Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Confessional

 "The body does not want you to do this. As you run, it tells you to stop but the mind must be strong. You always go too far for your body. You must handle the pain with strategy...It is not age; it is not diet. It is the will to succeed."
 ~ Jacqueline Gareau, 1980 Boston Marathon champ 

There are many things you may not know about me.  There are also many things that you probably already know, but the things you don't know are more fun to talk about so we'll start with those. 

Confession #1- I am an awful speller!  Really, I am.  No one really believes me because I was an English major but I swear, as I just wrote this, I spelled "believes" and "awful" wrong. Grammar was more my thing anyways. Thank God for spell check. 

Confession #2- I try to find the closest parking spot every time and I always take the elevator when the option is available.  It's not that I'm lazy, I just feel a sense of accomplishment when I find a close spot.  And let's face it, these knees don't need any more strain they I've already put on them. 

Confession #3- I can never eat the ends of the banana.  For some reason, I just think the tips of the bananas taste different so I cut them off and always discard them.  Obviously, this one is all in my head, but it's a quirk and I'll probably never break it. 

Confession #4- I often round numbers by adding or taking away everything by one.  For example, if Toly asks me how much did you spend at the store, I'll say "$99" instead of "100."  Or I might tell someone I'm 25 when I'm really 24 & 1/2.   

Confession #5- This is the big one and the real purpose behind the topic of this post.  

I am scared to run this 1/2 marathon on Saturday and in my heart, I truly feel like I shouldn't be doing it. 

Wow, I can't believe I actually admitted it, but I think I just need to talk it out before I actually come to a decision.  You see, I've been training for many months, but this year has also completely thrown me for a huge loop in my health.  After multiple surgeries, stomach diseases, hospital visits, and knee injuries, I haven't exactly been at my utmost state of optimal condition.  Although I've recovered from most of my illnesses, the one factor that has not gotten better is my knee.  It still hurts to run and especially long distances.  I can go about 4 miles and than I start to feel it.  I usually push through the pain but then regret it later.  Last weekend when I did my long run of 10 miles, I couldn't walk for a few hours afterwards.  I know I haven't been healing it properly and that is entirely my fault.  

So with the race just days away, I have a decision to make.  Do I put aside my fears, knowing that it will be a challenge but push through it because runners are crazy and that is what we do?  Or do I opt to drop the 1/2 marathon and run the 5k instead?  

Honestly, it would break my heart knowing that I've come this far and then I give up.  But at the same time, I have no idea how my knee will hold up and that scares me more than anything.  What if I start running and I have to quit mid way through?  At least by doing the 5k, I will finish and feel as though I've at least accomplished something. 

I honestly have no idea what to do. :( 

Breakfast this morning rocked per usual. 

1/4 Cup Banana Oats, 1/4 Cup Kashi Go Lean, Strawberry Banana Chobani, Strawberries, Dark Chocolate AB, Hazelnut Biscotti Granola 

I think hot coffee may be back for the season. 

I was doing mock interviews for high school juniors all afternoon, but did stop for lunch beforehand. 

We went to a cafe near the school that specialized in Greek food.  I love Greek restaurants because you're almost always guaranteed to have a nice selection of veggie options.  And my love of hummus and feta is pretty much catered to with this fare, so it's a sure thing. 

I ordered the Mediterranean Veggie Wrap and the Vegetable Chili Soup. 

The wrap tasted great!  Hummus, feta, and veggies in a spinach tortilla. And the soup was fantastic as well.  Loaded with veggies and spinach in a slightly spicy tomato broth.  I ate 1/2 the wrap, most of the soup and left the chips. 

When I got done with work, I went to the gym to get in a solid run this week.  I really needed to asses where I was at with my knee pain and I wanted to get in some substantial mileage to do this.  5 miles on tap, and they were pretty uncomfortable on the knee.  Well miles 3-5 were rather uncomfortable.  Not horrible, but definitely not perfect.  

