Thursday, May 31, 2012

To Race Or Not To Race?

Even though it was on my calendar, I wasn’t going to do it. Even though I’ve done it the past two years, I wasn’t going to do it. I wasn’t going to race this weekend.

Just over a month ago, I had to pull back my training significantly to let my hamstring heal. The past two weeks I’ve been able to ramp up my running and cycling. I haven't been in the pool much, maybe three times in the past month. Doesn’t really sound like a triathlete does it?

Who cares? It’s just swimming. I can do that on my back. I can do it holding my nose. I can do it with floaties on – like this guy at the pool in Vegas last year (although he wasn’t racing, unless you call getting drunk and picking up women racing. He does appear to be breathing hard. I guess that is racing Vegas style):

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I also haven’t done any brick workouts. Well, I’ve done them in my lifetime, but not anytime recently. I’ve done a few longer runs and rides. I know I can hop off the bike and run even if I fall on my face and cry. I am not too proud to do that.

Anyway, the Longmont Triathlon is this weekend. It’s a sprint distance. I surprised myself by coming in third in my age group last year.

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I wasn’t going to do this race because I was trying to be smart. I also am still holding out to do a half marathon the following weekend. I didn't want to over do it.

But, I tell myself, it’s just a sprint. That means only a 5K run.

I know better than to say I would treat it as a training exercise. I won’t. If I get out there, I race. It’s just what I do. So, I either want to race it or not do it. How’s that for being narrow minded? I think it would be good prep for my Olympic distance tri in four weeks.

My body feels good. I am getting stronger. My PT says my left side is noticeably more stable. She usually rolls her eyes at me and sighs when I try to squat on one leg because my knee buckles in. Yesterday, she did not do that. Yesterday she said I had made a ton of progress.

I love races. I love the race energy. I want to be out there, supporting this local event.

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Yet, I don’t want to push too much. I want to still be in that Smart As Shit Athlete (SASA) category.

What would you do? Any advice?

Do you ever enter races last minute?

SUAR

PS: Don’t forget about my Saucony running shoe giveaway. Ends Tuesday, 6/5.

71 comments:

  1. Go to the event in those flip-flops and you won't be able to race.

    I say pass on it. The bigger race is the Oly in 4 weeks and if you get re-injured during this sprint then that race is out the window. Keep getting stronger and then crush that half-mary and that Oly.

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    1. I agree, Jason.

      Beth-don't shoot yourself in the foot.

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  2. I would say, I wouldn't do it....but that would be a lie. Should you? Probably not... will you? Probably!
    I was trying to give my shins splints time to heal and got overzealous last Friday and signed up for a race Monday morning. I am paying today. Be a SASA!

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  3. I had a race like that in April...to do or not to do?? I decided to wake up that day, head down to the registration table and if there were any shirts left in my size I would run. If not - I'd just spectate. I'm easy like that. Glad to hear you're feeling better & getting stronger!

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  4. What about setting an optimal (slow) time and seeing how close you can get to it. This keeps me from "racing" events that I know shouldn't be "raced". It keeps my competitive side motivated without taxing my body too much.

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  5. Don't do it. You'll really kick yourself if you make your hammy worse. I just ran a 1/2 marathon race in preparation for my first full (which is in about 5 weeks). I was confident that I could treat it as a training run. The first few steps I treated it as a training run. Then this guy next to me didn't like that I was passing him and my instincts took over and I ended up RACING it (and PR'd by 15 minutes). Now, I'm trying to get a very pissed off ITB to heal in time for my marathon. Just don't do it.

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  6. if anything, just do the swim and bike protion and then step off the course. A planned DNF, that way you can use it to prep for the Olympic.

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    1. I have to admit I'd sooner not do it all than do it that way, but that is just me.

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    2. I could NEVER do that. Once I'm in, I'm in!

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  7. Volunteer at the race! Going and supporting the other athletes is so appreciated!

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    1. x2 on this one! It is not your A race. The risk is far greater than any possible reward.

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    2. x3. Support other tri-ers while getting feel-goods from giving back. And if you really want to spend the $50 you would have spent on the race fee, go out and invest in some more shoes!

