I’m NOT doing a half marathon in 5 days!
April Fools is actually the name of the half marathon I won’t be completing in Atlantic City on Sunday. You know, the race I signed up for almost a year ago. The one I procrastinated training for until a month ago. That one.
Since I posted about my one month training plan, I’ve been pretty quiet about how it was going. The plan was to train quickly, and walk the half with Anne, running across the finish line together, Laverne and Shirley style.
Things did not go as planned. In short, those plans went @$%^&*&(^%@#^.
After my second long training walk, seven miles (which I was very proud of), my foot started hurting something awful. Not the normal ‘hey, you just walked A LOT’ ache, but actual pain.
I went to the doctor the next day, and heard the words no runner/walker wants to hear: Plantar Fasciitis.
Ouch. And also, OUCH.
Due to some not-supportive-enough running shoes, combined with my aggressively increased training, I managed to mess up my left foot pretty good.
My doctor, a very reasonable man, gave me lots of advice. He didn’t say I had to stop training. He didn’t say I couldn’t do the half. What he did say was that I needed to go get fitted for different shoes, wear inserts, never walk barefoot, do lots of icing and stretching when I was training, and most importantly, to pay attention to how my foot was feeling and to not push it.
A few days later, I went out for a walk in my shiny new Asics Gel Kayanos. I stretched first. I iced first. I took it slow. I did 2.25 miles. I stretched some more. I iced some more.
And there was the pain. Not nearly as bad, but definitely still there. And it stuck around for a while.
A few days later, I went to the gym and hopped on the treadmill. Same thing. Ice, stretch, walk, stretch, ice, pain. And all the while, my pace was getting worse, down to a level that meant that even if I finished the half, it wouldn’t be within the actual time limit of the course.
With the race fast approaching, I had a decision to make. The pain while walking was manageable, and there was a part of me that wanted to just push through it and deal with the fallout later. But after some long talks with a good friend, and then with my husband, I realized that was just my pride talking.
When I pushed that pride aside, I knew I couldn’t do the half. It would mean worsening my injury, and likely vastly extending my recovery time, none of which were acceptable options for me. I have a job and kids to run around after and a vacation to go on this summer, and none of those things are made easier or more enjoyable by me limping around in pain.
So, after some crying (a lot) and mentally beating myself up about not having trained the way I should have for the last year (a moderate amount), I let Anne know that our Laverne and Shirley moment was not to be this time around.
That part sucked. I hate feeling like I’m letting people down. And even more so, I hate being the one that ‘can’t’ do something. But I know I made the right decision. It’s just taking me some time to get okay with all of it.
It’s hard not to view this as a failure. In some ways, it is. After Sunday, I was going to be able to say ‘I completed a half marathon’. But if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. And whoa did I fail to plan. So while I certainly don’t view myself as a failure, in the ledger of my life, this definitely goes in the minus column.
But there are items in the plus column, too. I get to spend a weekend with my girls without spending half of it drowning in pre-race anxiety… plus. I realized just how much I really do want to complete a half, even if this isn’t the one… plus. And I get to be there, cheering and clapping, when my dear friend Anne completes her first half… HUGE PLUS.
There will be other races. I may already have one in mind. (Don’t ask when or where it is, I’m keeping that to myself for now). There will be a time when I am physically ready for this, when I’ve prepared the right way, when my head (and my wonky foot) are in the right place. There will be endless opportunities for me to be ready for.
As for next Sunday, if you’re bored, feel free to come hang out with me. I’m going to go for a leisurely walk on the Atlantic City boardwalk, grab some Starbucks, gaze out over the Atlantic Ocean and make some memories of that time I didn’t run a half marathon.