I’ve never been one to give up easily

  • This was printed in August of 2013 in The Madera Tribune, a newspaper in Madera, California. This was the 11th installment of my weekly column, Mind Over Miles.

I think I gave up too soon.

After being forced to take three weeks off from my marathon training due to an injury, I

assumed I had to sit out of the 26.2-mile race. My team and my coach told me I should

run the half marathon instead because I had taken too much time off to safely do the full.

My parents said the same. So did my husband.

I even told myself it would be stupid to try to run the full marathon after missing three

essential weeks of training.

The one person who told me otherwise is a man I’ve never met in person. My running

buddy’s dad (and faithful reader) Sam Cortez — who ran plenty of marathons in his

heyday — told me over the phone, “You can still run the marathon, mija.”

I laughed it off, but I’ve discovered that I can’t shake his words. If someone believes I

can do it, why don’t I believe I can do it?

I started running again about two weeks ago and felt great. I maintained my fitness level

by biking during my time off, and cardiovascular-wise I feel like I can run the marathon

today. The only things that need convincing are my legs and feet. I know if I can just put

more miles on them, they’ll be ready for the Santa Rosa Marathon on Aug. 25.

But I ran into another hiccup.

On the Fourth of July I was hanging out with my husband’s family when his cousin’s 2-

year-old daughter threw a decorative glass ball (like a baseball-sized marble) right on top

of my foot. It hurt, but I thought my foot was just badly bruised. I started running again

less than two weeks later, and I could feel the “bruise” on top of my foot when I put my

running shoes on. The pain was bearable, and I figured a bruise would go away on its

own after a while. But after two back-to-back 12-mile runs, the pain was really intense

and I decided to go in for an x-ray to play it safe.

The good news is that nothing in my foot is broken. The bad news is that the glass ball

injured some ligaments in my foot, and running on it didn’t allow them to heal. The

doctor’s orders: another week or two off of running, which is just about the worst thing

any runner could hear, especially a runner training for a big race.

As of today, I have exactly one month left until the big day. I’m resting my foot, but I’ll

resume my training schedule next week. Qualifying for the Boston Marathon – by

running 26.2 miles in less than 3 hours 35 minutes – is a goal that has been thrown out of

my figurative window. But finishing the Santa Rosa Marathon is still doable, in my mind.

Visualization is a powerful thing, and every time I think of running the marathon, I can

only envision myself crossing the finish line. Sometimes I picture myself crossing the

line with a huge smile on my face, fists raised above my head. Other times I see myself

finishing the race crying, dead tired, and overwhelmed. On my worst days I even picture

myself crawling across the finish line and collapsing as I’m given my finisher’s medal.

But the point is I see myself crossing that line, not dropping out of the race.

On Aug. 25 I might cry, I might bleed, I might throw up. I might run 8-minute miles; I

might run 12-minute miles. But one way or another I’m crossing that Santa Rosa

Marathon finish line after a hard-earned 26.2.

R.Kelly sang it best: “If I can see it/ then I can do it. If I just believe it/ there’s nothing to

it.”

I named this column “Mind Over Miles” for a reason.

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