Monday, December 8, 2008

Weekend in Memphis/Race Report

First of all, thanks to everyone who left such sweet and encouraging comments on my blog last week. You all have no idea how much your kind words help as I deal with something that is both frustrating and depressing for me.

So here's something you may or may not have figured out about me: I can be a bit stubborn, and I refuse to give up easily. You'll find out why this is relevant in a moment.

I left work early on Friday, and my friend Bennett arrived to ride with me and my parents to Memphis. We had a quick lunch and headed that way. I was feeling really bummed about not being able to run, but I knew it'd be a fun weekend anyways. We picked up Bob after he checked into his hotel and headed to the race expo.

I got my number and at first didn't get a chip, but my dad thought I should go on and take it anyway "just in case." I got my shirt. I wandered the expo. And I couldn't help myself. I decided I should just go on and try to walk the half. As I soaked in the expo and bought a few things (some running stickers for my scrapbook and a 26.2 Christmas ornament), I started making plans to go to Wal-Mart for some pants and a sports bra. In a fit of sadness and frustration, I had unpacked most of my gear except for my shoes and my Nike jacket.

We all enjoyed a nice dinner at Olive Garden, something that has become a bit of a pre-race tradition. Then I took care of getting the things I'd need for the morning.

I didn't sleep well Friday night. I had a million things going through my head. I knew I probably shouldn't be doing anything the next morning, but I also knew that if I didn't and then I found out this week I don't have a stress fracture then I'd be really mad if I hadn't done anything. I felt like the doctor wasn't concerned it was too serious if it's ok to be walking around for another week not knowing what's wrong. I knew that if it started to hurt I could just call my parents to come pick me up and I'd just DNF. I knew that I'd be more upset with myself if I didn't try than if I tried and couldn't finished. I wasn't really too worried about doing more damage. I had read up on stress fractures and knew that it won't start healing until I stay off of it, but again - I didn't see how me walking a few hours on Saturday was any worse than walking the whole rest of this week until I find out if it really is indeed a stress fracture. And if I was going to have to end up taking time off running for this to heal, then I wanted to at least attempt to go out with a bang, so to speak. I knew the walking could make it worse, but not any more worse than walking on it this whole next week. I knew that I am not capable of voluntarily sitting out when I don't even know if I have an injury that I need to really sit out for. If it's just bursitis or tendonitis, I'll need to take some time off running, but I can still walk around.

I felt pretty good about deciding to walk the half, but I was nervous. I didn't know if my hip would start hurting. I didn't know if I could walk it in the 4-hour time limit. I kept thinking that if I can run it in less than 2 hours, surely I could walk it in less than twice that. Most of all, I felt like injury or no injury, I had to try. I am indeed stubborn like that. I couldn't let this go. I had trained too long and too hard to just sit on the sidelines today. I'm sure some of you might think I was foolish, but I don't. I did what I felt like was best for me and was prepared to continue to do so... even if it meant taking a DNF if my hip started hurting.

Saturday morning was bittersweet. I didn't get to feel that pre-race adrenaline. I still felt pretty blue that I couldn't run the full. I made the best of it, put a smile on my face, and lined up with the walkers.

Let me tell you... walking 13.1 miles is a LONG walk. I took my contraband ipod and listening to music. I eavesdropped on other conversations. I took in the sites. But it was still a long walk. I managed to be pretty consistent and was hitting 15-minute miles on the nose until about mile 10. I wasn't hurting at all, but my feet were feeling tired so I slowed down a bit. I got to see the lead marathon runners doubling back to head to the finish, so that was pretty cool. I kept walking and kept feeling more and more confident that I made the right decision. My hip wasn't bothering me to walk, and I was excited that I was going to be able to cross a finish line and have SOMETHING to show for the past 4 months of hard work.

I ended up finishing in 3:20. I was pleased with myself and felt really good. My feet and legs were tired, but I didn't feel any pain. I started thinking that maybe there's still a really good chance this isn't a stress fracture at all. Surely it'd hurt more after walking a half-marathon if it were. Regardless of what the injury ends up being, I feel good about my decision to walk this race. I feel like it gave me some closure to my training. While I don't like the idea of not being able to run for a while, I feel like I at least got to tie up loose ends before I am forced to take time off. That's the only way I can explain it where I think it might make sense to everyone.

I enjoyed some yummy post-race food and found my family. Bob ran the half in 1:58, and Bennett killed his PR when he ran the full in 3:34. We had lunch at McCalister's and then spent the afternoon cleaning up and taking it easy.

