Steamtown Marathon Withdrawal: Hard but Smart Decision

It seems forever ago I signed up for the Steamtown Marathon in Scranton, PA with the goal of running it as a BQ race. I was excited for its downhill course, the ‘easy’ 5 hour drive from my house and the prospect of perfect fall running temperatures. Long story short, (because if you want the long story you can read my post about the Big Cottonwood Canyon Marathon) I was not only over ambitious about the prospect of running two marathons four weeks apart but I also wasn’t prepared for the recovery my body would need from marathon number one due to the crazy calf pain caused from running downhill for 17 of the 26.2 miles plus a hip pain that had set in just two weeks before the marathon.

I will share in several more posts my trial and tribulations with the calf pain and hip pain, the mental challenges (frustration, depression, denial, anger, disappointment, stubbornness, etc) that I went through from the end of the first race and that still aren’t quite settled, and some of the reasons I am still not just bummed about not running Steamtown but also feeling a bit guilty simply because I feel like I let down the assistant race director whose emails I have thoroughly loved reading over the last 4-5 months.

So, with no further ado, I am sharing the letter I sent to Jim Cummings with my withdrawal from Steamtown as that seems the most appropriate way to share the story.

Date: Sat, 28 Sep 2013 05:18:32 -0700
Subject: Steamtown Withdrawal

Dear Jim,

I went out for what I intended to be a 10 mile run this morning and when mysterious hip pain kicked in around mile three I started to seriously consider whether or not I’d still try to run Steamtown. You see, two weeks before my first fall marathon on Sept 14 this same hip pain presented itself during a long run. It would come and go and on race day it definitely appeared but then over the 20 miles of downhill it disappeared from my hip and seemed to transfer to my calves. After what was the most painful race but also a major PR (that earned me a time I can use as a 2015 BQ) I rested for just about 12 days. The muscle fibers in my calves healed and I was thrilled to get a run in with no calf pain. But my attempt today for 10 turned into 5 due to the hip pain.

By the time I finished I knew that I would need to withdraw from Steamtown in order to not set myself up for longer term pain. I love running way too much to potentially really do myself damage during your race. I have really been looking forward to it. I love all the emails and have been impressed with the organization and communication of this race. I am utterly disappointed to not be running the Steamtown marathon this year. I know that I have missed the cut-off date for the partial refund and that’s fine. Is there any way to defer my registration to 2014? I’d love to make this my fall marathon next year.

I apologize for the late notice of my withdrawal and again, am incredibly bummed to not be joining your community and so many other runners in a few weeks. I will look forward to watching the results and wish all the runners the best of luck for their best race ever!

Natalie Staines


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