Yet another injury update: the good and the bad

Good news. I’m running again! Not full on training, but definitely running. I got in a 6 mile run over the weekend and 3, 4 and 5 milers last week. I got in another 5.5 miles on Monday and took a rest day on Tuesday. Right now I’m trying to run every other day so I can use my rest days to focus on stretching and strengthening.  I’m confident that I’m finally at the end of this injury.

Bad news. I don’t know if the Richmond marathon is realistic or not. It’s in about 7.5 weeks, so it really depends on when I can start running really long again. Losing 5 weeks in the middle of your training for your first marathon is not really much of a confidence booster. Right now I am keeping my runs SLOW and being really cautious. I’m going to try for a long run this weekend (8-10 miles) and see how it goes. I’ll probably make a decision in the next week or two based on how I feel during that run.

Other good news. Cross training really helped me out during this injury. I don’t feel like I’ve lost much cardio fitness at all. The only thing that has been stopping me on my runs is the tightness in my legs, not a loss of breath or feeling tired. All of those stair stepper/elliptical sessions really paid off.

I’m trying to find a silver lining here, but what it comes down to is I really wanted to run Richmond. I’ve been thinking about this race pretty much every day since February when I decided I wanted to run a marathon. Now that it might not happen I can’t help but feel a little down about it. I know there will be other marathons, but when I get my mind set on something I have a lot of trouble letting it go. I know it’s an injury and it’s not like I just decided to rest for 5 weeks for no reason, but it still makes me feel like I failed in some way. I think since this was going to be my first marathon it means a little bit more to me. I’ve already imagined myself running it and crossing the finish line, so I’m going to do everything I possibly can to get there.

Have you ever had to sit out of a race because of an injury? Did you have trouble letting it go?

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33 Responses to Yet another injury update: the good and the bad

  1. I don’t think you should look at it as a failure at all! You were so smart about managing your injury and learned important lessons that will help you moving forward. Only you can decide if you will be healthy enough to continue training and prepare yourself adequately for the race, but there will be plenty of other marathons if this one doesn’t happen! After you have been so smart about recovering from your injury the last thing you would want to do is set yourself back again.

  2. Jamie says:

    I think the way you recovered from injury is a total win! Being smart has only made you stronger for many more running years to come!! I can understand how much of a bummer it would be to have to miss running Richmond. I under trained for my second marathon, was in a fair amount of pain before, decided to run anyways and ended up with a stress fracture which put me out of commission for 12 weeks. Running is a life long sport and being smart about injuries and proper training will only allow you to stay active for that much longer! Have my fingers crossed for your run this weekend 🙂

    • Maddie says:

      That’s what I definitely don’t want to happen. I’m not going to run it just to run it, but I’m running out of time to get the training in, which is a bummer. It’s so true that it’s a life long sport! Thanks for your sweet words 🙂

  3. Keep up those runs and that positive attitude, girl! Your ability to find a silver lining in everything is inspiring:)

    • Maddie says:

      Thanks Grace!! It’s so easy to be negative when it comes to injuries, but I’m trying my best to turn it into a good thing!

  4. Amy Lauren says:

    Really glad your injury is improving and you’re able to run again! Hopefully this weekend goes well for you. Your first long run back from an injury is always a huge step.

    I’ve skipped several races due to injury or impending injury. If you run for many years, it is inevitable you’ll have some DNS races. It’s not a good idea to run ANY race you are not ready or trained for- no metal, car sticker, or sense of achievement is worth risking an injury and then having to deal with marathon recovery (it really does take a week or two to recover from 26.2 miles). You only get one first marathon and you want to make it count and have a good experience. I don’t regret the one marathon I ran, but I wish I’d been better trained (I maxed out at 40 mpw) and I wish I’d chosen a different race as well. But I was in a hurry to run a marathon and get a car sticker and a medal and all excited… had I waited a year or two I would have had a better finish time and experience.

