Monday, May 28, 2007

Addendum

I need to try and clarify - for myself and for you too. I've been trying to figure out why I didn't quit when I ran into trouble. I don't know if I can explain this, but it's not about the marathon, specifically, though a bit of it is. Mostly, it's about the fight. It's about not giving in. It's about not living in fear or watching from the sidelines. About being a full participant. I want to be around for a long time, but at the same time, I want to be engaged, active, running, racing - doing the one thing that pulls me in, mind, body and soul. I don't want to sit on the curb again, watching the race stream by. Yes, that day may come, but I'm not going to give in to it easily. I don't anticipate having a streak of races like this again - everything just came together this spring to build a streak and I was feeling good, so I went for it. I guess I found my new limit.

When that feeling hits me and I can't get a good breath, mostly I feel frustration. I feel my run slipping away, I feel fear building, I feel frustrated that it's back and it's slowing me down. My stubborn side proclaims that there is no giving in or giving up. My rational side runs through a checklist - am I still walking? Can I talk? What's my heart rate? Does my chest hurt or feel strange, or is there something not felt before? Two new things in yesterday's incident - a brief light-headedness and a few moments where I couldn't talk. I think that it gave me a little panic-attack which worsened everything. I remember thinking about lying down, because I know that will ease everything and help it pass. Fortunately, the shift to Pilates breathing took care of everything and I could move on.

I can't explain my inability to walk off the course. All I can say is that I have not yet had a moment where I knew I would take a ride if it was offered. I am not taking this lightly, but at the same time I am not setting aside my dreams. I will be careful. I will run through my mental checklist and I will stop if too many things are off. I will finish the next marathon, and then I'll loosen up my schedule - I'll go longer between them. I won't run one in the summer heat. I will run the other three seasons of the year.

19 comments:

olga said...

We understand...we do:)

Addy said...

I think the desire to be an active participant as long as humanly possible is a very powerful force amongst runners, and one very easy to sympathize with.

Glad you're okay and know better ways to hopefully keep this from happening again.

wendy said...

Michelle,

Congrats on another sub-6 finish, amazing considering the tough schedule you've had the last several weeks.

Curious, if it was Eric running next to you, having the same condition, what would you recommend? What would you say to him?

As your race schedule calms down, I sure would love to get in a few runs with you! You're one of the most inspiring women I know, and I love our chats along the run, well, mostly you chatting, I'm just trying to keep up. =)

Have a great week!

Steve said...

We each must manage our own limits and abilities. Consider all you have accomplished in a short time. Maybe its time for some rest to recover and allow for a better/longer future of running. I know as well the feeling of wanting to make up for lost time, but we must listen honestly to our bodies. No one doubts your drive or strength, but we will be concerned for your health and safety. And when you do run, please carry your cell phone for 911 just in case.

Jack said...

You remind me of me...I'm still trying to decide if that is a good thing - be careful out there!

peter said...

When my body gets out of sync during races, I use yoga breathing to calm it back down--must be the same as Pilates breathing. Whenever the temperature spikes, my times come down too. Be careful out there!

Try@thlete said...

At times you'll need to push through pain, at times you'll need to heed its warnings. But I suppose it's only through accumulating loads of both experiences that we develop the wisdom to know.

Thomas said...

I'm hardly in a position to criticise you. Last September I ran a half-marathon minutes after nearly fainting with tachycardia (I wrote about it). It was a truly scary experience, and yet I still ran the race, literally five minutes after finally being able to get up again without fainting. So what can I say? I understand. I just hope you know when to stop when it's getting REALLY scary.

Wes said...

You are a fighter! Another quality for us to admire and cherish :-) But, with that said, you are not charing through it like a half blinded bull. We have faith in you :-)

E-Speed said...

I think it's good to ratonalize this, but don't worry too much about what we think ;) I think you are handling yourself appropriately out there. If it was really a time you needed to stop, you would have, I am sure of it.

Joe said...

Just read both your posts, Michelle. I'm sobered by it all. I'm glad you are not taking it lightly.

You (and to some extent, Eric) are the only one who can really answer all the questions popping around in your head. You know your history and you tendencies, both physically and mentally. Be wise...no single race is worth a serious health problem. And, working through the difficulties is the fascinating part of marathoning, as you have mentioned.

You can sort out the difference between the two.

Mega-kugos to Melissa for sticking with you. She's a true friend and must have had some sense of what was going on. I'm sure you have expressed that to her!!

Enjoy your week.

Gotta Run said...

Totally understand!! No matter how much pain I felt at the Disney Marathon this past Jan. I was not going to give up. Alll that training, travel, and money would be all worth it when I crossed the finish line.

Boy was I right.

Boy were you right!!

Donald said...

I'm with you: as bad as some of my races have been, it's just never been an option to get a ride. Sometimes, it probably should have been, but there's some kind of internal mechanism that won't allow it. I'm not convinced that's a good thing, but there you go.

maniac hippo said...

The thing I most appreciate about this game is that we all try to play the best game we can with the hand we're dealt. The fight, the struggle, and the accomplishment have very little to do with how far or how fast we run.

And remember the other fight you should never give up. No matter how certain you are of a diagnosis, keep probing for weakness in your "opponent." Is there something else that influences the severity? are there any other diagnoses? The same stubbornness you showed at mile 23 will serve us all when struggling with an injury.

Be well, Michelle. I may not see either of you for months but you're always in my thoughts and prayers.

robtherunner said...

We all just want you to be safe and we know for the most part you are as safe as any of the rest of us. I am glad you get a break in races pretty soon. I'm having too much of a hard time trying to keep up with you:)

Jenny, Maniac #401 said...

Thanks for thinking it al over as I am sure you have been constantly for the past two days. We want you to run with us and to be with us for a very long time.
Jenny

Meghan said...

Wow, I'm really sorry you had this experience at the race, Michelle. I don't know what to say, really, so I'm just very sorry!

It sounds like you are recovering, though, both mentally and physically. You know yourself better than anyone else!

Meghan
www.running-blogs.com/meghan

Meghan said...

Oh, I forgot... I'm glad the calf/tennis ball thing is working out for you. I had to laugh at your version of step 1. In my house, that should also be step 1 as well. :)

Meghan
www.running-blogs.com/meghan

Sunshine said...

Thanks for sharing your journey.
Congratulations.
Bless you.