Not To Be Trusted With Knives

{October 9, 2007}   Limpy

So apparently you really are supposed to train for a half marathon.

Yes, once upon a time, I registered to run the half at the Royal Victoria Marathon under the mistaken assumptions that:

(a) registering and (b) announcing to the blogosphere that I have registered should be sufficient motivation to get me up off my butt and back into running.

Note to self: the above assumptions are incorrect. Two weddings (and all the associated events), a softball league, wisdom teeth extraction and my general delinquency this summer all combined to give me sufficient excuses to not train adequately. And by “adequately” I mean “at all.” But I registered, dammit, and I was going to run come hell or high water.

Another incorrect assumption was my belief that carrying one’s CareCard with them during events in which they have the potential to become injured will protect them from injury. As it turns out, carrying one’s CareCard only prevents injuries of the severity that require use of said CareCard. Injuries that don’t quite require medical attention are fair game.

Also, when someone says something like “If you injure a foot, Beth, make sure it’s the left one. I’ve injured my right foot, so if you injure your left, we can drive Lauren’s car together – you on the gas and me on the clutch – if Lauren happens to injure herself” is just tempting fate.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. First things first. I should tell you about how we were 15 minutes late starting the race. There were 6 of us staying at my old roommie1 Dani’s new place in Victoria. Another lesson learned on this trip: 30 minutes is not nearly enough time to get 6 people up, dressed, fed and out the door for a race. But the time we arrived, the start line looked like this:


Just a few volunteers standing around. The thousands of people running the half marathon – long gone.

Figuring “thank goodness for chip time!” we took a quick photo and headed out:

Jo, Dani, Sheila, me, Lauren & Tim.

Well, Dani and I headed out. Tim went in search of the bag check to leave his jacket before he started, Jo and Sheila, who were going to run the 8K2 rather than the half marathon went in search of its start line and Lauren, who ran the full marathon which didn’t start for another 45 minutes, went with J & S. We ran 3 km before we caught up with the slowest of the half marathon walkers, that’s how far behind we were. And we were reported by the cops… as we ran past one of the cops stationed along the route to control traffic we heard him say into his walkie-talkie “10-4, I’ve got two runners coming along here.” I said to Dani, “They are onto us! Quick, run!” Hee hee.. running humour.

Around about the time we caught up with the walkers, I told Dani to go on ahead of me. I’m not nearly as fast as her and knew if I continued to try to keep up with her, it would spell trouble, so she went off on her way and I continued to run at my slower pace. The route was very pretty, going through Beacon Hill and then out at a road along the water. My body started to realized that I was really, truly going to make it keep running and, for a while, seemed OK with this decision. Then a pain showed up in my left foot, but it decided to try out my right foot to see if it preferred that location, and next transferred itself to both my knees simultaneously, followed by my lower back. A slight headache showed up, but I’m pretty sure that was because they had very poorly spaced water stations and I was getting a bit dehydrated. I grabbed two cups of water at the next water station, and then found there there was another water station very soon after. Weird. Finally, the pain decided it liked my left foot best out of all the places it had tried out and took up permanent residence there. At first I figured it would go away as it had before and kept running. When it firmly stood its ground, I decided that perhaps a 2 minute walk (instead of my usual 1 min walk for every 10 minutes of running) would help. It did not. Finally, around about the 15 km mark I asked myself, “Is it worth continuing to run on this foot that is clearly unhappy about being run on and risking a more serious injury that could put you out of hockey?” Once I phrased it that way, I knew what I had to do. I had to walk, or rather limp, the last 6 km of the race. After all, any form of exercise that isn’t hockey is just off-ice conditioning, in my opinion. And so I limped. And limped. And limped. I limped so much that my right hip and ankle started to hurt from overcompensation. And yet I continued to limp. Because really, what else are you going to do? I certainly wasn’t injured enough to stop at the medical stop (although I did think about it) and I had to get to the finish line, where my friends would be waiting for me.

As I continued on my way, I started to resent the volunteers who were positive, cheering on the runners and walkers with a “good job!” When I ran the Vancouver half, I found these cheers to be really motivating, but as I limped along, berating myself for not having trained more, all I could think is “You people are so insincere! I’m not doing a good job! I’m doing a terrible job!!” A few volunteers along the way did seem to notice my limp and the grimace that I’m sure was on my face and gave me a sympathetic smile and that was muchly appreciated.

In the end, I hobbled over the finish line, got my medal and, surprisingly, found my friends who had finished a half hour before me. And that was the end of the race I never should have run!

My plan now, as I sit here icing my feet4, is to take a small break from running. I may do the occasional run if the mood strikes me once my feet are healed, but winter is time to focus on hockey and skiing. Come the new year, I’ll start thinking about the Scotiabank half marathon, which happens in June. But I’m going to train for it. No really, I’ve learned my lesson!

1Firefox’s spellcheck tells me that “roommie” is not a word, but suggests that I actually mean “commie” here.
2I say “were going to” because they didn’t, in the end, get to run. As it turns out, the start line for the 8K (which started at the same time as the half) was already taken down by this point.
4I’m icing my left foot, which was the main injury, and my right ankle, which feels strained from having limped on it for 6 km, as well as everywhere else I’ve had to walk since then. My feet are the thermostat to my body however, so making them cold is making the rest of me cold too, despite being in my warm bed with two blankets and a warm laptop on top of me!

et cetera