Making Tough Decisions for the Best

In case you missed it in my Manic Monday post, I ended up not running the Spring Fling 10k on Saturday. I’ve been fighting a cold and wasn’t sure I would make it to the starting line. Despite my best intentions, I was so congested on Friday night into Saturday that I was unable to get enough sleep, and made a last-minute decision to skip the race. As I lay in my bed debating the pros and cons of getting up and racing, the strongest argument for going to the race was that I’d have to admit publicly here on the blog that I chose a DNS when I wasn’t injured or deathly ill. I was worried about disappointing people, or letting people down, or embarrassing myself by choosing sleep over a race.

I was on the verge of dragging myself out into the cold and snow when I came to the realization that I shouldn’t be running for anyone but me. Running a race when I’m sick just because I’m worried about what the blogosphere will think is a dumb reason to run a race. Ultimately, I should be running because I want to. Because it’s important to me. Not because I need to approval of the internet. That’s not to say that I don’t value the opinions of my friends and readers, but really, I need to make decisions based on my own priorities, and not on the expectations other people may or may not have for me.

Yes, I was disappointed that I paid $20 for a race that I didn’t run. But I was sick and tired. And ultimately, this race was not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. I didn’t miss out on a t-shirt or a medal or an exciting post-race party. I ended up staying in bed until after 10 am, having a leisurely breakfast, and then watching movies and knitting in my pajamas all day. I felt refreshed and relaxed. I had no pangs of guilt or regret about skipping the race.

Now, after a few tough rehearsals this weekend, I’ve had to make another very difficult decision. We’ve reached a point in rehearsals where we are practicing the jump rope number every night, multiple times a night. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been experiencing increasing discomfort and pain in my shins, and I’ve finally come to the decision that if I’m going to stay uninjured throughout the rest of rehearsals, I need to stop running, completely, until the show is over.

I’ve been wearing compression socks or sleeves during and after every jump rope rehearsal and most runs, but I can no longer pretend that I’m OK. At best, I’ve got severe shin splints in both legs. At worst, I’m approaching a stress response/potential stress fracture in my left shin. My ankles hurt. My calves are sore. Trying to keep up with running in addition to the increased jump rope rehearsals is destroying my legs.

While I’m obviously upset about having to make this choice, I know that in the long run it will be in my best interest. I made a commitment to this show and I need to follow through on it. If that means no running in order to stay healthy, so be it. I will attempt to keep up my fitness as much as possible by going for walks on my lunch breaks and continuing to attend CXWORX class when possible, but I need to honor the fact that my body is exhausted. I need to preserve my strength and energy for the rehearsals and shows that I have committed to, so that when the show is over, I will be physically able to go back to running.

At least this is a choice I have the luxury of making. I am choosing not to run. I am choosing to protect my body by backing off on stressful activities, unlike others who are too injured or ill and have no choice but not running (I’m looking at you, Kim!). I will continue to wear compression during and after jump rope rehearsals, and start icing my shins as well, in the hopes that things don’t get worse.

Bloggers, do you sometimes worry about the reactions of your readers?

When is the last time you had to make a tough decision in order to effect a positive outcome?

29 thoughts on “Making Tough Decisions for the Best

  1. txa1265 says:

    Screw your readers.

    Ok, that sounds harsh – but the reality is that it is true. You need to look out for yourself, and part of my disillusionment with so-called ‘healthy living’ bloggers is how many seem to be unable to live their own lives without having to calculate how bloggable something is, or be in the right diet or training plan … too often ending up with multiple injuries or eating disorders.

    Running is much than bloggers.

    While bloggers too often visit other blogs seeking to get self-promotion out of commenting, running is just there.

    While your traffic will plummet if you don’t stick to a regular schedule, running will always be there.

    While it is easy to confuse blog-friends with ‘real’ friends (not that actual friendships don’t occur, it is just not all that frequent) … running can be a lifelong friend, because it is about loving yourself.

    That is the reality – running will always be there.

    So sit running down and have an honest chat, be kind but forceful – running will understand. And running will be there when the musical is done, when you have recovered, and when you are ready to get back to it.

    • DarlinRae says:

      That’s pretty much exactly the conversation I had with myself on Saturday. I can’t be everything all the time to all people, and my actions HAVE to be for me, not other people.

