“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.