In this on-going series, a mother runner lays out a true-life tale--whether it's dislocating her hip during a marathon; forgetting to pack a sports bra for a lunchtime run; or debating running a half-marathon while preggers--then we chime in about what we'd do if we were in her running shoes before asking you what you'd do. Here are all the WWAMRD we've previously run, if you want to catch up on the series. Today's entry tells the tale of Rebecca Lee.
In March, I signed up for the New York City Marathon on a charity entry; I decided to fundraise for Team Hole in the Wall, a cause very dear to my heart. This was my fifth marathon and the only goal I admitted out loud was staying injury free through my training.
That said, secretly I was focusing on a sub-4:00 PR.
My training went fine and throughout the summer and fall I felt that I was staying on track. Two weeks from NYC, I ran the Denver Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon in 1:55, while holding back and feeling like I was in good shape for the marathon. Aside from some foot pain that started the week before the race, I remained injury free and healthy.
The weather forecast for race day was grim. I was in my hotel room the night before watching reports of 40 mile/hour winds and a high of 30 degrees at the start. The biggest decision the morning of was what to wear: Do I stick with capris, as planned, or wear long tights?
The next morning, while debating the wardrobe change and getting ready to ice my foot one last time before heading out, I dropped the hotel room’s heavy metal ice bucket. It landed on my naked foot.
I knew instantly my toe was broken. I could barely walk but I somehow managed to shut down all the thoughts swirling around my brain, the pain, the doubts, the anger (metal ice bucket? really?). I told myself over and over what I have heard Dimity say many, many times: "don’t think, just go."
I hobbled (literally) to the subway and pushed away all thoughts of “what the @&%^ am I going to do now?” The subway ride to Battery Park was a blur: All I remember were foreign accents and tucking my foot as far under the seat as possible; my new biggest fear was it being stepped on. After navigating the crowds through the South Ferry station and up to the boat, I found a seat and only then really allowed myself to process the pain.
Once the ferry departed, I had to really focus to stop the tears from flowing: This was my New York experience! There goes the Statue of Liberty—and oh my gosh how can this be happening? Had it not been for the kindness of two strangers, I am not sure what I would have done. Instead of crying, they made me laugh and we decided my New York City Marathon was going to be one to remember.
With not too much time left to think about anything, I found my way to the medical tent on Staten Island, where two nurses pulled off my sock and we had a moment of silence. My toe was purple and there was nothing I could do about it. They taped it, wished me luck, and told me where to catch the bus to the finish.
What would you do?
Dimity says: I'd keep not thinking, and just going. Rebecca was trained, so the rest of her body was ready to go. That said, in the back of my head, I'd think to myself, "If my toe gets too unbearable, I just need to make it to Manhattan, then I can find a subway and head to my hotel." And when it got really tough along the way, I'd pray to the Toe Gods.
Sarah says: To be honest: I'm not sure I would have even left my hotel room. I might have just curled into a ball and cried my eyes out right then and here, never even making it as far as the subway or ferry, let alone the starting line. Unlike Dimity, I've never broken a toe, so I'm not sure how to gauge how much pain Rebecca was in or how much it would have hampered her stride. Given the toe + the craptastic weather, there's a good chance I would have scrapped the whole shebang.
What Rebecca did: If it was any other race I might have bailed but this was New York. I decided to suck it up and dig deep for 26.2. And that is what I did! I had another (happy) cry after I crossed the finish line.
What would you, another mother runner, do?
And if you’ve got a running-related moment you’d like some clarity—and community impact—on, via WWAMRD, feel free to email us at runmother [at] gmail [dot] com. Thanks!