Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I'm not running Chicago :(

Sooo it's been forever since I've updated but I've decided it's time to get out of my depressed funk and denial, face the issues and pick myself back up again. I'll try to make this short as possible (but keep in mind I'm covering the past 6 weeks because I've been too depressed to make ANY updates lol).

**big breath...**

I ran my 16 miler and hurt but didn't feel like I was in the "dangerous" hurt zone. A couple weeks later I ran my first half marathon ever, the rock n'roll Chicago half marathon. It went well, though I remember finishing it and feeling like there was no way on earth I could have re-run that course to make it a full. But, I was told by my marathon training team that was normal to feel after a first long distance race.

So, the next weekend I headed out for my 18 miler, the longest distance to date. Around mile 16 I started feeling the same pain I felt during the previous two 16 milers, and I just remember thinking "it's 2 more miles, whatever" and so I ran. At mile 17 of my 18 miler I had a panic attack. I couldn't stand up and got very dizzy and lightheaded. I didn't know what was going on but I figured I was just stressed out from the run. My legs(knees) were shaking like crazy and not holding me up but I figured that it was just the dizziness from the panic attack causing that. I finished the 18 miler and had to be helped to my car because I could barely walk. The next day I just felt dead but I figured that was normal. I gave myself two days of recovery.

Then I tried to run... and my right knee said "ummm nope, thanks for trying but nope". It just wasn't working. It would switch between sharp pain that would quickly build to all of a sudden just giving out on me. I've had ITB pain before and even though I knew this wasn't ITB I figured I could fix it the same way I fixed the ITB which was just stretching and a band to go around me knee. I went to the running store and bought a patella strap and figured I'd be all good in a few days. Few days goes by, I try to run again. This time I'm too stubborn to stop when I feel the pain and completely kill my knee. I can't walk for a week.... I started using my arms to grab the railings and pull myself down the stairs at my apartment complex because the feeling of bending my knee felt like I was slicing my cartilage...

So I gave it a week. I figured a week fixes anything. Wrong... tried to run again and couldn't walk for the next week... again. Finally made an appointment with a doctor and realized at the office when he made me compare my right knee to my left knee that the right knee was twice as large. I guess I never noticed because I was only looking at the right knee lol. Anyway, he did an MRI and told me I just had a bad case of "runner's knee" and that it was super common, and I should be out running again in a couple weeks with some physical therapy. I asked him about the marathon and he gave me the "go ahead" thumbs up sign... I felt good.

I started physical therapy that week and was very diligent about my exercises. The knee started to feel better but i still couldn't get 1 mile without it giving out. After trying a few different tapes/taping methods we finally found one that worked the best and I am now up to 3 miles without my knee giving out. I'm very proud of myself but...

During physical therapy yesterday my therapist and I had a serious discussion about the race. I'm not progressing at the rate that he or my doctor thought I would be. It's been almost 6 weeks since my last long run (the 18 miler) and actually 6 weeks since any run over 3 miles. My group is supposed to run 22 miles this Saturday morning and the thought of that makes me want to puke.

I asked him if he thought I could do it. He said that it really wasn't a good idea. He asked if I could get a refund and when I told him no he said to "run a little of the course then to try and get some of your money's worth". I made the decision (not like I had a choice) at that moment not to run Chicago. I want my first marathon to be one that I can finish.

So, how am I feeling about all this? Terrible. I had a really hard "cry myself to sleep" night and a "let's go to denny's and gourge myself on ice cream" day and I've now whined to ALL my running friends as well as my family about how miserable I am about the decision. And AFTER all that??? Well I'm finally starting to feel like things will get better soon.

I think the biggest regret I have at the moment is not treating the half marathon as a huge accomplishment. Since i was training for the marathon, the half just seemed like a training run. I wasn't really excited for it or during it. I just did it to prepare for the "real" one. I let that moment slip by unnoticed in my life and I really regret that.

But, other than that I am really trying to focus on the positives and my new goal which is to get healthy and be able to run just for the fun of it :)

My positives:
-I can now run 3 miles without any pain or my knee giving out on me!
-I can bike freaking 40 miles on a mountain bike in less than 3 hours with some serious hills
-I don't have to wake up at 3am for long runs at the moment!
-I've gone out with friends again for the first time in months because I "don't have to run in the morning"
-My knee problem does NOT require surgery
-The physical therapy exercises are seriously making my legs look awesome lol
-I am young, I have plenty of time to run a marathon later
-I am young, my body will recover from this even though I pushed it WAY beyond where it could go
-My body will forgive me for abusing it and not listening
-I have amazing friends/family who are supporting me through this

and last but not least...

-I am incredibly lucky to be one of those people who enjoy the feeling of **actually running**. I have incredible admiration for those who don't enjoy but do it because they are disciplined, and want to stay in shape, and love the feeling of accomplishment after. I'm not sure I could stick with it if I didn't like the feeling **during**. But I do, I love it I love it I love it. The quote "the only runners high I've ever gotten was from when I stopped running" never applied to me and I need to remember this as I try to get healthy again. I need to run because I want to, not because my schedule says to, or because I want to run a marathon. I just want to run because I like it. Running is NOT about a medal or about a timestamp or about bragging rights. It's about fun, enjoyment, freedom.

