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I am not an Olympic Athlete

So much talk and so many stories about the “Road to Rio” right now. So many athletes, so many years of training, hopes and dreams and it all comes down to 1 race, 1 meet, 1 lift, 1 hole, 1 game. Not everyone makes it. That is the way life goes sometimes. You can work toward a goal for years and you may achieve it or you may not. But for every big goal there are thousands of small achievements along the way that no one ever thought possible. Those matter.

A year ago I was able to accomplish my half marathon goal, but not without a lot of failure along the way.Two years ago I ended up with ITB syndrome, or glute medius tendinosis after running Great Bay Half Marathon in April. That was not my goal race; my goal race was Wallis Sands Half Marathon in May. I was told it would be a very long time before I could run again. I continued to run when I could, and I continued to do what I could in the gym, including deadlifting, until my race in May. Everyone told me I did not have to run that race in May. I had not run more than 4 miles without pain going into that half marathon. I  was running with Team On Belay and I felt obligated to at least give it a try. Then I would rest. I told myself if, at the halfway point if I was in too much pain, I would stop. I had my daughter waiting there for me just in case. I remember feeling pretty good and pain free through 6 miles so I decided to go for it. Risk vs reward. The next few miles were not bad but by the time I reached the 9 mile mark I was in agony, walking and running when I could just to end the misery. I don’t know how I made it across the finish line.

I was told it would be a long, slow process of PT and exercise-but no running. The doctor said I’ll see you back here in 8 weeks, which meant the end of July. I told him my goal was to run Beach to Beacon 10K the first weekend in Aug. He said, “We’ll see.”

My trainer was not happy with me, my husband was not happy with me, they all felt like I did not listen to their good advice. They all felt that if I had slowed down, or rested, or taken it easy, I would be better off.  I had a vacation planned in June, I stayed away from the gym for a month and started running when I could walk without dragging my leg around. After 4 weeks-the end of June-I was running 5 miles pain free, and the pain never returned. I ran several races in July and ran my 10K in August to the amazement of everyone.

It is easy to say, “You shouldn’t have run that race,” or “You shouldn’t have done that,” or “You don’t have to do that, it is not necessary,” but this is my life and I am not an Olympic athlete destroying my chances for a gold medal. I understand risk vs reward. Two years ago I thought to myself, “What if I can never run again?” I decided running races was not the reason I run. Every time I get elbow tendinitis I think, “What if I can never do pull-ups again?” You can not stop living and trying things if you are afraid you are going to jeopardize 1 moment or event that may or may not happen anyway.

The human body is an amazing machine. I understand what Greg MacMillan talks about when he says, “Respect the chassis,” but you have to live life too, and choices have consequences. I rolled my ankle in last weekend’s trail race, but I could just as easily have rolled my ankle walking down the street. My goal race is in less than 3 weeks. I could have played it safe until then and waited until that event which may or may not be successful. Instead, I decided to do what I have been training for, and that is to run hard and run far. It didn’t end the way I had hoped, but I experienced something new and I accomplished something I have never achieved before.


I am optimistic and training as if I am going to run my goal race in two and a half weeks. The hard work has been done. I am not going to lose that in 2 weeks. Do not tell me that my injury will take months to heal and it will be weeks before I am 100%. I am not an Olympic athlete. Here’s a news flash: I am never 100%. I feel great 99% of the time, but I am never 100%. In spite of listening to solid advice, and following training plans, working out and running is not my job. I am not an Olympic athlete. Do not feel badly for me and do not count me out. The human body is an amazing machine but the human spirit is even more amazing.


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