This has been an ordeal, more so than I had ever imaged. Don’t misunderstand. I knew it would be difficult. I knew about the possibility of injuries, that there would be miles and miles of pain, bad days, off days, sick days…
But, I didn’t know that my ankle would break. I didn’t know that I would be sitting in my office in tears, hearing from a doctor that I could not continue running. I had no idea that I would come to a point where I would have to say “it’s over”. Not until it happened.
I was almost prepared for my toenails falling off, blisters, plantar fasciitis and runner’s knee and IT band syndrome, bleeding nipples and dehydration, shin splints (all of which happened to me). Having to give up, however, completely blindsided me.
I had to do it, though. I had to say “it’s over”. I said it, and I reflected on all the miles I had completed, all the work I had done, and the fact that my dream of finishing a marathon by the time I turn 30 had been crushed. I gave up… for five minutes.
I don’t know how to explain what happened at that point. I just became really angry, and then I resolved that I was going to run the marathon on my 30th birthday even if it meant training around a broken ankle. That day I strapped resistance bands to the legs of my coffee table and start doing strength training and mobility exercises with my feet. Then, the specialist took a look at my x-ray and told me I could get rid of the crutches. I immediately started a membership at the YMCA and started exercising in the pool for endurance.
I took my shoe off in the gym and began to hit the elliptical with my broken ankle wrapped. For the first time in my life, I felt like a champion. Two weeks later, I went back to the soccer complex and ran my first miles after the accident. The following Saturday, I ran a fifteen mile run, my longest distance ever at the time, jumping right back into my marathon training program.
Last Saturday, I finished my 20 mile run (3 hours, 14 minutes, 11 seconds). That means I’m ready. Taper mode. I’m going to finish this marathon despite having my body broken; despite having my spirit broken.