I think the most frustrating thing about this all is that I WANT to run!  I want to run so badly and mentally, I am in the right place.  I have every desire but my body is telling me no right now.

For tonight's dinner, I put together a  true comfort meal.

BBQ Tofu, Roasted Sprouts and Broccoli and Baked Sweet Potato with Baked Beans

Southern fare at it's finest. BBQ and tofu go together so well, agreed? 

So it looks like I have a decision to make.  The reason why I chose the quote at the start of this post is because I feel like I am getting so many mixed signals.  I keep seeing these things, telling me that the the reward is so much more worth the pain.  The satisfaction of finishing this race is going to be worth it and I feel like if I don't at least try, the regret will be more painful than any physical aliment. 

Honestly, I am torn! 

My last confession of the night. 



  1. Okay. This sounds complicated.
    Most people are nervous before a race. That's okay. You question if you're ready, if you trained enough...
    But, I think you are questioning it because you're still a little injured. That is a whole other can of worms. I never suggest running through pain that feels like "injury pain".

    If you think you might not be able to walk after the race - literally - than you should consider pulling back and waiting for another race.
    It's time to get real honest with yourself. Don't do anything that will cause long term damage.

    Don't be scared to run the race if you're body is ready either. Really only you can figure it out though....

  2. I got that quote this morning in my email from runner's world! It's a good one.

    One thing you should know - regardless of if you run a 1/2 or run a 5k or don't even run at all - you tried and you trained HARD. That in itself is an accomplishment - and hopefully you agree!

    I don't want to promote irresponsible decision making - only YOU know what's best for your body - but you can always try running the 1/2 and if you don't feel up for it or if your body doesn't feel right, either walk or drop out of the race. Know too that your readers and followers support you all the way, regardless of your decision.

    Here was a great article I caught the other day.

  3. First off, I'm 100% behind you regardless of what you decide to do. That being said, I think you writing down that in your heart you don't think you should be doing it....I don't think you should do it. Your health is SO important ( as you know)...more important than anything.

    Ok... now onto the deliciousness. I want a feta wrap right now and I just ate dinner haha. And I also need need need to buy some brussels. I just put them on my shopping list.

    BTW- if you want to talk things out feel free to email me. I'm always here for you!

  4. Don't force yourself, dear Lauren - hang in there and trust your instincts! xoxo

  5. Hi Lauren, I've been reading your blog for a while now, but I never comment. I thought I would after this post because I so understand how you feel.

    I really admire your dedication to running.
    Currently, I take a running class twice a week. It's the only way I'll push myself to get to further distances and faster race times. I'm now in a class with serious runners, the ones who put in 40 miles in a weekend job and I'm so intimidated. Before every class I have to psyche myself into going because I'm always afraid I can't handle it. AND, after every class, regardless of speed or distance I am so proud of myself.

    I believe we are way more capable than we believe. I say show up on Saturday. If while running you really can't go any further, you'll know and then you can make the decision to exit out discretely, but chances are you'll leave feeling pretty amazing. Good luck!

  6. hey girl,
    my roommate went through a similar experience a few months ago. while training for a half marathon, her knee started acting up. She would rest, then run, then rest, then run only to find the pain getting worse. Though I beleive it was one of the more difficult decisions she's made (i mean, she worked so hard to train!), she realized she had to listen to her body. I couldn't be more proud of her.

    You do what you gotta do, girl!

