This marathon is coming up in 34 days. I have a spot in my heart for this race because it was the first (and only) marathon I ever did. I had my heart set on running it every year but with my legs having a mind of their own these last few months, I gave up on even running the half. After having to drop out of The Space Coast marathon last November, I really didn't want to sign up for Sarasota unless I knew in my soul I could do it. My training has pretty much sucked beyond reason so I had given up on running any decent distances.
Well I have changed my mind.
I found out some part of what's been happening last Friday. The rest will take a few more tests but the doctor said we might never get all the answers. There's some complex seizures, polyneuropathy and although my brain sends out commands to my body, my body won't return the phone call. The sensory response team is away from the desk, the lazy ass bratties! The leg muscle cramping and weakness are undiagnosed right now, and maybe forever, but my doctor said running WILL NOT MAKE THINGS WORSE!! Music to my ears! He said I will eventually get used to the numbness, tingles and pain and I need to learn to run through that. When I looked at him like he had 6 heads he said yes, this is a "forever" thing. Won't go away.
That kinda bites. But ok.
So I headed out to Boca Grande on Saturday. My friend (and coach) Jim, his wife and more friends were running their 20 miler. (oh the agony of knowing how far into training I should be!!) As I took my sweatshirt off, I also left behind my "pity party" feelings. My pink NE Patriots sweatshirt soaked them up and whispered "just enjoy this run". I can do that, I whispered back.
I came into the run 2 hours later than everyone since I was only looking for a 5 miler. As I walked to the corner wondering how far away they all were, a flash of red went whizzing by...it was Jim! Perfect timing! I fell into step for about a mile or so before he went back to his pace. I turned up my iPod and tried to take in all the beauty of Boca Grande. That's impossible, beauty is everywhere!
As I eased into the second mile I felt my cardio kick in, I was warmed up fairly quickly. Good, good. I felt strong. At the end of the 2nd mile, my feet were getting tingly and numb. Nothing new, been ignoring that for months. Then the muscle fatigue started. The mild cramping and shots of pain made it feel like I was on mile 10, not 3. This is where I usually stop running because I didn't know what was going on, but this time I persisted. The doctor said it won't make anything worse so I threw all thoughts aside and kept going.
Jim had turned around somewhere up ahead and was running toward me by now so I turned as he came by and ran beside him. We were at about 9.5 minute pace. Me at my 3rd mile, him at his 14th. As we ran he was giving me tips on "when" I run the Sarasota half this Feb. At first I was speechless. He knows I haven't been running and why. My heart did a little flip. Was he serious or just being nice? He knows how I feel about Sarasota and how bummed I've been. He also tells it like it is. I know this very well. I trust his judgement but ???????????
So I asked him if he really thought I could do it. He pointed out that my cardio was fine. I hadn't lost that. I looked at my Garmin and saw we were running a 9 minute pace and I was talking. My legs were numb at this point, so I had run through the weirdness. My heart rate was comfortable. I was doing the distance rate I was at last summer. Jim said to go into the half with the thought of it being a fun run. No goals, no worries about speed or finish time. To just do it. I thought about all of this while I was ending my 5 miles.
Jim continued on to finish his 20 miles, I went back to the inn where Jim and Bethany were staying to sit by the pool. My feet were getting those stabbing shots up through my lower legs by this time so I dropped my legs into the pool. I noticed the water didn't seem too cold but after 15 minutes or so the freezing water brought some feeling back. The stabbing pains were slight, much better than lately. I'm going to try this again next time I run.
Once everyone got back to the inn, I congratulated them and smiled when they went looking for the Bio Freeze....lol. I know that even though they were sore, they were feeling very accomplished and satisfied. A small shot of envy passed through me but then I remembered Jim telling me I could do the half.
Sometimes that's all a person needs. For another person to tell them they believe in your abilities. Takes away the fear of failure when someone you trust, who is in a position to KNOW tells you YOU CAN. When I got home, I told my husband that Jim said I had it in me to finish the half marathon. Then my husband said something so sweet. He said...
"If anyone can do it...YOU can."
OMG....I'm going to run that freakin' half marathon!