Embracing Grey

StefPhilosophy, Recovery, Training


Or is it?

To race or not? It tends to be one of the most frequently asked questions on running/triathlon forums. Sometimes the answer is straight-forward. Can’t race with a broken bone, the flu or a funeral to attend. However, this is not the norm. Where does one draw the line?

This year I had to explore the “grey” area of whether to race or not at Cajun Coyote.

I love Cajun Coyote, Jeff Beck and the Forge Racing crew do a beautiful job with the race and the scenery is absolutely breathtaking. Weather looked to be trending as perfect racing weather, low of ~40F and high not quite reaching 60F. Everything was really falling into place for a great weekend.

Then it happened, on Tuesday it was just a tickle in the back of my throat and a bit of unusual fatigue. Wednesday was a little worse, nothing terrible, but my head was beginning to become noticeably congested. Thursday I felt a little worse-still. None of this was bad enough to say, call off work, completely stop running or use medicine. However, it still gave me pause whether it was smart or not for me to start a race that was simply a fun weekend with friends.

Thankfully, the decision was made for me on Thursday. Julie told me she had to work late on Friday due to some unexpected craziness. We could still technically make the 4-hour drive to Ville Platte, La after she got off, but we really didn’t need that level of stress hanging over our heads.

Making the final call was a weight lifted off of our shoulders. We got an unexpected positive out of the nice weather weekend at home. We had ordered new windows for our house and they were in and had a cancellation on Saturday for installation. It’s not a glamorous way to spend a Saturday, but we finally were able to upgrade our 1955-era single pane windows with modern energy-saving windows.

1955-era windows

1955-era windows

Glad the weather was beautiful for an open house

Glad the weather was beautiful for an open house

Freshly updated windows!

Freshly updated windows!

“Adulting” may not be fun, but sometimes it’s the smart choice to make.

I ended up running a 20-mile run around town with 11 miles at a nice 8-8:20 pace (a bit slower than my marathon pace) on Saturday instead of the 100k. I had a bit of chest congestion while on my run, but settled out during my run. However, before my run and immediately upon completing, I was stricken by coughing fits. It definitely was a good choice to skip out on 100k. I most certainly would have ended up with bronchitis and compromised some of my early goals for 2016. Plus, it gave me the opportunity to register for a local 50M race the following weekend (race report).

Sometimes it’s really easy for us to try to make black and white out of issues that include a lot of shades of grey. Black and white are easy for us as humans to understand. We need to make sure we get better at recognizing this fact and actively explore areas of grey in racing and in life. It’s hard to embrace the grey, it’s uncharted territory.

I challenge myself and my readers to make a resolution for 2016.

Don’t fear the grey. Embrace the grey! 

We get stronger from facing the hard stuff and making difficult decisions!