Posted by: kzaitzruns | December 18, 2012

If only a marathon was 8.8 miles…

I haven’t written a post solely about my experience at the California International Marathon and feel I owe it to all those who follow my career and support my endeavors.

It’s taken me a bit of time to comprehend the result and frankly I was a bit heartbroken and disappointed beyond words. While it’s probably the quickest I’ve accepted an injury over the span of my career, it doesn’t mean it it’s been any easier to swallow.

An injury is an injury frankly, but this time I was initially provoked with more emotion than past injuries. That’s because it’s the first marathon I was truly ready to run a big personal best both physically and mentally. I was on pace, right where I wanted to be, feeling calm and comfortable despite the rain and wind. Then it happened…

I didn’t think anything of it at first, it was a simple ankle twist on the reflectors lining the middle of the road. I’ve twisted my ankles more times than I can count over the course of my career. Usually you can run it off… In this case, that’s what I did, not thinking much of it. Until mile three when the outside of my right foot started to get tight. Over the course of the next 5.5 miles it started to get worse, but I kept putting it out of my mind, still not thinking much about it. Despite having to tweak the way my foot hit the ground, I was still running my pace comfortably and in control.

Then in a split second my marathon was over, just before I reached mile 9. I heard and felt my foot “pop”! Immediately I knew it was broken even though I didn’t know what that felt like. I was in denial at first and couldn’t believe everything I had worked so hard for over the past year was now slipping away out of my control. I ran a few more steps telling myself I could finish, to be tough, but I couldn’t put ANY weight on my right foot. There was no way I would be finishing this marathon.  I was inconsolable as I got into a police car so I could be driven to mile 13 where my family would be waiting to see me run by.  No one expected to see me hobble on one foot out of a police car, I was supossed to be racing by with the lead pack, looking confident and strong.

Injuries have plagued my career but it’s usually because I’ve done something stupid, like trip over a box in the garage because I’m in too much of a hurry! This was what I consider, just plain old misfortune! I have to remind myself it’s not about the destination but the journey.

Let’s just say my 4 week break after the marathon, has not been as planned. My birthday the day after the marathon was still celebrated in Napa and Sonoma with my husband and friends, but I thought I’d be celebrating not only my birthday but a huge PR. Once again it reminds me of an old adage that goes something like this, “If you want God to laugh, just tell him your plans!” Now I’m at home, with a broken 5th metatarsal.  Thankfully, no surgery but no weight bearing for 4 weeks  from the date of the injury.  After that another 4 weeks off  cross training and introducing my body to weight bearing. Really it’s only 4 more weeks off than originally planned, so it only moves my racing schedule back a month; but any runner knows how hard it is to be told you are not allowed to run!

I’ve come to terms with what has happened, I had to if I wanted to move forward. It’s too hard to heal from an injury when you are fighting it and feeling pity for yourself. I’ve set new goals and I will continue to enjoy the journey whatever that may be, because that is what life is really all about. I know I will be back even stronger than ever because that’s just how I am. I look forward to racing in 2013 with a new sponsor (Brooks) and believe it’s a sign of great things to come for my running career. Thank you Mizuno for the support over the last two years.  In the meantime, I must be patient and positive in mind and spirit! 

I will end with one of my favorite quotes that my coach framed for me back in high school:

“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.”
— Booker T. Washington

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