to be tough to just finish. You'll be way faster than that.