Friday, November 20, 2009

Warkworth 8 Miler

I finally had a glass injury from running barefoot. Now I’m sure all of the people out there that are either paranoid of broken glass, or use this type of injury as an excuse as to why they need to wear shoes will be thinking “Aha! I knew it!” However, I have received more injuries from glass to my hands than I ever have on my feet and I don’t think that is a reason to wear gloves every waking minute as some people wear shoes. This is the first glass injury I have sustained while running since I started running barefoot more that a year and a half ago. It happened on the railway bridge during the Pub Run about a month ago. A clear glass bottle had been smashed and splintered into tiny shards on the narrow path. I thought I had tip-toed safely through it, but near the end of the run I was feeling several painful jabs with every step. I knew there wasn’t much I could do until I got back to the store, so I tried to adjust my landings so that my weight was minimized in the areas where I was feeling the pain. Back at the store I removed a couple of very tiny glass shards from the sore spots. When I got home I washed, disinfected and covered the spots with liquid Band-Aid (my secret weapon). Everything seemed to heal up nicely.

On Saturday October third, I ran 15k of trails at the Ganaraska Forest. It was a cool sunny morning but warmed up nicely and the rain held off until we finished the run. The fall colours and the sandy trails make this run one of my favourites. I suffered only a couple of lacerations during the 15k run. On the shin from a whipping raspberry cane and the top of my foot from a bouncing stick. The bottoms of my feet didn’t hurt, but I felt the effects of the hills on my legs.

On a couple of the following runs I noticed some tenderness in one of the spots where I had removed the glass. I figured it was still healing or maybe bruised from the trail run. On the following Saturday we went out for a long run. Some were running point to point and others were running a much shorter out and back route. Since the point to point route was 30k to Warsaw, I opted for the out and back. I was feeling good for the first 8k out to Trent University, but my feet started to feel quite uncomfortable on the gravely trail north of Trent. I stayed with Cynthia because she said she wanted to catch up with Nick who had told her he was heading back shortly. I stayed with her until we reached the first side road that would get me to Nassau Mills Road so I could start back on a relatively comfortable surface. Once I was back on a smoother surface I started getting the sharp pain in the glass spot again. I continued back and had to slow to a walk. Just as got back to Trent, the others had caught up to me so I did what I could to stay with them back to the store. My route totalled 20k and my feet were not too sore after, but continued to be sensitive in the one spot. So on Friday night before the Warkworth 8 Miler I decided to do some home surgery. So using a utility knife and some rubbing alcohol, I cut into the spot where the glass had been removed. I went deep enough to properly clean the spot and I think I removed a small piece of glass as well. I saw a tiny sparkle and removed it, but it was so small that I lost it once it was out and so I cant confirm it was even a piece of glass or not. Everything got thoroughly disinfected with rubbing alcohol and then covered with an extra thick layer of liquid Band-Aid.

The next morning was the Warkworth 8 Miler and I was hoping the terrain wasn’t going to be too much for my freshly sealed foot. I got a little taste of winter from the frosted grass at the start. Once we got going I warmed up quickly. I started off a little slower than usual because I didn’t want my foot to start hurting again. At the first stretch of pea gravel road I had to slow down so much that I knew that I would have to make up the time on the smoother sections. Once on the trails I found I could continue some good speed as long as I really focused on picking up my feet and watching where I was about to step. There were a couple of steep hills with loose gravel that slowed me down just a little bit. When I reached the sandy potion I was quite happy and realized it might actually be possible for me to get a decent time. The final push came after I got some navigational aid from Cait and then finished at 1:15:58, only 33 seconds ahead of her. At the finish my feet felt very sensitive, but no signs of the sharp pain I had felt before. Over the next twelve hours I could feel the skin thickening on the soles of my feet.

The Halloween X-country 5k at Ganaraska forest was yesterday. I think my zombie runner costume turned out quite well and I think suited the way I felt by the end of the race. The temperature at 10am was a little warmer than the start of the Warkworth race. Knowing the race was only 5k, I started out fast enough to stay warm but not so fast as to trip on a root or rock. As I ran I kept thinking “I will just catch up to that person in front of me”. When I reached the next person I repeated the process. I knew I was going faster than was comfortable but I just tried to maintain going up the hills and rest a little coming down them. In the last two kilometres I figured I had a good time since I had passed quite a few people and none had passed me. I was very happy at the finish to come away with a personal best 5k time of 23:07.

My focus now is the Hamilton Half Marathon I will be running on November first. This will be my first half marathon and I am not expecting any great achievements other than breaking two hours. I am look forward to getting my first half marathon under my belt so I can then focus on the challenges that the Peterborough Half Marathon will present to me in February. I am not looking forward to leaving in the middle of Halloween night to get to Hamilton in time for the 6am race kit pick-up however.

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