Wednesday, May 7, 2014

How do you know when to hang them up?

How do you know when to hang them up? I dream of going out on top. My fantasy running retirement would be to win the New York City Marathon then announce retirement the next day. Here's the thing though, I doubt any runner, including myself would be able to do that. I think we've all learned that when you achieve something in this sport, you immediately challenge yourself to do better. So it's really hard to know when to give up and stop pushing.

Love running at Stanford. Field was amazing.

For the second time in almost exactly a year, it appears that I have a stress fracture. I am also cursed when it comes to the Payton Jordan 10k, but I don't have any solid proof of that, so I will stick to the facts. My foot felt a little weird the week leading up to the race, but it wasn't so bad that I thought I couldn't get through it. Thought it was just one of those little niggles that happen just about weekly when you train this hard. It felt pretty good the day before and during strides, so I didn't really think too much about it. I started the race and felt pretty good for the first mile. The pain got progressively worse and by 5k I knew there was no way I could make it another 5k, so I limped off the track. Bummer.

Standing on my good foot
I'll be honest, I debated hanging up the spikes for good. I thought about how much easier my life would be if I didn't run competitively and just went out for a nice peaceful jog every morning. But, here's the thing, I love the challenge of running. I love doing workouts and pushing myself. Not one to choose the easy route, I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and move forward. The thing is, I'm not going to know when I've reached the pinnacle of my career until it is well behind me, so I might as well stop trying to time it. Meb's Boston win is a great example of why you shouldn't give up if you still have the fire.

So, now the focus is on getting healthy and trying to prevent this in the future. It's three days later and I still can't walk  properly, which means it's time to go to the doctor. In an effort to be well educated about my foot injury, I did the thing that doctors love, googled it. I thought this would be a good way to narrow down my questions. So, after spending some time on the web, my list of questions has gone from about 10 to somewhere in the range of 50 and I think I might need surgery. Turns out there are much worse foot injuries than a simple stress fracture, which has completely changed my point of view. Now I'm praying for a stress fracture instead of a Morton's neuroma or plantar plate tear (thanks WebMD). Trust me, I've seen pictures of these things, they look pretty gnarly, even by running feet standards.

I now find myself with a lot of free time since I haven't really started cross training yet. I don't blog a whole lot, but figured it might be a better use of my time than googling running injuries. I will try not to bombard all of my friends and family with Facebook and Twitter posts, but I will keep you all updated. Thanks everyone for the messages and support!
Spending time with my better half at Half Moon Bay