Thursday, March 22, 2012

Finishing a 5k (Just not the way I thought)

I found myself tonight checking in on a blogger friend and realized that I haven't updated my own blog in a few weeks. I guess I have been busy, I'm not sure I have a whole lot to show for it, but I am checking things off my to-do list and constantly adding more.

In the "If you want to make God laugh, tell Him about your plans" category, I am going to the doctor tomorrow to check out my foot which has been hurting me for a few weeks now. I mentioned that since January, C and I have been training for a 10k. It was something I've wanted to do for a while and something I really wanted to do before we jumped into another round of IVF. Training had been going really well until a few weeks ago when I think I jumped ahead too fast and got a stress fracture in my right foot. At the time I didn't know what it was and chalked it up to the normal aches and pains of running. It seemed to hurt right away at the start of a run, subside for the duration and then hurt fiercely when I was done.

Last week, which was two days before a 5k that we had also signed up for, I completed my first 5k run on a treadmill at the gym. I was thrilled and since it was so late and I had no one to tell, I celebrated with strangers at the front desk of my gym. Celebrating with strangers while drinking a huge glass of ice water at 11pm at night was a life highlight* for me, since I was truly bursting with pride at completing the run. I was also a little nervous since I was limping out of the gym from the pain in my foot, with a 5k looming in two days and a 10k just two weeks after that.

The limping continued until last Saturday when we woke up early to get to the race. But adrenaline and excitement distracted me and I was determined to finish. It was a huge thrill to get in line with hundreds of other people. It was amazing to see the sea of people ahead of me as the race started and then find my stride as I settled in to the familiar, if not exact, pace I was comfortable with on the treadmill. I laughed when I thought "they must not be doing mile markers because surely we've gone a mile by now," only to see that first mile marker coming up in a few hundred feet. My foot hurt. It hurt like always, came on strong at the beginning of the run and then settled into a low throb throughout. I didn't care. I was feeling pretty awesome. I felt more like a runner than I ever had in my life. Around the 2 and 1/2 mile mark, we could see that a huge, but gradual hill was going to get us to the finish line. I started to psych myself out. I had opportunities to stop and walk during the first 2 and 1/2 miles and didn't take them, I could do this. I could finish. Man, my foot hurt. I had almost no air left in my lungs. I had turned into a wheezing, moaning wimp who was running out of the adrenaline to run through the pain and get to the finish line. Halfway up the hill and with less than 1/2 mile to go, I started to walk. I can still picture the moment where I decided to (had to?) walk. I still wonder if I could have made it. My foot was throbbing. My breath came hard and fast. I could still smile at C, who reached to hold my hand because he knew how bummed I was. When we could see the finish line we started to run again. I knew I wanted to cross that finish line at a running pace. We did. The music blared. The crowd cheered. I drank gatorade and waited for my results to post. Even though we walked for a bit, I still beat my personal best by over a minute. The personal best that I made just two days before. But, I could barely walk. I limped to the car. I limped into the house. I vowed to take it easy all week, pick up training the next week and then run at least 5k of the upcoming 10k and do my best (walk, jog, run) with the rest.
Instead, I am going to the doctor. If anything my foot has been worse this week. I have the top 4 symptoms of a stress fracture and while I don't trust Dr. Google 100%, all signs are pointing this way. A boot? Maybe. 6 weeks of no running? At the minimum. 10k? Not even walking. Another round of IVF? I think I should listen to what my body is trying so hard to tell me. Slow down. Rest. Recover. Enjoy what is right in front of you.

Enjoy what is right in front of you. Tomorrow N and I are meeting up with family for a picnic. I'll be the one limping. Smiling and enjoying what is right in front of me.

*Another life highlight for me came that same week, when I sat in a lawn chair on a gorgeous afternoon cuddled with N sharing a pummelo (Best. fruit. Ever!). It was one of those moments I could feel etching on my brain as it was happening.