Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Through the Storm

It has been too long since my first post. My hope was to share my thoughts much more frequently, but just 81 days until our wedding and unfortunately, my time to write has been limited. Nonetheless, I continue this journey.

I have been in love with running for many years, at times, it has been all a girl could want or need. However, I must admit, at times we just don't get along. Maybe it's our inability to effectively communicate or maybe we let too many things come between us. Whatever the case might be, we have gone our separate ways...temporarily ending our relationship but always managing to mend it back together.

In 2006, I decided to follow my dream and train for my first marathon. I have always envisioned that one day I would endure the 26.2 miles and cross the finish line of a marathon. I finally had the courage and audacity to sign up for the Chicago Marathon. I had no idea of what this experience would entail but I took a leap of faith and jumped right in. Little did I know that the leap of faith should have included a subscription to Runner's World, extensive research in marathon training, frequent visits to the library, interviews and focus groups with marathon runners, and probably even a visit with my PCP. Okay, so I wasn't preparing for a dissertation but you get the point. While I wasn't completely oblivious to the necessary requirements of this endeavor, I was unware of what my body would have to endure for 16 weeks. I did take the time to visit the library on a couple of occasions. I examined a few training schedules and I found one that seemed like the right fit, but again, I had no idea of what was in store for me.

As I began the training, I was enthusiastic about my increase in mileage. I was becoming fitter and faster and it felt so good. It was truly amazing to see my body transform and truly adapt to running despite the internal and external conditions. I found both the physical and emotional strength to follow my training schedule and I was seeing so much progress, but shut the front door!! No one told me my toe nails would fall off, they forgot to mention (or maybe I just didn't ask) about this minor detail!?!?! I surely was not informed that I would forfeit my whole summer to early nights for much needed rest and early mornings for long runs. Did I mention no weekends? You spend one day of your weekend running for hours and the rest of the time you are just trying to get it back together. I sware that no one mentioned the significance of ongoing stretching, weight lifting, and cross training. I thought my job was to run!! Oh, and new shoes every 250-300 miles?? Really? Okay, so maybe I did receive some friendly suggestions along the way and I just failed to heed the advice. I guess I simply minimized the experience or maybe I was in denial. Either way, the more I was immersed into training, the more I learned how overwhelming this experience could be. No worries, I wasn't giving up. I held on. I was determined to achieve this goal, but then it happened. Three weeks before the marathon, I was running my last long run before the race at Gallup Park. It was mile 18 of mile 20. My knee gave out. I didn't want to believe it, so I attempted to carry on. Not possible, the knee was done and I was terrified that I was done. I took a couple of days off, hoping I could get right back on the "running horse." I just couldn't. I finally visited my PCP and even a Sports Medicine doctor. They confirmed that I had a case of "runner's knee." My genetics, lack of proper stretching and strength training, and my bad shoes all contributed to my injury. They felt as though that maybe it was not too late to still run the marathon. They encouraged me to rest and to see how I felt. It was ultimately up to my body. I spent the next week trying to relax and recuperate, but I knew it was over. I finally made the decision that my body just couldn't handle the marathon. I had failed. I let go of the dream and I let go of running...

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