Guest Post by My Wife, Olivia Agee….Worth a Read:
In January I decided to sign up for my first ever full Marathon. To be honest I wasn’t sure I could do it, but I really wanted to try. Unfortunately, after months of training I now have severe shin splints, two new rather ugly leg braces to wear for a month, and one less toenail. But I also have the feeling that when I finally get there (and I have every intention of getting there) it will mean that much more.
I’m not fast. I’ve never been what anyone would consider an athlete. A few years ago when my husband started running half marathons I couldn’t see myself ever considering an attempt. When he did his first full marathon in Chicago in 2009, I saw how much fun the event was, and the seed was planted. I knew I could never run anything like that, but I thought maybe if I walked…
So I started training for my first half marathon. When I lined up at the start I was not confident. I gave myself about a 50/50 shot of finishing, but again, I wanted to try. I don’t think anyone could have been more surprised than I was when I finished. I was hooked, and I started to think, what if I walked some and ran some…
Four half marathons later, each one finishing faster than the last, and I was ready to sign up for a full marathon. It was Chicago, where I had first dared to think ‘maybe’. I was full of just as much trepidation that I would be unable to finish, but it seemed like the perfect place to try.
I hit a bump in the road about three months later. Knowing how much longer it will take to complete a full, I really began to focus on spending more time running instead of walking. A couple of weeks before another half marathon I started having pain in the front inner side of my calf. I switched to an elliptical trainer for a couple of weeks and checked with my doctor. She gave a diagnosis of inflamed connective tissue and recommended that I just walk the half, then take a few weeks off and see a specialist if the pain continued. After some RICE, and wearing compression sleeves, I felt good enough to run some during the race as well and finished only two minutes shy of my PR. The only trouble was, the same pain I had been having in my right leg had now moved to my left.
I took two weeks off and felt better. However once I tried to start training again the pain built back up in both legs. Stubborn as I am, and not wanting to give up on my goal, I thought maybe if I just walk…so I continued training by just walking. I could do it, but I just wasn’t getting any better. So I went to a sports medicine doctor. He told me that I had severe shin splints and that if I did not stop to rehab them they would, without a doubt, become stress fractures. He put me in leg braces, gave me exercises and a run/walk rehab schedule.
I realized then It’s extremely unlikely I’ll be able to make my goal at the Chicago marathon. It will be a month before I’ll be able to do anything longer than five miles, and by that point in the schedule I should be doing at least twelve mile runs.
I’m now thinking about trying the Country Music Marathon in Nashville next April. It would give me plenty of time to build up my mileage base slowly and make sure I fully heal. I also like the idea that my daughters could be at the finish line cheering me on (a luxury I would not be able to enjoy in Chicago). My oldest, a runner herself with 5 kids marathons under her belt, has told me she would really like to be there for my first full marathon. In the meantime I have four half marathons planned before next April.
So, as I readjust my goal, I will paint my remaining toenails, wear my ugly braces, and hobble down the road to the marathon until I finally get there. Who knows, maybe someday I’ll be an athlete after all.