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mother. marathoner. blogger. reader.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

taking a break does a body good (or in this case a toenail)

Last Wednesday, when I headed out for a run, I couldn't put my shoe on. Who knew that something so small like a toenail could be so painful?

The nail that I damaged during the 50k has gotten worse and worse over the last few weeks. Primarily because my toddler steps on it EVERY single time he comes near me. Steps on it, grabs it, pulls on it. It has gotten got to the point where I automatically pull my foot away and screech, "MY TOE!" every time he comes near me. I'm raising well-adjusted children.

I managed to run through the pain for a few days, but by the middle of last week it was clear that I was headed for trouble. The base of my toe was red and painful to touch. There was clearly fluid building up and shoving that poor thing into a pair of sock and sneakers wasn't helping.  

I needed to take a break.

That night, I asked my husband at least 10 times if he thought I should take a break. I repeatedly asked him to look at my toe (true love) and tell me what he thought. Finally, his mouth said, "Yes, you should take a break" and his eyes said, "enough already woman."

So, I did it. I voluntarily stopped running for 5 days. FIVE WHOLE DAYS.

and I didn't even cry.

It's one of the best decisions I've made in a long time.

Today, I put on a pair of socks and NO PAIN. Then I put on a brand spanking new pair of Montrails that my Dad bought me for my birthday and NO PAIN.

Then I drove to one of my favorite trails and ran 4 wonderful miles - NO PAIN.

Marathon training for the Carolina Marathon starts today and I am so thankful I was smart enough to give my toe time to heal.

Sometimes, as runners, we take running through an injury, or pushing through pain and exhaustion as a badge of honor. At times this is necessary, other times it is not. I don't know about you, but I'm in this for the long haul, and if that means taking a break, then that's what I'm going to do. Besides, I'm a real big fan of toenails.

previous post: Race Report: Another Dam 50k

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Race Report: Another Dam 50k

Guess what?


That's right people. This little lady ran 31 miles, at one time, on purpose, and survived.

It was amazing.

I'm still in a state of disbelief that it actually happened. Did I really do that? Was that me running through those woods? Up hills and down root-and-rock-filled single-track paths?

The thing is... it was me. I did it. I accomplished something I wouldn't have dared to dream of a few years ago. I ran and completed an ultra marathon and I loved every stinking minute of it.

The race was comprised of 4 loops, each loop about 7.9 miles long. Some of it was trail, some asphalt. There was even a grassy field portion that I ran the first time and was like "nah, I'll walk it" the next three times. Surprisingly, I nailed the trail portions. No falls, although there were a few trips and a particularly nasty rock that destroyed any hope for a normal big toenail.

By the end of loop 3, I was exhausted. It started to rain, and I went into loop 4 giving myself permission to walk any of it or all of it if needed. Looking back, I realize I didn't eat enough during loop 3. My GPS was behind and I had been eating based on miles rather then time. So, at the start of loop 4, I walked a little bit while shoveling gummy bears into my mouth. The sugar hit my blood stream and I ran the rest of the loop with no problem. There I was, running through the woods in the rain. It's quite loud in the woods while its raining. It's also quite peaceful and downright calming. There was no wall, no moment where I thought "I can't do this".  

I finished well under my goal time and was surprised to find my kids, my husband, my best friend, and her two children waiting for me at the finish. They even had signs! It was wonderful.

I spent the rest of the day, and most of the next, in a suspended euphoric state. And the best part is I wasn't even hurting that badly! I could walk! Go up and downstairs (somewhat awkwardly, but still I could do it)!

Overall, it was a great experience and I might as well be honest and say I'm hooked. Trails. Ultras. I'm in. I want more. And I really want to see how much farther I can go. 12-hour run? Gulp. 50 miles? I'm not sure where this journey is going to take me but I'm sure its going to involve my husband sighing and asking, "Where is this race again?"

previous post: 50k training: losing and moving