On Not Racing.

In January of this year, I proclaimed my race schedule for 2015 and declared, “There will be no skipping races in 2015.” As it turns out, I should have said, “There will be no winning the lottery in 2015,” because the exact opposite has happened. Since the 3M Half Marathon, I’ve done nothing but skip races. I skipped the Austin Marathon because of a calf injury. I skipped Cowtown for the same reason. (That race was actually cancelled due to weather, but still, I had made the decision to skip it before it was cancelled, so I count it as a skip in my book.) One day of my MS 150 was cancelled due to heavy rains. I didn’t even sign up for the St. George 70.3 because Dave and I ended up planning a trip to Roatan the weekend before that race. Even my Wicked Wine Run 5K didn’t happen because of the weird storms we’ve been having, and when the race was rescheduled, I had hurt my hip and had to skip it. And now I won’t be racing Coeur d’Alene either because that injury is lingering. I don’t know what’s going on.

I’ve been in a bit of funk since realizing about a month ago that Coeur d’Alene likely wouldn’t happen for me. I haven’t been able to run or bike. I was swimming at first, but then I quit even doing that because the doctor said that the side-to-side rotation of the swim movement might be aggravating my hip problem. Okay, that’s not entirety true. I had largely quit swimming even before he said that. I was pouting about not being able to do my race, and I shut down mentally and physically. Then when he gave me that diagnosis, I officially couldn’t swim, and I pouted some more.

These races, they are mental exercises, and my mental state has been sorely lacking. My physical state has too, but I don’t always have control of the physical. My mind is another story. I should be in control of my mind.

It’s hard for me not to be able to exercise. It’s hard not to meet my friends for runs. It’s hard not to have a routine. It’s hard to see progress and then have it snatched away by some non-specific pain in my hip. It’s not a break, as I first suspected, or even a tear, as I experienced back in 2013. Apparently it’s a strain. It’s not a matter of a cast or surgery. It’s a matter of time, but not any specific amount of time. Maybe three weeks, maybe six weeks, maybe six months. Who knows? It’s hard not to know when my body will return to normal. Or if it ever will. Mostly, it’s hard to feel like I’m getting old and falling apart.

I went for a three-mile run yesterday morning. It was the first run in weeks, and it felt good at the time. But by the end of the day, my hip was tender again, and this morning,it still hurt. When will I be able to run three miles again? When will I be able to run three or four times a week again and feel no pain? Will I be able to do the fall marathons I have planned? I don’t know.

Pout. Pout. Pout.

I’ve done a lot of that. But today, it occurred to me that maybe things are working out as they are supposed to for me. I learned today that the temperature in Coeur d’Alene is expected to hit 106 degrees on race day. And a little while ago, I got an email saying that they are moving the race start from 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. in an effort to deal with the heat. I wouldn’t do well with either of those things. I hate the heat. That’s why I race Coeur d’Alene and Canada, rather than Ironman Texas, even though Ironman Texas would be closer and cheaper for me. And I don’t do well with change. My body knows how to wake up at 4:15 for a regular start. What would a 2:45 wake up time feel like? Would my body digest breakfast that early? Would I be able to go to the bathroom before that race started? (Yes, these are things we think about with these races.) And I know the time cutoffs for a race that starts at 7:00 a.m., but change the start time, and the cutoffs for when you have to be certain places on the course to be able to continue would change and that would throw me off completely. I’d be confused all day long.

Rather than deal with the heat or the adjusted start time, I’ll be on vacation. I’ll be spectating. sightseeing, hanging out with Dave, and perhaps doing some writing while I’m there. It won’t be the finish line experience that I so crave, but it will be the experience that I was meant to have this year. I’m determined to go with an open mind and heart and see what happens. So no more pout pout pouting.

Safe and happy racing to those who will be out there this Sunday. I’m hopeful it’ll be a great day.

11 thoughts on “On Not Racing.

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