Although I have been running off and on (mostly on) for almost 25 years, I have not always thought of myself as a runner. I ran, but I wasn't a "real" runner. In fact, it wasn't until I was training for my first marathon a few years ago that I finally started to think of myself as a real runner.
After the San Francisco Nike marathon, October 2008
Running used to be a very solitary experience for me. I always ran alone, and joked that it was my only "alone time". I cherished being alone with my thoughts for the long periods of time, and would frequently get an idea, or figure out a solution to some problem I had been pondering.
That changed last spring. During an early morning track workout I was approached by a man, Hollis, who began asking me lots of question. "What distances did I run?" "What was my pace?" "What kinds of workouts did I do?" I must have passed the interview, because he invited me join their running group on some runs. I was pretty nervous, but showed up one morning. I have been running with the group since. Not every run, but most of them. I have grown to really love running with a group! I have met a really wonderful group of people. I have become so much stronger and faster as a runner. We are a varied group- one guy has been running in Almaden for over 30 years and knows every street and trail like it's his backyard. One guy does Ultra trail races, recently doing a 50 mile one. One women does LOTS of marathons, and has even done 3 marathons, 3 days in a row in Tahoe. A pretty inspiring group!
After the San Jose Rock-n-Roll half marathon, October 2009
I had been inspired to try another marathon. (Click here for the summary of my first and only marathon). I am signed up for the Huntington Beach marathon on February 6th. Training was going great, and I was really enjoying it this time around. The group has been so supportive, especially on the long runs. What a difference this time around! For my first 20 mile run one guy ran the first 10 with me, then a group met up with me to run the second 10. I was on pace to even do around 4 hours, a 30 minute improvement over my first run.
After the Quicksilver 25K Trail Run, May 2010
Then I got injured. A nagging hip soreness which quickly escalated. I took a week off, then had to get back on track again. It hurt, but was tolerable. After trying an 11 mile run though, it was excruciating. In fact, as soon as I stopped running I could not walk. Long story short I have a beginning stress fracture in my hip. The marathon is out. I can start running again in a month if I am pain free, but I doubt I will be at that point. It has already been a couple of weeks and it still hurts to walk. To say I am frustrated is an understatement. Looking back on my training schedule I can not see what I could have done differently. I had a solid base. I increased my miles slowly. I kept my overall weekly miles low-ish. How will I prevent this from happening again? I wonder if I had immediately stopped at the first sign of pain if it would have resolved quickly. I just don't know how to differentiate between OK pain and bad pain. When you run long distances there are going to be aches and pains. I just can't seem to figure out when it is OK to run through it and when to stop. Will I ever be able to run another marathon? I don't know. I know in the grand scheme of life's difficulties this is minor, and for that I am grateful.
So for now I am a runner who can't run. I feel lost. I don't know what to do with myself. I am getting crabby. I watch others running and am jealous. I look at upcoming marathons and wonder if I can be ready in time for this one or that.
If I can't run, then what am I?
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