Most of my runs in 2018 have been in absolutely terrible weather. A few have been just your run-of-the-mill winter runs, and I actually like running in the cold. One, maaaaybe two was unseasonably warm, which is always amazing. But especially those few runs I went on post Costa Rica, right before my hip exploded, the weather was trying to tell me something. Heavy snow, heavy rain, demoralizingly, polar-vortexingly-cold and depressingly overcast.
This past Monday marked 15 weeks until the 2018 NYC Marathon. I hadn't gone for a run since April, and, although the writing on the wall implied that the marathon was almost definitely out, I wouldn't know for absolute sure until I took a little tester run.
I got up. I warmed up. I did all my PT homework like the teacher's pet that I am. I walked and did drills. And then I ran for one block.
Deep, intense pain, deep in my iliacus and psoas. Impossible to ignore pain.
I walked two more blocks. I ran a block. It was there - but a little less? Maybe? Was it really less, or was it wishful thinking? Or was I just adjusting to it?
I walked three blocks. I ran a block. You see where this is going.
To be clear, I didn't expect to feel good, necessarily. I didn't expect to feel pain-free. I didn't expect to run more than a block or two. I didn't plan on or even want to go for an actual run-run. I knew there was a 99.9% certainty I would feel some pain. Some pain. Not deep, intense, impossible-to-ignore pain.
The disappointment I felt was not so much about the race - that writing was on the wall, and I was always going to feel like I was playing catch-up with my fitness level, and walking on eggshells for fear of re-injury. That's not a mentally or physically fun way to train.
It's more a disappointment and fear of - oh, we're still this bad? Months later and this is still where we are?
The good news is, I didn't have a sobbing nervous breakdown, although I did feel sad and scared and a little tearful at some points throughout the day. Mainly I just focused on work and went to bed ridiculously early.
The good news is also that when I was completely done with testing and I was making the long(ish) walk home from Astoria Park that the overcast skies opened up and poured down warm, summer rain on me. I went from slogging through humidity to feeling cleansed and even somehow weirdly cared for. I know that doesn't make sense, and it's hard to explain. The bad weather (and I actually like running in bad weather sometimes) I experienced the first part of the year almost seemed to be pushing me away. This weather felt like an embrace. It felt comforting, somehow.
I walked slowly uphill back to my apartment from 20th avenue. It was raining hard but not windy at all. When I got there, I didn't want to go back inside yet, so I stood outside my apartment, stretching my calves and just being where I was. Trying to be okay with what is.
So. This week I'll be pulling the trigger and officially deferring to the 2019 New York City Marathon. We're now at 67 weeks and 466 days til the race.
I've got so much more to say about it, but for now I'll leave it there. I'm grateful for the rest of my health. I'm grateful I can defer. I'm grateful for everything I'm learning through all this, about my body and how I deal with adversity for better and worse, even though I'd much rather just stay ignorant and run most of the time. I'm grateful for the rain.
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