From a walking boot to the top of a mountain
762 days. I never imagined I'd have that long of a break between races.
From March 20, 2016, until April 21, I've had at least five Did Not Start statuses. A few races, thankfully, were part of being an ambassador or blogger, and I didn't lose a terrible amount of money.
It doesn't make the pain or shame any less though.
Since March 2016, I've had:
- plantar fasciitis in both feet
- strained left calf TWICE
- walking boot on the right foot with an unknown injury
- bronchitis (really, ain't nobody got time for that)
Through my injuries over the years, I've slowly come back and set new goals, but this last time was different.
The freak injury that put me in a walking boot in October was the FINAL straw. Of all the things in my head at that time, one thing was coming consistently - if it hurt to run when I was ready to start over, or if I got injured again within a couple of months, I was DONE.
Seriously. I was ready to move on from running completely.
So on Dec. 1, I ran a quarter mile. Then I ran a little farther ... then a mile came, eventually I ran 2, then 3, then 4 and just a few weeks ago 5.
It hasn't been an easy process, but I've had absolutely no signs of any previous injury showing up.
As I approached race day this past Saturday, I had one goal in mind: finish happy AND uninjured.
Heading back to Roanoke for the Blue Ridge Marathon weekend was the best choice I could have ever made. That weekend is so special to me for many reasons, and now I have yet more amazing memories.
There's no doubt that going up Mill Mountain was the biggest challenge I've had in years. There were at times in the second and third mile that I wanted to cry.
Why oh why did I choose this race as my first race in 2+ years? It felt so foolish ... yet so rewarding.
At the top of the mountain, my sister (who killed her half marathon by the way) and I got there at the same time. The brief moment with her and the view of Roanoke and and amazing sense of accomplishment made it all worthwhile.
The final downhill miles of the race were somewhat of a blur - I just went for it, trying to get as close to an hour as I could for this crazy race.
I had so many emotions going on -- mad that I was injured for so long; excited that I was nearing my first finishing area is forever; so happy I was doing all this in Roanoke at a race and city that I love so much; upset that I took finishing races for granted for far too long ... I could go on and on.
I really don't care about the numbers all that much, but as I looked up the stats, I'm now at the phase of this comeback of wondering what I could if I had another few weeks to really train for this race.
- 10th in my age group out of 22
- 97th male out of 219
- 173rd out of 573 runners
I don't know what's next, but I haven't been happy about running in years. I'm not about to sign up for a lot of races - I just want to focus on one thing at a time.
And right now, I want to continue to celebrate this special moment for a few more days. At the end of October I was in a walking boot. Six months later I ran up and down a mountain.