Ten weeks ago at the end of February I began training for the Long Island Half Marathon. During those first few weeks I bundled up and braved the cold weather in order to run 3 or 4 miles a day. My brand new ipod nano clipped to my shirt loaded with new songs to keep me company while I ran. Four times a week I was out there adding mileage as I went along.
I am a big fan of Marathon Rookie.com and religiously follow their training schedule. I love a goal that I can work towards and Marathon Rookie makes it ridiculously easy to follow. There is no better thrill than the feeling of accomplishment as you cross the finish line. Running amazes me because I am blown away that in ten weeks you can build up to running 13.1 miles, it is crazy.
There is something wonderful about running. It is hard to put into words why I enjoy running, I just do. I won’t lie it is hard getting out there sometimes but once I am out there it is worth it.
And you need to know I am no athlete… quite the contrary. I never played a sport, unless you count cheerleading and I often trip when walking… but I can run. Which leads me to believe anyone who has a desire to run a race can as long as they are determined.
A few weeks ago I was already into my sixth week of training. That morning I was doing ten miles., but around 8 miles the muscles in the back of my leg started to hurt. In hindsight I probably should have stopped running and stretched-but I was so close only 2 miles left… how could I stop? I ran the last two miles, thankfully downhill, and finished without too much pain.
When I did finally finish I stretched out my leg and assumed I would be okay. I was in pain but I figured it would get better in a day or two at the most. Unfortunately, the next day it still hurt so I decided to rest it and not run that day. Then on third day it still hurt so I rested again and the fourth it still hurt and… you get the picture.
I tried to run twice the next week and ended up walking instead. Slowly I realized that I had really hurt myself, it took a few days to understand that I needed some professional help. I was completely in denial. Eventually I ended up the following week at the physical therapist’s office. There I was diagnosed with a pulled hamstring. The physical therapist was great she wouldn’t come right out and tell me I had to pull the plug on the race but she urged me to make my own decision.
I really struggled with the choice. I wanted to run the half marathon. I longed for that feeling of accomplishment of crossing the finish line after completing 13.1 miles. As the days ticked by and my leg still hurt I was forced to come to terms with the fact that I had to withdraw from the race.
Life is filled with little disappointments. This was one of them. I was pretty bummed out by the whole experience. My friend Barbara pointed out, it even if I could physically run and finish the race, it wouldn’t have been the race I wanted to run. Most likely I would have been in pain and my time would have bee much slower than last year. In addition, I could have aggravated my injury considering it still hurts as I type this post.
In the end I had to put everything in perspective. It’s not like I caused any major damage, it could have been much worse… I have a friend Kimmie who tore her ACL and needed surgery and couldn’t run for months. Currently Kim is training for an Ironman so that gives me hope that there is running after injury- but an Ironman, I doubt it!
I have now set my sites on healing and finding the next half marathon in my area.
I hope my kids see me take this little set back in stride because as we all know life is filled with these little disappointments. They all knew how excited I was about the marathon and knew I was disappointed. How we deal with them is an important lesson for our kids that hopefully they will remember when it is their turn to be disappointed.