Sunday, December 13, 2009

She's Ba-ack

Take a step inside of me for a moment.

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

30 comments:

  1. I was going to do the San Antonio half marathon this year but things just didn't work out for me. I do plan on running the full marathon though next year, at least that's my goal right now.
    Congrats on running again, it must suck having an injury but glad to hear you are making a strong comeback.

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  2. Huge congrats on being back to running! No joke, I felt a weird sharp pain in my ankle today during a six mile run, now it's puffy and sore. And you know what I thought of? Your blog and your stress fracture!!

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  3. I'm glad your back- and i'm glad i read this post! :) :) Can't wait to follow you on your journey to #2!!! :) :)

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  4. I LOVE you story--it is very inspirational! Now you are back! That's awesome! I always appreciate running more when it is taken away by injury, etc. Happy running!

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  5. I look forward to reading all about your training for marathon #2!

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  6. Yay - so glad you're back! Nothing like running in new shoes. Like running on little tiny clouds. :)

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  7. Nothing beats "being back!" So happy for you!

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  8. Oh yes! You are back. And you have speed literally waxed onto your Betty ...

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  9. Congrats on your strong running return :)

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  10. YAY!!!!!!!!
    Can't wait for my silly little ankle pain to leave. I guess I should go see the doc. errr

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  11. It seems like just yesterday you got the dreaded diagnosis... okay, ir probaby doesn't seem that way to you. ;)

    You are a trooper for pulling through this and getting back out there shut-up-and-run-style!

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  12. Yay you're back! That shirt looks awesome on you!
    And it's been how long? 12 weeks? Sheesh, just seems like last week you were in that air cast thingy! Glad your back!

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  13. Thanks for reminding me that this year's long break for me isn't the end. My first stress fracture: I heard a snap at mile 14 of a marathon and crumpled to the ground, then found excuses to keep moving until I finished. Walked into a clinic the next day saying I thought I broke something (my first experience being in a wheelchair just then). The x-ray showed 15-20 fractures in my foot in various degrees of healing. Apparently, some hurt more than others!

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  14. I can feel your joy to be back at it! I'm proud of you for toughing it out while you HAD to heal and not run.

    You blog is so funny. I always leave it with a smile. A lightening bolt, huh? Pink, too?

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  15. Glad your back girl! Your story felt like my story (just a different body part), so I feel for you!

    I haven't gotten my t-shirt yet, but I'm going to wear the little $115 f*cker too.

    Hang tough; you're right patience is the key (at least that's what Liz keeps telling me).

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  16. ROCK ON!!!

    Glad you're back. I'd wear the shirt, too.

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  17. Photos of you in running gear - check! But where are the photos of the lightning bolt?

    JUST KIDDING. YAY for running AGAIN :)

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  18. V touching story! SO glad you are back to running. The marathon and the BQ will come!

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  19. Welcome back...ease back into it so you stay healthy!

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  20. Awesome! It's so frustrating to be forced to take time off...and the space boot. Sigh. Is even harder to deal with. It attracts so much attention! Glad you're back at it!

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  21. welcome back!! Ahh the most expensive race shirt...that's how i was feeling about vegas and really the only reason I stayed on that plane on the runway for 4 hours...damn shirts

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  22. Great Post!! Glad you can run!! I love you title!! Having a giveaway to help a running friend so please stop by

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  23. Oh what a crazy time for you :( Glad to hear that you are back running though!

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  24. Guess whos back? hehe--you have me singing the song! You go girl! Way to sport the new kicks! good luck with the running!!!!

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