Today I made the tough call to not start the Monster Half Marathon here in Ely. It was a difficult decision but definitely the right one for a number of reasons, not least the continuing injury.

My decision was is in no way a reflection on the Monster Team and the great races they put on but as my Autumn race schedule lays in tatters it was difficult to summon the enthusaism to race what was originally supposed to be a race simulation in the build up to my A race for the year, since cancelled.

Even last night I was still hopeful I would run. My physio had told me to hold off running all week and I should be OK but after the short and painful run experiences of Tuesday and Wednesday, I didn’t want to leave finding out if I could make it past the Cathedral until the gun went off. So I laced up my race trainers late yesterday afternoon and headed out the door to see how my body would hold up.

I didn’t have much of a plan, 3–5km and see how it went. The first test was could I make it to the end of the street pain free and the answer was yes! Before I knew it I was smashing out 3km at just under 10km race pace and felt great. I calmed myself after that but soon found I was running 2km at around half marathon pace with little pain, which was brilliant. Happy days!

So the first hurdle was cleared but it was always then going to be a question of how my leg and hip reacted to the effort in the coming hours. Despite telling everybody that I was just going to turn up and “jog” the half marathon, I knew once the race was underway I would push myself, at least for part or more likely all of the route. The warning from my physio of “you will be able to run it but I can’t guarantee how the injury will react afterwards” rang in my ears and I was terrified that taking part would end my 2014 race season.

Now again no disrespect to the race in question but I still harber, all be it very slim hopes, of running another ultra before the year is out. If there was any chance that running would jepodise that further or by not running it I would increase the chance of this happening, then not starting was obviously the right choice to make.

Having said that not turning up to the start of a race you’ve booked to compete in, is an extremely difficult thing to do, at least for me. I have only ever missed one race which I have seriously committed too, Hever Caslte Triathlon in 2012 through sickness, and despite the logical side of my mind knowing it was the right thing my heart still wanted to race!

Fortunately we were out for a 40th birthday on Saturday night – alcohol is always a good prep for any race! – and while out a good friend said something to me which really rang true:

You don’t need to run that race, you have nothing to prove to anybody!

They were right! Who was I kidding? Running this race while I am sure would be enjoyable at the time, would only end in tears and in all likelhood a few months off with injury. Better to can the race, spend some quality time with my family, continue the recovery from the injury and go again in a few weeks or months time.

From that point of our drunken walk home – yes Simon it was your wise words that pushed me over the edge! – the decision was made!

I will admit I had my doubts and I had to keep reminding myself why I had made the decision.  However on waking on race morning my knee was sore, maybe from the previous afternoons run or maybe from the drunken dancing of a few hours before – who knows!  Anyway the start time for the race came and went and I was happy with the choice I had made.

We popped down to the race later in the morning to see the first finishers home. It was a little gutting to see that my target time of 1:35 would have brought me home within the top 5 but I was still confident with the choice, besides who knows if my leg would have let me do 2:00 let alone 1:35!

So there we have it. A DNS (did not start) to add to the list for 2014! Back to the foam roller, heat and hopefully recovery. Tomorrow is the start of a new week and fingers crossed the start of a quick recovery to who knows what before the year is out.

Congratulations to all those that raced today at the Monster Run Fest and to the Monster Crew for another fabulous event! I will be back to tackle the course at some point, the Monster Ultra looks like a fabulous route.