Thursday, May 5, 2011

EricG's Running Tips #18 To Race Or Not To Race

I have shared my thoughts on the matter of running when injured, run down etc. I tell people all the time, “You have to listen to your body”. If you are hurting or just plain tired it’s probably your body telling you to slow the #$!@%^ up. I am swearing because I am frustrated (and because I swear all the time). It’s always great to give advice but it sucks when you have to take your own. Now, before I accept my fate I ask the following question. Does this advice hold true when we are talking about a race? One that is 50 miles that is. That question of course gives rise to many others, because for me it depends:

1. What is the problem and how serious is it?

2. How long has it been and what have you done to treat it?

3. Is this the most important race of the year or your life?

4. Can you realistically finish?

5. What type of race is it? If you are unable to continue are you somewhere safe and easily accessible, or could you be in real danger and would others be needed to help you? My concern here is for those coming to help. Accidents are one thing. Putting others at risk when it was a known outcome? Not sure how cool that is.

6. What are the chances you will cause more damage and how serious will that damage be?

7. Is this race worth sacrificing the rest of your year or worse?

8. How do you feel when you run?

9. Do you give a crap about any of this?

For reference here are my answers to my current situation.

1. Sciatica. The pain increases the further I run. Sometimes to the point where I am no longer unable to run and even walking is painful.

2. Two and a half weeks. Doctor (doesn’t know s..t), x-ray (clean), PT (therapist tried to cripple me), anti-inflammatories (BS), massage therapy (best result), very little running and lots of beer.

3. No

4. I always think I can finish.

5. Technical terrain, with aid stations as far as 7 miles apart and many areas are remote for these parts.

6. No clue, which is one of the things driving me crazy. Hurts like hell so I imagine yes.

7. No

8. I love to run so it feels incredible mentally. Physically it hurts and grows increasingly painful the longer I go. Have not been able to run more than 6 or 7 miles without fairly intense pain.

9. Right now no. But if I lost the rest of my year or worse, I would be pissed.

All the signs which include my family and friends are suggesting it may be a good idea not to race this weekend. Well, maybe a little more than suggesting. If any of you were going through this and asked me what to do I would ask you all those questions. I am guessing your heart would say do it and your mind would say no. Our hearts are filled with passion and strength which is what makes it so hard to listen to our minds.

Long story short, the tip is, ask yourself lots of questions and be honest with your evaluation and answers.  Talk to those who care but also who know you.  You don't want someone telling you not to do it just because they wouldn't.  At the same time you don't want advice from someone who says &%$#!@ it every time either. The minute I told my wife it hurt so bad I had to stop, she knew this was not good.  And she is the one who can push me through anything.

As much as it pains me, I will not be running the 50 on Saturday.  But I am still going to run the 5k with my boys and Tani on Sunday. &%$#@! IT :)


  1. Smart. And...#$!@%^ funny....

  2. Well you clearly stated not to listen to me as I fall in the "someone who says f*@k it every time" category. Dani has sciatica and some kind of slipped, bulging, pinched, out wack or something like that in her back too. Hit her up if you want to pick her brain. I laser it and massage it for her but she would know more info to tell you if you want. Take care of it and I hope your back at it soon. FYI, I see that you said you cuss a lot but Im going to need you to keep that down to a bare minimum at BW. Im kind of sensitive. Thanks.

  3. smart choice...not to run 50. no need to feed injuries with more injuries.


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