Marathon Pause

When I signed up for the Philadelphia Marathon, still high off of my spring half marathon PR, I was ready to crush training and run the race I know I’m capable of running. I had plenty of time to train, a great coach, and enough dances with the 26.2 distance to know what was required of me. My schedule was going to be a little hectic with wedding festivities almost every weekend in September and October, but I figured if that was the only hiccup I would be able to manage. A wrench was thrown in when I wound up moving – which was both exciting because I’d finally be in a location I wanted, but stressful because moving is stressful! – but I still had every intention of racing the Philly Marathon. Well, sometimes life gives you lemons and lemonade all at once.

Training was getting done, but I wasn’t running the way I wanted to. I had to skip a few long runs/cut them short due to being just straight up tired, and others were a mental battle to not only get out the door, but to actually finish the prescribed distance (though oddly enough one of my best runs was an 18 miler during a downpour). With all the weddings, moving, working, and trying to train, I think my strength work suffered. So I wasn’t shocked when I noticed the all too familiar twinge outside of my knee after a quick but easy 4 miler at the beginning of October. I took a few days off with some extra strength work and foam rolling and everything seemed to be okay – I ran 17 miles last weekend, and had an awesome fartlek workout last Tuesday. But then this past Friday during my long run (which was moved due to a bachelorette party this past weekend), the little twinge outside the knee I had felt two weeks prior slowly but surely developed into a sharp pain. Dreaded ITBS had reared its ugly head on my left side (I had an issue with it this past January on my right side). I made it to 10 miles, stopped, and spent the next mile doing a little run/walk combination in hopes it would somehow just go away. It didn’t, so after a few expletives left my mouth, I had to walk two miles home.

It was during that two mile walk home that I knew I needed to let go of my hopes to run the Philly Marathon. The thought had crept into my mind when the pain first appeared, but I was hopeful I could still salvage things. But this was the nail in the proverbial marathon training coffin. There hadn’t been enough mileage put into the bank earlier, and the last thing I wanted to do was run yet another marathon that my goal was to just finish. The next time I train for and run a marathon, I want it to be the race I know I’m capable of running. I e-mailed Jason and let him know what was going on and he confirmed what I was thinking: I will not be running the Philadelphia Marathon on November 23rd. Or the half. There isn’t any running on my schedule for the next week, but starting tomorrow I’m getting back into strength work… and then I’m going to take it from there. I joked that maybe I should swear off marathons and Jason said I can’t just yet. So when am I going to attempt my next marathon? Who knows. Maybe this spring. Or maybe not until next Fall. But I know that I can’t let my dream of a successful marathon go just yet – I have visions of myself crossing the finish line with that goal time flashing on the clock and I get butterflies thinking about it. So it’ll happen… one day.

Of course I’m bummed, but I know that in the grand scheme of things it isn’t that big of a deal. I’d much rather deal with the pain now, rather than during the race! So, onward and upward!

11 thoughts on “Marathon Pause

  1. Tough decision but it sounds like the right one! I agree I’m not a fan of running a full marathon just to finish. Take the time you need and you’ll be ready for the next one!

    I hear you on all the wedding stuff! I’ve been to 24 weddings in 4 years… Tough to work around at times!!


  2. Oh no! You’ve been running really strong in your races and I know you had your sights set on blowing the marathon out of the water. Sorry this happened. 😦 Don’t give on it entirely – you WILL run the race that you envision for yourself!


  3. I hate to see this but I know you are making the right choice in the long run. You will come back stronger Danielle. You know my bias on which marathons you should do. I think you are making the right choice and finishing a marathon “to finish” isn’t (and never was) the goal.


  4. So sorry to hear this, friend! It’s NEVER an easy decision. Sometimes your body is begging for the rest and when you listen you come back even stronger than you were before. As my dad always tell me, “Beak Up!”


  5. So sorry to hear this, but glad you’re being smart! Pretty much the exact same thing happened to me a few years ago…I started a 18 mile run and eventually got that super sharp pain outside my knee with each step. I ended up walking home almost 6 miles and it was so horrible. I made the choice to still run the marathon 3 weeks later. It was painful and I had to sideline myself for about a month afterwards. So, I learned a lesson the hard way! So proud of you for being smart, even though I know it sucks. I’ll be here cheering for you whenever you run that PR marathon!! Thinking of you and sending lots of love and strength!


  6. Oh no! It sounds like you are ok with the decision and that’s good. I keep having issues right around the end of marathon training and it makes me think I should give up on it too, but I’m not ready. Excited to see what you choose next year (or whenever!)


  7. Ugh, I am so sorry to hear this 😦 “Onward and upward” has been my favorite phrase lately, though, and I truly believe there will be good things ahead – if everything went perfectly with training and racing all the time, it wouldn’t be rewarding. Sometimes we have to accept the downs so we can fully embrace the ups. Can’t wait for you to crush your marathon – whenever and wherever that might be.


  8. Hate reading this- such a bummer about the knee. ITBS is something I would never wish on anyone, not fun in any sort of way. I’m sorry Philly won’t be happening this year, but know that when you do take another stab at 26.2- it’s going to be worth all of this wait to be strong and healthy.


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