Everyone knows how the next two lines of the song that is the title of this blog go...
"Know when to walk away... and know when to run..." (courtesy of Kenny Rogers)
And everyone who knows me knows by now that this isn't going to be a happy blog, I'm sure, just based on the title alone. I wish I could write a happy blog, I really do. I wish I could post about how awesome my run went this evening with Tamara. I never run evenings, but I was tired and sore and didn't want to wake up early today. I knew my hip felt better in the afternoon once I'd been moving around all day, and with Joey not having to go to soccer tonight due to HIS injury (bad inflammation of the tendons in his foot), I figured, why not run at 5:30 PM instead of 5:30 AM?
Rewinding just a bit, I ran on Saturday morning with my girls. I decided to see how it would feel to run a bit faster. The 6 miles I did with them ended up being at an 8:41 overall pace, with the fastest mile being 8:24 and the slowest 8:56. I honestly didn't feel awful. Right when we started, Allison or Megan or one of the girls behind me commented that I was limping a bit. I definitely felt awkward in my gait, but it didn't hurt to run. So I stuck with it and within 5 minutes I felt like my normal self again. No pain, except for when we had to stop for crosswalks, and then starting back up again was definitely painful. Only for about 25-50 yards, though. I felt best when we were going faster. Hmm, I thought to myself... maybe I'm okay. Maybe I can still do this marathon! I just won't stop!
I was fine... until we stopped running. And the tightness set in. And I could barely walk... for two days. Limping around like Mrs. Gimpy McGimpster herself. What the what??? I was able to chalk it up to Saturday's run though. I clearly had no business pushing the pace on Saturday. I attributed my muscle soreness to this. It was bilateral, after all... and bilateral is a GOOD thing in the world of running! Bilateral means it's happening on both sides of the body, which clearly means it's NOT an injury, right?!
I woke up today and felt a lot better. Barely a limp anymore. Great, I said to myself, this is going to be fine! But as I waited for Tamara to arrive to run this evening, I did my dynamic stretches and walked around the front yard to warm up... and I knew. I just knew. Lunges were slightly painful, when before they had not been. Walking more than a few feet felt awkward. My hips still felt... off. I was adjusted at my chiropractor this afternoon, and he insisted things in my body were lining up fine. But things didn't FEEL fine on either side of my body. And, as soon as we started, my fears were verified. Running hurt. Not just achy... it really hurt. Every single footstep was painful for me, radiating up into my pelvis on my injured side. Tamara instantly noted that I was limping. Unlike Saturday, though, I couldn't brush it off as just "getting back into my gait". Because this hurt. Let's just run to the end of the street, Tamara suggested. Let's see how you feel. But less than a quarter of a mile in, I came to a dead stop. I couldn't even run to the end of the street. I couldn't ignore the pain. Let's walk to the end of the street then, she said. But I couldn't even do that. Instead, we turned around. Slowly, ever so slowly, we walked back to my house. Each step brought waves of discomfort that resonated up my leg. I held it together... I didn't want my neighbors (who were all out enjoying the gorgeous spring evening) to see my tears. I hugged Tamara goodbye and headed into the house.
The tears just trickled at first as I sat on the couch with ice on my groin. They didn't turn into sobs for almost an hour, when my husband came downstairs from a day in bed (stomach flu). I looked into his eyes as he took in the scene, and told him that I wasn't going to be running my marathon. That's when the floodgates opened. I think I scared my kids with the forcefulness of my sobs. I wasn't just sad... I was angry. So very angry. It did help to let it all out (he made sure I did that in the solitude of our bedroom so as to not further worry our kids).
A couple of my friends have suggested that I wait and see how I feel on Sunday morning. The thought flickered through my mind, of course. But as the lyrics of the song go... you really do have to know when to fold 'em. And I'm folding. I am not afraid of running a slow time this weekend. I'm cool with a 5-hour marathon. I am not afraid of DNF'ing if it hurts. If I run 10 or 12 or 18 miles and have to stop because the pain gets overwhelming, well then I have to stop. What scares me is the pain. Of enduring that kind of overwhelming pain, with a gimpy limp-run, for 4+ hours. I could barely endure it for 2 minutes today. Maybe I'm not strong enough, but I've been able to push through a lot of pain in my life (years of competitive swimming, natural childbirth a few times), so I like to think that I'm a pretty good pain-pusher. Still, part of me wonders if I could do it. I'm not going to try, no worries... I've come to my decision and now I need to make peace with it.
So... now what? That's always the question for me. No running, for sure. I am going to try to get into my doctor, as I would really like an MRI to see if there's anything else going on besides a hip flexor strain. Regardless, I'll be resting for a bit. I have signed up for 2 mini triathlons, 1 Olympic triathlon, and 1 half-Ironman this summer. Training can wait for now, though. For now, it's time to just walk away.