Welcome back to another edition of Just Run where some of my running bloggy friends and I share running tidbits each month.
You can catch up on what we’ve shared so far this year:
This month we are digging into our worst race ever.
Have you ever had one of those?
I’ve had quite a few races that can qualify as my worst race ever. If you’ve been a reader of HFM for some time, you probably can guess what race is at the top of the list.
The 2015 Boston Marathon.
I’m not going to lie, the closer Marathon Monday gets, the more I think about that day almost 3 years ago. It was supposed to be a race of a lifetime. I mean, hello. It’s Boston. It’s the one race that runners and non runners know about. And when you live an hour away from Boston, everyone and their brother knows about Marathon Monday.
You can read the ENTIRE novel of how I got my first DNF at the Boston Marathon HERE. Here’s the Cliff notes version.
At mile 6 of the race, I got a sharp, intense, shooting pain in my left ankle that radiated down into my arch and heel. I started to hobble. And panic. I tried to walk it off and stretch it out. That did nothing. It just hurt – a lot. I couldn’t get up on my toes and I couldn’t put weight on my heel. I tried to land with my foot flat, but even that was like having a knife dig into my arch. I couldn’t even go up on my toes without shooting pain.
At mile 8, I made the decision to DNF at a med tent. I knew I would do more damage if I kept going or I would be hypothermic (it was raining, windy and around 40 degrees).
It was the most miserable moment of my running life. I felt like such a failure.
As if dropping out to the race wasn’t painful enough, I then had to endure the ride of shame on a bus with others who DNF’ed to the finish line. From there, I had to try to find my family who wasn’t expecting me for at least a couple more hours.
Oh, and did I mention my phone had died?
And it was still pouring rain?
And I ended up with a finisher’s medal?
And as I hobbled around the city, people congratulated me because they thought I had finished?
And I was stuck waiting at a T stop for over an hour waiting for my family, shaking and shivering?
After that day, I wanted redemption. I wanted to run another marathon to prove that I could do it. But my body had other ideas. I was put in a boot. I was first diagnosed with posterior tib tendonitis but then after not making any progress in physical therapy, I was sent to another specialist and had a CAT scan that showed I really had a partially torn FHL tendon (the tendon of my big toe). It took over 6 months for me to begin running again. It was a slow healing process that left me drained.
Just writing about the events of that horrible day puts a pit in my stomach. It truly was the worst race ever. Even my first marathon, the Vermont City Marathon, pales in comparison to how shitty this day was. And VCM was pretty shitty.
Literally and figuratively.
I can’t believe that at this time last year, I had hoped to try to get a BQ at Sugarloaf. Of course, that idea was squashed when I was diagnosed with a stress fracture. Why would I want to go back to Boston? At this point, right now, I can’t say I want to ever run a road marathon again. It has zero appeal to me. Maybe I’ll change my mind when my social media feeds start filling up with all the fun going down in Boston. Or when I hear my friends race recaps because they will absolutely freakin’ crush their goals.
It occurred to me while I was running today that Boston has kind of left with me with PTSD. Prior to Boston, I loved to train and run races. Since then, I’ve only run in a handful of races. And during every single one of those races, I constantly was waiting for something bad to happen. An injury was bound to happen to prevent me from finishing. Maybe that’s why I’m having trouble committing to training for a race (of any distance) right now?
Boston changed me as a runner. It hurt me more than I ever thought a silly race could. Despite all the heartbreak, it made me appreciate that I CAN run even more. Who knows what the future holds for me in running. But I’m happy to be along for the ride.
So do you want to read more worst race ever recaps? You are in luck because my friends are here to share!
Have you ever had a worst race ever?
What did you learn from it?