Search This Blog

Pulling out

Extract from the Boston Globe on 20 April 1982 after
Salazar had won the Boston Marathon by 2 seconds from
Dick Beardsley in 2:08:51 (I was 49th in 2:22:39)
Tonight's Six at Six run didn't go so well.  Maybe it was the effects of my cold, or maybe it was that I ate lunch too late, but for whatever reason I was struggling to get the air I needed after just one lap (1.2km) of the 6km race, and briefly stopped before backing off and running the remaining four laps at a comfortable pace.

I had followed my plan of getting there an hour early and running 10km as a warm-up, but even in that warm-up, I didn't feel I was travelling well.  Plenty of coughing, hawking and spluttering to go with indigestion, so maybe I would have been wiser not starting.  However, as discussed in yesterday's post, I'm reluctant to back off from my planned training unless for a good reason.

Salazar in flight
As I drove home from the race, I examined my motives for pulling out.  Although I don't often pull out of races, I have pulled out of a number over the years, particularly in my early running career.  Whenever I do, it always awakens some deep-seated self-doubt about my toughness in the face of adversity.  I can always rationalise a decision to pull out at the time, but almost always regret it later.  There are some runners, such as one of my marathon heroes, Alberto Salazar, who have run themselves to the point of insensibility or collapse in races.  I have never run myself that hard, and it makes me wonder whether I have fully explored my physical potential as an athlete.

For today, however, I know I do have a cold, and that it is affecting how I feel when running.  I will trust that when it abates, I will feel and run better.  On the plus side, I barely felt my injured right arch tonight.