Friday, March 20, 2015

Should I stay or should I go?

Bill Rogers and me in Holyoke
"You don't deserve to wear the T-shirt if you don't finish the race."

I said this to myself while struggling to finish the Saint Patrick's Road Race that year when I ran it with leukemia without knowing I was sick.

With the 40th anniversary running of the race tomorrow, I am wondering first of all if I should run despite my injured toe and second of all if I can wear this year's T-shirt if I don't go.

It was a big accomplishment for me to run it two years after my first transplant and many times after that. I missed it last year due to a winter's-long spate of pain in my legs (probably from prednisone), so I was looking forward to it this year. My training was going as well as could be expected over the winter, with several four milers and a lot of spinning under my belt. I felt confident enough to register.

Then I hurt my toe. It has improved to the point where this week, I hit some tennis balls and felt OK. But I still feel twinges. Common sense – and my memory of getting a stress fracture the last time when I ran a race with an injured foot – dictates sitting it out. Especially since aggravating the toe would mean skipping even more tennis.

Just to see what is out there, I googled, "Can you still wear the T-shirt if you don't run the race" and came upon a post on headlined "5 Guidelines for Wearing the Shirt From a Race You Did Not Run."

The author writes that early in her running days, she learned the cardinal rule of race shirt etiquette: Never wear a shirt from a race you didn't run.

Later, her attitude changed, especially in certain situations.

Much to my relief, I found what I was looking for in case number 3, like so:

"You got injured or had other trouble during training and weren’t able to start.
If you unfortunately weren’t able to race it, I say go ahead and don the shirt. You trained for the race, and you paid for the goods. It’s not like  you stole a medal from the finish line!"
I'm glad I decided to pick the T-shirt up today because I met Bill Rogers, who won Boston and New York four times each and Holyoke twice. Rogers was signing his book, "Marathon Man," in the registration tent in advance of running the race tomorrow.

I bought the book, which I will read. I picked up the shirt, which I will wear.

As for the race, I'll probably go to yoga and save the toe and think about it for next year...God willing and the creek don't rise.

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