I’m about 5 weeks out from running my second marathon, and it’s about this time I begin to worry about weird crazy injuries that could happen to negate all the training I’ve done throughout the year.
Realistically, if you’re smart about your running, and your heading into the last few weeks of training, it’s not something that you really need to worry about. Your body should be in tip top shape from something as grueling as 26.2 miles. 26.2 miles is grueling no matter what speed you run. Hell, walking 26.2 miles is physically tough, not to mention mentally tough.
One of the reasons I do have crazy fears like this though is because last year I suffered a bout of a weird type of cellulitis that attacked the muscle tissue in my right leg. It was painful, scary, and with only 2 weeks until my very first marathon, I was seriously wondering if it was going to be possible. Thankfully, I was cleared, and finished my first marathon. Though around mile 15-16 I swore this was the first and last one, that feeling you get at the finish propels you to want – no, crave – that feeling again. It’s a feeling that only those who have completed 26.2 with you will understand. It’s very different from finishing a 5k, 10k, or half-marathon.
You feel invincible, you feel alive, you feel something akin this:
The important thing to remember though is that things do happen. Today on my run, it was only going to be 5 miles, I had something happen to me that has never happened before in my life while running. I fell. Hard.
After running a slow 9:40 mile up the hills at the start of my run, I was cruising along at a sub 9 pace (pretty fast for me, I’m slow). I see a dip in the sidewalk towards the top of the hill, but somehow misjudged how deep the dip was, or how far my feet were coming up off the ground, or, the most probable case, the side walk grew hands, grabbed my ankle and slammed me to the ground as I gracefully leaped like a gazelle over the dip in an effort to keep me from my marathon.
The first thought that went through my mind was, oh crap, let me stop my watch.
The second was:
The third was something that I can’t say in polite company.
I went through all stages of grief in the span of about 3 minutes.
My knee was feeling a bit twisted, banged up my hands and the right leg, and left smears of blood on the sidewalk. Brushing myself off, making sure nothing was seriously busted up, I continued on, a bit more cautious until I could get to a place to kind of wash the wounds and finish the run.
I finished the run at a 9:29 pace and ended up going only about 4.5 miles as my right leg was getting a bit swollen. Nothing seriously wrong, but I figured it was time to just call it a day. I still had a 3 mile training run with my 7 year old, that lasted 1.5 miles, with a 1.5 mile walk, but I digress.
I doubt I’ll learn to be more cautious after this experience. After all, when you are legs are moving you and you’ve got your audio book, or music, or whatever it is that gets you by during some of the lonely runs, and you aren’t thinking about anything, but feeling everything, you tend not to worry about the what ifs……and that’s a good thing.
Running is a pain sometimes my friends, but when you approach that final quarter mile, and you have just as many people cheering you on to the finish and other runners screaming words of encouragement to you as they call your name crossing that finish line, it all becomes worth it.
Pain?? What pain??