When did I forget that??

p.s. GOOD LUCK TO ALL MY CHICAGO-ERS!!! I can't wait to read about your experiences :D


  1. I know it is discouraging but looks like you have plenty of positives to keep you going :) my first marathon was supposed to be chicago 2 years ago. Had a stress fracture and had to cut that race from my plan. I ran Disney a few months later and then the flying pig later in 2009. If a marathon is your ultimate goal_ you can definitely do it - just keep thinking positively :)

  2. Wow. Ok, first the knee problems really suck and I'm sorry you had to drop out of Chicago. Coincidentally, that was the first marathon I trained for, and I dropped out because of shin splints. Must be a Chicago thing.

    Second, I am very relieved that the knee is responding to treatment. You are right that being young will help you heal quickly. To be honest, pushing it too hard when you first had the injury, could have turned an acute injury into a chronic one. You made the right choice to stop, even though it was emotionally painful.

    And third, I am one of those people that feels the runner's high only when I stop, and I am totally jealous of you!

  3. The reality is that training for marathons is hard. The first time you learn a lot and the next time is easier. I'm sure next time you'll get the race done too. The unfortunate part is that the cool races need to be paid for so far in advance, that at the time you register you have no idea if you can really run or not. Such a scam...

  4. I'm over from girl running, and just read your blog for the first time. I'm sorry for your knee pain, but happy you mentioned the positives and also returned to the idea that you really love running. Continued luck with your rehab. Races will always be around - your health is most important.

  5. First and foremost I'm sorry you had to pull out, I know how hard that decision is to make and I know that the feelings of disappointment run deep but please know that you made the right decision. When you enjoy running as much as you do, its a lifestyle that you want to maintain permanently, by listening to your body you're doing yourself a favor... you're preserving that lifestyle. Races are but a short term goal in the long term scheme... there will always be another Chicago and plenty of other marathons. Rest up and bounce back better than ever!

  6. Oh, so sorry to hear about your predicament, Lauren! I know this must be terribly frustrating for you. But like you said, the important thing is get healthy and get back to enjoying running for the fun of it again. You will run your first marathon and you will enjoy it! Take care and best of luck in your recovery ;)

  7. That really sucks, but you are making the right choice. Rest up, recover, then come back stronger than ever and show that marathon who's boss!!!

  8. I'm so sorry to hear about all your running woes. But I'm so happy you are back blogging. Besides a few DM updates I thought you had left the bloggy world!

    I am goin thru a rough place too with running. That is good you remembered why you do this.

    We are both young. Let's not ruin our bodies! Keep yourself healthy and surgery free so you can run for years and years to come! Like you said, you want to run as you get older. Take care of yourself. There will always be other marathons.

    Even if it takes you a year or two or whatever to train for one -- you will do it someday. You have the determination. Just listen to your body, sometimes it takes longer to get in race shape than we thought!

  9. I am so sorry about Chicago...I am so happy that you are taking the knee seriously and going to physio, cross training and taking it write about all the positives is should be really proud of that...I know that you can Run a did a great job at your half...You are a Runner and you have so many accomplishments to be proud of!

  10. I'm so sorry to hear about this. Still, you're making the right decision. I agree with you that it will be better for you to not run part of the course, but to wait until the thrill of the marathon is completely yours and you can finish the race.

    Please do blog your recovery, though!!

  11. Oh gosh. I can realte so much. This happened to me last year. I was training and got a stress fracture and went in to a huge funk. But I came out of it and am training again. Slowly. Your pain is similar what happened to me this May. My legs just gave out. I had to take a month off.

    Anyway, you aren't alone, and we all understand why you made this decision. It is what I would have done too. And good for you for pointing out the positives! :)And so happy you still love running and are back up to three :)

  12. Way to be POSITIVE! Sometimes it does take time to work it's way back to you! Super smart decision on Chicago - There are soooo many races and you are learning what you need to learn right now! I have slight ankle deal going on and will see PT early next week. I did the eeeeerrrrrggggghhhh stuff for awhile and then got postive, started yoga and started taking my dog for longer walks. Much happier!

  13. Oh girl, you know I sympathize with you 100%. I am very happy that you overcame the disappointment and decided to blog about it. Take care of that knee and get it ready to come back stronger than ever for your next marathon training cycle. Big hugs!

  14. Yikes! I am sorry to hear about this unfortunate turn of events, but it is admirable that you have a positive and logical attitude. So many people would just injure themselves further, but you are smart and up for the challenge of recovering in a steady, safe way. Congratulations! You have a marathon in your future, and it will be so much sweeter to run it without injury.

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. I feel your pain. I had to back out of my marathon last year due to a tibial stress fracture four weeks before the race. It's not something you could run on. First, I was depressed. Then I got angry. But I watched the some friends run the race I was supposed to, albeit with a hangover from too much fun the night before, and I got inspired. I would resolve to get back there. Deep water running until I could run again, and slowly got back into shape. I vowed to get to the start line healthy this year. I'm a little paranoid three weeks away for every little twinge.

    So the depression and anger is normal. Take some time and let those emotions play out. Then either volunteer at the race or just go watch it.

  17. oh no, so sorry you won't be runing chicago. i can empathise: i missed my first marathon (marseille) because of injury so i know just how you will be feeling now. stay strong, get yourself fit and learn from this. no point risking everything by running when your body is telling you otherwise. you DO have it in you to run a marathon and all your cyber running friends will continue to encourage you. chin up lauren. hugs

  18. *hugs* to you-I too had to forgo what was supposed to be my first marathon (NYC in 2005) due to an injury so I totally know how you're feeling right now. The road to recovery was tough but I got there-and had a great marathon debut in 2006. Hang in there, I'm sure the same will happen for you next year! :)