Friday, March 25, 2016

Why I'm Giving Up Half Marathons

Since I wrote my Glass Slipper race recap a couple of weeks ago and officially announced my half marathon retirement, I've received a few comments and texts asking why I'm stopping.  I decided that since this is something that's been a part of my life for more than 15 years, I wanted to share it with y'all.

When I was in middle school, cross country was the only fall sport that didn't cut people.  Fresh into a new school with way more kids than my neighborhood elementary school, I decided to try out, wanting to make new friends and try something different.  Honestly, I really loved it.  I wasn't that good at it, but I could run the full 2 miles without stopping, and little 11 year-old me was proud of that.  #ilookthesameat11and27
About half-way into my 7th grade season, I started having unbearable knee pain.  My parents took me to my pediatrician who sent me to the best sports doctor in the area.  He took a look at my knees and because of some inflammation, told me that I had Osgood-Slautter Disease, otherwise known as "growing pains."  There wasn't anything he could do about it besides wait for my body to catch up with itself, meaning that I would continue to have this pain while running.  Unfortunately, I had to give up running after middle school as I knew my knees could never take the added distance needed for high school cross country.

Flash forward to senior year of high school when I was swimming long distances (500 free, 200 IM, and the mile) on two swim teams.  Swimming was fantastic for my knees, but I started having a new pain: in my feet.  Once again, it was back to the pediatrician, and this time to a podiatrist.  I was given a plantar fasciitis diagnosis.  I have super flat feet, meaning I'm predisposed to this type of foot pain.  In one of my very first appointments, I vividly remember the doctor asking if I had ever had any knee pain, because this would be a very first sign.  I thought back to middle school and asked if it all could be connected.  The doctor said that it definitely was, and that my Osgood Slatter diagnosis was most likely incorrect.  I went through a ton of physical therapy, learned a million stretches, and my whole body started to feel so much better.

It really stunk to learn four years later that I could have participated in cross country through high school if my original doctor had just thought to look down to my feet, and honestly, I'm still a little bitter.  When I got to college a few months later, more emphasis was put on strength and flexibility while playing college golf, so I didn't do a lot of cardio and didn't have time to in my spare time.  #yesihadpurplehair
It wasn't until my senior year of college when my parents, Mike, and I took a trip to Florida and stopped for a few days in Walt Disney World that I would once again catch the running bug.  On our way into the Magic Kingdom one morning, we had parked at the transportation hub and were waiting for the monorail.  We could not figure out why there were so many people crowded there with signs, but soon we saw the line of runners coming through the entrance.  I had never heard of runDisney before, but I already wanted to do it.  Getting to run through the theme parks?! That sounds awesome.
So, the next year, I signed up for that same race I had watched.  I ran throughout the year, and with only minor aches and pains, I did it.  Now, four years later, I've run four half marathons: 2012 Walt Disney World, 2013 Tinker Bell, 2013 Wine & Dine, and 2015 Princess.
I think that not running literally once from the ages of 13 to 22 definitely hurt my chances at being a half marathoner for life.  Even with fantastic orthotics and all the stretching in the world, my knees still have days when they ache and I get nervous on every half marathon start line that my plantar fasciitis will flare up during the race.  That's why I'm sticking to 10ks.  I don't get the residual pain after running a 10k, and it's so much less stressful.  I love that 6 mile distance, and even better, it's something Mike and I can do together.

So, that's my story.  I'd love to hear from any of you who have had similar knee or foot issues and how you still live a healthy lifestyle!

22 comments:

Nikki said...

Sorry to hear this! But you have to do what is best for your body and only you know what that is. Good luck with all the 10ks in your future!

BLovedBoston said...

I'm so sorry that you can't keep up half marathons, but you've done so many great races which is something to be so proud of!! I think you're going to rock all those 10k's!! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

Rebecca Jo said...

I love 10ks distance... I always say its just enough of a challenge but not enough to really get those injuries flaring.
You know I totally get you girl... its tough on a body doing long distances.
(But I still lay money that you'll end up doing another half one day... its just the nature of the running beast) haha

Pamela {Sequins and Sea Breezes} said...

Even though you are retiring from half marathons you are still a badass in my eyes! I could never and probably will never do a half marathon and probably not even a 10k! I have some knee issues and horrible shin splints so I can't run far without being in pain. I don't blame you for being nervous it would flare up while you were running! <3, Pamela Sequins & Sea Breezes

Nichole @ casadecrews.com said...

I get terrible pain on the sides of my legs, not shin splints but it takes about two miles for the pain to go away...I am pretty sure I need to stretch and strengthen better. Sorry you are retiring half marathons, but I get it completely!

Lauren Honeycutt said...

