Let’s get this over with. It took me 4 hours and 17 minutes to complete this half marathon. There, I said it. Now here’s what happened.
To recap, this was my first half marathon in more than two years. My last half was in November 2012 and I finished in tears because of intense foot pain. I had a four-hour foot surgery the following February. In February of 2014 I had an urgent surgery to repair an incarcerated umbilical hernia. It’s been a slow road back.
Fast forward to Saturday. Here’s what the morning looked like.
The half marathon began at 7:30 a.m. and it was still drizzling. I jog/walked the first two miles. Then I got a little anxious due to the fact I never trained above 10 miles. Would my foot make it to 13.1? I changed my strategy and decided to walk to about mile 8. Once there, if I felt good I would walk/jog to the finish. I was thrilled with the pace I was walking. In fact, I was sustaining a pace much faster than what I usually walk and I was certain I would finish in about 3.5 hours. But nature had other plans.
Remember the rain? While it stopped sometime that morning, a section of the course somewhere between miles 5 and 6 had ponded. I tried to side step the lake that had formed it but I still managed to submerge my feet in the water. Wet socks almost always equal blisters. Between miles 6 and 8 I started to feel a hot spot on my foot. It was really beginning to hurt and as I passed the medical van I asked the attendant if he would help me drain it. He flatly refused, so I hobbled on. Just before mile 9 I pulled over at a water stop to check things out. A nice volunteer let me use his chair so I grabbed a seat, took off my shoe, removed my sock which was drenched and discovered a hole in it that created a blister much larger than I’d hoped it would be. I had this little gem packed in my fuel belt.
I smeared Vaseline all over the blister and put the wet sock back on, trying to reposition it so the hole wasn’t on top of the blister. By this time the Vaseline was pretty much useless and I had to slow-walk the final five miles. Between miles 10 and 12 my mood soured and I was dealing with a mind over matter situation. I really wanted to quit, but I wanted to finish just a little bit more.
Once I finally, blessedly got to mile 13, I saw my training partner, Lynn. She ran up to meet me and walked the final .10 with me. I was never so happy to receive a $1.50 finisher medal. Here it is.
When we got back to the hotel I took a shower, then performed surgery to drain the blister. Here’s a shot of it pre-drained.
Going forward, (and yes, I plan to continue half marathons) if it’s raining, I’m going to pack an extra pair of socks in my fuel belt. Changing into a dry pair would have prevented this painful experience.
Now, about the other foot, the one that was operated on two years ago. When I began the race, I had my shoe laced losely. By the time the race was over, the foot had swelled A LOT and was like a sausage bursting out of its casing. But here’s the good news: I now know I can cover 13.1 miles on that foot. Yay!
I had a lot of time on the course to think and I look forward to sharing some of my reflections in a future post. I also plan to tell you about the race itself. As always, thanks for reading!