As you are reading this I am currently in Dubai not running. It’s very likely I am in the sea or in a restaurant trying very hard not to think about the marathon I am running next week (Sunday to be precise). When I had the chance to go to Dubai my initial reaction was to say no: I am a Serious Runner with a marathon coming up: of course I can’t go on holiday the week before and eat all the food and do all the sandcastle building while covered in all the gold I could find from the UAE. And in fact I did initially say no. And then I destroyed my knee and all training had to stop. Suddenly getting a good time in the Paris Marathon was becoming less and less likely and in the battle between running and Dubai, Dubai was starting to win.
But just because I decided to go to Dubai it doesn’t mean I am not panicking about next week, because I am. I should be in London right now getting in some last minute long runs (or without my knees at least obsessing over the fact I can’t do them) and tapering. I should be in London drenched in a cold sweat at the idea that I am running 26.2 miles in Paris with a dodgy knee and weak glutes. Instead I am in Dubai drenched in a hot sweat worrying about the same things whilst sighseeing. Well not exactly worrying since I am having a fantastic time.
Did I make the right decision? I genuinely don’t know. Would I have been able to make much of a difference if I had stayed in London? Maybe yes: I would have been able to calm my fears and increase my confidence. I would have been able to do some much needed yoga and foam rollering. I know that even though I chose to not stay I will complete the marathon – I have no fears or doubts about that. And my room in the hotel is large enough for me to do some much needed yoga and stretching.
Yet, I am in Dubai. In this beautiful city where the food is delicious and the sun is warm. I am walking all the time everywhere and visiting Mosques and jumping out of planes and swimming with dolphins. Yes I think about running and I am worried but this holiday is pretty spectacular and I would have been gutted to miss out on it.
This isn’t a choice I ever thought I would make. It has been hard letting go of my dreams of getting an amazing time in Paris but it wasn’t the decision to go on holiday that initially did that: it was all the issues with my knee. I came to terms with it then as much as I could and now being on holiday and not training has meant I have had to fully let go of all my Paris marathon time based dreams. I am going to run the marathon and enjoy the experience. As a wonderful friend told me I need to finish strong not broken.
Of course there is the blind and stupid optimist in me that hopes somehow I will fly through the course and have no knee pain and finish in an amazing time but the rational person in me knows that won’t happen. This isn’t Dubai’s fault by any stretch of the imagination and I have to admit that this holiday is stopping me from obsessing as much as I would have if I was in London and that is definitely a good thing.