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Didn't Make ItAugust 23, 2004

I am lazy today. Lay-zee. I think some of my motivation was stolen by a small person with big pockets while I slept, because I can’t seem to find any extra lying around the house today. And there are a LOT of things lying around the house, things that need to be cleaned and tidied and straightened up, but without that motivation, they’re just going to continue lying there. Taunting me.

I’m okay with it.

I need to tell you about the run yesterday. It was a fourteen-miler, and I wore my orthotics for the first time (I had been wearing them constantly to walk around in, and had worn then on one short run). I don’t know why I thought they wouldn’t be a problem. I’m a smart gal, but I am very good at overlooking the obvious when it doesn’t suit my purposes.

I had a blister on the instep of each foot by the end of mile one. By the end of mile two (a run from the beach straight up the Great Highway past the Cliffhouse and into Sutro Heights—nothing like running uphill in the City), I was in serious pain. By mile three, I just wanted to make it to mile four.

At mile four, the shin splints were flaring, and I felt like I had never run before. The blisters under both my insteps were huge and almost unbearable. And you know what? I kept running. It’s not even something to be proud of—it just was. I decided to see how much pain I could put myself through, how much I could stand on a sunny Sunday. Written like that, it sounds horrible. But it was more a mind-test than anything. I knew my shin splints weren’t TOO bad; it was the blisters that were killing me more than anything. And I knew people don’t die of blisters caused by orthotics. So I kept running.

It was interesting. For a large part of the time, I could talk myself out of the pain. Rather, I could feel it, but I convinced myself it didn’t matter. It was painful, but it didn’t hurt. I didn’t let it hurt.

And then, suddenly, I let it hurt. At mile eight I lost it, and told my group to go on without me. I decided to walk to the next water stop, only about half a mile away, and from there the organizers would come pick me up. The blisters by this point were more than an inch and half across, and had blisters on TOP of them. (I was using the Band-Aid blister thingies, and Body-Glide, and double running socks.)

I cried and cried and cried. I leaned on a bike rack and let myself have a really good big sob before pulling it together and starting my walk. Of course, right before the water stop, my training partner and favorite gal Marama ran up behind me and got all concerned, making me bawl again.

I was just so frustrated and angry with my body, and angry with myself. I wanted to do the fourteen. The twelve had been no problem! And now I can hardly make it to eight? I’ve decided I hate the orthotics, and that I need a referral from my doctor to a real podiatrist. I need the help of a specialist. Doy. You would think I would have figured that out by now, but no. Sheesh.

It is a testament to how painful the run was that getting home and sitting in an ice-cold bath of water and Epsom salts felt great.

Bah. Yesterday was one of those days that I realized the sheer hugeness of what I’ve taken on. I might, actually, be crazy. Bah, bah, BAH. I still believe in myself, and in Marama (who did the whole 14! Go, Marama!), but I know it’s going to be fucking HARD. (Again, doy.) God, it’ll feel good to actually do this. And yes, I’m proud of myself for getting to mile eight. I know it was an accomplishment. It’s just not the accomplishment I was going for. Sigh.

Next time.

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Comments

Forgive me for saying so, Dear Rach, but I'm starting to think, Life's Too Short... You already have to work for a living so you are already compelled to spend however many hours doing something that's not so fun. Why would you choose to spend your free time doing something ELSE that's not so fun?

Aw. Aw. You poor dear. I hurt just reading about it. I was thinking about you (although probably a little later than this was actually *happening*). Eight miles in total pain is still huge, you know.

um. EIGHT miles, with blisters, in badly fitting unprofessional orthotics? You ROCK! I did a whole MILE without stopping and felt like I'd circumnavigated the Earth, for crying out loud.
*A small person with big pockets?*
THAT's the coolest thing, EVER!
This is a very HUGE thing you are undertaking. Get the BEST advice from a specialist, that's what I say!
HUGS, honey. We're just so danged PROUD of you!

