The beginning of the end:
Or, you could say - the last time I could run more than 3 1/2 miles without severe pain.
See that small round bruise on my left knee? Its from PT I had earlier in that week, due to an achy, sore, annoying knee pain that I gave myself from running on tight muscles. It would come around after running about 12 miles or so, and after my initial PT appointment, I thought I had it handled. On this day, I was supposed to run 20 miles, my last very long run before New York. I felt totally amazing until I noticed a little bit of that familiar pain at around mile 13 or so. I stretched my quad and kept running. All was well until mile 16, when I felt a pain like someone shot me in the leg with a dart gun - quick, sharp, intense, severe, un-runnable pain. It just happened to be right around the time that Jeremy was able to meet me on his bike. He found me walking, stretching my quad, running around half a block, feeling pain, stretching, walking, running another half a block, pain...and so on for the remaining 4 miles until home. At the end, I was just stubborn and stupid enough to force myself to keep running. I was dragging my leg. I can't believe I did that now, looking back. I finished my run, but I was done.
Since then, I have received some of the best treatment around. (Mark, Shirley, and Heather at In Motion Rehabilitation are world class.) Its improved substantially, but that pain won't leave me alone. I feel amazing until around 3 1/2 miles, and then, like clockwork - dart gun to the knee.
Its driving me insane.
So what is it? A bizarre combination of a leg length discrepancy I didn't know about, subtle, related instability in my shoes, super tight muscles that needed to be massaged out weeks before I got that done, a stuck tib-fib joint and talus joint, and probably some other factors I don't know about yet. It looks a lot like Iliotibial Band Syndrome, but hasn't been responding quickly to soft tissue treatment. It seems that no matter what I do (stretch, ice, roll on a foam roller, massage, ice baths, epsom salt baths, KT Tape, compression sleeves, and on and on), nothing changes.
(My pain is not where the red inflammation is on this diagram, its low. Right about where you see the tibiofibular joint. Shot in the leg, I tell you)
I've been on an injury roller coaster these past few weeks. Run. Pain. PT. Feels better! Hope is restored! Run. Pain. Hope is lost. PT. Feels Better! Hope is restored! You get the idea. Now with one week to go, its not looking good for me and this New York Marathon dream.
I can't tell you how sad I am about it.
I have walked home with hot tears running down my face in frustration. I have walked home screaming at no one in total anger. (Not proud of my outbursts, except to say that I did them no where near anyone's back yard. I have some decency left...) I have walked home with no hope, completely at a loss for words. And I've walked home arguing with God about why He won't just heal me already, because I can't take any more disappointment. At least I think so.
(Note to self: see Job 40: 1-2)
Looking back now, I can see all kinds of mistakes I made. I wish I could go back and do things differently, but I can't. Our flight leaves on Friday. The race is on Sunday. This race is huge - 45,000 people. It is not the sort of race you can get a refund from if you can't run. You can't (legally) sell or transfer your bib number. I have the option to defer my entry until next year, but I have to pay next year's fees in April, and I won't know any more then about the status of my journey to motherhood than I know now. Running a marathon is not really a great idea when you are not sure exactly when two toddlers will be yours. It might work out, it might not. It doesn't really feel like the right answer for me to defer until next year.
So, the plan as it stands is to do the very best I can this week. See Mark (my PT) again, and get more advice. If I get any information that suggests I shouldn't run at all, then I won't. Otherwise, the plan is to go, try - and if I have to drop out at 3 1/2 miles, my husband and my brother will meet me there with a warm jacket and some kind consolation. At least I tried. And, since you can never rule out miraculous intervention - who knows? I might be able to run 6 miles. Or 12. (It would be especially good to make it to 5, since those 5 are sponsored by some very wonderful people in support of my fundraising efforts) I highly doubt 26.2, but hey, it could happen. If I don't try, I might miss a miracle in my life, and I'd probably always wonder about it.
On the bright side, my wonderful friend is running. She is in great shape and it will be a tremendous victory for her. I want to be adult enough to be able to celebrate with her and leave my self pity and sulking at home. I don't want to miss this experience, even though it isn't going at all like I planned. To say the least.
So friends, I would sincerely appreciate your support and encouragement this week. In fact, I might spontaneously cry if you ask me how I'm doing (you have been warned). I am desperate for breakthrough and growth and positivity this week. Many other things have been going on that contribute to the emotions happening with this. I have to believe it is ultimately for my good and God's glory. Your prayers this week would be so precious to me.
My spirit is willing, my body is weak.