Let me tell you a story (it’s a bit looooong, get a drink)

To start telling you about the NYCM, I have to back up a little. And let the cat out of the bag…
Earlier this year,the plan was to do a Spring Marathon, then an ultra, then Chicago to race and NYC for fun, and around 2,000 miles for the year. But if there is one thing I know is that planning is pointless. I’ve officially given up on planning. This is also why I’ve been so out of the Philly planning. But I am back now.
In March I did the National Marathon, in 3:37, and in May I did the Bear Mountain 50K, which kinda sucked for me, but it was in the plans. By mid-June, I was back to my regular schedule of shorter races and PRed in a 10K wearing a tutu. All was good.
But if you remember well, I wasn’t working, and searching for my true calling… It was summer, life was great, and I had ALL the time in the world.
That’s when I came up with the delirious idea to become the best runner I could be and do all the things I never do: cross-train, strength-train, plyometrics, drills, intervals, hill sprints, tempos, core routines, balance routines, and more miles.
I deviced a plan that would have scared Alan Webb.
But, alas, that’s the only way I know how to do things sometimes. Black or White. I had time and… why not? It was pretty grueling. It was around 2 or 3 hours every-single-day.
I started in the last week of June.
July 2nd, Blaise and I started our training for Chicago with our first “longish” run. Pace was great. I was impressed, and very excited. And kept up my aggresiverthanlife program. But by day 4 I was exhausted.
Keep in mind that before this all I was doing was randomly running whenever I wanted at whatever pace I wanted, for around 30 miles a week, no speedwork, nothing else. Now, I was exhausted, dead, my pace was going down and my form was a mess. I needed a big break but I didn’t want to give in so soon. I had just started this, it would get easier, right?
Twelve hard miles on Saturday and 13 on Monday, well, it was 4th of July! Texas Dan was in town and he can tell you how crazy I was going and how tired I was. He also went thru a few of my drills, ask him!
By July 6, I had done already 36 miles for the month, but something was very wrong. All of a sudden, my foot was really hurting. I looked it up. It was either extensor tendonitis (or worse, tendonosis), or a stress fracture.
No.
It can’t be.
I was JUST starting to train for Chicago, it was the middle of the summer, and I had nothing else to do!!
NO.
If I don’t acknowledge it, it’ll go away. All it wants is attention.
Denial it is.
I waited.
July 9 – Skipped my next long run because I couldn’t even WALK. That’s when I started to drop out of the earth: I did NOT want to talk about it. I couldn’t talk about it without crying. I am NOT injured.
July 16 – Ten days of no running. I can’t even walk without pain. Can’t run. This really might be more than some soreness. I told a couple of people and asked them not to mention it to me ever again or ask me. I rather talk about anything else.
July 20 – It’s been 2 weeks. And no running. And no talking or venting. I am so miserable all I want is to cry all day. I made an appointment with a Dr for the next week. I also get a call about the Footlocker Five Boro Challenge. Oh Gosh, why does nothing ever happen at the right time? It’s ok, I’ll be fine in a couple of days.
July 27 – Three weeks of no running. Another interview at Footlocker as a finalist for the Footlocker Five Borough Challenge. If you don’t know what that is: they pick one person from each NY Boro to represent that boro in the NYC Marathon, we get a lot of press, our own start, a VIP tent, an escort on the race, finish line interviews and banquet… you’re a ROCKSTAR at the NYC Marathon… And at a Team in Training interview, and I wore heels. I can’t not wear heels to an interview. But I am barely walking or doing anything. Too depressed to care about anything else really.
July 29 – I see a Dr. X-rays in the office: stress fracture. He says I should wear a boot and all that, but it’s been 3.5 weeks already so keep it light on the walking, no running, it would take 2 to 4 months. No, he’s gotta be wrong. He sends me for an MRI.
July Mileage: 36 miles (in the first 6 days of the month)
August 3rd – Four weeks of no running. I start going to the gym every other day, which depresses and infuriates me to no end. I plan to go swimming but never really bother. I get an MRI. Go see the Dr again. It’s TWO stress fractures, 2nd and 5th metatarsals. I cry my way home. He said no to Chicago, maybe to NYC. I cry some more. I sit at home and eat my sorrows away.
August 10th – Five weeks of no running. I still go to the gym and try to think that I am still in shape. Delusional! I keep thinking I can still do this and this is NOT happening. It’s all a bad dream. I don’t want to talk about it!!!!
I put on 11 pounds. I care but don’t care. All I want is to run. I do a bone density scan and my bones are fine, it was just my stooopid over training. Check out the irony of the situation though… I never should have bothered!
I stayed in most of the summer. It sucked. I ate a lot. and then I started getting busy. I got offered a freelance job for The Holiday Marathons, so I started to get really busy and at least I was thinking of something else. Oh, and that is less time to eat and eat.
August 17 – Six weeks of no running. I get picked for the Footlocker Five Boro Challenge!! OH Gosh. Should I do something? Should I say something now? It’s SO late in the game now. I hope I can run. I WILL run, I AM OK! But, mostly, I don’t want to hear it. People like to tell me (all the time) that I CAN’T do things, that I shouldn’t, that is crazy… And I don’t want to hear it. I spent all this time denying what was happening that I couldn’t even say it out loud. I hid. I hate secrets, but I did the same thing when i was in the hospital for 9 days, no one in my family knew. I didn’t want people worrying for me, fearing for me, and having to worry about them worrying about me, or pretending to care what other people thought I should or should not do. Save it. I am gonna decide and I know what’s best. And if I mess up, so what? It’s MY life. I’ll put up with the injury, and the no running, and the anxiety about what to do or not do, but this MY life. No one else gets a say in it.
Then I got a little break: I got the TNT job I really really wanted. Worked with the Holiday Marathons until the last day but at least I could do something that kept me from going bonkers. Also, I got a bone stimulator, I started using it once a day as indicated but soon I was plugging that thing every 2 hours!
August 24 – Seven weeks of no running. Kill me now. I had good days and bad days. Some days I was just raging mad, other days I was just like someone whose best friend moves abroad. I was missing the whole summer and still had to decide what do to about Chicago, and NYC, and the Footlocker challenge… the anxiety (without the running to get rid of it) was killing me.
August 31 – 8 weeks of no running. Getting to the 2 month mark was pure agony.  TWO MONTHS!
This week we did the first Footlocker photo shoot. It hurt. We must have run like a half mile for the camera. It really hurt. Still, it was SO exciting… I was dying inside. Got home SO tired… The day after I did another photo shoot, for a VIVOBAREFOOT trail shoe, all in crazy trails. I was constantly fearing that my foot was gonna break in half. I also felt very aware of how heavy and out of breath I was. I was constantly at the verge of tears. This is NOT happening. No.
Then I saw my doctor. He said “wait two more weeks and start running; start with 1 mile at a time, on dirt, flat terrain, with 1 day rest in between. So, 3 miles the first week”.
TWO more weeks??? How do we know I am healed??? We didn’t. MRIs are very sensitive and it would show injury until after 6 months or something. If you start too soon, it’ll break again, and worse. We didn’t know. It was a big gamble, so I was scared stooopid all week to even start doing just 1 mile. And also, I never wore the boot, or the crutches, or any of it. I “run” home to see what I could do with this. I sat and tried to create a training plan for NYC that would start on September 12 (which was more like 10 days and not two weeks). Hummm, that gave me only 7 weeks to work with.
I tried a lot of options, it was disheartening. This is all I could come up with:
numbers 2011 1
Quite Aggressive, right? Mostly after 2.5 months completely off. Yes. But I was gonna go really slow, and dirt only.
Still, this was the only time when I thought it was impossible. And I was heavy, and would get winded going up the stairs of my building, how am I gonna get back in shape?? Not only I wasn’t running, but I wasn’t even walking around much, or doing anything… I had even stopped going to the gym because it made me sad…
August Mileage: 0.5 miles
September 7th: 9 weeks of no running. Just. One. More. Week. I started working at TNT, which distracted me a lot, but I was the only idiot in flats everywhere. Everyone is in their monster month and I am wearing sneakers to work. F F F. I was really worrying about my foot breaking in half in that first mile.
September 12: 10 weeks of no running. TWO months and a HALF. I went out for my first mile. I was SO scared my foot would break in half that I couldn’t relax. But I run a mile. The world was right again. Then I did it again. It all hurt, with just one mile. FFFF, this is gonna be tough.
Week Total: 4 miles.
After that I stuck to my CRAZY program.
It was not easy at this point to not talk about it; I was SO excited to be back and wanted to share it so bad… I wish I knew how to not go all black-or-white sometimes with training. Or how to handle these things better. Or… so many things I have to work on… But the whole time I felt like If I didn’t say it out loud, it was not happening. And that was the only way I had to cope with this..
Then, I remember this one day in mid October, when I was getting on a regular running routine, when I sighed. It was the longest sense of relief I had in a while. Like I was myself again. After a few months of being someone else, I was back.
It wasn’t pretty though. My pace was really slow. My mindset was tentative, I was really scared that I hadn’t rested enough and my foot would break at any turn. There were no tempos, no speedwork. All was slow and still stressful.
There was one GREAT plus to this though. I was rebuilding my running and this gave me the opportunity to get my form perfected. I felt really confident about that.
My mileage going into the race was quite lame.

