To race or not to race that is the question

Lakes in a Day

In a couple of days, I’m supposed to be racing Lakes in a Day, a 50 mile race from the top of the Lake District to the bottom with 4000m of ascent and some good old-fashioned Cumbrian bogs thrown in for good measure but I’m in two minds whether to race or not.

It was never on my list of races to do this year but I entered as a knee-jerk reaction when I didn’t do as well as I wanted in the Salomon Ben Nevis Ultra.

There’s also £1000 up for grabs for breaking the course record of 9hours 8mins which makes the race more tempting. On paper, at least, I might be able to do this if I have a good run and the conditions are right. Problem is my hamstring is still not 100% from the Ben Nevis Ultra and I run the risk of turning a minor grade 1 tear into something more serious.

Jayson says don’t do it, Tom, my physio, says don’t do it, my common sense says don’t do it but still the temptation to run is still there. What is it with us runners and not being able to accept things and make sensible decisions.

Since I started running I’ve improved massively to the point where I don’t just want to make up numbers. I want to run the course as fast as possible and beat as many people as I can. I’ve trained far too hard over the last two years not try to do this at each race. It doesn’t always go to plan but that’s always the aim when I line up on the start line. I guess it’s the years of moto-cross and downhill mountain bike racing.

I’ve chatted to Jayson a few times about making sure that you are enjoying running when racing as you will run better. Talking about the 110 I said something along the lines of ‘I’ll enjoy it when I win it’ and I think this is where I get my enjoyment from in races, I just like the thrill of racing other people and pushing myself as hard as I can.

Yes, I’ve raced in some beautiful places and met some amazing people but a race is about the competition to be me and that’s what I enjoy. I love this quote from Zach Miller

I don’t just want to beat other people, I’m racing the clock. When that gun goes off that means I try to get from the start to the finish line as fast as I can
Zach Miller

Kim Cavill recently wrote an article called The Real Challenge in Running where puts a series of challenges to runners and I guess this is my take on that challenge and deciding whether the heart or the brain should win the battle in deciding whether to start or not on Saturday.

My brain tells me its too soon after Ben Nevis to be fully ready, my brain tells me my hamstring isn’t going fully healed and I could do more damage to it by running, my brain says the current underfoot conditions and weather forecast for the day mean an attempt at the course record is virtually impossible, not to mention people whose advice I respect say don’t do.

Being sensible about the race and taking everything into account I know deep down won’t be able to perform how I want to and will come away disappointed with my performance. Potentially I could also come away with a worse injury on my hamstring meaning my training for next year will be put back weeks or possibly months and I want to set myself some very tough targets next year.

Much as I want to run the race this time the brain has won the battle…

I'm out

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