As I sit here and type this I am anxiously awaiting a call from my doctor to tell me if I have a stress fracture in my right foot and if I have to stop running. Marci and I have spent the last six weeks training for our second marathon of the year, the LA Marathon, and it has been brutal. So brutal that I may have a stress fracture in my foot. How did we get here, you may ask. Well, it takes two crazy ladies and their inability to say no to each other when it comes to running races.
Recovery and Reset
After running the WDW Marathon on January 9th in absolutely frigid and ridiculously windy conditions I didn't realize how much that marathon took everything out of me. I'm usually one to tough things out, I try to make less of a difficult situation so I can mentally get through it, but looking back on WDW I now realize how much I suffered during that race. I had come off being sick on and off for a few weeks, I was emotionally exhausted from ending a job that left me miserable for the best part of four years, and I was completely unprepared for the 28 degree temperatures and 15 to 25 mile an hour winds we had the day of the marathon. Physically, mentally, and emotionally I was wrecked. Six weeks later I am in a much better place emotionally, I absolutely love my new job and I've let all of that old baggage go. Marci too has gone through a huge hurdle in her life finalizing her divorce and being able to start a new chapter. For the most part, we're both in much better places, but training for another marathon so close to our first one, as easy as we thought it would be, has really taken a lot out of us physically and mentally. At the same time, however, its been a really great reason to get us out there and continue moving and I can honestly say after every training run for Marathon #2 I've been really happy I did it.
A Blip in Training
We still have four weeks left of training, but these last two have been really rough. Motivation has been like a sinking ship and its been really tough to stay committed. Last weekend Marci was going to fly up from SoCal so we could run our 16 miler together, only when she got to the airport Friday morning all flights up and down the coast of California were canceled due to a huge storm that was blowing in. We needed the other one to motivate ourselves to keep going and our plans were thwarted. For better or for worse, we took most of the weekend off in attempt to give ourselves a mini break from the crazy training schedule we had put ourselves in. (Of course Marci still went for a 14 miler - that girl is a BEAST!)
Yesterday I went to my doctor after three weeks of foot pain to have an x-ray to find out what's really going on with my foot. I called Marci on the way home in devastation and almost in tears, this marathon was to be our redemption from WDW and for our new start to our lives being on the upturn. I then realized that as much as I wanted to just give up and not continue training for this marathon the thought of not being able to run it was far worse. I just wanted to run this marathon on my terms, without illness or injury. In the meantime while I wait to hear if I actually can continue running its back to the pool for my love of swimming and ibuprofen and ice to bring down the swelling. I'm hoping to get back out for a long run this weekend to get back into the groove and focus on the next four weeks.
The Ultimate Goal
I am realizing, however, that the marathon isn't the ultimate goal, it really is the party at the end of months of hard training. The ultimate goal is making it through all our training. And if that is what we'll base our victories off of, I think we both exceeded our expectations. We've both mastered almost all of our long runs (until this past weekend) and I've held the best pace I've ever had consistently over all of my runs. We've both run miles and miles in the rainy winter California is having, and its true, running in the rain DOES make you feel more like a badass!
As hard as it is to keep getting out of bed so early when its dark and cold, I keep having to reminding myself that I get to beat all the rush hour traffic by coming into work early and running along the waterfront, being privileged to see these amazing sunrises over and over again.
Don't Tell Me No
Marci and I both tend to get fired up when someone tells us we can't do something. Just knowing that my foot is preventing me from running this week is starting to fire me up. The harder it gets the more determined I become to finish. I know if I get to run this marathon my time will be terrible, but this time around its about finishing, I don't even care about my time any more. I care about finishing what I started and celebrating for the entire 26.2 miles because training and running two marathons two months apart is damn hard. DAMN HARD. We've been running hard since September while we keep full time jobs and personal lives. Its damn hard. But I know we wouldn't change a thing because we're two crazy ladies that can't say no when the other brings up a race we should run together. The marathon is the motivation to get out there and run, but the miles and miles and early mornings and sunrises and rainstorms are what keep us sane, no matter how maddening they can be.
Update - 2/24/17
I DON'T HAVE A STRESS FRACTURE!!!!! This is my face as soon as I heard.
So now what? I've put my old shoe inserts back into my running shoes - my inserts that got me through the WDW marathon. I'm wearing a Zensah foot sleeve for compression, and I plan to take ibuprofen and ice after every run. So far my foot is feeling loads better - whether it really is physically or mentally I've just willed it to, I don't know and I don't care.
So here's to four more weeks of training and to running two marathons two months apart!
After that, Marci and I are going to VEGAS to celebrate!
Updated - 3/10/17
Unfortunately, after much pain and sadness, I have decided to not run the LA Marathon. I've ultimately come to terms with the disappointment and knowing that if I heal now I can run again later.
16 Miles - 2/25/17
I went into my 16 miler with no expectations. I went in managing my run, going out super slow, and giving myself as many walking breaks as I needed. I got ready, but just before I was going to run I did a long walk to the start and my foot was absolutely killing me. I hobbled a bit, and walked back and forth texting both Marci and my husband saying, "I can't do this!" But after about 10 minutes of walking back and forth the pain subsided and my foot loosened up. Ok! I can do this! I set out slowly testing the pain with each step and as I ran the pain went down to just being a little bit of a nuisance. I ran eight miles before taking a walk break and managed to finish the entire 16 at a solid pace. I felt pretty good afterward, but a few hours later I was back to hobbling around and finding as many frozen vegetable bags as I could to ice the pain away.
Monday I decided to swim to give my foot a rest, Tuesday I went out for a five miler and got through it ok. Wednesday I swam again, and Thursday's five miler again wasn't too bad. Friday I rested and then Saturday I got up early to hopefully get in my 20 miler. Things started off great - I felt good, my foot was managing the pain, mentally I was in it for the long haul. But then I got to eight miles and my foot almost gave out under me. I stopped for a minute, unsure of what to do, and I tried walking. Excruciating pain shot up my foot and into my leg. I walked about a half mile to try and loosen it up, then I decided to cut the 20 miles short and head the three miles back to my starting line. I ran for about a half mile and then just couldn't any more. Everything in my body just said STOP. RUNNING. So I did, and at that point I realized there was no way I could get through the LA Marathon on a bum foot. No matter how much I rested or hobbled, it just wasn't going to happen. I let myself be upset for about 15 minutes, then I told myself I had to move on. Don't get me wrong, I'm still super bummed and I still feel like I failed, but in the end, if I don't stop and take care of my body now there's no way I'll be able to run another marathon.
So I'm taking a month off from running, and in the meantime, I'm enjoying many long hours in the pool and on my yoga mat. As disappointed as I am, I definitely needed a break from running, and its been feeling really good to be back in the water and back on my mat. I'm still going down to LA to cheer Marci on and watch her PR since she won't have to keep a slower pace with me and hopefully I can manage to run the last three miles in with her.
Its not the end of the world. I keep reminding myself its only one month off. Besides, a little R&R does wonders for the body and the soul.