…but that doesn’t make this feel any better.
I knew it was time. I know I had to do this, but it still hurts.
Cancelling, for whatever reason, hurts. I’m not a quitter, but, in a way, I sure feel like one. I understand, logically, that this isn’t the case. But there is the athlete in me that feels that way.
Most runners, I think, are somewhat obsessive compulsive about their running, or at the very least keep track of their miles run. In many ways, in order to perform and improve. You have to. (Well, I have to.)
Thinking, maybe, just maybe, that I could push through this darn Achilles tear, I went back and looked at my yearly mile totals. The message those totals showed me made it clear that I’ve been injured for a long time. This wasn’t just a little injury, this is something that’s been sustained, long-term, and has made me physically miserable.
Between 2006 and 2016, I was averaging 1,558 miles run a year. I was cruising. Sure, I battled some ailments (a stress fracture, a torn soleus, a (slightly) torn Achilles, and more) but, with the help of my wonderful chiropractor/sports injury doctor, I was able to push forward and continue. “I’m a marathoner,” I told myself, “I can overcome anything.” And, I guess I did. (And my doctor is the best in the world.)
I injured my right Achilles in 2017. Since then, my yearly running totals have been
- 2017 – 519 miles
- 2018 – 636 miles
- 2019 – 381 miles
I think it’s clear. I just can’t run. I’ve battled and I’ve pushed and I’ve ignored the pain, but it’s not working. I just can’t do it any longer. The injury and I have battled for years. The injury has won.
The MRI, my various doctors, and my wife have all convinced me that I need to stop. Because I don’t understand the idea of quitting, I asked the physical therapist yesterday if I could just go and gut it out, cover the 26.2 miles on the streets of New York – the race I absolutely love and live for each year. Her response was, “No. You’re in bad shape. Real bad shape. You’re at the point where we’re talking permanent injury.” Everyone is doing all then can to have me avoid surgery.
As I walked around the house yesterday, I said something about the fact that I was limping. My wife said, “You’ve been limping for years.”
And so, finally, probably a few years too late, I am completely it shut down. No running. At all.
It’s time to heal. I need to get better.
I need to heal so that I do have another race to run.
I’ll stop running now in order to keep running tomorrow.
(2020 Marathon, here I come!)