Out of the marathon before it even starts

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

I’m very sad to report the Santa Rosa Marathon is now out of the question for me.

After overcompensating with my right leg due to my IT band problem on my left leg, I

did something — MRI results aren’t in yet — to my right femur.

I’ve taken too much many weeks off of the training schedule to safely train for the full

marathon at this point. I’ve missed three essential long runs – 15, 16, and 17 miles each –

that just can’t be made up in the month I have left before Santa Rosa.

I haven’t even gotten the OK yet to start running again.

I’ve taken a nearly four-week hiatus from running. It’s horrible.

The first three weeks had no energy and I felt like crying all the time — especially after

reading my running group’s Facebook status updates and photos about their runs. I felt

like I was having an identity crisis — if I wasn’t running, I couldn’t call myself a runner,

and if I wasn’t a runner, who was I?

After three weeks of rest I got on my bicycle and rode 20 miles to try to maintain my

fitness. (I was sure to wear my California Classic Half Marathon technical t-shirt so that

no one would mistake me for a cyclist.)

It’s definitely not the same as running, but it’s a cardiovascular workout that I greatly

needed. I didn’t get the euphoric “runner’s high,” but I was pretty happy to be around my

running group — even if I was on two wheels instead of running shoes — and to get some

exercise before the temperature soared passed 100.

If you ask my husband, he’ll tell you I’m a whole lot nicer after a good workout and a

chat over coffee with my running buddies.

My teammates suggested I run the Santa Rosa Half Marathon instead. It starts a half hour

after the full marathon, and I’ll finish before my team so I can be there at the end to cheer

them on and take photos.

Even after this much time off, I hope I’m still in shape enough to complete a half with a

decent time. But who knows what my MRI will show. If it’s a stress fracture like I

suspect it is, I might have to sit out even longer and miss the Santa Rosa trip completely.

Maybe my goal was a bit out of my league. But then again, maybe it wasn’t. Hindsight is

always 20/20, and now I’m dealing with a long list of could’ves and should’ves.

I should’ve taken a calcium supplement. I could’ve weaned my son sooner. I could’ve

bought better shoes sooner. I should’ve listened to my body and rested sooner.

Maybe if I had done things differently, I wouldn’t have gotten injured and I could’ve run

the full marathon.

I guess it’s just not my time to run one. I’ve turned my sights to the Two Cities Marathon

in Fresno/Clovis in November. It’s also a Boston Qualifier course like Santa Rosa. Like

Fresno, it’s flat, and therefore a fast course. But I can’t really think ahead until I figure

out what’s really wrong with my leg.

On another note, I’d like to thank Sam Cortez of Madera for being a faithful reader and

my new and much appreciated mentor. He not only showed his marathon-running

daughter Audrey Crow this column, thus leading her to join my running group, but he

also gave me a ton of running and injury advice.

I’ll end this column with a big GOOD LUCK! to Madera ultramarathoner Oswaldo

Lopez, who will compete in the world’s toughest race, the Badwater Ultramarathon, on

Monday.

Lopez, along with 72 other men and 23 women will put themselves to the ultimate test,

running 135 miles from Badwater in Death Valley, (the lowest point in the western

hemisphere at 282 feet below sea level) to Mt. Whitney Portal (the entryway to the

highest point in the U.S. at 14,994 feet) — in 100-degree-plus weather.

Lopez, 41, won Badwater in 2011 with a time of 23 hours 41 minutes and 40 seconds.

Last year he ran it in 23:32:28, but took second place.

Yup, I think he’s crazy too. But to a runner, “crazy” is the best compliment.

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