There are two words that runners hate: DNF, referred to as “did not finish” and deferment. The former is awful and leads you to wish you had done the latter. Deferring can be as painful as the reasons you need to defer. It can feel as though you’re giving up and quitting. You sit, staring at your screen, hovering over the ENTER key waiting for a supreme force to take hold of your hand and to make the decision for you. Everything else is easy in comparison. Defer your favorite desert over the holidays? <ENTER> ; defer your company Christmas party? <ENTER>; defer a visit to see opinionated relatives? <ENTER, ENTER, ENTER>. The thought that 16-weeks of training has come to the ‘D’ word can be tough to accept.
I’ve deferred a marathon once; last year at this time after suffered a stress fracture. This year, I find myself in a similar situation; major interior shin splints or what doctors like to call medial tibial stress syndrome or the fancy term for ‘you’re running all wrong and have weak hip flexors.’ The cure, rest while doing strengthening exercises and work on weak areas that caused the shin splints in the first place. This advice is not conducive to training for a marathon, especially when the beginning of the year is as equally as busy as the last part of the year. So, the decision had to be made. Defer the Charleston Marathon again for the second year in a row.
It’s not all bad. The realization that healing could prevent future injuries, lead to a new PR, and prevent future deferments is what needs to be in anyone’s mind who is about to push that ENTER button. Am I upset by it? Of course, I am. However, this is what I signed up for when I decided to become a runner. I’m also excited about the possibilities ahead in 2020. That is something I’m not going to defer.