It’s crazy how quickly a year passes – this race unexpectedly snuck up on me. After winning last year and receiving a trophy so weird and ugly that it made it the best trophy ever, I was hoping to win again. But, after a series of head colds and busy work weekends, I didn't get to the trails very often and my long runs topped out at 10.
On Monday, when I realized that I only had 5 days to train, I rushed to South Mountain to tackle as many large hills as I could find in 80 minutes. This was going to be my speed work, hill work and endurance work all in one fabulous extravaganza!
And perhaps it was fabulous until around Mile 3 when my foot came in contact with a
I lunged forward, saving my face, but my poor toe, crammed under
the rock, did not feel so good.
But it’s just a toe so no big deal.....or so I thought. After another mile, it became apparent that I needed to turn around. By the time I returned to my car, it felt like my foot no longer fit my shoe and everything below my ankle throbbed.
I spent Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday slathering my toe in arnica gel, experimenting with taping and creating splints out of Popsicle sticks. By Saturday, it did not feel perfect but it felt okay.
Having spent the last four days in a forced taper, I was excited to run. And when the race started – BAM, off I went! And as you all know, when I start a race report with “Bam!” it doesn’t end well. But, after like 10 minutes, I did turn on my brain and slowed down. I spent the next 40 minutes hanging out in a nice, comfortable pace.
But, female breath behind me prevented me from being too comfortable. I hate the pressure of being chased.
I reminisced back to my Cactus Cha Cha win and decided to execute a similar strategy. I asked her to pass me and found myself in my favorite position. But after a few miles, the gap between us started to get bigger, as well as the pain in my toe. I also developed a blister on the other my foot. Each step hurt. At some point, that trophy just did not seem to be so cool. I attempted to pull out some candy from my pocket (because maybe fuel would help?) but it was smashed and stuck to the pocket lining. I stopped to peel my questionably gross, lint-covered gummy goo from my pocket. The five seconds gave me enough to gather myself and I resumed my race at a respectable pace, with red flavored candy stuck to my teeth.
At the finish line, I took off my shoe for instant relief, and hobbled over to the winner. Just like every other trail runner I meet, she was awesome. I love trail running, even with a stubbed toe and blister.
I am very confused about what to do for the next few months. Triathlons? Half marathons? More trails? I want to feel excited about something but nothing is screaming me. On that note, I was worried my toe would be screaming in the aftermath of the race, but through reasons that I cannot explain, my toe was 100% the next day. At least its ready for anything.