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When is Enough Enough

How well do you know your body to say “Enough is enough”?

Today was a big test for me on that subject.

I have done things in my life and pushed myself for fear of embarrassment and it has hurt me and that is not good. There is a fine line of pushing yourself and pushing yourself where you get hurt.

I started running back in 2001. I trained with some friends to race a marathon but in the end I didn’t run that marathon. I had a stress fracture in my a ankle and then hurt my knee. I felt so weak and and like a fucking baby. I continued to raise money with my team and to be honest I still felt like a failure.  The money I raised did not make the failure I had with my body any better. I thought maybe I was just being a baby and maybe I should have pushed myself more.

My friends ran that marathon and I healed and continued to run.

I needed to figure it all out so I concentrated on my feet and knees and I got the form down right. Then I realized when I ran my legs could keep going my my lungs could not. So I worked on my breathing.

So I run and then I don’t and then I run again and I don’t.

2012 I lost a good amount of weight. I joined a running program and started from scratch. This wasn’t easy because I’ve already run a half marathon so to join a 5k program was good and bad.  I felt it was beneath me but I also felt I needed to get back to basics.

The first few weeks were so blah. This was easy shit and I was up front and flying through it until we got to the day we had to run 2 miles non stop. Here was where my real issue was… ALWAYS. I never ran throughout that and consistently. The day came and I was nervous to do that two miles and I thought. “Damn! If I’m nervous what do some of these others (beneath me) think.

I ran those two miles and I ran through wanting to stop and I learned so much that day. Fleet Feet has some fantastic people!

Our training program was leading up to a 5k that we all did together. My goal was to pass everyone in a blue Fleet Feet Training program shirt and pass them. Sounds like I’m a condescending shit but we all have to find what it is to push us. I got my best time EVER! I finished in 27 minutes 11 seconds.

I was skinny and I was getting faster. I felt so good. So I signed up for the Nike Women’s Half in DC in 2013.

We moved to Frederick at the end of the summer of 2012.

Where do I run now?

Trying to figure out where I was comfortable running during this training. Food in downtown Frederick is so good and so easy after a long day of work. I did run that half marathon after many trials and tribulations and I did beat my previous half marathon time by ten minutes and luckily I did not hurt myself.

Fast forward to 2014 and I signed up and got selected for the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler. Easy enough to train for but this winter was phenomenally bad and that is my excuse. So I ran the 5k with very little training under my belt.  I had a great run but it was tough for me to take that step back from 10 miler to 5k.

So I decided to step up and do the Pike’s Peak in Rockville, which was today. I was over confident and started to far forward and too over confidant.

My watch would not sync and it was an all around cluster… you know.

Mile one I was in pain and uncomfortable. Usually by mile one I’m warmed up good and pushing through. I tried walking out these horrible pains in my calves but it wasn’t getting any better. I’m embarrassed to walk but I need to do what I need to do for me. This is not easy for me to show this weakness.

I reach mile two and this is getting worse. I don’t know what to do. If I keep going I could really hurt myself but this is embarrassing and I just wish I could sneak off.

I call Hophead but just as I did there is all this fanfare ahead with the Fire Department and I can’t be seen sneaking away near this. So I run…

There is a water station after the Fire Stations so I stop there. I ask:

“What do I do? I have to stop.”

This man tells me to sit down and he will get help.

I’m so embarrassed!

A woman comes to me and asked me if I’m ok and I tell her I have to stop. I tell her I started too fast and if I keep going I will hurt myself. She reassures me and tells me a van will come along at the and of the runners and will take me to the end.

Everyone running can see me sitting there. I’m so embarrassed as I sit there and my leg throbs.

Just as the van approaches I see a man on the sidewalk (not with the runners) and he is clearly a participant but he is limping and is hurt. I’m sure he does’t know there is a van to help him.

I climb into the van and thank them profusely and then point out this man. When they reach him he seems very thankful he has been found because he is hurt. He climbs into the van and we chat was we ride down Rockville Pike.

We never expected to be riding through this race and we are both disappointed in ourselves but feel better that we aren’t alone.

We reach the White Flint Metro and he is ready to get out and have his wife meet him. I get his shoe chip and say good bye.

All I want to do is cry about this position I am in. I don’t want anyone to know but I have to meet up with my brother at the finish line and my nephew has his own race. I hold all my emotions in as I tell my brother and his wife what happened.

Am I failure? Did I give up? Or was it smart?

I didn’t hurt myself further and came home, cleaned up and rode bikes with friends and had a great day.

BUT

In the back of my mind I still feel like such a failure today… Or was it smart to call it and not hurt myself? They might have missed that guy who was limping.

I still feel horrible about my showing today but I made that call to not hurt myself further. That isn’t an easy call. Maybe I am weak but who knows… maybe that makes me stronger.

I thought maybe I should be more upset and vow to never run again but that didn’t feel right. I’m taking this as a lesson to trust my gut and to start slower in the future and to train more before signing up.

So I won’t rush for another race but I won’t shy away from them.

Pike’s Peak 10k I will be back next year.

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One comment on “When is Enough Enough

  1. Way too hard on yourself Red. Even professional athletes get hurt on the day in the process and have to stop. Maybe you can tell yourself not to be overconfident next time and put in the training, but so you didn’t finish the race? There will be other races and in the meantime remember “to have failed is to have striven”.

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