by Stephen Hallgren
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about running races, it is that nothing is guaranteed. Races can be extremely unpredictable, with a plethora of variables that can quickly make a race go from good to bad in a matter of minutes. However, sometimes those minutes are all that are needed to overcome incredible odds. Nothing drove this point home more than the past couple of months.
In March, I was only a couple of miles into the Electric City 5 Miler when I became concerned about shooting pain in my foot. As any self-respecting, stubborn runner might do, I ignored the pain and ran the rest of the race anyway. My anger welled up as I hobbled home, my foot hurting more and more. I was mad that I didn’t run my best race, that I was injured, that the injury seemed to come from nowhere, and that I would have to rest for a potentially indefinite amount of time. Anger quickly deteriorated into depression. My dreams of running the Providence Marathon in May started to fade quickly.
Miraculously, with a TON of bicycling, percussive massaging, stretches, strengthening, and every other thing I could do to heal, my foot slowly got better.
By the time the Providence Marathon arrived, I had lost fitness. I missed my long training runs and felt undertrained. Many worries went through my mind. What pace should I go? Will my foot hold up over 26.2 miles? Will I finish? Am I crazy for even wanting to run a marathon? Is there more to life than running? Putting these worries aside, I decided to run the marathon and, if things got bad, I would walk no matter how far I had left.