Thursday, October 24, 2013

For the Love of the Run


Buckle your seatbelts folks, this is going to be a long one.

I originally wrote parts of this post awhile back, right after Andrew left. At the time I needed some motivation; a pick me up, if you will.

I need that again. So if you’re looking for a pep talk today, like I am, scroll down to the last couple paragraphs.

I’m not running the Marine Corps Marathon this Sunday. I cancelled my hotel reservation yesterday, and went on my final test run today. The verdict: my stress fracture needs to heal, my hamstring needs to heal.

really i just wanted a picture of my cool running capris
Turns out that two weeks of ‘low mileage running’ doesn’t magically heal stress fractures – not even when you’re running on a treadmill in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.  Not only that, but the weird compensations my body has been making while I’ve been running long on this tiny crack in my foot has led to an increasingly aggravated right hamstring strain.

I got off the boat this past Sunday excited to run eight miles. I completed them right around that 7:30 pace I’ve been loving lately, yet the last mile I was just waiting for my right hamstring to completely fail me.

It. Hurt.

Limping walking the last quarter mile home, I felt pretty defeated, and was mulling over the pros and cons in my head. I want to run MCM. I had made it to the LAST WEEK of training, gotten up at 5 AM on weekends to run, spent too much money on physical therapy.

I had put in the time, the money, hundreds of miles, and so much freaking energy. The sweat and tears. And I'm just not going to see it pay out this year.

so very true, thank you pinterest
I know pain well, he’s actually a friend of mine. I’ve pushed through an array of injuries throughout soccer, volleyball, and now running. And while I promise I'm spitting these words out of my mouth as I say them; ‘this just isn’t the kind of injury that I can push through, and run 26 miles on.’

Call me one of the two P words, that's fine. I'm going to call it being proactive.

At very few points throughout training for this marathon have I felt confident, have I felt excited for what was to come. When I first began training, my body wasn’t at 100% - it was at 85% at best. And I would say since then I’ve dropped to 65% on a good day. And here’s the big it factor for me: I haven’t enjoyed running injured. Almost every run was a careful run, an evaluation. I would strap on my shoes unsure of how my body would respond. Does my foot hurt, how does my knee feel, what is that weird feeling in my hamstring? Is my IT band going to go next? I mean, you can only imagine the absurdity of it,coming from the Queen of Hypochondriacs.

For the love of the run, and for the respect I have for my body, I cannot run 26.2 miles on Sunday. Because even if I were to finish, I would have ran a race far from 100%, and crossed that finish line feeling far from awesome, with an even more battered body than current state. Wondering what my pace/time would have been if I wasn’t injured, and most likely in tears.

Before making the official decision to not run, which was only 100% finalized in my head today, I spoke with three other female runners who are near and dear to my heart, and whom I have massive amounts of respect for as athletes and as women. One was a stellar college track athlete who endured more injuries than anyone ever deserves, another an about to be eight-time marathoner, and the last a recent Kona Ironman finisher, to top the list of her impressive feats.

In short, the unanimous vote was no, don’t. Not worth it.

The most encouraging words from one of the above ladies that have helped me keep my chin up:

"You have improved SO much and made SO many gains throughout these few years. I think it'd be smartest to not race MCM and just CRUSH a spring marathon. Plus, with all the new cycling (and maybe swimming?) you'll be doing while your stress fracture heals, you'll be a rockstar triathlete in no time :) "

A spring marathon may or may not be in the books …. But it was the rockstar triathlete part that made my smile.

Had a BLAST at my first sprint tri

Running has changed my life. It has changed the way I see my body, the way that I treat it. It has strengthened my faith, it has brought awesome people into my life, and ultimately it’s the reason that I started this blog.

Did you know I'm 25? 25 years old. With a whole lot of miles to still run. And I’m just not looking to put myself in a boot these last two months of the year, and be utterly miserable.

Oh I will.
A stress fracture I can work with. I can swim, bike, lift, etc. Maybe even run a jingle bell 5k if I’m feeling good at that point, and progress from there. Breaking my foot at mile 22 and being on the DL through the holidays – that, I don’t have the emotional stability to currently handle. I can't work with that.

Do you know who Ryan Hall is? He’s a U.S Marathoner, a really amazing runner who has accomplished a ton as an athlete as well as a person. Last week he announced that he was pulling out of the New York Marathon.

“A long string of very aggressive training has aggravated my hip and it has not been able to fully calm down, such that I don’t think racing on it is wise. I am very disappointed that I won’t be lining up on November 3rd as I had so looked forward to, but I am refocusing now on getting back to 100% and going after some big goals in 2014. Redemption will have to wait, but it will be all the more sweet.”

It will be all the more sweet. 2014 will be all the more sweet.

If I recall, I made this bold statement back in January that 2013 was going to be epic. I sat down and launched into this flamboyant broadway performance, possibly even fooling myself into thinking that this year was going to flat out wonderful, no issues at all.

There have been a lot of tears this year.

The truth is, I wasn’t bullshitting you. Because as I’ve slowly learned over the past few months, wonderful is not the definition of epic. And while I may have moments between the injuries, the arguments, the hard life events, where I questioned my declaration for this year and the valiant speech that I conjured up back in January, I have never wanted to take it back.

Whatever the definition in the dictionary is for epic, I don't really care. An epic day for a child over in Africa is going to may look a lot different than that of a rich billionaire in L.A. but it's still equally epic, as epic is a word that should never be discounted. You make your own definition for your own epic, I’ll make mine.


Situations change, plans change, people sure as hell change. Life happens. And recently, I have just been having those moments in life where I desperately want to see life - for all it's worth - as beautiful. Even the parts that come with the tears, and the pain. 2013 has been epic, because it has been life-changing, in both good and bad ways. But do you know what? I think it's these hard times, the lonely times, the bad times that I just don't want to be in, that are making it so impactful. Because in the end, it’s changing me, prepping me, and shaping me to be a much stronger person.

There's your pep talk. There's my dramatic announcement, my babbling, and my pep talk to myself. No time to sit around feeling sorry for myself, I've got to figure out my next move.

Cheers - 

9 comments:

  1. you go, lady. You made the right decision, and a marathon distance is not the time to gamble with an injury because it can be LONG. And you ROCKED that tri.You are strong and awesome and will succeed at whatever you do, when it's right!

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  2. I'm going to admit something out loud that I haven't admitted to very many people..... (ie, maybe 3 4 people)......

    I DNF'ed Chicago this year, and it was absolutely gut wrenching. I never felt quite right during training and didn't get excited for long runs at all, it just sucked. Then, during the race, my entire body just..... shut down. I don't even know how else to describe it. It was like it was saying "Look, I've tried to hint nicely that I don't want to run this thing, but since you've ignored me, I'm done". Just shy of mile 23. No joke.

    I learned something important that I wanted to share in my mourning (yes really, I cried, a lot, and was so pissed). I almost turned around and signed up for another marathon, just to prove something to myself, and then I stopped for a moment. I'd been longing for that amazing feeling of enjoying a long run and hadn't felt it in quite some time. Before I sign up for another marathon, I'm going to find that feeling again. I'm going to take care of my body, and fall back in love with running, no matter what the distances will look like in the future.

    Anyway, just a little "AMEN SISTAH FRIEND" and I feel you. Thanks for your tenacity & honesty.

    <3
    Bridget

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    Replies
    1. thanks for sharing bridget, that honestly means a lot. i'm sorry to hear about the DNF, but glad that you learned something from it. that makes a lot of sense, and most likely follow the same plan you are :)

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  3. i know it wasn't an easy decision, lady, but i think it was the right one overall. cheers to getting healthy

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