Nov 2, 2011 9:18 AM
When I signed up for the marathon a year ago, I chalked it up to a few months of hard training, some intense mileage, lots of Gatorade and GU and early morning runs. Little did I know I’d be plagued with injury, hospital visits, shattered elbows, tears and frustration.
My training started out really well. I felt strong, fast, motivated, and excited. My boyfriend and I were planning on running the race together, we did our runs together (I was totally faster HAH), incorporated our training into weekends and trips, and shared our excitement for the race.
Then all of the sudden BOOM, he got a stress fracture in his foot. Minor setback, or so we thought. I kept training, he was on crutches so my days were spent running, cooking, cleaning, helping him get around, driving him to work, going to my job, sleeping, REPEAT. It was a long month or so, and he was really disappointed about not being able to train, but things started getting better.
One morning, I geared up for my first long18 miler, it would be my longest run to date but I was prepared. Then, the unthinkable, at mile 6 I was struck with knee pain so bad that I couldn’t finish my run. I tried to keep going, walk/ran the next mile and realized something was terribly wrong. The tears welled up in my eyes; all I wanted to do was finish the run. I couldn’t do it, so home I went in a Taxi. After a few doctor visits and lots of research I learned about the joys of ITBS. I have it, and it sucks!
I lost a month of training; I took 2 weeks off, and tried to run again. NOPE. OUCH. PAIN. I quickly learned that I wasn’t going to be “cured” and that this could be something that I have to deal with for months. So much for our marathon dreams.
Shortly thereafter, he got off crutches and life started to get back to normal. I was able to get small runs in here and there, it was painful, but it was better than nothing. Then one day at work I got the phone call, my boyfriend was in a bike accident and shattered his elbow. At this point, hospitals and doctors were like 2nd nature for us so it was just another day in the life of John and Laura. 4 days later, a long surgery, and lots of pain medication we were home and not in the best spirits. I knew I had to be strong for John who was completely helpless, and I felt selfish for even mentioning my knee pain at a time like this. So I didn’t, I quietly spend my nights doing awkward stretches and “monster walks” across the room while he slept on the couch.
The race seemed impossible, but I didn't give up; I knew that I could make this happen. Everyone told me to back out, to defer to next year...but I thought, I have come SO far, and dedicated so much time to this. Let’s not forget that I joined Team for Kids and raised $2600 over the past few months. There is NO WAY I am not running this race.
I kept rehabbing, spent my days researching IT band issues, talking to other runners, stretching, rolling, icing, and running when I could.
And then, my luck turned. About a month after my ITBS struck I pained my way through an 18 miler, and thought....this is actually not that bad...I think I’m getting BETTER. The past 3 weeks I have been pain free (CROSS YOUR FINGERS) and I no longer have anxiety about my knee acting up. Now, when I run I think positive thoughts, sometimes I even chant “strong knee, strong knee” over and over which sounds ridiculous, but I SWEAR it listens and works.
To sum it all up, my marathon training experience has been a series of unanticipated events that I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy. However, if I could do it all over again I wouldn't change it for the world. I have learned so much about myself in the past 4 months, about who I am as a person, what I can accomplish, and how far I can be pushed without breaking down. I may have shed a few tears here and there, but I never gave up.
So this coming Sunday, I will run. My amazing family and friends will be cheering me on, and my back-luck boyfriend who is almost 100% healed up will be my lifeline to get me to the finish!