Still running (just about)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Image: Jasmine Nguyen

I now have less than two weeks to go until The Big Race. Dread.

My training (actually, that should be "training") has not been what you would call successful.

First, there was the stitch. I have been bizarrely plagued by a stitch in my right side. At first it would hit after around seven minutes. I tried running through it - BAD idea. I tried leaving more time between eating and running, which helped to keep me going for about twenty minutes, but I'm pretty sure you have to be a bit whizzier than me to run 5.4 miles in twenty minutes. Finally the insanely fit Ellie gave me some good breathing advice which has helped a lot - the evil stabby stitch still tries to get me, but I know how to smack it back down. Take that, stitch! So, that should be me sorted, right?


No sooner is one problem fixed than another pops up in its place. Next it was the air conditioning in the gym breaking down, which, combined with the crrrazy sunny weather we had in April, had me close to passing out on the treadmill. Not cool (literally, ha). Yeah, I know, I should run outside, but I pay good money for that damn gym membership and I'm going to bloody well use it! At least until I remember to cancel it.

Image: Jagger Photography via Green Wedding Shoes

Then I made the foolish, foolish decision to wear my red cowboy boots to lunch (why oh why?). The boots were bought on an ebay impulse after seeing one too many pictures of awesome ladies rocking red boots (and, um, also this four-year-old. What can I say, I like her style).

My cowboy boots were £10. £10! A bargain, I hear you cry! But are they a bargain if every time you wear them you end up with blisters the size of 50 pence pieces on your heels? I mean Every. Single. Time? Including the time I wore them on Saturday, just two weeks before the race?? Yeah, thought not. I think I might have spent another £10 on plasters alone.

I still needed to train though (especially after I took a week-long extended break from running to, erm, basically watch the Royal Wedding and eat Easter eggs) so I layered up the plasters and headed to the gym. Thankfully my feet were actually okay. No chafing. Such a relief. I just wish I could say the same about my *ahem* chest area, which has now randomly decided it is no longer compatible with my usual *ahem* support arrangements. Let's just say it was not the most pleasant run I've ever had. Ouch.

So, change of sports bra, but tonight my stupid left knee has come out of nowhere and started to hurt, AND I got blisters on the soles of my feet where I have never ever had them before. What. The. Fuck???

Oh and as if this all wasn't enough, it now transpires that I'm not allowed to run with my iPod during the marathon, so instead of my carefully crafted motivational playlist (yes, Kelly Clarkson is on it), all I will hear as I slog along will be the sound of my own pathetic wheezing and maybe a few people asking me to move so they can run past me. Sigh.

Image: hoa1090

I would say the Universe was trying to tell me something (again), directing me to ditch the dreaded run and instead engage in a pizza-fest of epic proportions.

And then, of course, the Universe goes and reminds me why I'm running in the first place. Raising money for people with cancer, bla bla bla. The usual. But there is a reason even more serious, more profound, than that:


Eek. Better get running.

14 boats moored

  1. Why on EARTH are you not allowed to run with your ipod??! Surely that's not right, it shouldn't be allowed to not be allowed!!

  2. You're not "allowed" to run with an ipod, but people always do. There was even a New York Times article about it!

  3. Goddam you lady, I was going to write about wedding dresses then you did it yesterday, then spurred on by my getting back to the gym phase I was going to write about running and now you have too. Stop being quicker and better than me!! x

  4. Yeah, at the race, you will see a TON of people running with iPods. Just stay to the left or right of the path so that people can pass you, and have a plan if they tell you that you can't wear it. (For example, have a way to stash your headphones.) I've only heard of one race where the officials pulled earbuds out of participants ears (but they don't take your iPod).

    But, I usually need music to run, and during foot races, the adrenaline is going and the race is so exciting that really, an iPod isn't even that necessary. People will be cheering and there will be so much happening around you that running unassisted isn't so bad.

  5. When I did the 3Day Cancer Walk there were nurses on hand each evening to deal with blisters, I swear some of them were the size of small balloons,not the nurses the blisters!! Anyway they told us to turn our socks inside out and put baking soda in them before wearing.It certainly helped and allowed me to finish the whole walk.Even though the finish line was in Malibu I can assure you I wasn't wearing a bikini!See you on the day xx

  6. yep, all races ban headphones, but lots of people break the rules, rarely with consequences. so you could probably get away with it. BUT. I agree with Ellie, that it's easier than you think to run a race without music. Totally different from the boring treadmill or solitary outdoor running. You'll have your pace and your body to pay attention to, not to mention all your fellow racers and the spectators (put your name on your shirt in big letters and people will cheer you on by name, it's a huge boost). I usually spend most of a race thinking about the person in front of me I want to pass, or cursing at the speedy mcspeedersons passing me on both sides..

    Anyway your training sounds like my kind of training. I always sign up for races with big ideas about personal record times and "really training this time." but my laziness almost always wins. I always survive though! You'll do great.

  7. The headphone rule is just a liability thing on their end I think. Every race I've been in has had that rule, and every race I've worn them with no problem.

    The cramp problem could be caused by having low potassium or electrolytes, so that might be something worth looking into.

  8. so i have nothing useful to say about running, but i do know lots about blisters (student nurse working in a burn ward...)

    top tips-
    if it's more than 1cm, you should pop it and de-roof it (basically cut away the dead skin from the outline) which helps prevent infection entering the very warm, moist space under the skin. less than 1cm- use your judgement, how much pressure do you feel is in there? never pop it without de-roofing it!

    use a hydrocolloid dressing (special blister plasters at boots) which can stay on for up to 5 days (read the packet instructions for individual brand times) they make a HUGE difference. just be careful about how wet they get, they say they are waterproof but your skin can get really wrinkly underneath as they hold on to water.

    final tip- never ever ever 'let the air at it' i always thought you were supposed to let wounds dry and scab to get better faster, but that's not at all true. any wound heals quickest and with the least amount of scar if you keep it covered and moist- it's to do with the way that your skin heals and the pull of a scab on the top.

    your run will go fine, just make sure you have comfy work flats to wear the day after!

    good luck!

  9. But I bet you look so lovely in your red cowboy boots - made me smile, and lovely images of the boots too!

  10. Wow, so many helpful responses! Thanks guys!!

    Boredzilla - sorreeee, clearly we have a psychic connection!

    JHD - well yes, they do look quite fetching, which is why I keep deluding myself into thinking I can wear them without getting blisters. Sigh.

  11. Anyone who's fast enough to overtake you should be quite capable of just running around you. Speedists.

  12. For the boots - id recommend preventative tape (i use first aid tape or even masking tape if i'm being ghetto) or bandaids (plasters, I guess to you :) ), or in drugstores here we have moleskin which is like a soft material with a sticky back that you can put on the spot that's rubbing and causing the blister. Of course it's all dependent on the specific shoes and where the blisters happen--but id hate for awesome red cowboy boots to sit unloved!

  13. hahahahahahahahahaha. Oh man. I SO get you. And no man would ever understand how complicated this all is. THE STITCH. hahaha that cracked me up. And the blisters!! Those are the bane of my sensitive feet existence! :) I am adoring you.

  14. WHAT?! No iPod?! Booooo. I can't run without music. AT ALL.