Why did this never come up? Well, for one thing, it wasn't that bad. It would be sore for a while after a run, but not too bad and it never slowed me down. But the little bugger persisted. For months. And if I actually said out loud that I had an injury that wasn't healing, then people might suggest something sensible, like that I not go out and race for 13.1 miles. And that was a conversation I was not interested in having.
Still, between that little nagging injury and the fact that my training has not been as focused this season (and that is another post altogether), I knew that this race would not be my best work. That's okay, though - they can't all be PRs, and I was very excited to run on a beautiful course, support my fellow club members, and have a good time.
I met my running club at the hideous hour of 6:30. We all wore our neon yellow training t-shirts and posed for a very bright group photo. Everyone was excited, especially the firs time marathoners. I was so glad that I decided to train with the group instead of on my own. The sense of camaraderie was great. The weather was a bit chilly, probably in the 50s, so I waited until the absolute last second to, as they say in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, pop off the shirt.
I think that the fact that I ran the 26.2 version of this race last year made me really appreciate the trisko course. It had all of the good - running over bridges across the Mississippi, stunning views of the river, friendly spectators, and a conveniently timed hot air balloon festival - and none of the tedium of spending far too long of a stretch running on Arsenal Island.
A half marathon, while more than half as easy as a full marathon, is still not easy. As I hit miles 10 and 11, I was feeling tired. I kept on pushing forward, though, knowing how close I was. I was definitely not on track for a PR (thanks in part to a bathroom break I took at mile 2, figuring that would help me enjoy the race more, especially without any records in the offing), but I still wanted to finish respectfully.
At mile 12, huge spasms shot up and down my left leg. They hurt so much that I actually said, "Ow!" out loud. But no matter, I kept on running listened to Steve, Jack, and my mom cheer me in, and happily crossed the finish line with a totally decent time of 2:05:32.
As soon as I did, that nagging injury, which was pretty quiet through the entire race, started screaming at me. I stayed on my feet and limped through the after party, figuring that would be better for me than sitting down. I enjoyed my first post-race massage, which was heavenly.
The bad news, Internet, is that my shin is in very bad shape. Standing or walking on it is incredibly painful, and walking up and down the stairs is an exercise in toughness. When I got to the post-race party my club had, I groaned when I saw I'd have to go up stairs to join everybody. Russ, my coach, immediately saw me limping and wanted to know what happened. He was glad to hear my plans to see my doctor and rest, though still concerned about me. The party was great. Everyone was in a celebratory mood. And Paul, the president of our club, had spent the entire day completing a slide show, set to music, that documented our training. It was amazing to see how long we'd all be running together and how hard we had all worked. It ended with shots of each and every one of us crossing the finish line.
I limped my way through work and limped my way to the doctor's office today. My doctor thinks that I have some kind of soft tissue damage and doesn't think that the bone is injured. I am going to an orthopedist on Thursday who will have a better assesment of what's wrong, and I will go on from there.
One of my co-workers saw me dragging my semi-useless leg around today and asked if I hurt myself, "In a one-legged ass-kicking contest." I like to think that's exactly what happened. I ran a great race despite what seems to be a bad injury, and I kicked ass.