Flat Tire.

I'm my own worst enemy. If this comes as new to you, I hope you enjoy reading your first post here at the Nexus, and stick around for similar tales in the future.

While I bear many similarities to George Costanza, while he feels that God would never let him be successful, I know that in my case the blame lies with my own subconscious and my passive ability to twist fate and probability against myself. As the big race approaches next Tuesday, the one I've spent two months training for, I'm starting to wonder what will go wrong, and I'm starting to find out.

Over the weekend, on the advice of a friend who regularly participates in triathlons, I set out to a very specific store for very specific new sneakers. The ones I use now are comfortable and broken in, but they were purchased a few years ago when I last ran this race, and they're showing their age with wear and looseness. And while I'm not all that athletic, I do have enough experience to know that a race should not be the first time new sneakers are worn. But I got a late start on Saturday, and needed to be home in time to take my mom to 5:00 mass. I realized I couldn't make it to the store my friend recommended and back in time, so I opted for my usual place.

That in itself wouldn't be so bad, as I've found many great shoes and sneakers at DSW over the past few years, and while the prices are higher than Payless, it's worth it for the quality. Some of those Payless shoes are cheap for a reason, barely glued together scraps of plastic. Now while the place my friend recommended targeted athletes and their staff would have assisted me in finding the ideal fit, it probably would have cost me twice as much. It probably would have been worth it, but my real mistake was rushing and buying the first pair I tried on, because I only had about 15 minutes to shop before I had to get back home.

Still, I was happy with my purchase, a slick looking pair of red and black Adidas with springy, cushioned heels meant for running. They were a little tight on the sides as I have wide feet, but had the right amount of room by the toes, crucial as I've been informed feet expand when we run. And if I put a week in on the treadmill with those, they'd definitely mold to my feet, or vice versa.

On Monday, I felt amazing as I began my run. Maybe it was the psychological factor and the new footwear was doing nothing, but I was soaring for about ten minutes before I hit a wardrobe malfunction. Surprisingly, it was my underwear and not my sneakers. I've lost some weight since I've been training, though only about 5 or 6 pounds, but the combination of a reduced weight and a worn elastic band on a pair I probably should have gotten rid of already proved tragic. Hopefully, no one in the gym was aware of the slippage that had occurred beneath my shorts, and I tried to play it cool, taking my run down to a brisk walk, and then casually changing the time from an hour to fifteen minutes, slipping back to the locker room when I was done.

Once everything was back up where it was supposed to be, I knew there was no guarantee it would stay there. I opted to finish my workout on a stationary bike instead, on which there was no danger of clothing falling off. I pedaled 15 miles in an hour, hopefully the equivalent of my usual 5 mile run. I had a decent workout, but no true test of the new sneakers. That came on Tuesday. Armed with a newer, more durable wardrobe, I proceeded to run my best run ever. Halfway into it, I felt a pinching on the inside of my left foot, as though the arch had worked itself into the seam between the base of the show and the side. But I was really hitting my stride, going faster and faster and not feeling any physical need to slow down. I pushed through the pain, and I hit the 3.5 mile mark at just over 39 minutes, which is my goal for the race. That's around the time I've done it in the past, and at my height, weight, and age it would be an accomplishment just to match that. By the end of my hour and five minutes, I'd run a total of 5.95 miles. Two months ago when I started, I ran 5.13 miles. There's definitely been improvement.

After my run, I carefully removed the shoe, hoping there wouldn't be a bloody sock inside. There were no marks of any kind, and the skin thankfully hadn't broken. But it had been pinched, and a blister was forming and filling with fluid. By the time I got home, it was a red spot as big as my thumb. I knew from childhood experience how tender the skin and exposed nerve endings underneath would be. I soaked the foot and stayed off it until morning. I put a callus cushion on it which helped me walk through the day, and kept my foot from falling back in that same seam when I ran again at night. But under the cushion it was still tender, and I could only endure about two miles.

So here I am a few days away from the race in the best shape of my life, with a lousy “flat tire”. When the running was too much for me on Wednesday, I moved to one of the elliptical machines, where I could keep my foot flat on the swinging surface instead of constantly lifting it and pounding it into the ground. I can't stay off it until the race; I have to keep exercising and stay in shape. And on Sunday I need to walk a six hour procession with one of my bands. Walking isn't a problem with one of those cushions stuck on it, but when I run it hurts. I've been finding lately that sometimes the things we think are impossible may only be that way because we think they are. When I'm distracted, I find I can go further and faster than I would if I was paying attention. Hopefully I can shut out the pain, or this thing will heal and grow back tougher skin. I just hope it can do so in less than a week. It figures that something like this would happen now when I'm so close. After all, I would never let me be successful.


Post a Comment

<< Home