I’d Rather Run Than Recover

It has been over six weeks since the Harrisburg Marathon, and I have since been dealing the injury as best as possible.

Medical diagnosis: Tear in my left plantar (no surprise, that culprit has plagued me since my first marathon off and on), tendonitis in my Posterior Tibial (which is where the stabbing pain occurred during the Harrisburg Marathon), and a precursor to a stress fracture in my left heel. The plan of action: NO RUNNING or high impact activities for EIGHT WEEKS. After eight weeks, we’d re-test and see if the heel will be healed enough to flirt with the idea of running again.

At the time of the diagnosis, I was crushed. Eight weeks sounded like a death sentence. Boston Marathon training, which was supposed to start December 10th, had to be put to rest. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t an emotional basket-case for a good few days. I didn’t realize how much of my identity, as an athlete, coach, and human being hit me to the core. No running equalled no coaching (in person, running with a client), no doing what I loved most (simply running for me), and no focus on Boston. I felt myself slip away.

A few days after the shock of the diagnosis, I tried to get  grip on what my future eight weeks meant for me. Complete rest was out of the question, as I am terrible at sitting still. Also, I had tons of fear regarding losing my fitness, and having to start all over when my foot finally healed. I joined NYSC, as they have a deal of $30/30 days. Way cheaper than water running, which may be an option for January, if my heel is still not in running shape. At the gym, I’d get to sweat and partly human. While cranking away on the stair master or elliptical for an hour, I’d fantasize about running track repeats with my team mates, or running solo on a crisp winter night in Central Park.

While the gym membership saved my sanity these last four weeks, I am definitely an athlete and not a gym rat. The gym is great for many reasons, but something in my gut was missing from my workout. When I run, I clear my head from all kinds of clutter and find clarity, strength and focus. At the gym, I distracted my bored mind with the tv. The one thing I really enjoyed at the gym was the row machine. Like running, the row machine lets you get out of the workout what you give. Plus, it’s hard – which I love.

When I see people outside running these days, I am incredibly envious. I have to stop myself from wanting to join them. I find running to be such a joyful, fulfilling activity, one that I have never taken for granted, but something I celebrated everyday. I cannot wait to get back out there on my legs.

So here we are, over six weeks since that terrible marathon. I can finally go back and hope that my foot has heeled in early January. IF I get the okay to run again, I have been cautioned by my doctor, who is an accomplished runner and triathlete, that the first four weeks back will have to be easy. TRANSLATION: NOT the work required for Boston Marathon training.

I have made peace with the fact that Boston will probably not happen for me to 2013. While that is deeply frustrating for many reasons (check out past blogs), I have learned that sometimes goals have to be changed. Boston will be there in 2014, and the years that follow. I need to focus on getting back on my feet in a healthy, smart manner that will lead to a strong year – not a relapse.

As I took part in the Philly Marathon the following weekend, for the first time as a spectator, my love for this fantastic sport was reaffirmed. I love everything about race culture, and as I cheered on my team mates, friends, and Chris, I felt a bittersweet joy. Watching the elites hammer out fantastic race times (including a new female record for the course that day!), I felt inspired to really take my rest seriously, and to come back stronger, smarter and more determined – when the time is right.

The Philly Marathon has been my favorite marathon of my short running career, and if I cannot have a PR in Boston, I hope that things go well for a PR in Philly 2013.

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~ by Elizabeth on December 26, 2012.

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