Friday, February 21, 2014

To Race or Not To Race

As I sit here in my room, I am struck by the question that all athletes face at one point or another...

To Race Or Not To Race

Do I bag this race in order to preserve my training and the bigger picture or do I go for it and take the risk?

The stakes...

FOR:  The Colchester Half Marathon tomorrow, race #4 for the season, a test of where I'm at in training, and cross check of my run HR zones.
AGAINST:  I've had a sore throat (cold) sine Monday night. 

To Race...

If you've followed me for awhile, you may remember this race from last year.  I decided last minute (the night before) to run this race last year and loved it so much that I slotted it in for this year as of last February.  It's not a glamorous race, there are no great sites, there's no bling or awards, and the course even makes use of a single car width dirt road that we had to battle traffic for space.  But the race director is a hoot!, I love to support well run local races, it's only $14, and has some of the best post-race food I've ever had at races (This post-race food beats every $350-700 Ironman race I've done). 

This race, while not ever meant to be a PR search, was slotted to test where I was in my training.  I had hoped to run a sub-1:40 which would be a solid half for me.  This race would also provide a cross check for my running HR zones.

NOT To Race...

Since late Monday, I've had a dryness turn sore throat.  I haven't trained since Monday in order to try and bust up the cold.  The symptoms have stayed in my throat, but my resting HR has spiked 16 bpm and I can't say I'm feeling race ready.  Having taken 4 days off of training already, the last thing I want to do is go run a cheap race that doesn't mean anything and blow another week of training.

The Final Tests...

After talking to coach, I am about to hop on the bike for 30 minutes to see how I feel.  If I feel crappy, I will not race.  If I feel good, then I will wait until tomorrow morning.  If I feel like shit tomorrow morning, then I will not race.  However, if I feel good on the bike AND feel okay tomorrow, then I am allowed to race.

Wish me luck!!

  1. Post-Bike.  The bike went well.  I did a 10 minute warm up and then a 1, 2, 3 minute Z1/Z2 ladder and I felt fine. 
  2. Evening.  I felt great!  Maybe it was the ride, the relaxation, or the giant plate of broccoli and asparagus.  Veggies for the win!!  We'll see how I feel tomorrow and go from there.
  3. Race Morning.  I didn't feel 100%, but I felt okay.  I figured I could make my way through a solid half without an issue during the race.
  4. The Race.  HOLY MOLY!  While my muscles might argue it didn't feel like a great race, I ran within 7 minutes of my PR.  Sick, no training for a week, complete lack of speed/interval work (much different than last year), and still very early in the season.  I was VERY happy with the outcome.


1.  Have you ever bagged / scraped / or withdrawn from a race?
I've scratched races off of my schedule, but I have never pulled out of one after paying for it.  

2.  What would you do?
I'm not looking for advice.  I have my tests and the final call in the morning, but I'm curious what others might do.  Do you love racing enough to risk it?, or do you train focused solely on the big race. 


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