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When It's Smart To Throw In The Towel


Contributed By Michele Gonzalez, Author of NYC Running Mama
Race for Recovery Update
  • Photos post will be up tomorrow or Friday (taking me A LOT longer to compile them all then I had anticipated!)
  • Results can be found here
  • Giveaway Winners can be found here
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As you are probably aware, I was set to race the Hot Chocolate 10k on Sunday.  I had really big goals for the race: running sub-42 which would allow me to apply for the Saucony Hurricane Team.
I spent the last 5 weeks following a training plan – cutting back on my mileage and focusing on regaining the speed I had lost during pregnancy.
reacquainted myself with the uncomfortableness of speed workouts and hard runs.
I saw HUGE gains in just a few weeks.  My 5k time went from 21:36 to 20:50 in one week.

I had successful tempo runs.  My last one included 4 miles at a 7:05 pace.  I finished feeling strong and anxious to run more.

Sweaty speed day
I was starting to believe in myself.
Last Monday I planned to do a practice 10k.  My goal was sub-43 (~ 6:55 pace).  I jogged a mile warmup, stretched and began the 10k time trial.  I barely made it a mile. Something didn’t seem right.  I felt tired and achy – as though I had a really tough run the day before – which I hadn’t (it was a rest day).
Later that day, I began having painful headaches.  By bedtime, I was on the couch, not wanting to move or do anything.  I woke up Tuesday morning with the flu. For the better part of the week, I felt like I could barely get out of bed.  But I had to – my husband has been really busy at work and couldn’t take any days off (he has tried to come home as early as he could each night).  Having the flu stinks.  Having the flu and being alone with two kids under age 2 makes it 100x worse.
Here I am, 9 days later, still feeling under the weather.  Although my fever is gone, I am incredibly exhausted and achy.  I have no energy to clean, cook, or do much of anything.  And I have a hacking cough that would rival someone who has smoked their whole life.  Since I’m breastfeeding, I am really hesitant to take any sort of medication because of the effects on the little guy or my milk supply.
Oh – and I haven’t run since last Monday.  That’s 9 days.  That’s LONGER than I went in September when the little guy was born.
So what do I do?  The 10k race is only four days away.
Well, I’ve decided not to race on Sunday.
I may feel okay enough to run 6.2 miles.  But I know my body is not going to be ready to race and get pushed to the limit for 42 minutes.  The worst thing I can do is try to race when I’m not feeling 100% and risk the chance of getting sick again.  And the weather is not looking so hot either  - forecast is calling for showers with temperatures hovering around 35.
Selfishly, I want to try anyway.  But, risking getting sick again is stupid – especially given that I have two little ones at home that need me to be healthy (and happy).  The last week has been tough on all of us – my oldest son has watched more TV than I would care to think about.  And I’ve missed snuggling and kissing them more than I thought possible.
I think not racing is the smartest decision I can make right now.
But I am completely devastated.  Making the Saucony Hurricane Team was in the forefront of my head for the last year.  I knew it would be tough to run the required time in the short window I had postpartum, but I had set myself up to give it my best shot.
It’s one thing to go for your goal and come up short – knowing you gave it your all.  It’s another to not even get the chance to try.
Have you gotten sick before a big race?  Did you run anyway? How did you do?

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