I recently ran the Portland Marathon after suffering a strained calf three weeks before I knew running this marathon was a gamble, although it was one I was willing to take. I had been training since July and really felt ready to run a solid marathon again as I was running times I had run when I was healthy! It was such an amazing feeling to be able to train at higher level again and challenge myself. I even got use to and looked forward to the super early morning runs with my neighbor that has a crazy on call schedule and some mornings I think he only got a few hours sleep after bringing new life into the world delivering babies in the middle of the night.
I knew when I went to see our Team Blaze Athletic Trainer before the marathon for an assessment and she recommended running with real caution and encouraged me to drop out if I felt pain it was a gamble, although I really felt much better on Wed. through Sun. morning with no pain. Unfortunately, when I got to mile 10 it felt tight and after going up the St Johns hill to mile 18 in the marathon my calf was done, so I walked and jogged back to the finish.
Should I have quit? What would you do?
I personally have always felt that once an athlete starts dropping out when the going getting tough it makes it easier to quit in the future. By the same token if I had quit at 13 mile maybe I wouldn't be injured or maybe I would be and then regret the fact I didn't finish my journey. In retrospect I'm glad I did the race as it was my opportunity to run a marathon less than 11 monhs after heart surgery and as my wife reminded me, you finish in 3:48 and so many people would love to run that time! Thanks babe for always supporting and giving me the glass half full perspective!
Of course hindsight is always 20/20 and I now realize I was really fooling myself to think my calf would hold up for 26.2 miles. Unfortunately, after training since July and feeling better throughout the week I decided to roll the dice and now I'm paying for it. My challenge since heart surgery is that my motivation and passion for challenging myself has impacted my judgement. So, now I rest, let this heal effectively and build the solid foundation to hopefully support me in 2012 and beyond without ongoing injuries!
After visiting two doctors in the last two weeks....
I had an ultrasound and the specialist said I tore the muscle in two places (inside of mid-calf and near my shin) and another Dr. confirmed it today, although he said it wasn't as bad as he thought based on the ultrasound relative to how it looks. It still hurts really bad to walk, so he set me up with boot and said NO RUNNING, which should be a given as I can't walk without pain. I can swim with a buoy and do core/upper body exercises, however I must reduce all weight bearing activities if I want this to heal.
What did I learn through the experience.....
* I learned that sometimes it's better to sit on the sidelines and support others.
*I learned once again that even if I'm in pain and obviously going to run slower than planned I can't quit. So, in the future I need to use better judgement instead of letting my motivation cloud my judgement.
*I learned that although this sucks and I'm now chilling for the next 4 weeks that it could always be worse.
*I learned why I do all this crazy stuff. I truly love the challenge and resting to effectively recover from this will in time help me. As my wife always tells me, "in time this will be a small bump that will pass."
*I learned that I'm going to really focus in 2012 to build an effective foundation to hopefully stay healthy and enjoy the racing again!
* I learned that for Halloween I 'm going to be a cardiac storm trooper as I already have the heart pillow, spirometer and now the walking boot so why not just grab my afro wig and try to have fun with this latest bump in the road. Remember to enjoy the journey and keep the faith!
Thanks for reading!