Dropped Out of the Race

It’s embarrassing to admit it. I did the unthinkable today, the absolute unimaginable – a first for me anyway. I dropped out of a race today. I don’t think anyone can beat me up as bad as I did myself on the drive home, however, I think I’m slowly recovering.

I don’t know what it was about this race. I had previously blogged about waking up in a panic. This was THE ONE.  It was billed as a PR setter – a fast downhill course, but as it got closer to race day, it seemed like the description kept changing (though I’m sure it was my imagination). It went from a seriously, fast downhill course – to a fast downhill course with a flat stretch – to a mostly downhill course – back to a seriously downhill course with a “little” uphill near the end. Well which was it?

All week, I kept telling myself to just drop out or run the 5K. I didn’t. I went to package pick-up and while I was in the area, I went to take a peak at the starting line location and thought – that doesn’t seem like much of a hill…just drop out. I didn’t.

I had set up a fairly constant routine of running most nights, even if it was only a mile or two. The day the panic set in, was the last day I ran, basically I didn’t run for the entire week before the race. Not only that, I resorted back to late night stress eating. I know I was setting myself up for failure.

Last night, however, I was super-organized. I had everything laid out, including a change of clothes so that I could change and stop on the way home. That was probably the only good thing I did, because I made a ridiculous dinner. Fish and shrimp tacos (without the burrito, otherwise known as cabbage with fish and shrimp that were heavily sprinkled with chipotle seasoning). Well now THAT was a tummy burner, so I drank two bottles of water before going to bed. Who DOES that?

Finally, it was bed time. Sleep? After a tummy burner dinner and two bottles of water after 10 p.m.? Not a chance, I had to get up at 5, in order to dress, leave the house by 5:45 and be at the race site before they started closing off streets. I made good time, but between the lack of sleep and the tummy burner chipotle – my stomach was a vast knot of pain. I won’t even get into the port-o-potty discussion.

Since I was there early, I got to wonder around and talked to a few people, all the while eyeing what appeared to be a much steeper downhill then at first glance. If I didn’t believe it was possible to psych one’s self out of a race, I’m a firm believer now. One side of my brain was telling me to leave, the other said – don’t do that, think positive thoughts…positive thoughts.

Lining up for the race, I kept planning for an exit at any second, just take off the bib and casually get lost in the crowd, but it was time to go. I was in the middle of the pack and as we started out, but wave after wave passed me and my IPod would not play. I guess it had something to do with the earphones.

The problem with a seriously downhill race, when you’re not used to it, is the pace. It felt impossible to slow down and I felt the jar of almost every step as I flew downhill, as others flew by me. I tried to put on the brakes and stop, but it was impossible. It felt like the momentum alone, kept me hurtling down the street. I reached the one mile marker in 9 minutes. I don’t run a 9 minute mile. My best average is a 12 minute mile, I remember the congratulatory voice in my earphones when my app announced it was my fastest workout. Since the last half marathon, I have usually hovered between a happy 13 and a “I’m quite comfortable walking 15”. The fact that I hit the mile at 9 minutes, was crazy.

I went almost another mile, not really tired, but stomach on fire, before I pulled over. The funny thing about it, is that I don’t know why I did it. I just couldn’t finish. I sat on a bench for about 5 minutes and started back up the hill. It would have been quite funny had I been in a better mood, but it took me 30 minutes to go the almost 2 miles back up that ridiculously steep mountain of a hill.I kept saying to myself that I should have kept going.

I’ve come such a long, long way, for someone who could barely…just barely run a tenth of a mile a couple of years ago. This felt devastatingly like a huge failure. Why did I leave? I’ve finished a half marathon and I couldn’t finish a 10K? A downhill 10K at that!!! To make matters worse, I couldn’t navigate out of the town. My plan was to come home, crawl in bed and forget about it. Instead I came home and started searching for new races and pulled my training plan back out. With this defeat comes a renewed purpose to get it together and get back at it!

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7 thoughts on “Dropped Out of the Race

  1. Over the years I’ve found that when I step away from running and training for a bit I come back refreshed and stronger. The body and brain have a mind of their own, regardless how prepared you are. Put it in the books and give yourself a break. You will be fine. I’m sure.

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    1. Thanks Jim. I’m feeling the need to step up my training, it’s my mind that gets in the way. I’ve finished two half marathons – not the greatest time, but I finished -I’m not sure why my brain had a shut down on this day. I do, love your words of wisdom and will take them to heart! Thank you!

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  2. Thanks! I’m glad you didn’t let it defeat you! I’m going to try for a 10K in 2 1/2 weeks. I strained my lower back running in different shoes on Labor Day. (Don’t ever do that!). It is still bothering me but I think I’m going to do it even if I have to walk. I’m doing the Galloway method so I have been able to do my 30 minute runs last Friday and twice this week . I’m going to do 5 miles on Saturday and see how it goes. Let’s keep going!

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      1. My back is better. I can still feel a tweak when I bend or twist just right, but I am keeping up with the stretching and icing. I messed up on the date of my 10K. It’s NEXT SATURDAY! Aghhhh! I only ran 4 miles this morning since I’m supposed to be tapering. So far so good. I had an average of 14:02 per mile which I’m fine with. I’m in north Texas so no problem with rain here. Hope you are doing well today!

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  3. Since I’m new to running, I haven’t dropped out of a race yet. I’ve only done one race, but I know a lot about self-sabotage. I don’t know if it has to do with our age, but I find that I’m having to pick myself up from mistakes that I know I am making more often in the last few years. All we can do is let the mistake go and move forward. I love that you got right back on the horse! Let’s keep trying to stop second guessing and sabotaging ourselves!

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    1. I agree! Have to stop that self-sabotage thing. To let you know though, it has seriously motivated me and I’ve been sticking to my training plan.With that said, let me know when you run your next race, so I can cheer you on, even if it is virtual. 🙂

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