    For me, running is a lifelong sport. I do train for races, but there are always more races. I want to be running when I’m in my 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, maybe even 70s. I know it’s a bummer to possibly miss Richmond, but keep in mind that the marathon will be held next year… and the year after… and there will be other marathons between now and then.

    • Maddie says:

      All so true. I want that sense of achievement so bad, but it would be even sweeter to have it after running a really great race, not just a mediocre race that I pushed myself too hard for after an injury. Thanks for sharing your experience!!

  5. I think you’ve handled this difficult experience really well and playing it smart for now in your running makes total sense. If you don’t up running it this time, there is always next time and I would imagine you may appreciate the accomplishment even more since you have gone through this. Keep your head up!

  6. Definitely not a failure. Go ahead and defer your entry if you can and take the pressure off! There are some great marathons early in the year if you are interested. Look back at what happened and see if you can find things to build on, but otherwise, bask in the glory of being a newlywed. Life is far more important!

    • Maddie says:

      You’re right. You’re always right! Life is more important. If I’m feeling stressed/frustrated/worried about it, I’m not going to do it. I can defer my entry or switch to the half, so it’s nice to know I have options.

  7. Suzy says:

    This is tough. I really empathize with you! I’m headstrong like you are and have a very hard time giving up a goal. However, do whatever you can to hold onto the big picture. You want to run a marathon, right? Not just finish one. Hell, I know you could go finish a marathon 4 months ago. Not everybody can do that, but I know you could. But you want to RUN it, and run it well. Right? Whatever you decide to do, I’ll support you all the way!

    • Maddie says:

      I don’t know what would make me more upset… not running it at all or running it and it being a terrible experience. The next few weeks should make it all a little bit more clear. If I don’t have the confidence going in, I’m not going to do it. If I feel like I can make it through and run a decent race, I’m gonna go for it. Thanks for supporting me, you’re the best <3

  8. Last year I started training for my first marathon. My training was not perfect, but it everything was going pretty well. I made it through my first 20 miler with no issues. I ran a half marathon as a tune up race 4 weeks before the marathon and set a new PR. The next week (my last week before the taper) I tackled a trail run with some pretty tired legs. I’m not a great trail runner to begin with, and ended up landing weird during a tricky part of the trail. I finished the run but noticed that my calf felt kind of weird. The next day it hurt just to walk, but I pushed through my last few runs determined to just make it to the taper and then I would some extra rest days.

    Unfortunately I had torn a muscle in my calf and was making it much worse by continuing to run on it. I ended up needing to take 6 weeks off from running, which meant no marathon. It really sucked. Like you, I had been training for months and spent most of the year thinking about this goal. The small silver lining was that I was able to defer my entry to 2015 and in about 3.5 weeks will finally be running my first marathon (it was one year ago today that I was injured).

    I definitely felt like a failure and was incredibly disappointed for a long time. But in the end I know it was smarter to take the time off and let myself heal. Running a marathon wasn’t some bucket list item that I would cross off my list and then put away my running shoes. I have years and years of training and races ahead of me, in the grand scheme of things missing one race is not that big of a deal.

    You still have 4-5 weeks before you would start your taper so I think you have some time to figure out if Richmond is a realistic possibility. One thing that I would consider is that the missed training might lead to having a really awful, under trained race. Is that how you want to remember your first marathon? Or would you rather delay the marathon, but know going into the race that you are well trained and ready to kick ass? I had the option of walking my marathon last year (no time limit), but that was not how I wanted to remember my first marathon. I was also still in the middle of healing and didn’t want to risk making it worse or having to DNF.

    Sorry for the super long response 🙂

    • Maddie says:

      Wow, thank you so much for sharing that story!! I know these kinds of things happen to everyone, so it’s really comforting to hear stories like this from other runners. I can most definitely defer my entry or switch the half, so I have options. My biggest worry is trying to do it just to do it and not having a good experience like you said.

  9. Michelle says:

    I skipped my very favorite race (Fox Valley marathon) this year due to just lack of time and energy to train. Real life came first, but I can’t help but to be a bit sad about it. I just started really running (I don’t really count 1-2 miles on the dready a couple times each week) again THIS week, after a 6 week break and it feels great. So glad to hear your getting back at it. Big hugs!

