At 5:30 p.m. On Friday I pulled out of the Houston Marathon. A race that I registered for 8 months ago, planned an aggressive training plan for to build on our half-ironman fitness from tis summer’s triathlon season and got within 16 runs and less than 100 training miles away from the starting line.
With a mysterious pain that showed up out of nowhere, we are now out.
No race day, no attempt at a sub three hour marathon on what is shaping up to be near perfect weather conditions down in Houston next weekend.
On Monday morning at 10:00 a.m. I will visit with Dr. Jim Fernandez at Austin Sports Medicine and we will try to figure out where the root of my problem is. It is an Achilles strain? A small tear in my soft tissue in the left foot? Right now I really don’t have a clue. I am hoping for the news that this is just a minor injury and that after another couple of weeks of rest we can gradually ramp things back up and get on with training.
There is a small part of me that is hoping against hope that I am going to be back very soon, but as someone with a pretty high tolerance for pain and discomfort, this one just feels “different”.
Truth be told, I’m a little worried.
I kicked around the idea of waiting to defer until the last moment (January 8th is the deadline) or not deferring at all and simply not picking up my packet on race day. After all if I want to race Houston in 2014 I will have to pay my entry fee again. Deferring doesn’t really do much for me as I have a qualifying time for next year’s race that will already grant me entry without going through the lottery.
But I decided to defer for two reasons.
1. I need to mentally move on.
I kept holding on to the ridiculous notion that somehow I would be able to line up next weekend in Houston. Essentially hoping for a miracle. It was time to face facts and move on mentally to let the physical healing begin.
2. Perhaps I would make room for another athlete or charity runner by deferring and giving up my bib.
Race day should be a celebration. I try to remind myself of that on race days, but sometimes I get too wrapped up in my own goals and aspirations to remember that fact. Runners on race day should celebrate the gifts they have, the hardwork they put in to prepare and the joy of racing to the best of your abilities.
If I can’t be in Houston, maybe someone else can and they will carry my bib number for me from start to finish proudly. Perhaps they will run the race of their life like I hoped to. Next Sunday can still be the special experience that I had hoped for, it just won’t be for me,
We will have to have our day another time at another race either this May, next fall or maybe it will in fact be Houston next January.
My last two marathons have been more or less taken away from me.
Boston with 88 degree temperatures and now Houston due to injury.
One thing is very clear to me right now as I face a great deal of uncertainty.
When we do get to the next starting line completely fit, trained and healthy – the marathon doesn’t stand a chance in hell. I am going to run that race with a fearless determination I have never possessed in my 9 other marathon starts to this point.
2:59? Kid stuff.
2:55 has a much better ring to it.
Farewell Houston. See you next year.