Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Death of a Marathon Dream

Or is it the beginning of a bigger and better dream … well only time will tell.
This weekend was the long awaited Rock n Roll Savannah Half Marathon. It was cool because it was my third Rock n Roll this year (and my eighth half marathon this year), but it was even cooler because it was going to be an awesome meet and greet for a group of MFP friends. Yep, I was finally going to meet some of the awesome people who I have called friends (albeit sometimes imaginary) for the last year. I was super duper psyched … was gonna PR and have a great time.
But fate has a way of catching up with you. Sure set your goals big, but just make sure they are realistic. I have been nursing one injury or another since August … and when I say nursing what I really mean is flinching while I run through them without taking time off. The left leg quad strain had been getting worse, so I sought the advice of a great physical therapist. She diagnosed with very weak left side include hip muscles and glutes. We also talked about cadence and stride and determined that my cadence is way too slow and that I needed work on fundamentals. She strongly advised that I take a few weeks off running. But, being me (and being stubborn) I ignored her requests.
Rock N Roll St. Louis was 2 weeks ago, and it was a great HILLY race. Despite all of the hills, I finished 3 mins off my PR and I was happy with my performance. My leg pain went away at mile 4 and I felt better at mile 10 then I did at mile 3, surely a sign that these injuries weren’t serious and were all in my head. So onward I pushed … but last week despite vigilantly doing my PT exercises, my leg was NOT getting better, and in fact if I was being honest it was getting worse. I know was unable to walk without a quite noticeable increase in pain and an increase in limp.
I finally decided I had enough, and scheduled another ortho appt. She was wonderful and listened to everything, assessed me, and agreed with my diagnosis of a quad strain. She said I could run as long as the pain went away when I ran … that afternoon I had another PT appt. This PT appt was like an intervention. Two PTs attacked me (my usual and another PT who is a runner and a triathlete) and begged me to take time off. I finally relented and agreed that after this race on Saturday I would take 2.5 weeks off, with the next time I ran seriously being Thanksgiving, provided the pain went away.
But in my head, I still thought I could get away with the marathon in January. I could just push through it because I REALLY didn’t believe I needed to take time off. I thought I would show them … Savannah was going to be a great race and would PROVE that I was right.
Except I wasn’t! Don’t get me wrong, Savannah was a great race. Standing there with my MFP peeps before the race started, excitedly chatting. Seeing Mama J (FztFrog’s mom) cheering us on on the sidelines, and the people were SOOO nice. But what wasn’t nice, the pain in my leg. It hurt when I walked --- it hurt when I ran --- it hurt all of the time and it just kept getting worse and worse. I was actually in tears at mile 3 wondering if I was even going to be able to finish. I decided that since it did not hurt for the first 15 seconds of any activity (walking or running) I was going to change my intervals to 30 sec run and 30 sec walk. It was weird… but it allowed me to finish. Did I set a PR, nope not even close … but I finished with the exact same time at STL so I consider this is a victory. I had a great time with great people … in a great city.
The night before the race, I happened to catch a glimpse of myself in a full-length mirror. Not only was I limping, but my whole trunk had to sway wildly to the left side to compensate for the weakness of that leg. In the Savannah airport, I must have been limping badly because literally the courtesy shuttle pulled up next to me and asked if I needed a ride. I don’t need no damn ride (but thanks for asking)… Im a half marathoner!
I said I would base my decision about the marathon on how this race went … and it was a disaster. My body is screaming for me to listen – and I think I finally am. I have cancelled the Disney marathon (for now) … and changed to the half. I have a busy race schedule next year (with another couple of awesome MFP half marathon meet ups planned) and while I think I could finish the marathon … Im NOT trained enough and I think it would miserable. Plus I just wanna enjoy running again and just not be soo worried about everything.
So the marathon will just have to wait until 2013 … maybe by then we can make it an awesome MFP meet up (anyone … anyone… ). Im ok with this decision… really I am. And tomorrow (which would normally be a run day) will start the running sabbatical. I promise to do my PT exercise, my stretching, my swimming, and my yoga and not complain (too much) about it. But … if you love me can you remind me of this in about 1 week when I am BEGGING to run again. T minus 14 days until I can run 2 miles … T minus 16 days until I can run 5 miles … yes I have already started the countdown! 

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