I have been putting off writing about my motivation for this year’s marathon for a while… not for any specific reason (I think)- but maybe because it is a long story, complicated by injuries, a generally bad year for running, and then, of course, the bombing of the finish line at last year’s marathon.
I feel that in order for all of you to fully understand my mentality going into last year’s Boston marathon (and therefore my mentality going into this year’s marathon) we need to travel back in time and reflect on my running from 2012-2013- which I hope (because I don’t want to repeat this cycle of injury) will have been my worst ever.
On Wednesday I reflected on the 2012 Disney Marathon, which was my first marathon, and my Boston qualifying race. Following Disney, I knew that I was going to run Boston (so long as I got in)- and planned on running the New York Marathon that fall, as well.
Unfortunately following Disney I developed a particularly nasty case of plantar fasciitis that I trained through trying to get to my next “A” goal- a <1:30 half marathon.
I ended up in a walking boot after DNFing the Redding Run for the Cows half marathon (I was in 4th place! I was so speedy! I was on track! I tore my plantar!)- and me and that boot were together for nearly 6 weeks. I developed a few other minor injuries along the way heading into the NYC marathon….
Which was cancelled. In all honesty, as Mike and I drove into CT a couple of days before the NYC marathon- the utter devastation of the tri-state area was heart wrenching. It was hard to get to my mother’s house in F airfield County- and I was already having ethical/moral reservations concerning having a hotel reservation in a city where tens of thousands of residents were displaced. While I agreed fully with the cancellation, I was angry about the timing and the way the NYC road runners handled the marathon planning the week prior to the race.
My coach (I was being coached at the time) and I decided that instead of picking another marathon, that I would train through, but focus on some shorter distances. I started chasing my PR’s that fall- and though I never quite got a PR- I got much better at racing and racing strategy. I won a Santa Scramble 5k, and placed in pretty much every other race I entered through November (see my Turkey picture!)
What I was ignoring and hoping would go awayyyy was a nagging pain through my hip and groin. I had been dealing with what I thought was a tight piriformis through stretching and foam rolling (it was tight. It did fully spasm during an indoor track session at the Harvard track- I literally fell over in front of a bunch of cute collegiate men doing their workout. *sigh*).
Through Christmas and into January I kept putting in the hard work- a hill session ON HEARTBREAK HILL that I killed (I will never forget this workout. It was SO HARD. But when I finished I could not stop grinning because I NAILED IT)- ever have that feeling??
I was nailing all of my workouts, in fact. My track workouts were totally on target- while I hadn’t raced in a bit, the paces I was regularly hitting were fast. Not just by my standards- my coach was pretty psyched, too. I still wish I had raced something in early January just to see…. but hindsight is 20/20.
I completed my first 20 miler for Boston… and it felt great. I had no idea I had a ticking time bomb brewing in my leg. My groin started to bother me consistently in the week after the 20 miler- and in general I started to feel super fatigued. I skipped a long run, only to have to make it up on a Monday night on the treadmill- and in hindsight this is when I should have stopped and seen the doctor RIGHT away.
I ran 14 miles on a leg that hurt the WHOLE TIME. And not just a little. A LOT.
2 days later I tried to run and I made it about .5 miles. It was horrific-ly painful. So I got on an elliptical. NOPE.
I went to the bathroom at the gym and I cried. I KNEW there was something seriously wrong. I was limping in my regular life (walking, at work, etc)… I finally made a doctors appointment.
3 sets of x-rays, an MRI, pressing on my leg and we had the diagnosis- a femoral stress fracture in the shaft of the bone. A femoral stress fracture is serious business. I was put on crutches for 6 weeks. No exercise, including swimming, for 2 weeks. My doctor wanted ZERO stress on the bone, because there was a good chance that I could take the stress fracture to the next level and cause a big break in the bone (the MRI showed weakness all the way through the bone into the marrow). If I fractured the bone, it would need to be surgically repaired with pins.
Serious business. Serious depression. My Boston dreams were out. All of the fitness that I had gained felt like a waste. All of the hard work, all of my dreams- it felt like they were flying away from me.
I ordered an aqua jogging belt and tried to wait patiently for the next 2 weeks to fly by- but all they did was remind me of what I couldn’t do. Everything is hard on crutches. Some of the situations I got into are hilarious now- but were not at all funny then.
…. and that’s where we’ll leave it for today. 1000 words is enough for a Friday, right?
TO BE CONTINUED.