Yesterday I was hoping to run the USATF Niagara Trail Championships (8 miles) at Mendon Ponds. I wanted to run this race because I love running championship races, there were cash prizes for 1st-3rd place, it was a challenging course on trails, I would see a lot of people I know, I heard the winner gets a log “trophy” (I enjoy a unique award), and the winner gets a $200 stipend to use towards the USATF National 10k Trail Championship in Laurel Springs, NC on August 25th. My foot had other plans though, as it has been acting up over the past week. I struggled with whether I should race all week but woke on Friday morning unable to run due to some sharp, stabbing pains so I decided racing, especially on tough trails the next day, wouldn’t be smart.
I got to bed after midnight on Friday but still woke at 5:55am, exactly when I planned to wake if I was racing. I laid there in bed, putting my foot through range-of-motion exercises and thinking it was feeling ok and I should probably go out and see what happens. Then thought about how a trail race would be the worst idea possible – I could make a small injury a huge one with one bad decision and I needed to forget about racing. Then I thought maybe racing wouldn’t make it any worse and I could at least try to get some good miles and see what happened. This went on for a good 45 minutes. I finally convinced myself racing on trails was a really horrible idea and I was able to go back to sleep.
The rest of Saturday was spent traveling through airports on our way to Seattle for a little vacation. I thought of the trail race a few times, wondering how my foot would have felt, what the conditions were like for the race, how the whole thing played out… By the time we got to our hotel, around midnight (3am EST) my foot was a little sore and I was exhausted. At that point I was happy I didn’t race since I was already running on empty.
Today I’m happy to say I was able to run 8 miles almost pain free and feel so thankful I was able to talk myself out of racing. Looking back it was the only logical decision and I’m happy I’m getting to a point where I can make smart decisions like that and know they won’t affect my fitness as much as previously thought.
Have you raced through an injury and regretted it? Have you skipped a race you were excited about in hopes to prevent an injury? Are you lucky enough to never get injuries?