Head's up: This post is going to have some R-rated language in it, so if that's not your scene (and good for you if it isn't) come back later this week when I'm posting about Trader Joe's or some other bullshit. Ooops, sorry, started early there...
15 weeks. 45 training runs. 151 miles total. And it all came down to a 1/4-mile test run tonight to see how my ankle fared. And it didn't.
I think what stings the most is my ankle felt very normal all day. I was really optimistic that I would be able to run tomorrow. I heated and wrapped my ankle all day and dosed myself with Motrin in anticipation of a short, light, quarter-mile run tonight to see how it held up.
I cued up my Nano and walked for about 5 minutes to loosen up. I was really nervous to take that first step, pushing off my right foot and landing on my left for the first time since I rolled my ankle, a mere 72 hours before the race.
What if it didn't feel OK? Then I couldn't run the race. The race I had been looking forward to and training for and dreaming about for four months. Four fucking months, people.
I used to be a person who bailed on something tough after 4 days. But this time I hung in there. Getting up at the ass-crack of dawn to run in the heat and the humidity, the rain and the fog. In the dark. In the cold. Wearing a hat, gloves and a headlamp so I can see. At sunrise. Sunset. Every training run on the page, I did them all. I had fun. I was so proud of myself after every single one.
For the first time, I was completely and utterly ready for a race. I had this in the bag. My biggest responsibility this weekend was going to be compiling the most kick-ass playlist ever.
But getting back to tonight, I couldn't just walk around my neighborhood forever, I had to take that step. I hit play on one of my favorite running songs, "Enterprising Young Men" from the latest Star Trek movie (seriously, an amazing running track) and pushed off. And landed.
As the music pulsed through my head I tried to be objective about how I felt. Because, truly, the last thing I wanted was to injure myself for the long term as that would mean no running and, possibly, no bootcamp. No exercise makes the eating part of weight loss and maintenance extremely hard, and it's already hard enough, so I need exercise.
I can't believe I actually typed that, but now it is true. I need exercise. I am happier and healthier when I do.
After a minute I realized that my ankle felt OK. Excellent. But my Achilles heel was tight. Very tight. Too tight. I kept running, hoping it would loosen. A couple minutes later, Is it looser? No. Aww, shit. How would it feel after 6 miles?
I've never had an Achilles injury, but they are a bitch. I talked to a close friend after my test run. He's a veteran runner and has had Achilles injuries. They take forever to heal if they get bad. Weeks. Months. He wasn't trying to influence my decision, but he was being honest. And, being honest with myself, I knew what I had to do. And it fucking sucks.
As a responsible adult, I know it's stupid to be a narcissistic jack-off, so upset about missing a fucking road race, but I can't help it.
This part of my story was not supposed to end this way.
Sometime during every run I would think about the race. Envision running through Boston, strong and confident. I would take that final left onto Charles Street and see the chutes in the distance. The event photographer would be there and I would make sure I sucked in my stomach so I got a good photo as I sprinted the final distance, crossing the finish line, tying a bow on this amazing, for me, goal.
There would be great smirking photos of me and my best friend, sweaty post race. And then we'd go have a beer and relish a good race.
Now, poof, thanks to dumb fucking luck that is all gone.
I know in 24, 48 hours I will have a better perspective on this. The disappointment will subside and, yes, I know there will be other races.
But this, right now, really, truly fucking sucks.