Limping Towards Boston — and So Excited About It

It’s almost 10 p.m. and I’m trying to quell what is best described as a feeling of rising panic. No, it’s not about the marathon. That’s a wash. Not a wash — I will be running the 119th Boston Marathon on Monday, amazingly enough, but slowly and probably in some pain and taking my sweet time about it. I was on the fence about how to approach it at this point. I’m trained, but my taper has been terrible, not enough sleep at all, too much wine, not running more than 13 miles total in the past 2.5 weeks, and now I have a gross head cold. And an achy leg.

I was thinking maybe I’d see what I can do anyway (oh hey there ego, need to get knocked down several pegs yet again?) but my tibia is throbbing after an hour of grocery shopping, so I’m just going to get to the finish line under my own steam, no matter how long it takes, and I am going to have a great time doing it.

My leg was fine for the 21-mile run on the course but, a week later, I went out for a hilly 9-miler (yeah, I don’t know if I ran much in between) and felt a stinging/burning right at the site of last fall’s stress reaction. It’s gotten worse, so it’s a big ache on the bone. I tried to go for a run over the weekend but 2 miles in stopped in tears, limping, and called my husband to pick me up.

I agreed to the MRI my doctor (a runner) suggested and waited breathlessly for the results, which showed no stress fracture or stress reaction. The area could be terribly sensitized to pain, my doctor suggested. It could be shin splints. In any case, she doesn’t see anything that would indicate that running the marathon would cause severe damage (“I mean, you could end up with a stress fracture, anyway, of course, but there’s nothing to give us any reason to expect that”). She said to take a lot of ibuprofen and try a 3-miler this weekend.

I can’t. I will simply go to the starting line instead on Monday. I know it might go badly, but I also know the endorphins will wash over me and carry me through. I have been training for this race since 2012, truth be told, after qualifying and registering for the 2013 Boston Marathon (and then tearing my soleus that January, knocking me out of training). I had to recover, qualify, and train all over again. This has been a long time coming, and I’m doing it, and I can hardly let myself believe it.

I’m also woefully unprepared as far as general marathon prep. I haven’t managed to organize a drop bag for my running club’s post-marathon hotel room. I haven’t thought about what I might have at the 30K elite water stop my running club hosts. I haven’t checked the weather, don’t know what time the bus for my wave leaves Boston Common, etc. Because it’s been so damn cold until last week, I have no idea what to wear. Shorts, right? Where are my running shorts? Which ones do I like  best? 

I keep reminding myself that just 3 weeks ago I blithely ran 21 miles on the course in a sideways wet snowstorm, gnawing on a peanut butter-slathered bagel I carried in my pocket for most of the journey, wearing a fanny pack full of candy. I felt great during and after. I will be fine. I may not be dialed in to a perfect marathon situation, but I will be fine.

I still can’t let myself think about how amazing this will be.

Oh, but the panic. I love my job and am so happy to be working again but we’re operating in a very shaky little house of cards right now with no room for error, and it’s really starting to take its toll on all of us. I’m not sure for how much longer this can continue. I feel like we don’t even have time to hire the full-time childcare that we need.

More on this later, but I really need to make some tea and get to bed.

Thanks for all your joy and support about everything. It was hard not to share with everyone the possibility that I might not run (I didn’t write about it here, but I meant to).

Leave a Reply