This Friday evening I am staying back from racing the Doc's Tavern three-miler in Biddeford, Maine. I was all set to do it yesterday, until I woke up this morning at two a.m. with a crashing sinus headache right between my eyes and other annoying symptoms. Later this morning, I figured I'd go out at around noon for an easy run to see how I might present later this evening.
It never happened.
I tried going back to bed mid-morning only to thrash around, feel chilled, and waste time. I hate that. So I got up and went back to work but by then had decided the race, and the easy run, were off.
You see, I am racing a half-marathon on Sunday in Vermont. It's called the Covered Bridges Half-Marathon and it's a real gem. I've done it many times and last year I missed getting a registration with the on-line process. I was determined to not let that happen again this year, and it didn't. I've been planning this get-away weekend with my husband for months, and only fairly recently thought about running the three-miler, which is also a gem in its Biddeford-bar-beer-drinking-kind of way. You know, the way running should be. But it was definitely not the "A" race this weekend.
More than that, though, is the reasonableness of running two races in one weekend. Of course one could do it. One could run three races in a weekend. I know, it's done all the time by zealous runners. But not me. I think this will result in a compromise - somewhere. One of those efforts does not receive the benefit of my total presence and capability.
As a runner, I have had the good fortune of being coached for over 15 years. Granted, I've been part of a team and not coached as an individual, elite athlete, but, I have gained from coaching, and, it has been individual to a degree. My coach is admittedly conservative. I have been taught to put in moderate mileage, to train with intensity once a week, to incorporate hills and distance, and to not make up missed days. I've been encouraged to race in moderation, as well. And I'm good with that...now.
I also coach others to run, and I coach what I know to be true. The way I have been coached works for me. I "get" the schedule - the hard/easy, the overload/recovery, rest. Additionally, the training I received with the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) for my coaching certification is very keen on moderation, slow progression, and injury prevention. Simply put, it promotes running for life without injury.
Today I run without injuries; my energy remains high; I compete in the 50+ age division and I am competitive. Locally, I tend finish in the top ten overall or top in my age division. I toe the line when I am able, and I've learned to stay back when I'm not.
I am in this for the very long haul. I imagine running well into my 80's and beyond. I want to! I have gained so much from running and have seen many wonderful sights, enjoyed many peaceful times, and given my body the gift of staying power. Today my body, really, reminded the rest of me to practice what I preach. I did not need to race this evening. I will race on Sunday.