The DNS Dilemma

This past weekend, I had an amazing long run – three words that rarely go together ever and never go together in the summer. After a rough week with a few missed runs thanks to bronchitis, I finally got my act together and had a successful speed workout, mid-length run, and long run. In fact, I ran 14 miles the fastest I’ve ever run that distance. If I had been running a half-marathon, I would have PRed. Since when does that ever happen in July?? I felt great almost the entire time besides the buckets of sweat pouring off of me, but that’s to be expected. I’m not even ashamed to admit that I changed my socks and my shirt halfway through the run. Hey, comfort is comfort! Thanks to the conversation of some of my old Team in Training friends, the miles ticked by at paces I never expected to see. The goal was 14 miles, with the middle 5 miles at goal marathon pace (currently 9:09). Instead, my entire run was done at an 8:52 pace, and I wasn’t really trying that hard. INSANE. I was euphoric as I texted Justin, my coach, to gloat.

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Exactly what I looked like during my run. Except faster.

Me: So my average pace for the entire 14 miles today was 8:52…

Justin: Is that a good time?

He refuses to humor me.

Anyway, I did a happy dance in my truck all the way home. When I went to get out, however, I was greeted by horrible sharp pain in my lower left leg (I’m refraining from calling it my calf because it’s basically everywhere).  All of a sudden, out of nowhere, I was crippled. My leg hadn’t hurt at ALL during my run, even though it’s known to get sore from time to time if my shoes are getting old. I had no problems at all, so what the hell? I chalked it up to a funny step, took some Advil, and headed out to the lake to spend the day cruising around. The only problem was I couldn’t really walk without limping – not good.

The next morning, I woke up to head out for an easy 5 mile recovery run. My leg still hurt to walk, but when I started running, it felt fine, so I figured I might as well. Shortly after I got back, it was killing me again, and as I went about cleaning the house, I bent over to pick up my running shoes and completely threw my back out. Hard. I literally could not stand up straight and AJ basically carried me to the couch. For the rest of the day, I could not move without gasping from pain. Any time I had to stand up, AJ had to physically support my weight. Those of you who know me in real life know that I have an absurdly high pain tolerance thanks to a childhood full of clumsy injuries (and 11 broken bones to my credit), so when AJ saw me physically crying for only the 2nd time EVER in our two-year relationship, he knew I was really in pain. It was so bad that he ended up staying home from work on Monday because I couldn’t get out of bed or walk unassisted. This was serious business.

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My poor pillow.

On Tuesday, I went to the chiropractor, who made my bones make all sort of weird cracking sounds and told me I should never run again. He was promptly ignored, obviously.  Note to doctors: if someone tells you they’ve run 38 marathons and are trying to run one in every state, don’t even bother mentioning the suggestion of “stop running.” You’re wasting your breath and my rage.

Of primary concern was actually my flight early on Wednesday morning out to Colorado. I came out here for work and was utterly panicked at the idea of spending hours on a plane, having to carry my luggage through the airport, and putting it in the overhead bin myself. Fortunately, my back was doing much better by Wednesday morning. My leg, on the other hand, was not. Hey, one problem at a time.

So in addition to the fact that I’m walking all over Denver, Boulder, and Colorado Springs for work, I’ve also got the slight problem of a marathon this weekend and a 50k next weekend. Fine time for an injury, right? The marathon this weekend is the Aspen Valley Marathon, which Amanda and I are running together for the state of Colorado. On my 5 mile run/walk (the world’s slowest 5 miles ever, seriously) this morning, it became apparent that if I do the entire race at the pace I did my 5 miles, I might not even make the time cutoff for the race. Now, knowing me, I’ll suck it up on race day and hopefully power through, but what if this leaves me totally crippled for my first ever 50k next weekend – the Great Cranberry Island 50k? It’s the last year ever of the race, which was named Best Race Ever by Runner’s World. I CAN’T miss it!

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All day, every day.

Even more annoying? Unlike most races, where the half and the full start at the same spot and then eventually split apart, Aspen Valley starts the half marathon at the halfway point of the full marathon, so it’s not like I can even just start the race and decide how I feel at the split. This has got me thinking about possibly just doing the half, or not doing anything at all. I can’t decide! Between my 5 miles this morning and the 5+ miles I walked around Boulder today, I guess I’ll see how my leg feels tomorrow and let it be a game time decision. Come on, body, don’t let me down!

LEAVE A COMMENT: Have you ever had a DNS (Did Not Start)? What happened? Do you think you made the right decision?

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