To me, that's what racing should be - an all out effort and nothing less.
So when I realized Thursday morning that my hamstring injury will make it impossible to race this weekend's Chi Town Half Marathon, it kinda broke my heart.
Earlier this week, I had a feeling my legs wouldn't hold up for a half marathon, so I switched down to the 10k event. Thinking I could still race a shorter distance - and maybe even place in my age group - I did everything I could to rehab the area as quickly as possible. I iced the area, elevated my legs, wore compression tights, took ibuprofin, chowed down on beets, spinach, berries and such. I even took an ice bath after slow, easy runs.
Eddie doesn't get the point of ice baths.
None of it seemed to work. This week, I've been unable to run faster than 8:30 pace without pain kicking in or even sit at my desk at work for longer periods of time without major discomfort. I had to come to terms with the fact that I'm not able to race any distance this weekend.
It's particularly frustrating because I know I'm fit enough to run a great time if I wasn't injured. I was pretty disappointed, but after thinking about it for awhile, I began to see that there was still a way this race could be saved . . .
Just because I'm not able to "race" the way I'd like, doesn't mean I can't participate. And just because I can't get a PR, doesn't mean I can't help my mom get a new PR. She runs around 11:30 pace so 6.2 miles of that should be very doable for me, even with my current injury.
So despite being unable to line up on Sunday morning with my usual race goals, I'm still very excited to put on my Oiselle singlet and shorts and help someone else achieve their race goals. When life hands you lemons, make lemonade - there's always a bright side, a silver lining. You might have to adjust or re-frame what it is you're aiming for, but in the end, you'll be just fine.
Like that Fun song, Carry On, says: "We are shining stars/We are invincible/We are who we are/On our darkest day/When we’re miles away/Sun will come/We will find our way home."
So before I wrap this up, just a quick shout out for my friend Sheila's blog, SMW Roadrunner. I'm thrilled to be her featured MKE athlete this week, so check it out!
Your turn: Tell me about a time you've turned lemons into lemonade! Or, if you have any tips for healing a hamstring injury, I'd like to hear them!