A Silver Lining in a Marathon Setback

I’ve been looking to provide an update about some new and exciting running happenings since my last post. New PRs! New running routes! Unfortunately, I have none of that to report. First, I’ll start off with some good news…and then not-so good.

It was two weeks ago that I found out some more information about my Achilles athlete and possible co-guides. My athlete is from out west and has cerebral palsy. NYC will be her second marathon and I will be running the full distance with her and three other co-guides. I have been in contact with my athlete and two of the other guides and this team of women is beyond EXCITED for November 3rd. Yes, it’s NYC. Yes, the course is amazing. But, that’s kind of the icing on the cake. I am more excited to help my athlete the entire way for, what will be, a good portion of the day. I want it to be her best race experience yet and I know the other guides feel the same. We are there for her and no one else. While I have never met her and we have only communicated via e-mail, I would do anything for her to ensure she makes it all 26.2 miles. If we have to walk, we’ll walk. If we have to crawl, we’ll crawl – no matter what it takes. I feel very proud to say that.

The day after I received all of this information, almost on cue, I started to notice some nagging pain/soreness in my left foot. At first, I was able to run through it and it was no big deal. I was focusing on slowing down my pace in preparation for NYC and if I needed to walk because of some discomfort, I was okay with that.  As the days wore on, the pain radiated and wrapped itself around my heel. I had a sneaking suspicion it was Achilles tendonitis (how appropriate, right?). After self-diagnosing on the web I RICE’d, stretched, and strengthened my foot/calf as much as I could. This has never happened before and despite a tibial stress fracture last year, I’ve been pain and injury free. I have no idea why it suddenly occurred, or how. All I knowis that I was in some serious pain and I was nervous.

I took off all last week. Aside from a lunchtime walk or two, no running and no cycling. In fact, I didn’t do much of anything but try to get my foot back to where it was. I iced my foot at work in a very unladylike manner at my desk and for once, I seemed to do everything right. Long story short, it wasn’t until early this week that I began to feel much better and I went for my first run/walk in 9 days. It was slow, but I did it. I’m now breathing a sigh of relief (somewhat).

Since I don’t feel as though I am completely out of the woods (my heel area is still mildly swollen), I am choosing not to run the Mohawk-Hudson half marathon this Sunday. I hemmed and hawed over this for a good portion of the week and decided it is for the best. While I have done this race for the past few years and 2013 was supposed to be my “1:50 or bust” year, I know I neither have a 1:50 in me right now nor the confidence that I would be able to run well. I also don’t want to revert to where I was last week – limping along and afraid my foot would snap any second. NYC is my focus and to throw it away on a local half would be foolish.

So with that said, I am not upset or angry and am happy about my decision. I will still attempt the mileage along my regular routes, stopping if I have to without the pressure of a sea of runners forcing me to pick up the pace. My foot is already feeling thankful. While I’m on the mileage topic, mine hasn’t been nearly enough needed during your typical marathon training. I will most likely max out around 16 next week. Previously this would have scared me but I know that my athlete will be dictating the pace and knowing already what she is capable of, I am not worried.

And that’s that. I feel as though I’ve finally made a wise, mature decision. I want to feel good for November 3rd and I want to be running into my golden years. Taking some time off is frustrating but so would never being able to run again – heartbreaking, actually.

Ever have Achilles tendonitis? Have you ever had to take off time prior to a marathon? Ever feel guilty for a race DNS?

5 thoughts on “A Silver Lining in a Marathon Setback

  1. I had achilles tendonitis last summer and it nearly derailed my plans to run my first half marathon. I took two weeks off and that let it heal enough to get through the race but then I didn’t run again for another six weeks because my achilles was in constant pain. You made a good choice in skipping the MH Half – you don’t want to make it worse than it is because achilles injuries take FOREVER to heal.

  2. I’m sorry! I hope that foot starts behaving soon! You’ve got a race to run & stuff. Rude!
    I am glad to hear that you too self-diagnose via the web. I take great pride in my honorary MD from the Google School of Medicine, WebMD campus. 😉
    Seriously though, good job scaling it back to allow things to calm down. NYC will be here soon! So exciting! 🙂

  3. Ouch! Glad you’re on the mend!

    I’ve had three DNS races and while I feel guilty about the two that I backed out of simply just because I didn’t feel like doing them any longer, I feel NO guilt about the one DNS due to injury.

    Take care!

  4. I’m glad you have been in contact with your athlete and the other guides- definite motivation for sure!

    I’m sorry you have had to take some time off but I have no doubt in your abilities:) Take it easy and it will come, NYC is going to be an unforgettable experience!

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