Whenever I’m asked where I hail from, I stumble a little bit. After living in one foreign country and 10 U.S. states, including a few on multiple occasions, I can reasonably answer all over the place.
But if I had to pick one place I’m actually from, even though I only lived there for three brief years, it would be Washington State. This is where my parents still live, I graduated high school there, and I’ve consistently traveled to Washington since the late ‘9os. But the bulk of my time has been east of the Cascades.
In the past week I went to Tacoma, and I was blown away by Mount Rainier. I was taken aback by its iconic beauty (it’s on Washington’s license plate) and the way it glows as the sun sets behind you. Surprisingly, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it from the ground, probably due to Seattle-Tacoma’s notorious weather. With Tacoma’s hilly terrain and incredible scenery, things I sorely lack in eastern New Mexico, I would normally run and explore as much as possible. But i’m not running. It’s really depressing to admit that I didn’t run at all during my trip and it wasn’t because I didn’t have time.
In the past month, I’ve been dealing with peculiar pain in my lower tibia (inside of my right shin) which has limited my ability to run. Limited = not running. In mid-February I started training for a marathon which would have been later this month, but training for a sub-3 hour marathon in less than three months may have been too ambitious. One night after an eight mile tempo run, I noticed a new discomfort in my shin. Applying some RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) and taking some days off, I pressed with my training. Unfortunately within a couple weeks I couldn’t even jog.
As it stands, I still don’t have a diagnosis for this pain. An MRI showed that my leg was normal with no stress fracture and no shin splint which is good, but I still don’t know what’s wrong. So I’ve reluctantly decided to stop running and heal properly. This means I can’t race a marathon this spring, and I probably won’t be able to race any distance for a while.
The following are three big things I’ve learned…
First, I think I’m injured because I ramped up training too intensely in too short of a time frame. Marathon training is a different animal. 26.2 miles is an extremely tough distance and requires a complicated balance of quality miles, easy miles, rest, good nutrition, speed work, strength training, and life. At my fitness level and my job, I probably need 12-16 weeks to properly train for the marathon I want to run.
On a different note, two weeks ago I won the lottery! Specifically, I won the Marine Corps Marathon lottery and made it in among thousands of applicants. Assuming I can run pain free by June or July, then I’ll conveniently have 12-16 weeks to train. Washington DC happens to be the place where I trained for my first marathon in 2007, so returning to compete has meaning for me.
Having a focus and something to chase after, being in a place for feasible redemption and a return to the running scene…these are the goals which inspire me.