Skip to main content

Best Damn Watch

Saturday morning, I woke up to my alarm, set for 4:55am. I took a quick shower, put on my race outfit, including the cute new pair of shorts I'd bought for half-off at the BDR expo, and I stopped to consider the pain in my left foot. I felt it when I merely walked from the bathroom to the bedroom--each time my foot went from flat to flexed and pushed off the ground. And sometimes, unknowingly, I'd step in a way that made the pain suddenly sharp and pinching. Also, my neck was a little sore from having been rear-ended on my way to work the previous morning (no damage to either car). So I doubted out loud whether I should try to run the half marathon that morning. Tim helped talk me down from the ledge, repeating the logic I'd already told myself over and over again: I wasn't going to have a good race no matter what, and chances were, I'd only make my foot worse by racing on it, and then I might not be able to run the Gasparilla half marathon three weeks later. Also, at five in the morning, when I'm already feeling tired and cranky, it's not hard to talk me out of a race. So it was decided: I would go and be a spectator for Tim and other friends. But just in case (of what? a sudden recovery?), I put on my running shoes and GPS watch and packed my race bib in my bag.

We drove out to Safety Harbor in the dark and misty morning. It had been a rainy few days leading up to this morning, and while it wasn't quite raining at the moment, there seemed to be some leftovers in the air. I wasn't too upset about missing out on the balmy race conditions. Once we got to the race grounds, walked around, found some friends, waited for an equipment delay, the racers were off:

I love the snapshot of a race start. (How did we ever race without watches?)

I was instantly bored. I went to go find my friend Beth, who was assisting with the race organization. I found her at the finish line, where 10k racers were already coming through (their race started earlier). I asked if I could help with anything, and she told me I could help with medals. I did this once before, and I loved it. Plus, it meant I got to stay in the finish area, so I could see when my friends and Tim came through.

Beth, on the mic--her favorite task. (Not really.)

I jumped in with the other volunteers, feeling a little awkward, because they seemed to have their own flow going. I asked anyway if I could help, and one guy said I could help unpackage the 5k medals. Each medal is folded into its own individual baggie; we had to take them out of the baggie and pile them in a box so other volunteers could unravel them and string them on the arms of yet other volunteers who were actually handing them out to finishers. At one point there were large groups of people coming through at once, and it seemed like my talents could be better used handing out medals, so I did that for a bit, but then I felt like I was in the way, because nobody was rotating out; I guess that's not the way they did it. The volunteers up front just kept getting their arms reloaded with more medals. So I thought maybe I should help with the reloading efforts. 

One of these should have been mine. :-/

When the finishers were coming through with less frequency, and all the medals had been unwrapped, I decided to hand out bottles of water. This was wholly unnecessary, but I wanted something to do. There were large trashcans filled with water and ice beyond the area where medals were being handed out, but some of the water was so far down and buried in ice that nobody would have know it was there. So I dug them out, numbing my hands, and offered them to the worn-out runners. They were appreciative, and that made me feel good. I was helping! So I stayed on waters--especially because nobody else was doing it, so I wasn't in the way. Eventually another volunteer came and filled the trashcans to the top with new waters, so there was really no point in my handing them out. But by then, half-marathoners had started coming through. It's always exciting to see the first one. (I resumed my water duties for the first few finishers, because it just made me giddy to give them something and congratulate them.)

A couple friends soon came through, and then Tim:

Did I get a great photo, or what?

He ran a really good race, finishing very close to his PR, and he wasn't even trying to PR--not two weeks after we ran Clearwater.

Three fast dudes. It hasn't rubbed off on me yet.

Once Tim came through, I abandoned my unofficial and possibly unnecessary volunteer post. We walked around the expo for a while, and I got suckered into signing up for the Iron Girl half marathon in Clearwater in April. They were offering $10 off, and one of Tim's fraternity brothers was interning with for the race. Plus, I got a little shoe charm for signing up right there. Not really my thing, but the idea of free jewelry is appealing in the moment. I know it will be a tougher race; the temps will be higher, and I'll be doing four bridge repeats. So probably not a PR race, but it will sort of make up for the race I didn't get to do Saturday.

