You are a newer runner. You have run one marathon (4:03) and are training for your second. Running has become almost an obsession - you eat, think, read, write running. You are on fire. You feel you have no limits. You are exactly two months out from your second marathon in ten months. You are on track to qualify for Boston. You go for a speed workout one day at the track- the hardest one yet (9 x 800 @ 3:20). You've done six of the nine 800s when your foot starts to hurt. Not excruciatingly, but noticeable. You stop and go home. Actually, you stop and go out for coffee and buy this dress at Outdoor Divas:
You take two days off. HUGE hiatus for you. You have a half marathon to run the next weekend. You take it easy. You wear heels to go see Cirque de Soleil in Denver on Friday night and carry your 50 lb. 8 year old piggback style 2 miles to the car. Your foot feels fine.
Two days later: race day. Mile one: your foot immediately starts to hurt. You keep running. Your foot hurts for the entire 13.1 miles often bringing you to tears, but never tempting you to drop out because you are just that stubborn. You cross the finish line in 1:59, 12 minutes slower than your PR. You sit down and cannot get back up. You can put no pressure on your foot. You almost have to be carried to the car.
I like to call this picture "in eff'ing pain and faking it":
That night, at 3:00 a.m. you wake up with your foot throbbing. You start sobbing. You know something is really wrong. You know you will not be able to run your marathon.
Sure enough, an MRI two days later confirms the diagnosis of a stress fracture. Suddenly crutches, the air cast and lots of sitting around are introduced into your formerly active world. You cry. You feel self pity. You have gone from running 45 miles a week to barely making it to the fridge. You feel helpless and pissed off.
Slowly the healing starts. After two weeks you are able to swim. After four weeks you flush the air cast down the toilet and introduce the bike and the elliptical. At eight weeks you can run one minute/walk four minutes. By twelve weeks you are running for 28 minutes or 3.1 miles. You sign up for the Colorado Marathon on Mother's Day 2010. You plan to start training on January 1, 2010.
Also, at twelve weeks you walk into Solepepper Sports, owned by Olympians Shayne and Allen Culpepper, and buy new running shoes. Even though the person who helps you whines that she only ran a 3:30 marathon, you don't beat her up. You are exhilarated. This shoe buying business is symbolic and monumental. It means you are really back to running. That you are still a runner despite many weeks off. That setbacks are only temporary. You know it has sucked, but you also know you have learned some things. Patience is everything. The best results don't come over night. You can take months off from training and still come back strong. Running is not the only thing you are good at.
Okay, you can stop being me now.
Today I ran in my new shoes (New Balance 1064) and created a new yoga pose. It was a great day:
I even ran in the shirt form the marathon I didn't get to run. Just because this damn shirt cost me $115 so I will eff'ing wear it even if I didn't run the race (and thanks to the dog for covering my ass):
So folks, watch out. I am back. I am back with a mean 9 minute mile. And maybe a lightening bolt on my Betty.
Drinking: Candy Cane Lane tea