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 :)