Sunday, May 29, 2011

Ouch - That Hurt!!

"Top results are reached only through pain.  But eventually you like this pain. You'll find the more difficulties you have on the way, the more you will enjoy your success." - Juha Vaatainen

Running in general creates lots of different pains, aches and whatnot in our bodies if we are a "regular" sized runner.  Now, add about 40 pounds or more to that and things are intensified.  There is the regular discomfort from getting sunscreen in your eyes and from a sock that slips down inside your shoe which causes a screaming blister and then thereare the other pains that most people just don't talk about.  As a big girl runner, I have experienced some humbling (and embarrassing) pains.

One of the cardinal rules of road racing is to NOT wear something new for your race - don't wear new shoes, socks, shirt, shorts/pants, undergarments.  You should ALWAYS wear things that you have already road-tested for comfort.  I failed to follow my own advice a couple of years ago at the Austin American-Statesman Capital 10.000.  I wore a new pair of Nike shorts because they were just like the pair I normally wore for casual short runs.  The weather that particular day was humid and warm after a morning rain (translation - it was muggy and gross).  My best friend and I were running and I decided to splash in some puddles because I was happy to be out running a race on a Sunday morning.  The splashing was not a good idea but I will get to that later so, for now, back to the shorts.  I had to keep pulling the shorts down because they are riding up from me being so sticky from the humidity.  Eventually, I got tired of doing this every few steps so I left the shorts alone.  After a short time, I started to feel a burning between my upper thighs.  I stopped at a water stop with my BFF and found the inside of my thighs to be the color of a tomato.  My thighs were on FIRE.  I had been attacked by the chafing monster.  Since it was a shorter race, I didn't take any emergency supplies with me like vaseline or lube (sounds disgusting but both items are lifesavers when running long distances because they put an end to friction from shoes rubbing or in this case, chafing).  So, lesson learned - NEVER, EVER wear new shorts to a race.  In fact, I no longer wear regular running shorts ANY time I run.  I always stick to my compression shorts (see last week's blog for a little more info about compression shorts).

Now back to those puddles I splashed in during the Statesman 10,000.  As I mentioned earlier, I was excited to be out running on a Sunday morning and took the opportunity to splash in some puddles.  My socks and shoes became soaked.  The excessive moisture caused some pretty large blisters on my feet.  I could feel them developing on the balls of my feet and on my heels but I had to keep going to get the race over with.  So between the chafing and the blisters, I walked the last 2 miles like a cowboy that had been riding horseback for a little too long.  Needless to say, we didn't attend the post-race expo.  When I got back to my car to take my shoes off and put on a pair of flip-flops (I do this after every run), my suspicions were confirmed - there were large, water-filled pockets of ickiness under my feet.  Next lesson learned?  Don't jump in puddles when running because it will only lead to large blisters which then leads to the need to drain the blisters.  Both are not fun to experience.  

On a separate occasion,  I went out for a morning run.  The morning was pleasantly warm but overcast so I did not take water with me and I didn't drink anything before leaving home (which I normally do).  Besides, I was only going to run about 6 miles so I would be fine especially if I took it slow.  The run felt nice and I had a great pace going so I decided to extend my run.  Texas weather can change at the drop of a hat and that is EXACTLY what happened on this outing.  During the course of my run, the sun decided to come out in full force.    It is no exaggeration when I say that the temperature went from the lower 70's to just over 90 degrees and sunny in a matter of minutes.  To make matters worse, I was no where near home or a location where I could get water.  I started to get very fatigued and my lips were very dry (I had major cotton-mouth going on).  It ended up taking me an extra hour to get home.  I was so dehydrated that I couldn't pee (even after downing a bottle of Gatorade).  I had a massive headache and stomach ache not to mention a sunburn (yep, I didn't wear sunscreen on this run.  Overcast, remember? Another lesson learned).  Lesson learned?  Always, ALWAYS take water along even if it's a short walk.  You never know when you will need it!!

There ya have it, a few of the hard lessons I have learned during various runs throughout the years.  Hope you guys learn from my mistakes so you won't have to experience any of these discomforts!!

Happy Trails,

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