One week ago, I was hobbling home after 2 miles of another failed run, my ITBS had flared up again and my knee was really hurting. I pathetically sobbed the mile walk home, and knew that a decision on Berlin had been made for me. The tears were just a symbolic release of letting go of this race, the frustration during the last few months, and almost a sense of relief at finally deciding to pull out.
I got home, emailed the organisers to see if I could defer my entry for next year, and was told I could, so that was it, Berlin was over, I was absolutely gutted, but in some way it felt like a huge weight had been lifted too. It was constantly playing on my mind, should I do it or not.
I went to physio the day after and told him of my intention to defer, he didn’t advise me one way or another, other than saying if I did decide to do it, it would probably be very painful if the ITBS flared up, and I can’t argue with that, when it’s bad I can barely walk, so even run/walking the marathon would be highly difficult. I decided that I wouldn’t send the deferral letter in until the following week- weirdly you can defer right up the day before-but ultimately I knew it was pretty much all over.
I decided after a few days rest to go for a few runs, not aiming towards Berlin, but just testing the leg out, and seeing if there was any improvement.
On Wednesday I set out and ran 3.5 miles in a decent clip considering the lack of training, and surprisingly the knee felt much better. I also ran commute home in the evening, during which time I got lost trying to find London Bridge and ran past it in the opposite directions twice (seriously?!) and ended up running 3 miles total, again with no pain. I thought this was a one off, and that I would be paying for it the next day.
Thursday night I left work really late and only had 15 minutes to get to my train (around 1.5 mile distance and then get to platform) so I knew I had to blast it, risky with the knee but I wanted to get home sometime that evening! I was stunned when I got to the station to find I had run a 7.44 mile? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a 7 on my Strava, not that I ever really aim to run fast outside of races, I much prefer a plod! This was just 2 miles total, but again there was no issues.
On Friday I thought I would give a mid distance run one last chance, this was the real tester after the previous runs and on consecutive days. My legs felt really tired and heavy after a busy week and the previous runs, but I pushed through it, and had absolutely no pain at all during a 10 mile run. It hurt like hell physically, I’ve lost a lot of fitness as I’ve been not doing very much at all exercise wise, so it felt hard, but at least I was doing it! I recovered well, and didn’t have pain later on, or the next day either.
Yesterday morning was the big tester following on from the longer one, again I ran a solid 6 miles, and had absolutely no pain. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and for the first time since May, I felt like I was running on my terms. No injury dictating everything.
I have no idea why the ITBS has gone away quite suddenly. I’ve been doing the Kinetic Revolution program daily, as well as physio stretches/rolling, not sitting very much at all thanks to doing DIY around the house and working, and I’ve slightly changed my running style. I think all these factors have contributed, but I wonder in some way as well, if admitting defeat on Berlin, and the massive weight and pressure this lifted somehow played into it. I was putting so much pressure on myself to make the race, and fighting against the injury, weighed down with so much negativity about it, that I find it ironic that after finally accepting I wouldn’t be able to do it, the injury seems to be improving.
Anyway, this leaves me with 2 weeks to go, a deferral letter in my possession, and a glimmer of positivity on the running horizon. Clearly I’ve done little to no training, I’m not in any sort of shape to run a half let alone a marathon, and there is no guarantee that the ITBS won’t flare up. Ultimately though, I’ve always had this feeling deep inside that I would, and could run this race, for some reason I felt that I needed to do this race. It’s not going to be a PB, and I’m ok with that, because I know just getting to the start line will have been more of an achievement than anything else. I’m actually looking forward to not getting carried away about time and just enjoying what is set to be an epic race!
I read the above quote in Ira Rainey’s book Fatman to Greenman this morning, and was like ok, let’s do this race! I have made peace with the fact that I might not make it round, and if that happens, it’s totally ok. I think I would regret not doing the race, feeling as I do now, and the ‘what ifs’ would play on my mind. I think I’d rather try and fail, than not try it at all.