Way back in 2000, I ran in the Seattle marathon. I tried to train for it by myself the previous year. It didn’t work.
The next year, I found a training team and it went much better… until about two weeks before the race. My IT band started acting up. Pain shot up and down my leg with every step. What to do?
I decided to start the race and see how far I could make it. Being Dutch, I couldn’t waste the entry fee. I expected to run about three of the twenty-six miles and be done. Three miles went well, then the course took us on an out and back over a bridge. I kept going. At nine miles, I passed my husband, which would have been a good place to stop. About a half mile after that, my hip started to hurt. I pushed through it for a while, but a mile later, pain shot from my knee to my hip with every step. Every time I saw a race official, I contemplated quitting, but each time decided to go a little farther. Then the course took us around Seward Park. I walked/jogged most of the way, praying I could make it to where my husband was watching for me. Then I would stop and end the agony.
By the time I reached him, my leg didn’t hurt anymore. It was probably numb. I waved and kept running.
At mile twenty, there was a horrid hill, but at the top, we turned the corner into the arboretum, one of the the prettiest spots on the course. Once we were through there, we crossed the highway and could see the Space Needle. The finish line was right by it and I was headed straight for it. The end was near.
Then the course turned north, decidedly away from the Space Needle. If that wasn’t a kick in the gut…
When I was actually close to the Space Needle, I could barely move. Stepping up curbs was asking too much. My husband tried to encourage me to run through the finish. I think my movement would be best described as a shuffle-hobble, but I crossed the finish line.
I stumbled around groaning and wincing for the next three days. Someday I’ll do another marathon. Hopefully, it won’t be so painful.
* Edited to add – I thought I had scheduled this for after Climbing Heartbreak Hill came out. Oh well, enjoy!