I have searched through the marathon forum for anyone who posted that they weren't able to finish a marathon. Two things came to my mind, either people in this community always successfully finishes their race or many of us are too embarrassed to mention it. I am merely posting my story in hopes I may receive some kind of input, whether positive or negative.
On March 20, 2011, Shamrock marathon was supposed to be my first marathon, but at about mile 9 I felt the knee pain on the right then eventually became both. I tried my hardest to keep pushing, but the pain just got so bad I couldn't walk. I trained as I was supposed to, even with a running buddy and through the cold 20 degree weather. My pace was 10-11 min during my entire training and even ran as high 20 miles. In fact I trained on the same course as the Shamrock.
My body and emotions were at war because my knees was saying no, but my mind was saying we can keep going. I have had knee pains in the past, but oddly enough none during my training. Eventually, I had to give up and it was one of the hardest thing I had to do. I had to tell my running buddy to just keep going because I did not want to hold her back. I pretty much cried the entire time I sat waiting for transport to pick me up till I got home. It took transport a long time to get to me. When the transport dropped me off, they just literally dropped me off. I had to walk to medical tent by myself unsupported walk by the finish line where all the runners happily got there medals and other goodies for finishing the race. I cried some more. When I reached the medical tent they told me that icing my knee is not serious enough for their tent and that i needed to walk to the other tent. I cried some more to the thought of walking much more. I went to the tent were I can get iced when my husband arrived. It was not even another medical tent. it was the tent where all the finishers got their beer and food. I found a physical therapist booth were they gave out ice. They just gave me ice. When I asked them about wrapping my knee with ice, they acted like they have never heard of that practice before. So if the race could add more salt to my injury, they just kept pouring.
I have only ran a half marathon prior to this, which was the dodge rock and roll 1/2 marathon. They knew what to do when people asked to ice their knees and they did not turn away people with minor or major complaints. They had medical tents throughout the race, not just at the end of the race.
In the end, I just went home pretty much emotionally rocked by the whole experience. Now I know how it felt to be a quitter and how people treat you when you are a marathon quitter. There are no consolation medals for trying to finish a marathon. Nevermind, that I was able to finish half of the race. I felt like a huge embarrassment to myself, family, friends, and to the sport. I just feel like hiding under the rock because people couldn't console me. They don't know what it was like to put so much time and effort into running. This was huge for me and it was my stupid knees that stopped me.
I am just looking for others who went through similar experience as me. I know that this is probably a forum for people who do well in running and accomplishes their goals in running. But what about the others. How does one bounce back? It was hard to make sense of what happened to me. I am not looking to complain about this race, but I also felt that I should have made to feel this way. I am not looking to quit running but I am pretty devasted. If you guys can, I just need some guidance. Thank you for your time and letting me vent.
i attempted the LA marathon on sunday march 20th 2011 and failed at mile 15. i was ill prepared i just wanted to try it and i found out if i even trained for it i might have made it. bbut for the most part though it was cold and raining i had alot of funn
Professional runners have it happen sometimes also!!!!! I had a very tuff Marine Corp Marathon last year, and it took a couple of months to get my head right after. I did keep running and just ran a amazing race on the 20th also. It can happen to anyone, keep you head up and don't give up, make running a lifetime goal. Find another one when you are mentally ready. Sounds like the Shamrock need to work with the volunteers! Take care you are not a quitter, just had some medical issues. What I have read about the weather, that could have been a big issue for you and the medical tent.
I ran the Virginia Beach Shamrock Marathon. The day before the marathon, my quads/calves hurt so bad (I over trained it on wednesday)that it was so hard for me to walk-I walked around the house like a robot. Some friends from facebook adviced me to use foam roller and take an ice soak which i both did. I went to bed that night feeling a lot better (still painfulll though). I woke up at 5am and I was still feeling the same pain but I am decided...I said to myself "I gotta at least try" even if I only cross the 1 mile mark....I gotta try. I tried and finished the whole marathon in 5:30 something....GOD was there with me.
I don't know if you'll take my story as a rub-off, but please don't. What I'm telling you is that "you are not an embarassment to yourself or to anyone". You went out there and tried it...you might have failed, but failings is what makes us strong, it is on a small bump along the way. Just as we have prepared our victory speech, we should also be prepared to take a step back either on our own term or by others' term. The step back to make us re-think and re-plan and recover.
Now my advice to you is while deciding your next marathon, work on your quads, calves, hams and your core...your knees and your ankles are only as strong as those muscles. GOODLUCK on your training. GOD BLESS.
Thanks for sharing your story. I was having fun and had nothing but positive thoughts to begin with. But the pain took over and I guess negativity easily slipped it.
Thank you so much for your post. You are right these things can happen to anyone and at any event. I just wished it wasn't that day. I like how you mentioned that running should be my lifetime goal. I will read up on weather and knee pains. I did mention about the medical volunteers because I had previous experience from another race. I am also a nurse, so I do have expectations.
