Okay I'm ready to talk about this. Because I came, I ran—and I think I failed. Take it from me, having the ‘all or nothing’ approach to my fitness challenges makes it more difficult when things go wrong on race day. Like I said, I’ve been preparing for weeks for my second half marathon; confident that by training this time around, I could break the two hour mark for the 13-mile race. However, going into last week, I felt that my former foot injury could flare up again. Last summer, while training for my triathlon that horrible, dreaded plantar fascitis became one of the many injuries I had to add to the lis+t (I’m accident prone!). But as a runner, sometimes this injury is unavoidable—the constant pressure and pounding on the pavement can cause inflammation in the connective tissue on the arch of your foot. It’s an injury that doesn’t go away but can be treated—this is a burden for any avid runner like myself. Not only does it not go away, but it puts extra pressure on the knee and leads to another injury you don’t want to have when you run every day. Therefore, when I felt it creeping up this past week, I immediately iced and made sure to stretch my foot every night. I was not going to let this put a damper on my race.
Unfortunately on race day, at mile three, I knew I was done. Maybe it’s just me, but if I have to stop at all during a long run, then I feel like I haven’t succeeded at all—stopping can be so tempting and feel so good, but it’s always so hard to start back up again. So, I may be slow, but I rarely stop in the middle of a run—I usually just take it down a notch. I’ll do whatever I can to push through and carry on. But this time, I just couldn’t bare and at mile three, I had to stop to stretch my aching foot. A minute later, I started back up again and basically limped my way to mile eight before I had to stop for good. Unfortunately, mile eight on the Brooklyn Half Marathon course is a long stretch to the finish down Ocean Parkway and onto the Coney Island boardwalk—I had no choice but to walk the remainder of the race. I honestly felt like quitting, hopping in a cab, and disqualifying myself from the race entirely. If I can’t do something to the best of my ability (110%!), is there any point in doing it at all? I preach to everyone else, all my friends, anyone I know, that doing a little bit of something (like working out) is always better than nothing, but I’m my own worst critic. However, I’m not a quitter, and I finished the race (walked and shuffled my way to the end—at least it was nice out!); I don’t have a time that I’m proud of, but I guess you can’t win them all!
Some say that the only way to get rid of this injury is to give up running altogether. But that’s like telling me to give up sleeping or eating. Running makes me feel good about myself, and each three, five, ten-mile run that I do is a small accomplishment and just makes me happy. I’ll have to get used to the fact that you have some good races and you have some bad ones...but the important thing is that I’m out there doing them! I’m giving myself some time to heal; my triathlon is in two months so I’m focusing on swimming and biking until then. And up next: The Philadelphia Half-Marathon on September 19th. If you’re planning on doing it too, let me know!
Here I am before my aching foot pain began.....