A Marathon, an Almost Marathon, and a Mistake

Hello readers!  And by readers, I mean roommates, who are probably only here because I’m bribing them with promises of baked goods.  Well, just in case there are a few more of you out there, I thought I’d start by talking about one of my favorite topics… ME!!!  Running!!!

If you’ve read my about me page, you know that this running thing is still pretty new to me.  Until a little over a year ago, spandex were reserved for 80′s theme parties, endorphins came from the elliptical, and a 6AM run a December morning?  Well that sounded like fun.  If you’re into sick torture and all.

The details of my journey from sweatpants to spandex will make a great post for another day but for now, I’ll give you the cliffs notes:  Girl thinks runners are insane.  One day, girl decides to see what the insanity is all about.  Girl suffers through first few runs.  Girl realizes that after a while, running hurts less.  She actually starts to enjoying running.  Girl thinks she’s insane.  (cue running montage to Rocky theme song).  One year later, girl completes her first half marathon.  It is one of the happiest moments of her life.  Girl decides it’s probably time to admit she’s a runner.  Although she still thinks we’re all insane. 

Caught up?  Great.  So here I am, just a little over a year later, training for my first marathon, The National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer, in February.  The race is in Florida.  My training, however, is not.  Living in Philadelphia, I’m getting used to the “what the hell were you thinking” looks from runners and non-runners alike when I tell them that I actually chose to do this.  Don’t worry, I get that same look from myself in the mirror on some days.  However, my training has been going surprisingly well, despite the bitter cold and craziness of the holiday season.  When I have visions of skipping a run, in favor of snuggling on the couch with my cats and my grandpa sweater, I think back to a few months ago, remind myself that I’m lucky to be running at all, and walk out the door, ready to kick asphalt. 

Allow me to explain.  If my life had gone as planned, I would have already run my first marathon and thoughts of February races and December training runs would be far from my mind.  Back in May, after completing The Broad Street Run, I was anxious to sign up for something else.  During a girl’s night in with a few glasses of Shiraz, the roomies announced that they were signing up for The Philadelphia Marathon in November.  We popped “Pretty Woman” into the DVD player and by the time Richard Gere was running up the fire escape, I had done a complete pro/con analysis in my head (I am an accountant after all) and decided that I was going to do the marathon too. 

However, if there’s one thing I’ve learned this year, it’s that life doesn’t go as planned.  About a month later, during a night out with friends, I was focusing my complete attention on the gossip du jour, paying no attention to what my feet were doing.  Next thing I know, my foot was in a pothole and my ankle was throbbing in pain.  Looking back, I knew right then that it was serious (trust me, I’m an experienced clutz) but not wanting to derail our plans for the night, I assured everyone I was fine and we continued on.  I spent the rest of the night dancing in heels trying to convince myself that even though I was still in pain, it was only a pot hole, and really how much permanent damage could that have caused?  The night ended, I traversed the uphill walk home and laid in bed, deciding that 3 hours of pain was not normal and wondering what this would mean for my running.  The next morning, I woke up and felt great.  Until I moved my foot.  I looked down to see a lump the size of a golf ball where my dainty ankle used to be and decided that no, this was definitely not normal. 

If only that realization had stuck, I might have still had a shot of being in running shape soon enough to train for the marathon.  However, after about 4 days off from running I decided that it was probably enough and I could progress to the ever popular “if you ignore it, it will go away” approach.  I went for a few mile run, was enjoying myself too much to notice any pain and decided that the pain I felt afterwards would go away eventually.  The next few weeks were spent wandering around the city in heels (stupid), denying my injury (stupider), and continuing to run (are you sensing a theme yet?). 

Well roommates readers, are you sitting on the edge of your seat waiting to find out how long it took to wisen up?  Well I hate to leave you hanging but we have a long way to go and it’s almost time for lunch (I’m having leftover roasted eggplant and pumpkin lentil soup.  To make it up to you, I’ll post the recipe soon).  Besides, if I’m getting tired writing this, you surely are getting tired reading this so let’s all take a break and I promise I’ll be back soon with the rest of my story!