...but the moment after I had my inexplicably painful fall on Saturday and tried to walk-run a few steps I really really wanted to. I looked at the two women who had been using me as their pacer as they disappeared further up the trail ahead of me, I saw the early finishers coming toward me and I thought for a crazy moment that I might be able to hobble my way through the remaining 5 miles. I tried to put pressure on my right forefoot and I knew for sure that I was done. For the first time in my relatively brief running career (10 years is brief compared to some, right?), I pulled myself out of a race. The official photographer at the water crossing marveled at the gnarliness of my injury and insisted on taking a photo.
So I gamely posed for the photo and then limped my way back up the switchbacks toward the finish. Every time a runner on the outbound congratulated me on being so near the finish or asked me if I was okay, I could feel the hot prickle behind my eyes and I repeated one of several phrases I'd mastered without a quaver in my voice. "I'm okay." "Doing fine." "I'm good..", and then I kept moving. I exited out of the trees into an area just above the finish chute because a quick limp through the finish would be accompanied by a name announcement and there was no way in hell that I felt like so publicly quitting. Ugh, it was just so frustrating and disappointing and I constantly felt the need to re-explain to people I encountered that if I'd only scraped my knee I would have continued running, but between the swelling in my knee and my battered foot it just wasn't on. I've done this race for the past two years and will likely go for it again next year, but right now I just feel really conflicted about the experience.
Part two of my half marathon weekend was equally bizarre (woke up early but still arrived after the start of the race, it rained the whole time, I had to run hard to catch up with my pace group after a bathroom break, and without a cell phone I couldn't find my boyfriend post race), but I finished AND I finished my first half in my VFFs. And I got a cool hat as well.