Trying Different Paths

Trying New Paths

I saw this quote the other day and thought it was perfectly accurate for my “running life” right now. I’m grappling with the decision to either ditch or commit to the marathon at some point this fall.  6 days ago, I wrote that “I’m confident it will happen.” But my left quad is still presenting problems and I feel like I’m trying every kind of ‘path’ to figure out what’s going on. I’ve flip-flopped countless times in the past 2.5 weeks. Should I run the marathon or should I move on?

On one hand, I think “of course I’ll run one! I’ve been training for 4+ months!”. I’ve worked hard and I should get to a start line to finish what I’ve started.

I shouldn’t give up so easily.

I should let go of time goals.

I should run the marathon for FUN.

I should just see what happens.

I should give my leg time to rest (as I’ve been doing) and then celebrate my hard work by racing, regardless of whether or not a PR happens.

I should.

On the other hand, I think “maybe it’s not meant to be?”. Maybe this is just one of those learning experiences that will make 2014 a badass year of racing. My body is trying to tell me something and I have to listen to it.

I shouldn’t suffer through 26.2

I shouldn’t put my leg through stress if it’s feeling this way, weeks out from a goal race.

I shouldn’t take a risk.

I shouldn’t.

The Grand Rapids Marathon is in 17 days. An alternate race that might work is in 30 days. And it’s a race against a recovery clock.

This Sunday will mark 3 weeks of “recovery”. My weekly mileage took a huge plummet after a 17-mile run on September 14th. And the most I’ve run in one week since then is 25 miles. All easy miles, no workouts. In my world, this is just torture. When I’m frustrated about something, I go for a run. And that’s the one thing that I can’t do right now. People say “do the things that you normally don’t have time for when you’re training!” and “have fun!”. I know I should and to some extent, I’m following that advice. But it’s proving to be much easier said than done, folks.

I keep hoping that one day (like…tomorrow?) I will wake up and the nasty little knot will be gone. I’ll be able to run comfortably for more than 10 miles and the marathon will happen and everything will be sunshine and rainbows and the finish line will be glorious and all of my hard work & appropriate recovery will have paid off and that first beer will taste so delicious. Ahhh finish line beer is always delicious, isn’t it?

It’s only been a few weeks, but I’ve tried “lots of different paths”.

I’ve consulted a chiropractor, massage therapist (massage of a lifetime!), and now a physical therapist. Graston relieved some pain and electrode therapy felt funny and weird and awesome all at the same time. One of the most frustrating aspects of all of this is that I don’t even know what the problem is. And no one has an answer because my body is speaking a different language. The only answer that ‘works’ is “you have to rest”. So that’s what I’ve been doing. We’ve ruled out a stress fracture with an MRI (even though it would be an anomaly that I had one in my femur…) and it seems like I just have a tight adductor that just won’t let go. And, at this point, I don’t think any amount of massage is going to encourage it to release. I’m scheduled for physical therapy 2 times a week to strengthen my hips and work on stability muscles. I even had a routine blood test done to see if that would provide an answer (and heyoooo ferritin levels are normal to high!).

I feel like I’m pulling out all the stops, people! I’m taking it as easy as I can and trying to be patient but at some point I have to make a decision. And I don’t want to make that decision a week out from a race. Limbo is tough, y’all. Maybe after trying all of these “different paths”, there’s only one that’s really going to work.

-J

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13 thoughts on “Trying Different Paths

  1. Ah friend. Man, do I feel your dilemma. First, I didn’t realize that we basically got hurt at the EXACT same time. But our timelines and experiences over the last couple of weeks have been nearly identical. And while I would NEVER wish injury on anyone (especially a friend), I REALLY appreciate the support you have given me while we go through similar things at the same time. It’s nice to know someone understands and can sympathize. That being said I wish you would wake up tomorrow and your running would be sunshine and rainbows and you could sympathize with your short-term memory instead :) No one will be able to tell you what to do (or if they do, they shouldn’t) because you are the only one who can gauge how your body is doing and what your heart says, but I definitely know that whatever decision you make, it won’t come lightly and it will be the absolute best one for you at that moment. Healing thoughts your way (and yay for good MRI results!)

