My body is mutinying.
After the 50k two weeks ago I was flying high – happy with my finish, happier still that I made it through without any real problems. I was ready to get on the line for my first 50 miler this Saturday. Naturally, my guard was down, and my body decided to take the opportunity to remind me that my brain is not the only one making decisions around here. There are shins involved. And arches. And pain.
The key to Saturday is going to be mastering it.
Last week I thought tapering would help my feet. That less running would allow the arches time to heal and get over whatever it was that was causing them to cramp. I was wrong. With one week to go I scheduled a massage, hoping that releasing the tension in my legs might help. And it did, somewhat. However, my arches are still making noise. They are still sore despite the tennis ball I am rolling underneath as I type. But mostly my masseuse just put my mind at ease. While on the table I asked her what she thought caused them to seize.
Me: Do I need to get better inserts for my shoes?
Her: Um …. No. It’s called, you just ran 31 miles. Your feet are feeling the result of that. I hate to tell you this kiddo, but you didn’t exactly pick a sport that is kind to your body.
Me: This is true …
Her: Remember, running this 50 miler was your idea. You signed up for it. No one is chasing you. Look here, you aren’t going to win it. You will not set a course record. But you will get through it.
It was the best slap in the face I have had in a while. She called me out when I said that I might have a breakdown or two on the course. She stopped working my calves to point to her temple: You can do this. It’s all up here.
With her thumbs digging along my arches, her words sticking to all the sore places deep down, I knew she was right.
Because three months ago I signed up for a challenge. I wanted this race to teach me something about planning ahead. I wanted it to teach me about mapping out my goals. I knew it was going to be tough. I just didn’t really expect it to be. And just days before the race, this is where it is really getting hard: my arches hurt, and I am scared. I am scared that it will get worse. But mostly, that I won’t finish.
The other night I woke up from a nightmare drenched in sweat. I was late to the starting line and I couldn’t find anyone who could hold my bag. The starting line kept moving and I was losing ground on the competition.
But that was a dream. The reality is that with just two days to go I will make it to the start. I am just still coming to terms with finding the finish. I guess this is why I spent time all that time training, why I bothered to climb all those thousands of feet along the way. Because now it is time to perform.