Caraway’s Training Log of Great Inner Drama and Woe, 11-25 Sept. 2016

The lead pack at the 2016 Berlin Marathon, just after halfway.

After my last hard longer workout of the training cycle on Saturday, September 10th – a hilly, very challenging 10-mile cross-country race – it was time to taper! Just don’t do anything stupid and you’ve made it to race day unscathed! Ha.

After the cross-country race, my feet were a little sore and my calves very tight. I’d given it a good effort, trying to go uphill with a spring in my step, then negotiate the steep, rough downhills without face-planting, all of which is tough on the lower legs. I did an easy hourlong recovery run the Sunday after that race and foam rolled lots. On the Monday, I was out and about when I stepped on a rock and twisted my left ankle a bit, but I didn’t think much of it. Walk it off, right? A few minutes later it hadn’t stopped hurting. Hmm. But I’ve ignored all manner of random niggles in my life with excellent results, and I wasn’t about to start worrying about this one now.

Until the next day, when my ankle and the outside edge of my foot hurt so badly I was reduced to hobbling around. No amount of ice seemed to help. WTF?!

A couple of days later the pain had calmed down except for one spot on the side of my foot where the peroneal tendon meets the bone. I did a few test jogs, and the pain got steadily worse as the runs went along. ยง$%! Pain that gets worse when you run is definitely a bad sign. I started to panic that the marathon wasn’t going to happen.

I’ll spare you a daily recounting of my inner drama and angst, and fast foward to the Thursday before the race. I didn’t run much at all and spent a lot of time massaging my calves; I’m pretty sure the twisted ankle was that bad because everything was so tight down there after the cross-country race that one misstep was the final straw. “Pick up race packet from expo” had been on my calendar for Thursday, September 22nd at 2 p.m. basically forever, but a test jog that morning showed that the foot, while vastly improved, wasn’t ready to run 42.2 kilometers without incurring long-term damage.

I sat down and tried to separate out emotions from logic for a minute. Emotions: BUT I WANT TO RUN THE RACE WAAAAAHHHHH THIS IS NOT FAIRRRR with a bonus helping of “ugh everybody probably thinks I’m crazy. Maybe I am crazy and my foot is fine but my fear of the marathon is holding me back.” Logic: No, dumbass. Your foot hurts. Not running is helping your foot to not hurt. What will happen if you run on it for 4+ hours? Even if I made it through the race (and with enough ibuprofen, anything is possible), the long-term effect of running a marathon on a painful foot was almost certain to be several months of a full-blown injury. I’ve been there before after running a half marathon on a painful achilles and it really wasn’t worth it. Option B was to pick up the race packet and jog/walk a bit of the marathon just to get some of the race day experience, but I’m an all-or-nothing kinda gal, so Option C it was: don’t run the marathon, wait til your foot gets better, and then find a new goal race. No packet pickup for me.

Then I turned on my emotions again, had a bawlfest, and gave myself permission to wallow for the rest of the day. (I’m excellent at wallowing. Anyone needs tips, just let me know.) Honestly, I was pretty emo for most of the weekend, but ended up spectating the marathon for about three hours on Sunday. It was great fun, and though I was a little sad when the 4-hour pace group went by – these were supposed to be my people! – I did not burst into tears like I thought I might. How can you not love watching a marathon? Having done all the training, I felt like I could identify even more with the runners.

My feelings now: Yeah, it was a bummer, but there are other races. It was the right decision not to risk a bad injury. My plan for now is to take another week mostly off, with just a few short jogs, and then see how it goes; if the foot holds up, I’ll do some shorter x-c races in November and December, and then see about training for a longer race in the Spring.


I'm a 43-year-old living in Berlin, Germany and currently training for the 2020 Berlin Marathon.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. I love that you still went to cheer for the race. I know you weren’t there in the capacity that you wanted but like you said- being there is so amazing. I’m sure even more so for a race like Berlin! I think it was the right call (not that you asked ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) and know that whatever goal you pick you’ll get there and will be even sweeter knowing what you had to go through to get there.

  2. No doubt you will heal much faster having not run the marathon! It’s hard to let a race go when it’s been such a focus for weeks and months. But, luckily, there is always another race and I’m sure once you set your sights on another, the sting of this one will quickly fade!

    1. Thanks Chicory! Yep, plenty of fish in the sea…or races to run… ๐Ÿ™‚ Next time I’m going to register for one that doesn’t cost quite so much or sell out so fast.

    1. Thanks Olive! When I thought about the implications of not being able to run for another few weeks or months, I knew it was the right decision too.