Well, here it is. Two days after the Richmond Marathon — and I’m not the least bit sore. Many of you probably already saw on twitter that I had to make a last minute decision to drop on Thursday last week.

Why I Dropped Out

My back has been giving me issues for months but the chiropractor had given me the okay to continue running — with caution. Some of you, no doubt, wondered why I didn’t just stop and get my back better.

Well, I was stubborn and knew I was probably doing the wrong thing. However, since I could run pain-free and it didn’t seem to make things better or worse, I really wanted to complete the marathon and then quit running for awhile.

Had the race been even one week earlier, I’d have done it. Seven days out, though, things took a turn for the worse. Sharp, shooting pain hit me at different points in the day, it hurt sitting in my car, tying my shoes, brushing my teeth. Earlier, my pain had been a steady 2-3, not it was was up to 7 or 8.

On Tuesday, the chiropractor gently suggested I not run. At first I thought I would still run but the pain wasn’t giving me any choice. I thought about the half marathon but then thought that was really stupid. I can run a half any old day, so why hurt my back possibly even more for that?

Anyway, I decided not to run but was still going to go with my friend Maggie and cheer her on.

Spectator Machine

Packing for the race was the least fun. Even though I knew I wasn’t running, I couldn’t stop myself from packing the clothes I would have worn and even the fuel I had planned to bring — my Gus, shot blocks and Nuun — just in case a miracle occurred.

No such luck. We arrived at the expo and I picked up my packet just in case there were any freebies and also, for the shirt. Nothing so special but oh well. I was mad jealous at all the people actually running around me.

On race morning, I was up with Maggie getting ready. She was putting all her race day gear together, perfect pink shirt, ducktaping her name to it, putting a pink bow in her hair. It was raining at the time, and I felt a little better knowing this would have “dampened” my mood if I were running. But, also, my back hurt like crazy. Had I woken up with it feeling fine, I would have been even more annoyed that I wasn’t running. At least it was acting up at the right time.

We drove down to the race course, Maggie barely making it to the starting line in time because we accidentally parked 2 miles away. I watched as every marathoner crossed the starting line — starting their endorphin-fueled journeys to a hard-earned medal.

Because the back was a mess, I couldn’t run around the course trying to spot friends. So I ended up walking a lot and camping out at Starbucks for an hour. I wanted to see the first place peeps finishing so I made my way back to an area to watch around 2 hours into the marathon.

It was clear that the Richmond course is really pretty and I hope I actually get to run it sometime. Like Philly last year, they have really cute little streets and stores. It was easy to follow along with all the runners for the last 2-3 miles of the race. That’s really my favorite part to watch because I can feel their pain.

I know what they are all going through and want to will them on with my thoughts and cheers. Luckily, the finish line is easily see-able from a spectator’s point of view as well. The last mile of the race is massive hill. I was actually afraid somebody would slip and fall since it had been raining.

It was awesome watching all these fast marathoners come through while a huge stream of half-marathoners was still finishing, even when they (halfers) start 30 minutes before!

The determination and grit on the finishers’ faces was priceless. I loved cheering in people that I would tell were probably gunning for a sub-3 and were going to make it. All of those runners still look strong after 26.2 miles and I was in awe.

I also enjoyed watching the slower folks come in — many of them wearing causes on their shirts, holding hands, arm in arm. The best was an older woman took off her shirt and waved it around in a circle all the way till the end. Hilarious!

I was looking for Maggie early just in case she had a fabulous race! Of course she always does well — but she came barreling down the hill at 3:39 — the same time she has finished almost all of her marathons.

She looked strong and I was jealous I didn’t get to feel the marathon glory with her on our drive home — but I was still happy for her and all the folks that got to finish this weekend. Here is Maggie coming through:

I’m worried about things now — worried that my back is going to be an issue the rest of my life. This issue runs in my family. I love running and being active so much that it will so hard for me to deal with if this doesn’t get better soon. It makes me feel kind of trapped and helpless.

I have an MRI on Thursday and will see what happens after that. Anyway, I had a fun time cheering people on at the Richmond Marathon. If I couldn’t run, cheering was where I’d want to me. I love runners and the positive spirit of hope that the marathon brings.

Of course it gave me marathon fever to be there this weekend and I thought about how when I get better, I can really focus on training for sub 3:45 and then, maybe someday, Boston.

Wow, this sure SEEMS like a race report from the length, doesn’t it? Thanks for sticking with me, guys.

FREE: Simple Faith Practices for Busy MomsYes, please!