Hello everyone! So this weekend is the big half marathon in Va Beach. I ran it last year and got a PR for myself and I believe my first sub-1:30 with a 6:30 average. I believe I could do better this year, but we will never know because I chose not to race it. (Yes, there is a bit of agony in the tone of this statement).
There is a lot that went into this decision because I love racing and running. The first factor is my priority, which is medical school. Whenever I run and it is too humid, I get stomach cramps and diarrhea. This is proportional to how much I run. Last year after the race for the rest of the day I was in bed and running randomly to the bathroom. It was a bad experience. This year I am going into work at my mentorship for the day and don't have time to be running randomly to the bathroom or being unable to stand/walk around the office because I made myself sick from running in the humidity. Doing this would be irresponsible. And it is hotter and more humid than last year.
The next major factor is my physical condition. I have been getting slower at half marathons, not by much, but a little slower and more miserable each time. I need to focus right now on training and building myself up, not racing. After the last half my left knee was strained in the back so that it still hurts a little to squat, etc. And yesterday while doing a 5 mile tempo (6 min/mile for 5 miles) my right knee began to hurt, as I was diagnosed earlier this summer with tibio-femoral pain syndrome. Apparently my right quad and hip are slightly weaker than my left (hence why I strained the back of my left knee) and this is making my knee cap mis-track. While right now there is only a dull and achy pain and not too bad, I can't keep racing and expect it to get all better magically. I need to work for the healing!
All that said, I was going to use the Va Beach Half Marathon as a training run, jumping in with people doing 7:30/mile and park ~2miles from the course, so I would do a total of 17-18 miles today. Lol, and I was just intimidated by the crowds and the parking (the shuttle to the parking lot was actually ~12 miles!!!!! That means I would have spent at least half an hour commuting and would be late for my mentorship) or I totally would have done this. If anyone who has done this wants to share their opinion, please tell me how to do it legitimately in the future!!!! It is painful to miss out on such an exciting event! And I can't wait to hear about how it went for everyone else!
It was suggested that I put up this post because my friends and family will want to know why I didn't race. Really it is because my number one priority is medical school and this has made it so I have not done the training I need to be in top shape right now. I have to recover from my injuries and that means not just running, but also weight-lifting, stretching, icing... It means doing all the things I cut out of my schedule in order to study more hours. It also means that I will not run if it comes down between running and being sick/not being able to work in a day and being able to work for sure, but not racing.
If anyone has tips, feel free to give advice. I already feel quite guilty that I'm not studying more or volunteering more. But running is something I enjoy so much and it makes me healthy. I have hypertension and heart disease runs in my family (my grandfather died at 45 from a heart attack while taking a dump). Running means I will not only be happy, but will live longer, and be able to help more people over time. I do not want to give that up.