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Letting Go of a Dream...

Posted by RTE Admin on

After a rush job to get ready for the Boston Marathon in April, I was relieved to come off   that marathon feeling healthy and motivated.  I turned my focus to the track, getting my speed back and thinking about running times in the 10,000 meters that I hadn’t run in years.  I was really enjoying my training leading up to the USATF championships in Des Moines Iowa.   Even though I knew my big goal for the year was to knock it out of the park in the big apple, I was loving the track sessions and the change of pace from my normal marathon training.  Unfortunately, I faltered in the 10Kin Des Moines. A combo of a bad race strategy and tough weather conditions left me outside the top 3 required to move on to the IAAF World Championships in Moscow.  I was devastated, but quickly found the silver lining in the fact that I could now do some summer road racing that I have never had the opportunity to do before.  I felt hopeful. Things happen for a reason, right?

Before Shalane left for Europe to begin her altitude stint before the World Championships we did a 10.5 mile tempo together.  It was great, working together like we did before the Olympic Marathon, pushing each other in a strong fast tempo.  But on the cool down my right foot began to ache.  I stopped and retied my shoe, but it just kept getting worse and worse.  I hobbled back to my car and drove home to put my foot in a bucket of ice.  Hours later it still swelled.  What had I done?  Had I tied my shoe too tight?  Did I take an awkward step and twist my foot on the run?  The next morning I woke up and my foot was still swollen and still very painful to step on.  I made a decision to take the day off.  For those of you who don’t know me, this is a very big deal.  I run every day.  Every day.  It makes me feel normal. Sane.  I only took one week off after giving birth to my son before returning to running.  I realize this makes me crazy, but in fact it makes me not crazy.  I need to feel my body move.  Anyway, when my coach, Jerry Schumacher heard I was taking the day off, his immediate reaction was to ask me if it was broken.  Since I never ask for a complete rest day, he knew it was bad.  But I was sure that it wasn’t broken.  It came out of nowhere. Surely it would clear up in a day or two.  After hobbling around for a week, and getting increasingly cranky, I went in for an MRI.  I was devastated by the news. Jerry was right. My 2nd metatarsal in my foot had a stress fracture.

After lots of frustrated tears and a meltdown or two, I focused on my cross training.  If I couldn’t run, I could still cross train.  My body would feel like it was building a base, and when I finally got healthy enough to run, my cardiovascular system would be ready.  I started with aqua jogging and then added the elliptical when I got permission from the docs.  I cross trained for 850 minutes a week (Two+ hours a day.) Every week I would do my “long run” which was 1 hour and 55 minutes on the Elliptical.  Why did I stop at 1:55?  Because I told myself that only a psycho would Elliptical for 2 straight hours.  I worked hard, visualized racing in NYC, and kept my spirits up.

Eight weeks later, it was time to start running outdoors.  The marathon was now 10 weeks away, and I needed to get after it!  The transition did not go well.  My foot ached and my cadence was slow.  I recently went back to the doctor and found out that my foot, is healing, but is not healed.  I needed to pull the plug on the marathon, get healthy, and stay away from outdoor running for a little bit longer.

Pulling out of NYC is very difficult for me, for so many reasons.  First of all, as I stated earlier, this was my chance to finally enter a race healthy, fit, and ready to go.  I had suffered through the fall and winter for my chance to shine in NYC.  Secondly, I love the NYC marathon!  It was where I ran my first marathon. It was a bit of a deer in headlights experience, but I loved every minute of it.  I felt like I discovered myself there, really learned to appreciate myself and my strengths as a runner.  I had waited patiently for 5 years to return to the place where I fell in love with the marathon.  I couldn’t believe I was going to have to wait longer.  Finally, I wanted to run this race for my family, fans, and the NYRR.  They know what I am capable of doing and they have supported me through this entire journey.  I wanted to have the opportunity to perform for them all.

In the end, I had to realize that this was not the year for me.  I have run two of my last three marathons with rushed preparation and I deserve to run a marathon at my best, so that I can truly be a contender again.  I realize that my family, sponsors, and fans all want me to be healthy and run at my best.  They don’t want to see me out there at 70%, trying to outsmart people rather than being able to freely run my own race.

- Kara Goucher