On the running front, my last "long" run - planned as 12 miles at an easy pace, with maybe the final 2-3 at goal marathon pace - turned into a minor disaster, as all five toes on my left foot blistered. For the past few weeks, I have experimented with different socks and insoles in what I had hoped would be my marathon racing shoes. I've run 3 half-marathons and at least 4 20+-mile runs in Saucony Grid Tangent 3's (I have an older, white/green pair and a newer white/gold pair). I ordered new orthotics, which arrived a few weeks ago, and I have been getting used to them. I have tried several different socks, and have tried the orthotics with and without the sock liner which comes with the shoes. The results have ranged from some annoying foot discomfort towards the end of long runs, to yesterday's blister-fest.
I headed out at around 2:30 p.m., not a normal running time for me. Thanks to all sorts of scheduling issues (including my mother's visit and departure, Mother's Day celebrations, kids' activities and my wife's work-related obligations, to name a few), I was lucky to get to run at all. I normally apply Body Glide to my feet before long runs, but I figured that 12 miles would not be a big deal, and given the day's schedule, I hurriedly prepared for my run by skipping that sort of tedious, time-consuming preparatory ritual. I threw on a pair of good-looking thin technical socks which I'd recently ordered online, because - yes - they look cool and make me feel fast.
Despite severely gusting winds (my gas grill actually blew over in the morning!), the first few miles were fine, though I felt some friction on my left foot. I paid it little attention, but it got worse as I climbed the big hill in the 4th mile of my route. At around Mile 5, I stopped and removed my shoes: my pinkie toe was awful, with a blister making it look almst twice its normal size; the next toe in was almost as bad, and small blisters were forming on all three other toes. WTF?! Did this really have to happen then and there? So, I trudged along tenderly for another 4 miles or so, until it was too painful to take another step. I stopped just after the 9-mile mark, took my left shoe off again, and used my fingernails to pop the two worst blisters. The pinkie toe one popped easily, and the pressure was gone. I made a mess of the next toe, though, pinching too much skin and thus leaving the raw under-layer overly exposed. I re-grouped, manipulated my socks to try to avoid any further rubbing, and then walked for a 1/4 mile or more. My foot hurt, but I decided that it wasn't going to be any worse if I ran it in. I ran slowly up the rest of the hill which I was climbing, then dialed up the pace to goal marathon pace. My last full mile was under 7:30, and the final 0.25 mile was under 7:00/mile pace. I finished running 6:25 pace, and my foot didn't seem to worsen.
I got home, finished popping the blisters, washed my feet carefully and limped around for the rest of the afternoon/evening. Now, I have the worst one wrapped in moleskin, just to avoid any more damage, and trust that the next few days will allow them to heal up. In fact, I'm consoling myself with the memory that when I ran - and won - a 5K in Atlanta in 2007, it was 4 days after having developed a colossal blister on the arch of my left foot, thanks to trying out my first pair of orthotics. Some "Second Skin" should do the trick, and I'm sure I can endure almost anything during a single race. The bigger question is what socks should I wear? I need to resolve that post haste.
So, last week ended up like this:
- M - Usual XT
- Tu - 9.75+ miles, with a toned-down version of the club's workout: 2x800, 2x1200, 4x200, plus warm-up, recovery jogs and cool-down; I ran them mostly at 10K-half-marathon pace, rather than 5K pace and faster
- W - 5 miles easy
- Th - 5 miles easy
- F - 8 miles, with 3M at goal marathon pace, brief rest/recovery, and 2M at goal pace, followed by cool-down; it was warm and windy and I cut out a mile of MP running, since it seemed like I was working too hard
- Sa - 5 miles easy on the trails; very, very muggy
- Sun - 10.7 miles, about 8:30 average pace, with the blister debacle detailed above
This week will likely go like this:
- M - 15 minutes elliptical and 20-30 minutes of easy stretching
- T - maybe 5 easy miles
- W - 6-7 miles, with 3 at goal marathon pace
- Th - 4 miles, very easy; stretching
- F - Rest; drive up to Sugarloaf, though may take a nice walk to stretch legs up there; stretch and foam roll
- Sa - 3 miles on marathon course
- Sun - 26.2 miles at goal marathon pace
Warmest regards, ESG