Well folks, after much deliberation…I’ve made a final decision:
This Sunday, I will be running the Chicago Marathon.
I’ve thought a lot about this decision, I’ve asked a lot of people their advice, and I’ve done a lot of internet perusing to find “the right answer” as to what I should do.
And I realized a couple of things, but namely…there really isn’t a right answer in this scenario. Some people are willing to run on anything that isn’t a stress fracture, and some people stay away for just the sniffles. There were a number of different pros and cons for me to consider, both big and small. And in the end—despite all the opinions, the research, and the back-and-forth, I knew it had to be my decision—not anyone else’s.
And guess what? With a little help from rest, meds, and wishful thinking, I’m healthy enough to run the race—and I’m gonna try.
But let’s rewind a bit, and I’ll catch you up to speed as to where I currently stands in regard to this race:
1 month ago, I had to stop short on a 20 mile run from horrible ankle pain. I was limping for days, icing like crazy, and popping more pain killers than I ever have before. The doctor was nonchalant about it and told me it was just bad tendonitis, but I was still not thinking the worst. In the back of my head, my hopes of a stellar Chicago Marathon were getting shrouded away, seemingly all at once.
1 week after the initial injury struck, I tried running for the first time—to no avail. I couldn’t make it 1/4 mile without my ankle blowing up like a balloon. I limped very slowly the whole way home, holding back tears, and continued to lower my self-proclaimed likelihood of running the race.
A little over a week ago, I went back to the doctor. This time, I was prescribed some actual, real deal pain killers. He told me that if I felt up for it—he would give the green light to run the race. Once again, I tried to run…this time, I made it 6 miles. They weren’t pain free, but I got them out, and it seemed that my ankle was getting better.
Last week, I was able to do the aforementioned 6 mile run, an 8.5 mile run, and a 7.5 mile run. Each felt better than the one before, and my ankle pain was getting to be less and less each time I headed out. After two weeks of discouragement, Chicago was back on the table.
This past weekend was the weekend I proclaimed to be “decision time.” I knew I didn’t want to even make the trip if I wasn’t going to run the race, therefore I needed to make the call one way or the other ahead of time. I set out on my previously planned 12 mile run, deciding that if I made it relatively pain free—I was gonna race.
12 miles later, and…well shit, I’m running a marathon next weekend.
I ran the 12 miles with very little ankle irritation. In fact, there wasn’t even a glimmer of the injury for probably 75% of the run. This was indeed very encouraging…and although I know 26 miles is many more than 12, the rate at which my injury seems to be recovering makes me think that I will be able to spend most of the race relatively pain-free.
However, while my ankle may be mostly cooperative…taking two weeks off completely from running took it’s toll, and admittedly I am mostly worried now about the condition of my legs more than anything else.
I’m not gonna lie…those 12 miles were tough. My lungs felt good, my ankle even felt good, but my legs felt tired. This could have been just an average “bad run,” but I know I’m also feeling the rusty effects of not having run long in a while. I was concerned with just how tired I felt after 12 miles, and it made a marathon seem even more daunting than, well, a marathon already is.
But, the fact of the matter is that if I wasn’t going to run this race…it wasn’t going to be because of some tired legs. It was because of an injury…an injury which seems to be on its way out the door. I feel like I have to try, and while this might be the most difficult marathon I’ve ever attempted, I don’t want to go down without a fight.
Frankly, I’m really nervous for the race. I’m scared of not finishing. I’m scared for the pain. And perhaps more than anything, I don’t like the uncertainty. While of course I was anxious for my first two marathons, I was always very confident in my ability to finish. This setback has left me in a much less confident state in my running—and while I know I haven’t lost all of the training I built up, I’m definitely not in ideal marathon shape.
However, these fears and apprehension aren’t enough to keep me from the start line. I’m truthfully very excited and grateful that I will still get the chance to be in and at the race. This is one of the biggest races in the world, I’ve trained hard to get to it, I’ve raised a lot of money for a great cause, and I’ll be damned if I don’t get out there and try.
So get ready kids, this will be interesting.