I’m sitting in my office after lunch, icing my foot under my desk, and impatiently waiting for the pharmacy to call and tell me my “magic gel” (not the actual pharmaceutical name, if you were wondering) is ready for me to pick up.
(I may or may not have called twice already asking such)
To kill some time, I suppose now would be as good a time as any to share with you exactly what happened that fateful day a week and a half ago…
For those of you who are not runners For everyone reading this, the last 3 weeks of training for a race are the easiest. They are heaven. There are singing birds, unicorns, and rainbows on every run. They are fresh-from-the-oven peach cobbler topped with homemade whipped cream. They are free Yogurtland for the rest of my life.
What I’m trying to say is, after months of getting up at the butt-crack of dawn to squeeze in weekday workouts, running hills, running intervals, running at lunch, 8 mile treadmill
torture runs, almost getting run over during road runs, running through snow/rain/wind, goofy running tanlines, doing loads of laundry that consist of nothing but running gear, and complaining that ‘this was the worst idea ever and I quite I’m not running this stupid race’… the end is finally in sight. You’ve plateaued and all of the long runs are behind you. All you have to do is maintain. Now is the time to get comfortable in your race-pace, mentally prepare, and decide what flavor Gu you will carry on the big day.
So it’s two weeks before the big day. I feel GREAT about my training. I decide late Friday night that instead of going out on my normal trail for my last long run, I’d run in a half marathon that was convieniently taking place in Irvine that Sunday. ( Bonus : all funds went to pediatric cancer research, so the astronomical late-registration fee didn’t sting QUITE as bad )
As I expected, rather than approaching this as a “training run” like I should have, I took off like blue blazes and ran the first few miles way faster than normal. I put people on my radar and gave a little “nee neener neener!” as I passed each of them (silently, of course). I felt good and knew I had the stamina to finish the race.
Around mile 5 I came to my senses and locked in the cruise control at marathon-pace. There was a girl a few paces ahead that kept a good tempo, and she was wearing almost an identical outfit as mine. Neat. Over the next couple miles I imagined how badass I’d look when I sped by her right before the finish line.
I picked it up with about a mile to go, and just as I planned – ZOOOM!
A little later out of the corner of my eye I catch a glimpse those red shorts, and then she’s running next to me. Looking at me. Smiling.
She has braces.
She’s THIRTEEN YEARS OLD.
I picked a pacer almost half my age. All that coolness I felt passing her (preteen) ass immediately disappeared.
And then she started talking to me.
“Wow! You’re a really great runner!”
“How long have you been running?”
I have a full in 2 weeks, but I started last year.
“WOW! Just a year?! And you’re already running a marathon?! That’s incredible! I’ve been trying to keep up with you this whooooole time! I kept seeing you through the race, you’re a really good runner”
I’ve been chasing YOU, Pippy. And you just said you ran a full after only “like, a month or two” of “training”. You aren’t even full grown yet. Stop pretending to be impressed with me.
I am not a “social runner” and definitely do not enjoy the chatty types that can effortlessly carry on a conversation whilst taking part in one of the most strenuous cardio activities, especially an hour and a half in. But she was the sweetest, greenest, most happy-go-lucky person I’ve ever met – prepubescent or not – so I couldn’t be mad at her. It was very refreshing.
And final chip time said I beat her by .2 seconds. Ha! I win :)
Anyways, the morale of the story is not “Run fast and bad mouth young girls 2 weeks before race, and you shalst incur wrath of left foot pain which doth make it impossible to walk let alone run for 26.2 miles straight” (I believe it was Socrates, not Aesop that came up with that one)
The real story-behind-the-story is actually those fabulously bright, flourescent pink shoes on my feet. Those are the Nike Free 5.0, and if you haven’t heard me rave about them or have been conned into buying a pair of your own, you are obviously not my facebook, twitter, or “real life” friend. I love them. They’re fantastic. They’re so light and squishy and mold perfectly to your foot… AND they’re insanely pink, without being overly girly. They’re badass-passing-people-at-the-finish-line pink.
They are also not very good for running long distance in unless you have incredibly strong feet. They’re meant to simulate barefoot running, which is all the rage in the running world now, but I’ll spare you the deets bc this is already much too lengthy of a post.
So I woke up Monday in San Diego (another business trip y’all – call me Miss Trump) and when I stepped out of bed it felt like somebody had spent my slumberous hours banging the outside of my arch repeatedly with a hammer. I could barely walk – which worked out really well since we had a week full of store visits scheduled – most of which required walking halfway across a damn campus to get to.
So I hobbled, and I gimped, and I kind of flirted with the idea of renting a wheelchair for the week. I didn’t, but seriously thought about it. Instead I went out for 3 miles on Tuesday.
Which you probably guessed wasn’t a good idea.
(you are correct)
I was so terrified of losing all the hard work that I’d put in the past 4.5 months that I went out and pushed it, convincing myself the pain wasn’t really that bad.
Which was true, because when I woke up Wednesday after that run, it was eleventy billion times worse that the day before.
So I stayed off it. Almost all week. I ice-bucketed. I ibuprofened. I wore wedge shoes to take the pressure off the hurty middle part of my poor foot. So when Sunday rolled around, ONE WEEK before the race, I went back out to test my homemade rehabbing skills, expecting a brand new, pain-free foot.
Which it almost was. I felt great. I had a renewed excitement about the race. I am going to kick this marathon’s ass! Look out world! I am a RUNNIN’ MACHINE!
And then at mile 6.5 (of a 5 mile out, 5 mile back route) it set in. All of it. Back. Every ounce of pain, right then, immediately.
And I was left to limp back to my hotel (luckily I knew a shortcut, so it was only about a mile back), all pissed of and fuming mad at myself and my stupid foot and those stupid pink shoes I thought I loved so much.
I conceded defeat and went to an orthopedic specialist. I hate doctors. Not as people, but in principal. I made many notes on my patient chart about “MARATHON THIS SUNDAY” and “MUST RUN” and “I AM RUNNER, HEAR ME ROARRRR”
I think I got my point across, because after the eval, this is what he told me:
“I’m pretty confident it’s not broken, but I’d like you to get an x-ray to be sure. I’ll give you the order slip, I hope that you will go get it done, but if you walk out of here and throw it in the trash… fine. We’ll deal with it after the race at your follow up appt”
He is a runner. He treats lots of runners. He knows what it means to be days away from a race you’ve been preparing for almost half a year for, and suddenly being thrown a hurdle you’re not sure you can get over.
So we’re just managing the pain now and during the race, and can work on fixing it permanently afterwards.
His final words were: “You’ve got a good base of training under you, you’re not going to lose that. It might hurt like hell – whether it’s at mile 2, mile 6, or mile 20 – but I give you permission to suck it up and push through it. See you next week, good luck.”
My overall opinion about doctors has shifted ever so slightly for the better – but don’t think I’ll be hopping in the dentist’s chair anytime soon looking forward to a cleaning.
Western Medicine is No Longer My Enemy,