A quick back story to the foot pain: I first felt it a couple days after running the Clearwater Marathon. I was on a three-mile recovery run, my first run since the marathon. My foot didn't feel great, but I didn't expect to feel wonderful. But I could tell the next day that the pain was persisting, even when I walked. So I took it easy that week, making sure to ice it a lot. I planned to run eight miles that Saturday morning, but I got one mile in and knew I'd have to stop. I walked a few miles instead. I didn't try to run again until this past Tuesday, and it didn't feel too bad. So I ran again Thursday. And again, it felt alright once my body warmed up, but the next day it felt worse. That was a Friday, and the race was the next morning. I iced it four times at work Friday, took ibuprofen regularly, and rubbed some natural pain-relieving gel on it throughout the day. I believe this is what they call a Hail Mary effort. And it didn't work.

So I'm now sticking to yoga and considering biking. But my foot feels better when it's wrapped up, and I haven't tried running that way. I might give it a go tomorrow, at the Four Green Fields running club, when I will have earned my 99th run (which is why I keep running on Tuesdays). I get a little award for my 100th run.

I'm still hopeful for Gasparilla. I plan to take it easy this week, and perhaps I can get my foot feeling better enough to log some miles next week. I don't want to go into a half marathon without having trained in weeks. But I also don't want to fracture my foot. So we'll just have to see what happens.


B.o.B. said…
OMG this post cracked me up! I had no idea what the hell anyone was doing b/c I was running around like a lunatic. You are SUPER appreciated with passing out the water! I think that next race we may just have people dedicated to doing that. THANK YOU for jumping in and helping!!! I hope your foot is better soon. I'll see you at 4GF tomorrow. I usually start early b/c I want to run a bit more than 3 and I hate being the last one back.
Lee Davidson said…
You did a GREAT job! And I'll be happy to hand out waters in Orlando ;)

People Liked to Read...

Surgery Chronicles: I Exhale

I've really been holding my breath with this recovery, more so than the last one for some reason. After getting past the three-week point (which was two weeks ago, when I started to write this), I felt a little more at ease. Since then I've been changing my own dressing daily and slowly weaning off of crutches so I can now walk around in the boot—hands-free! I'm still a slave to icing and elevating as much as possible throughout the day. But the very best part? There's no other foot left to do. After this, I'm done, done, done. I can start to return to a life not defined by sitting and waiting and feeling confined and limited and trying my hardest to heal but having little actual control over any of it.

I wrote in my last post about the difficult emotions I'd been having throughout this second surgery recovery. I think I underestimated the psychological toll I would take doing one foot right after the other. And while there was a feeling of elation after gettin…

Surgery Chronicles: Hard Feelings

I'm one and a half weeks out from my second foot surgery, and, by all important measures, I'm doing well. But boy has the past week been difficult. In the first few days post-surgery I was in a pretty good mood; the surgery had gone well, I was in the excellent care of my mom, and I had made it past the last major hurdle of this months-long event. All I had to look forward to was recovery and progress and gradually returning to my normal life, whatever that might look like.

But even though I've gone through this process once already, it's still just as difficult this time around. There's the constant worrying about this weird feeling or that new pain, the accidental step in the middle of the night when I forgot which foot was injured, and the agonizing wait time between appointments. Now it's compounded by concern over whether I'm taking good enough care of my first foot. Did I ruin the surgery when I stubbed my toe falling off an exercise ball? Am I using …

Surgery Chronicles: 12 Weeks and Progress

I'm now more than 12 weeks recovered from my second (and final!) foot surgery, and life is starting to feel a little more normal. When I last wrote an update, seven weeks ago (still blaming Irma for all of my delays), I had just gotten off of crutches but would wear my boot for two more weeks. I've been out of the boot and walking in shoes for just over five weeks. The constant discomfort I've felt in my foot from swelling is finally starting to wane. I work in the office now, I do my own groceries, and I even attended a work conference recently, which meant lots of walking at airports and the conference hotel, frequent standing, and few opportunities to elevate and ice. I was very concerned about how my feet, particularly the left one, would endure. And while it wasn't comfortable, I made it through, no worse for the wear in the end.

I joined a new gym/community center recently, with a new and beautiful outdoor pool, and I'm so happy that I'm able to use it n…