Training for life (and reflections on the race that wasn’t)

Normally, Monday is when I post my weekly training recap and highlights, but obviously this is a very different kind of post.

As an ambassador for the All American Marathon, I was supposed to run the Mike to Mike Half Marathon yesterday. Those who know me in real life know I did not make the trip or run the race.


Last Monday, I saw a sports medicine doctor for hip pain. My right hip has bothered me off and on for a week or two, especially when getting out of chairs or the car. My hip wasn’t painful when running, but I wanted to rule out any fractures or major injuries before Catch the Leprechaun and Peyton’s Wild and Wacky 5K. Knowing both race directors, I was prepared to pull the plug and opt to volunteer for those races. The doctor said I was fine to run, sent me to PT, and wished me good luck in my races (I ran both races).

I visited the physical therapist the day after the Catch the Leprechaun 5K. I left the office with tons of stretches, strengthening exercises, and foam rolling exercises, which I now perform daily. I have issues with my tensor fascia latae and piriformis. I discussed my training and racing schedule with the physical therapist, and she said running was fine.

My hip isn’t broken, strained, or sprained, and I ran five days last week. Although my highest mileage week was 46.5 miles and I never completed a long run of more than 12 miles in the training cycle, I was in shape to run a half marathon. Two medical professionals even said it would be okay.

However, I wasn’t comfortable with driving to Fayetteville (four hours each way) on a wonky hip, running a 13.1 mile race, and risking injury or setbacks.

I respect the half marathon distance, and I also respect my body. After my ill-fated marathon in 2013, I won’t do a race I’m not prepared for, physically and mentally. There will always be more runs and races, and surely I am not the first race ambassador who missed the race, nor will I be the last.

Side note, if you are injured and a doctor tells you not to run, please do not run. Running against your doctor’s wishes is not hardcore. It’s unhealthy and sets a bad example for beginner runners and anyone else who may look up to you, including children. I won’t run injured- but I will get on my family and friends’ last nerves the whole time because I’m unable to run (as I did for seven weeks last summer after my stress reaction diagnosis).

In the end, it is just running- and it will always be there.

Many of my friends and blog readers ran the All American Marathon races- and I want to congratulate all of them, including Terrylynn, Erica, Krystal, Liz, Gary, Jim, Melissa, Ed, Monique, and anyone else I may have forgotten (oops). If you want to run a spring marathon or half marathon in North Carolina, definitely check out the All American Marathon in Fayetteville/Fort Bragg. Eric, the race director, and his staff were very kind and supportive to the race ambassadors and put a lot of time, effort, and love into the event. It’s a great organization and hopefully I can run the race in the future.

As far as training goes, I’m taking it day by day. I’ve decreased my mileage, but I ran 30 miles last week, along with a BodyPump class, a yoga class, and PT exercises. I hope to race the Cooper River Bridge Run this Saturday, although I won’t hesitate to back down if something feels off this week. It’s a big running event for Charleston, so I’m hoping to just have a fun time, regardless of the finish time.


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33 Responses to Training for life (and reflections on the race that wasn’t)

  1. Hollie says:

    I’m dealing with a very similar injury (as you know). It’s not pleasant because one day it’s fine and the next day it hurts. I know it was hard to give up running but I do believe you did the right thing for you.

  2. KrisLawrence says:

    I think you made the smart decision. It’s never an easy one to skip a race but if that race could possibly set you back weeks or months, its never worth it. I know because I’ve made that mistake! Good job on being patient healing that hip.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I am. I’m glad I can still run at least! I am cutting my mileage and doing more shorter runs for awhile, as well as other activities that don’t aggravate it!

  3. Victoria says:

    I’m so sorry to hear you’re having a hip issue – those can be so complex because so many muscles and ligaments are involved. Definitely the right decision to forgo this race for more long-term running opportunities, but I bet it was still hard.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Hip issues are really complex! The weird thing was that mine involves the TFL (tensor fascia latae) and the piriformis, which was really tight. It is improving each day with the PT exercises, fortunately- but right now it’s all about PT and not necessarily PRs.

  4. christine says:

    Ah, sorry you’re still having issues with your hip and had to miss a race. But it sounds like you made a smart decision. It’s just one race. There will be others. You only have one set of hips and you have to keep them healthy.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thanks. Yeah, I thought running 13.1 miles, and especially the 8 hour round trip, would probably just set my recovery back or make for a really ugly bridge run.

  5. I had a similar pain and injury in 2013. It required a lot of stretching, some hip adjustments and rest. You are smart in your decision!! Hope you heal quickly!

