This year I was excited rather than nervous for the race. I'd made the route one of my regulars and I knew I could run it strong.
We started off for the base of Mt. Sentinel and slogged up the side of the mountain, already feeling the heat of the day (my nemesis). I took it slow until I made it down the fire road. Remember running around as a kid, those times when you just went as fast as you could? As I came around a turn, I decided to do that. I just wanted to have fun, so I stopped pacing and ran as fast as I could down the trail.
I passed people, jumped over the dips in the trail, and had a blast. I let go of all the training and seriousness of trying to maintain X minutes per mile. I slowed down again once I reached the road, but for those few minutes on the mountain I felt free.
Sam met me at the finish and we watched the Douple Dip finishers and sat in the grass. I checked my time and saw that I had PRd. It felt pretty damn good.
|Pengelly Single Dip 2014|
A little over a week later, I fractured my foot.
I woke up that morning and my foot felt sore, but it felt like the regular soreness of marathon training. I figured it would fade like the other various kinks do once you start your day.
When Sam and I started, it was drizzling, which was a good thing. Without having to deal with the heat, the run should have gone mostly smoothly. A few miles in, I told Sam I was uncomfortable. I adjusted my stride and tried to take it slow and steady. It started to rain harder, but I like running in the rain. My foot still hurt.
At 16 miles in, I had to stop. I stretched my foot out and tried to put on a brave face. I told Sam it felt like if I were to take off my shoe and sock, my foot would be black and blue. But, yes I was fine and yes I wanted to keep going.
At 17 miles in, I had to stop again. I'm not a person that cries when I get hurt, I'm more of a suck it up type. So, I stood there with Sam in the rain and held back tears. He asked me what I wanted to do and I said that I didn't know, that I wanted to keep going, maybe. I told him I didn't feel rational. Could he just decide and I'd do what he said? He said let's quit and I said two more miles. Like it would resolve itself in that distance.
So we did two more miles and went home. When I took off my shoe, my foot was red and swollen. I couldn't even touch it to the ground, it hurt so bad. We iced it and I felt stupid, but I cried.
I hoped it was minor and would heal on it's own, but after two weeks of limping around, it didn't. I went to a specialist, they took x-rays, and told me that it was a stress fracture. Goodbye first marathon, hello ugly black shoe.
|My new nemesis|
At the moment, I'm mid-way through the healing process. I haven't run in almost a month and I'm ready to pull my hair out. My foot doesn't hurt anymore, but I know it's still healing. And the fear of re-injuring it worse is enough to keep me out of my running shoes. Sam and I go on short walks and we kayak and try to stay active, but it's not the same.
It made me realize something - I'm not, and never was, an imposter. My race times never mattered. I woke up before dawn, ate the bagels, and put in the miles just like other runners. And I miss it.
But watch for the neon shoes, I'll be back soon.