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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

why i'm proud of my first DNF.

when i walked off the course at mile 8 of a 9.3 mile race on sunday, i felt like i should name this post "15k FAIL."  i'm glad that i took some time to process and reflect before writing this because then you'd be reading about how i suck at running, which i don't.  no one sucks at running.  a bad baseball player? sure.  a bad basketball player? you bet. a bad runner? not possible. they don't exist.  there are slower runners and there are faster runners... but there are no bad runners.   



i felt fine for the majority of the 15k.  my pace was quick, my breathing felt even, and when i reached mile 7, i realized that i was on target to PR by more than 2 minutes.

and then, honestly, i have no idea what happened.  i was running pain-free one second and the next i was cursing my right knee.  the pain seemed to come up out of nowhere right around mile 7.5. i slowed my pace a little, i even walked for a minute, hoping that the pain on the outside of my knee would subside.  closing in on mile 8, i knew i was done.  my right knee wouldn't even bend.  with a little more than a mile to go, i walked off the course holding back tears.


lucky for me, i'm a VIP in central park and within 2 minutes, a friend of mine (meg, you rock) found me on the side and helped me into a cab.

i spent the rest of the day feeling awful about myself.  i felt ashamed that i didn't finish.  i felt beaten that i was so close and on target to PR and i couldn't even push myself a mile further.  on top of all this, i was worried that my body was failing me so close to the start of my marathon training season.

with a little bit of distance (ha!) from sunday, lots of conversations with friends and family, a scheduled appointment with an ortho who specializes in sports medicine, and lots of icing and ibuprofen, i'm no longer ashamed of my DNF, but rather, i'm proud of myself for knowing when to stop.

after 3 full marathons, 17 half-marathons, and countless other races, i know what pains are normal.  ya know what's not normal? knee pain so severe that it causes me to run with a limp.  also not normal? knee pain that worsens the more i try to move.

i'm proud that i was able to push my pride aside and listen to my body.  i'm feeling significantly better and i'm confident that come May, i'll be able to start my chicago (and new york city!) marathon training as planned.

please listen to your body if you ever experience pain that is not normal during a run.  the risk of hurting yourself more is not worth it.

do you want to run today or do you want to run forever?  easy choice, right?

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2 Comments:

At April 12, 2012 at 11:57 AM , Blogger Jocelyn said...

omg I think that baby is a self protrait of myself. I'm always thinking of the food at the finish line!

I'm glad you listened to your body! It's NOT worth it.

 
At April 12, 2012 at 9:24 PM , Blogger Runner in Denial said...

is it bad that one of my first thoughts when i got in the cab was "damn now i need to eat my own apple" ?

 

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