Saturday, January 23, 2010

22 Miles of Buttercups

I've never been accused of having too much brainpower when it comes to some of my running decisions (and actually the less the better for some of the races I've run), but even so, deciding to go ahead and run 22 miles on the road with a niggling foot injury will probably not get me inducted into the IQ hall of fame.

Nevertheless I found myself in South Central Austin this morning just before dawn about to recreate the last 22 miles of the Austin marathon with my road group. Now I know this route really well - part of it encompasses the old Danish run (both North and South) - so I knew most of the hills came in the first 5-10 miles.

And they went pretty well. In fact it took a good 8 miles before my foot started complaining. And then, oh boy, did it start complaining. I dropped off the pace and my group started pulling away. At one point I briefly considered calling it quits and taking a short cut back, but I'm nothing if not stubborn. Now that's a good thing when you're pushing to finish a 100 miler, but not such a good thing when you're carrying an injury. All I could hear in my head was the phrase "suck it up buttercup". Over and over again.

So I did. I gritted my teeth and completed the run. It was about 30 minutes slower than I would run it at my peak, and I walked a bit, but I finished the damn thing.

Coming down Duval, just where it meets San Jacinto, I spotted a friend enjoying a coffee on one of the outdoor patios, so I stopped and sat chatting to her for a few minutes. And that seemed to help because I ran the last 3 miles with a lot of purpose and the foot eased up. I even started passing people again.

Coming back over the Congress Bridge I caught up with the other coach from our group. It turns out that he was also having injury problems and we mused how ironic it was that both coaches were crocked. We must be getting old!!!

When we finally got back to TxDOT I broke the habit of a lifetime and jumped into the ice barrel. I figured that as my damn foot had tormented me for 14 miles, it was only fair I exacted some measure of revenge on it.

So I'm back home sitting on the couch writing this and my foot feels fine. Which makes me angry (in a completely illogical way). I'm half tempted to go back out tomorrow and rerun the entire course, but luckily I've promised some friends I'd take them on a trail run.

So I think I'll go lift some weights and work some of this frustration off.


clea said...

Mark...careful with that foot if it is plantar fasciitis. It is tricky to get rid of once you have it. I understand, as I am stubborn too and will hobble through a run, but a little pulling back now, may keep you going in the long run.

Mark said...

Yeah I know. It's so difficult to separate the head from the heart though :-(