Rachel, While you may not think this, you are very strong for deciding to quit while you were ahead. Did you see Paul Radcliffe this weekend? The fastest female marathoner in the world had a bad running day and had to quit. We all have bad running days. The hope is that our bad days are greatly outnumbered by our good days. You know the days when you think you could run forever and how could you have ever thought this was hard! Rachel -- remember I think you are brave for taking on this enormous task and that I am confident you can do this (unless of course the specialist says otherwise!). Now go and soak those feet and stretch those legs!

Rebecca's a smart girl. What she said.

oh, and *hug*

hey girlie. i'm sorry about the blisters and the mean body that won't let you do the 14 mile run. i swear it'll get better. my friends who have done the boston marathon say it's always better the day of the run.

Forgive me for not remembering, but what kind of podiatrist prescribed the orthodics you have now, if not a "real" one? I have images of a dark alley, and a guy in a trenchcoat selling hot orthodics... May I recommend something else? If you can, (translation: if your insurance allows) see a sport specialist and possibly a physical therapist. When I had a sport-related rotator cuff injury it was awesome to deal with someone who understood that my main concern was getting out there to do my thing again. I was also told that if I hadn't sought the physical therapy, I might have been left with permanent damage, probably minor, as in a clicking shoulder, but permanent nonetheless. It could happen with shin spints too, and you don't want to do something that will cause permanent damage. Our bodies have enough to deal with when aging as it is! I understand your will to do it, but do it smart. Love ya!

I can't believe you're disappointed with yourself for "only" making it 8 miles. 8 MILES!! And you know you can run farther than that, because you have, so it's not a personal shortcoming, it's just the damn orthotics. You'll see a specialist (Sharlene's advice to see someone who wants to help you get back out there instead of just someone who wants to make you not hurt), they'll get the orthotic and shins situation straightened out, and you'll run a marathon. see?

I agree with Rebecca and Cari. You rock! You are strong. You have time to train. Be good to yourself and continue to search for the right professional help.

What Greta said! And Sharlene! Yeah!

You are a tough cookie, but don't be so tough that you pull the rug right out from under those stupid orthotics. Owie ow ow ow. You poor thing. You poor, brave thing.

And can I just say what joy it gives me that you say "doy"? Go East Bay!


Well it's way past midnight here and I found myself at the computer for some reason so what do I do but go click on a certain special human beings weBlog......
and feel a ramble coming on so please forgive what will be a long comment I suspect:0)

If I had your phone number I would have rung you at this moment just to say hello, there's lots of love winging its way from here to there and verbally give you a big hug. Bodies can be so shitty sometimes especially when hearts and minds have agendas of importance to fulfill and the flesh leans back and says 'Oh Yeh!' through snarlly pursed lips.

Yes, go get some expert advice and help if you can but can I just say something about this marathon that maybe you'll not want to hear but you know me well enough by now to know I won't shut up :0)

Those mountains we set ourselves to climb are there for many reasons and usually least of all for the obvious. So you've got this goal set on running a marathon in a place and in time span to get fit and ready which both are on the hot side. Not one to commit to something and then bow out at the last minute you would rather die than ease back or even look at the mountain and walk away, so on you go.

Yep I'd do the same but I'd also walk away a little from that mountain and take a long hard look at its construction because after all it was my hands that put it there. What is it really made of, why did I need to use those materials and construction method and where is it really leading me.

Rachael do you know that you have already competed in and completed the Marathon and every reader / friend / colleague with eyes and heart knows that. The charity knows that too because of the way you have gone out and got sponser money and the people that will benefit from that money know it too even though they have never heared your name or met you because you know my dear you have created such warmth, strength and power in the energy of commitment, intent but most of all love you have displayed and shared with the world outside selfish desire and gain in your endeavour.

