Well, I made it. Barely.
It’s kinda funny, actually. My daughter joined me for the Hot Chocolate Chicago race. She was running the 5k, I was running the 15k. Before the race, I was pointing out how our sweatshirts were embroidered, “Chicago 2015 Finisher”, but not all were. We had a laugh about how you get the sweatshirt before the race, even if you don’t finish.
Little did I know, that almost ended up being me!
Before the race started, I warmed up with some slow jogging before joining my start corral. I stretched what little I could while waiting for my group to reach the start line. I had done a squat at one point, and felt a pinch on the outside of my left knee.
I started out slow, as I typically would for that long of a run. Not that I had much choice with the sheer number of runners. You certainly don’t run these races if you’re all about the time and competition. Weaving amongst all the walkers is a little more than a nightmare. But I was in no hurry.
I made it through 4 miles, no problem. Somewhere around mile 5, I felt that pinching feeling on my knee again. I walked a couple times for a short while, and it would go away. After mile 6 it seemed to linger more. I continued trying to push thru, but slowed my pace. Up until this point, I was probably running about 10:15-10:30 pace.
I was coming into McCormick place and things felt fine. I picked up the pace a bit, and as I was exiting, it was almost like my knee completely gave out. It was excrutiating! It hurt so much just to walk. Shortly after, there were a couple volunteers, and one lady asked if I was ok. I said I’d be fine and carried on.
I thought I was closer to the end, but I hadn’t reached mile 8 yet. Either way, I was determined to finish.
A little while later, the same lady came up behind me on a bike and asked if I was sure I was ok, and offered to get me a cart. I refused. I didn’t start this race not to finish. And as long as I could walk, that’s exactly what I was going to do.
I quickly realized that if I quit bending my knee, and kept my leg as straight as possible, it didn’t hurt much at all. I walked as fast as I could, which was pretty slow for me! I tried starting a slow jog a couple times, but there was no way I would be able to do anything that resembled running.
I wanted so bad to run this race. And it hurt so bad. Not just physically. Emotionally I was just done. All the feelings of failure kept creeping in. I wanted to cry. In fact, I had to hold back tears more than once. I couldn’t even finish strong. But I finished.
I went to the medical tent to get some ice. The lady that helped me there was trying to figure out the pain and felt it might be bursitis. But it seems like the location more resembles ITBS. I’ll give it a few days of icing and taking it easy and see how it feels. Hoping to avoid any more doctor/PT visits.
Either way, it would seem I will be launching another hiatus. I have until next June to get my act together. I plan to do this right so I don’t encounter any more problems for my half.
But right now, all I know is this – regardless of what happened today, or last month, I am not a quitter. I’ve committed to being healthier, and running. And I’m too strong to let anything get me down.
Running teaches us to keep moving forward, one step at a time, especially in the most painful moments.