Monday, September 12, 2011

My Dirty Little Secret

All right, time for an update because lots has happened.  As they say on T.V…

Previously on Will Run for Dessert: I was aiming to run the Run Woodstock 50K (31 miles) that took place on Sept 10. 

I was on track until the heart of my training when I started having pain in the balls of both of my feet. I took a few days off to let them heal and ran a couple more times. The pain didn’t go away. I took a few more days off then ran a couple more times. The pain didn’t go away. 

So I was faced with a decision. Keep running in pain and risk a serious injury that could sideline me for months or take a longer break to heal up, in which case I wouldn’t have time to put in the training miles for a race so long. Put down logically like this it doesn’t seem like that hard of a decision when, in reality, it was. It was hard to face the facts and comes to terms with the limitations of my body that were out of my control.
After careful consideration I decided to downgrade to the half-marathon. I took a week and a half off then started running again. While the pain didn’t go totally away, it wasn’t nearly as bad and I never felt like I was risking serious injury. 

The training went fine, although it was a bit harder to get motivated since I was not intimidated by the distance.
As the day drew near it became ever more apparent that my decision to do only the half-marathon was serendipitous. The weather forecast called for three days of rain leading up to the race and more rain on race day. On roads that’s pretty annoying, on trails it can be horrendous. 

By race morning the trails were MUDDY. At first all of the runners were gingerly trying to avoid the mud, until they realized that that would be absolutely impossible. It was kind of funny to see people make the decision to throw caution to the wind and embrace the mud. For the first few miles I was pretty enthusiastic about the mud. It was a demonstration of my primeval manliness. 

That lasted for a while and then I had enough. For the most part the trail was covered from side to side in at least 2 inches of mud. Some parts were about 6 inches deep of a thick, wet-cement like soup that made everyone slip all over the place. The worst part was a pool of mud that went up past my knees.
The mud got everywhere. It would have been impossible to keep it out of my shoes, even if they had been waterproof, because it was so deep. But really, I could handle the mud. It was the rocks that went with that gave me the biggest trouble. I finally had to pull over and attempt to empty my shoe. By then it was too late and the blisters had already come.

And then there was the epic fall.

At around 10 miles I came around a bend and my foot caught on a rock hidden in the mud. I imagine my fall in slow motion, like a scene from Chariots of Fire, only much clumsier. Luckily no one was by me or else I don’t think my ego would have recovered enough to continue. When I surveyed the damage I was left with was a scraped up knee that was bleeding down my muddy leg in a very macho way and some very muddy clothes.
Somehow I managed to hobble the last few miles. 

When I exited the woods to the field in the middle of which was the finish line I was greeted by the cheering of my lovely family. I’m surprised they recognized me. 

There were still a couple hundred yards to go and just one person to beat. I turned on the jets as I entered the ropes, and then my calves totally seized up. According to my family I didn’t look as weird as I felt, luckily. (By the way, I passed the guy. Take that, randow guy who didn't know I was racing you!)

It turned out to be my hardest half-marathon by far, and my most memorable.


Quick, easy, delicious. Three of my favorite words.

Homemade Oreos

1 box of devil food cake mix
1/3 cup oil
2 eggs
Mix all ingredients. It will seem dry. Form 1/2 to 1 inch balls and bake at 350 until the cookies begin to crackle on top. Let cool completely then make sandwiches with frosting in the middle.
Thanks to Melissa Bell by way of Stephanie Andreasen