Around AMR, we have the occasional What Would Another Mother Runner Do? series, a collection of questions for collective input that are both serious (skipping a marathon you've trained for because you just don't want to do it) and humorous (bringing two left shoes to a triathlon). The next in the series comes from Mother Runner Michelle, who is a long-time member of the AMR tribe. She is incredibly supportive and empathetic of all runners on our Facebook page—she's maybe even commented on your posts. She's also been sidelined from the Boston Marathon. Injury before marathons can be a soul-crusher. Here, she wonders whether going to the expo will lift her spirits.
Here's the situation, as told by Michelle: I have been training since January for the Boston Marathon. An intense pain came on very suddenly about halfway through my last 20-miler. I could barely walk for two days, and was in nearly constant pain for about two weeks. I was diagnosed with SI joint dysfunction.
I was training to run a PR this year, and until this injury struck, I had an amazing training cycle, and had never felt healthier, stronger, or more prepared for the Boston course. Not a single unusual ache or pain preceded this, so I feel like I've been completely blindsided by this whole situation.
I ran my first Boston in 2013, which is where I set my PR of 3:30:19. I was fortunate to have crossed the finish line and was a few blocks away from the area when the bombs went off. I returned in 2014 to run again.
I live about an hour and a half from Boston and my husband planned to watch the kids for me, so I could still go to the expo this weekend. But I'm not sure if it will make me feel better or worse. Should I go?
Dimity says: I wouldn’t go. It feels too unexpected and raw to me. If the injury would have been a slow cooker, and you weren’t sure during your training if you’d be able to cross the starting line, that’s one thing. But it came on suddenly, and, as such, your grief is still very new. While most positive energy is healing and most expo energy is positive (albeit draining), I think that immersing yourself in that energy is going to be too intense and may even leave you more bummed out. Instead, I’d spend the day doing something you love (besides running), as well as taking a few hours for serious self-care: a bath, a good book, a nap, your favorite meal, whatever sounds good. You worked really hard for your race, and even though the outcome isn’t ideal, you should be very proud of yourself and treat yourself well.
Sarah says: Skip the expo. I know Michelle is on the path to recovering, physically, and her mindset is in a better place than it was a week or so ago, but the disappointment is still fresh. It's like a fresh wound: It's healing, but the expo would rip off the scab. Or, should I say, in my mind it would! Instead, Michelle should spend some time perusing websites to choose the fall 2016 or spring 2017 marathon where she will PR. (Of this I have no doubt!) Despite her fastest 26.2 being Boston, I believe she is capable of even greater glory at a less-crowded, flatter race. (This goes for pretty much anyone: The best PR races are less crowded and not super-hilly.) Plus, the travel to-and-from expo and walking around it can't be good for her SI joint!
Managing Editor Maureen says: Don't go. Being around the other racers will just make you feel like you're missing out. But do take your husband up on that offer to watch the kids, then head out for a day of indulgence. Take in a movie, browse the bookstore, meet up with friends, go to Target child-free (sorry, I think that's just me projecting my hopes and dreams). Remember that there's always a next race, and once you've worked through your injury, you'll make quick work of that PR.