I'm 0 & 2 when it comes to running marathons. Thats right...trained completely (almost NEVER missing a single training run) for two different marathons in the last year- eight grueling months of training through one of the coldest winters and then hottest summers on Texas record. One knee surgery and one IT Band injury later...I still have no finisher's medal. I was even shooting for a BQ finish and had hit my time markers during training both times around.
So, when I crossed the start line early Saturday morning in St. George, Utah and immediately felt my IT band flare up, it was disheartening, to say the least. I knew right away that I wouldn't be finishing the race- at least not running. I also knew I would regret not pushing myself as far as my body would allow. By mile 4, I was in intense pain. But, I kept going because I wanted to stop when I literally could not go any further. At mile 7, my knee locked up so tight and so quick that it stopped me dead in my tracks. My first thought was that I could just walk the remaining 19.2 miles. It didn't take me long to realize that wasn't going to happen- my left leg couldn't even bear its own weight as it continued to seize up on itself. At the mile 8 marker, I sunk into the aid station chair and told the nurse through tears that I was finished.
While I knew beforehand that it was not likely I would finish the marathon due to my injury, it was completely crushing to be faced with it in that moment. Its hard to explain the emotions that I went through in the following days and I know this may seem a little crazy, but it was totally devastating to walk away with nothing to show for my 8 months of hard work.
I've learned enough to know that there was a lesson in this. I'm grateful that I have a body healthy enough to even take on the training. I'm grateful for a supportive husband who let me train (ie: lots of early morning long runs watching our three girls!) and also listened to me sob and get totally emotional the night I returned. I'm grateful that I was able to even start the race. And, I'm grateful for the challenge that taking on a marathon presents...it really changes a person.
Third times a charm, right?