This one resembles a really HARD weekend. I mean, heartbreaking. A real slap in the face. BUT it’s one that taught me SO much. It makes me realize how far I’ve come in not only a few year of running overall, but in just a few months of rehabilitating myself…
Rock n Roll New Orleans 5K and Half marathon. March of 2018. This was the weekend that I crumbled. My ability to run literally fell apart. What had been a small “naggle” in my hip area (which I now speculate was extreme tightness of the piriformis muscle causing a pinched sciatic nerve) was suddenly debilitating. I (slowly) ran the 5K with my dad and felt like I could barely hold on. I was trying so hard to enojy my time with him and the scenery (pace/speed was the LAST thing on my mind) – but it was hard to enjoy anything with this discomfort. I felt off.
The next day, I showed up to the starting line to run the Half Marathon. I was worried but thought I’ll warm up after a while! I’m not injured… I got this.
Denial. Something was wrong me. I had to stop and walk within the first half mile. That’s not like me. My goal pace was a 7:40 minute mile for 13.1 miles. Not this. I felt dull, helpless, and useless as strong runners flew by. That should be me… I thought. Something was terribly wrong. I wanted to cry. I did. I waddled my way to that finish line. Walking by spectators, stopping to watch the bands, trying – really trying – to enjoy anything I could. My slowest Half Marathon yet, but one I will surely never forget.
Since this day in March, I’ve been coming back to running – physically and mentally -slowly but surely. For weeks I couldn’t run. It hurt just to walk. I asked for recommendations and suggestions from my running group, got dry needling done, stretched, and was diligent about exercises. I couldn’t sit or put one foot in front of the other without pain.
Then, I walked. Then ran for one minute at a time. Eventually I worked up to two miles, which felt like eternity. It didn’t feel good but the pain slowly faded. I still feel it “there,” but I’m happy to say that with consistent warming up, I’ve managed to keep it at bay (I guess you can only get away with jetting out the door for so long…). I’d like to say I’m coming back stronger. At least that’s the plan.
I will never ever again take for granted an effortless run. That weekend was hard. Depressing, really. Running didn’t feel good so it didn’t make me happy. I can confidently say: running makes me HAPPY again and I am beyond THANKFUL for today’s 5 miles.
THANK YOU Lifelong Endurance for being a game changer and getting me back on my feet.
I think each run teaches us a lesson – have you ever learned the hard way?