4 Oct 2018

Downgrading Race Registration

This week I am faced with a tough decision. In the grand scheme of life, it is pretty minor. But for me, it feels significant.

On Sunday (October 7th), I am registered to run the half marathon at the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon. I signed up for this one back in June with the plan of training up over the summer, running the half at Victoria, maintaining that half marathon distance, and running another half at the Fall Classic on November 4th.

And, to make best use of the trip over to Victoria, we made a family weekend out of it. My wife and I are bringing our two kids, accompanied by my mother-in-law and aunt, to spend the weekend in Victoria - it is Thanksgiving after all. Perfect little getaway weekend with a half marathon thrown in.

However, over the past month or so, I have been struggling with a strained Achilles tendon. It started in early September, I think. Not sure why the exact cause was - most likely excessive mileage. I was preparing for the Under Armour Eastside 10k (September 15th) and started to really push my pace. Must have just pushed it a little too hard.

I ran the Eastside 10k, but had to hold back a lot because of my Achilles. I was hoping to blow my 10k PB to shreds, but alas.

I took a week off after that to let my body rest and heal. I saw my family doctor and got his advice. I was worried at that point that it could have been a stress fracture. So I was relieved to hear it was only my Achilles. Only.

The good news? I could keep running. The bad news? I had to ease off on my pace and take it easy.

So for the last couple of weeks, I've been keeping my runs to a light, relaxed pace. I have held my weekday runs to 6-7 km and my Sunday long run to 10-12 km. I spend a lot of time stretching my Achilles out during the day. I ice it every evening. I can run on it with minimal discomfort.

And, so, here we are. This week. 4 days until race day. And I have been wrestling with this decision for weeks. My Achilles feels better. Much better. But it is no where near 100%. It is still quite tight.

I know I could finish the half marathon. But it would definitely not be a PB time. I would be running just to complete it. And, I run a huge risk of re-aggravating it and not being able to run the Fall Classic in another month.

The alternative is I can downgrade to the 8k at Victoria and then begin the build up to, hopefully, be 100% for the Fall Classic.

I have never downgraded before. But this is also my first destination race (is race-cation at word?). So part of me feels that I am cheating and not getting value from the weekend if I downgrade from the half marathon. I could run an 8k anywhere. And, I really had my hopes up to run the half.

So all things considered, and putting my pride aside, I will be running the 8k instead. Playing it safe. It is still an amazing route around the heart of downtown Victoria. And I am looking forward to it immensely. This also means I can finish in time to watch my 7 year-old son race in the 1.25 km kids run.

So this race is for all the runners that have to face that tough decision to downgrade or even pull out of a race altogether.

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