Commonwealth Avenue was flooded with runners yesterday. To some degree it’s always pretty busy this time of year as marathoners ramp up their mileage and want to practice on the infamous Heartbreak Hill, but I think it’s busier than ever this year. Obviously this is a big year for the Boston Marathon and I think that explains some of it, but the abundance of runners got me thinking about why people run such ridiculous distances.
For some folks, it’s all about the end goal of running a marathon – specifically, the Boston Marathon. For others it’s the joy that simply running brings to them (not me!). There’s also the comradery that comes from distance running, either with your running buddies or passing others on the road.
But what binds all marathoners together is that we run with purpose – not for running’s sake alone. We’re out there to raise money for charities we believe in, like I am for Newton Schools Foundation; we’re out there to prove we can do something really difficult; we’re out there to build our self-confidence and endurance. There are so many reasons to run and it’s humbling for me to think about this as I pass others on the road, realizing that they, too, run with purpose.
To all of the other marathoners out there – why do you do it? I’ll certainly be asking that of my students on Dreamfar this week.
Super exciting – BAA says it’s official!
I know it’s been a while since my last blog update. The last several months have been crazy! Part of the craziness is working through some injuries that have made my marathon training more difficult.
Here’s a little background. In training for my first marathon in 2012, I learned that I had chronic compartment syndrome. At the time, I was able to avoid interrupting my training schedule through making some changes to my training that included physical therapy. For a while it seemed to work and I made it through my first marathon in May 2012! But last year it didn’t seem to work out as well, and the compartment syndrome hindered my running.
The only true fix for compartment syndrome is surgery – a fasciotomy. Obviously surgery is a big deal, so I put it off for a while. But I ended up having it in June and spent the summer recovering and rehabbing. I finally got back into the running, but must’ve done something wrong – like ramping up my mileage too fast or not doing the strength training I needed – because I got a case of shin splints. At first I tried running through them, which proved to be a mistake, as they only got worse. I did what was inevitably necessary. I took myself off the road got back into PT, which started to help – but it’s a slow and steady process.
Now PT/rehabbing isn’t easy. Besides not being able to run, which was frustrating, I worked hard to strengthen muscles that were weak and to prepare myself in general for the physical demands of running again. At the same time, I needed to keep up my cardiovascular endurance while avoiding certain activities, especially anything with impact. Though it was an arduous process, I’m glad to say (though I’m crossing my fingers!) that I’m back in action and feeling much better. I’m beginning to increase my mileage again, but this time having addressed the issues that were causing the shin splints, as well as continuing with the necessary strengthening and being very careful!
As I thought about all of this, I realized how much I’ve been through to get to where I am now training for the Boston Marathon. Marathons aren’t easy – or else everyone would do them! Oftentimes we think of the hard part being the long runs. But the hard parts can easily manifest themselves in other ways too, such as in dealing with injuries and working hard to get back on the road. I think that making it through these difficult parts of the process are what make the end result so rewarding – and I look forward to that happening in April.