Yesterday was a day that I honestly started to believe would never come. I ran the 408k Race to the Row. I ran my first race in one week short of a whole year.
When I went to the doctor on March 22, 2011, I thought I would leave with a slap on the wrist and a suggestion to ice more. But I left on crutches. Crutches! I have spent the last year battling a stress fracture, tendonitis, and severe shin splints. I have tried different shoes, insoles, taping, ankle braces, icing techniques, physical therapy, and very careful training. All of that made me absolutely determined to get back to running. I was craving that "finish line feeling".
Yesterday, I finally got it. I finally crossed a finish line. I trained for about 2 months for this race, increasing my distance more slowly than I had the patience for. I had started to believe that maybe my body just wasn't made for running. Something inside of me refused to fully believe that, though. And yesterday, I proved to myself that I was wrong. I ran every single step of that 5 miles (an 8k is 4.97 miles), including refusing to stop at the water stations and spilling the water all over myself while trying to run and drink.
My next personal goal is a 10k. I refuse to do it until I can run the entire thing with no pain. I did experience some pain yesterday in my leg, and I can't deny that. I started to get a little sore around mile 4, but the pain went away by the end. I iced twice yesterday after the race, and am still a little sore (I believe it is the tendonitis; when I wear good shoes, the pain pretty much goes away). In terms of distance running, I don't think my legs can handle another half marathon. I think the one I ran was my one and only, but I'm okay with that. I enjoy running, and don't mind running 10k's or less. It's not giving in, but I think it's important to not do permanent damage...I need both of my legs! And quite frankly, I never want to be on crutches in a kindergarten classroom again. I did embrace the "Robocop" nickname I got with the walking boot, but I'd prefer to not do that again, either.
Thanks for all of the support from everyone that allowed me to reach the point of running again. I know that I would not have kept with it if it weren't for the encouragement of everyone around me to continue fighting to get back.
Oh...and I also got an all-time personal best time in the race yesterday...47:58!
(Post-race with one of my main motivators: Vickie Wagenaar)