Let's go back 2 weeks... My last training run, was the awesome 8 mile race pace run... I skipped the next (last) week of running to let my tendonitis heal up in my leg. Race week came, and it was feeling great. No pain!
We get parked, and begin to walk to the start line of the Oklahoma City Memorial run. It's a run I will never, EVER, forget. I knew the chances of rain were slim, but I didn't care. I was insistent on racing and finishing. The rain, began to poor. I was dressed for 50 degrees, and little rain. In other words a tank and shorts.... the wind blew harder, lightening light up the sky, and the cold rain fell. And it fell hard. I was still in high spirits. My leg was still feeling fresh, and painless, so I wrote off the weather.
The start time got pushed back 30 minutes do to severe weather. But my adrenaline held me strong. We found shelter in a local church that was kind enough to open their doors for us to stay warm....
15 minutes to start....
We get out in the windy cold rain, and make our way to the start line. Some how we got stuck in the 5k coral, and NONE of them wanted to let us through. I lost sight of my husband, and just kept pushing ahead... I finally got to the starting line around 9:00 pace group, and walked back to the 9:30 pace group. 1 minute.
I haven't run in 2 weeks. Everything is running through my head right now.
Fast forward to mile 3.....
I'm feeling strong, averaging about a 9-9:15 pace. I felt a little tweaking in my leg, but nothing that I couldn't run through. I ran the rolling hills feeling very confident. I get to around mile 4 and stop for a stinger, and some water and up comes my husband from behind. I was so happy to see him! We ran for about a mile together, and it's still pouring down rain. Creating lots of puddles. We're rounding the corner and there is a massive puddle right in the middle of the corner. I landed on my heal trying to avoid immersing my entire shoe. At that moment, I knew something was wrong. My leg was on FIRE! I couldn't take a step with out wanting to scream... I slowed down in the next mile to about 9:45. I kissed my husband, told him to go on, and stopped to stretch. I spent the next mile looking for a med tent- I was desperate. I finally (somewhere around mile 7) found one. I fought the hardest mental battle I've ever fought. To stop? Or not? I decided that I would stop to at least get some tylenol. When I stopped this time, and took a step, I KNEW that I could no longer run on my aching leg. I begin to melt in tears. I asked where I could get a ride to the start line. They kindly showed me where to find the shuttle buses that were taking the relay participants back and forth. I cried the whole way there. And my body slowly started reminding me that it was 46 and freezing rain. While I was running, I was very pleased with my attire. Now that I was limping slowly around in the rain it only made me sob a little harder.
I am here to tell you that making the decision to continue running and finish, verses stopping and taking a mental beating from yourself, is one of the hardest I've ever had to make. I could have continued in agony, causing more problems in my leg to finish with a terrible time. Or stopped in time to heal for another chance to run sooner. Either way I would have been devastated. I never thought that I would be as depressed as I was. I get down town, and I'm totally lost! I have no idea where we parked,I'm freezing, I'm hurting. So I walked. And I walked, and I walked. A homeless man felt sorry for me, and pointed me in the right direction. I walked a little faster.. And cried a little harder. Eventually I found a section of the marathon course and found a cop. Only to find out that I was really close. About an hour has passed from the time that I decided to drop out of the race. This only meant one thing. My husband should be finishing soon. And I was going to miss it! The thought of this made my tears stream a little faster..... Eventually I found my car, and got 3 extra layers of clothes on and sat in the car to warm up. Thinking of how terrible my experience was.
Finally my husband comes back to the car. I'm so excited to hear his time of 1:58:54. He not only met his goal of 2 hours, but exceeded it! HOOOORAY! He took a back seat to his celebration to embrace me and tell me that it is okay.
Here I am 2 days later, thinking of it all... Here are the thoughts that are crossing my mind now. " I'm happy that my knee is only tender. It's not excruciating pain." ... " I feel like crying" ... " I want to run" ... " Will I look like a wimp?" ....
I invested so much in this race. Miles, Money,Months. But I know that if I had torn something and kept myself from running 3 months I would have been more devestated!
D.N.F.(Did Not Finish) is by far the best thing I could have done. But the most ego crushing thing I could have done.
I ran so strong all season. I had no injuries. I rested when I needed to. I pushed my limits. I quit making excuses.... All to have an injury the last 2 weeks of my training and not reach any of my 3 set goals.
Now I will use my smarts, and friends advice. Rest, Recover, and Revenge. I will race again.... I WILL get my goal. All of them. If nothing else, I have learned from this. I learned that it isn't going to kill me to bow out of a race. I have learned that I have the best/supportive/wise friends..I have learned that no matter what, it's not the end of the world. OR my racing days. It's one race. I will recover, and come back strong! I will be a good runner, no matter what pace. I'll be a smart runner-- if that means taking a hit to my pride, to save my body, then so be it.
There you have it. My experience from OKC. I trained 4 months for this. Hopefully I can recover enough to get in one more half this season. IF not, then there will be more later. I know that for the summer, I'll decrease my miles. And just enjoy being a runner... A very early morning runner! I'll also take up extra yoga, and weight training classes. Running will be my "extra" activity for a few months.
Thank you. Thank you all for your continuous support...thank you for listening to me cry about this whole thing. The wisdom that has been passed on to me the last few days is priceless. I'm incredibly thankful for my husband and friends who have all been so amazing.