Trail Running Chronicles – Volume 3

101 days left …

Seems like an eternity …

But it is not …

My last post was a bit of a reality check for me, a down moment put to “paper” that I was feeling at that time. I have to say I have been feeling mentally better after writing that one, but physically feeling about the same. Recent runs of 10 miles and 4 miles on back to back days yielded the same results I normally get; sore feet, tender toes, etc. It was point out to me last time that everyone hurts doing this type of running, and I know and accept that. It’s not the issue. In the past toughness was part of my problem as well, not being able to gut out the last few miles when I was hurting, and I have to say that this has improved. During the 10 mile run a few days ago I wanted badly to stop at 7.2 miles, because I went past my car, but I kept going.

No, toughness its not the issue at all … and to be frankly I am starting to take issue with people questioning this about me … especially those that do not know me or the physical issues I have.

I have to be careful when I talk about this stuff, because it can come across that I am trying to “out-pain” people, and that is not the case. It is very hard to get people who are not overweight, who do not have arthritis, to understand what it feels like to pound on your feet for 2, 3, 5, 7 + hours. They just don’t know, so to say that “everyone hurts”, while true, is still relative. Going up a 12% climb on a bike is hard for everyone, but do it weighing 270 pounds, and I am sure you will understand very quickly. This is not to take anything away from those that can do it. God love them. I am sure that their training has been intense, painful, long as mine or anyone’s. Maybe longer.

The hard truth is that athletes all work hard to get where they are in their sport of choice. There are no short-cuts. You can fake it for awhile when you are young and invulnerable. I ran track in high school and I know how fast I could run was in no way related to my time training (or, better stated, NOT training). When training for cross country the 5 of us on that team would get out of sight and then “hide” for an hour before running back, and yet still place in the meets we had. It was easy. This was apparently not just a thing in my school either. A book I am currently reading, “My Year of Running Dangerously“, relates the same story.

So when I say “my feet hurt”, it is not just the normal, run of the mill pain that all runners feel. it is a stabbing pain that radiates from the balls of my feet to my heels, and each step is adventure. But again, this is hard to describe to people.

Two things happen when you tell people about this kind of pain. The first is they ask “if it hurts that bad then why do you do it? No one should have that kind of pain. It’s not good for you.”

That brings up the second thing, it’s a Catch-22.

I weighed at one point over 300 pounds. Running, cycling, swimming, hiking, walking and managed to get this down to 270, where I seem to stay at no matter how healthy I eat or how much I train. So, this begs the question, if I eat healthy and train and I weight 270, what would happen if I stopped training?

The FEAR is I’d be 300+ again.

I know you are saying to yourself, but if you eat healthy that shouldn’t happen. I am not going to use this post to, once again, try to explain why that isn’t an answer for me (listen to the show or read past posts about my weight and immune system issues) so just suffice it to say there’s more going on in my body than an average person.

I will be honest … I have my doubts of finishing 100 miles. This weekend I have the 12-hour run and I have my doubts about that too. The pain is going to be there. My coach will be there for the first time in person, so that is good (she can see first hand what I am talking about) and bad (the idea of letting her down is anxiety provoking for me). My hope is to complete 6 loops, which will be in the 30 mile range) and around 10 hours on my feet. Again, it is not the mileage, but the time on my feet that becomes the problem. We will see how it goes.

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