There are 29 days left until race day. I am supposed to be running my second marathon on Saturday, April 30th, as part of Rock n' Roll Nashville. As of today, I am potentially out of the running. Literally (so many mini-jokes today).
I peg-legged my way through the last four miles of our 18 run two weekends ago, and grimaced through about 80% it. Around mile 14, after a big hill that I said to myself on the way up, oh this isn’t too bad, I’m actually doing ok, and gave my self major ‘adulting’ points for slowing down.
Then we came to a stoplight and I could not get started again. My knee would not bend without extremely sharp pains. I finally caught up with my group only because there was a water stop right across the street. We had four miles left, and I made the resolution to not stop until we were done.
After that run, I cried, but not because I was upset.
I was overwhelmed with gratitude and joy. Gratitude for my running group, whether it was my friend Jen running the last 3 miles with me even though we were a bit behind the group. (She even listened to me prattle on about my seedlings I had just planted the day before, SO boring for anyone who isn’t obsessed with plants/gardening)
Or one of our pacers, Jenn, who ran back to where I was and finished the last quarter mile with me. I could not wait to be finished and was so happy to have company for even that short distance. Most of our group looked just as weathered as I felt (and probably looked). The seasoned runners in our group agreed that this course was ROUGH. I felt affirmed and happy to have finished along side these lovely people.
Unfortunately, I was super tight and walking like a pirate for the rest of the weekend. I had an appointment with a Physical Therapist on the following Monday and limited myself to the elliptical for a couple of days. Then I opted out of our 20 mile run last weekend, since I was still limping pretty badly and suffered my way through a six mile run on Thursday.
I finally went back to see my Physical Therapist, and she said that she didn’t think the marathon was a good plan.
She said she thought I had downplayed how much pain I was actually in, which is probably - OK FINE, totally true because I really didn’t want to hear those words. If I did run it, it would be really tough, and I’d likely have to take three months off afterwards. UMMMMMMMMM…. I can’t even sit still through an hour long show, so this seems like a terrible option.
I've learned a hard lesson about threshold and tolerance. Usually, I can push through most pain. This pain, I cannot. No matter how hard I try. I pushed my threshold for pain to the limits, to a point where I cannot tolerate it and it has developed into a limiting injury.
Instead of taking a break in the beginning stages of pain, and cross training/foam rolling/massaging, I just kept going.
Leah said she thinks there might be a very slim possibility that I'll be good to go by April 30th. If I strictly cross train, foam roll, and massage.
So that is what I am going to do. I’m going to stay hopeful and cross train as best I can.
Worst case scenario, I will do the half marathon instead. If that doesn’t work, I am already thinking of doing a 50K trail race this summer and have my eye on some fall marathons.
The good news is that I am walking pretty normally and recovered from speed training (which I should not have done) this week less peg-legged than usual.
I've been doing all of my exercises diligently, along with the help of Lainee Lou Hou (to the left), who brings me her toys. Resistance training?
I felt so great that I completed 6 x 1 mile sprints on target, except for my first mile which was too fast. It felt great. Look at all of my fanzzzz from speed training! Just kidding - there was a middle school track meet happening at the same time.
I did a spin class on Thursday and was pretty much pain free. Hoooooray!
Tomorrow there is a seventeen-mile run on the schedule. Instead of joining, and just testing how long I would be able to run without pain, I decided to not even entertain the possibility of making things worse.
(p.s. You know you love your running group when you have MAJOR FOMO about missing a Saturday morning with them.)
Luckily, our gym has two spin bikes.
I printed out our route map, which includes a majority of the actual course, and looked at some heart rate data from my past runs of similar lengths and routes. I think based on my pace I can match where to turn up the resistance on the bike to replicate the difficulty of elevation and match it to the route based on the elapsed time, while keeping my heart rate at similar levels. Obviously it will be a little bit lower while spinning since it is low impact, and not as weight bearing as running.
I emailed Leah this afternoon to see if she thought this was a crazy plan. To my delight, she said DO IT!, and that she would join me if she wasn’t working! (she is the best!)
Right at this moment, I am THRILLED at the opportunity of an alternate activity.
I feel so strong physically (except for my right IT band), and mentally right now. I am going to keep at it and we will reassess next week. I don't want to give up hope yet.
Me + Bike = 2 hour and 30-40 minute date. Wish me luck!!
Have you ever pushed through an injury too long? Has an injury ever kept you from completing a big race? I want to hear about it!
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I will be checking my phone from time to time tomorrow, so feel free to send me some words of wisdom!
Happy long run Saturday!