Weeks ago, I took on the “whatever it takes attitude” in the hope that I would be able to toe the line at the Chicago Marathon. I saw an osteopath who worked some magic. I spent time with an acupuncturist who lessened the pain and improved the circulation in my glutes and hamstring. And I found a chiropractor who is a gift to runners.
Within weeks, my Chiro got me running from 2 miles a week at the end of August to ending my training with 40+ mile weeks. When I first saw him, it hurt to walk. Last Sunday, and the one before, I ran 18 miles relatively painfree. I had put in the time running, stretching, and strengthening, and I was ready for Chicago – not for a fast time but to finish what I started.
But you can’t underestimate the power of the marathon. During the final days of my taper, Tammy the Hamstring came back to visit and she was angry. On Wednesday night, Kelly-Lynne and I went out for an easy 6 mile run and, half-way through, I felt like my back thigh was bleeding internally. A bit later, I thought a knife ripped through my piriformis. Minutes later, Kelly-Lynne and I walked Tammy back home, with me holding back tears.
After two more visits to the chiropractor, who felt I was just having a muscle spasm, and an acupuncture treatment, all I could do was hold my breath and hope that I would be able to run. Tammy needed to settle down.
By last night, I felt much better. My leg had loosened up, and I made the decision to run slowly for the first six miles of today’s marathon and take it from there. I felt confident that I was going to be able to finish.
So this morning, I left my sleeping husband and boys at the hotel at 6:00 as I walked to the start. Tammy the Hamstring felt relaxed; she was back under control. At 8:00, we started to move to the start line and began our marathon. But just past the one mile point, I felt a twinge. Tammy had resurfaced.
It was only a few minutes longer before I realized that I wasn’t going to finish. I was prepared to walk the back end of the course but not 25 miles, and I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to run. So I called it a day.
It took almost an hour to get back to the hotel because of the road closures, and I watched runners and walkers of different sizes and speeds pass me. That was hard. I wondered whether I made the right decision until I hobbled back into the hotel lobby. It was clear that I made the best choice.
A nap, a snack and a lot of tears later, I am comfortable with my decision. I gave Chicago my best shot but finishing today just wasn’t in the cards. For whatever reason, this just wasn’t meant to be.
I am grateful for the optimism of my youngest who said, “Ya, but we’re in Chicago. At least, we get a holiday together.” And he is right. It is Canada’s Thanksgiving and I am thankful to be here with my husband and boys. In the end, this time together is what matters the most.