Healing and Boston 2012

Sunday, April 8, 2012

I ran in the blue cup competition on Wednesday this week. My foot felt pretty good, just a little bit of pain. I went out and ran 9 miles the next morning and it felt like a hot spot was developing on the top of my foot. That was really the only thing that was bothering me but I was worried that it might turn into something worse, so I have taken the past 3 days off. It’s feeling a lot better and I’ve only got a little bit of pain in my index toe. I’ve decided not to run Boston. I just can’t justify doing it on a foot that’s been this reluctant to heal and I really need to be healthy for June. It’s quite frustrating, but it is feeling better each day. I’m hoping to be feeling no pain shortly and at that point will reassess running again. Deciding not to run Boston has made me a lot more content about not being able to run. I think I was trying to push to get back for that race and now that I’m not doing it, I find myself more content to take the necessary time off to heal. I’m really bummed that I won’t be joining my teammates on the starting line, but there will be other years. I’ve got to get healthy.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

I have been battling a foot injury since early March. It’s completely derailed what had been a very successful winter season. Since then, I’ve been able to run only a few miles a week due to soreness and pain. I was hoping to get some solid weeks in before Boston but as each week passed and Boston loomed closer, I realized that I was going into the race with no fitness. 2 weeks before, I had actually decided not to run it but my foot progressed better than I had hoped after that and I traveled to Boston with plans to start the race and see how it went. I have yet to have a pain-free run, but the pain is basically just soreness, or at least I hoped that’s what it was. Boston was the test to see whether my hot spots were actually something more serious. As a result, I went into the race without any real goal. I didn’t intend to finish and was going to consider the day a success if I made it to the halfway mark without being forced to stop by my foot.

                When I saw the deferment offer and the weather forecast, I wasn’t sure what to think. Since I’d already paid for the plane and hotel and entry, I decided to run the race, especially since I didn’t know if I’d be able or even willing to make the trip next year. After picking up our bibs, Monk and I went for a short run around Boston. My foot felt pretty good. But we mostly talked about how hot it was.

                That trend continued the next morning when we got up. By the time we got to the start, we were sweating. Not a good sign. I’ve only ever run one marathon, San Francisco. That race started at 5:30am so I was done around 8am. Plus, it was foggy and 50-55 the whole time so overheating never even crossed my mind. I stopped at every water station and ate 4 Gu’s that day. Since I hadn’t planned on running the whole of Boston, I hadn’t even thought to bring Gu. I managed to snag one from Saint’s fiancé but knew that if I was going to try to run the whole thing (which was a possibility I guess, assuming I felt great), I needed to find more fuel along the course. That didn’t happen, but may have been for the best.

                Patrick, Jason and I found ourselves running together in the 1st mile. We came through in 5:58 which we were fine with, but then we rattled off 5:34, 5:35, 5:36, even while making a conscious effort to slow it down each time. I wasn’t terribly worried since I was ok with dropping out at halfway should I need to, but I knew Patrick and Jason were not happy with the pace since they were trying to run the whole thing. Soon thereafter, we split up. I fell behind Patrick and kept running 5:44’s, which felt relatively comfortable. My foot was holding up all right so that wasn’t a problem thankfully (and it’s still getting better which is nice). But the temperature just kept rising, making each mile slightly more difficult. All of a sudden, my watch was reading 5:50+ and I knew I was fading. I’d eaten my solitary Gu and was looking for more on the course but saw nothing. Even if I had, I don’t know that I could have kept it down. I was completely stopping at water stations to make sure that I got enough fluids. Miles 8-9-10-11 felt like eternities. By that point, I had decided to drop out at mile 14 (I wanted to go through Wellesley since everyone says that’s the best part of the race). Miles 12-13-14 saw 6+ minute pace and I knew my goose was cooked. My quads had already begun to feel like rocks and were threatening to lock up and I had a burning sensation on my left pinky toe (my non-injured foot) that I figured was a blister due to the water/sweat that had gotten into my shoes. As soon as I passed the 14-mile mark, I dropped. I’ve never felt so relieved. I took my left shoe off and saw that ¾ of the skin on my pinky toe was gone. Awesome. I started walking and cheering and soon saw Jason. He looked at me, shook his head, and stepped off the course. We walked together for a bit, cheered for Monk, Saint, and Waller as they ran by and then went to find a medical tent to get me a bandaid. Once I had that on, we tried running again but gave up after 3-4 minutes. We were toast. We walked for another 1-1.5 miles (yes, you read that right) before we got to a T station (which ended up being the one Kim had been at – we must have just missed her) and took that towards Boston. About 3 stops in, I told Jason I had to get off. My vision was white and I felt nauseous. So we got off and walked, trying to find a cab. We walked about ¾ of a mile before we were told we had to go back to the T station we had left because there weren’t any cabs. So we walked back to the station, got back on the train, got into Boston, got our stuff, and went up to the hotel room. It took us about 2 hours to get to the hotel. We probably would have been better off walking back along the course. Oh well…

                I don’t feel as though I can say that this was the hardest race of my life because I didn’t really race it or finish. That being said, I don’t think I’ve ever felt that bad during a race. During San Francisco, the first 13 miles just floated by. I didn’t feel like I was working until mile 16. I was working at the 5k on Monday. The prospect of running 12 more miles was downright impossible. I can’t imagine what those who finished went through. From the race reports, it seems like hell and back. I am in awe of you all.

                Looking back on it, I’m almost happy I wasn’t fit going into that race. I think that if I’d been training hard for it and had wanted to run fast, I would have just been angry with the conditions and what would have certainly been a disappointing time. As it was, it wasn’t terribly hard for me to let myself step off the course. I’ve got races that I need to run in June and couldn’t afford to ruin myself for them. Dropping out would have been damn near impossible had I been fit enough to run the race. That being said, the crowds were amazing and I will be back at some point to claim my medal. I just have no idea when that will be.


I “finished” much later that night.

About afvarner

Runner. Donuts. Sneakerhead. Not necessarily in that order. Nike Trail Elite. Picky Bars. Gu. Vicory Sportdesign.
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