That is a short excerpt of a conversation Joey Anderson and I had as he and I walked through the mid-afternoon heat Saturday. Somehow we started talking about blisters and some of the problems he had experienced through his running years. After I said this, I should have walked off the road, found a tree and 'knocked' on it!
|Just before the start. A word of prayer. The National Anthem was fabulous!|
For that afternoon lap with Joey and the one before it, I had decided to 'walk only' to avoid the 80*+ temperatures. It wasn't all that humid, but the heat was tough . . . and the course had no shade. But you deal with whatever it is that's before you. You just adjust. So I just slowed down to conserve energy. That part worked pretty good.
Joey left as the sun was getting low in the sky. As he was leaving I was changing shoes and socks, though I was not having any problems. Joey and I even talked about the shoes I was putting on. I told him how they had changed this shoe and I really didn't like it much anymore and he agreed saying they even made it heavier and stiffer. I had brought three pairs of shoes and changing shoes at ~31 miles just made sense . . . the temperatures were starting to drop some and I thought starting again with fresh shoes and socks would be a welcome re-start. I knew I didn't love these shoes, but I thought they were okay. In hindsight, it turns out changing shoes was my critical mistake. But I had no way of knowing that at the time.
The event was called "Cures for the Colors' and was a fund-raising event to support NC cancer victims. The event was primarily a relay event but there were six of us who were planning to try to complete the full 100 miles.
Here is the course:
This was the race's first year and I expected just about nothing, since it was not put on by seasoned ultra runners. But I've got to say they did a very good job! Food (hamburgers and hotdogs) , a great selection of fluids (lot's of choices!), excellent number of aid stations, nice planning for dealing with running at night on roads that weren't close! And a nice, flat course with 3 aid stations along the 5.26 mile course. I would do this race again.
|Joey at the end of his walk!|
I had decided to try to post short update on Facebook (my first time ever doing that!). At about mile 39 I posted "It's a little hot but cooling. Spirits good. At 39" I was moving better then I ever had before at this point.
But somewhere in the mid 40s I started to notice the bottom of my left foot was getting tender. Then, a little later I was definitely hurting. I knew I had a problem.
So I stopped at the main aid station to survey the situation. And it wasn't very good . . . no . . . not good at all! Definite blisters forming under the callous on the ball of my forefoot! With my shoe off I hobbled over to the main aid station volunteers to ask for some help dealing with these blisters. But there was no EMT, nurse or doctor around. The aid station folks told me at Dr. Jim Atkins had earlier been forced to quit due to blisters. Jim was the race organizer and was also trying to finish his first 100 mile race. He and I had walked together for the lap before Joey came that afternoon. I sure hated this for Jim!
Knowing I had a serious problem developing, I decided to change shoes to my most cushioned shoes, my most cushioned socks and stop at the other aid stations to see if they had anyone that might be able to help me deal with these blisters. They didn't.
So, now back at the main aid station (now at about mile 58) I did my own surgery! Those that know me know my eyesight is not so good up close . . . and I'm not as flexible as I used to be! Okay . . . I'm not flexible AT ALL! Especially at mile 58 of a 100 mile run!! So it must have been quite the sight - me with my headlight on, trying to find the edge of a callous on the bottom of my foot where I had a chance of getting a pin in!! Many, many different pokes! And when I hit one of the right spot, it looked like I had hit oil!! A mini-! "There she blows!!" It was like there were many, many different blisters, all hiding under this one huge callous covering my whole forefoot.
So, with surgery over and shoes and socks back on, I headed out again. While every step hurt, I found I could still walk. And I even picked up the walking pace (faster walking!!) for awhile as the pain seemed to back off some. But it got bad again after maybe a mile. Pain was . . . let's just say significant. At least with my foot hurting so bad, my legs felt relatively good, all things considered!
I got that lap finished and took a nap for about 15 minutes. Decided to head out for another lap.
On my last full loop, at mile 1 1/2 or so, I saw Jimmy Ballard who was pacing a friend on his first 100 (sorry but I missed his name!). They were moving really strong! To show you how slow I was moving, they passed me again at about mile 4 or so . . . and he was on his finishing lap!
|Toast . . . mile 70 at 6:45am.|
Doing the math, I certainly would not have made the 30 hour cut-off to complete the 100, even if the blister issue hadn't come. But I believe I would have been within an hour or so of it. And I believe I could have walked the remaining 30 miles. So I do feel good about this effort. But . . . still . . . a DNF is a DNF! This one is just a tad easier to swallow then Umstead . . . or maybe I'm just getting better at failing!!
Next . . . what went right and what went wrong.
Question: Why do you keep reading this?? It's not going to get any better!