Injuries suck. No sugar-coating it. I hate not being able to run the way I want to be running right now. I hate that I'm limited to less than 15 miles a week, at a time when I should be running a 20-miler on a single day. I hate that my Boston training plan is still hanging on my refrigerator, with not a single workout checked off as completed.
I also hate not knowing whether or not I'm going to be standing on that starting line on April 21st.
And this is where you would probably respond with a look of astonishment - and skepticism - that I'm even considering trying to run 26.2 miles less than 3 months from now, given that I haven't done any training, and have no base built up whatsoever.
That's pretty much what my reaction would be if anyone told me they were considering something like that. I know what it takes to train properly for a marathon, and I know (not from experience, but from a lot of firsthand accounts) what it's like to run a marathon without properly training for it.
And I know full well that it's ill-advised to attempt something like that, and I would never in a million years suggest that anyone else do it. I know you need to respect the distance, and I do - I truly do.
But there's always an exception to the rule, isn't there? And this year is an exception like no other, and it's a race like no other.
When I crossed the finish line in Boston last year, I knew I'd be back. Over the course of those 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Boylston Street, the Boston Marathon had wound its way into my heart, and there was no way it was letting go. And of course, given the way the race ended, it became more important to me than ever to be back this year.
Boston has been on my mind, and in my heart, almost constantly. I think about the course, and the spectators, and the indescribable feeling of standing on that starting line in Hopkinton, and running through Wellesley and Newton and into the city.
And I think about the horror and the tragedy and how unthinkable it still seems to me that that happened. It calls up goosebumps, nervous excitment, and tears just thinking about it.
And now that I've been fighting this injury and barely running for the past three months, it calls up determination like I've never known before.
Last winter was a different kind of determination - it was determination to get up at 4:30am once a week to run intervals on the treadmill. Determination to run 20 miles in the cold, alone, with no music, on a hilly route. Determination to hit paces I never imagined I could hit, because I was chasing a big goal.
This year's determination is very different, but no less important.
I'm determined not to run too much just yet, for fear of setting myself back further. Determined to cross-train with the same intensity as if I was running. Determined to try new things, like pool running, and swimming, and rowing, and biking in the cold, and biking indoors on the trainer. Determined to explore every single physical therapy/rehabiltation technique I have available to me.
But mostly just determined to do whatever it takes to get me back to that starting line, and across that finish line, on April 21st.
I had my time of wallowing, and my time of crying into my glass of wine, and my time of thinking that all was lost and preparing myself to head up to Boston as a spectator this year. But I didn't allow that to go on too long, because this is too important, and it's a battle that's well worth fighting.
Limbo isn't a good place to be. I like to know what's ahead - I thrive on having a plan laid out and following it religiously, and I love checking off each workout as I complete it.
So being out here in nowhere land, running a few miles here and there, as my body allows, is uncharted territory. But I'm learning how to find my way around, and my navigation skills have increased tremendously.
I still can't say with certainty that I'll run Boston this year. My heart says it with certainty every day, and I do believe that positive thinking goes a long way - but my body ultimately has the final say in this one, and I've learned that I have to respect that, even when I don't like its decision.
But what I can say with certainty is that whichever side of the barricades I end up on this April 21, I will stand there proudly, knowing that I did absolutely everything in my power to get myself healthy and strong enough to be there as a runner - and if it didn't work, I'll be the best damn spectator the Boston Marathon has ever seen.