Monday, May 3, 2010

The Morning After the Storm

By CTRun
Special to RunDivaRun

Have you ever done something that you know deep down that you shouldn't, but you do it in spite of better judgment because you want something really bad? Well, that's the Country Music Marathon in Nashville for me. From the start, my gut told me to skip this one. But for whatever reason I had for not doing this marathon, miraculously there was a solution to that problem so I pressed on. First I had to learn how to train in 20 degree weather. My body adapted and now I run very well in cold weather, in fact I prefer 20 degrees to the race day’s 65 degrees. Then I didn't have training partners for my long run. Well, my local running buddies stepped in and got me through many of those long runs. Next, I didn't have any one to travel with. For me marathons are an experience to be shared. I love the excitement of the expo, the clinics, the booths, the pasta dinner and the walk to the start. Who wants to do that alone? Then I met my neighbor and she had already registered for Nashville. Furthermore, she agreed to drive. That problem was resolved. So I kicked my training into gear. I was so excited.

Oddly, a couple of weeks ago I started having problems with my feet. Nothing major just discomfort in my forefoot and which lead to abrasions on the bottom of my forefeet (blisters) and pain in my right calf (which I ruptured last Spring). So, I decided to switch shoes. My new shoes were great for my feet, but suddenly the slight tightness I had been feeling in my glutes and hamstrings turned into pain. I couldn't sit for more than 5 minutes and my legs ached all the time. But I was going to run this marathon, no matter what. After all I'd put in hundreds of training miles in the bitter cold and I made a commitment to a new friend that I'd do it. But I had a bad feeling when we left the Friday before the race. First there was the weather report. A major storm was blowing in. Secondly, the four hour drive to Nashville was excruciating. My butt just HURT! Thirdly, when I went to get my number at registration, it wasn't there because they'd given it to someone else (luckily it was given to the friend of one of my running partners). Then neighbor wanted to have dinner with some of her old friends, which was great, but I had to sit on the inside of a cramped booth for two hours. My legs were killing me.

Fast forward to Saturday morning. Which shoes should I wear? The Asics Kayanos, which give me blisters and calf problems, or the Saucony Progrid Guides, which enhance my glute and hamstring pain? I figured the lesser of the two evils was the blisters, so I went with the Kayanos. As I walked to the start, I knew I'd made the wrong choice. My legs felt great, but it was as if I could feel the asphalt beneath my feet. By mile 8, my feet felt like someone was cutting into them. It occurred to me for a second that I should just do the half marathon, but how I would I explain to everyone that I did not do the marathon because I had blisters? So I kept pushing on, thinking of everything except my bloody feet. I changed up my stride, so I would land on my heel. By mile 14, I started having jabbing pain both calves. The pain was sharp and sudden that it immobilized me. I pulled off, massaged out the knots and tried to press on, but I couldn't run very fast. I stopped at the medical tent at 15. They iced my calves, cleaned and lanced my feet and gave me clean dry socks and salt but advised me to pull out. I made it to the medical tent at 17.2 where I finally quit.

I was stuck in the medical tent for 2 and half hours because they diverted all the shuttles to pick up runners because the storm was blowing in. I was laying on a cot, but got up and away from all medal when the lighting started. When the bus finally came it was full of people who had been swept. They dropped us all off at the half marathon/diverted marathon finish. They told us all to run the last mile to get our medal. When I finally crossed the finish line, I limped pass the people handing out medals. A volunteer chased me down, but I told her I didn't deserved a medal because I hadn't run a marathon that day. I think she thought I was crazy. She was so kind. Here she was a race volunteer holding medal objects in the middle of a thunderstorm, so I let her put the medal around my neck.

It turns only a tiny percent of marathoners actually completed the full marathon yesterday. Most were diverted to an early finish.

Nashville - Nashville - Nashville. I will be back next year to redeem myself.

Well, my calf still hurts and my feet are a mess. My husband is mad at me but my kids think I'm a hero for having survived the "storm." My hubby wants me to run for fitness, just a couple of miles a week. I can't do that, I set out on this quest for Boston and I'm not going to stop until I make it. I have three other marathons planned this year, the Rock ‘n Roll San Diego Marathon, The San Francisco Marathon and the Nike Women’s Marathon. Hopefully, one of those will be the "one." :-)

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