On Saturday, I ran (sort of) the Bidwell Classic 5k.
It started off all well and good. I set out at a comfortable 11 min/mile pace and quickly fell into a comfortable stride. By the time I hit the first 1/2 mile, I began having discomfort and minor pain on my left side. Being stubborn and not wanting to let my current medical issues interfere with the race, I kept running. My pace began slowing, and slowing, and slowing. At about the 1 mile marker, my side started gently yelling at me. Shortly after, there was a water station and bathroom, and I took the opportunity to sip some water and use the rest room. I resumed running. As I chugged through the first turn in the course I finally conceded that I really shouldn’t keep running. Along with the discomfort and pain, the fear of torsion had become a nagging thought. “That’s all I need,” I told myself, “I really don’t want to end up in the ER two weeks before I have surgery.” I begrudgingly slowed to a walk.
At this point I was disappointed and upset that I wasn’t able to run the entire race. “It’s only a 5k,” I told myself. “I should easily be able to run this.” As I made my way through the course I started thinking about everything I’ve accomplished since I began running. The first time I ever ran a 5k, I walked most of the course and was incredibly winded. Now, I’ve run a 15k and know that I’ll accomplish my goal of running a half-marathon later this year. Even though I wasn’t able to run the entire 3.1 miles, it wasn’t because I couldn’t physically do it, but because I didn’t want to put myself at risk of greater injury. I made the decision to listen to my body and take care of myself, and that is more important than some arbitrary goal.
Even though my time was nothing to write home about, I still finished. Whether I ran or walked, it still felt amazing to hear people clapping for me as I crossed the final timing mat.
I have one more 5k race before I have surgery in mid-March. Although I know that I will likely not be able to run much of it, I’m making the decision not to bow out of the race. I am listening to my body and taking care of myself, but I’m also not letting my medical condition completely derail the things I want to accomplish. I’m looking forward to the next race, and no matter if I run some of it or walk the entire thing, it is still going to feel great to cross that finish line.