Running Update #10: Why I didn’t run the half marathon…

Talk about a last minute decision.

All week I had this weird feeling that I was going to run the race. I’m not religious but I totally believe in signs and I kept getting lots of weird ones that told me I would run. Also, my knee was getting so much better all last week. Working out didn’t hurt, going up and down stairs didn’t hurt, I could bend it all the way without pain. Things were looking up. I was sure I was going to run. But, it still hurt when I run. Ugh.

Throughout the week, every evening after I would work out at the gym (no running of course), I would come home, throw my bag inside and go jogging up and down my block for about 5 minutes. I got some weird stares. The first time, it still hurt a ton. Every step (well, on my left foot) delivered pretty intense pain. The second time, a little less. The third time (Wednesday), much less. And by Thursday, it barely hurt. And I was elated. Seriously on cloud 9. I was 99% positive that I was going to run the half. I went to bed with a huge smile on my face. I was going to run!!

The next day (last Friday), I made a plan. Per my plan, I would see how I was feeling all day, do another little jog at night and make my final decision then. On the way to work, I ran into a colleague/friend from my job on the train and we chatted about it and I told him how close to sure I was that I was going to run. He knew the situation and is a runner so really gets it. But, he expressed concern. He knew how much pain I had been in and was scared that I would reinjure myself fast and worse and thus be out for 2 months instead of 2 weeks. And this put doubt in my mind. But, this was doubt I needed. My feeling earlier that I was definitely going to run was unrealistic and slightly naive. I was looking at the half as something I needed to do and would go through anything to finish no matter how much pain I was in. He basically brought me into reality and opened my eyes to the whole situation. When I left him, he made me promise to “listen to my body” before I made any decision. And, I order to prevent future injury, I knew that’s what I had to do.

On my way home from work I picked up my race packet from New York Road Runners, because I still hadn’t made my decision and was surrounded by runners. Being there made me so excited and hoping so badly that I would be able to race. There is always such a fun energy there that pumps me up for any race (even though it’s just corrals of people getting pushed from room to room by old women with attitudes giving you your bib, safety pins and t-shirt-I still love it). On my subway ride home I was so excited to lace up my Saucony’s and hit the streets to make my final decision.

All day long, I would go back and forth between racing and not racing. Weighing out the pros and cons, going back and forth. But it was a short little jog that screamed out the answer. As I was running up and down 5th street, my knee hurt just enough (seriously, such a small amount) that I knew I couldn’t race. If it was hurting a little at the beginning, I’m sure it would escalate fast and I probably wouldn’t be able to finish. Also, the first 3 miles of the Brooklyn Half are on the boardwalk on Coney Island with is an incredibly uneven surface which would exacerbate my knee and probably lead to a very painful race. And I didn’t want to finish the race and be out of commission for 3 months because I gave myself a much more serious injury. So, I finished my jog and told myself “no way”. No race for me tomorrow. And the funny thing is, I was fine with my decision, because I had listened to my body and my body told me no. I essentially had no choice so I didn’t go back and forth and waver on my decision. And I was fine…at least for a bit.

It wasn’t until I posted on my blog my decision (which was literally 30 minutes after I made up my mind) that it hit me. And I broke down. Bad. Because I hadn’t told anyone besides myself my decision before, I was fine. But, when I announced it to the world, it was real. And it hurt. The disappointment was overwhelming and upsetting. I felt like I had failed and basically wasted all my hard work over the past 4 months. This was such a huge goal that I had worked towards and I wasn’t able to fulfill it. In other words, Friday night sucked.

And Saturday sucked too. Lots more tears and depression and disapointment. At 6:30 I woke up and realized I should be leaving for the race now. At 9 the race should be started. At 11, I should be done. But I was still in bed. All I wanted to do was have the day be over. May 3rd was such a big day for me, marked all over all my calendars with red pen and stars, I just needed it to be May 4th. I just couldn’t get back the fact that I didn’t race. But, even though I knew I had made the right decision, I couldn’t get past that fact.