  2. I totally understand where you are coming from. 3 weeks away from the LA Marathon, my foot started feeling really weird, and tender at one spot. I had just had an awesome 20 miler and spot-on amazing 14+ weeks of training. I was READY for that marathon (my first btw). I also had to make a decision.. because no one could tell me what was wrong but I STILL RAN. in lots of pain. and I’m still recovering (6+ months later). I don’t regret it. I ran my first marathon injured, not proud of it so much, but im glad I know what it’s like to run 26.2 miles of pain. I know i can overcome anything now. Fast forward to today, I am listening to my doctors because not only did I make my foot worse (and develop into a full on stress fracture) but also damaged my knee from trying to compensate for the foot.
    Now im learning from what I did, but even though I’m learning the hard way, i know next time, I WILL listen. So, my advice to you, if you want to run it, do it. Keep in mind, this will not make your leg better. 26.2 miles is a big deal. It all comes down to what kind of person you are. Just think, what if you’re forced to rest because of a stress fracture post-marathon? Vs. Not running it.. Keep resting and don’t give up :) Hoping your leg pulls itself together (no pun intended lol).

  3. Whatever you decide, you’ll feel better after you make a decision and commit to it. It’s the uncertainty that’s the worst. I delay making decisions as long as possible, which is so awful at the time, but necessary for me to feel like I’ve “fully explored” all the options before choosing. Anyway, hang in there and I trust you will let us know when and where to cheer you on via twitter!

  4. It took me 3 years to get over the stress fracture in my femur– so I am SO happy that is not it :) I hope you have peace with whatever you decide!! no one can make that decision for you… and i honestly believe that whatever you choose will be the RIGHT one!

  5. I hope it works out for you!

  6. I hate injury jail and know that other forms of exercise pale in comparison to running. I had to go through similar decision making on whether to train and run Chicago about nine weeks ago. Hang in there, it might just resolve on its own with plenty of rest.

  7. Once you make a decision either way, you should feel more at peace.

    All I can offer is look at the big picture, how far you’ve come and where you want to be. The right decision will *hopefully* present itself.

    Regardless of if you run or not, I’d still like to get a boosy milkshake or beer with you :)

  8. I think just like you weighing the pros and cons! 17 days is still a biiiit aways for something to start feeling better. why is running SO hard sometimes. good luck with the decision :)

  9. Aaack, what a dilemma! You’ve probably thought this through, but let’s say you put off Grand Rapids and go with marathon #2 instead. Would you be upset if you were still not completely healthy by then, and therefore unable to really “race”? Or would it be OK with you, as long as there’s a lower risk of injury? Would you be equally happy to run either of these races for fun, or would it bum you out?

    I don’t know if that helps, but I find it useful to look at my motivations and how I’d react to different outcomes. Good luck with your decision!

  10. Being injured blows. Like you, my fall marathon would have been the second one of my year; and last year I ran two as well…I’m chalking it up to TOO much…even with a few weeks off between training cycles, it’s definitely not realistic to at least PR in more than one marathon a year…especially when you’re working your body as hard as you are! My advice…bag the fall marathon completely and find a FUN spring one in a great destination!

  11. you’re being smart, Jenny. I’ve got nothing to say that hasn’t already been stated elsewhere, but regardless of what you do, you’ll do what’s right for you. you’re smart enough to realize that either way, if you run GR and just have fun with it, or decide to defer (do they defer?) or bow out, your running career is just getting started, and GR isn’t the end-all, be-all. anyway. hugs to you, and here’s hoping that wonkiness subsides soon. xo

  12. Injuries are terrible in general we don’t know how to replace the feeling of a good run! Being injured just before a marathon you have to do what the little voice in you says! One day before the marathon my knee started to hurt I run the whole marathon on a painful knee but I do accept all the consequences now! I am glad I finished! I am sidelined and not sure how long my road to recovery will take! Good luck on your decision!

  13. I just (finally) got diagnosed with a pelvic stress fracture. Although I am devastated that Chicago 2013 won’t happen… and that the injury happened three weeks before the marathon…. I know that there will be more marathons. And actually I am sorta relieved that it is a stress fracture (no running a marathon, no exceptions) rather than a nasty muscular thing (too much of a mind game to figure out what to do). My decision is made. That isn’t to say that I haven’t shed a river of tears or will make it through sunday watching the marathon without a break down. ‘Listen to your body’ is never a piece of advise I like to hear… because how do I listen to my body when my head is going crazy?? But I wish you the best of luck in the decision :-)

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