It’s becoming a lot more real now! (by the way, I am really impressed by how organized the Boston Athletic Association is. Information about the race has been coming regularly ever since I registered in September; they keep you informed and up-to-date, not to mention super pumped!)
Yesterday I went to my family doctor to get his opinion on running Boston injured. In addition to being an Ironman triathlete, he runs the Boston Marathon every year so it’s safe to say he speaks from experience! He checked out my groin and quad, manipulated my leg through some stretches, then gave me his advice:
– Run Boston.
Whew. SO glad he gave me the green light on this, although to be honest I’ve got my heart set on running it no matter who says what. But it’s still nice to have a doctor on board with my decision to run the world’s most prestigious marathon with a pulled groin and no long training runs done…that being said…
– It’s going to hurt. A lot.
Okay. Considering that my marathon last year was the most pain I have ever experienced, and I was in peak training and health condition, this freaks me out. But in a “it’s still far enough away not to worry about right now” kind of way. The doc said core shorts, cortisone shots, KT tape, etc. wouldn’t really help much. What counts now are the three weeks leading up to the big day. When I cross the starting line at 10:25 a.m. on Patriot’s Day, what will come will come. All I can do is prepare for it.
My doctor has posters of the different Bostons he’s raced over the years around his office.
This one’s from 1999.
– But it’s also going to be incredibly fun, moving and emotional.
He shared this story from last year’s marathon (he had already finished when the bombs went off): “My friend was at the 20 mile point, so the police formed a barricade and told everyone, ‘your race ends here, buses are coming to pick you up’. It started to get really congested with runners and emotions were running high, everyone was worried, upset and confused. And then this woman comes out of her house right by where the police set up their barricade and she goes, ‘does anyone want a sandwich?” And she started passing out sandwiches she had made. That’s what the city is like, that’s what the people are like. This is everyone’s day, everyone’s race.”
Wow. The big reason why I am so determined to run Boston despite being injured is because of this. When the bombing happened last year, I was one week out from running my first marathon ever. I had trained all winter with the secret dream of getting a BQ, and as I stood glued to the television screen watching the horror unfold in Boston, I promised myself I would give everything I had in Gettysburg to get that BQ so I could go to Boston in 2014. Boston has never been “just a race”, as any runner will tell you, and this year isn’t any ordinary year.
As my doctor talked about Boston, I could tell how moved he was. “I’m getting chills just hearing the word Wellesley,” he said after I asked him about the legendary Wellesley College “Scream Tunnel”, a wall of sound that hits you two miles out before you actually pass by the screaming students and faculty of the college.
“Ride the emotions of the crowd and they will help you get through the tough parts,” he told me, and I fully plan on doing just that. I can’t wait!
– Come to terms with the fact you’re not going to PR and that people will pass you.
I’ve already accepted, at least in my head, that I won’t PR. The problem is that once you’re in a race, it’s so hard to not feel demoralized as everyone shoots past you. I’m going to be in a speedy corral and wave, so it will be particularly difficult to ignore the people around me and run slow and steady. I’ve just got to remember the mantra, “run your own race.” Take my time, because if my leg holds up I can always pick up the pace at the end. I’d rather have a strong finish and a weak start – even if that means a weak 42 kilometers and a strong .2! – than the opposite and have to crawl/limp across the finish line.
Not going to lie though – it’s definitely going to suck at the beginning seeing everyone pass me. The sulky toddler side of my personality will probably be tempted to yell, “I’m injured FYI!” because clearly, everyone cares and is wondering, “WTF is this slow girl doing here?” 😉
In terms of medical advice, the doc told me he’s had this same injury before and the only thing that really cures it is…yep, you guessed it – time. UGH. I’m an impatient millenial, I freak out when my internet signal goes out for a minute. I’m culturally conditioned to not do well with waiting!
He recommended rubbing Voltaren cream on my muscle four times a day and avoiding flutter kick when swimming because in his experience, it only made his injury worse. Drat. Arms only with a pull buoy or dolphin kick are fine, but avoid the flutter.
What I can do is cycle, and he told me to bike for as long as I’d be running if following my training plan. So if I have a 2.5 hour run scheduled, then hit the bike for 2.5 hours. Done – today I basically biked all over town for 2 hours until my feet and butt lost all feeling. On the bright side – my groin and quad felt totally fine! And at every hill I puffed up I just kept telling myself, “heart – break, heart – gasp – break…” Heartbreak Hill, here I come!