August 03, 2015

Half Marathon Recap: My First and Last

After 4+ months of pretty hard core training and a potentially running-career ending injury, I did it.

I finished a Half Marathon.

As of July 25, a week prior to the race, I ran 8 miles and felt pretty amazing. My pace was fantastic. I felt strong. Unstoppable.

After that day, I noticed that my hip was sore. Okay. Aches and pains. Kind of par for the course when you're pushing the amount of mileage I had been doing over the last month. On Wednesday, I went out for what was to be a 3-4 mile relaxed run. Again, I felt good. The hip was a little sore, but nothing I couldn't run through. I was running at a great pace until at mile 2, I felt a sharp pain soar through my hip, down my leg and through my back. It felt like someone knifed me and it stopped me in my tracks. After several failed attempts to try and run again, I limped the remaining 1.7 miles back home.

Much to my dismay, my husband's response was, "Don't start making excuses to not do the race on Saturday." Are you fucking kidding me? Excuses? 4+ months of busting my ass, getting up before dawn to make an excuse at the last minute? I don't think so. Upon seeing my face with that comment he quickly backpedaled as I entered into freak out mode. The next day, I called my PCP first thing in the morning to be seen by a doctor. They assumed Bursitis and referred me to the walk-in urgent care at Twin Cities Orthopedics. I was thinking, oh great, I am going to end up being here all day. To my surprise, I was seen almost immediately by their sports doctor, quickly got into an X-ray to ensure that I didn't have a stress fracture and got a diagnosis of: Hip Tendonitis of the IT Band at Point of Insertion (blah blah blah... I have tendonitis in my hip from all my crazy running). My options were:

A) Skip the race and start rehab/cross-training. Take pain meds for any immediate pain relief.
B) Go for the hail mary and get a cortisone shot to the hip. Oh and by the way, the worst case scenario is that the tendon will rip and you will need surgery to re-attach it.

Not running this race was not an option for me. I worked too hard and for too long to give up - I got the shot.

As the next two days went on I started to worry. The hip was feeling better but not great and I knew it would be a game day decision.

Little did I know it would end up being a starting-line decision. There is one thing I do that I'm sure annoys faster runners, but I always start out in a faster pace group than I should. It motivates me to get out of the gate at a good clip - and the truth is, even if I fall apart faster, having a solid 10k is critical for me in finishing with a decent time.

I was sore at first, but quickly got into my groove. At about mile 5 the song "Fight Song" by Rachel Platten came on. This song is my MANTRA for this year's running season. I actually got a little emotional when it came on my playlist. It was at this point that I knew I would go the distance. At around mile 9 I really started to fizzle. Beyond the pain, it was hot out and there was little relief from the sun along this course. I was sunburned. Dehydrated. I had to push away the voices telling me to quit. Towards the end, I was keeping pace with two ladies who were struggling. They were doing run/walk segments of about 30 seconds on 1 minute off. They invited me to join them and we trudged through the last 3 miles together.

I could see the finish line a quarter of a mile ahead and that is when I saw my best running friend standing there with my sweet little boy cheering me on. I finished my first ever Half Marathon with my best guy - he crossed the finish line with me and it was the best thing ever.

My running team greeted me when I got my medal and the first words out of my mouth were, "I never, ever want to do that again." My finishing time was atrocious (as in, I was that close to coming in very last). However, that doesn't matter. Embarrassed as I am to admit how poor my time was, I am proud to have even finished. It was a downright miracle. It would have been so easy to quit, but I didn't.

Me & Nordy

My amazing running team - Sole Sisters Running Crew

A lot of my friends and colleagues asked me why I felt the need to do this. I think I needed to prove to myself that the possibility existed and that yes, everybody is capable of accomplishing amazing things when you put your mind to it.

The reality is, I am injured in a way that will likely haunt me for distance running going forward. While my hip is in need of therapy and rehab, my time and attention really needs to be on my daughter. My hip can wait.

I still have two major races left this year: the Women Rock Starlet Challenge and the TC 10 Mile. While I don't want to let anyone down, I need to be realistic in what my body will allow me to do. If I don't listen to it, I may never be able to run again.

I'm ridiculously proud of what I accomplished on Saturday and definitely have the battle scars to prove it. Not only did I run this for myself, but I raised money for an amazing cause (and if you haven't donated, you still can!). Despite some of the agony- it was so worth it to do this for the kids. My pain is nothing compared to what they are going through.

With that, I leave you with, "Fight Song"
Like a small boat
On the ocean
Sending big waves
Into motion
Like how a single word
Can make a heart open
I might only have one match
But I can make an explosion

And all those things I didn't say
Wrecking balls inside my brain
I will scream them loud tonight
Can you hear my voice this time?

This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I'm alright song
My power's turned on
Starting right now I'll be strong
I'll play my fight song
And I don't really care if nobody else believes
'Cause I've still got a lot of fight left in me

Losing friends and I'm chasing sleep
Everybody's worried about me
In too deep
Say I'm in too deep (in too deep)
And it's been two years
I miss my home
But there's a fire burning in my bones
Still believe
Yeah, I still believe


 
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