As runners, we experience both highs and lows. Sometimes, in the midst of training and getting ready for a race, our health takes priority, and the race needs to take a back seat. Our footwear buyer, Erik, faced one of those times prior to his target race this past weekend. We took some time to check up with him and get his feedback on what happened and his future plans.
So we hear that race weekend did not go exactly as planned. What happened?
A: Two weeks out from my target race (Rio del Lago 100) I started showing symptoms of a cold (stuffy nose, cough, etc.). I had already started my taper, so my training was already cut back. I focused on resting a little more, hydrating, and taking different supplements to fight off the illness. After a couple bad days I started feeling better and thought I was in the clear. The Monday before my race, after a relaxing weekend, I thought I was going to be fine, but by mid-day I was feeling a little worse than the previous day. By Tuesday I realized that a trip to the doctor was definitely in order. A quick trip revealed a case of bronchitis and a dose of antibiotics, along with a warning to not attempt my upcoming race.
At what point did you decide it was best to not run in the race?
A: I think deep down I knew that once I went to the doctor on Tuesday and got a prescription, that the race was not going to happen. I talked to a couple friends with running/medical backgrounds to get additional input, and by Thursday I made the final decision to not race.
It was a tough decision since it was my first DNS (Did Not Start) in 15 years of ultra racing. Also, knowing that I was fit and that it was going to be a great day at the race (which it was) didn’t help make the decision any easier.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering doing a race while sick?
A: I think it really comes down to two factors, how sick are you and what are your performance goals. A stuffy nose may not prevent you from starting and may have no real performance impact. But, on the other end of things, if you are really sick and looking to race, you may compromise your future health and have no realistic chance of finishing. In between those two extremes you have to decide what your level of sickness may be and what the potential results could be from racing. If you toe the line when sick you have to ask yourself if you are okay with a decreased performance and are you okay with the potential for a longer recovery period.
Do you have any futures races planned yet?
A: I’m taking a couple weeks off and then looking ahead to the Carlsbad half marathon in January. It will be nice to hit the roads for a couple months. After that I’ll be looking ahead to a full Spring/Summer racing season on the trails. That season will get fully planned after the Western States 100 lottery on December 7th (keeping my fingers crossed).
All of us here at RW are wishing Erik a speedy recovery and good luck in his future races!