    • Maddie says:

      Sometimes a break is all you need to regain motivation and ENERGY. I felt sooo energized on my first few runs back and my adrenaline was definitely pumping because I had missed it so much!

  10. I had a stress fracture in my foot for the princess half this year. i did end up running it but didnt have a good time at all because I was too concerned with not breaking my foot. yikes, and seriously, that was a really bad idea. good job for you listening to your body and taking your ques from what it tells you. its really disappointing to not be able to do a race you have been looking forward to but its better than more long term damage.

  11. Allison says:

    I think if you can continue to cross train that you might be able to do the marathon. In 2013, I had a stress fracture in my tibia that caused me to lose 6 complete weeks of running. I had about 5 weeks once I was released to run, I did what I could and showed up race day…and ran a 7 minute PR! I say cross train like crazy and see how you feel as the day gets closer. I have sat out my fair share of races, too. But I wouldn’t totally count the race out. Good luck!

  12. heather says:

    You are doing the right thing. Listen to your body and go slow at first. I have had to sit out of races and it was not fun. I believe that everything happens for a reason. I have complete faith in you. Have a great day

  13. I’ve had to miss races before but not for an injury. I’m glad you are keeping perspective on it because you also don’t want to have a miserable first marathon either! I hope it all works out! Sending positive thoughts your way!!

  14. Glad to hear you’re back at it!

    I agree with a lot of above commenters and don’t have too much to add. But at the end of the day, all of us are looking at your situation from a (loving) outsider’s perspective; this isn’t our decision, it’s yours.

    You could realistically complete a marathon on 5 weeks of build up…but it likely won’t be a particularly good one. Like Heather said, is that how you want to remember your first marathon? But, again, all of us can advise until the cows come home and it won’t change what’s in your heart.

    I would advise doing what I did when I made the decision to drop out of my fall marathon: “wear” the decision for a week and see how it feels. Try to imagine that you’ve done it, you’ve actually clicked that defer/switch races button, and that’s your new reality. Now examine: how do you feel? Do you feel sad and disappointed but ultimately relieved, like some weight has been lifted off your shoulders? Or do you feel like you just made a huge mistake you can’t bear to live with? Whichever one it is: there’s your answer.

  15. Maddie, I’m so happy to hear that you’re running again! You handled this injury so well by cross-training and strengthening those muscles. All your diligence and patience in recovering will definitely pay off in the future.
    To echo what a lot of people said above, you don’t want to compromise all your recovery by pushing yourself too hard to train and race a marathon in a short amount of time. Running is a life long sport and there are so many things in life beyond running. It totally sucks to DNS, but it’s better than DNFing or getting injured after the race. Is there a half marathon option you could switch to? If not, maybe give it some time – train a bit and see how you feel before pulling the plug on the race. The decision is entirely yours, and you’ve been so prudent about this injury that I know you’ll make the right choice about the marathon and we’ll on be here cheering you on either way! 🙂

  16. Aw man, so sorry Maddie! If you do decide to postpone your 26.2 debut, still consider doing the half! That way you still get to experience the same race day, and you still get to race! Then you can pick another marathon to run in the spring and depending on how you like it, go for Richmond again next year! It’s definitely a bummer, but not a failure in anyway. You handled your injury like a champ and didn’t let it push you too far behind. I will say though, you don’t want to do your first marathon under trained by a lot. It won’t be as much fun that way! I know the desire to do one can be strong and make you want to push through, but you want to be in the best shape possible to enjoy it as much as possible! See how the next few weeks go and decide from there!

  17. Kristina says:

    Definitely don’t think of this as a failure at all. It’s just a part of your story. It may not be your favorite chapter but it will definitely make crossing that finish line (whenever) that much sweeter. I think one of the great things about heading into fall/winter is that there will be a lot of marathons over the next few months. That means even if you decide to skip out on Richmond, I am positive you’ll find another marathon you can sign up for that will be a few weeks after!

