Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Crying uncle (and, well, crying)

I never thought I'd get to the point where I threw up my hands and admitted defeat. But it may be time to do just that.

Last week's vacation was lovely. I was able to travel and hike mostly without pain. On Saturday, upon return, I ran the Susan G. Komen 5K. As I took my first step running, I realized my right hip was acting very strange. It took effort to pick up my leg to run. As the run progressed, the pain subsided, but as soon as I took a small walk break and then resumed running, it returned. Since then, I've found it hard to do just about everything, including walk.

On Monday, I bent over to dry my hair, and a sharp pain - like a small knife being jabbed in my lower back - hit me hard. My physical therapist on Tuesday discovered it's not muscular (like all my other problems). It's very likely a disc issue. And that's not fixable.

And I still have the IT band pain.

So to sum up: Pain in the left knee area, lower back and right hip. I'm one hot mess.

My physical therapist (yes, the one I love for supporting my running) threw me for a loop this week when he suggested that, after the half marathon, I stop long-distance running. He said my body may not be cut out for it. That I should stick with small distances.

Embarrassingly, I started to cry as he spoke. I didn't want to hear what he was saying. I had decided that I would take a running break after next month - to hopefully reset my body and help the various parts heal - and I thought that was what he, too, was going to suggest. Not to stop long distances for good.

It's what many people have told me over the years, but I've ignored them because long-distance running makes me happy. It's the only thing I find joy in, where I feel proud of myself. I never thought when I was 317 pounds that I would one day run half marathons. And that I would love it. But I do.

Beyond that heartbreak lies something worse: I'm beginning to realize that this half marathon (now 20-some days away) may be impossible. I haven't run long for more than two weeks. I haven't run at all - with the exception of the 5K, which despite my pain was a good race - for more than two weeks. Today, while crossing a busy road on my way to work, I did a small jog. It hurt so much, I practically had to peg-leg myself across the road.

I keep telling people that despite the various injuries, I am not ready to give up, that I'm still determined to run this for Chris, that I have fundraised with the promise that I was going to run the half. I'm less than $400 away from my goal of $3,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project. Yet I'm so far from where I need to be in my training.

I still have it in my head that I'm going to attempt 10 miles on Sunday, but at the moment, as I sit at my desk feeling that knife-pain in my back, I don't know how that's going to be possible. Or the 11 miles the following week. Or the 13.1 miles two weeks after that.

Every night I pray that I heal, that I can run without pain, that I can run this race. But every day I am faced with a new problem. I am willing to work hard. But it appears there is only so much I can do.

I'm still hoping for a miracle. That may be what it takes.


  1. Oh no! I'm so sorry to hear everything is coming apart. I'm hoping for a miracle for you as well.

    Regardless, you've done amazing work for a great organization and you have already showed everyone who donated that you're tough and committed. That's got to be worth something.

  2. SO sorry to hear about the new injuries.

    Any access to a pool where you could do deep-water running on Sunday (for the most boring two hours of your entire life)? Or even an elliptical machine where you could keep your heart rate elevated for roughly the same amount of time as your run? Even if you're not able to run this weekend, I really think you could still do the race; just plan on walking the miles you're not trained for. Remember, you've done 8 miles, and that fitness hasn't vanished!

    And I agree with Megan. You've done an amazing amount of work for charity, and no one is going to demand their money back if you don't do the run. So forget about that, put the PT's comment about the future out of your mind for now, and figure out what you need to do to get yourself to the starting line in one piece!

    And I'm praying for the lower back. I'm an advocate of the piecemeal approach. :)