Hear me out. We all know tapering f*cks with you big time. New aches, pains, and illnesses surface. Your foot might be broken. You might have malaria. Thank god the Weather Channel online goes out ten days, cause you’re checking the weather forecast at every turn. Here’s what’s slated for Sunday’s marathon in Denver:
Couldn’t be better, right? Especially on the heels of the shitty conditions in Portland and Chicago for yesterday’s marathons. To all of you who grunted it out in theses cities in either the pouring rain (Portland) or the 90 degree heat (Chicago), here is me bowing down to you (with Mr. One Eye/Three Legs in the background. He gave a rest to the licking just for the picture):
I told you my hip gave out on me during my run last Thursday. Sudden, sharp pain in an area where I’ve never had pain for issues before (left bikini line or hip flexor if you like the proper term). I know you all think my mind is playing tapering tricks on me. Many of you said it was in my head, that I was letting taper madness get the best of me.
I’m on day four of no running and it still hurts to walk. Not excruciatingly so, but I notice it. Yes, I said hurts TO WALK!! In my head: “If I can’t walk pain free, how the hell am I going to whip out 26.2 miles on Sunday?” Exactly.
The jury is out. I see the chiropractor again today. Then my get-in-there-and-dig-deep-til-you-scream massage therapist tomorrow. Then my sport’s medicine doc on Wednesday. I think by then I’ll know what I’m dealing with. I don’t have to tell you how much it makes me cry to even think of not running this race. 14 weeks of tough training (most of it by myself). Sleep and time with family and friends sacrificed. Yassos out the ass, 14 long runs, throwing up in my mouth, crapping on the side of the road. Plus, I feel strong, capable, ready to do this. And, maybe I still can.
Here’s the thing. You can’t fake a marathon. Any ache or pain you have on your way to the start line will increase by 100 fold over the course of 26.2 miles. Even if you start a marathon with nothing hurting, stuff (well everything) hurts BAD by mile 20. I’m not saying I’ve made my decision. However, I did run a half marathon with pain a year ago. Turns out that pain was an undiagnosed stress fracture, so not only did I have the worst race of my life, but I did further damage. The way I see it, I have a three options if the pain persists:
- Run the race even if I have pain and see how far I can get. Maybe it will go away. Maybe I will DNF. Maybe it will take me 6 hours to finish and I will cry the whole way
- Drop down to the half marathon option and hope for the best
- Drop out of the race and start scheming for Boston 2011.
I love how wisdom shows up just when you need it most. I read an article by John Bingham yesterday entitled, “Fear of Flying.” He talks about being asked to fly a friend’s plane for a quick moment while on a weekend joy ride. He was terrified while holding the yoke, but then realized the plane was flying itself. Here’s what spoke to me:
“How many times has that been true in our lives? How many times do we fret and worry and believe that we are in complete control, and that if we stop paying attention for even an instant our entire lives will come crashing down in a fireball? It’s an illusion. I’m getting older. My training has had to change to accommodate the changes in my life, and no matter how hard I grip the yoke of my life I can’t control the natural flow. Like flying the plane, for the most part all the good is going to happen if we just relax. We have to understand that our bodies work best when they’re treated well. If we let ourselves, we can relax and enjoy the ride.”
The lesson in all of this? Surrender. To the pain. To the unmet goals. To the dashed dreams. To the unknowns. To the grief. To the fear. Just let it go. Trust. Have faith. Look forward.
Do the very best that you can and then cut yourself some slack when things don’t go the way you expected. Know when to say when, but never give up. Remember that taking care of yourself/others and giving up are two completely different things.
Happy Monday and run on my friends!