Well, I think you're a champion for accomplishing FOUR half marathons! I'm going to stick with my 5Ks for now, and hopefully work up to a 10k, but my whole family suffers from back problems, and I don't want to add knee or foot problems to those!

Mascara + Medicine said...

I hear you! I am an ortho PA

xo

Kristin said...

I had plantar fasciitis in college. After years of shinsplints and stretched out quad muscles and ankle injuries from soccer, it was kind of an after-effect. It wasn't until I was about 26 that I got back into cardio and running is something you generally have to practice. It's not worth it if you have lots of pain (in my opinion).

Macy V said...

I am sorry to hear about the misdiagnosis and that you are stopping half-marathons, but at least you can say that you have participated in so many! That is something most people don't get to say, so you go girl! Running a 10k is fun too ;)

Kate at Green Fashionista said...

Oh no! So sorry to hear you dealt with so much pain and a misdiagnosis! But love that you have run in so many fun races, you can't beat running through the Disney parks! And yay for more 10k's, you rock them all <3
Green Fashionista

Emily said...

Plantar fasciitis is no joke! That is some of the most unbearable pain---especially since we have to be on our feet to accomplish daily activities! Super stinky that it could have been prevented, but I commend you for making a decision that's safer/most gentle on your body! Yay for taking care of yourself and still getting to do some fun running :)

Brenda @ Chatting Over Chocolate said...

Thank you for sharing all of this, Meg. So sorry to hear about your misdiagnosis and the pain you've dealt with. I have to tell you that you inspire me more than I can fully express! I dream of running in a Disney race someday and when the time comes that I take the plunge I'll no doubt think of you and be greatly inspired! Congrats on your MANY accomplishments and every last medal you've EARNED!!! Looking forward to cheering you on (from a far :)) when you run those 10Ks! :)

Traci@TheHallway said...

My husband has Osgood-Slautter in both of his knees. It was from growing almost 1-2 feet in basically days when he was in Middle School. He is just over 6 feet 2 inches and the Doctor said he should have been 6 feet 4 inches. He has such horrible knee pains and when you look at his knees he has these huge bone knots that stick out.

Jacquelyn @ The Lowcountry Mama said...

Ugh injuries are so frustrating, especially when a doctor messes up like that. You're amazing for being able to accomplish all you've done regardless.

Kirstie @ .I Declare. said...

Oh man I am so sorry! I am so glad you are able to find a way to ease the pain! I had the same diagnosis when I was little. I ended up having to have physical therapy from 15-16 knee surgery when I was 17 which put a stop to ever even being allowed on the cross country team.

Nikki @ makeupHER said...

My coworker does so many Disney runs and I'm always jealous. I ran Track in junior high & high school, but I have terrible knees as well (genetics). Now when I run even a short distance I get the worst shin splints and foot pain. I've tried so many different things, but have chalked it up to just brisk walking. Happy weekend!

p.s. loving that purple hair!!

Jen said...

You definitely have to do what is best for you! I'm glad that you still have a distance that is comfortable.

Kate @ Daffodils said...

10k is still pretty impressive! I wouldn't risk it for the knee pains either :/

Carly Blogs Here said...

Soo frustrating about the wrong diagnosis when you were in middle school, but I'm glad you were able to figure it out eventually and get back to a place where you could continue to run again-- I don't think I will ever run more than a 5k distance, but if I did it would probably be to do a Disney run. What great things to accomplish!

Ellen Ross | Ask Away said...

I've suffered from Plantar fasciitis and it sucks. Recently I invested in a nordic track elliptical and its the best thing i ever did because honestly, it doesnt have the painful impact on my body that running on pavement did.
XO Ellen from Ask Away
www.askawayblog.com

Shelby | Recent Somethings said...

I'm proud of you for all that you accomplished, friend (and you look great with the purple hair - so fun!!).

Amy Rae said...

I'm so sorry to hear if you've had all that pain in your life. I can't believe all the wonderful things you've done and accomplished, it blows my mind! You should be very proud of yourself.

The only sports I played consistently growing up were softball (not in high school though) and I did dance from the ages of 2-15. I tried cheer leading (too many mean girls even though I was in elementary school when I did it), basketball (I'm a really bad runner and while I love the sport, I was always the last one down the court and I got very self-conscience about it), soccer (I tried when I was 6 or 7. I disliked it so much that I sat down in the middle of the field during my first game and my dad was like "Amy, honey, you have to get up and run." I told him I didn't want to play soccer but I wanted to sit and watch. lol. I've always been a huge sports fan, though. I watch a lot of sports and attend sporting events whenever I can.

I have very bad foot pain as I have a flat arch and because of this I have to wear shoes that have a insole in the design. I miss wearing my colorful Nike sneakers.

Amy @ http://befilledwithj0y.blogspot.com/

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