I’ve been scripting this post for about a week now and I still have no idea what to say. Bear with me. Hold my hand. I need all the support I can get.
You’ve probably noticed that I haven’t been running very much lately. After the Sam Costa 1/2 Marathon at the end of March, my body was feeling good. I had conquered my left leg IT band issues and was ready to resume training. That was until a few days later when I realized I couldn’t run for more than 2 minutes on the treadmill because of some little devil in my right hip. It was likely overcompensation from my left leg injury that had subsequently affected my right side. Since that day, I’ve scaled way back. I didn’t run with my Dad in Chicago. I’ve missed plenty of Perfect Stranger Saturday long runs. And I’ve honestly been doing a whole heck of a lot of nothing with the exception of stretching and foam rolling. To say that I’ve been in a bit of a depression about my setback is an understatement.
A week ago Sunday, I received an email from Meggie with cc’s to Jaime and Christi. She told me that they were worried about me. That they didn’t like seeing me like this (aka sad). And that I needed to decided if Carmel was a race I HAD to run or not. If it wasn’t, it was time to back out. And that doing so wouldn’t disappoint anyone except for myself. The other girls concurred. I spent an hour that night trying to gather my thoughts to formulate a response. After tons of tears and many re-written sentences, I came to a conclusion: I shouldn’t run the Carmel Marathon.
The decision not to run 26.2 was not an easy one. I have been working HARD towards this. The Run Less Run Faster method was not a training schedule for the weak. There were speed intervals. There were many long runs. And there were days of cross training that I HATED, but got done. I felt so strong at the beginning of my training. I was knocking out 20 milers like they were nothing (I ran 3 total). My speed intervals were paying off huge. I was going to rock Carmel. With possibly a new PR. And I was going to do it with some of my favorite girls by my side.
After my first setback, I was worried. But it wasn’t until my second setback that things crumbled beneath me. I was constantly reassured that my body would bounce back and that my underlying endurance would allow me to finish the marathon, if that’s what I ultimately decided to do. But with 24 miles logged since 3/22, I’d be foolish to think I could run 26.2 well. Not to mention safely.
Until this morning, I hadn’t yet decided on whether or not I would remove myself completely from next weekend’s race festivities, or if I would try to do one of the other available races. I knew I wasn’t ready for another 13.1 miles. But the 8k may have been feasible. So I got out of bed this morning, strapped on my pink super sneaks, and headed outside to test the waters. I left all my gadgets at home. Just me and the road. And a few minutes in, like clockwork, the right hip reared its ugly head. I can’t even explain the sensation. It’s like a deep discomfort, starting in my groin/ greater trochanter. As I kept going (cause I obviously wasn’t about to turn around), the discomfort continued, but it morphed into a type of numbness radiating around to my butt. Ugh. With a heavy head, I walked the rest of the way in after about a mile and a half. It was finally clear. I can’t risk further injury. It’s time to [temporarily] hang up the sneaks.
Being injured is isolating. It makes you feel left out. It makes you feel less accomplished. It makes you feel like you’re spinning in circles going nowhere fast. And worst of all, the isolation is something only you can understand. If I could explain to you how banged up my heart feels after coming to terms with my injury, I should’ve won the Mega Millions. The frustration, the anger, and the sadness are just overwhelming.
As I sit here at my kitchen table, I’m not sure how to put my current emotions into words. I spent all day yesterday with my Perfect Strangers, cheering them on during their 10 mile race followed by lunching/ drinking/ laughing with them in Broad Ripple. It felt good to push them along, to give them the support they deserve. And my belly hurt so good from all the laughing we did. But all the while I felt empty. I wanted to be a part of the celebrations. Not just a person viewing from the sidelines. No matter how many times I’m told I’m doing the right thing by resting, it still doesn’t feel good. And I know my quiet behavior didn’t go unnoticed.
After this morning’s run, I finally sat down and composed my withdrawal email to the Carmel Marathon race director. Not 10 minutes later I received a response. And that was it. I am no longer a participant. Signed, sealed, delivered.
Since I usually do this post-race, I feel it is important to do it now while the feelings are fresh. I want to thank EVERYONE who has supported me during my training this winter. This includes the following:
- My family, who inspires me, believes in me, and most importantly, tells me when it’s important to take a break.
- My husband, who doesn’t even bat an eye when I head out the door at 5-6a on Saturday mornings to run in the big city. Who supports every decision I make. And who will love me regardless of whether I’m a runner or not.
- And my Perfect Strangers. Who have given me the clarity to make decisions like these. And stick with them. And lend me their shoulders to cry on. I couldn’t have gotten through this without any of you.
And so, I look ahead. First of all, I’m going to figure out exactly what is wrong with my hip. Then I’m going to make an appointment with a physical therapist to figure out what needs to be done in order to ensure I heal correctly. At minimum, I’ll be taking a few more weeks off, with the hope that my body will be race-ready for the Mini Marathon (I so don’t want to miss another run with Daddy). If worse comes to worse, and my body needs more time to heal, I will be patient and not push it too early. And last but not least, I will try my best to not be a sad-sack and do everything that needs to be done. No more tears. I can’t stay in this funk forever. And I’m ready to bring back the Boppy Fairy. It’s time to go on for it.