I know, it's been a long time since my last post. It turns out it's really hard to update a running blog when you can't run.
If you happen to be following my blog, I regret to say that I did not run my marathon. I held out hope right up until the week of the race, but my new hamstring pain (which I now believe to be a torn hamstring) was not showing improvement and I fell far enough behind my training that it didn't seem wise or healthy for me to try pushing through 26.2 miles. I hadn't run more than 2 miles on a treadmill in several weeks.
Despite all of that, I still grudgingly held onto the belief that I would tough it out and finish the marathon if I had to limp on one foot. Of course, that's the mentality that led to my latest injury in the first place. The final decision actually came when I ran into my friend Scott at the gym. He made it sound so simple when he said this to me:
"Maui has some of the most beautiful hiking trails in the world. If you mess up your leg running the marathon your first day there then you won't be able to enjoy any of them."
For some reason, that deeply resonated with me. I was putting a lot of money into this trip and I waited too long to cancel with any hope of a refund. I was going to Hawaii, and if I didn't want to spend the week confined to a bed then I had to be mature and face the hard truth: I wasn't ready to run.
I gave up my marathon spot the next day, only three days before my flight. It hurt... it hurt badly, but I still believe it was the right decision. I went to Hawaii and I'm sorry to say the first two days were very difficult. I just couldn't seem to enjoy myself. I knew I was in an island paradise, but I couldn't stop feeling depressed.
Then the marathon passed. No, I didn't get up at 5am to see it. I slept right through it, then pursued my one other athletic passion—surfing (I chose my Kihei lodgings because they were close to the marathon start, but by chance the room I rented was also two blocks from a great surfing beach). Once the marathon was over, and once I caught some nice waves, everything changed. I was suddenly able to let go of the frustration and start letting myself have fun.
And I did.
I was in Hawaii for 8 days, and I spent every remaining minute soaking up every single ounce of joy the island had to offer. This included snorkeling, hiking, swimming, whale/dolphin watching, jumping off waterfalls, eating lots of fresh fish and pineapple, nightlife, bottomless mai tais and surfing on a daily basis... except when there was a high swell warning. On that day, I was lucky enough to see Jaws peak.
No, it's not a shark. Jaws is one of the biggest surfing waves in the world. Only highly skilled big-wave surfers can ride it, and they need a jet ski to tow them fast enough to catch it. It only peaks a couple times a year, and I managed to get a glimpse of it from a cliffside on one of those days. When I saw it, the wave was reaching 50-foot swells (I heard that later in the day it hit 65 feet). Surfers had to be carried in and out of the water by helicopter. I've had a lifelong dream of seeing big wave surfers in action, and I finally did. As my surfer friend Kiki would say, it was epic.
Oh, and to make up for missing the marathon, I decided to treat myself to a hang gliding lesson. Also epic.
Enjoy the slideshow:
|One of my waterfall jumps.|
|Me in the big Lahaina banyan tree|
|I think I took more sunset photos than anything. For the sake of slideshow boredom, I'll only show this one.|
|Black sand beach—my favorite!|
|Fresh fruit everywhere!|
|Surfing... a fine substitute for running.|
|Snorkeling. I wasn't that white by the end of the week.|
|A surfer riding Jaws. He's just to the right of the helicopter (you can see his white trail on the wave).|
|Surfers carried to and from Jaws via helicopter.|
|Couldn't run the race, so I did this instead.|
So where does that leave me? Well, my leg still hurts and I haven't run since the day I decided to back out of the marathon. That was almost two months ago. I'm letting my leg rest and heal with the occasional self-massage and mild stretching, and I'm happy to report I'm finally seeing improvement. I saw a doctor earlier this week and, short of an MRI, he thought I would be fine as long as I took it easy and carefully returned to running with the dreaded run-walk routine.
There's nothing I want to do more than to run as far and as long as I can right now, but all things considered I know that's a very good prognosis.
In other news, I just moved to an absolutely beautiful farm in the Oregon countryside. It's primarily an organic strawberry farm, but they also grow veggies and raise lots of animals, all as pets (2 horses, 2 goats, 1 sheep, 1 potbelly pig, 5 chickens, 4 dogs and 7 cats). I'm just a renting tenant, not a farm worker, but I do enjoy helping out on the property when possible. And my housemates are awesome.
Big changes, but life is feeling good and I'm looking forward to what the future has to offer...