The days leading up to the Hottest Half were anything but smooth, but the fact of the matter is that I made a poor mid race decision and paid the price in full.
The rain from the night before muddied up the trail and grass alongside the trail. After slipping and sliding up the muddy hill around Mile 1 and nearly falling on my face after slipping in a muddy puddle, I ditched my close to worn out shoes. This happened at Mile 3.
The trail looked smooth at that point, so I thought I was safe. Immediately after kicking off my shoes, my feet and legs felt so much better. Splashing through the puddles refreshed my feet, and even with the 100% humidity and high dewpoint, I felt strong.
After fighting my way up the hill at Mile 10, I payed for my shoeless run. I planned to run on the grass alongside the gravel path. Unfortunately, the stiff grass felt like thorns and failed to protect my feet from the gravel. After half a mile of torture, I looked up to see where the turnaround was. It seemed so far away that in that moment I remembered when I thought a mile was such a long distance to run.
I walked. I jogged. I sat down for a minute to give my feet a break. I tried pumping myself up. ‘I started this race. I made a bad decision, but I need to finish this race.’ I got back up. Jogged. Walked. Cringed. I couldn’t look up. My feet hurt too bad. I knew I had cuts on my feet, but in that moment, I had to keep going. When I made it to the turnaround, I wasn’t sure if I could go any farther. The pain made my sensible voice kick in.
Why this didn’t happen earlier…I am not entirely sure, but I am still relieved it came.
This was a training run, and doing any more damage to my feet did not make any sense. The man at the turnaround asked if I needed a ride to the start. I declined at first, but after taking ten more unbearable steps, I turned around and accepted help.
All is not lost with this race. I am calling this a muddy race in a ‘muddy’ week. My feet are going to be fine. Marathon training continues, and I run on with Run Texas.
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