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    3. Volunteer at the race. Always a great way to give back to the race and fellow athletes.

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  8. I think you are going to do it, so I vote do it! :) Especially with the run being last, you can feel if you can really race it or need to pull back and take it easy, and you say you are feeling great. I would go for it. Sounds like it will be way fun!

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  9. Yes, Volunteer. Take your family and man a station at the end of the run. Heck, pick a runner that looks like they could use a pacer to the end, and pace them in. Use this race as a pay it forward. You will get so much out of it for sure and be ready for your next race!!

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  10. Normally, I'd say go for it, but if you really can't hold yourself back from going full speed ahead, then I'd say skip it. Save your legs for the upcoming half and the full Olympic tri. In addition to possibly injuring yourself physically, you could damage your ego/confidence by not racing as well as you'd like.

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  11. Easy for me to say don't do it...but I'm not going to lie I would...and then i would go out hard. What does PT say? If PT says okay then go for it, if it's a big fat no then PT knows best...

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    1. Didn't even ask her. I think she'd probably say okay based on my progress, fact that I have no pain and it's a short run. But who knows?

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  12. Don't do it. Stay healthy and keep building towards they Oly distance. Plus, the absence of the 3rd place finisher from last year will just build the mystery around you and get in everyone's heads for next year. Fear the SUAR.

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  13. So I have been having severe foot pain and was forced to go get a XRay last night. No stress fracture -- but severe soft tissue injury. No cardio for 7-10 days but the Doctor said he would "look away" if I did my 3 mile race tonight and Spartan Race on Saturday.

    I was going to do them - and then decided eff it - its not worth setting myself back in any progress I could make quickly. If it were my GOAL race I would.

    My suggestion? If its a race you've had a set goal and the #1 you've been obsessing over for months - its worth it. If its not - remember the wars are more important than the battles!

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  14. Do it if you want. It's too short of a distance to get hurt - When I'm feeling guilty or torn about racing or not i usually opt out and do a harder w/o. I.e: run 10, bike 15-20.

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  15. You're coming back from injuries. I get the impression that your personality type would not allow you to just "coast" through this race, and pushing it may be counter-productive to your recovery. Call your PT or the doc and get their opinion. If they are not on-board then sit it out. There are plenty of opportunities to feed the race addicted ego monster throughout the year.

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  16. Why do it? So little to gain. So much to lose. It's just one race. Do you really want to risk it?

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    Replies
    1. I second that point - go volunteer - use all that pent up energy to spur others to their goals. Come back next year and win the whole damn thing when you are completely and totally healed!

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    2. Third. This is good advice!

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  17. I say do it. LISTEN to your body and promise yourself you'll pull back and take it slow if something is off. You know your body and only you know your gut feeling about it. I'm big on gut feelings...so what does your gut say?

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  18. Go for it. Any twinges you can always DNF or walk the run portion.

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  19. When in doubt, DO NOT RACE. Trust me, you'll go harder than you need to and it's never worth it. There will be a ga-zillion other opportunities and it is a-ok to sit this one out.

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  20. My advice is don't do it. Alternatively, I like the suggestion that you set an "optimal" pace, then focus your type A self on sticking to it.

    When I ran my first 50k trail run a few weeks ago, I had to force myself to go slowly to make to make damned sure I finished. I did finish, and I felt great doing it. But, of course, that just made me think I could probably have run faster. :-( Which is okay because it means I'll want to run another sometime. In the meantime, going slower left my legs in good enough shape two weeks later to run the Cabot Trail relay in Cape Breton which I wouldn't have missed for the world! (For anyone who's interested, I've posted accounts of both events on my blog: www.jannielynn.blogspot.ca)

    In short, if you must run, do your best to listen to your body and remember that you've got many more races to go. Good luck!

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  21. Super excited as Longmont will be my first ever tri (finally!)!!! I'm barely prepared... 3 swims, 3 bikes (1 brick!) and umpteen runs. You are definitely prepared and the distances are soo short - I say do it... and place!!!

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  22. I would do it. You have to train for the Oly and you can always use this as a training.