  7. I think you should trust your body - you know it best!

  8. I think I have been in the same boat....I am a runnner...that's what I do...but, my right knee has always been an issue....Do you run every day? Do you wear a knee brace or a band? It could help....Goodluck...my last 1/2 marathon I was soooo sore...I was in a different climate...not much sleep....but, my motivation was up and endorphins and energy was on high....I just had to take a week off afterwards....try to listen to your body...even if you are supposed to be following a training plan...know what works for you....I can't run a high mileage every day....my knee won't allow it...YOU CAN DO IT!!! Don't get too stressed out...xoxo

  9. I have the same problem- mentally I want to run SO badly but my knees don't let me do longer than 4 or 5 miles. A lot of people I know who have run marathons tell me there's a lot you can push your mind through, but constant knee pain is not really one of them. I think you've run enough to know the difference between race nerves and real intuition. I know you'll figure out the right thing :)

  10. good luck with your decision making - it's a tough one. i personally know myself well enough to know that pushing myself physically never ends with me feeling great, but that's me. mainly you have to ask yourself if you're going to be okay with either outcome - it's okay to react out of fear, you know, and it doesn't mean that you're any less wonderful and amazing of a person.

  11. Girl I am SO sorry about everything!!! I know you want to, but it is SO hard to do whats best for your body when your mind is telling you something else. I say that you give yourself a break and plan something exciting for the day of the half marathon so you wont think about it. Personally, I put SO much pressure on myself and if i set a goal, I sure as heck want to achieve it! But its relieving when I give myself a break sometimes!! It sounds like God is trying to tell you something. PRayers your way!

  12. I think it's best to think about what would happen if you decided to run the half and injure your knee even more...which could lead to you having to take a lot of time off and lots of frustration. I ran a marathon a few years ago with a pre-existing injury and ended up having to take 4 months off afterwards, when in reality, it should've only been a 4 week break pre-marathon. So I guess you need to do what your heart is telling you to do, but definitely think about how you're going to deal afterwards!

  13. I wish I could offer you some solid advice...but since I'm not a runner, I don't know what to say! I would be terrified of running, but that is because my body doesn't handle that type of exercise very well. I know that you will make the best decision for your body...just remember to listen to your heart! And I'm a bad speller too...even though I am in grad school for English.

  14. I don't know, Lauren. If 5 miles was painful, I'm not sure 13.1 would be a good idea. Of course it is your body and your race so it comes down to you. However, I know from experience that the line between health and injury is veerrrrry thin. I hate that this is happening to you (why can't we just run!?!!?) but perhaps it's your body telling you something you know?

  15. Honestly, I think that if you were healthy enough to run the 1/2, you wouldn't be questioning it. It's clear how dedicated you are, and how much you want to run this. When in doubt, trust your instinct. If you let your body heal properly, you WILL be able to run another race without risk of seriously injuring yourself. What do you gain by risking it now? Is one race worth really hurting your body?

    I've been through a similar situation, pushed myself, and REALLY regretted it. Think about how you'd feel if you ran the race, but then had to take MONTHS off of not just running, but your daily activities too? You're not only putting running in jeopardy, but walking, other forms of exercise, and your day-to-day life.

    It's clear how much you value your health by your daily food and exercise choices, but part of being healthy is knowing when to let your body heal and when to stop pushing yourself.

  16. I've been there. I've had ALL those at once and just now recovered after 2 years! I wanted to run so badly but found that it didn't help. running just 45 minutes was enough. Maybe you could go and run 5 miles of it and then call it a day. Let the body recover and focus on it later. I know its hard but you ultimately know whats best for you. :)

  17. If you're injured, don't do it, plain and simple. Only YOU can tell the difference between annoying pain and real pain. There will always be more races, so listen to your heart and choose the one that will be the best for you in the long term. It's not worth overexerting yourself and not being able to run for an extended period of time!

  18. Whoa, stumbled upon your blog recently, and I live in Harrisburg too!
    Anyway, I was having a similar problem. I had my first half scheduled for last Saturday in Lancaster. About two weeks prior, I went for a normal five mile run and felt great. However, I woke up the next morning in such pain in my right knee, I could barely walk. I rested for a week, and it felt better but it was still tightening up when I was walking.
    I scheduled an appointment with my doctor and she said that it was probably overuse and to take the next week off from running. I told her about the half and she said that the worse case scenario would be no running for a while (I am an avid swimmer and elliptical user, so I figured I’d be okay).
    Anyway, I ended up doing the half with a brace, and I did a 1:48, which I was happy with for it being my first one and not having run in over two weeks. My knee hurt on and off throughout, but it was nothing unbearable. I was sore for the next two days, and now my knee is feeling almost back to normal.
    So, it worked for me… but don’t do it if you think it can sabotage your running career. It’s not worth it. Good luck!

