When do you throw in the towel?


Race for Recovery Update


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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    30 thoughts on “When do you throw in the towel?

    1. Oh man :( I’m just now reading this. I’m sorry it ended up like this, but you definitely made the most important decision. You are such a great runner and you’ll definitely hit all your goals, even if they are a little bit later than you had originally hoped! I had made WHM my goal race last November, but my hip had other plans. By miracles I ran the race, but only to finish. No time goal. A little bit of a let down, but I still had a good time.
      beka @ rebecca roams recently posted..I started a fire in 2012My Profile

    2. Michelle, I totally understand! This is how I’ve felt with the whole weak pelvic floor stuff I’ve gone through. Feeling like I had such big goals and that they are slowly slipping out of reach. It sucks. But taking care of yourself is important, especially when you’ve got other little people that need you taking care of them. I hope you feel better, stronger soon!
      Sarah @RunFarGirl recently posted..Love ItselfMy Profile

    3. Oh Michele, I’m so sorry the flu got you with such bad timing. :( You are definitely making the right decision though, for both you and your family. To work so hard for something and then have it snatched away like that just doesn’t seem fair. Sending you wishes for a super speedy recovery!!

    4. Oh my friend! I’m so sorry that you’ve been sick with the flu. It is absolutely no fun when Mommy is sick because really, we can’t be sick. I know that this must be super disappointing but I too think that you made the right decision. You don’t want to get worse and yes, you have to take care of yourself. Rest when you can (hard, I know) and feel better! PS – don’t be too hard on yourself if everything hasn’t been taken care of over the last week or two and the boys have watched a bit more TV. It happens and it’s OK.
      Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..12 Ways to QuinoaMy Profile

    5. Michelle you are making the right decision! As disappointing as not qualifying to apply to the Saucony team might be, it might also provide you with other opportunities that you haven’t considered yet or explored because you were focused on that one.

      IMHO you have your priorities in the right order and are one of the most inspirational runners that I know. You will have your opportunities, be patient (which as another runner is not one of our salient points).
      Harold recently posted..I Am Now A Swiftwick Blog Ambassador and my First ContestMy Profile

      • Thank you so much, Crystal. There are times that I still feel like I want to give it a try Sunday anyway…but then the realistic part of my head takes over. HA =) I got almost 10 hours of sleep last night (with one wakeup for nursing) and feel a bit better today. =)

    6. Oh, how disappointing!! It sounds like you really don’t have an option to run it, with the way you’ve been feeling. But what terrible timing to get sick! I’m so sorry, friend. I haven’t had to make that tough call before a race yet, but I know my day is coming. We are human afterall, and can’t expect everything to always go according to plan. Thinking of you!
      Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted..13 Homemade Edible Gift IdeasMy Profile

      • Ugh! I know!! I felt so guilty b/c all I wanted to do last week was lay on the couch and I would get frustrated when my older one wanted me to do anything with him (read, play, etc). And I think not having a day to just lay in bed and rest up could be why I haven’t gotten better yet…UGH!

    7. I think choosing not to race is probably best! You have to be well to handle everything in your life … kids, husband, and running. The worst thing would be to get sick again :( Sounds like you’ll have an awesome goal to work towards in 2013. Saucony will be lucky to have you.
      Madeline @ Food Fitness and Family recently posted..WIAWMy Profile

    8. Ughhhh. I am so sorry! You will be an amazing Team Saucony member when the time is right and they will be lucky to have you! No doubt you made the right decision, as much as it stinks. Sometimes when little things like this happen (I know they don’t seem “little” at the time) I try to remind myself that there is a reason for everything and it just wasn’t meant to be. When I didn’t run Boston because of an injury when Ashton was 13 weeks old I was devastated but I knew that someday I would get my chance- when the time was right. It would have been pushing it for me to do it then and the whole nursing/ marathon running with a 13 week-old would have been extremely challenging but I wanted it so bad. I just had to tell myself that Boston wasn’t going anywhere and I would get to do it someday. (Hopefully that someday will be this April !)

      And you are SO right about it being hard to have the flu but it being 100x harder with little ones. Taking care of kids when you are sick- or when you have just run a marathon are about the most difficult times I can think of! My husband had to go in to work on PhD stuff after my marathon last weekend so I was home with all the kids who were wanting dinner, etc. I could barely move and just wanted to lay on the couch. It sort of reminded me of being sick but I know it’s different since I totally did it to myself!
      Tia @ Arkansas Runner Mom recently posted..The BEST and WORST of 2012: A Year of Racing!My Profile

      • I love your comments, Tia. You are right though – in the broad scheme of things – me running on Sunday, making the team, etc are so little compared to the big picture. The team isn’t going anyplace…and I know that I can easily run the required marathon time this year…Which will be good to know that there won’t be pressure on one race at the end of the year again =)
        I know what you mean about taking care of them after a race/hard long run. The day after my 60k last year I could barely walk up and down the stairs – AJ had started walking the month earlier but he didn’t do stairs yet…Carrying him up and down was the hardest thing in the world. At times I questioned whether it was the smartest decision to run the 60k – putting my body through that when I had a little one who depended on me. UGH.
        On a side note, I wish you lived closer. I would love to train with you =)

    9. Sooo sorry to hear this :(
      Like most other readers, you’re making the right call & proving once again that you have your priorities in order. Praying for a full recovery to come quickly, and totally believing in you that Saucony Hurricane Team will happen!
      Melissa @ The Melissa Chronicles recently posted..WOD: You Dirty RatMy Profile

    10. I’m so sorry – that totally stinks! You are making the right decision for yourself and your family though. It would be awful to push yourself when you aren’t feeling top notch, and wind up sick again. There is nothing worst than being sick when you can’t take meds and still have to bf every few hours – I really feel for you!
      Ashley recently posted..Rylan 9 Month SummaryMy Profile

    11. Aw, I’m so sad for you :( But, you are completely right, it’s better to take care of your body and not risk getting sick. You will have your chance again an I know you will kill it!!!

    12. I know it’s such a bummer to get sick! This time of year stinks! I hope you feel better! I had a semi sinus infection before this last half…and it makes it SO Hard to know I couldn’t do my best
      Kat recently posted..ICE, ICE Baby!My Profile

    13. Aw, Michele–I’m really sorry! I can tell this is incredibly disappointing to you and I totally get it. FWIW, I think you made the right decision. And knowing the runner that you are, I know your day will come. Sending you a hug!
      misszippy1 recently posted..What’s on your shoe?My Profile