However, yesterday (Sunday), I woke up, opened my eyes to why I had decided not to run and felt fine. Even happy! I knew just getting over Saturday was going to help. And it did. And now I feel fine. I don’t regret not running because I know I saved my knee-especially because I have lots more running goals coming up in the next 6 or 7 months (more on that later). As I said to my friend who is having relationship problems, it doesn’t help anyone to wallow in the pain. You just have to pick yourself up and move on. And that’s what I did…on to the next goal!

I’m hoping to run on Saturday. I’m thinking I’ll probably be fully healed by then and ready to get moving again. Cause man, do I miss running.

16 Responses to “Running Update #10: Why I didn’t run the half marathon…”


  1. 1 Alice (in Veganland) May 5, 2008 at 9:49 am

    I can imagine the disappointment… But you listened to your body and the day went by and you have lots of runs in your future!

  2. 2 Lisa from CA May 5, 2008 at 10:14 am

    Thank you for sharing your struggle. I really hope Saturday goes well!

  3. 3 RhodeyGirl May 5, 2008 at 10:36 am

    Hey girl.. I think you made a smart decision. no use in hurting yourself long term for a 2 hour half marathon. I started mine… and that ended like 5 minutes later. I cried all day yesterday, from pain but more from sadness that we didn’t do the half.

  4. 4 VeggieGirl May 5, 2008 at 11:10 am

    I know you’re disappointed, but remember, there WILL be other races! I’m glad that you let yourself rest – hang in there, Betsy!!

  5. 5 hk May 5, 2008 at 11:27 am

    great job, Betsy! That’s awesome🙂

  6. 6 maggiescamera May 5, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    Betsy, sounds like you made the right decesion. I’m proud of you for making a very well thought out decesion…(do I sound like mom and dad?).

  7. 7 lindzakins921 May 5, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    You made the right decision🙂 Just think, there are many more races but you only have 1 knee, well you have 2 but you know what I mean😉 Glad to hear your spirits are bright!

  8. 8 rebecca May 5, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    Good for you! Seriously, thank you for sharing. This is such a tough decision and a struggle for many of us to do what’s right for our bodies vs. what our heads have decided. While I know this was a huge disappointment for you, it was the right decision and a huge benefit to other goal oriented runners to show both your internal struggle and how you decided to do the right thing. I’m sure your future running successes will more than make up for this one minor minor setback.

  9. 9 Romina May 5, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    The fact that you thought it out so thoroughly is a definite sign that you made a good decision. You are respecting your body, and there’s always next time! No use in destroying your health. =)

  10. 10 arielle May 5, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    Aw, I’m impressed that you didn’t run. You should be proud of yourself. And I’m sure your knee is happy, too. You’ll do even better in the next race because you let it heal.

  11. 11 kootz May 5, 2008 at 8:30 pm

    injuries suck. Before I came to college I had stress fractures in both of my shins and couldn’t train the entire summer. I was so upset and nervous that I would come to college and DIE the first day of XC practice. I mean I did die, but I got to run again and I had such a great season because I wasn’t burnt out from running all summer

    keep your head up. There’s better running weather ahead and its better to not run for 2 weeks than 2 months due to an injury.

  12. 12 cara May 6, 2008 at 9:03 am

    I can imagine the frustration. I am glad you are allowing yourself to come up on top🙂 Your knees will thank you🙂 Hopefully with a nice run on Saturday.

  13. 13 Leng May 6, 2008 at 11:23 am

    Poor Betsy! Don’t worry they’ll be other races, just focus on getting better. Once you’re all better, you can run your heart out. Life happens and you didn’t fail, girly. Getting injured is part of running and you did your best, I’m sure.

    Stay positive!

  14. 14 Bob May 7, 2008 at 8:42 am

    Sorry to hear about the injury. I’m glad that you made the right decision. Hopefully, by not running, karma will give a strong and speedy recovery.

  15. 15 Becca A May 7, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    Sitting this one out will definitely make the next one that much better! Hope your knee is feeling better soon!

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