A tough decision

That’s it! I’m calling it! This Saturday’s 50km trail race is off 😦 .

I was supposed to be running the 50km trail run at the Glasshouse 100. It was going to be my third event in the 12-in-12 Challenge. However, I aggravated my shin splints on Saturday. My leg hurts when I sleep and even hurts when I walk. Even if it did recover by Saturday morning, all I would be doing is risking further injury.

It’s totally gutting but at the same time, the Glasshouse Trail Runs are not that great. The course is not all that scenic and just follows sharp, gravelly fire trails. If I had a choice of events to pull out of, this is the one.

I’m not giving up on the 12-in-12 Challenge. I am still forging ahead. I already have two events scheduled for June so I still have 12 events in my 12 month calendar. And otherwise I can always do the Gold Coast Marathon in the first weekend of July 2013 to still have 12 events in 12 months (my first event was 29 July 2012).

But I need to be realistic. I can’t run this weekend and still be fit for the rest of my races. I need to get stronger. I haven’t done the miles and I was carrying a long-term injury into the challenge. I went in eyes wide open that this would be tough and that there would be set-backs along the way. The real challenge is to overcome those set-backs and make the best decisions for my success in the challenge.

Besides, I have Tough Mudder Sydney on 22 September and I would much rather participate in that than the Glasshouse trail run.

So my next 12-in-12 Challenge event is now the 50km trail run at Washpool on 14 October. I think that’s going to be a magnificent event. It’s a flat course with no cut-offs and beautiful wild flowers.

11 responses to “A tough decision

  1. Sounds like a good decision. Glad to hear it’s not getting you down too much.

    • I think the decision is part of the learning process I’m going through. I think this challenge is more than just a series of races I’m participating in. I think it’s another step in my personal development; a lesson in looking after myself, commitment, knowing when to push through and when to take a step back etc.

      And I can’t get down too much while I’m researching my Nepal trip next year 😉 I’ve almost decided on the trek/s I want to do, the dates I want to go and the trekking company I want to use. And I have a savings plan that should allow me to at least book the trek by Christmas; flights for Nepal in December 2013 aren’t going to be available until February / March 2013 anyway so I can wait to book them.

  2. There is no shame in being smart. It’s tough to bail on a race, but it’s almost always for the better. Good for you for being wise enough to know when to back off and let your legs heal and get stronger.

    • That’s a nice way of looking at it: being smart 🙂 I do agree that it’s probably for the better. Besides, now I get to really enjoy Tough Mudder as a mid-challenge break without the worry that I’m going into the event injured or hurt.

  3. Sorry to hear about the injury. Stuff like this is tough to deal with when you want to be out running. In the long run, resting an injury is the wise choice. I hope it heals quickly.

    • It is frustrating but given that I want to run 12 marathons / ultra marathons in 12 months I need to make the tough decisions to keep myself healthy for the challenge. Also, it’s important for me to remember that in the long run, whatever happens with the challenge, it’s not worth injuring myself for. Sure, a twisted ankle or strained muscle here and there is fine; but I don’t want to tear anything or get stress fractures. My body’s just putting me on notice to look after myself and not get ahead of myself just yet 🙂

      I still have 12 events in 12 months lined up (actually 13; I have a backup event) and plenty of time to catch up on this one event 🙂

  4. Mate that is a tough tough call. But a very very smart one. Taking the decision and calling it off is tougher than battling through and risking a much more enduring injury. I reckon it is also the road less traveled. Most people preach about making smart decisions then do the opposite when it is there turn in the hurt locker. Smart move.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_xt9mQuaEQ

    • Thank you so much for the YouTube link. I so needed that this morning. I just learned that I probably have a stress fracture in my left foot (it’s the right shin that’s my problem one). I won’t know more until Monday when I go back to the physio. If it’s still tender on the bone I can get an MRI to confirm the stress fracture. That’s an expensive option so I’m going to chat with the physio about the option of just accepting that it probably is a stress fracture and treating it accordingly, rather than paying for the MRI (the money would have to come from my Nepal trekking fund).

      But I’m not going to give up. If I do have a stress fracture and am unable to run / hike for 12+ weeks I’m going to get really strong for the North Face 100 and Oxfam Trailwalker next year. I can still swim, cycle and go to the gym. Swimming and cycling will help me keep my aerobic fitness. I could probably do with a few months in the gym to improve my core, hamstring and shoulder strength (my calves and quads are too strong, which is part of the problem). I will also be able to really smash out the repair work on my right leg (calf, shin and ITB). If it’s going to be a lesson about getting back up them I’m going to get back up hard.

  5. Mate that is just an opportunity to pause, reconsider, train another part of the body and reconsolidate. I had 12 months off running a couple of years ago after an achillies rupture. By far the most painful thing I have ever experienced. The thought of not walking properly for 6 months and not running for 12 was terribly upsetting. It did lead me to a long standing dream to race the Simpson Desert Bike Challenge mountain bike race – which I did. So you just never know, this opportunity may actually lead to the realisation of a long over due dream.

    • That’s exactly right: the opportunity to pause. Thank you for sharing your story. It gives me perspective. 12 months off running would have been awful and I can only imagine how painful the injury was (hopefully I never feel it). It especially gives me hope to see you racing again after your injury and lengthy time off.

      Who knows, I too might find myself stumbling across some other adventure to keep me occupied. Perhaps a little bikepacking tour somewhere over my Christmas holidays. I still have Oxfam Trailwalker 2013 to look forward to in June. I have a team who are hoping to get an entry here in Brisbane’s event. If we get an entry we’re aiming for a sub-24 hour finish. To achieve this without injury I’ll need to be a bit more disciplined about my training so this might be the wake up call I need. And then there’s my Nepal trip in December 2013 … I can keep dreaming about that 😉

    • I’ve been thinking about this comment since I read it. Today I finally made the first real move to try Audax cycling. I have thought about it on-and-off for years. It has a similar appeal as ultra trail running: long distances, simplicity and relatively cheap to participate. I am hoping to start with a simple 50km event just to get a taste for the community and because it’s local to my home. I’ve printed the entire year’s calendar for Queensland off the internet, as well as the list of Permanents (routes that you can ride anytime and get your brevet card stamped) and the list of Raids (multi-day routes). I have 10 days off at Christmas this year and there are a few 10 day raids.

      Now that I know my injuries are muscular, not stress fractures, it means that I can be more proactive on the cycling front (I know cycling doesn’t hurt my shins) while I work towards a full running recovery 🙂

      See what commenting on a blog can do … it set my thoughts in motion to take action on a thought I’ve had for a while but never taken steps to action.

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