When To Say When

We have all been there, wondering if you are really hurt, or if it’s just something that “I should push through”. I have been in that place again, with low back and hip pain and a aching ankle, and I tried a combination of “working through it” and resting it in preparation for my upcoming non-supported 70.3.

I skipped a hill workout and a bike to rest it. I tried to baby it along so I would be ready.  When race day came, the swim went really well. We had plenty of volunteer kayakers with us to offer assistance if needed, and the cold water felt good once I adapted to the temperature. We finished the 1.2 mile swim and then drove to the Raccoon River Valley Trail so we could bike and run on a long trail with less cross roads. 

The bike was an out and back (56 miles total) and I was making good time, in spite of a cross wind. I was in the 18-20 mph range when I reached the turnaround, and that’s when the crosswind shifted into a cross/head wind. That really brought the mph down, and I could start to feel it in my ankle that I was pedalling harder. I wondered if it would affect my run, and I was about to find out.  I finished the ride averaging 17 mph. I was happy with that.

I laced up and started my run. My ankle was holding up fine, but after a mile I could feel pain in my lower back on the left side, and running down into my hip. I decided that I would “push through it” and keep running. Another 1/4 mile and I knew that was a bad decision, and started walking and stretching my back. The pain would not go away. I decided to call it and just walk some. I ended with a total of 6 miles, mostly walking, far from the 13.1 I was supposed to run.

Did I make the right decision? Definitely.  Was it hard to make? Without out a doubt. No one likes to give up on something, but I needed to look at things in a logical frame of mind. 

1. This was not an official race, just a long workout with friends.

2. Since this is not an official race, was it worth risking further injury continuing to run?

3. If I continued and really injured myself, how long would I be out, and how would that affect my upcoming races next year?

4. Did I try everything to allievate the pain before deciding to stop?

I could answer almost all of these easily. It was not an official race, and I was risking further injury. I didn’t know how that could affect races already planned, and I did not want to risk that. I had tried everything I knew to do, with no avail, to get rid of the pain. This wasn’t some “ache” that pops in and disappears, this was consistant and getting worse. So I stopped.

I took the next week off of training, giving my back and hip time to heal, went to my sports massage therapist who really helped me, and tried not to go crazy with the lack of workouts. I am now starting back, and so far all is well.

We have to learn to know when to say when. When is something just an ache, and when is it something that you need to be careful of? We are all taught “no pain, no gain”, but we also need to know when we are doing more damage than good. We need to learn to listen closely to our bodies, and know when we can push through, and when we have a real issue.

It’s hard stopping short, to not finish something. But, it would be even worse to push to a point where we ruin our entire season because we didn’t listen to our body.

I wish you all healthy training and being in tune with your body.

Live healthy, be happy!


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