I DNF'd the Marine Corps Marathon a couple years ago. But I had issues going into it and I knew I might not finish. In fact I made it less than a mile. You were smart to stop. You could have caused injury that might keep you from running for weeks or months It doesn't make you a quitter. One of the hardest things for most of us is realizing when to back off so we can come back to run another day. You will get back and you will run again, and you definitely should plan on your next marathon.
Congrats on your race and way to overcome the pain prior to the race. Kinda wish I could have done the same and they said women have higher tolerance to pain. Not me. It interesting that you had mentioned GOD. I am also a believer and I had my priest give me a special prayer the day before. I pretty much prayed a lot for the day and during my training days. So...I guess I will leave it at HE had better plans for me and this race was not meant to be. I do admit that it is a bummer because I felt that worked so hard at it. This brings me to the other point, where I pretty much told everyone I was doing a marathon and asked for their blessings and prayers. Which is why i mentioned that I felt embarrassed. I totally was not prepared for "what if i don't finish". I didn't prepare a speech for that. Very humbling experience. You are right about re-thinking, re-planning, and recovering. I will also take your advice on working out for strength on the core and lower extremities. Thank you so much!
Thank you for sharing your post and words of encouragement. I especially like what you mentioned about backing off so that we can run another day. I honestly never thought of that because I really caught in the moment. I didn't think about the consequences if I had went further. I truly like running and I should think longevity. I am thinking, I should probably seeking some professionals about my knees just in case. Thank you so much. Hearing from others does help.
It's not called a marathon because it's easy. Depending on how bad you want it, you'll get there. Keep going for new best distances and you will condition your body to be able to take it. It will feel unbelievable when you do.
I would like to commend you on an effort that just didn't work out. I admire your dedication in preparing for this effort.
I would just like to say that YOU own all of the successes that led up to this attempt. Nothing anyone else says or doesn't say can take them away.
You completed training for a marathon!
You ran a 20 mile training run!
You ran outside in weather most people wouldn't venture out in!
You stopped in a race for a good reason. You could have quit training for no reason.
Keep your head up and celebrate the smaller accomplishments along the way.
2012 Minneapolis Polar Dash 1/2 Marathon 2:06:56
2012 Brainerd Jaycess Run for the Lakes Marathon 4:48:10
It is funny you say that marathon is not easy. I forgot about that because training went so well. I thought it was attainable. I do want the experience of running through a the finish line of a marathon and getting that cheap medal. boy, it feels pretty good saying that...I guess that is the first step. Thank you for your post!
Thank you for the reminders. Those accomplishments was easily washed away when my knee pain took over and I did not complete the marathon. I do remember feeling so awesome and marvelous as my miles increased. I guess that is why I expected to do well on my first marathon. Thank you for your advice. I will celebrate the small accomplishments a long the way.
You seem to be dwelling on the disappointment of not finishing rather than focusing on why you had to stop. There should be an answer for what happened to you. If you went through the training and tapered properly you should have been able to run a lot futher than 10 miles. Did you run enough mileage during your training, building gradually? Did you tweak your knee in training and ignore it? Did you switch to different shoes over the last couple weeks? Did you have the same pain throughout your training and never addressed it? How about now, are you injured and have pain while walking around? Injury and pain are two different things. Everyone has pain in a marathon, but usually it begins at 15+ miles (assuming you have trained for the race). Think about the weeks leading up to the race and try to find a reason behind your knee pain.
I have thought about what may have went wrong. I thought maybe it is because I did small dynamic stretching prior to the race, which i never do. As far as my knee pains in the past, I had knee pain maybe a month prior to actually serious marathon training. I just changed my shoes and it got better. I followed the training for beginners so I did short runs and then the long runs. I did not notice pain but mild soreness after the long runs. The most I ran was 20 miles and I tapered down. I did do the 20 miles weeks prior to the race. I don't think I overtrained because I tapered down to 3 runs then 2 runs last 2 weeks prior to the race. I also trained outside in the 20-30 cold weather with wind chills, so I thought I was prepared for the race day which was 40 degrees with wind chill.
The furthest I ran was 13.1 miles during the race and I could not run or walk much further. It was like every step had sharp pain on the outside of both my knees. I felt good about the race because I thought the training went well. I don't think I would have don't it if I had persistant or even intermittent pain on my knees during my training. I honestly not seen a doctor prior to doing a marathon because I thought it was just part of pounding the knees on the pavement over the years plus it went away after I rested. I did stop strenght training my legs towards the last month of training. thinking my knees will be alright.
After the race it took a good day with ibuprofen til I can walk down stairs without some soreness. Day 3 post race, I tried sprinting (not far) 50 yards in the street and I had no soreness or pain. I have set an appointment to see a doctor about my knees, so we will see. thanks for your post.