I went to a party this weekend and a friend was bragging to people that I ran a marathon (the party was full of runners). I’m still uncomfortable saying I ran a marathon. Clearly I did not have a good marathon experience. I told her this. She responded, “You were in a boot this year!” And, yes, she’s right. I was completely out for 6 weeks and partially our for about 9 or 10 weeks due to injury. So I guess completing a marathon less than six months later is pretty awesome.
Last winter, I was training to run the Rock‘n’Roll marathon in DC in March. Four weeks before the race I had to quit around mile 12.5 of 16 because of intense pain in my foot. I cried and told my friends to finish without me and got in a taxi. The tears weren’t because of the pain in my foot, it didn’t seem that bad (maybe endorphins?) but because I knew if I was stopping a run, I probably wouldn’t be able to do the marathon.
I knew before the doctor told me a few days later that I had a stress fracture. He was great, he fast tracked the x-rays and MRI since he knew I wanted to race less than four weeks later. He told me if it was a stress fracture I couldn’t run, but if it was anything else I could. But, after 5 days my foot was still too swollen to comfortably wear shoes.
I spent weeks randomly crying because I was so upset I wouldn’t be able to do the marathon. I had made training my most important job.
I was in a boot for about five weeks My doctor gave me a return to run physical therapy plan so I was able to start running as usual within about 4 weeks of being out of the boot and I did the Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon just 3.5 months after the injury (5 weeks after starting to run again).
Recovery was hard. I went through a lot of shoes in the months following injury and began to hate running because it was uncomfortable and hard. It took about four months before I found a pair of shoes I liked. I only kept running because I am stubborn and was determined to start liking it again. And, I finally do!
Recovery is hard. It was much more emotional than I thought it would be. Every run was simultaneously a way to remind myself how much I’d lost and a huge accomplishment that I was running again. I had to basically start running from nothing again, which was really hard. As I’ve mentioned before, running is a mind game more than a physical sport, and having to go back and basically start over was really tough.