  6. Pam says:

    I am sorry sorry your hip is still causing you pain/issues, but you made the right decision Amy. when I see runners trying to be hardcore, rather than respecting their bodies, I cringe. It is not smart to overdue anything, especially when pain is going on. As you said, there are plenty more opportunities for racing and running, and a healthy body trumps all of those.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      You’re right. I hope to be running into my 60s and 70s and still doing road races. I love the sport and don’t want to risk anything for a single race. I am excited to push the pace again when I finally can though.

      • Pam says:

        I love following your racing….you are so speedy, but have such a great outlook on the sport. Here’s to more AG awards for you this spring once you are healthy to race!

  7. Angela says:

    Sounds like you made the right decision, I hope it recovers quickly xo

  8. Kristin says:

    Hey! It’s never fun to not run a race, but you definitely made a smart decision. Congrats on listening to your body. I hope you have a fabulous Monday! XOXO

  9. lizlicorish says:

    I believe it’s always best to be a cautious runner so good for you for making the decision to listen to your body! I would always rather run conservatively than be sidelined, so one race is never worth the risk. That’s still great you’re still able to keep your mileage around 30!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      It is nice. I’m glad the doc and PT said running is still okay. I’d hate to have to take weeks or more days off. 30ish miles a week isn’t a ton (not that averaging 40 is either), but I shouldn’t LOSE fitness there.

  10. Always better to err on the side of caution vs. making an injury a million times worse by pushing too hard!

  11. Elizabeth C. says:

    Wow- I am really so impressed with the maturity here. I think it takes many runners years and years to get to the point where they can acknowledge when to back off. You made a smart decision and you are confident in it, and that is just amazing. Your training has always been impressive, but it’s kinda easy to train well if you like it. It’s much harder to make a decision like this and feel okay with it, so HUGE kudos to you for respecting the sport, and respecting your body.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thank you. I believe that many runners don’t respect their bodies or the distance and put themselves through events that they are not prepared for. I probably shouldn’t have run that marathon in 2013 (I ran fewer miles per week than I do now!), but it’s over now. I think it’s important to be aware of your limits and what your body likes than trying to push through, be hardcore, or “earn bling”, etc.

  12. Theresa says:

    Injuries suck, but kudos to you for doing what you feel is right as far as your body goes. Many many runners could learn from you as it seems to be in our personalities (myself included) to push ourselves no matter what. Sorry you had to miss the race :/

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I’ll be glad when I can push the pace again. I’ve been feeling good lately so I’ll probably push it a little on Saturday at the bridge run, but I’ll wait and see how I feel that very morning. There will be more 10Ks and bridge runs, after all.

  13. Jennifer says:

    That was a smart decision. I hope you recover quickly and enjoy some other non running workouts. Do you like to swim?

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Nah, I don’t swim. It’s a little chilly for swimming here right now too. I’ve been able to run, but I have cut back to 5 days a week instead of the usual 6, as well as shortened some of the days. I do love yoga and that seems to really help the hip issue!

  14. You did the right thing in not running! Good for you! I do NOT understand those who run through severe pain…it is just a race, I mean really, it is. Hopefully you can do the Cooper River run. I think my husband’s wanted to do this race FOREVER, but I don’t want to deal with the crowds. Hope you continue to improve so you can get back out there and run!!! I know I got a little nutty when I can’t run, even when I’m doing lots of other things.

  15. i’m sorry that you didn’t run but so grateful that you used good sense and made the smart choice. kudos to you!

  16. Smart decision. Way to listen to your body.
    I hope you are able to do Cooper this week.

  17. You were so smart and I think it’s great that you shared. I do not know a runner that hasn’t had to make that sort of decision, myself included. I’ve hated the runs I did while injured – the entire experience ended up totally stinking! Besides there are lots of fun ways to cross train, like you mentioned! Here’s to a speedy recovery!!

  18. allieksmith says:

    Amy, I love your attitude! I know that you personally have helped me have a positive attitude about training for life vs. one race, and it really comforted me (that time I got the stomach flu two days before my first marathon that never happened, haha). You’re right–running and races will always be there, but it’s more important that we respect our bodies so we can do our best and enjoy running! I have struggle with piriformis pain… it is such a nagging injury! It’s definitely one of the most annoying injuries I’ve dealt with. It really helped me to go to a chiropractor and do the yoga pigeon pose 1,000x a day haha… it feels amazing! Plus foam rolling, stretching, etc. Anyways… all this to say that I love that you take your own advice and have such a healthy, positive attitude towards running!

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