It has been an agonizing decision. I’ve tried to push on and make like nothing is wrong, but I know that isn’t right. It is nagging at me. My race date looming over my head and the wound up nervous energy driving me toward a really dumb choice. I stopped it today. As I was pulling out my shoes and clothes to pack I looked up at the ceiling. who knows, maybe I was hoping for a sign from god. Or maybe I was just stretching my neck, who knows. But the reality was looking me right in the face. I may do some pretty dumb things on occasion, but this would have been one of the dumber ones. I haven’t been able to run at my normal training pace for more than two weeks. I have limped thru my weekly mileage trying to find a comfortable way of breathing through the pain. Nothing works. It is unbelievable painful and beyond frustrating. I had hit a plateau and was frustrated. Backing off for a week or so righted it and I was training great. Wham, and then I wasn’t. There isn’t much I can do. An injury is an injury, whether it happens week one, or like this in the very last weeks of training up to the marathon distance. It is so hard to explain to everyone why this is so difficult. Maybe it is the sheer amount of commitment it takes to get to here. The hours of running each week, half a day on the weekend. It is immense. For this training cycle I have logged 102 runs totaling 477.64 miles. That might not mean much for some people, but I can tell you it is a lot for me. A single mile is 5,280 feet. When I started focusing mainly on running, I could easily run at about a 10min mile pace. It was my comfort zone. Okay for a pretty out of shape, almost 40-year-old without a running background. Well I did sprint and jump as a track athlete in high school, but that was a long time ago. Quite slow in the land of runners. As I put in the miles and months I found my stride, so to speak, and run about 8:30 mile now when training. That wasn’t shoes, or fancy socks. It was focus and commitment. So when people say don’t worry about it, there are other races, I see 2,500,000 + feet of road and trail. I see the push thru pain, and snow, and rain. I see the daily decisions to work rather than sit down after a long day. I know there are other races. I know there are millions more feet to go. But I also see the restarting of the training cycle. I see the fight to regain where I am now after some time off. I have a right to be upset and frustrated. I can shake my head and wonder why now? There have been all sorts of nagging injuries along the way. But this was the eleventh hour with the starting line in sight was by far the most frustrating. I am so wound up from tapering down in miles. I would normally be logging 25 to 35 miles a week. This past week was 14. That feels like not running at all after the past months. I’m feeling a bit like a sloth. Granted I’ve gained an unreal 7 lbs. I think the running has been excellent for my head. I know it is a fine line, and more than 30 miles a week really pushes the edge of what my body wants to endure right now. that extra 7 pounds doesn’t help me. Hell, carrying a large water bottle on a long weekend run can feel like weightlifting. That said, I am feeling healthy. Waiting to see the dr again this coming week to review blood work and check the ribs. I’m not expecting anything out of the ordinary since I am feeling so strong right now (yeah, a strong sloth). I am undecided on how much time to take off. This doctor doesn’t seem like she sees many athletes, so I’ll have to touch base with my orthopedic guy. He’ll have a plan, I’m sure. For now I will fight the natural urge to run. I know this sounds stupid, but I was really excited to break 500 miles logged while racing….