It's been a week of ups and downs.
I tried to run on Monday. Got through 1.44 miles when the right calf balled up without warning. Stopped immediately. Limped home. Kicked a few rocks on my way.
Later that morning, I had an appointment for dry needling. I don't have time to cover the specifics, but 1) it is not acupuncture and 2) it involves 4" needles inserted into the myofascial trigger points of muscles. For me, specifically in the calf. This causes the muscle to contract then relax. Then they hook the needles to electricity and zap the area. More twitching. Then - Yes! There's more! - the PT takes one of those spicy topical creams and rubs it all over your punctured, electrocuted muscle. Pain level: about a 6. If anything,the neural twitches made my stomach flip. It's a very odd sensation. The true pain arrived when I tried to stand up. My right leg was completely unusable from the knee down. It was fatigued, cramped and achy. Pain level: 9. Emotional pain, as the thought "WHAT HAVE I DONE?" raced through my head: roughly 22.
Needless to say, I cried for two hours.
But it was a good cry. I needed to let it out. I needed to mourn my marathon. So I did.
Tuesday I woke up and my leg felt better than it has in years.
Wednesday I ran two miles pain-free.
Thursday, I went back for more needling.
Are YOU nauseous yet? Yes, this roller coaster of pain, hope, and horror has made me sick, too. I have vacillated between devastation and confidence more times than I can count.
And you know to what conclusion I finally came? After two, head-spinning weeks of heartbreak, optimism, torment and disappointment, I came up with a plan. You know me, I'm a planner. I like to have a Plan A and a Plan B. Maybe even a few more letters when needed.
But for this situation, I only need two.
Plan A: have a great, fun race.
Plan B: have a great, fun race.
IT DOESN'T F'ING MATTER.
The sun will still rise on Tuesday.
It doesn't mean I'm giving up. Oh hell, I have wanted to SO BADLY. Say loudly, screw this. Eat and drink to my heart's content. Skip cross-training in the wee hours of the morning and sleep in for once. Have a glass or three of wine. Stop the merry-go-round of torturous appointments. I mean, how many times can someone stick, poke, roll, scrape, tape or twist my right leg? It looks and feels like tenderized meat. I'm all for suffering and believe there is magic in misery, but this is ridiculous. Yet I dutifully stayed the course. Normatek daily, cryo, gentle stretching, rolling, warm baths, ice and heat every few hours, Graston, ART, dry needling. Had someone told me eating live goldfish would improve my leg, I would have driven straight to the pet shop with cash in hand.
In one brief and shining, albeit slightly awkward moment, I envisioned this crazy fantasy of throwing the whole race. Just intentionally tanking it. The daydream involved me running as a giant lemon. It would have been so perfect - a silent nod to the awesomeness of lululemon, yet also a way to say, "let's make lemonade from lemons." Alex actually has a lemon suit; the DTS store will occasionally break it out for local races. I imagined myself toting that costume, including the little stem hat, on the bus to Hopkinton. Putting on a bit of extra body glide because lemon suits might chafe. Crossing the finish line, sweaty but not sour. I tip my yellow hat, accept my medal, and walk off into the sunset.
If this race is going to blow up, at least let me control the explosion.
Then I read the BAA rules about costumes very carefully (*being married to a lawyer makes you cognizant of the fine print): no non-form fitting or bulky costumes extending past the perimeter of the body are allowed on the course. My dream turned into a nightmare as I pictured race director Dave McGillivray and the FBI roughly tackling me on mile 3. Scraped knees, handcuffs. I don't look good in orange.
This is the kind of stuff that makes the national news.
No thank you.
So I shelved the lemon idea.
But you know what? The choice to heal is now over. I've done everything in my control to better my leg. Literally, everything I could think of. And so now, the only choice left is: what kind of a race do you want to have?
I want to have a good one. I have nothing to prove. No goal.
I want to finish.
I watched this brilliant podcast a few days ago that showed a Google CEO talking about happiness. He said people tend to be happiest when their experiences line up with their expectations. My ears pricked up. Go on...When those expectations are not met, we do not feel happy. Yes, I would concur. Then, he went on, he looked at life after he lost his son. He said that locking himself in his room and crying all day would not make him happy, nor would it bring his son back. Nothing would bring his child back, so being sad and choosing to isolate himself would only worsen and stall his ability to heal. If he wanted to feel happy again, he had to make it HIS choice. Willingly. Readily. With effort and purpose.
Listen friends, I worked my butt off for this. I have thought of nothing but Boston since January 2015 when training for a sub-4 LA in March. I didn't get it. I didn't get a BQ in St. George. I didn't get a BQ at CIM. I finally, finally, finally rang the bell on Mt. Chuck after 18 LONG months. Then I pissed away the fall, watching baseball and drinking beer. (eh, so sue me...I'd do it again, too, if the Cubbies play in October). I had a tough start, eventually hit my paces, found a great new running buddy, and then got injured two weeks before race day. I could have thrown in the towel long before this. But I didn't. And I'm not. I'm going to finish no matter what. I haven't come this far to fail now.
I am making a cognizant choice, one that requires an enormous amount of effort and purpose, to run a good race, regardless of the outcome. This is the last thing I can control. I cannot control my leg, my ovaries, the weather or other runners...but I can and will make the choice to RUN HAPPY.
Back in December, the lulu survey asked what my "walk-out" song is. I stated, "Try Everything" by Shakira from Zootopia. The minute I saw the movie, I was like, "Judy Hopps! That is me!" I've never identified so closely with a fictional character. Get scratched in the face by a fox, stand up again. Cut your arms on a fence, run the next day. I loved the part when she's on the train, headed into City Center, looking at the different precincts with awe. I want to arrive in Boston that way.
I want to RUN Boston that way.
Say a little prayer for me Monday morning, ok?
Bib #17928. Wave 3, Corral 2. I start at 10:50 EST.
But now, I raise my glass, filled with water and Nuun and offer this toast: to hope, health and happiness.
See ya'll at the finish.
I won't give up, no I won't give in
Till I reach the end
And then I'll start again
No I won't leave
I wanna try everything
I wanna try even though I could fail