Was is Worth It?

Since returning to the land of the living, I’ve been asked several times “Was is worth it?”  Sometimes the question is well intentioned, sometimes there’s a hint of sarcasm behind it, but at the base of the question, there is a genuine curiosity if running a marathon was worth the health problems that came with it.

My sweet friend Nicole from Masters to Marathons made this for me while I was sick.  I LOVE IT!

My sweet friend Nicole from Masters2Marathons made this for me while I was sick. I LOVE IT!

A bit of background for context first.  Three weeks ago (approximately a week before Rock-n-Roll New Orleans) I started to feel sick.  I spent basically the entire week before the marathon trying to get rid of whatever bug I had picked up.  By the Saturday before the marathon I felt about 85-90%.  Sunday, race day, I woke up with a bit of a sore throat but otherwise felt fine; thankful I had dodged the bullet on being sick race day.  Monday, after the marathon, I felt like I had been hit by a truck and then got progressively worse throughout the week.  By that Thursday it hurt to breathe and I was coughing up green stuff.  {TMI? Sorry.}  I drug myself to the doctor, got a lecture, a shot in the butt and the diagnosis of bronchitis and sinusitis.

I was put on two medicines but the damage had already been done to my system.  I spent the next four days (Friday-Monday) in my jammies, coughing so hard at times that it made me throw up.  I had zero energy, couldn’t really talk (no voice) and didn’t have much of an appetite. I lost weight which is always a concern since my BMI is an underweight figure.  Probably the funniest side effect of being sick is that I {still three weeks later} sound like a man.

My doctor confirmed that if I hadn’t run the marathon, I would not have gotten sick like this.  Since I ran the marathon with a compromised immune system, it gave free range for whatever viruses I had in me take me down for the count.

When answering the question, “Was it worth it?”, I take into account the fact that these people don’t run; I have yet to be asked by another runner if it was worth it.  Non-runners don’t understand the effort that goes into preparing for a marathon.  To them, this is just like any other race I run.  They don’t realize that I registered for it 9 months ago.  Or that I dedicated 4 months of my life preparing for it.  Four months of “I’m sorry I can’t {insert fun event}, I have to run”, 16 weeks of sore muscles & body aches, 112 days of mental battles and questioning my ability if I could actually do it.  Not to mention the amount of money that went into shoes, clothes, fuel, etc.  No to them, this is just a race.

To me, it’s much more.  This marathon was a test of not only physical endurance but also overcoming that annoying voice in my head that still tells me “You’re not a real runner.  You’re just putting on a good charade.”  Running is so much more mental than physical.  If I had decided not to run the race due to health reasons (which would have been the smart thing) I would have felt completely defeated.  Like that little voice inside me won.  “See I told you you’re not a real runner.”  If I hadn’t ran that day, Rock-n-Roll New Orleans would have always been the race that got the best of me.  I would have always wondered what if…  I know myself and I know I would have a very hard time forgiving myself.

All of that is what flies through my head when they ask me if it was worth it.  But I know they wouldn’t understand, so I just simply say, “Yes. Yes, it was worth it.”

The marathon was two weeks ago and I finally feel like I’m on the upside of this crud.  I’m still coughing and having sinus issues but I was able last week for the first time in 10 days to do something physical.  I went for a 2 mile run on Wednesday and then a 3 mile run on Thursday.  Both runs were slower than normal and exhausting.  Saturday I went for a 5 mile run with walk intervals and felt pretty good; although my pace (with the walk intervals figured into it) was 2.5 minutes slower than usual.  It’s going to take me awhile to get back to where I was but I’m ok with that.  All things considered, I would not hesitate to run the marathon again.

Don’t forget to enter my Huma Energy Gel giveaway – contest closes tomorrow at midnight!

Question:  Have you ever ignored physical symptoms just to compete in an event? Was is worth it to you?

Just for the record, I don’t advocate running while sick or injured.  It’s a personal decision and one that should be made with care.

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