I think I just need to get this out of my system.
It’s been nearly two weeks now that I’ve been sidelined from running by an injury, and I’ve mostly kept calm. However, today I’ve been pretty depressed about it. I know that in the grand scheme of things, this is a small blip. I know that I want to run for the rest of my life, that there will be other marathons and the most important thing is that I rest and recover. I know that running is just one part of my life, and it’s just something I do for fun. Despite being injured, I am so lucky that it is not a serious injury and that I am overall in good health. There are much, much worse problems to have in life. I get that, and reminding myself how big life is and how really small this one month leading to this one marathon is has helped me a lot.
After my run last Monday, I didn’t run for a few days. My right hip hurt and the pain eventually migrated from my hip down to the front of my right quad and a little into the knee. I iced and rested, even taking the bus instead of biking to work, trying to stay calm. With each day it did begin to improve.
I went to a doctor on Thursday who diagnosed it is a soft tissue injury, aka a muscle strain. He also said it could be worthwhile to get an MRI to rule out a stress fracture, but that is very unlikely. He recommended doing planks, bridges, and straight leg lifts, and told me to take three more weeks off running, so I would begin running again a week and a half before the marathon, and to keep those runs short (up to 6 miles max). I asked if I could still do the marathon and he said yes. The thought of taking nearly 5 weeks off and not doing any more long runs before the race seems crazy to me. I don’t want to make my injury worse, and I know that it takes several weeks to gain or lose fitness, and I know that tapering is critical to marathon success. But this isn’t tapering, it is completely stopping.
I wasn’t crazy about my experience with this doctor; he lectured me for awhile about running too much and doing two 20-milers in a row and didn’t seem very thorough in his diagnosis. I know I did too much, but I was just following my plan. I know my plan was ambitious, but everything was going so well. I have a follow-up appointment with an orthopedist this week to get a second opinion and see if an MRI is necessary.
Since last week was supposed to be a cutback week for me, and because I knew I needed rest, I was okay with skipping my 15 mile long run. I distracted myself and enjoyed the weekend, telling myself that a few more days of rest would let me heal. And I did start to feel better. My quad and hip would be sore in the morning most days, but fine later in the day. By Tuesday, I decided to try a short run, telling myself that if it was better maybe I could ease into running again and try a shorter long run by the weekend. I woke up with my hip feeling stiff, stretched and foam rolled to warm up, and ran about 3/4 of a mile before giving in. My hip didn’t hurt badly, but I felt like my whole right side was lagging, if that makes sense, and I knew I wasn’t doing my body any favors.
So today is Saturday, what would have been my last long run before taper, a 22-miler. I have to stop thinking that way, the “what ifs” and “should have beens”. I need to move forward, focus on being positive. Mornings are my favorite time of day, but each day I wake up and know that it’s still not healed, and that I should be going out for a run but I’m not. It’s weird how every day the morning is when my hip/quad feel at its worst, but later in the day it loosens up and feels fine. A question for the orthopedist this week.
In a few days I’ll try another test run, if I’m up for it, and see what the doctor says. The marathon is three weeks from tomorrow. I missed the deadline to defer so I will still run it, unless I don’t improve at all in the next three weeks. My time goals have gone out the window and now my goal is just to start and finish. If I can get back up to running and do at least a few more runs in the next few weeks that go well, I’ll feel slightly better. But I just don’t know, and that’s the hardest part. Each day waiting to see if I’ll get better, when I know that I just can’t recover overnight.
It makes me sad because this is not at all how I pictured this month. I was so excited for the marathon, and now I’m not. I feel like I don’t deserve to run the marathon, because I didn’t finish my training properly. I loved, loved training and I pictured the marathon being the culmination of that. I didn’t picture taking this huge break before the race. I feel like I am in mourning for what would have been, and it is going to completely mess with my head on race day. I just can’t even picture race day now.
If it wasn’t for the race, obviously this wouldn’t mess with me mentally so much right now. I know there will be other marathons. I really want to run Marine Corps next year. I can’t wait to come up with a new training plan and tweak the mistakes I made this year and finish training and taper properly. I can’t wait. One of my biggest flaws is my impatience. I am such a planner, and having to just wait and see now is so hard. And there is no guarantee I’ll be able to train for another marathon; so many other life changes could happen in the next year. I know this isn’t my only shot, but it still feels like such terrible timing, and I can’t help mourning for the loss of this time.
In the mean time, I’ll try to distract myself with other things. Like I said at the beginning of this post, I know this is a minor thing. Running is so important to me, but there are many, many more important things out there. Messed-up marathon plans for an amateur runner is a #firstworldproblem for sure. I have so many reasons to be grateful and being whiny about this won’t do me any good. Hopefully my next post will be more cheery.