Hope or fear?


River in Missoula

Hope or fear? I have not run a marathon since my injury. Several of my past posts focused on the importance of running in my life and the particular challenge I find in running 26.2. My injury has caused fatigue, pain, and several physical reasons why I have not pursued this distance. Now, I wonder if there is also a psychological “block.”

Training for running a marathon takes determination, time, and commitment. In the later stages, long runs number 18-22 miles. Weekly mileage depends on the program but is generally over 50 miles, up to 70. I suppose if I am training to finish, I can ultimately run the race on fewer training miles. However, the marathon is a run that preparation is vital. Cutting training miles makes for a painful “wall” and last 5-10 miles. It also increases injury risk.
My fear is that I am not capable of the training or the race distance yet or ever. It’s not just having to “walk in” during a training run. It’s triggering a migraine 5 miles out and having to finish a workout in agony. I did that several times last year. This is not a good experience and not worth repeating. I also fear starting a marathon and having to “DNF” (Did Not Finish). Failure?

On the other hand, there’s hope. I have gained in stamina and strength through my workouts since the injury. I now can run 5 miles fairly easily, on days I do not work. I haven’t really challenged myself on longer distances since building back up, post-pneumonia. There is a difference between a half marathon and the full monty. A part of me wonders, if I managed to walk/run a half last year, why not a full this year? I can accept that walking may be a part of the plan.

Ultimately, for me, the marathon is symbolic of my TBI journey. The race is long, hard, and, at times, brutal. Sometimes, I just want to quit. I ask myself “why?” There are moments of hope in the race with the accomplishment of miles finished and aid stations encountered. At times, there are moments of peace and mindfulness, a feeling of rightness and joy. The major difference is that, unlike my TBI, a marathon ends. I experience the joy of crossing the finish line and the sense of accomplishment of getting the finisher’s medal. Then, the soreness and fatigue set into my muscles, teeth, and even hair. Two days later, the question… “When’s the next one?” No, I don’t want another TBI. Another difference.

Hope or fear? Can I chase hope and out run my fear this year? Or is the voice in my head telling me to wait the right one? Am I far enough along in recovery to manage to run that far?

Running… TBI… Life…

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One response to “Hope or fear?

  1. First, I like your comparison with running a marathon and TBI! Also, it sounds like you have come a long way. To run 5 miles is great! … I know not as good as you are use to but a start. There is no failure … if don’t try, you can’t fail. Looking at it from your current perspective if you get halfway, that will be halfway further than you did last year. Right? Don’t think of it as failure. Think about how far you are moving ahead and keep moving! Are you able to work out on your days off of work? To cram all that in one day, would be too much. Take care and stay safe.

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