I know it’s Tuesday, which means it is time for Intuitive Tuesday, but I am going to switch it up today and talk about the half marathon I ran over a week ago. I have been wanting to get this post up for awhile now, and here it finally is! For those of you that don’t know, I was signed up to run the Woody’s Half Marathon in Red Deer on May 17th.
Last Sunday I was signed up to run my first ever half marathon. I have been training since January, and this was a big deal for me. I put my heart and soul into running, and was so excited for race day.
I did everything I could possibly think of to prepare. A few days before the race I started paying attention to what I was eating. I tried to eat mostly healthy foods that I didn’t think would upset my stomach. The night before I made my usual pasta dinner that I had practiced eating before long runs. I packed my race bag, which contained a change of clothes, body glide, and extra hair elastics. I laid out my race-day clothes, and filled up my fuel belt and some extra water bottles for before and after the run. I also made sure that I had my favorite Gu gels in my fuel belt and packed an extra one just in case. I studied the course map, and charged my cell phone.
I was as ready as I could be.
I have talked about it a bit on the blog in the past, but I have been seeing a physio about a running injury that I developed during training. The physio has had me stretching every 90 minutes to prepare for race day. I have also been doing hip strengthening exercises, and tons of foam rolling.
On the morning of the race, Josh and I woke up bright and early and drove into Red Deer. It was really chilly, and we had to move around to keep warm. With 10 minutes until the start time I visited the port-potties. I also downed a Gu gel to fuel my first few miles and took an ibuprofen just in case my knee started to hurt.
I guess I also re-tied my shoes!
All that was left to do was run. I wasn’t even nervous. I was excited, pumped, and ready to do this. After the countdown, we all were off. I think there were about 800 people registered for the race. We ran close together the first for the first bit, down a road and onto the trail system in Red Deer. It was perfect weather once we started moving, it was beautifully sunny outside. I was feeling great. My pace felt good, and I made sure to constantly remind myself not to go too fast. My goal for the race was just to finish. I didn’t want to worry about time, since I was recovering from an injured knee. I made sure to pay extra attention to my form, and whether I was running up or down hill. At the one mile mark, they had someone yelling out times, and I was shocked that I was running just over nine minute miles. I felt like I was going at an easy pace, but I slowed down even more.
Not too long after the one mile mark, I started to notice that my form was off. I was running with a bit of a limp. My right knee felt tender and slightly sore. It has felt this way pretty consistently for the past few weeks and it wasn’t unbearably painful so I didn’t think much of it. I decided to slow down even more just to be safe.
My limp kept getting worse, and worse, and I started to feel quite a bit more pain in my knee. By now I had reached the 5km mark. I downed another Gu gel, and tried to keep running, but it didn’t feel right. I stopped to walk and stretch out my quads a bit before running again. My knee was consistently getting worse, and I couldn’t force myself to run without a limp.
This was when I started to realize I physically wouldn’t be able to run 21.1 km. I contemplated pushing through the pain and injury, but it was feeling more and more impossible with every step. I slowed to a limping walk and called Josh to let him know what was going on. I intended to ask him for advice, but once he was on the phone I knew that it was over. I explained the situation the best I could, while trying to hold back shaky tears. After calling Josh, I phoned my mom. My parents were babysitting Lochlyn, and had planned to watch me cross the finish line. I let her know that she didn’t need to come, and that I wasn’t going to be able to do it.
I limped my way to the 6km mark. There was a porta-potty stop, and some fans cheering on the runners. I stood waiting for Josh and watched all the other runners pass by. It occurred to me that I should cheer them on, but I didn’t have it in me. It took everything I had to fight the tears that threatened to pour down my face at any moment.
After waiting about 15 minutes, I saw Josh walking towards me. As soon as he was close enough, I grabbed onto him so tight, and let the tears come. We attempted to walk back to the car, but at this point I couldn’t put any weight on my injured knee at all. The car was too far away, so he left to go get it. I sat down in the wet grass, and watched the rest of the runners pass by. I started out closer to the front of the pack, and by the time I left, I am pretty sure I saw every last runner, down to the ones that planned to walk the entire full or half marathon distance.
Some younger runners that participated in the earlier 10k event started talking to the spectators that were close to me. The first one had won and set a new PR. The second had won first place in the female category for 10k. It was hard not to feel sorry for myself while listening to them, but I also felt inspired by their enthusiasm and their stories.
Finally Josh came back with the car and we drove home to ice my knee. I am pretty sure I cried most of the way home, both from pain, and from disappointment.
At home I was greeted by my parents, and my little one. Everyone took amazing care of me. My mom massaged my calf and made sure I was icing lots, Josh constantly fetched me everything I could need, and my dad kept me company. Of course Lochlyn also gave me plenty of cuddles.
I parked myself on the couch, and didn’t move for hours. My knee didn’t seem to be getting better at all, and I started to get worried. Josh ended up taking me to emergency at the hospital just to make sure everything was okay.
About three hours later I was leaving the hospital on crutches, with a Zigglar splint for my knee. Turns out my knee is nothing serious or permanent. I am still dealing with the same Patello-femoral pain syndrome injury I had before, I just made it a lot worse. I also have developed some bursitis in my knee. My calf muscle is damaged from running with a limp for so long, but that should heal quickly.
The rest of the evening was spent on the couch, eating sushi, and trying not to feel guilty about my injury.
I think the hardest part of the day wasn’t not being able to finish the half marathon. The hardest part was not being able to take care of my baby girl. I can’t walk without crutches, and I wasn’t able to put any weight on my right leg at all for quite a few days. I couldn’t carry Lochlyn, lift her up, get her things, chase after her, or hold her hands and help her walk. It broke my heart.
I have an awesome family. Josh has been waiting on me hand and foot. Now that he is back at work my mom is here helping out with Lochlyn. I don’t know what I would do without them.
I obviously won’t be running for awhile. That makes me sad, but it isn’t that big of a deal compared to having the use of my right knee. I am so thankful that I don’t have a serious injury, and that it will heal and be back to normal. That is so much more important to me than being able to run a half marathon.
That being said, I am not giving up on running. I plan to let this injury heal and pick out a new half marathon to conquer when my body is ready!
Stay tuned for a WIAW post tomorrow featuring my Intuitive Eating Journal!