  18. Shawna says:

    hope you continue to heal consistently and feel good about your running and progression! being injured is so hard. i had awful shin splints last year (due to wrong sneakers for me, i think) and had to sit out a marathon, which i’m thankfully able to run this year instead.

  19. So smart to heal properly!! I definitely understand how you feel. I signed up to run Rock’n’Roll Raleigh last year thinking it would be my first full, ignoring pain in my hip. About 6 weeks into training I got diagnosed with a stress fracture! I wound up dropping to the half and finishing my first full later that year. If this isn’t the one, don’t worry – there are tons of other great marathons! I think it’s better to run your first one strong so that you actually want to do another one. = )

  20. Ariana says:

    I had to sit out of my half marathon last year due to an injury. Luckily it was my husband’s doctoral graduation that weekend as well so we had family in town and I threw a party so I had a lot to do anyway. Ironically, I ended up having bronchitis that weekend too! Probably because my immune system crashed from lack of exercise, but still. Can you defer to the half marathon? Richmond was my second half marathon ever. I went to VCU and that’s where I met my husband and that day was my sister’s first half, so it may be a bit more sentimental to me, but it was a great race and so worth it for the fleece blanket that I’m using right this minute!

    In all honesty, injuries suck but I really think they help those of us young in distance running to better ourselves. When I got injured last year is when I found my sports chiropractor and I learned so much about my body and what I needed to do to stay injury-free. Working with him through this marathon training schedule has really kept me in check. I also think it’s pretty normal to get injured during marathon training – you have to push yourself to figure out what your body can do!

    Glad you’re back to running and recovering!

  21. So sorry to hear about another injury! Don’t get discouraged though. I had all sorts of knee pain with my marathon training and the most important thing is to make sure you take care of injuries so they aren’t prolonged. You still have weeks left which is good but one suggestion is run the half marathon instead. Take more rest days and then train for a spring marathon. I used to just keep running through injuries and now I make sure to “RICE” the heck out of them and I do so much better. Hope that helps!

  22. I know what you mean about having trouble letting go of your first full marathon goal. It took a lot for me to decide that it wasn’t the right time for me. I dropped down to the half and ran it, with some emotions about not being able to do the full. You know your body and will be able to make the best decision for you. But remember that you want to enjoy (as much as one can😃) your first full, not having to worry about injuries or other things. So glad to hear you are back to running and I really hope you meet your goal!

  23. I am binge reading your blog right now trying to see how you recovered from your IT band pain and how your training is going. I ran my 8th half marathon on Sunday and dangit my IT band flared up like crazy. Got shooting knee pain at mile 10 and had to walk/run the last 3 miles. I hate it! I hadn’t had any issues in a couple years until this recent training plan. I am nervous to start marathon training again in January if I don’t get this figured out. I will never survive marathon training and/or the race if I have IT band knee pain! Eek!

    • Maddie says:

      If you have until January to take it easy, you are going to be fine! Take some time off as soon as possible. I took a full week off of no running or cross training and then started doing the elliptical/stair stepper after that, but it was about 3 weeks until I could even run a mile without pain. Here are the things that worked best for me: Foam rolling the side of my leg and my quads/glutes as much as possible. Whenever I would find a really sore spot I would focus there. I also laid on my side with a tennis ball on my gluteus medius (google images) to really loosen it up. I think this was the area of weakness that caused my injury in the first place. After that first week of rest I started doing clamshells (google), side leg raises, squats and bridges every other night. Everything I researched told me that strengthening these muscles will help stabilize your IT band and prevent the injury. Now it is about 2 months later and I have no pain and am still planning on running my marathon November 14. Cross training really helped keep up my fitness and I actually PR’d at my half on Sunday! Don’t worry, I totally freaked out when mine first flared up because it totally stops you in your tracks, but quick recovery is possible if you are really diligent about the strengthening exercises. It takes about two weeks of doing them every other day to really notice a difference. Sorry for the novel, please email me if you have any questions!!!

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