Another missed opportunity

Posted: January 2, 2013 in Training
Tags: ,

The Houston Marathon is in 11 days.

I still cannot walk without a limp.  Running, which I attempted briefly on Tuesday is pretty much a joke at this point.

I was not able to make it two houses down the block before I had to shut it down, tuck tail and hobble back to the house.

To say that I am frustrated would be a colossal understatement.  After more than 600 days of injury free running and racing we are officially injured.  This is not just the traditional aches and pains associated with the marathon taper where your body begins to heal itself from all the intense training.  I’ve been there before and have dealt with that.

This is completely different.  Our left foot/Achilles tendon is tender, inflamed and cannot push off or flex the way it is meant to.  Even walking right now is difficult.  Sadly, there will be no marathon for us next Sunday.

There is a small part of me, the competitive side, that is still holding out hope that my body is able to heal itself and the pain will vanish just as quickly and unreasonably as it arrived.  But with each passing morning when I open my eyes, flex my foot and it feels “perfect” – I realize when it hits the floor and I take my first step to the bathroom that another 24 hours has come and gone and nothing has changed.

From a fitness standpoint I am riding the TRI Bike up on the trainer to keep the legs moving and our cardio in decent shape.  After missing the last 10 days or so of running, I am probably losing just enough fitness that we would be on the outside looking in at a sub 3 hour marathon next Sunday anyway.

But it is funny when something that you love to do is taken away from you.  I just want to run right now.

A mile or 26.2 miles – fast or slow – it really doesn’t matter.  I just want an opportunity to pin on that bib and try my best.  There is only a handful of people on this planet that truly care how fast a race I ran down in Houston.  But I know a lot more who would be disappointed in me if I didn’t show up to try.

Right now, 2013 is not exactly starting out the way that I had planned.  I am holding off on looking at other races, trying to determine when and where I can “jump into another marathon” and try to run my time.  Until I can run past the neighbor’s house down the block and not wince in pain with ever step – that is just pure folly.

But one day soon I am sure I will be able to.  Runners get injured.  That’s just the reality of our sport.

Runners also go a little bit crazy when they can’t run.  That is another reality of our sport.

I’m trying my best to just keep it all in perspective.  Not get too down.  After all there are far worse tragedies in the world than me not getting a chance to run in a marathon next weekend.

Then I think of all the early mornings I dragged myself out of bed to run 10, 12, 16 miles before work.  Run two-a-days on Tuesdays.  Hill Repeat after hill repeat.  Interval work, marathon pace runs and raced my ass off to prepare for next Sunday.  All for naught.  So blame me if you will for being a mixture of angry and frustrated right now.

Not breaking 3 hours I could live with.  No shame in that, it is something that very few marathoners and especially 45-year-old marathoners ever do.

Not getting a chance to try?  That one stings a little bit – I have to admit.

If things do not improve and we don’t make the trip down to Houston this year we’ll simply defer until next year and we will reload and go for it again I suppose.  For those of you who will be racing next Sunday do me a favor and leave it all out there on the course.  When the marathon starts to push you, push back.  Don’t give an inch and remember how much you love to run.  How grateful you are for the opportunity to be there.  How lucky you are to be in that position with 6 miles or 4 miles or 2 miles to go.

Wish I was going to be there with you.  Kick asphalt.

  1. Jim in Maine says:

    I am sorry for you that your ankle/achilles issue is not clearing up Joe … I had been holding out hope that it would miraculously heal while also waiting to see if the sub-3:00 goal you trained so hard for was cast in concrete. It appears that the latter might now be moot and that the former will preclude you from running at all until you are healthy. 2012 was a helluva’ year for you and 2013 still can and very likely will be even with the rough and disappointing beginning. The factors that made 2012 such a powerfully successful year remain with you and within you – and I know you use your best judgement as to when you can start to put the hammer down on 2013 … when you do you will bring your best and succeed personally while also providing inspiration to those who will continue to follow you.

  2. tom meunier says:

    Really gutted for you on this one, Joe. Keep processing, venting, lamenting, mourning this one as you need to, and get it all out there. You’re still going to have an amazing January 2013, giving your gifts to people in our community who need it, through Back on My Feet. This is really heartbreaking but there are amazing things in your life. Chin up, friend.

  3. David H. says:

    I’m so far behind on my blog reading and am just now seeing that you’re injured. I’m so sorry to hear about all this, but I know that when you get knocked down you come back even stronger.

  4. Ted says:

    I have been following your rapid progress for some time, have been about 5 to 10 (closer to 10 🙂 ) min behind your full times, have been really pushing myself the last approx. 2 years and have not been able to keep up with your progress. Thus can relate to all you have have had to have been pouring into it.
    Running & and The Full Marathon can be a cruel & fickle muse.
    Hope you have a speedy recovery.

  5. Joseph Hayes says:

    Oh no! There are plenty of marathons you could do as soon as your Achilles is good. Have you heard of a Strassburg sock? You use it during periods of rest or sleep and it keeps your Achilles slightly under tension so that it heals correctly. I just bought a couple and it has helped the PF in my left foot as well as some tightness in my Achilles. Heal up and get back out there! Happy 2013 and thanks for blogging!

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