This morning I set out to do eight miles through Rock Creek Park, with the hope that if I could do that, I could still do the marathon. After a quarter of a mile, I knew I had to call it quits.
My hip and quad hurt, and something clicked in my brain: I was being delusional. If I can barely run now, I have no business running 26.2 miles in eight days. It’s just not going to happen.
For the past few days I’ve had the thought in the back of my head that it might be easier to just make the decision, accept it, and be done with it. The past week or so I’ve been going back and forth about whether or not I’d be able to run the marathon, and yesterday’s long, rambling post clearly shows how much this has been driving me crazy.
It kills me, absolutely kills me, to give up on my plans for the Marine Corps Marathon this year. I wish I had had the sense to defer my entry back in September, but I had no way of knowing then how long recovery would take.
There is no point in dwelling over things that can’t happen, and it’s best to just accept the situation and move on. In that spirit, here are the top reasons I am glad I finally made this decision:
- When you’re planning a wedding, everyone says, “It’s just one day.” Same with the marathon: it’s just one day. It’s more important to me that I have had almost three months of solid training that I totally loved, and that I am able to run over the coming months and years. The marathon is just ONE day.
- I’m glad to have the stressful uncertainty of whether or not I’d be able to run behind me. Yesterday, I was telling a friend how stressed I was, and their reaction was, “It’s supposed to be fun, right? Not stressful.” Too true.
- A break from crazy googling. I am so sick of googling variations of “hip tendonitis” “hip quad pain” and “running a marathon with tendonitis”.
- I learned a lot about myself and my abilities to push myself on this training cycle (admittedly, too much). I learned that I can run 5-6 days/week. For the first time, I ran eighteen miles with no walking and included an awesome half-marathon in there. I also ran a full twenty miles with no walking, something I have never done before. I learned to love hill work and watched my “easy” pace creep to a faster and faster rate. All of this experience, plus the knowledge of how overtraining got me injured, will hopefully make it possible for me to do MCM next year, and/or Chicago, London, Berlin, Dublin, Philly…and to one day run a sub-4:00 marathon. I’m not going to pretend I’m not already mentally adjusting future marathon training plans in my head…
- Letting myself rest and recover now will make it possible to run other races I have planned. I haven’t done a 5K race in years, and I’ve been wanting to do one for awhile to test my speed. I have also never done a turkey trot. Both are in my plans for this Thanksgiving. I’m signed up for the Rock N Roll Half-Marathon in DC in March, and I’m aiming for a sub-2:00 time (I may or may not have already started googling half-marathon plans…better than googling about tendonitis!). What if I destroyed my hip to limp through this one race, and then couldn’t run for weeks or months after?
- Rest and recovery will also give me an opportunity to build strength and do other workouts I’ve been missing. I miss yoga and I want to start up a regular yoga routine again. I also want to do pilates, after my hip has had a chance to heal. I want to try spinning and I want to strength train to prevent this kind of injury from happening again.
- This is character-building, right? I know this next week is going to be tough. I pictured marathon week and race day so many times this summer, and I am so disappointed that none of this will go how I’ve planned. I’m still going to pick up my packet and my t-shirt at the expo on Thursday, and I’m sure that will be depressing. It’s so hard to adjust to not running in the morning, especially on these beautiful fall days. And I’m not going to lie, it is going to be weird to adjust to a non-runner’s appetite. And by that I mean, adjusting to not being able to eat every two hours. Yikes. Learning to deal with change and adjust plans and expectations is an important lesson, especially for a type A planner like me.
Having said all this, there are much worse problems to have in life. I have nothing to complain about: I’m strong and healthy overall, I have my husband, family, friends, a good job, and lots to be grateful for. Overall, I am very lucky.
Here’s to rest and recovery! And good luck to everyone marathoning in the next few weeks.