On October 20th, 2013, I ran the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (STWM), which was my second marathon. Things were going great for the first 28-30 km, until I experienced pain in my hip so bad that it pretty much halted me and I slowed my pace from about a 4:35/km to about 6:30/km. The best way I can describe it is that I felt like the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz and I needed some oil big time. I finished the marathon that day in 4:11, not the 3:45 I was hoping for (and on pace for until the pain hit.)
Fast forward to 2014. My race season began back in April and I have run an 8k, 10k and three half marathons. I have a 5k and another half marathon next week and in my running calendar was the STWM full again. I had been going back and forth for quite some time over whether or not I would run another full marathon after what happened last year. I often thought about sticking with the half marathon as the longest distance I would run and just work on getting faster and stronger with that. After talking with my coach, my husband and going through every scenario in my mind, I decided to give the full one more go and then this would be it…I swear! I’ve been keeping up with my training, however as I have been doing my long, slow runs every Saturday and the mileage has increased, I began to have more than just the regular doubts creeping up. I noticed that on my longer runs…really anything longer than 24km, I would start to feel that hip pain again. The pain I would feel is more than “I am tired, my legs are throbbing and I want to stop” kind of pain, this was the pain that had me hobbling for weeks after the marathon last year.
After a painful and frustrating long run last weekend I came home and collapsed on the floor. I then announced that I was not going to run the full and instead run the half and really go for it. I didn’t get the response I was hoping for, instead my husband told me “no way! This is your year to get a BQ”. Yes, he is right that a BQ has long been a goal of mine, but I thought that maybe now is not the time to go for it. I could go and run the marathon and hope that my hip pain won’t have me wanting to curl up in the fetal position at the 37km mark and call for a pick up (which I was super close to doing last year), but something in my gut was telling me that I had to switch to the half. It was that same feeling that I had been pushing aside since February, yet I was constantly being reminded of my goal of qualifying for Boston. I decided that my goal of wanting to race strong and healthy far outweighed my goal to get the BQ. I went back to my coach again and this time he fully supported my decision to make the switch. He knows what I am capable of in that distance so he said go for it! For whatever reason my body is good with 21km, and I will “run” with that 😉
So here we are today. I have made the switch with CRS, I have switched gears in training and I feel like a weight has been lifted. On Saturday I had a long, slow run of 15km, I felt light, I felt happy and I remembered why I love running. Running the Boston Marathon is not in the cards right now. I am not going to say that it will be that way forever, but for now my focus is half marathon training. Next weekend is a big weekend for me, I have the 5K Zoo Run on Saturday and then the Oakville half on Sunday. I have never had a “race weekend” and I am a little nervous, but I am excited for it as well. I am extremely excited to run the STWM half in October as it is a route that I run on a regular basis and what better way to celebrate my new goal then at home. 🙂
To everyone I know running the full 42.2km, I know that you will all be amazing and I will see you at the finish line on October 19th , but I will already be showered!
Now if you will excuse me, I have to hit the track for some speed work 🙂
Good for you for listening to your body! I’m sure it’s not an easy decision, but if it reminds you why you love running than it’s worth it. See you at the Half! 🙂