Returning to Missoula Marathon Training After an Injury


It was around this time last year I tried to start running again and began training for the Missoula Marathon- the 2013 Missoula Marathon. That training lasted through the summer when I suffered another setback.  I resumed training again this winter, and joined the Missoula Marathon Training class this spring.   The last time I wrote an article for RWM it was about long range planning for the organization- so I decided to write one about long range planning for myself.  Here it is.

For me it has been a very frustrating, exhausting and challenging three years (nearly to the day) since I ran my last marathon, Boston 2010.  The training went great for that marathon, and I was at the peak of my running and poised for a personal record.  It is also when things started falling apart for me and running.

My story is probably similar to what many go through trying to run, whether running through or recovering from injuries.  I never really thought much about it when I wasn’t injured, but now I really sympathize with people suffering from injuries and those trying to return from an injury.

I am not fast; I am not a “natural”, not quick, nor a “talented” or “gifted” runner.  I am a heel striker, I don’t lean forward, and I am 6’ tall and struggle to stay under 195lbs.   I have had moments when I have done pretty well because I try hard and train hard.  It took me several years to get into shape. I lost 40 lbs and I was fit, and this fitness allowed me to achieve what I did.

Training for the Missoula Marathon after an injury

David says he’s “returning to training without any lofty goals of a PR, nor expectations of returning to the speed and fitness I had achieved after three years of continuous training.”

Since I got injured in 2010, I gained back 25 lbs and even though I am running now, every step I take reminds me of how far I need to go.

In April 2010, unbeknownst to me at the time, I ran the Boston Marathon with a stress fracture in my tibia.  I had some pain, but I didn’t think much of it.  Most of the time I am in pain and I try to ignore it!  Somewhere during the race, I tore my meniscus.  But the real problem was I ran out of energy at mile 9 because, as I would learn later, I had Type 1 Diabetes.

While trying to rehabilitate from the stress fracture and torn meniscus I tore cartilage in my knee, I did physical therapy for almost two years, and had knee surgery to remove parts of my meniscus and cartilage.

After several starts and stops with trying to return to running, I hit a low last September.  I had started to finally get into shape, and I developed horrible bursitis in my knee.  It had always been there, but the stress fracture, torn meniscus, and torn cartilage masked the pain.  Medication for the bursitis was effective for my knee, but really affected by blood sugar and I felt horrible.

I decided to stop running all together, and didn’t think much about running.  This winter, I started again and decided I would just start over.  I ran my first marathon in 2007, training with the first Missoula Marathon training group.  I did it then, and I would do it again. I am training for the 2013 Missoula Marathon.  Over the years I have had many wonderful experiences with the training classes, made lasting friendships, and enjoyed the camaraderie, and outstanding coaches.  A few weeks into the training class, I have  been met with the same experiences again (Thanks Mike Yager, Trisha Drobek, Marilyn and Miles Marler, people whose names end in “Brooker”, and others).

Now, I am returning to training without any lofty goals of a PR, nor expectations of returning to the speed and fitness I had achieved after three years of continuous training.

Last week I started going to track workouts- humbling, grueling and very satisfying.  Like a long run, a track workout is something to feel good about finishing.

During every hard run or track work I have thought about stopping, but doing so I’d be giving in and making it acceptable to quit. For as long as I can remember during these times I tell myself that “I will not allow myself permission to quit”.

I don’t want to be an average runner or less than what I was, I want to be better.  I know my faster races and my PR’s are ahead of me.  I have to believe that or else this struggle will not be worth it.


  Stay in the loop with Missoula’s running community! Check out the Run/Walk It archives for more posts from David and other Missoula runners and walkers.

David Schmetterling for RWMDavid Schmetterling is currently enjoying a return to running after a frustrating three years of injuries and illness. He is currently training for the Missoula Marathon, as part of Run Wild Missoula’s Marathon Training Class.  When not running, David is the state fisheries research coordinator for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and he and his wife, Marilyn (pictured) are avid gardeners, hunters, and anglers.