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  23. I'm on the "do it" team. Just listen to your body, and if you have to take it easy, then take it easy, but if you feel good and can go for it, then go for it! We have similar competitive personalities, and if I didn't do the race and after felt like I could, I'd be really bummed out for a while. And I do think it's good training for your Olympic distance Tri coming up. Good Luck!!

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  24. I just had to laugh about the part where you said "I haven't been in the pool much, maybe three times in the past month. Doesn’t really sound like a triathlete does it?" It does sound like this "triathlete" and I've not even been in that much. Doesn't sound like someone signed up to do a 70.3 in August let alone that crazy back to back thing out at Aurora after that.....

    I kind of think you should do it....but I seem to be going against most everyone else.

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  25. I JUST posted about this on Monday...after making a VERY difficult race time decision. Being a natural competitor and never wanting to quit....

    When in doubt, pull out.

    Stop thinking that dirty minds!

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    Replies
    1. That's a "that's what she said" if I've ever heard one!

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    2. now THATS funny.......

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    3. :) Is it sad that's been my MANTRA since my FTS last week when I had to pull out last minute?

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  26. race!! (Btw, i swam once since sept and im a triathlete....whoops!)

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  27. I'm in the 'volunteer & don't race' camp but I can totally see why you would want to race. It's hard to reign in a competitive spirit.

    On another note, the picture of the drunk Vegas guy? Is it just me or is his left forearm looking Popeye-ish? Weird.

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  28. I would race. And this is exactly why you should do the opposite of me - I am an idiot (-:

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  29. Hm, just re-read what you posted. I vote race. But to answer your other question, I never enter races at the last minute. I plan and train specifically for a race and am not to the point mentally or physically that I can just hop in. If I'd already registered for this race, I'd have a hard time passing it up unless I was currently in pain, especially since it's "just" a sprint. Before I sign up for a race, I tell myself that if I'm thinking about it I must want to do it, and I should go for it. I would totally do it. But that's me, and perhaps my answer would be different for you depending on how crushed you would be if you got injured again -- both that you were injured again and that you couldn't do the half marathon or Olympic distance tri. My other question is how you will feel if you do not do as well this year at the sprint as you did when you placed 3rd -- is that a given and will you give yourself as pass, as you should, because you're coming back from injury, or will you be the tiniest bit disappointed? More disappointed to miss the race, or to not do as well? If you don't care about a PR -- really -- and can go out and balance being competitive with not pushing too hard and just enjoying the race, then go for it. All that to say I respect your decision either way and you have my best wishes!

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  30. The swim is the moat important leg! That's just my opinion though

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  31. Why don't you just come down to my place and we'll have a margarita or 5 instead?? :) Good luck if you decide to race...follow your heart, not your head.

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  32. I am a coach for Boulder Aquatic Masters (BAM), I'm sure you have heard of us. I would be happy to help you out with your swimming if you're interested. I'm Lindsay, just check out the website and come to a practice when I am coaching! www.bamswimteam.org

    Linds

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    1. YES, would love it. I'll look into it - thanks!

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    2. Dayum, you are SO LUCKY to have a masters team to swim with! :) Don't do the race. It is impossible not to race once you're in. OR maybe that's just me.

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  33. Hmmm...obviously, "Don't race" is the safest option. But I remember when I was injured, the hardest part was feeling disconnected from my running community - and certainly, getting out to the race will help with that. So, a few options:

    1. Volunteer. Feels almost as good as racing, you catch endorphins by proximity, and you never get that pukey feeling!

    2. Pace a considerably slower friend who might want company/support. Then, you're guaranteed not to go too fast.

    3. Start 5 minutes late, or twiddle your thumbs for an extra 5 minutes in transition. By then, you'll probably be far enough behind that you can let yourself off the hook and take it easy for the bike and run.

    whatever you choose, good luck, and be safe!

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  34. JUST DO IT. I made that up. Catchy, huh? ;) It's a sprint, you'll be recovered after 20 mins, and the trophy looks cute.

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  35. I was thinking about jumping into Longmont this weekend too until I heard the forecast. 90 degrees on Sunday. Sounds miserable to me. Longmont was my first tri; it is a great race and is dear to my heart. Really well organized, pretty run, great volunteers etc. But not in 90 degree heat. Maybe next year...

