Monday, October 10, 2011

Marathon Drop Out- No Shiny Medal For You... (to the tune of "Beauty School Dropout")

Yesterday, I had one of those runs that no runner wants to have— I dropped out of a race.  No one ever trains; pays registration; wakes up early all to drop out of a race. There are a myriad of reasons why a runner may do this, but I guarantee that odds are if you do this once, no matter what the distance, you’ll likely never do it again. If you were sick, you may tell yourself that you will never race while sick again and if you got injured, you may say, I’ll train smarter. Sometimes these dropouts come out of the blue and no matter what you do, it can’t be avoided…. A spectator crosses into you causing you to tumble over; a twisted ankle; etc.  Yesterday marked my 8th long-distance run in the three years I’ve been long distance running, and every race I’ve seen a runner hobbled on the side of the course… yesterday, it was me who pulled out. We all have our reasons for dropping out, and even if it is sensible to others, to us, it is the end of the world.

But, Sunday was a learning experience.

Part of the NF Endurance Team
walking to raise money...
I had been diligent with training, so much so that six months after brain surgery, I was able to do a half-marathon. Did it hurt? Sure, but I did it... But yesterday showed me that each race is different.  The summer was very difficult, with 90+ heat after work and the weight of a suggested second brain surgery for this fall, staying in marathon shape was more difficult than I could have imagined. Thinking about the ICU, and the slow rehabilitation runs and how my neck hurt from longer runs because the muscles had been sliced apart…. This idea alone messed with my training more than the surgery itself. Training, really training and doing 20-40 miles a week was something I wasn’t emotionally equipped to do. Despite the poor training, I was going to take the opportunity to walk with the NF Endurance team and spend the whole 13.1 miles supporting friends doing their first half-marathon and getting to know each other more while raising money for the little-known condition, neurofibromatosis.  Having missed them at the start and then not being able to find them at mile 1.5 on the back portion of the out and back- facing 13.1 miles alone was daunting at best.

Fall started blowing into Los Angeles recently, training didn’t seem so difficult with cooler temperatures. Little things like my running GPS dying did not bother me, nor did the unconventional work hours. I had a rollercoaster summer, but made it through August and September with no surgery and two surgeons telling me to stay far away from the O.R. These small setbacks were not going to get me down… I’m training like it was my first marathon again. The only difference is- Now I know how much work it takes and I know how terrible the wall feels.  Even though some weeks were tough on my training schedule and I’ve been repeating them, I knew getting back to where I was would take some effort since I allowed one opinion of “You must have surgery” to scare me into nearly a nearly static life.

I’m sure this residual brain tumor will take me on a rollercoaster for the rest of my life, I just have to mentally prepare and remember that I should just keep doing what I love doing.  Even though I have been better about training, I need to take Sunday’s setback of dropping out of a race and use it like most of my setbacks and let it springboard me into something better.

It seems that there’s no point in having setbacks if you don’t learn from them to be a better you. August taught me to just stick with it and push forward and the Long Beach Half Marathon taught me to train smarter. Together- training, along with friends and prayer, will push me to my next race February 19, the Inaugural Rock n Roll Half Marathon in Pasadena

1 comment:

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