Well, this is the post I hoped I wouldn’t have to write.
The weekend started so well. Ben and me got up early to go to Parkrun and help them set up everything.
We’re now on course C due to the weather. This means another hill has been added and a lot more running on gravel. Definitely not a PB course! As we finished setting up I realised I’d forgotten my Garmin. I never run without my watch so immediately panicked. But I realised this was probably a good thing. I wasn’t aiming for a PB, I was just going to run however I felt. Time didn’t matter.
Anyway, it was tough in a good way. I’d missed running with such speed and I was happy. I managed 21:59 and 3rd female. Not a PB by far but for the course and my current running fitness I was pleased.
But I got home and throughout the day my knee ached a lot. I stretched, foam rolled and iced. I tried to convince myself it was fine.
The next day I got up early for an ‘unplanned-distance’ long run. I walked Alfie first. Immediately I could tell my knee felt off. Again I convinced myself it was fine. I did a long warm up at home – dynamic stretches and foam rolling. As soon as I set off I knew it wasn’t right. But who judges a run by their first mile, I argued in my head. It’s laughable now to think I’d even put my fuel belt on and had dreams of running 18 miles. I was running 9min/miles and it wasn’t good.
I managed 5 miles. I got home and just sat on the floor and went into overdrive panicking about how I could make up lost runs and miles. It’s OK, I’ll run 18 miles next weekend. I’ll give it time this week. It’ll be fine. I went upstairs to shower and looked at myself in the mirror.
What am I doing?
What am I doing to my body? What am I putting it through? I have four weeks left until the marathon. I’ve run 17 miles – three weeks ago. And it wasn’t a great run. I haven’t had a consistent good full week of running since before Mexico. Why the hell do I think I can run a marathon?
Do I want to run a marathon and feel disappointed with my time? Do I want to run a marathon and just make it? Do I want to finish at the end broken? Or worse, not finish?
My knee is not better. And sure it could get better in time for the marathon – but what training will I manage before then? What happens if my knee isn’t quite healed? And the adrenaline of the race masks any pain my body is desperately trying to tell me about? I run through it and ruin my body.
I want to walk to the start line knowing I am ready. And I don’t want to just make it to the finish line. I want to absolutely smash it. I want to feel proud of what I’ve achieved, with no regrets.
I can’t pretend I’m not absolutely devastated. I can’t pretend that I didn’t do a lot of crying yesterday. But as soon as I decided to pull out of the marathon, a huge weight was lifted off of me. The deep sickness in the pit of my stomach disappeared. This is the most sensible thing to do.
This isn’t my time. This isn’t my race.
I probably haven’t mentioned this on the blog but Ben and me signed up to the Paris marathon ages ago – when things were better in the world of running for me. The Paris marathon is April. My plan going forward now is spending up until the end of the year being sensible. Limiting my running and strengthening my body. I can then, providing I’m all injury-free, properly start my training plan in January. I’ll have three months to give it my all, starting with a healthy body.
Though I feel incredibly down about this whole thing, I know this is the right thing to do. I’ll still be there on 22nd December to support Ben. I’ll support and cheer him on, vicariously running it through him. My time will come, just not this year.
Have you ever had to pull out of a race?
Have you ever DNF’ed at a race?