Friday, March 30, 2012

Faux-thello: To Run, or Not to Run?

TO RUN, OR NOT TO RUN, THAT IS THE QUESTION.  Okay, so that's Hamelt, not Othello, but I just couldn't resist.

Around the beginning of the year I decided to focus in and try to become a better runner this year, "better," being defined here as "faster."  With the resolve to trim my times and new found zeal for running came the creation of my blog and an inkling of a desire to run another marathon.  I like to think that had I not gotten sick with an irritating case of illness-that-doesn't-want-to-go-away, I would be well on my way to speedier paces.

Unfortunately, that's not the case.  I finished up my last dose of antibiotics two nights ago and received my doctor's blessing [over the phone] to run again.  So at this point, the culmination of my excitement has been just a string of credit card charges for entry into spring races (you can see the races I'm signed up for here).  The first race in the string is a 15k this coming Sunday, which I thought would be a great way to make sure I built my mileage for the Brooklyn half early.  My rationale was that if running 9 miles was feasible this early in the game, the mileage would be no big deal come race day and I could use the weeks to really focus on pushing my pace.  Of course, here I am, three days before the race not having run in THREE weeks (and only having run 5 miles the last time I ran).  What to do what to do?

Reasons to Run:
  • I already signed up and some people weren't able to run because it sold out; it's kind of selfish not to
  • I can always run for as long as I feel like it and then quit and walk home
  • As Running Girl said, my legs will be "fresh" -- so who knows, maybe that plus the adrenaline could equal a surprise?
  • If I surprise myself and finish, that counts as 1 qualifying race towards the 2013 NYC Marathon

Reasons Not to Run:
  • I did have every intention of running this when I signed up, so I guess I shouldn't feel too bad
  • I don't like the idea of making it "okay" to not finish a race.  Historically I've always made myself cross the finish line, no matter how awful the race was going, and I hate the idea that doing part of a race might convince me that it was okay to do it again in the future if a race was going poorly [I've quit before kind of thing].  I really don't like feeling like I lined up to run x and was only able to run x-y.  Yuck.
  • If I don't finish, I'll be annoyed that I "gave up" on a qualifying race for the marathon  
  • My last 15k was a DISASTER - as in, I'm no where near a porta-potty on the course and need to detour through the middle of central park to the tennis courts disaster.  As in, started at a great pace and then had to off road it for not one, but two mid-race trotting pit stops.  I kind of want to feel ready to attack my next 15k to make up for it.
I suppose I could run/walk the whole thing, but I'm always annoyed (no offense) by those run/walk people.  Not because there's anything wrong with it, but just because personally, if I'm setting out to run a race, I want to run the whole thing.  Also, because I often get passed by these people multiple times during their "run" portions and it is sooooo aggravating to get passed by someone like 5 times!  Especially when you realize - you got to walk/rest for part of this and I've been chugging along this whole time!  It really makes me feel like something is wrong with me.  Is there some obvious part of running that I don't know I'm supposed to be doing?  If not, how could it be that this person who has walked part of this race is beating me?!  So frustrating....

Anyway, Megs recommends, "perhaps only run the first half of it, or a a small portion of it to get moving, if and only if you are feeling better. Definitely not the whole thing though, you should ease your way back into running :)"  

Really, this is probably the best advice there is.  We've already established that Megs is a successful racer who knows what she's talking about and has had great success running in high school, college and post graduation, and I think most professionals / good runners would agree not to push yourself back into something so steep, but it is tempting to try to go for it!  Of course, I would stop if something was hurting.

So...what should I do?  Resolve to run (or run/walk) the whole thing?  Resolve to just run part?  Forget it and just try to focus on getting back into shape for next weekend's 10k? What do you think? 


  1. I really hate to comment against successful-racer-Megs' advice since I clearly have no authority on running, but here goes...
    IF AND ONLY IF you are feeling better, I vote to do the whole thing. Slow and steady. And don't be afraid to take walk breaks. Or just walk the last 2-3 miles!! I'm sure there's a time limit, but if its like the race I'm doing on Sunday, it is 15:00 min mile, so you really don't have to worry about getting run over by the SAG vehicle.
    Its not like this is your first 9 miler EVER (then I would say, definitely ease into it). And think about how great it will feel to have accomplished it!
    If you go slow, you can definitely run 5-7 miles NO PROBLEM. Then take a bit of a walk break and I'm sure you'll be golden to jog the final 2-3 miles.
    That's what this fellow-tortoise would do :)

  2. You're in quite the pickle. I would vot for your mental satisfaction to run the 9 miles slow and steady. I think you mentally need to complete it and you'll feel SO much better that you did.

    This is my first time running 9 miles... period. I have been super nervous. Slow and steady (I hope).

    By the way - NYRR has said that if you signed up for the 15K you can run the 4 mile race instead at 8:00 (I think). Hey - you're running something if you do it!

    1. And the "I think" was for the 8:00 AM start not that you can switch :)because you can 100% do the 4-miler.

  3. I think RUN/WALK it...and I also think you should start today on a
    glutten free diet and see if your trotting tortoise problems improve.