The Three Toughest Letters to Face as a Runner
January 16, 2012 § 6 Comments
WTF. No LOL here.
Best Laid Plans
I had high hopes for my return to the P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n Roll marathon. This time around was supposed to be different. This time, I was more prepared than for any other race. This time was supposed to be my time. I planned. I trained. I carbed. I fueled. I did so much more than I’ve done in the past because I know what could happen. Been there. Done that.
So, What Happened?
That’s a great question. The same problem I ran into during my last two marathons, reared it’s ugly head once again. I started off energized and strong. I kept my pace slower at the start so I had enough energy to last the second half. I felt good for the first several miles and I stayed on track with my hydration and fueling. Then, at mile 10 I started to struggle. My body felt ok, but my breathing felt strained. I tried to relax and focus, but with each passing mile, my chest felt tighter and breathing had become really difficult. I saw my husband at mile 13 and I knew I was in trouble, but I just warned him that I was slowing down and then I kept going. Bad idea. By mile 15 I was walking…a lot. I could feel the lack of oxygen attacking my muscles and it felt like every fiber of my body was on fire. How is this possible? I was so much smarter with my preparation this time. What if something is really wrong?
I saw my husband and parents at 17.5 and I broke down into tears. I was in pain and my breathing was really shallow. I knew I was in trouble and I had a decision to make. Could I make it another 9 miles? I could if I walked or lightly jogged, but even then, the pain the breathing issues weren’t going to go away. (I’ve learned my lesson there.) It took me a few minutes battling with myself to make the decision. The runner in me really wanted to keep going no matter what it took. But the wife, daughter and friend in me was concerned for my health and what forcing my body to finish could possibly do to me. My body was (and has been) trying to tell me something and I haven’t been listening – maybe this is the time I should start. So, I stopped. Even as I type this I still get teary-eyed to admit that I gave up.
I didn’t finish. I am heartbroken.
I had an appointment with my doctor and he’s going to run some tests. I don’t have a medical answer yet, but the good news is he says I can keep running. I’m going to take a little doctor-prescribed break — maybe a week or two — to recover physically and mentally and then get back to it.
Am I going to try for another marathon? I don’t think so. Am I disappointed with that, yes. But if I can hold onto the great memories from my first marathon, I’ll (eventually) be ok with that decision. I still have goals I want to hit for my half marathon time and I think it will be good for me to ease back on my mileage for a while — at least until I’m sure I won’t ever go through what I’ve been through THREE times again, which for all I know may be never.