How My First Marathon Completely Fell Apart

As it turned out, my reset button was waiting just before mile 13, ahead of a portion of the course I had been particularly dreading.

Quitting wasn’t an option on this day. This was personal for me.

The discomfort in my right knee, which I thought would plateau, was doing no such thing. The pain reliever wasn’t touching it, and I was favoring the leg to such an extent that I’d become legitimately concerned about creating an injury to my left leg as a result. Still, I put on a smile as I approached, kissed my wife, and—of course—swapped my socks and shoes.

It didn’t work.

As I made my way up the bank of White Rock Lake, I was passed by a runner I recognized from my corral. A half-mile later, I passed him back as he walked—a sequence we repeated several times before the turn at mile 15. He was clearly adhering to a run/walk plan, so I gave it a try for a bit. But, as he broke into another jog a few miles later, I found myself unable to do the same.

By mile 18, I was done. I could no longer run.

I should’ve quit then. Hell, I should have quit 10 miles before then. But quitting wasn’t an option on this day. This was personal for me. I spent a lot of years quitting when things didn’t go according to plan. I quit teams. I quit schools. I quit relationships. I’m done with that.

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About the Author

Kolby Paxton

Kolby Paxton is the running editor of ACTIVE.com and—you guessed it—an avid runner. Arguably the least impressive football player to play stand on the sideline at the University of Oklahoma, Paxton eventually graduated from a directional school you’ve never heard of in a town you’ve never heard of before the Associated Press named him Oklahoma’s Best New Journalist—while working at a paper you’ve never heard of. After earning a master’s degree he’ll never use from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Paxton and his wife relocated to Dallas, Texas, where he would become the self-proclaimed voice of the common runner. In his free time, Paxton enjoys hanging with his beagle, cheering for the Rangers, and yelling at the Cowboys. Follow Kolby on Twitter or Instagram.
Kolby Paxton is the running editor of ACTIVE.com and—you guessed it—an avid runner. Arguably the least impressive football player to play stand on the sideline at the University of Oklahoma, Paxton eventually graduated from a directional school you’ve never heard of in a town you’ve never heard of before the Associated Press named him Oklahoma’s Best New Journalist—while working at a paper you’ve never heard of. After earning a master’s degree he’ll never use from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Paxton and his wife relocated to Dallas, Texas, where he would become the self-proclaimed voice of the common runner. In his free time, Paxton enjoys hanging with his beagle, cheering for the Rangers, and yelling at the Cowboys. Follow Kolby on Twitter or Instagram.

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