War, what is it good for? Chicago Marathon Update

It took a lot of sports bras to get here

It took a lot of sports bras to get here

I should have thrown in the towel a long time ago. Folded up shop after my triumphant return to the Philly Marathon. Closed the blog on a good note, hung up my running shoes, and never looked back.

I've always been pretty good at starting things, but I never really know when to end them. I have stuck with jobs, relationships, and projects long after their expiration date; proud of hanging in there and certain the best was around the corner. I endure.

This is the part of the marathon that I identify with. It's mental. About not giving up. That's great! I think, I never give up!

The other half, the bit about your body being in there with you, is the part where I struggle. I am always at war with my body. Pain and infections are always pushing at its edges, from endometriosis to mastoid disease. It doesn't stop me, but it keeps me on my toes- ready to rage if it starts to act up.

Like most women, I am also at war with my body for its looks. For its stubborn ability to hold onto an extra 10lbs, and for never quite measuring up to what it means to look like an athlete. I know that a short, chunky woman isn't exactly what you think of when you think of a marathoner- but it should be. So I try to draw the women I see out running. People of all shapes and speeds- but I still fight with my body to get a little bit closer to the standard. Get in line, I think, look more like that.

I mention all this to say, that when you are primed to fight with your body everyday, it's easy to override the most basic of signals. Some people are able to override hunger. Others, feelings. I override pain.

I think this is why no single coach, no bone density scan, doctor, or blood panel can tell me why I keep getting stress fractures in my training. I endure. A little too much maybe.

By the time I catch an injury, it is usually too late to salvage. This time may be no different. My MRI found a slight bone edema in my tibia. Despite this, I got the blessing from my doctor to cautiously continue training. I ran a full week of mileage and the pain increased.

I am not sure where this leaves me for Chicago. My doctor says that I likely will not break my leg during the run, but I could hurt something else with my gait change. It won't be fun, it will hurt a lot. Still, I am hesitant to throw in the towel.

I was going to retire after this. For awhile at least. Now I feel stuck. I can't let my last marathon be a DNS. Can I? Is this the part where I am supposed to hang in there, or is this the part where I am supposed to bail? Like I said, I've never been good at ending things. Where would I even begin?