After a great but very busy summer, I began the fall of 2010 at a new school for teaching and coaching. It almost felt like I was a brand new teacher all over again, having only taught in Watertown for 2 years. However, I felt confident in what I was doing because I had learned so much in my short time at Watertown. Much like my confidence in my job, I had gained a lot of confidence in my marathon running with the success of St. Louis and a great pacing experience in Stillwater. I was optimistic with my training up until mid-August for Twin Cities.
I began feeling a significant pain in my left heel, which turned out to be my second stint of plantar fasciitis. For anyone that's had this injury before, it's very frustrating and takes a long time to recover from if you don't catch it and treat it early. In the summer of 2010, I had become so focused on my workouts that I tried to push through the pain, which ultimately made it worse. I eventually gave in and took a couple weeks off in August and cross-trained in the hopes that the pain would subside and I could resume running in September to be ready for Twin Cities in October.
The good news is that the pain did gradually subside and I was able to resume running. However, the cross-training was inconsistent and I lost some of the fitness I had built up in June and July. Ultimately, this cost me another marathon P.R. The part of my fitness that hurt the most was my endurance. I still had some good foot speed, but I couldn't keep it going for a long period of time.
Summit Avenue proved once again to be my downfall. However, this time it was not because of the difficulty and positioning of the hills in the race, it was simply that my body couldn't keep up its pace for 26.2 miles. I began to break down around mile 19 and had completely fallen apart by mile 22 on Summit. Frustration and disappointment set in as I spent a lot of time on Summit walking and just trying to keep my legs moving. I eventually reached the finish line exhausted and disappointed. It ended up being my slowest Twin Cities Marathon in my 5 attempts at the course, running 3:19:16. Perhaps the hardest part was knowing how well my training had gone and that I couldn't take advantage of it because of an injury.
James 1:2-4 says, "Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an
opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested,
your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your
endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing
nothing." Troubles with my running came my way this time around, and I was tested. Ultimately, my literal physical endurance grew out of this disappointing race, but so did my faith. The next 2 years (and my 2 most recent marathons) would be testimonies to that fact. At this point, I could not have envisioned all that would transpire in my life over the next 2 years, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Stay tuned for the final 2 marathon entries, Boston 2011 and Chicago 2012, these are stories that have shaped me more than I ever could have imagined.