Thursday, April 4, 2013

Stress Fracture, No Fall Marathon and Trying to Stay Sane

One month of no running.  I'm still alive and surviving (surprisingly), but I'm longing for a good run to clear my head and get lost in thoughts of nothing. I'm longing for the runner's high, Central Park and running with friends. And I'm really longing for a good race.

After being told that I probably have a stress fracture, then being told that it didn't seem like one, and then finally being sent for an MRI to see if it is indeed a stress fracture, I'm actually relieved to have an answer: a tibial stress fracture. While this obviously isn't the outcome that I was hoping for this Spring, I'm glad to have a diagnosis for this persisting pain in my right leg.

Annnddd another month of no running commences...

It occurred to me last night that I haven't raced since the Philadelphia Marathon.  Having this injury now makes my experience in Philly that much more special to me- everything came together on race day and I had the race of my dreams. So many people get injured while training, or have an off day on race day, but I was lucky enough to make it to the starting line healthy, meet my goal and make it to the finish line healthy. For that, I am forever grateful, and thinking back on the Philadelphia Marathon will always put a smile on my face and a tear of happiness in my eye. But, since then, my running record has been less than stellar.  I had three awesome races planned for this Spring, and I've had to back out of all three of them. Cheering for friends is fun and I love to be there to support them, but we all know it's not the same as running the race yourself. I'm dying to race, but I need to be smart about it.

We all know that one has to plan many months out to run a marathon, and train properly. Before this injury, I was planning to run the Wineglass marathon in early October.  For this race, I would have to start training mid-June. If I'm not able to run again until (at least) May, that would only give me a few weeks to really build up my base and get back into things. Given this injury and knowing my body, I know it's not a smart idea for me. Will I miss hot, humid, long runs with friends this summer? Surprisingly, yes, absolutely. Will I be jealous of everyone's amazing times this Fall? Yup. Will I have a huge urge to sign up for a Fall marathon? Most likely. But if I want to make it to the starting line of Boston next April (if my 3:33 time is good enough once registration opens) then I need to be smart and not push it this Fall. If I only run two marathons in my life, I want the other one to be Boston. Philly was perfect, and I want Boston to be as perfect as possible too. And for me, that means skipping a Fall marathon.

My goal for this Spring was to focus on speed and halves, which I now plan to move to the Fall. I have my eye on the Philly Rock 'n' Roll Half and maybe the Wineglass Half. But until then, I'm focusing on my core, hip abductor exercises and am thinking I may need to change to a different type of shoe. And also not increase my mileage as quickly as I did this winter. You know, that 10% rule that I didn't really follow...

The last month has left me cranky, irritable, frustrated, feeling lazy and defeated. Some days I fight back tears because I just want to run. Some days I'm happy just to be able to go to a spin class. Some days I fight back tears IN a spin class. Really, I'm just a basket case of emotions. The one constant through this has been my friends and family checking in on me to make sure that I'm doing okay. Thank you all- you're the best. Injuries blow, but your caring has made it slightly less horrible.

2013 has pretty much sucked for me (in terms of running and health), but I'm determined to turn that around once I'm able to lace up my sneakers and hit the roads again. Bring it on second-half of 2013! Dream Big.

Have you ever had a tibial stress fracture? What's your next race? Are you running a Fall marathon?