Marathon Training Week 9- Do You Really Want It?

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“There will come a point… when you alone will need to decide. You will need to make a choice. Do you really want it? You will need to decide.” – Rolf Arands

As I wrote in my last post, I was doing well, ditching my “official marathon training plan,” and going with what felt right to my body.

I had built back up to 10 miles, after my Achilles tendon injury. On the last Saturday in August, (almost 2 weeks ago), I set out for a 10 mile run, not at pace, but just for distance. I felt great.  It was hot- I was running hills.  My favorite training.  It was hard, but I knew this was all making me stronger for my goal for finishing strong in Las Vegas, at my first marathon.

I was in mile 8, when I got the worse cramp in my left foot.  I literally could not run.  I stopped and tried to stretch it out. The pain was seething.  I knew then it wasn’t a cramp, but more serious.  I fought back tears, as I did the only thing I could do.  Started walking home.  I was 1.6 miles away from my house. I don’t run with my cell phone- I don’t like the weight. I have an emergency tag from Road ID on my shoe, in case something really serious happens, but I was struggling to just walk.  I run in my subdivision community, with trails. I’ve often just been resting after a run, and have had residents stop and ask me if I was OK- did I need I ride? I’ve never said yes.  But I knew this day I was not OK. I was hurt.  If someone stopped and asked me, I’d tell them I was hurt and needed a ride home.

But no one did.  I really don’t know how I did it. I hobbled and limped almost two miles home, in agonizing pain.  Every step the pain was worse than the last.

When I got home, I massaged my foot. There was no swelling.  No bruising.  I could stand on my heel, no pain. I could stand on my tipsie toes, no pain.  Yet, when I would bend my foot in a walking position, seething, hot, pain, to the left side of my foot.  I soaked it in Epsom salt.  I iced it.

Sunday morning, I could not walk. I had to crawl to my living room.  Any pressure I put my foot was torture.  More pain than I could bear.

I got more ice, ibuprofen, and called my health insurance’s nurse hotline.

The nurse told me it probably wasn’t an ER situation, but not good I could not stand on it, and had so much pain. She made me an appointment for the next day, Monday.

I Googled all the symptoms and was convinced, based on my pain and symptoms, I had a stress fracture.

I went to the doctor on Monday. I was happy to find out my doctor was also a runner. She asked me a lot questions and told me it was indeed possible I had a stress fracture, and she ordered multiple X-rays. They took X-rays of both feet too, so they could compare.

When that was all done and read by the radiologist, she told me I did not have a stress fracture, but my arch was falling. The minimalist shoes I was using were not enough to support my arches, and as the arch collapses, the side of the foot, takes the strain and brunt, causing the pain I was having.

She told me I absolutely could run again when the pain in my foot goes away, but I HAVE to get running shoes with more arch support, or orthotic inserts.

I was glad to hear I didn’t have a fracture, but I love my minimalist shoes.  I’ve been running in them for a year now, and never had any issues.  But I also have not been training for a marathon in them.

Ironically, running in minimalist shoes has allowed me to keep running injury free.  Until now.

The pain I’ve had the last few days- I can barely walk.  I know there is no way I can run like this.

But I’ve been struggling.  Do I even want to continue? Why put myself through this? I’m not an Olympic athlete.  I could run for myself on weekends. I could run 5K’s.  I could run the best I can at the distances I can tolerate and probably place in races if I decided I wanted to.

I came across the quote at the beginning for this post, years ago, and used it for motivation in many 5K’s, even though I found it a bit corny.  But for me it’s true. Do I really want this? Do I really want to see if I have what it takes to run a marathon?

I’ve been thinking.  I do want this? How much?  I don’t know all the details. I don’t know how my training looks, but I want to know for me, I ran a marathon. Different people and situations inspire me, but deep down, I want this for ME.  This is my passion.  This is what makes me feel alive.  It became my goal 7 years ago when I ran after cancer, the first steps I took were absolute freedom and knowledge, I would be okay, and my body could recover from cancer. I promised myself then, “someday” I would run a marathon.  For me, “someday” is now.  It’s my everything. It’s my dream.  It’s my goal.  It’s me proving to myself that I am stronger than my struggles, seasoned more than my obstacles, and my will- it doesn’t matter- my will to succeed is stronger than my will to fail.

So, I’m going for it.  I have to figure out new shoes. I have to figure out orthotic inserts.  I have to figure out how to run again this way, but most of all, I have to heal my arch.  I have to start over yet again- 9 weeks away from the marathon. But I’m not throwing in the towel just yet. I realize my foot has to heal, and that is the most important thing, but unless I have to absolutely make that call to not run, I’m planning and training to run that marathon.  I’m not quitting.  I can’t imagine anything more painful than the almost 2 miles I had to hobble home from the other day.  And yet, I still want this.

Running mimics life.  Sometimes it isn’t easy. Sometimes the most worthy things come with a lot of struggle, pain, and growth.  But these things make you stronger.  I see it like I have a choice. Quit and wonder “what if?”  Or tap into my inner strength, the desire that was placed there for a reason and find a way to excel.  I chose to excel and find a way.  I have decided.

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