Marathon Training Week 14: Game Over?

Marathon Training Week 14 started off bleak. I had hoped that my ankle would feel better; it did not. On Monday, I went to CrossFit and babied my ankle. Tape wasn’t enough. On Tuesday, I went to see my primary care physician’s office to rule out a fracture. The doctor poked and prodded at my slightly swollen ankle. She said that it was likely just a sprain, but she agreed that I did need an x-ray to make sure. The x-ray confirmed that I just have a sprained ankle; in med-speak, it’s medial clear space widening. She recommended an ankle brace with splints on either side and a high dose of ibuprofen twice a day. (Fun side note: I also have an extra bone on my ankle.)

At this point, I think the marathon is out, but I’m leaving my options open. The half marathon is possible. I mean, I can wait and see. I haven’t submitted a deferral. The doctor thought I could make enough of a recovery. But in my heart, I’m thinking game over. This will be my last marathon training post since it’s up in the air at this point.

I had a lot of doubt on last Saturday’s run. Now, I’m not allowed to run until race day. Both my coach and my doctor agree it would be a bad idea. I can, however, CrossFit (except for jumping motions). I can also keep up my conditioning by swimming, cycling, and rowing. Make no mistake about it, if my ankle feels strong, I will be running. I’ll run slow and take selfies on the course, but I will run. I just doubt it will be the full marathon.

Strangely enough, I’m okay with this. Maybe a marathon isn’t in the cards for me. Maybe this isn’t my marathon. I’m not the first person to get injured during training, nor will I be the last. On my long runs, I’ve hated running. I love a good shorter run, and by “shorter” I mean keeping my long runs at 8-10 miles. I love trying to heave barbells over my head and attempting handstand pushups (and all the other crazy things at CrossFit). What I don’t love is feeling like running is taking over my life. That’s how I’ve felt the past 14 weeks.

Last week, thanks to my ankle, I went to regular CrossFit on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. I cycled and lifted weights on Monday at the gym. On Thursday, I went to Barbell class. And on Saturday morning, I tried a spin class. I’m not sure spin is for me, but it did get my heart rate up.

So, game over for now. I have my ankle in a stiff brace, ibuprofen at the ready, and an ice pack. I know that, no matter what happens January 15, I’ve done my best. And if I take the turn at mile 8 and finish on the half marathon route? It will be the best decision for my body. Once I’m cleared to run again, I will respect what my body tries to tell me. I will regain joy from running and have fun with my friends. Soon enough, we’ll meet for our Saturday morning runs and end at Starbucks, and I can’t wait.

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