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  36. I think you're probably safe to do it, but if you do and then hurt yourself and aren't able to do other races, you'll regret it. I guess you should play it safe.

    (This is the exact opposite of what I'd do though, but I'm not very smart...)

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  37. If your feeling fine do it! The its not worth it crowd is flat out wrong.. Were not elites here we run/compete for the joy of it. If you hurt its one thing but if not go have fun and kick some a$$. Now excuse me while I go ice my strained calf from racing to many weekends in a row!

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  38. If your feeling fine do it! The its not worth it crowd is flat out wrong.. Were not elites here we run/compete for the joy of it. If you hurt its one thing but if not go have fun and kick some a$$. Now excuse me while I go ice my strained calf from racing to many weekends in a row!

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  39. You know you best and if you're asking us our opinions on whether or not you should race then j think you've already made your mind up, know its not the SASA thing to do but are looking for confirmation/acceptance anyway. :) So, go against the urge to race knowing that it's probably not in your best interest with two big races coming up. Go volunteer. It'll make you stronger in a way you're probably not expecting. :) Best wishes in whatever you decide!

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    1. Actually I had not made up my mind, which is why I asked for opinions! I value what this community has to say and sometimes it does change the choices I make. Many of you are more expereinced than I am and I think there is value in other people's objectivity. So - no, I was not looking for confirmation or acceptance. I was looking for feedback.

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    2. I kind of thought you had made it up not to run but was battling with your competitive self to run it. Not sure that that makes sense or not.

      I am one of those who just started running - at age 32/33; I cannot wait until I am where you and those like you are with more experience. :)

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  40. Recovering from a stress fracture and it's been so hard to ease myself back into running. It's really hard to hold back and not go balls to the walls, but the idea of not running for months on end again keeps me from doing just that. I had signed up for a race pre-injury and a part of me thought I could still do it, but I wisely opted out. I couldn't enter a race and not go full throttle.

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  41. Funny...I am having a very similar experience! I am signed up for a sprint tri in 2 weeks...and I am still not cleared to run yet, nor have I trained for it. haven't swam in over a month and a half, nor have I biked...but, I am still thinking I'm gonna do it with my friend, Annette...If it hurts, I'll walk! even though, I KNOW that won't happen ;)

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  42. Well, I would say to complete it but not to race it ... but like you said, that is easier said than done and I doubt I could take that advice myself. I think I would have a hard time NOT competing... just be cautious and listen to your body!

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  43. I understand your need/want to do this but my best advice that you would give ME is don't do it! When in dought don't race...

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  44. What would you tell someone else in the same boat? That is probably what you should do. It is SO hard to pass up a race you have done before and enjoy, but if you'd tell your best friend to pass, well, pass on it and do as others have said, volunteer. Whatever you decide to do, though, listen to your body and actually do what it tells you (yeah, easier said than done, I know!).

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  45. I say you go and just use it as a training. Why not? Just have some fun.

    You only live once.

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  46. Last September I hurt my leg/knee and had to pull out of the Denver Rock-n-Roll...it was a total bummer but to help out the girls at the running club I went down to the race anyway. I don't want to say I was miserable, but I was jealous, because all their training and great times and here I was just the cheering section. However, it allowed me to heal better and in turn be a stronger runner now. I also volunteered at a race just 2 weeks ago which also made me jealous because I felt like I should have been racing. So volunteering might not be the answer either. I guess my point here, if you race will you be a stronger athlete in 4 weeks for the 'goal' race? If the answer is no, than you should stay home and do whatever it is that will make you stronger for the goal race!

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  47. Get on the phone and ask your PT if she thinks it is a good idea. Your Oly is only 4 weeks away, so it WOULD be a good prep race (if your PT thinks you're ready) - and the Longmont Tri IS such a fun race! If you're on the fence, let the professional help you decide.

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  49. Don't do it!!! Yes, it's just a sprint distance race, but that just means you'll go ABO (all balls out) which is just as damaging, if not more, than a distance race. You know yourself.....you won't be able to hold back even if you tell yourself you will. Keep the bigger picture in mind and don't sabotage your recovery. Thems my two cents. Peace out.

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  50. Don't do it. It'll be there next year.

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