Making the Decision to Skip a Race

I have found that, more often than not, when I say to myself (either out loud or in my head) “I would never ______,” I almost invariably end up in a situation in which I do exactly the thing I said I would never do. For example, when flip flops were slowly coming back in style during my high school years, I clearly remember thinking “I would never wear such ugly things,” and yet here I am fifteen years later with countless pairs of flip flops lingering around my closet. And don’t even get me started on how many “I would never ______” statements I made about parenting before I became a parent. Yikes.

I’m not sure if this happens to other people as much as it happens to me, but I’ve basically accepted it as life’s way of teaching me to not be judgmental and to never assume anything. Ever. This situation has happened to me so frequently, in fact, that whenever I find myself thinking the dreaded “I would never _____,” I almost immediately scream (silently, in my head) “NO NO NO, you will NOT say that because you never know!” I’m not sure if this works in preventing me from doing whatever I thought I would never do, but it at least makes me feel a little better in the short term.


In my first year or so of running, one thing I thought I would NEVER do is skip a race I had paid good money to run. And yet, here I am, having skipped two 5Ks in the last two months. Both of these were local races – the Run 4 Shelter 5K, on September 9, and the Smiles By the Bay 5K, last weekend – that supported local causes, so I don’t entirely feel like my money went to waste. While I skipped out on the Run 4 Shelter 5K in order to spend the day at the beach with my family – and don’t regret that decision at all – I am particularly bummed about missing the Smiles By the Bay 5K, which I skipped mainly because last week was just a crazy week for all of us and by the morning of the 5K, it just didn’t feel right to dip out for an hour or two to go run a race. I haven’t raced a 5K in nearly two years, with my last one being the Race into the New Year in Rehoboth Beach, on December 31, 2015, where I set my 5K PR of 25:24. I have been looking for the opportunity to try to set a new PR, but it looks like that will have to wait for another day and another race.

Although I thought I would never not run a race I’d signed up for, deciding to skip two relatively low-stakes local races isn’t that big of a deal to me in the long run. I would, of course, have a much harder time skipping a major race that I had planned in advance and trained for over several months, but luckily that’s why deferrals exist (ahem, Wineglass Half). As I start looking ahead to 2018 and planning out my race calendar, I certainly hope I won’t have to miss any races next year…but you definitely won’t catch me saying “I will never skip those races,” since, inevitably, that will be exactly what ends up happening!

Have you ever skipped a race? 

Do you ever find yourself doing something you said you would NEVER do?


Happy Running! ~Sara



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