July 36
August 0.5
September 11
October 49

Going into the race, I was really nervous. I was in the couch for so long, I wasn’t even sure I could finish the race. I had no idea what pace I could do; my only long run, a 17 miler, was really slow and on dirt. My 12 miler (in San Francisco) was one of the worst runs of my life. I didn’t even know if my legs could take all those 26.2 of pavement. Of course, now I’ve done it, it seems obvious that I would be ok, but what would you have thought if someone showed you that training program, after 2.5 months of not even walking around?  Plus, just add a bit of pressure with all the press and the whole world world watching, adding a bit of stress to it all, when i didn’t even know if my foot would hold out or break in half…? oh well.

But all that never really happened. Right?
Ah, I feel so much better now.
After this post, to continue the story, what happened first:

NYCM2011: All over the press 

NYCM2011: At the NYCM Press Conference 

NYCM2011: FootLocker Run – Bart, Ryan, Bobby, Carrie, Steph, well… everyone was there!

NYCM2011: Who wasn’t at the expo? 

NYCM2011: Have you seen a Marathon Morning like this? 

NYCM2011: Beyond The Finish Line (finally the last post!) 

NYCM2011: Marathon Monday (Ed, the breakfast, Carrie, the press conference, etc.!)

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2 thoughts on “Let me tell you a story (it’s a bit looooong, get a drink)

  1. Pingback: My NYC Marathon is Always a MegaMess | runningandthecity

  2. Pingback: Berlin Marathon RR: Really, NO WALLS IN BERLIN | runningandthecity

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