Sometimes It Takes Longer Than You Planned

On Sept 3 last year, I posted the above photo of the Randy Pausch quote on the Planning With Kids facebook page with the comment:

I have run into a little brick wall at the moment, so loved reading this quote.

I had been training since April for the Melbourne Marathon. On Friday August 31, I pulled up terribly after a 30km run. It took a second opinion and two weeks to find the cause. Long story short, I had cracked my inferior pubis ramus.

Basically I had put a crack in my pelvis. The fantastic physio I saw when seeking a second opinion, picked it pretty much instantly, but it took an MRI and a phone call from him to tell me that I would not be able to run the marathon – to do so would see me risk significant damage to my pelvis.

I was quite devastated, but I knew from the pain I had, I could not run a marathon. I could not even stand on one leg to put on pants. The physio said it would be a minimum of six weeks before I could start running again. I could still use the cross trainer at the gym, do some light weights, but nothing that jolted the pelvis.

The brick wall

melbourne marathon running

It actually took a lot longer than six weeks to heal. I didn’t start running again until around Christmas. After the initial disappointment had passed, I kept thinking that things happen for a reason. I had no idea what the reason for this was, but was determined that I would work through it and eventually run a marathon. I was not going to let this brick wall stop me.

I thought about that Randy Pausch quote today as I ran my first marathon. At around the 7km mark, it kicked in that I was really running my first marathon. I had made it to the start line, I felt good running and I was pretty sure I would make it to the finish line too.

I reflected on how sometimes you just have to work harder to achieve a goal that is important to you. There will be obstacles, there will be frustration and there will be disappointments, it could take longer than planned, but the payoff for sticking at it, for chipping away, for looking for other ways to solve problems is huge.

When people asked me what time I was aiming to complete the marathon in, I would most commonly say that I really just wanted to make it to the start line and then finish. And I meant it. I trained to a plan and thought on a great day, with all going well I might come in somewhere between 3:30 – 3:45. I came in well under that and am still elated with the result, but I was more elated to just make it to the start line this time.

The reason

In hindsight my injury was one of a novice runner. I was running too fast and too many kilometres for my body. The injury however brought a number of people into or closer into my life for which I am incredibly grateful for. And I owe thanks to a number of them:

  • Aidan – the physio, who was great at diagnosing my injury, answering my questions and giving me advice on training for the 2013 marathon.
  • Bron – who hearing me speak of my boredom at the gym and frustration at my slow recovery encouraged me to try out CrossFit. I checked out the website, did the intro package and was hooked!
  • Nick – the head coach at CrossFit. Nick is incredibly patient with my lack of skill with the barbell and repeatedly shows me how do the same move over and over again. He also was the first to plant the idea that I could run long distance without the traditional carb loading of white bread, pasta and rice. CrossFit absolutely has made me a stronger runner and the benefit of lifting weights to strengthen your core cannot be underestimated.
  • Matt – I met Matt through blogging work, but most of the time our conversations turn to running. He was the first one to point out to me that I was running my long runs way too fast. He sent me training plans and checked in on me, to see that I was indeed slowing down.
  • Mark – also encouraged me to slow down and sent me this great article Train Slow, Run Fast. Novice runners starting to train for longer events should really read this.
  • Sam – the Osteo who taught me about the value of stretching to prevent the niggles I had been experiencing.

And of course there is my family. My ridiculously patient husband, who believed in me, more than I did myself. Who drove me into the MCG and listened to me worry all the way about getting lost and other insane things. My kids who put up with me being a little tired some weekends after long running. My lovely sisters and their kids who came in to watch me.

melbourne marathon finish

Tackling a large goal needs support and I am lucky that I have so much of it. While not everyone wants to run a marathon, there will be something you want to achieve. Don’t let one setback put you off. Find your support network. Keep trying, be patient and keep working – the end result will be worth it.

What goal are you working towards at the moment?