Chicago this year was SO hard. I went into race day having only completed one “long” run of about 10 miles. The rest of my training runs came with bouts of walking and struggles to catch my breath.
On June 24th I ran with a local Nashville crew to celebrate Global Sports Bra Day. We ran a light 3 mile loop around the downtown area. It was an incredible and invigorating experience. It was my first time ever running without a shirt and for a run in the middle of June in Nashville, it was a fantastic way to reduce the heat that I’ve been used to running through while also building confidence with other athletic ladies and tuning out society's standard of a "perfect" body, recognizing our bodies for what they truly are - strong..
That evening I went into work. My job at the time was banquet severing which meant a good amount of time on my feet. I ended up covering a crazy amount of ground during that shift, walking almost 7 miles. I was stressed that night, but I had no idea what that day was about to mean for my future.
Over the next few days I started to have an ache in my foot. I figured was from running for the first time in a little while. A week after the 24th I ran another run with the same group from the Sport Bra Squad Day, only this time it was a 6 mile mural run around Nashville. It was a fantastic route with beautiful street art, but I couldn’t avoid the fact that my foot was definitely injured to some extent. Research. Research. Asking running friends. Tendinitis? No exact answers.
My research eventually led me to a possible stress fracture. This sounded like my exact symptoms, pain on the top of my foot near my toe (4th metatarsal). Ask more running friends. Stress about finding a doctor with my crappy healthcare plan. Stress about hearing I might have a stress fracture. Cry about not being able to afford an MRI for a proper diagnoses. Buy KT Tape. Watch videos on YouTube from podiatrists and orthopedic surgeons describing my pain as a metatarsal stress fracture.
At this time I had taken a trip back to NJ to visit my family and I was worried what this pain meant for my running. I had a marathon three months away and my training was nonexistent. Once I got back to Nashville I stopped in to an urgent care center that took an X-ray and had me wait for a call from the radiologist that day. That night I got the phone call that there was no stress fracture. I could not believe this by looking at the X-ray myself. Where the exact point of pain was I could see a calcium spot where, to this day, I know that’s where my stress fracture occurred.
I posted my results on Instagram begging for someone to tell me one way or the other what this spot was when ThisGirlCanRunFar reached out to me and told me this was definitely a stress fracture, the injury she had just recently recovered from. Her advice? Rest 9 weeks and then ease back into running.
Turned out that was exactly what the doctor never ordered but should have. In nine weeks I could walk on my foot again without wincing every step. But this nine week period left me with just five weeks to prepare for the Chicago Marathon. Only being able to run a mile or two for the first week, limited to run/walk/run routes felt very defeating.
Chicago came and it was a very warm day. My game plan was to follow the Run Walk Run method as made famous by Jeff Galloway. I would run for 1:30, walk for 30 seconds, repeat until finished. Except at the Chicago Marathon there are 45,000 runners which meant walking wasn’t an option until after mile three. By mile 7 I had to stop to pee (a thing I’ve never done during a race), and by mile 8 my feet hurt so badly I thought this would surely be my first DNF.
"Just get to mile 17 to see Kelly". Kelly Roberts of Run Selfie Repeat (now She Can & She Did) was posted up at mile 17 as I knew from social media. It took all I had to fight through the pain and the heat to get to her, but eventually mile 17 came and I started to search for Kelly and her crew. I put my hawk eyes on and finally saw her as she took a step back from the sidewalk. I hurdled the sidewalk as I yelled her name and gave her a hug and asked for a selfie. “You’re the only thing that helped get me to mile 17, and now my boyfriend at the finish line will be the only thing to get me through these last 9 miles.” (or some runner’s high mumble jumble is what I offered her) and away I went.
Those last 9 miles were horrible. I hated every second of it. I couldn’t muster up any feelings of excitement. I truly did not want to continue on, especially after getting a pebble in my shoe around mile 20 and having to stop and bend over to take my shoe off. I started to realize that any goal time I had was useless. And the clock eventually rolled over 5 hours leaving me feeling so down on myself as I texted my boyfriend, apologizing for being so slow. I made it to the last 800 meters and even then I couldn’t get my legs to continue to run. I walked up the final hill of Chicago and ran it in to the finish line. It sucked. I hated it. I felt I had worked so hard on race day after not being able to work appropriately prior to race day. I ate deep dish from Giordano’s with my boyfriend, complained about how horrible the race was, and went on to enjoy the rest of my time in Chicago.
This past week I was notified my application for the 2018 Chicago Marathon was one of the selected ones. Which means I get my third time’s a charm race, or so I hope. I hate that the lottery happens so soon after the race, the $195 hitting my credit card going into the holiday season adds a lot of stress. But I hope to come out of 2018 happy with my comeback in Chicago. This could be the year.
This month a new album came out that I was really looking forward to. Walker Hayes’ new album boom. is a fantastic work of art. I had been a fan of a few of the songs from this album that had appeared on his prior album, 8 Track. But of all the tracks on this new album I can’t help but smile running to “Beckett” a song about his son living life as a four year old, completely innocent and carefree.
“Damn proud of that belly button / Ain’t suckin' it in for nothin’ / 4 years old looks like fun to me // When I grow up I wanna be like Beckett / Eatin' breakfast butt naked / Ain’t even tryin’ to be famous / Just wonderin' where his airplane is / Don’t know if he’s rich or poor / Says it’s cool that the girl next door / Has skin like chocolate / When I grow up, when I grow up / I wanna be like Beckett.”
I love these lines because they sum up the innocence we’re all born with before we learn hate, prejudice, negative self reflections, and yeah, I do often wish I was 4 years old again. This song is added to the playlist this week even though I’ve been listening to it for more than a year.
Having lived in Nashville I had a friend who had met Walker and his family and could vouch for the good people they are, all six of their children included. Do yourself a favor and buy a copy of boom., stream it on Spotify, Apple Music, and request to hear more Walker Hayes on your local country stations. Jump on the wagon before you get left behind! And why you’re at it, you must check out “Your Girlfriend Does” which is one song I’m heartbroken didn’t make this album. Hoping for a deluxe album so I can blast that song nonstop.
In addition to the exciting news of getting into Chicago again, I’m happy to announce that I am also a 2018 Honey Stinger AND nuun ambassador. These two brands have helped me complete many marathons and half marathons as well as some tough training runs. I’m excited to see what 2018 holds for my run journey with these two excellent products in my tool belt.