Friday, April 15, 2011

Praying for a miracle

Here's the sad and ugly truth. I'm sitting here trying to fight the urge to wallow in self-pity over my predicament. To comfort myself, I'm indulging in McDonald's fries and a strawberry shake. Great health food, I know!! Here's why -- It's almost two days until Boston and I'm not even sure I'll be able to finish the race. In my 13 years of running and of my 14 marathons, I've never gone into a marathon feeling this way before. I'm going into this race with a potential major injury. At the very least, I have a stress reaction in my foot. Or, it COULD be a stress fracture. I've had no MRI to confirm this, but have seen several health care professionals in the past couple of weeks and this seems to be the logical conclusion.

I knew going into this training that things wouldn't be ideal. For goodness sake, I had to train in the winter in the Midwest! What could I expect but lots of cold, snowy days running outside. But, I dealt with it. I sucked it up and did what I had to do. I wasn't killing myself this time around. I had already qualified, so my goal was to just put in the miles and build up to some speed and hill work so I could at least go into Boston prepared. More than anything, I didn't want a repeat of how I trained and ran Boston before. When I ran it in 2002, I was a full-time student and just barely squeezed in my training between classes, homework, and tests. I did just enough to finish, but not enough to have a strong race. Still, once I was in Beantown and surrounded by all those wonderful athletes, I convinced myself I could still push the pace. Once I started the race, I became intent on breaking four hours. All went well in the first half, but once I hit the Newton hills, I got a blister on my big toe. I was able to stay on pace, but finally, at mile 19, it broke. I had never blistered in a race before and didn't know how bad it was. I just knew it hurt with every step. For three miles, I searched for a medical tent. When I finally found one, I sat down, took off my shoe and sock, lubed up with Vaseline, and put on a band-aid. Once my foot was all mended, I took off and was able to finish the race. I don't remember much about those last 7 miles except it was a struggle. I remember that I started resenting the race and couldn't muster up the strength to try to enjoy myself by taking in everything around me. I was frustrated that I had a negative attitude and that my race hadn't gone as I had hoped. Still, I finished in 4:06. Not a bad time for me (based on the clock's standard), but a terrible time in terms of how I experienced what was supposed to be the best part of the race, the finish.

From the start of this training, I've said that finish time wasn't the important factor in my Boston race this time around. I just wanted to go back to Boston and try to redeem myself from all the negativity I experienced before. I wanted to take it all in this time and enjoy it as much as possible, especially the final 6 miles!

I don't know what God's plans are for me, but I know that goal may be difficult to attain on Monday. When I saw my chiropractor today, he said he wouldn't advise running, but he knows I will anyway. He just wants me to be prepared to stop in the race if the pain becomes intolerable. I'm sure if it gets that bad, I'll have no choice. There's a good chance it could become a stress fracture and I could do major damage if I keep running on it.

I have no idea what is going to happen on Monday. I'm praying for the best and for my ego to get out of the way so I can run smart and finish - no matter how slow. I've GOT to get time goals out of my head! I'm a pretty competitive person (I think all Boston qualifiers are) and it's going to be challenging to go against my nature. Only God can change this in me.

I am comforted by all the people who are praying for me. Thank you! I'm beyond any more physical help, so this is all I have left.

I'm sure there's a major life lesson in all of this, but I'm not at a point of analyzing it just yet. Give me time. I'm sure I'll have more to say when I get back.

Earlier, I felt at peace and I was okay with simply lining up at the start of Boston and just seeing how far I could go. I'm nervous and sad now. It's just a mix of emotions for me right now. My hope and prayer is that I can make it to the finish and get that Boston medal. I wish I had more faith, like Ralph in the movie Saint Ralph, to expect that God will perform miracles. I know He can. I just don't know if there'll be one for me.

1 comment:

  1. I thought of you and sent up a little prayer for you during my little run today. I hope everything went well. May God's peace be with you. No matter what the outcome, you are an inspiration to me!