When injury strikes

My good friend has been training for her first marathon, the Nike Women’s in San Francisco.

Five weeks ago, after a 22 mile run, she developed such an extreme case of plantar pain that she couldn’t walk. After that, she had to stop running completely.  One week ago, five days before the marathon, she came down with a fever and the flu.

When the day of the race came, she somehow pulled it off!  I couldn’t believe it! Through sheer determination she crossed that finish line.  She is a very skilled and dedicated athlete.   It took her well over five hours, but she did it.  

We runner’s have a distorted, unique view.  To not run is not an option.  It’s not “If”. It may be, “How slowly?”

I am running a marathon on Sunday.  Four days ago — after completing a 10-mile hill/tempo run, with multiple miles paced under 8:00 — the joint that connects my leg to my hip started to hurt.  This morning the pain was so sharp that my leg buckled.  This evening, it hurt to walk my dog.

I haven’t been injured in almost two years, and in that time I am sure I have run well over a fifteen hundred miles.  Truly, I am lucky to have been healthy for so long.  But now that injury has struck this close to a major race, what do I do?  

It didn’t occur to me not to run on Sunday. I have come way too far.  I work too hard.  I have given up too many mornings in bed.  A friend and I want to run it together.  I want my medal. I want to run.

Having said that, I am nervous that I am about to make a huge, long-term miscalculation.  In a runner’s mind, I think it simply comes down to this.  Pain is temporary. Crossing the finish line lasts forever.  I can rest my joint and get to my physical therapist after Sunday.  I have a race to run.

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