To run or not to run?

Something doesn’t feel right…

Every runner has experienced it and it’s awful – and no, I’m not talking about the urgent need for a porta potti – I’m talking about when you feel pain. Aren’t runners always in pain? Well, yes. But I’m taking about physical pain that isn’t the usual struggle of pushing yourself (if you stopped whenever you felt that pain you would never run anywhere). I’m talking about when your knee aches, shin splints are acting up, a “hot spot” is getting worse, you rolled your ankle… etc.

“It’s nothing!”

“I’ll warm up out of it.”

“It’s really not that bad.”

– Every injured runner

To run or not to run – that is the question. Pretty sure Shakespeare wrote that. And given the internal turmoil felt when you’re in the midst of deciding if you should push through pain or not, I’m pretty sure it’s from Hamlet.

Trust me, it’s not worth it to hurt it. Your chances of improving pain by running through it are next to none – and the chances of making it worse are much, much, higher (#statistics).

I’ll be the first to admit that in the moment it doesn’t feel so simple. It’s tough to turn around and walk home, miss practice, and/or cut a run short – especially if you’re not hurt “that badly.” It’s even harder to scratch from a race, or cut your season short without feeling like a quitting loser.

Here’s the thing, if it really is nothing, then it will be gone tomorrow. In the light of a new day you can call yourself paranoid, silly, overly cautious, and laugh about it. You’ll probably even feel annoyed and remark “gosh darn it, I totally could have nailed that [insert super impressive workout].” But secretly, you will be very, very, relieved. The potential for relief trumps risk when it comes to injuries. Playing it safe is the finance equivalent of a bond – boring as heck, but a guarantee. Now I’m not advocating for a super safe philosophy for all training, but messing around with an injury has next to no upside

When it comes to pain, it is always better to be safe than sorry.


When you (probably) shouldn’t run:

  1. You feel pain – not soreness/stiffness
    • Note: As a runner, you’re always subjecting your body to stress and it’s natural to feel discomfort. If you had a big workout the day before, have been increasing mileage, or you’re just a regular runner, it is normal to feel sore. Pain is different. You don’t warm up out of it and you might want to limp.
  2. Your coach/physio tells you not to. Listen to them.
  3. Your coworker who knows next to nothing about running but would like to see you race at a track meet in the distant future tell you not to (thanks Emily)

 

Devan Wiebe – The Dream Chaser

If you want to hear more about my story and motivation, check out this interview put together by my super-talented friend Diana:

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SoundCloud link: Devan Wiebe – the dream chaser 

This was recorded at the end of last year, and I stand behind everything that was said. While my 2017 track season challenged my confidence and priorities, I’m looking forward to closing the gap to my goals in 2018!

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Thats me on the far right in the neon yellow top, racing in Belgium (July, 2017)

 

A Few of my Favourite Things (About Running)

Community

From coaches and teammates to strangers that you pass on the street, there’s a sense of camaraderie and friendship no matter where you go in the world. Give a wave and say hi, it’s nice.

Accomplishing goals

Distances, times, events, attitudes – the opportunities to set goals and work towards them are endless.

Participating in nature

Look around. Take it in. When it’s beautiful it’s awesome and when it’s not, it’s hard to top the feeling of completing a kick a$$ workout despite the pouring rain, wind, and other elements conspiring against you.

Exploring new places/revisiting old ones

A new city, an old town, somewhere aboard, a travellers destination, a work trip, your elementary school, the track you ran your first race on, the place your family went on the weekend… Running is fluid, faster, and more personal than any other way of commuting.

Challenge

Running is hard. You can do it.

Escape

I wouldn’t call it running away from your problems… I’d call it running through your problems. Thinking about them, solving them, putting them in perspective, it’s easier when you’re running.

Feeling your body living/working

Be kind to yourself and appreciate what your body can do. It’s pretty neat.

Accessibility

You can do it anytime, anywhere. Get going!

 

Learnings from XC Provincials

I ran at the BC XC Champs on the weekend and it was HARD. When you’re not in good shape running is tough. Running cross-country in any shape is tougher.

That said, it was a beauteous day in Abbotsford, the cows were mooing, the sun was shining, and there wasn’t a puddle in sight. I had a blast taking over the Brooks Canada Instagram story for the day, seeing friends at the course, and witnessing some awesome performances. Special shout outs to Jack* and Kirsten for qualifying for their first senior BC teams to compete at Nationals later this month!

My goals for the race were to finish strong, be positive, and get in a great workout. Mission accomplished. The course was shy of 6km, and I ended up running 22:05 and placing 47.th. My coach and I agreed that while I’m lacking fitness (especially strength), it was a good starting point for this time of year.

However, I felt frustrated for the remainder of the day. Whether it’s running, school, work, board games, (anything really),  I’m always competitive. Weakness or not, I tend to only place myself in situations where I know I’ll excel, and if I don’t, I make changes. Being so far off the front pack isn’t excelling. I know that being competitive wasn’t the point of running BCs and that if I gave into the impulse to only do things I’m good at I would never improve. But I still hate being out of the race – and that’s OK – I’ll need to hold on to this motivation for the long months of winter training ahead.

TTYL,

DW

*Jack came out of nowhere on the final lap and grabbed the bronze in true William’s style. He then “went to the other side” and was basically dead for 40 minutes. It’s (almost) funny now, but at the time it was super scary. Imagine the drunkest person you’ve ever seen (and not “funny drunk”, call 911 and get them hospitalized drunk). That’s what Jack was like after busting out a stellar 8km after a two year XC hiatus. He was swaggering all over the place, disoriented, and viciously determined not to eat any yogurt-covered raisins. Thankfully, after electrolytes and care from family/friends he returned to planet earth.