It was ugly. I just have to get that out of the way right from the get go. Nothing about this race went well other than the fact that I finished. And, let me tell you, when my feet started hurting before I had even hit the .5 mile mark, I wasn’t entirely sure I would.
I definitely had an inkling of how the day was going to go when I woke up at 3:45 that morning and couldn’t go back to sleep. This severely irritated me for a lot of reasons, but not the least of which was the fact that the race was a 9 AM start! I could have slept until 7:15, and it just didn’t happen.
After watching three episodes of Parenthood on my Kindle, I got up to get ready around seven, and Dad and I headed out to the race around 7:30. By that point, a rock the size of my fist had taken up residence in my stomach. Honestly, I think I was more nervous about this race that I’ve been about any of the others. Apparently, my brain knew what was coming.
The gun sounded a little after nine, and we were off. There were about a thousand runners for the marathon/half-marathon which I think is a great turn out for a first year race. We made our way up the historic downtown district, and Dad and I saw John, Caite, and Justin less than a mile up the course. Those three did a great job of following us all day, and it was a much needed pick me up.
As always, I started off way too fast. I have a really bad habit of thinking “Hey, I feel great! Let’s go!”, and I start sucking wind before I even hit a mile. Luckily, Dad knows how to do this a little better than me, and he slowed me down pretty quickly.
However, despite getting my pace under control, my feet weren’t in the mood. Here’s a little history: I am most definitely a forefoot striker. I’ve been made fun of all my life for running up on my toes, but it’s just the way that feels most natural to me. That means, unfortunately, that I cannot find a shoe that adequately cushions that part of my foot, and I have hurt in every single race I’ve done. Seriously, my feet look like something out of a horror movie.
This race was definitely the worst foot pain I’ve had to date. I was stopping for walking breaks before we even hit the two-mile mark because I just couldn’t stand the pain of staying up on my toes.
About halfway through, I consciously switched my stride so that I was striking more on my midfoot which helped quite a bit, but it wasn’t enough to make up for all the time we lost at the beginning and I still wasn’t moving that fast anyway.
So what changed this race? Last weekend I bought some inserts in effort to ease the pain, and I think they did the exact opposite. I was wearing the same shoes in the Baton Rouge race minus the inserts, and I didn’t hurt nearly this bad. Which you better believe means those inserts are coming out before Cowtown in a few weeks. Bottom line-I desperately need to find the right shoes, and I would welcome any advice you guys can give!
I ended up crossing the finish line at 2:18:43 which is 43 seconds slower than my slowest time. A part of me is definitely disappointed, but another part of me is thrilled because (time-wise) it could have been so much worse. I have some work to do before my next half and a few things to figure out, but Louisiana and Arkansas can be checked off the 12 Races 12 States 12 Months list. Bring on Texas!
Seriously, experienced runners: what is the solution for my little problem?