Later that evening we went to Beale Street for some delicious ribs at Blues City Cafe. YUM! I also tried a Samuel Smith Pale Ale from England (I think) that was a nice post-race treat. We wandered around Beale Street for a few minutes, but then we decided to call it a night since we were all exhausted.

All in all, it was a good weekend. I'll make a separate post after this with some pictures. We had a lot of fun, and I'm possibly prouder of walking this half than I am of some of my other races. I'm glad I was stubborn and walked it anyway. I'm glad I didn't give up. I'm really glad my hip didn't hurt. It's a little achy today, but no more so than it was before the race. I hardly felt it at all Saturday or yesterday. I'm hoping that's a good sign.

So now I'm in a place where I can take it easy and heal. I'm nervous about what I'll find out this week. I so don't want it to be a stress fracture. I'm still not happy about having to deal with this. It's still frustrating. I do everything right in training. If I do have a stress fracture, I'm going to check into things concerning my nutrition. I'm wondering if maybe my bones aren't getting the nutrients they need or something.

Please don't judge me. Please don't leave comments telling me I took a risk and acting foolishly. I've already had one person attempt to make me feel stupid over this, and I'm not really interested in anyone else doing the same. I know my body, and I feel like I did what was best for me. I was willing to take the risk.

Now I'm ready to find out what's wrong and heal. Bring it on. I'll do whatever I need to do to get myself on my feet again so that I can pick another race and go after it. I may not be happy about this setback, but I'll get through it and be running a PR on the other side.

Thanks again for all your love and support. Seriously... your sweet comments cheered me up in a way that other things can't do.

10 comments:

Mrs. Stilettos said...

I think you made a great decision. I can only imagine how wonderful it felt to cross the finish line!!! You go girl...and just ignore anyone who trys to tell you anything different. This is your life...your decision...your goals and desires!

Miss Gallery Place said...

kudos to you! I'm sure it was a hard decision but i couldn't imagine how frustrating it would have felt to have trained so hard and not done anything only to find out later it wasn't a stress fracture so good for you!

Now get better so you can run Little Rock :) <3

Jennifer Burgett said...

OH - that makes me sad because I was supposed to run Memphis on Saturday but didn't get to. I'm glad that you got to go and finish!!!

Rachel H. said...

I'm so impressed! I'm going to try to walk something to make me feel better about my stress fracture. I mean, I know that I have one, but they can't do a whole lot for me, so why not get out there, right?

Amy said...

Dang! That's awesome!!!! You walked a 3:20 half marathon???? That is great! My first half marathon, I walked and ran and finished in like 3:05 or something... so you did awesome!

You are the one that has to wake up with yourself every morning. Who cares what other people think? You made the decision that was right for you and thats all that matters!

Congrats on the finish and on the tenacity (I like that word better than stubborn!) :)

J said...

Well I am glad that you had no pain when you walked that far. And i am not a doctor but i would assume you would have felt some pain if it was a stress fracture but i am not sure. One of my teammates played with a stress fracture in her foot so who knows!

Love to Run said...

Melanie,

I am proud of you! On my long run on Saturday morning, I was thinking about whether you were going to participate or not. It makes me happy to know you did. I can tell you are a very strong woman. Keep up the great spirit! Now it is time to heal and enjoy the wonderful Christmas season we are upon.

By the way, I have one of theose 26.2 Christmas Ornaments as well. It will be front and center on this years tree!!!

*aron* said...

wow awesome job!!! i cant imagine walking that far - i am sure that took some serious will power!!

i hope the dr has good news for you this week!!

Chris said...

Good for you! I'm so sorry you couldn't run it and I hoping for the best news about your hip!

Laura said...

Sorry I've been absent for so long - I'm getting all caught up now. Congratulation on finishing, and I know EXACTLY how you feel.

Two weeks before I was going to run a marathon in Wyoming (Run With the Horses), I went on a run and my knee hurt. I walked home and figured it would ease up - it hurt really bad for two days (even to walk), and then cleared up. The next weekend I tried a very short run, and it seemed okay, so I went to Wyoming. I started the race hard, running a great pace... and then at mile 6, my knee started hurting really badly. I could have quit, and had I been able to post to a blog and get advice, most people probably would have told me not to finish. But I walked the last 20 miles, with my knee still hurting as I walked. I saw a few doctors afterward, and they couldn't figure out anything that was definitively wrong, or how to help me. A month or so later, it magically cleared up on its own, and I haven't had any pain since (knock on wood). Turns out continuing to do marathons didn't hurt it, even though everyone advised me against it.

Anyway, all this is just to say I know how you feel and don't think you did anything stupid! It's too hard to quit.