My First Marathon Meltdown

18 Oct

If you read my blog or have been following my training for the Philadelphia Marathon, you might know that I’ve recently been  plagued by hip pain, which has expanded to ITB and knee pain.   Not exactly ideal for someone running their first marathon in 30 days.  But the good news is I can run through it.  And my PT says I will absolutely be able to run the marathon.  The bad news: It’s still painful and annoying and affecting my training. I’ve been doing my PT exercises twice a day, icing, foam rolling where I’m allowed to and somehow still getting in my workouts. Just not at the paces I’m supposed to and they don’t feel great. It’s taking a serious toll on my mental game and after almost 3.5 solid months of training for this beast, I’ve officially had my first meltdown.  Apparently everyone around me is surprised it has taken this long!

I’ve decided to let you all inside my head for this meltdown, because A) I think it’s important to show the good AND the bad, and B) I’m hoping it’ll be somewhat therapeutic for me. I’m feeling totally crazy and I’m not even in taper yet! This is not a good sign for things to come. So won’t you come join me for a quick vacation in crazy town…?

Last night I set out on my 7 mile run with high hopes. My PT had taped me up on Wednesday to help my knee stay on track while walking/running and I feeling good. I knew I couldn’t run according to my schedule, but I was feeling pretty confident that I could at least do 7 easy. After all, I ran 18 freakin’ miles on Saturday, and the pain completely let up after mile 3ish.


As I started out I felt a little pain, but mostly discomfort and it wasn’t happening with every footfall, so I thought I’d be okay. But then I started noticing I was changing my form, kind of falling more on my “good” leg to take away from the “bad” one. NOT GOOD. When my Garmin beeped to tell me I’d run one mile, I glanced down, saw 11:39 and burst out crying. 11:39!?! Just a few weeks back I was doing mile repeats at an 8:25 pace! And I ran the Wineglass Half at 9:13 pace. Now I couldn’t even come close to that for ONE mile. I continued running and crying for a few more blocks before giving up. Please don’t get me wrong, I’m in no way ashamed of running an 11:39 mile. I think running is running, no matter what your pace is! But to me, this was just a slap in the face and a glaring reflection of the sharp decline my training has taken due to this injury. So I quit and started walking back home, sobbing and feeling/looking completely crazy. I felt defeated. I thought maybe I’m stupid to think I could push myself to run a marathon. Maybe I’ve trained for over 3 months for nothing. [Please keep in mind that it’s also my time of the month, so every thought I have is emotional and irrational…]

And then! As I kept walking, trying to calm myself, taking deep breaths and wiping my tears away, a dog barking scared the crap out of me! I turned and found the most adorable French bulldog dressed in an pumpkin t-shirt. I burst out laughing and got some much appreciated bully kisses. He wouldn’t stay still for a photo, but I managed to get a semi decent one below. This little dude stopped me in my tracks and snapped me out of my wallowing.


My pumpkin-clad Frenchie friend wasn’t the only one to offer support. Of course, being the awesome person she is, Beth called me as soon as she saw I was having a meltdown (thanks, friend!). She told me all of the things I’ve been telling her the last few weeks: “You’ll get through this”…”Just play it smart, listen to your PT and take it slow”..and most importantly, “You WILL run this marathon!”

And she’s right. I know she’s right. I know all of the rational things. ITB pain is something you can run through and I know I will run and finish the marathon. But I so badly want my first marathon to be a reflection of the awesome training cycle I’ve had (so far). And I want to run with only the pain it takes to run 26.2 miles. I want to be happy and smiling, not grimacing and frustrated with myself. And maybe that will happen. Maybe it won’t. But this one bad run (and subsequent meltdown) isn’t going to determine that.  I have still had awesome runs.  I’m not giving up.  And who knows?  Maybe this meltdown is helping me train for the mental battle of the marathon.  So I’m going to keep working on my strength and stability. I’m going to keep running as best I can. And I’m going to run that damn marathon on November 17th.

Am I totally crazy?  What do you do when you have a bad run or a meltdown?  Feel free to share your tips! 🙂



7 Responses to “My First Marathon Meltdown”

  1. Joey October 21, 2013 at 1:10 pm #

    You shouldn’t compare your injured pace to a speed workout pace. The marathon won’t be a matter of time anymore. The finish line should be your only goal now. If you know the distance of your running routes, maybe stop wearing the watch and just run by feel now.

    • Kim October 22, 2013 at 11:54 am #

      Thanks, finishing is absolutely my goal! I stopped using the timer, just the GPS for distance. Very helpful!

  2. Beth October 21, 2013 at 3:10 pm #

    YESSSSS! You ARE running this damn marathon! This is just a bump in the road. And it’s totally normal to experience all emotions while training for a marathon. That’s advice I’ve been given and lessons I’ve learned on my own. YOU WILL GET THROUGH THIS! Just keep playing it smart and doing everything your PT says and I bet you will surprise yourself come November 17th!!!!!

    • Kim October 22, 2013 at 11:55 am #

      I love you. That’s all.


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