Weekly Workouts: Acceptance

November 18, 2023
Total 48 (almost 49) mi. Looks so good on paper, doesn’t it?

M: 6.5 mi @ 9:20/mi (some strides at end of run)

T: 8.05 mi @ 9:27/mi. Wore knee compression brace which did seem to help.

W: 7.57 mi @ 9:44/mi. Chill run in the rain . . . again a bit of pain around mile 4 which dissipated. Wore brace again.

R: 8.6 mi @ 9:16/mi. Didn’t seem to need brace! Some mile pain around mile 4 which again went away. I did this one in (old, 300 mile) AlphaFlys just because I wanted to remember what running in fast shoes feels like.

F: 6 mi @ 9:52/mi, very chill. Again no brace and pain wasn’t bad!

S: 12.17 mi @ 9:58/mi average but . . . lot of pain last ~5 miles. It was during this run that I realized that the idea of even potentially racing 26 miles in 3 weeks on a compromised leg still causing significant pain during routine runs is . . . not a good idea. I don’t see the race going particularly well, and I think there is a strong chance I could end up DNFing or limping the last 12+ miles and — WHY? There is no good reason. I’m not even optimally trained. I thought I wanted closure on my training cycle but you know what?

I CAN HAVE THAT ANYWAY. I can decide my training cycle is over, race or not. I can take the recovery time even without having run the actual marathon! I can start fresh without possibly damaging my body. So I think that is what I will do.

I’m not going to pretend not to be sad about it. I’m totally sad. Kind of depressed, really. I already cried off all my mascara. I 100% know this is frivolous, not a real problem, etc. But, still sad. I am sure I will feel better once I am running without pain and have a new cycle to look forward too. But DaMn that was the longest ever training cycle without any victorious ending to speak of.

I (ironically) crossed the 2000 mile threshold for 2023 during today’s painful miles. And I don’t even think I need total rest from running! I just need to chill on the long runs and STOP when the pain hits and build a bit more gradually. I think I *do* need PT (preferably someone who works with lots of runners) even if ortho didn’t think so. I also may rent a Peloton for a few months to have a cross-training option (thoughts on Bike vs Bike+, anyone?).

SO. Here we are. I’m not yet happy about it nor do I feel at peace, but I think I’ll be able to get there.

my elevation gain/mileage ratio is very Floridian


  • Reply Elisabeth November 18, 2023 at 11:20 am

    I’m sorry, but I have to admit I think this is 100% the right decision based on what has happened, what damage could be done by exerting in a race (even trying to go slow, automatically in a race setting will be soooo hard).

    Ugh. Cry and vent all you need to. This is hard and sad. But also, I’m just so relieved you and the kids weren’t MORE seriously (I’m not trying to downplay your injuries at all – what happened was awful and traumatic and painful) hurt.

    Sending hugs from afar.

    • Reply Sarah November 18, 2023 at 11:52 am

      Oh Sarah! I fully know that feeling of frustration and disappointment after a long training build up. I had several failed Marathon attempts pre kids that lead to two tibial stress fractures. The second time, I developed pain just 10 days before a marathon and convinced my co-nurse practitioner to write for some steroids. I ended up doing the race but developed leg pain around mile 18 and had to walk to last 5 miles. And then ended in a boot for 12 weeks! Desperation overrode all my good medical judgement. And while I did “finish” the race there was no sense of accomplishment attached.

      Seven years later, post babies, I was able to train safely and wisely and finished a healthy marathon! I learned a lot of lessons in my failed attempts.

      For now, wallow in that frustration and give yourself time to get healthy for the next attempt!

  • Reply Grateful Kae November 18, 2023 at 12:04 pm

    Awww Sarah. I know how much this means to you. It sounds so frustrating. I was really pulling for a full and miraculous recovery for you. But I think you are right that there is a lot of potential harm to be done from pushing on, and not a great lot of benefit. The odds of hitting your goal time after all of this right now are probably slim, but the chance for further damage is much more likely. I think you’re making the right call, sadly. 😢

  • Reply Lisa’s Yarns November 18, 2023 at 12:22 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear this but you are making the responsible decision. Now you can let your body heal and come back strong again. It is a horrible disappointment as you were so strong before this freak accident. You will get back there but it’s ok and even healthy to sit with these feelings for awhile and maybe even do some short term therapy sessions.

