So it's now been 4 weeks since the marathon. When people say to me, 'Hey! Good job on running that marathon!' I still roll my eyes and shake my head. Yeah, I finished a marathon, but I can't say that I ran the marathon. Almost every day I think back to the run and feel let down. I did a lot of research about post-marathon depression. It's a real thing. When you spend 8 hours a week for 20 weeks planning for something there's a pretty big hole in your life when it's over.
Stephan has had a few serious talks with me about the self-esteem and pride issues that have come up for me now. How do you finish a 26.2 mile race and not be proud of yourself? Especially re-reading all of these blog posts where I'm super-proud of the progress I was making.
While I physically crossed that finish line, I still have yet to cross it emotionally.
That's about it. I saw another professional about my foot today. She was confident that things would heal in their own time. I think I'll be stopping by the local pool tomorrow to at least keep up with the fitness aspect of my life as I focus on healing.
It took me 21 years to run a mile. I was 21 years old the first time I actually jogged 1.0 miles on my parents' treadmill in their basement. 11 years later I finished a marathon. Three weeks after that (today) I struggled through a two mile run.
One mile out, one mile back. It was the two miles I had to walk at the end of the marathon. I ran them today, but I was still in excruciating pain. It took more than 30 minutes to finish today's run.
So 26.2 miles later... I'm back at square 1. One mile today was just as hard as one mile 11 years ago. I am starting over. One step, another step, repeat. I'm still not sure exactly the nature of the injury to my right foot and leg. An x-ray showed nothing.
Copied from an email I sent last week... because unfortunately it still holds true.
"It's been 2 weeks since I finished this thing, and I feel like I owe a lot of people a description of the run- SO many people have called or emailed to find out how it went, but I just tell them I can't talk about it yet.
"Because I feel like it sucked. The first 11 miles were amazing- there was so much cheering, so much support, shade, and so many crowds of people. The miles ticked by SO fast. I thought, if this is what racing is, I love it! I want more!! But then the 1/2 marathoners turned to the right (turns out there were 25,000 of them, and only 4,000 of us) and the music stopped. There were barely any people cheering us on- we stopped running on shady side-streets and started running on abandoned highways and through rough-looking neighborhoods. My brain did the math- they only had 2 more miles to go. We had 15.
And thud- there was the Wall. I knew it was coming, so I just kept going and waited for it to pass. But every hill drained a little more determination from me. Every time I saw the clock it seemed like we were going slower. My head started pounding and Stephan and I had to slow down so I could drink 3-4 cups of water at each mile. My stomach cramped up and I visited the bathroom at least 4 times, none of which eased the pain.
When I saw that there was no way we would finish in 5:30, it took more out of me. Then 6:00 [hours] passed us up. After mile 24 I began sobbing and couldn't keep running. I slowed down to walk and just broke down. I never stopped moving, but I was a mess. The pain in my feet, legs and lower back was excruciating. It was the first time in 6 months that I didn't want to finish.
Didn't want to. Didn't care. The whole thing was stupid.
So Stephan held my hand, told me that unless I passed out unconscious we were going to finish, and we walked the rest of the way. He pointed out that we were probably walking faster than we had been running lately anyway. Dozens of people passed us, fat people, old people, people who had walked the whole way... Lots of people stopped to tell me I could do it. The few spectators left on the last mile stood up or turned around and cheered me on so loudly, but none of it broke through my brain. I failed as soon as I started walking. As soon as I didn't care. Those people didn't know I failed. Stephan had to tell me about most of the last mile later- I wasn't really there. I'd checked out.
I couldn't even run across the finish line. I walked. The guy who took our picture looked so confused. I was sobbing, I could barely lift my eyes to the camera. We stumbled past the medal-people and I layed down under a tree. Stephan got us water and snacks. There wasn't really anyone left there. The tents were being taken down. The music people were long gone. It was a ghost town with just a skeleton crew making sure people weren't dead. We took some pictures and walked to the car.
There was a lot of pain, exhaustion (I was pale as a sheet when we got back to the hotel, despite a sunburn), a finisher's medal... but no pride. I feel like I failed. Because I had to walk and I didn't care about finishing.
I know there wasn't anything else I could have done. The training, my prep was all perfect. If the course had been flat- if it was Chicago- I'm positive I'd have finished with no problem. Smiling even.
I'm rereading this laying in bed with my right foot elevated and on ice. I tried to run this afternoon but only got about 4 blocks away from the house before I was in excruciating pain: from the bottom of my foot, then into my knee, and finally up into my hip. It won't take any pressure. I'm not sure what's going on.
I had it x-rayed earlier in the week but nothing showed up on the film. And the doctor who told me a few weeks ago, "What did you think would happen?" told me to "walk it off, what did you think would happen?" So I'm trying to suck it up, but not being able to do something I've come to not only love, but rely on as a mood-stabliizer, stress-reliever, and thing-I-do-for-myself sucks.