"know when to fold 'em" - Don Schlitz
I'm leaving for Memphis in 24 days. The trip was planned around the St. Jude Memphis Marathon on December 3. I'll be going with my girlfriend, Abby. This was to be my sixth marathon, and it will be her first. The race is still the focus of the trip, but my role in it has changed.
I've been fighting an ankle injury since September. I tried pushing through it, and it got worse. I tried resting it, and that seemed to be working, but then it flared up again. More rest is probably the answer, and that's what I'm going to do. But with less than four weeks left before the race, and considering all of the training runs that I've missed, I have to accept that I won't be ready to run 26.2 miles any time soon.
I'm going to request that my registration be switched to the half-marathon. That's a distance that I feel comfortable with, and I'm still hopeful that I can get myself in good enough shape to make that an enjoyable run. This is the second time that I've had to pull out of a marathon, and while I am disappointed, I feel like I've made my peace with it.
There is one big upside to this change in plans. I'll get to see much more of Abby's first marathon than I would have if I'd been focused on my own race. I've been watching her prepare for months. Watching the miles add up. Witnessing her excitement and her anxieties. The peaks and valleys of this experience can be gloriously high and achingly low. And I'll now be able to see the culmination of that experience in a way that I just couldn't have done as a participant.
And in that sense, I haven't lost the experience of running this race, so much as I've exchanged it for a different experience.