Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Blistering

In five days I'll be running my second half-marathon, on the beautiful Adirondack Distance Festival course around Schroon Lake, New York. Since it's our home-town race, I've run sections of the course many times and I know I can finish. I'm experiencing my week-before-a-race calm (perhaps the people who vie for the top spots get nervous) and feeling pretty good.

Except for the blister.

If there is one thing (other than my perpetually funky knee, which is much better than last year at this time thanks to yoga) that keeps me from enjoying taper weeks, it is chronic blisters. Last season they haunted my heels, so I tried a different brand of running shoes and got some wicking, double-layer socks. Heel problem solved.

This year they popped up on my toes.

Part of the problem is hiking down mountains, which sends my feet sliding into the front of my hiking boots. Nearing the bottom of the trail off Noonmark, too tired to pick my feet up, I stubbed the same toe five or six times. Before the next climb I got new hiking socks for more cushion, but the damage was done. Blisters on the tips of all my toes.

The blisters seemed to heal quickly and when I made it through a twelve-miler blister-free I thought I was safe. Who knew that it would be the last long run, an easy eight miles, that did me in?

I'd post a picture of the killer blister, but I can't get a camera between my toes. That's where it is. On the inside of my big toe. And it hurts.

I soaked it. I popped it. I bandaged it. All day yesterday it felt fine. Then, in the middle of the night, my toe woke up screaming in pain. Of course, my toe couldn't be awake without the rest of me.

Instead of losing sleep because I'm excited about race day, I'm awake because of a blister. Laying on my back with my legs up the wall (Viparita Karani, anyone?) all I could do was hope whatever was making my toe hurt would drain out and let me go back to sleep. It worked, and I fell asleep right there with my legs on the wall.

I've got a brand-new package of blister Band-Aids and I've done some self-Reiki, hoping this nasty thing will heal before Sunday. Thirteen miles is a long way to hop.

My off-season plans? More research into blister prevention. Because I'd really like "blistering" to describe my pace, not my toes.


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