Update: Dilemma

Okay, after hearing some kind and frank comments from friends and strangers alike, I have deferred my marine corps marathon entry to 2012. I was pretty bummed about it yesterday when I was cancelling everything, but I know it’s the right choice.

New plan?
Stop running for the month.
Run on Dec 1st and see how it goes.
Potentially run the half-marathon in Miami at the end of January.
Potentially run a full marathon in March/April, depending on how training goes over the winter.

I realized that I’d rather be that wacky, 60-year-old lady who runs five miles every morning with no marathons under my belt, than that 60-year-old lady whose had three knee surgeries and can hardly walk from running one marathon.

In the meantime, I’ve discovered rock climbing and bouldering. And I’m really enjoying that. So, one door closes, another opens right?

Update: Dilemma


As you may know, I’ve spent nearly the past year training for a marathon. My sights were set on the 36th Marine Corps Marathon in D.C. this Sunday. I was expecting to write a post later this week about everything I’ve accomplished in running, all the great places where I’ve run and all the incredible people who have helped me along the way.

Unfortunately, my plans have gone awry.

Back Story
About two weeks ago, I went for a long run and about two miles into it I had some knee pain. I’ve been lucky in that during all this training, I had never had an injury worse than blisters. By mile five, I had to call for a ride because I couldn’t go forward. It felt like my knee was stabbing itself.

I saw a doc and he told me it was tendonitis, to take it easy and ice it, and when it hurts stop running. To be more specific, it’s Iliotibial band syndrome.

For the past two weeks, I’ve been in a bit of a fog. I’m too nervous to even look at my training schedule, which would have had me running anywhere from 6 to 14 miles nearly every other day, running hills and doing speed training.

Instead, every few days I’d take off on nothing more than a flat 3 or 4 miles hoping that my knee would be perfect and all would be good. Such has not been the case. Nearly every time my knee has cut my run short. And the pain lasts longer than just the run. Going down stairs, lifting my knee to uncross my legs have become trying tasks after a run.

What Do I Do?
My marathon is in four days away. I could:

a.) Defer my entry to next year and find a different marathon in the spring to slowly train for;
b.) Run it knowing full well I’ll have to drop out as soon the pain hits which may be at mile 3 and just try to enjoy the experience;
c.) Run it and try to make it to the halfway mark, pain be damned;
d.) Take some painkillers, get a brace and pain be damned try wholeheartedly for the whole thing. A marathon is all about mental toughness anyway, right?


I know what the smart decision is. I know what the rational decision is. BUT those are the frustrating choices, the choices that make me feel like a failure, like I lost this epic battle with the marathon and life.

I embraced running after some really tough times last year. And to be frank, I felt like I had something to prove. And so by finishing the marathon, I wanted to say hey, I can do this, I am better and stronger than I think I am, better than people have treated me. For all those people who didn’t think I could, for myself who thought I couldn’t — well, there’s my time, there’s my sweaty bib, I did it. I have ridden the highs and lows of training and life and come out on top. Except for right now and on Sunday which may be the worst low of all.

And now I feel like it’s slim that I’m going to have that moment. I feel like, everyone who’s ever doubted me was right — most importantly myself. I probably am my biggest anti-cheerleader (is there a better word for that?), I am very critical of myself. And as I have to make this decision, I can feel all that negativity coming back. That voice that says I can’t do this, I’m a failure, that my knee is a cop out etc. And I don’t know how to shut it up. And I don’t know what to do.


What It Means to Climb

R and I went to Brooklyn Boulders last night. For his birthday, I had gotten him a membership, and we figured we’d take the Learn the Ropes course together for fun. To be honest, I wasn’t sure how fun it was going to be. If you recall from my Trapeze Class post, I’m pretty terrified of heights. But all in all, I had a great time.

I learned how to make the 8-knot, the double 8-knot, the fisherman’s knot; learned the language (Belay on! and Take! Take!!! — which means pay attention I’m coming down, which I said a lot); and figured out all the gear – the harness, the gri-gri, the shoes etc.

The other interesting part of it, is the trust. R was belaying for me as I climbed and it was not easy to let go of the wall or conquer my nerves. I had to keep looking down to make sure he was paying attention – and when you’re 15 ft up, you really don’t want to look down.

I also had the bad habit of climbing about 3/4 up the wall and then wanting to stop. Not because I was physically tired, but because I was starting to get intensely scared and I figured 3/4 of the way up was high enough, especially on my first day! Apparently, this attitude is not approved of in the climbing community. Whenever I stopped and was ready to go down, our instructer, Bill (who was absolutely great!) would just laugh me off and say yup, yup, keep going, to the top. And so damn him, I would turn back to the wall and very nervously, clutching for dear life, climb to the top. I did this 3 times. All the way to the top of the wall! I’m not a climbing prodigy or anything, I didn’t use specific routes or have to deal with inclines or anything, but it was incredibly rewarding to conquer some fears.

And it made me realize that in life, I reach a point and I stop. Fear, discomfort, what it is, it stops me in my tracks and I say to myself, well, guess that’s good enough. But damn it, it’s not. And I guess this is what people mean when they say you can’t do it alone, because if it wasn’t for Bill or R, I wouldn’t have kept going. Sometimes we have to ask for help to keep going.

It was a totally new experience — I’ve never done anything like it and it was really fun. If you’ve never tried climbing, I definitely recommend it. It can be pretty intimidating, but everyone — at least at Brooklyn Boulders — was really nice.

What It Means to Climb