You guys, I have less than a week before I have to run 13.1 miles. I am excited, and a little stressed. While my training journey had some high points, a lot of it was very frustrating. Since I have only been running since late July, deciding to go from a 5K straight to a half marathon, I have encountered almost every beginner’s running injury and obstacle known to mankind. At the very beginning, it was old-fashioned shin splints. After a few weeks of icing and rubbing athlete’s ointment on my shins, my legs were pretty much like, “Fuck you, shin splints!” and everything was copacetic. Then, over the Christmas holidays, I only ran two miles in two weeks and lost all my endurance. Then I got runner’s knee, and now I believe I’m dealing with anterior shin splints (yes, these are different than the ones I got before). Actually, I’ve been dealing with this new pain for the past few weeks. I always get it about a 1.5-2 miles into a run. My left leg feels tight, and then an ache running along the muscle on the outside of my front lower leg starts up. When this happens, I have a hard time flexing my foot. It doesn’t hurt; there just isn’t a lot of range of motion. Sometimes, if I don’t think too much about it, I can pretty much run through the pain, maybe only stopping twice or so to stretch and roll out my foot. Then, when I start back running, the pain and tightness are gone and I can run like normal. But other times, like today, I couldn’t focus on anything else, and stopped running at 3.81 miles (I was going for a 10K), averaging a 16:12 mile pace (Disney requires a minimum of a 16 mile kept at all points throughout the race–no bueno).
This is so frustrating. All I want to do is just run a frigging half marathon. All I want to do is finish within the pace requirements. I don’t care about time, I don’t care about a PR, all I want is that finisher’s medal. I know I have the endurance; my stupid legs just keep acting up. After I gave up on running for the evening and began my three-mile walk home, I tried not to panic. I tried to remain optimistic, but on four separate occasions I thought I would cry, right in the middle of Bayshore Boulevard. What if I don’t finish? I’m just hoping that the adrenaline and crowd on race day will keep my mind off the tightness and pain and I just push through it and finish strong. I have to finish this race; otherwise, all of the work I’ve been doing since October will have been in vain.
It’s times like these where I wish an old, wise Chinese man would appear out of nowhere and tell me a cryptic Chinese proverb, something like, “The sparrow that flies the furthest is the one that takes the longest to get off the ground.” Then I’d be all, “What the hell, Chinese Guy? How does this help my problem?” Then he’d just smile a knowing smile and disappear, and I’d be all disgruntled until race day, when, in the midst of trying to run through my splints, the light bulb would suddenly come on, and I’d be all, “I GET IT! I’m sparrow that takes a long time to get off the ground! But if I just keep on running, I will fly so far!” Then my legs stop hurting, “Hall of Fame” starts playing, and I start running faster and faster, no pain whatsoever, until I cross the finish line, am awarded with a medal, and hug Mickey Mouse, crying from the emotional journey I just had. Then I would step back, catch the eye of the Chinese Guy in the background of cheering spectators, and he would nod knowingly and disappear. And then either Mike Rowe or Curtis Stone would appear, kiss me passionately, and then the end credits would roll. And, okay, I know I just described a movie scenario, but that’s what I wish would happen.
But I’ll settle for no shin splints of any kind.