Last Saturday we drove up to Leavenworth to run our Marathon.
About two weeks ago my foot was really bothering me and following a 9-mile run that I could barely finish because of pain in my foot, I decided to rest it until race day. I did my best to rest and take care of my foot - I even tried to compensate for the pain by walking differently. Occasionally my knee would hurt because of my compensations, but its always hurt on and off since I've injured it before, so I wasn't concerned. Plus, it didn't hurt badly, just a little achy.
The night before race day I felt great. (Who wouldn't after eating 9,000 guilt-free calories?) I honestly felt anxious, but ready to run 26.2 miles. We left the hotel at 5 AM and drove to the Fish Hatchery where they bused us to the starting line. IT WAS FREEZING. I was way underdressed, but still excited to get going. We started the race and I felt pretty good, my foot wasn't bothering me, but my knee was really starting to ache. At about mile 3, I felt a weird tweak/pull in my knee and it really hurt. I did my best to keep running on it even though every stride hurt. At about mile 7, I was in tears. Partially because my knee hurt so badly, but mostly because in my heart I knew I would not finish the marathon that I had trained so hard for. At the Half-Marathon mark I was hobbling, sobbing, and slowing everyone else down. I decided to quit.
I never thought that I would give up. I never thought that I wouldn't be able to finish. And I certainly didn't think that I would get injured. I trained for this. I didn't cheat and I ran 95% of my runs. 4 weeks ago when I ran my 20-miler I felt great, I felt like I could have run farther - my body was ready for a marathon.
They say the best way to injure yourself running is to run too far without training. I certainly didn't qualify for an injury in that realm. I was utterly disappointed, angry, and upset. I watched all the other people cross the finish line that I dreamt about crossing for months - and many of those people didn't even train! I cried (A LOT) and felt super sorry for myself as I felt like a quitter.
The doctor at the first-aid stand checked out my knee, ran some tests, and concluded that I'd probably need knee surgery. (I'm not sure how he could know that without looking inside my knee)
So I texted our good family friend (he's an orthopedic PA) and told him the situation. That night he examined me and concluded that it was most likely a meniscal tear and that I might need surgery. Boo.
Not that I was that surprised. I could barely walk, my knee was super swollen, and I was in a lot of pain. On Monday I went in for an x-ray/MRI.
The swelling in my knee was so bad that the MRI was inconclusive. So right now they aren't sure if I need surgery. They can see that I have a meniscal tear, but the severity of it isn't visible. So I have a prescription for a heavy dosage of anti-inflammatory drugs to help the swelling go down so that in a few weeks they can check it out again. In the meantime I'll do physical therapy to hopefully start healing. If in a few weeks, I'm still in a lot of pain and not healing at all even with no swelling, they'll go in with a scope and fix the tear.
I'm hopeful that I won't need surgery. I'm trying to stay off it and I will be the best little physical therapy goer ever if it means I can avoid surgery. Its annoying to not know 100% that I don't need surgery, but for the moment I'm grateful I didn't have to have it.
I've had a few days to feel depressed and sad for myself, so I'm feeling okay now. Just ticked that I can't do basic things easily. (Sit on my knees to change a diaper, chase Ev, walk, etc.) I'm trying not to dwell on the fact that I didn't finish my first marathon. It sucks to fail. And I'm sorry mom for using the word "sucks," but I can't think of anything else that describes how I'm feeling. I calculated how many miles I've run for my training the last few months.
And that doesn't include what I ran before official training started. And those 450 miles weren't a waste. I'm in good shape and it helped me push myself to physical limits I didn't think I was capable of, but to work so hard and not be rewarded is devastating. Especially for me. Its not like I'm a "real runner" and it comes easily to me. I'm squatty, slow, and running 20-40 miles a week is a small feat of nature for someone like me. That's why I was so excited to feel ready for something so huge. I was ready to feel really accomplished and instead I just feel like a total wimp.
And I know this isn't even a real problem. I know people with real problems. They are really suffering from things that actually matter. In the grand scale of things my marathon is nothing. It twenty years, these crappy few weeks won't matter at all because not finishing a marathon is trivial. But guess what? Today, right now, it does matter to me. It matters a lot. And I'm sorry I sound like the biggest complainer on the planet. I am well aware that I sound that way, I'm just not ready to stop acting like a baby. If anything, I'm just hungry for another marathon. It will hopefully give me more motivation to run the next one. (Hopefully without a stupid injury)
All of my complaining aside, I am so happy that everyone else finished - especially Darel. She had been struggling with an injury too and she powered through it. When I was sitting in the car, wallowing in self-pity, I just prayed that everyone else would finish. I didn't want them (especially Darel) to feel what I was feeling. I wanted them to kill it!
And they did!
So that is one positive thing that happened on Marathon day. My favorite training partners all finished what they set out to do! Go hobbits, go!
Here we are on the bus on our way to the starting line:
Despite our smiles, we were miserable in the cold!
I think this is where I should insert a little comment about my Dad. He hardly trained at all and was able to finish his first marathon (at the age of 55) in just over 5 hours. I'd say that's pretty amazing.
Lil D ran 75% of those 450 miles with me. I couldn't have trained so hard without her. She even placed in her division! Even though it was a small age group, I still think that's something to brag about.
And Nick. He's the definition of studly. On days when I didn't feel like running, he'd always say, "Yes you do!" And out the door I would go only to come back and tell him he was right. He says after running a marathon he's going to retire and become my traveling cheerleading squad. I am totally okay with that since I still need to check marathon off my bucket list. And I hesitate to say this on the blog where it can come back to bite me, but I'm just going to say it.
I like running.
After running so much the past few months I have really grown to like it. And not being able to run right now has made me miss it! I know I'm a terrible runner and I'll never be the fastest girl in the race, but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy it.
So that's my marathon story. I'm currently eating a cupcake and only mostly wallowing in self-pity. I think I'm entitled to a few more days of my pity party before I've got to suck it up and start motivating myself to look forward to another race. Not sure when that will be. I'm definitely not going to put my life/family on hold just to run a marathon, but someday I'll finish that sucker!