That quote was my mantra during the half-marathon today. The BIG NEWS...I survived it!! Now on to tell the tale...
Backing up a bit, about two weeks ago I strained my left glute somehow while doing some walking lunges at the gym. I felt some discomfort, but nothing too bad and I really didn't think anything of it. I only really felt it when I ran, but it was just nagging for a while, until it started to get much, much worse. I was determined to do my last "long" run last Saturday of 8 miles and it was pretty excruciating. I did most of it by myself since I had to slow my pace way down and I completely broke down after 4 miles. I remember yelling (at least in my head)..."This is SOOOO unfair!! I have only one week until the half-marathon and I have been running my butt off!!" (Butt is about as vulgar as I get!!) Then I actually started to chuckle a bit at that point because what I had just said was a bit too literal...I had literally run my "butt" into a huge amount of pain. The last few miles my backside seemed to go numb a bit and I was able to finish up the miles close to what I really wanted my race pace to be (about 8:30-8:40 min/mile.)
I decided to take the next few days off from running and did a lot of cross-training instead. Again, it never seemed to bother me except while running so I really enjoyed the cross-training. Then on Wednesday morning I decided to try a test treadmill run. I made it about 5 minutes before I had to stop. At this point I literally ran into the bathroom at the gym and bawled my eyes out in one of the stalls. I was so beyond frustrated and angry...just two weeks before I had been able to comfortably run 12 miles and now I was struggling to run for 5 minutes!! The pain was sharp and started to head down my hamstring during that treadmill run which I knew was not a good sign. I came home from the gym that day and cried my eyes out again with my husband on the phone. I told him I should just bag the race because I really didn't want to be in that much pain for 2+ hours. I definitely had a "woe-is-me" pitty party that afternoon!!
I spent the next two days considering dropping out (which by the way is what I would recommend to anybody else experiencing that kind of pain...I'm just terrible at following my own advice!!) I also rolled out my backside like crazy (did you know a simple rolling pin makes a great substitute for a foam roller?!?! Every time my son Landon would see me get it out he would say "Ohhh, momma's bottom hurts!") I also popped ibuprofen like it was candy and prayed for a miracle. I even had a blessing last night that somehow I would be able to survive today's run.
I am always nervous before a race, but I was exceptionally apprehensive about this one since I really had no idea what to expect. I wasn't in any pain, but I knew that it was running that always brought it on so I would only find out once I started out. Sure enough, I could feel the pain in my left glute from the very start, but it never got unbearable, just a constant ache. Fortunately there was no shooting pain like there had been on the treadmill. Miles 1-4 went by pretty smoothly, but I could tell I was holding back my running partner so I told her to run her own race and go on ahead. At this point I also turned on my music and it did help distract me from the pain.
Then at mile 7 the pain really started to get to me...not the pain from my left glute though. Fortunately that pain had begun to go numb by this point, but my left hip and especially my left knee really started to ache (I'm sure from compensation!) Miles 7-11 I limped along, hoping that I could survive the misery that was now my life!! Then at mile 11, my mp3 player died...I really missed my music at that point, but I also knew that there was no way I would stop now with only 2 more miles to go. I picked up a bit of speed and realized that unless something catastrophic were to happen, I could still finish my number one goal...to finish under 2 hours. It was a magical feeling when I reached mile 13 and I ran my heart out for that last 0.1 miles coming in at exactly 1:56.
I am actually really pleased with that time. It was under 2 hours (yeah!) and actually only a minute off from my PR (1:55). But there was still a bit of disappointment. My running partner had a great race and was able to run it just like we had trained. She finished in 1:49 and ended up taking second place in our age division. I was so happy for her, but a bit disappointed about what could have been. I had trained so well, eaten so well and my times were awesome, but it just wasn't meant to be today.
That is the hard thing about running and especially racing. You can do everything right, but you never know just what kind of body you will have to run with when it comes to race day. I was reminded of two very important lessons today though...
1. I'm STRONGER than I think I am!
2. I can do HARD things!
Today's run was the most painful run of my life (that's saying a lot since I have been running for 15 years now!) But I DID it!! I finished it because I am STRONG and I can do HARD things!! I am also so appreciative of all the prayers and thoughts that were sent my way today. I prayed several times during today's run and I know that it was the Lord who helped me to overcome what I could not have done on my own!
"I can do all things through Christ which STRENGTHENETH me." (Phillipians 4:13)
Now it's time to go rest and massage this aching body!!
Talking Point: Have you ever had a hard experience that made you realize just how tough you really are? I would LOVE to hear about it!!