Last year, I ran the 24 hour race. This year, I was smarter, and signed up for the 12 hour race. HAHA Really, my target race is H9 in 3 weeks after this race, so 24 hours would not be in line with my goals. I really just want to run 50 miles first and then if I have some time left I'll run or walk it out until time runs out. I think that 50 miles is really not a huge goal for me but big enough for what I want to accomplish.
I haven't had a race in about 4 months since GDR. I have thoroughly just enjoyed training and running wild as my friend Deborah and I often joke about. It's awesome not having my self induced stress of a race, and it also gives me plenty of time to mentally prepare for my next races and goals. I figured out many months ago that I do not need to race. I just need to run.
So, four days until Merrill's Mile, I am out walking in our neighborhood on the golf paths with Lee, and we have to walk around this gate like we have done many times before. However, this time I feel something sharp and it goes all the way into my heel until it stops! When I scream, Lee runs to the other side of the golf path thinking I just got bit by a snake...lol I know what he is thinking and so I voluntarily say, "it's not a snake, it's a nail, I just stepped on a nail!".
I remove my shoe and the blood is really pouring out of my heel. I'm a nurse so I know it's pretty deep and try to look at the wound, but the blood is coming out so fast that I can't really see how bad the puncture is. I'm telling Lee that I think I might need to go to the ER. Lee goes looking for the nail and under some hay or dead grass he pulls out two 2x4's with 3 inch nails nailed into them all the way across the boards! They were deliberately placed there.
Lee leaves me on the golf path to go home to get the golf cart to pick me up. I'm holding pressure on my heel, and I just get so angry that this has happened to me. I'm so thankful it wasn't one of my children and also thankful it wasn't in a different part of my foot. But, also Lee says I don't think you are going to be able to run your race Saturday. I don't want to think about this because I think he is right, and that makes me very upset. By the time he returns, the bleeding has stopped and after filing a police report he drives me home. The next day, I report to employee health for a tetanus shot and a prescription for antibiotics.
All day Wednesday and Thursday, I cannot walk or bear weight on my left heel. I am trying to more on Thursday, but it really hurts. I am feeling discouraged. I wake up Friday morning and initially my arm from the tetanus shot is more sore than my heel. I get up and run just over 2 miles before work to "test" my heel. It really hurts. In fact, it hurts so much that .39 miles into this I wonder how much more I can take and how long should I test it? Crap, I've got Merrill's Mile in 24 hours. How am I going to manage this pain?
I message Jake about this pain, and he informs me that this is my nervous system in shock, and it's just a puncture. He says all this other stuff to really minimize my trauma telling me "it was only a thumb tack"! And even I start to believe that this is nothing but a thing. So, I think about it and a few hours later I decide that I am going to follow through and run this race. I decide that I am just simply going to ignore my foot and try to bear as much weight as possible on my foot the rest of the day to reproduce the pain and just learn to live with it. Also, I am telling myself that my foot does not need to know that she is running tomorrow. I am planning on learning to completely ignore my foot.
The next morning I wake up and get ready for Merrill's and my foot feels better but basically I am in ignoring mode!
I pick up Cecilia and off we go to Merrill's Mile at the Ranger Camp, and it's a rainy kind of day. Much better than the scorching day in the sun last week! We set out our stuff and our canopy with help from our friends.
Jake finally arrives within 30 min of the start. He has yet to check in and quite honestly he looks like shit. He shows up hung over and barely slept. At some point, he realizes he forgot his shoes and plans on running this fine gravel track barefoot! I am laughing hysterically but tell him seriously, you can't run this barefoot. His goal is to also run 50 miles. It's always something with Jake but how in the hell do you show up to a race without your running shoes? What's even funnier is that he has no clue where they are! Meet my Pinhoti race partner. He is the yin to my yang. I train so hard and he barely trains. I don't mind because I love to run and Jake not so much! However, David hears Jake's plight and loans him a pair of shoes which are about 1.5 sizes to big! This makes me laugh even harder.
The race starts and I run with Margaret a few laps and then just continue onward. Loop races are great in that you just keep running and run with different people throughout your day. It really helps to pass the time and break the monotony of repeating loops. The rain helps in breaking it up and then the course changes as I try to dodge puddles along the way.
|My GA Loop Buddy, Brad|
Along about mile 18, I have to stop to use the massage therapist because my left glute and hamstring hurt so bad because I am bearing more weight on that left side guarding my right heel. I'm sure the left hand turns on this oval track aren't helping as I lean to the left. I can deal with a pain that I am used to, but it's difficult to stand an acute pain like this. The massage therapist is wonderful and gets me going. No one has ever dug into my butt so deep, and I tell her that as everyone who hears this has a good laugh. I have to stop again in miles 28, 37, and 50 just to keep going. I'm sure without her I would have not been able to run as well as I did. At Hostility, this same group was there volunteering for the runners, and I never used them once. Stopping 4 times to use the massage therapist ate up my time. I am not happy about this but also I would not have gotten as far as I did without them.
I am lucky to run with friends off and on throughout my day. I had several lows where I didn't feel good which happens on a 50 mile or longer race, but I had more than usual. Timed events are a good time to practice this, and I get through it. I remember for a few laps feeling bad, and Jake talked me through it. And, on a better lap we crack each other up. I am laughing so hard that I think I'm going to fall down on the track laughing. Laughing like that always makes me feel better.
|Flying in David's Shoes..lol|
Along around mile 36 or so, I start running most of my laps with Cecilia and several with David. Then I am running with Jake and David. It's funny because we all have 50 mile goals set. Cecilia and I catch up together and run most of her final lap. I see her parents and right about that time it's getting ready to really storm. I figure she might go home with them since they are there already before the storm strikes. I keep running as she is somewhere behind me, and I'm not sure what she's going to do. I don't see Jake as I know he is out there running still, so I figure I may as well just run in the rain and finish this out and then get him to help me take the canopy down.
|Look at our form! My Running Twin!|
I see Sarah after the race who told me she ran 59 loops and came in first place! I am so excited for her because we trained together for GDR and then she got sick right before the race with a sinus infection and had to DNF at mile 29. She has been running for 30 years and is a very strong runner. She tells me to go check on what place I came in because she thinks I did really well. I had no idea what place anyone was in, so I go ask Willy and to find out where my finishing award can be picked up at. He helps me look on the computer screen, and I am shocked that I came in 2nd female and 4th overall. However, after the 12 hour night runners, I placed 5th overall out of about 43 runners. I really didn't care about placing at this race because I just wanted to get my mileage in. So, I'm really pleasantly surprised because I saw some strong female runners out there, and I just didn't know how many laps anyone had run.
Overall, a good training run, too much rain, and awesome friends to run with. I'm lucky.