  2. Brittany says:

    I definitely worried about my readers’ reactions back when I was marathon training (and even now that I’m not running regularly). I mean, that’s why I started the blog: to keep myself accountable!
    And recently, I’ve decided to pull from a few spring races I was planning to run (although I haven’t registered for them yet) even though I was/am realllly excited about them! I just know that the two I’m signed up for now are huge (a quarter marathon and a 10 mile!) and that training for a half just won’t work right now… the positive? I save a little money, save myself a little stress, and open up my schedule for other things I haven going on (wedding planning and a whole lot of reading/library stuff!). Overall, I’m sad, but there are other races and I know missing these will be worth it.
    That said, I personally applaud you for doing what felt right for you when it came to this weekend’s race. Only you know how bad you feel and how hard you’ve been pushing yourself during the week, so what we think or say? Don’t even worry about it! :0)

    • DarlinRae says:

      Thanks, lady! I’m glad you’re doing what you need to do too. Wedding planning is no joke–it takes tons of time and mental energy, and can be really stressful! Good luck with your races! 🙂

  3. SuzLyfe says:

    GOOD FOR YOU. You are so right–you should only be running for yourself. I felt a bit nervous before my marathon, no lie–I had put out some big goals for myself — but then before the race, I had a lot of calm come over me with regards to reactions. I had a post the other week that I had some trepidation over, but then I remembered that I blog for myself as well–I am telling my story, running my race, and if people don’t like it? They can deal. We are here to learn, to be friends, and to lift each other up.
    I hope you are fully recovered!

  4. dgobs says:

    To be honest? If you had posted about how you run that 10K even though you felt so terrible, I certainly would have given you props but I might have thought you were a little cuckoo… especially if you were only running it to impress us 🙂 You gotta do you! I have way too many DNS’s and I’m not happy about them but life happens, injuries happen, illness happens… sometimes you just have to. And it sounds like you made the right decision!

    When I posted about all my DNS’s a few months back I was a little worried that people would think I was stupid for wasting so much money, for reverse-banditing, etc. But I think I have some kind of defense mechanism where I make fun of myself in my posts first, and then I don’t care. At least for the most part. If I cared a lot, I would never post about all my failed training adventures, so I just embrace that I’m a slacker/injury-prone crazy person, and go with that 🙂 But like Mike said above, screw us! Seriously, you gotta do you and do what works best for you. We’re here to support you as you do what’s best for you 🙂

    • DarlinRae says:

      Thanks, Dana! I really do feel so good about my decision not to run. Lately it’s just felt like one more thing I have to squeeze into an already jam-packed schedule, and like it’s something that’s hurting, not helping. I’ll be happy to get back to it when it can go back to being something I like that makes me feel better instead of worse.

  5. kebe51 says:

    When I got my DNF, I dreaded telling people, it still makes me feel like total crap that I DNF, but it was something that I needed to do. I was in the middle of Goofy training and I couldn’t risk more harm just to finish this one race (that was supposed to be a training run). YOU DID THE RIGHT THING RAE! You know I’m always yelling at Kim about this, do NOT force your body to do something when it’s not right. It will just make things worse in the long run. We all know you would’ve killed that run, but now you’ll just kill the next 10K when you’re healthy and ready for it 🙂

  6. Fallon @ Slacker Runner says:

    You did and are doing what’s best for you and that’s what counts. Your readers should want you to be happy an healthy. If taking time off from running is what gets you there then so be it. Your schedule has been crazy for a while now, get some rest and rock those play performances!

  7. runsaltrun says:

    Yes. Definitely and on multiple occasions.
    I think the decision you are making is the smartest one you could possibly make. This show is a priority and you have aligned yourself with what is most important in your life. That’s the best possible thing you can do! And as far as missing that race, I’ve DNS’ed too. It happens. Getting well is more important and I hope you are feeling better this week.

  8. charissarunning says:

    There is no need to worry about what others could/would/might think about your decisions. They’re yours to make 🙂 And quite frankly, I think most of us (from the looks of other comments as well) completely support and agree with your decision. I really hope the extra rest will mean a healthy Rae soon!

  9. Amy says:

    Not that my opinion matters because as you correcetly stated, you should run for you…I am not disappointed that you didn’t race. I’m proud of you. A little too often I read people’s blogs who are running when they really should be pulling back. “Toughing it out” too often veers towards stupidity in this sport. I think you made the right choice for the 10k and are making the right choice right now. Good luck!

  10. Anna @ Piper's Run says:

    Smart decision! We need to listen more to our body then trying to prove something to others. I probably would have made the same decision. I’m currently sick with a head cold and was planning to run tonight but I’m going to take the night off and SLEEP. My body needs sleep before it needs a run!

    I try not to worry about what my readers say…to be honest, they are all very supportive and encouraging and that’s one thing I love about blogging. I have a post drafted about a current running decision and know that when I do post it, I’m not letting myself down or anyone else. Hopefully, it stirs thoughts in others trying to make the hard decision and realizing it’s okay to do so.

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