Deferment in Houston

Posted: January 4, 2013 in Training

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.

  1. Stephanie says:

    Joe, this kills me to read, seriously heartbroken for you 😦

    I’ve been following your training and though you have to drop out, you are doing the right thing. You are smart!!! You have another thing right, you are going to absolutely kill it at your next marathon!!!!

  2. Jim in Maine says:

    I am sorry that you are injured Joe but you have had the correct decision. I ran today with a heavy heart feeling bad for you knowing how hard you prepared for this race. Having read this post before I left for my run in truth I knew it was the best decision for all the reasons you stated above but I still hurt for you. I hope your appointment is the beginning of a successful rehab period and I have n doubt that when you are able to get back to your running another marathon somewhere in the future will be burnt up by a guy running for Dom – and himself. Take care – you and your lovely family will be missed in Houston next weekend but at least one runner will be carrying your spirit with him on 1/13 – albeit a bunch slower then your spirit would have covered the streets of Houston yourself.

    • joerunfordom says:

      Jim- thanks so much for the message and kind words. Out of all the things that are disappointing about this situation – missing the chance to race with you and see Patti is at the top of the list.

      Race strong next weekend Jim. I will be home tracking you every step of the way. You are super-prepared for race day Jim. When things get a little tough that last 10k, just remember how fortunate you are to be out there doing something you love and the hugs waiting for you from Patti at the finish.

      And by the way, go out and crush it!

  3. Eric Matyskiela says:

    Joe, sorry to hear you had to pull out. Good move on the deferment, closure is a good thing. You’ll be back with a vengeance!

  4. robin says:

    So sorry Joe, can’t imagine how disappointing that is. Good luck at the doctor, I hope you get some good news.

  5. David H. says:

    I hope you get some answers today!

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