That Time I Ran a Marathon Injured

by Carolann Koleci

My first marathon (last year) was 4 minutes shy of the Boston-Qualifying (BQ) time and I was eager to crush it for my second marathon (October of this year). Unfortunately, in my second month of marathon training for this year’s marathon, the beginning of August, while I was away attending my sister’s wedding, I got injured and my training did NOT go according to the plan I had made. For two months plus, I did zero speed work, zero tempo runs, missed the major long runs, and my weekly mileage tanked. I really pushed myself to run, beginning with 1 mi, then 2 mi, 4 mi, all the way up to 6 mi for a few weeks; every day was a battle. In early September, I was scheduled to run a 10k and while I had no preparation for this, I ran it anyway, battling injury all throughout (I missed 1st place in my age division by 2 s). My thought was if I could do this race, then maybe I would have a shot at the marathon in October (this year). So, because I was able to complete the 10k, I aimed to get a longer run in. Two weeks before the marathon, I did a 10.8 mi run, and then a week before the marathon I did 15.3 mi (in the soaking rain). Definitely turning the corner on the injury and I thought I could take a shot at the marathon a week after that 15.3 mi run (which was my longest run prior to the October 8 MHR Marathon). So, no taper whatsoever (which I know goes against common wisdom and tradition) and no 20 miler or long run greater than 15.3 mi, but time was running away; I had to work with what I had. Just like a student saying they don’t have enough time to prepare for a test or a homework assignment, but they find a way to get it done, I knew I was going into this with inadequate preparation and that I had to find a way forward and get it done, hoping I could finish (which was a big expectation considering the injury I was working through). I’m very grateful to say I was able to finish this marathon (without major catastrophe), but sadly it was 8 min SLOWER than my first marathon (which was closer to the BQ standard). If one just looks at the time of this race, they may think this is an insignificant or mediocre accomplishment amidst a sea of BQs, PRs, OTQs and such. However, below the surface of EVERY race time is a story people may never know about. Humanity is not revealed by numbers. If you give up the fight, you give up the strength to persevere. I. Didn’t. Quit. I’m sharing this personal story because often we see all the glowing success stories, purple fluffy unicorns, sunshine, rainbows and butterflies, plastered across social media and other channels of communication, but seldom do we hear about the challenges faced along the way, the experiences which make us all the more stronger, causing our goals to far exceed the obstacles, the battle won by grit, perseverance, and indomitable strength. I'm coming back...


Ed. Note: Carolann told me that she hoped this article would inspire people to keep pushing forward, to believe in themselves, and have faith that even if it takes a long time to achieve a goal, it can happen.

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