My Life as I Know it is OVER

Yes, I’m being dramatic. Because I want to explore the emotions and reactions that are revealed when an athlete is injured and has to pull out of a race. And how ridiculously dramatic such reactions can be. And how we all need to get some perspective. You may consider me harsh and emotionally stunted, to which I answer yes, I probably am. And for good reason. Wallowing in self-pity never got me anywhere.

You may recall my excitement when I received THIS note back in…can’t even remember, May?

On Tuesday I mailed my withdrawal letter. The folks at JFK are old-fashioned and you have to write them a note requesting withdrawal. What’s nice is that they refund most of your money, something that few races do these days.

Anyway, boo-hoo. I’m not running JFK this year because I tore a calf muscle training on the Appalachian Trail for this race. This was my 40th birthday present to myself. It’s also the 50th Annual JFK. But guess what? They hold the race every year. OK, it won’t be my 40th next year, nor will it be the 50th running of the prestigious ultramarathon, but it this really something to bawl about? I think not.

Life throws us plenty of curve balls. Athletes get injured all the time, even the really good ones. It’s time to have a little perspective.

My friend broke her collar bone the week before a race for which she’d trained all year; she allowed herself 1 day of self-pity, and that was the day the race took place.

And then there’s All-American Triathlete and Kona finisher Amy Gluck, who was hit by a gravel truck and is in a coma. (Sorry I can’t find a more recent story.) The pic below is Amy with Chrissie Wellington.

And of course there are all those people who cannot run, bike, swim, or participate in any sports because their bodies won’t function well enough to allow them to.

In 29 years of racing I have learned that injuries don’t last forever, you get to race another day, and the faster you get past denial, anger, and “why me?” the sooner you reach acceptance and the road to recovery.

So go ahead, have a pity party because you’re sidelined for a short while or your training isn’t going well or you didn’t PR or get into Boston. You’ve got 3 minutes.

Go on, tell me how you really feel in the comment section below. If you like this post, please share on Twitter!


  1. Excellent post. I’ve had a few injuries and each one I have used as a learning opportunity. My last one 2 years ago is always on my mind as it made me really stop and analyze what I was doing wrong. What’s resulted is a concentrated effort on my stride, something I never even thought about before. My mantra became “smarter, stronger, faster,” and it’s still something I strive for.
    David H. recently posted..Not by the numbersMy Profile

  2. I think it’s TOTALLY normal to be disappointed over something like this. But I agree – take a day or two, and then focus on the positives! A little self-pity goes a loooooong way
    Leah @ Chocolate and Wild Air recently posted..October update: Mental restMy Profile

  3. I am sorry to hear of your injury. As someone in her 50s, I do find it easier to have perspective when something goes awry. However, I’d allow a day for a pity party just in case 3 minutes is not enough. Usually an hour is enough once I focus on some action I can take in another area. I always do better with some action to pursue. May next year work out better for you!
    KymberlyFunFit recently posted..3 Stealth Saboteurs of Your Weight LossMy Profile

    • Racingtales says:

      Thanks, Kymberly. I know I’m harsh, but I just consider it a waste to wallow. But I agree that focusing on action you can take in another area is a great way to move on.

  4. I know that you have had this race on your list and that this was very important to you. I am sorry that your feeling crappy about having to withdraw. Sad for you
    Lisa McClellan recently posted..Agoura RAD 10 miler race recap; a PR by 4 secondsMy Profile

  5. Oh, bummer! Injuries are not fun… although you have a really good attitude. Sorry you had to pull out of the race, but I am glad you have this perspective and know you’ll be back in time for Boston!
    Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted..Race day goals and fuelingMy Profile

  6. Leo Richard says:

    Alison, I’m so sorry. I can hear the disappointment in your words. But, I’m so proud of your mature attitude about your withdrawal from this year’s JFK 50. Yes, injuries DO happen. They have happened to all of us. With each injury, I seem to come back with a lot more wisdom about my running and about life. Plus, I think we just get a little bit more gracious with each set-back as we get older. Focus on all the good you’re creating… you’re freeing up your spot for someone else on the “waiting list”… you’re giving your body time to heal… and you’ll savor your accomplishment even more when you complete in the JFK 50 in the future. Leo, age 60, Arizona

    • Racingtales says:

      Aww, thanks Leo! I do feel that I am getting wiser as I get older…good thing, since I’m not getting faster! And you’re right that my withdrawal did free up a spot for someone else and I feel good about that.

  7. FTW. You are still a rockstar. I WILL JOIN YOU NEXT YEAR!

  8. Great post. So sorry about your race. It totally sucks to have to drop out. I had my pity party and am now trying to remind myself how lucky I am that I will eventually be able to run again and as you said, move on.
    Abby @ BackAtSquareZero recently posted..Marathon Goals: Made PermanentMy Profile

  9. I’m so sorry, Alison. I know how much you have been trying to avoid it. I have found that the self pity comes in waves–like grief or a breakup. Maybe Adele can write a song for us that can express the misery 🙂 I keep telling myself that races are like busses. If you miss one, another one comes around. I know you will enjoy the new focus…Boston!

    • Racingtales says:

      Ahhh, don’t feel sorry for me! Yep, plenty more busses for us to take…and Boston is gonna be a FAST bus!!!

  10. Sorry to hear about all this! I am feeling your pain … but in my back! I was on the waiting list for JFK (I missed that A standard by 2 minutes) and then had to ask for my check back, too. I have a herniated disc in my lower back and I have not run for 4 months. Only starting again now and I hope I can run again. I did 3 marathons this year and I was feeling strong … Oh well. I appreciate your positive outlook; I try to keep mine but it ain’t easy sometimes!!
    Maybe next year we will both be at that JFK starting line! That’s the plan, right? Right!!

    • Racingtales says:

      Hey Michelle, sorry to hear about your back…and that you had to pull out of JFK too! 3 marathons this year = wow! I’ll see you next year at JFK!

  11. I’m so sorry you had to withdraw from JFK this year! I’m with you on being bummed about missing the 50th year, but my reason is a little more self inflicted than yours haha. I think time off from hard training is a good way to cultivate your desire for it and be even stronger mentally when you are finally able to throw yourself back into it. 🙂
    Kara recently posted..Cramming it all inMy Profile


  1. […] I can appreciate my wife and learn some things by reading her blogs when I’m dealing with my own stress and am not the best communicator.  Her blog yesterday about disappointment was excellent.  It is a must read at racingtales. […]

Speak Your Mind


CommentLuv badge