  19. I've read your blog for a few months now but I rarely comment, so:

    I think your body is trying to tell you something. I think sticking with the 5k is the best option. It's better to do that and be a little disappointed than risking PERMANENTLY hurting yourself.

    There will be other 1/2 marathons, and with your body getting a little rest, you'll be able to race in them. But you can't do it if you push yourself over the limit.

    Maybe see a doctor, too?

    All the best.

  20. Girl I'm going to be straight with you, run the 5K. Put the half aside for now. You ran 10 miles and *could not walk* afterwards. You don't need to be running 13 and possibly have your knee totally blow out on you.

    You want to stay strong and healthy and be able run for many years to come. There will be other 1/2s. Run the 5K, do the best you can and then go get breakfast with hubs and celebrate all you've accomplished this year. :)

  21. I just wanted to say that, either way, you'll be running a race :) If you're thinking of more "cons" than "pros" about the 1/2, maybe it would be better to not do it this time. That doesn't mean there won't be more in the future! But it would be better to run the 5K and not injure yourself!


  22. Hi Lauren,

    I'm not sure I've ever posted, but I love your blog for the meals you create, especially when you cook a veggie meal for yourself and put a meaty spin on it for Toly!

    About the running, you need to think long term. Damaging your knees badly now just isn't worth it. I'm sure you want to be able to go on your morning run in 20 years, or even to chase after your kids in a few years.

  23. Lauren. You're very brave to admit these feelings to yourself and to everyone else. As a runner myself, I would have such a difficult time coming to terms with a similar situation. I give you credit for being honest and safe. Do what's best for you and you'll know this because it's in your heart.

  24. loved your quirky confessions. your serious one, too. i am sure it felt good to put that out there. i think you should play it by ear and do what you feel is best on race day. love you!

  25. Oh girl.. I know how you feel. You'll have to listen to yourself and do what's right for you. Honestly, if I were you I'd rest until the race and then see what happens come race day... but then again I'm no pro, so take what I say with a grain of salt. I don't think it's quitting if you do what's right for your body. If you try to do the half and end up having to quit halfway, it wouldn't be for lack of mental strength or physical capability, it would be because you were making the mature decision to do what's best for your body.

    If you think that based on your own experiences that running this race could seriously worsen your injury, I'd say pass. But if you think it would just be kind of painful but not debilitating, and you'd be able to rest up and fully heel after it's over, maybe you should give it a try? You've been working so hard. You deserve to reap the benefits of it.

    Good luck, and no matter what happens, be proud of everything you've accomplished so far. You're some kind of inspiring, girl ;)

  26. Hey girl! I wanted to tell you that I am so proud of you right now; I can only imagine how difficult this post was to write, but you did the right thing by getting all of your feelings and fears out there.

    I am no medical expert, but this is what I would say: there is a big difference between the pain of a good bodily challenge and the pain of an injury. If it's injury pain, it could cost you more than just not finishing the half - it could mean long-term pain, no running for a long time, etc. In that case it's just not worth it.

    So I guess it's a matter of determining what kind of pain it is? Again, I'm really no expert.

  27. Love your blog little lady! I am not a runner YET! But wanted to say I love your quotes and everything about your blog! Your bbq tofu looks delish!

  28. Lauren! Thanks so much for opening up with us... and trust me, I've seen my share of races I probably "shouldn't" have run. I think you know best, and you know the difference between "discomfort" and real, true pain. Since you've been training, you could try to run a few miles and see how you're doing. Or, you could remind yourself that there will ALWAYS be other races. You're a rockstar, lady :-)