Have you ever noticed that the training cycles where the most goes wrong often ends up in the best races? Or is it just me? Does overcoming adversity make me a better runner?
A little running run-down of races
Chester was first diagnosed with a heart murmur almost 4 years ago. Out of the blue, a few weeks after a trip, he started coughing. It wasn’t kennel cough. But in the midst of trying to care for him, his heart murmur was discovered.
I spent a lot of nights on the couch with him so he wouldn’t disturb my husband while training for the Austin Livestrong Half. I was soooo tired. The race wemt great (except for the monster hill at mile 11, which wasn’t even the last hill!).
My training for Blackstone Valley Half went great . . . or so I thought: the actual race was a disaster and probably my very worst race experience (there are a few runner ups).
Because of Blackstone, I had to overcome an injury training for Smuttynose Rockfest — which I now consider my comeback race.
As I’ve mentioned, my cat Simba wasn’t doing well before RnR Montreal & I found out about my father’s benign brain tumor that would still require surgery just days before the race. And Simba would be diagnosed with lymphoma not long afterward. The race went well.
But somethings things just go wrong
I felt so strong and so prepared for the Heartbreak Half last year; I had trained harder than ever before. Weather had been so nice and cool (50s during the end of May!) leading up to the race. Race day dawned at 72.
Although I actually felt great after the race (after sitting, consuming fluids, and getting some salt back into me, that is), my time was very disappointing to me.
I continued to train hard afterwards. Everything seemed to go just perfectly. I was so sure that my fall race would be better.
Then my hip started bothering me in my taper and while it wasn’t hot like Heartbreak Hill was, it was still unseasonably warm on race day. In fact. my last four halfs have been unseasonably warm. I think I’m due for a break — don’t you?
So what about this training cycle?
It has certainly had its share of adversity. There was my IT Band irritation forcing me to curtail some of my training. I never got my mileage where I would like it to be, and while I can’t say my IT Band is completely normal still — I’m fairly confident it will hold up. I am actually still considering adding in another half before the end of the year. Although that depends on how the next half goes.
And then of course there’s Chester, who is in the tail end of heart failure. And has had a few episodes of really doing badly. Who is now on very strong diuretics which sometimes causes him to wake me up in the middle of the night to let him out. I talked with his cardiologist yesterday after he got the results of his bloodwork — his kidney values are slightly elevated, but the good news is that he thinks they’re okay for now and he actually doesn’t want to see him for another 3 months unless something happens. So bad news/good news there.
Plus it’s just difficult to watch his slow, inevitable decline and know that there is nothing, really, we can do about it. There’s no cure; this only ends one way. As long as he’s enjoying his food — and he is — life is still mostly good, though.
And similar to Chester, my parents are in their late 80s — it’s hard to watch their decline, too, and it’s just another pinch of stress to the pot.
So yes, there’s been plenty of adversity to go around this training cycle. I hope it pays off!
Do your races go better when you have more stress in your life?
I’m linking up with Amanda at Running with Spoons for her: