Saturday, July 26, 2014

My Aching Feet!

In the two and a half years that I've been running, I've never gotten a blister.  Two black toenails, but no blisters.  In the month and a half that I've been WALKING, I've gotten more blisters than I care to count. Holy moly.  Today was no different.

Actually, today was wildly different because it was . . . RACE DAY!

Check out that loot! Tank (singlet?), sticker, cool flexible cup, and a $1 beer coupon (not pictured) that I gave away because I don't drink beer. 

So we got our swag, put our bibs on, chatted with George (the gentleman who encouraged me to do this race after he did it himself last year),  took the obligatory selfie:

(Must learn not to have arm in shot!)

 and after a few words from the RD regarding the rules (full laps would be counted, then towards the end you get a little flag and you plant that in the ground when the airhorn goes off at the end of the race - or you decide to pack it in, whichever comes first), a little "motivational speaking," and the Star Spangled Banner, we were off.  For the first couple of hours, it was cake.  We were going a lot faster than we'd expected, we felt good, it wasn't too warm, etc, etc. 

The somewhere around 3 and a half hours, the wheels feel off a little.  Michelle wasn't feeling well and my feet were not happy (I found out that one of the gel insoles in my left shoe was shredded, causing me to walk on a weird bump until I was able to dump it out into the trash).  We stopped for a minute or two, and then decided to proceed slowly until we could reassess.  After a little while, with some fuzzy math regarding timing and goals and the day getting increasingly hotter, Michelle decided she wasn't going to continue on after the end of the lap.  There was some back and forth but she convinced me to just go ahead with out her, so I started running.  It felt odd to run after 4 and a half hours of walking, but it felt good, too. 

Until it didn't.  

I finished the 4th lap feeling good and then once I was into the 5th lap, I started feeling awful.  My feet hurt, my back felt weird, it was hot, I was tired, blah blah blah.   I'd picked up my flag after the 4th lap, thinking I would not make a full 5th lap before the end of the 6 hours.  I had over an hour (laps were 4.1 miles) but I couldn't do math by that point and couldn't swear that I'd be able to keep up any kind of decent pace, though I was going to try. 

Michelle and I had set out to try to get 20 miles, so I kept thinking I HAD to do it, since I'd left her behind.  I was not allowed to quit.  The funny thing (or not so funny, really) is that my last run/walking miles were actually slower than our beginning walking pace.  I did not realize how flipping tired I really was until I was out on that 5th loop by myself, with the sun beating down and my feet screaming at me.  

When I hit the last mile, I just kept slowing down and then I'd speed up.  I was completely unable to figure out if I was going to make 20 miles (my Garmin was "off" of the official race measurements, but I never could figure out by how much), or if I was going to finish the lap,  all I knew was that I had to keep moving.  

I powered (as much as I could!) up the last hill to the start/finish area and I still had 5 minutes on the clock! Now, I think that's great, but at the time, I was so defeated.  I had to KEEP GOING?   I considered stopping, since completing the 5th lap meant I'd hit our 20 mile goal, but everyone was so encouraging I just kept going.  I ended up slowing to a walk, and then almost to a crawl.  I think the last bit that I walked was at almost a 22min/mile pace.  Snail-like.  I was just DONE.

Airhorn blew, I planted my flag, then I made the slow journey back to the pavillion.

I did it.  I made it through all 6 hours, and I made our goal of 20 miles.  I was happy, but practically whimpering, wanting to get my shoes off.

I will spare you pictures.  They are not pretty.  Oh my goodness.

I won't know my official results for a few days, but since I did 5 full laps plus a little, I know I did at least 20.4 miles.  Previously, my longest race ever was a Half Marathon, and my longest training walk was 14 miles.   I am super happy with how this all turned out (though I wish I could figure out my blister issue!), and I am so grateful to Michelle for allowing me to be selfish and continue on.

There are so many things in life that I have allowed myself to quit on - I am so thankful that this was not one of them.  6 hours, relentless forward motion.  I'll take it.

"Finish" line - where I didn't get to stop! 

Me and George after the race. 


  1. YOU ARE A ROCKSTAR!!! I'm so proud for you!!! The fact that your friend stopped but you kept going is huge. What you did today is a ginormous accomplishment and you should be beyond proud!!!!
    Way to go!!

  2. Wow, that's amazing!! You did FABULOUS pushing through everything, especially alone at the end! GREAT WORK!!

  3. Wow, that's amazing!! You did FABULOUS pushing through everything, especially alone at the end! GREAT WORK!!

  4. Thanks, Jan! It was fun. Well, except for the really unfun parts. LOL

  5. Well, I could still do math, and I took my flag a loop early still, because I figured, you never know when cramps might strike or something. So you weren't the only one who carried flag around til crossing the mat at about five minutes til. I guess I crossed maybe one minute before you, and just like you, I continued on a bit too, and planted my flag.

    Congratulations on your longest run ever!!



    1. That's a good point - anything can happen, so it's best to be prepared. I'm glad we both made it through a complete final loop and then some. Congrats to you as well, and thanks! =)

  6. Congratulations! I'm so happy for you! It's so easy to quit on ourselves and even easier when we are in pain or even just uncomfortable. You should be on cloud 9 right now! Ouch about the feet though.

    1. The feet are fine now (two days later! LOL), and I'm still feeling happy about the race, so I'll call that a win. =)

  7. You did a fantastic job! You probably got blisters because your socks and shoes were damp. If I could go back in time, I would have given you the tip of having dry socks and shoes in your drop bag. That's what I did when I ran it. I didn't do that this year and I have the bloody feet to prove it :)

    Congrats on your new PDR!

    1. I'm not sure it's due to them being damp - I've run in some nasty hot conditions before and have never had blisters. I think it's something about my gait when I walk vs when I run? I don't know. In any case, a change of socks may be in order next time regardless. =) Thanks!

  8. Yay! Congrats on powering through and making it to the 20! I can totally see being confused at the end about how much you have left! I am happy it all worked out! Did you fuel and drink water as if you were running during this event? (just wondering if that was part of the bonk or not)

    1. I didn't eat as much as I should have - or maybe I should say I probably ate the wrong things - but I know I drank plenty.

  9. Amazing! As time goes by you will have time to reflect on what worked and what did not but you should be proud of yourself and the accomplishment!

    One thing's for sure though; the next time you run a 5k it will literally seem like a walk in the park! lol

    Congrats D, that was very inspiring!



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