Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Final Thoughts

"Sometimes sweat is the best form of therapy" Samantha Dunn

Just a few more words about my entire marathon experience. Surprises, lessons learned, and random thoughts I have had about it.

I think I was most surprised by how difficult the training was. Not the actual mileage part-- I knew that would be tough-- but emotionally. Pete has said on several occasions to me, that he is always surprised by my inability to consider that something may go wrong, and to then plan for such mis-happenings. This was another one of those situations. It never occurred to me that I would be wrought with so much injury and pain. Even when I was on crutches with severe plantar fasciitis, I never considered the possibility that it would interfere with my training. I figured I would get the cortisone shot, stay off it for 2 weeks, then voila!, good as new. As those who followed my training know, that was not the case. I had 3 shots, physical therapy, custom made orthotics, enough motrin to kill a cow, and still ran in pain, every single day. Most of the time it was tolerable pain, but pain none the less. In fact, my foot still hurts. The plantar fasciitis seems to be mostly gone, but I have been left with joint pain in my foot. Poor Pete was subjected to my constant complaints of pain, worries about making it to the race, etc... It was draining for both of us.

Running and what it meant for me changed during the training. Running has always been an enjoyable experience. It was my escape, often times my only alone time in the entire day. While training, that changed. I was so focused on my training schedule, and so stubborn about pushing ahead, that every little ache or pain sent my anxiety level through the roof. Instead of escaping, I would hyper focus on everything. I was so sure that every pain was going to be the race ending injury I was so fearful of, a stress fracture, or something worse. I am looking forward to running for pleasure again. ( I am currently not running, waiting for my body to heal)

Despite the trials of training, the race itself was an enjoyable experience. It was exciting to be a part of something like that. While running I looked around and soaked in the beautiful views of San Francisco. Yes, I was in pretty severe pain the last hour, but that did not deter from the overall experience for me. I am still struggling with accepting my time. I had a goal for myself, and I do not do well with what I consider to be failure. I can't help but think I should have/ could have done better.

Now for the big question-- Will I do it again? After the race, I was not sure. I just didn't know if I could go through all that again. I know Pete was/is hoping I don't. Now that I have sat with it for a bit, I think I have too. I need another chance to improve. Also, it was just so exciting! It has to be different next time though. I can't endure all the pain, medical visits, and stress that all that entailed. I will research training schedules, and maybe even talk with a running coach. I will attempt to train in a way that will cut down on the injuries. And if problems do arise? I will stop. I am hoping since I have already done a marathon, I won't feel like I have something to prove. Why did I feel like that in the first place? The only pressure on me to do this run was self inflicted, I see that now.

So look out Napa! I am hoping to run the Napa Marathon, March 2010. (But don't hold me to it!)


Eudea-Mamia said...

I believed everything, right up until you said you would stop should pain arise the second time around.

I call B.S.

Good for you!! You're an inspiration. I don't think I have a marathon in me, not yet, but maybe a local 5K.

I'm crazy like that.


Anonymous said...

Ok.... Michelle you are CRAZY!! Alex thinks you are EMO, I didn't know what that is do you? I know you can do it again but the question is should you? ^_^, ?_?

Suzanne said...

I love your reflections. I didn't think it was going to be so demanding either nor did I expect it to cut into so much of our family time. Before my training was aborted, I feared anything that would trip me up and keep me from continuing. I understand your disappointment in your time...even though it was GREAT! We set high bars for ourselves.

Lastly, I am not surprised you have set your standards on another marathon. It's like labor, right? Amnesia is the only reason why mothers bear more than one child.

Katie said...

You shouldn't be so hard on yourself. You did awesome! Even with all the injuries and pain you stuck it out. Think about all the people who didn't finish. About 1/3 of the people who entered the marathon I ran dropped out. And I'm hesitant to share this but...I actually tried to run a marathon six years ago and dropped out at 21 miles. It's the only race I've ever not finished and it still bothers me very much. So you may have not met your goal time, but you finished and respectably.

Andrea said...

I am still in amazement that you ran a freaking marathon!!! Sorry that you are not happy with your time though. . . but you ran in a lot of pain for a loooong time! You are 1 strong woman:)


You rock Michelle, I think you are such an ispiration.
Go Napa, in 2010!!!!

Suzanne said...

You look so happy! I LOVE the picture.

Suzanne said...

I know I said it already but I just really love that picture!