Marathon Lost

Three weeks from today, I was supposed to be crossing the finish line of my first marathon. Sadly, this is no longer possible.

As I mentioned in my last post, I had been experiencing pain in my lower right leg. I saw an orthopedist who was pretty confident that I had a stress fracture but wanted to see a bone scan to be sure.

I went back in for the scan yesterday. As I laid on the weird (yet oddly comfortable) table, I stared at the ceiling, hoping that my doctor was wrong and that somehow I’d still become a marathoner by the end of the year. About halfway through the 10 minute scan, I carefully turned my head towards the monitors to avoid moving my legs at all. I’m no doctor, but I was pretty sure the bright yellow orb that was showing up right where my pain is was not a good sign. A little over an hour later my doctor called with the bad news: confirmed stress fracture.

My sentence: at least 2 weeks on crutches followed by 4-6 weeks in a boot. This not only knocks me out for the Kiawah Island Marathon, but also the Surf-n-Santa 5 Miler that I was so looking forward to.

Thumbs down for crutches

Thumbs down for crutches

My doctor talked at length with me about my nutrition, my training plan, and my running history on our first visit. He told me I’ve done everything right – this isn’t an overtraining issue or some other stupid thing, it just happens to endurance athletes of all levels. This is comforting but also infuriating at the same time. Had I done something wrong, I could point to the problem and never, ever do it again.

I’m not trying to sound like I’m the only one who has ever trained for a marathon, but I’ve worked so hard and now I can’t even cross the finish line to prove it. I’ve logged countless hours since August towards this one goal. I’ve paid close attention to what I’ve been eating and drinking to make sure I’m properly fueled. I’ve said no to fun things so I could get extra sleep or make sure I could get up early for my long runs.

To come this close to completing a marathon and not being able to do it is maddening. I’ve cried. I’ve dropped F-bombs. I’ve cancelled hotel reservations and deferred my entry. I’ve cried some more.

But one thing’s for sure: as soon as I am cleared to run again, I’m immediately going home, changing into my gear, and heading out.

Any advice or encouraging stories for an injured runner? Leave me a comment or send me a tweet.

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13 thoughts on “Marathon Lost

  1. Oh my heart hurts for you. Ugh. The only thing I would say is to not look at your training as wasted. Consider it base-building toward the marathon you will run as soon as you are able. I actually look at my first, very difficult marathon as training for my second, much faster and enjoyable marathon. And don’t let it deter you from keeping up all the other good habits you’ve developed! Use the downtime to do core and strength work and I bet you’ll come back stronger than ever. Looking forward to seeing you in a couple of weeks… We will cheer you up.

  2. Boo!!!

    This sucks. There’s not really a way to sugar coat that.
    All that I can say is that you are young, and you will have another opportunity to become a marathoner. I’ve had to forgo my past two sign-up marathons due to injury, and though it was a little further out (2 months away) and I had more time to deal with it, I still had the sinking feeling on race day when I knew I was supposed to be crossing the line. But now I’m injury free and training again, and so far, it’s good.
    Do your healing, try to find other ways to exercise without stressing your legs (swimming, maybe?) and just find some good in the run-free holidays (hey! No stressful running scheduling!)
    Being injured is super lame, but by the new year, you’ll hopefully be healed and for the new year, you can set up a new goal.
    You won’t lose ALL the conditioning you’ve gained training for this marathon, especially since you were heading into a taper.
    But just heal, and start off slowly when you get the all clear.
    Having someone to vent about it to helps, though having different people helps, so that it’s not an emotional burden…
    So sorry that this happened to you, but you will get through this.

  3. Hey Amanda,
    I am sorry to hear my favorite runner is all crutch-i-fied. I echo what the other commenters have said so well already. Take care of yourself. You will get through this stronger and more determined. And, when you do cross the finish line, which I 100% know you will, it will be all the sweeter. I know you are disappointed. But I also know you are focused and determined. And you will run that marathon, when your body is ready. I can’t wait to read that blog entry. Hug to you. Beth

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