Another week down!! (And thoughts on a couple of things.)

Overall it was a really good week of training! Tuesday’s run was ok, Thursday’s was stellar. Today was 11 miles long and slow. I ran along the Hudson today for a change of pace. A lot of the run I had a nice breeze off the river, which was great!

I passed a scene on the Westside Highway where there were a lot of police cars with lights flashing surrounding a vehicle. Got closer and saw what was left of a motorcycle. All ambulances were gone, but I knew it couldn’t be good for the driver of the motorcycle. Got home, and found that about 3 hours before I was running by, the motorcycle was hit by a car that sped off, and then another car (I assume the one that was surrounded) ran over the driver of the motorcycle and was charged with DWI. The cyclist died. They’re still looking for the car that hit him initially. 😦 Not a fun sight to see!

I definitely need to be much better about stretching all over my legs and rolling out my ITBs. I’m able to go up and down stairs normally, which is good, but they’re a little twingy. Lesson learned. (I hope.) Lots of rolling this week since I can’t take my roller or my Stick to the beach (doing carry-on and the roller won’t fit and the Stick would likely be confiscated by the TSA) – so I’ll have to be extra good about stretching there.

I was considering doing entire posts on a couple of things that I’ve seen people saying regarding races lately, but I think with my work schedule coming up this week I’ll just address them briefly here.

* Pacing
I’ve seen several people, specifically regarding Disney races, freaking out about pace and being swept. While I can understand not wanting to be swept, Disney does a VERY good job at letting you know what the minimum pace requirement is. If you do your due diligence there is no way you can register without knowing that there is a 16 minute/mile pace requirement. (Granted, they did themselves a disservice by allowing the woman on Extreme Makeover to finish when she clearly had a pace of 21 minute miles and finished well outside the allotted time…now some people may have an incorrect idea of either what the required pace looks like or feel that “well she got away with it”. I get that the show’s on ABC, which is owned by Disney. But really? The fact that she tried should have been inspirational enough. And imho it would have been more inspirational to see her try and realize that she still has somewhere to go from there to meet that goal than to see her get a finisher’s medal knowing she finished outside the allowed time.) Actually, they recommend that you train for a 14 minute mile if you know you’re going to want to stop for pictures or to cover any bathroom line issues you might encounter. But the maximum pace requirement is 16 minutes per mile, and they make that very clear.

I understand the fear about pace. Don’t get me wrong. My first 10K didn’t list a pace requirement anywhere in the information – believe me, I looked. Then a couple of weeks before the race, a group of us who had estimated finish times close to the previously unmentioned cut-off got an email from the director that we were welcome to remain in the race, but we needed to be aware of the pace requirement and that we would have to be past a certain point by a set time or we would be swept because all racers had to be clear of that point. Had I known the pace requirement was so close to what I was doing, I never would have signed up. But since I had, I was going to suck it up and try. (The director was making us aware of the pace requirement, but he wasn’t offering a refund even though he hadn’t been up front from the start.) I did make the pace requirement. And I finished in front of I think 4 people only. But I did it.

Then the NYC Half marathon had a pace requirement of 13:45 minute miles. I knew I’d cleared that at Disney and felt pretty confident I could do it. A really crappy 4-miler proved to me that worst case I’d be under by about 4 seconds per mile. But I knew the pace requirement going in and knew there was the potential that I might be very close, and I just decided I was going to do my best and if it wasn’t good enough that day, so be it. I wasn’t going to fuss at them because they told me ahead of time.

Bottom line: if you know the pace requirement for a race ahead of time, make sure you that barring some kind of training or race day incident (which can happen to all of us), can either meet the pace at the time you register or that you’re close enough that with training you can get there. Being so far off from it that you freak out with less than a month to go isn’t going to help you and could actually get you injured if you push too hard in the last weeks to get there.

Which brings me to my second thing I’ve seen lately.

*Injuries
Like it or not, injuries are going to happen. Knock wood, mine have been minor – mainly tight ITBs that rub and hurt – and easily resolved with PT exercises, The Stick and foam rolling (see above…I know I need to get back on those things ASAP). But I still do take my time off when they hurt (three days, then try it slow and see what happens). And if it’s different enough, I’ll go to my doctor and get a PT scrip.

I’m lucky in that my doctor is also a runner, so he gets it and isn’t going to immediately say “no running” – he’ll go with the PT scrip and see what happens from there. So that’s part of what I want to say. If your GP isn’t a runner or athletic and doesn’t get it, go ahead and if possible see a sports med doctor on your own (or see if your GP will refer you if you need a referral for insurance) – definitely try to do that for a second opinion. A sports med doc is going to do all s/he can to keep you running or get you running again as soon as possible and won’t say “don’t run” unless it’s a last resort.

But that leads me to the disturbing thing I’ve seen. More than once I’ve seen posted (again, mostly Disney-related, but it also applies to some other races) things along the lines of “This injury is driving me nuts, but I’m definitely running the race if it kills me.”

If this is your thinking, please rethink this. If you want to continue running and avoid further injury and/or surgery, running a race come hell or high water is not what you want to do. NO race is that important. If you need to sit it out to heal, sit it out to heal – and likely you will be able to run it the next year (Disney doesn’t, but a number of races do allow you to defer in the event of injury). Trying to run through an injury, especially when you’ve been instructed by (hopefully) a sports med doctor and/or a PT NOT to run is setting yourself up for a) worsening the injury (and possibly not finishing the race) b) possibly having to have surgery when rest and PT would have eliminated that need and/or c) injuring yourself to the point where running truly will not be an option again. Use your common sense.

Would it be disappointing? YES. Will you get over it? YES. This is one case where the DLF > DNF > DNS doesn’t apply. If you’re injured to the point where you’ve been told not to run for x amount of time which includes the race, a DNS is probably the best gift you can give yourself for a continued running career.

Ok…enough preaching. Listen to your body and be smart about it. 🙂 No, I’m not an “expert”, but I am a runner, and I have learned to pay attention to a lot of things – from what I’m signing up for to my body and what it’s telling me. I’m just sharing my thoughts and experiences.

Happy running!!

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