  • Reply Noemi November 18, 2023 at 1:30 pm

    I’m sorry you can’t run your marathon. That sucks after all the training you did. But you’re right that building up the mileage you can do without pain should be the plan. That is what he told me at PT – it’s about doing what I want to do, but stopping when it starts to hurt, and stretching and strengthening so that the hurt comes later and eventually not at all. I hope you get to that place sooner rather than later.

  • Reply Marie November 18, 2023 at 2:24 pm

    Ugh – so sorry to hear that, that really sucks after all of your training! But it sounds like it is the right call for your long-term running future.

    PT is always the right choice, in my opinion – I sometimes think of it as personal training that’s covered by health insurance (acknowledging the privilege of having good health insurance). You could look at it as an opportunity to set yourself up for a stronger next running season – both in terms of recovering from this injury as well as preventing future injuries!

    Re: Peloton. I have the Bike and love it – not sure what extra features the Bike+ would add to make a meaningful difference for me. Two tips: (1) get padded bike shorts (REI sells them) and (2) if you can’t get comfortable on the bike after a few rides, pay for a virtual bike fitting (good holiday gift for you!)

  • Reply Kristie November 18, 2023 at 6:03 pm

    Just wanted to say I’m sorry you are going through this. It’s hard to set aside a goal that is meaningful, even if it seems to be the best option. I hope you are able to rest and cross train and find a great PT. I have no doubt you will come back stronger than ever!

  • Reply coco November 18, 2023 at 8:54 pm

    I know how hard it feels now… this is probably the feeling I had when I finished my Chicago marathon, not the race that I was expecting to run. Fortunately the feeling of defeat was gone quickly as I realized that I am so lucky to be able to run, not only physically but financially, family wise, work wise, it’s such a privilege to train for a race. We are in for the long run, while it’s good to have a plan/goal, it’s important to remember why we got in in the first place. For me, it was the freedom, solo time, dig deep, and knowing I can do hard thing. None of this has anything to do with BQ or any other marathon, those are the cherries on the top.
    Feel the disappointment as long as you need to, better to process it than brushing it off. Then do what you need to do to recover steadily, and come back stronger.
    I thought about you a lot this morning during my run Sarah, I know you’ll get over it and come back stronger.

  • Reply Candace Krause November 18, 2023 at 9:40 pm

    I have the Peloton Bike— the plus had a fancier screen that could be rotated. I went to one of their showrooms and the gal fit a bike to me, gave me all the settings so I could adjust mine.
    I used padded shorts at first, but do so rarely anymore. Be sure they fit the shoes as well.

  • Reply Daria November 19, 2023 at 2:14 pm

    I am so very sorry as I know this meant a lot to you. It’s okay to feel what you feel- vent, rage, bask in all the emotions. They are all valid. Hugs!

  • Reply Svetlana November 20, 2023 at 12:29 am

    Here to send virtual hugs and recognize that this is not frivolous, even if that’s how I would probably feel, too. Just proof that you are not a robot. Love the Peloton rental idea. I enjoy the bike bootcamps with Jess Simms and Callie Gullickson, and I just use a “regular” spin bike with the Peloton app on my phone.

  • Reply Ashley November 20, 2023 at 12:40 pm

    I believe this is a wise and smart decision, albeit not an easy one. And I think it’s okay to feel sad and acknowledge how much it sucks. The silver lining is that you KNOW you can train, and train well. You tested your capabilities and found out how much you’re capable of — and that’s worth something, even if it’s not the ultimate goal you were hoping for. Hopefully, you’ll have the opportunity to train hard again after you’re fully healed.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger November 20, 2023 at 3:02 pm

      Yep! Also I don’t think the 2000 miles ran this year went to “waste”. I won’t be starting from scratch!

  • Reply Miriam November 20, 2023 at 7:18 pm

    I’m so sorry :(. You are still an impressive athlete and you are so smart to listen to your body. I think you’ll enjoy shifting your energy this time of year and you have certainly earned your off season!! I have the Bike and while the bike plus has more features, I think it’s pretty much the same experience!! It’s really so much fun!

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