You know if the truth be known I could not give a F***K if you were to stop now in running towards the 26 plus mile top of the mountain because you see as far as I am concerned you've already got to the top and taken me there with you and if you walk the course of the Marathon or stand by the finishing line to greet and congratulate those who run the course you will deserve medal and all those things your heart and mind seeks in this endeavour. Any sponsership money would stay yours to pass on to the charity whether you run, walk, or sit through the Marathon as far as I am concerned because you know the sponsership isn't about you hurting yourself but about supporting the expansion of your self and very honestly,lots of other self's mine included.

Thank you darling, I am already so expanded by your willingness to share, to suffer and to perservere that sponsership is poor exchange I feel.

A certain small pair of running shoes with rainbow flights were not about a date in Autumn but about a womans heart which is bigger than her smile, about a womans intent which is truly steely but always softly gentle, about the joy of living, of the understanding that life is precious, and the fact that when I consider these really important truths a certain womans name beginning with R comes to my mind.

Yep, go for it but please remember that the joy of living and the gift of knowing life is precious is one you need always to offer to yourself too along with all those other hearts and minds you care about.

Bodies have very long memories don't give yours reasons to make you howl in twenty years time. That mountain is yours already because you conquered the fear of the first step that took you from walking to running from knowing a financial total was sought to asking for help/sponsership.

I know that there is this thing about always competing to win, to get to the end come what may but you know it takes the kind of bravery that the world so desperately needs to sit down and consider one heart, one mind and one body and know that failure only really happens when that one does not show themselves the love, care and support they would give another.

I am not saying give this up but I am saying a) don't beat yourself up
b) do really get someone who knows what they are looking at to examine those shins of yours.
c) go to Hawii with the intention to walk the Marathon and if your body wants to surprise you enjoy BUT

know that in my estimation your sponsers haven't sponsered a run but a life they see as precious, true and inspirational and that has nothing at all to do with running shoes, sweaty brows, pain but the love that shines through in a life so graciously shared. You've just given us the opportunity to help some others but I for one certainly don't need you to hurt yourself to know the cause is worth 26 miles of sponsership.

Like those raffle tickets I am asked to buy for good causes in the hope that the prize will encourage my 'donation' I support the cause without need for hope of prize if its a good cause and give the raffle ticket back. In your case that's not true because I already have the prize, your presence in the world which makes it somewhere I am pleased to live.

What Sharlene said, in spades! Get thee to a podiatrist who specializes in sports medicine if not an orthopedist who specializes in sports medicine. Now. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. It's worth the price (says she who wears custom orthotics).

Awww, hon, I hate that you put yourself through such pain, but I love that you remain dedicated to this goal. We're with you all the way, wherever you run ~ or don't. But DO talk to some foot pros, OK? I'm really feeling too far away, dammit, and too preoccupied with work deadlines. Just please know I'm thinking of you a whole whole lot, and you & sis remain in the bedtime line-up ~XXO

Rachael, first, what EVERYONE before me said. Because they all love you. Second, your body just gave you a very powerful lesson in the need to LISTEN to it. Some people don't ever get that lesson. Sing it with me, Thank You, Body...!
you do know that whatever you choose to do is a-ok, right? I support you doing whatever you need to do and still gently remind you that sharp pain means stop now, you're doing damage... I hug you, chica, and wish you pain free shins and quick healing to the feetsies..

Hell woman, I go to the gym EVERY f*ckin day and I couldn't run eight miles (with or without blisters) while being chased by a rabid, gun toting redhead murderer - carrying white shoes (I really hate those)...

Cut yourself some slack...you did just fine...now for your Cosmo tip...get a pedicure for a quick pick-me-up...I know, why is this stupid mag even published.

Damn, are you ever hard on yourself, girlfriend. Look in the mirror and see what I see: a courageous, committed, compassionate woman (not to mention cute as all hell!!). You've gotten some great advice here. I hope you take it and while you're waiting to see the doc, you take it easy. You'll make it, Rachael.... just take it slow. XOXOXO

GodDAMN there are some freakin' AMAZING women readin' and commentin' on this here blog. I read your post, Rach, and got concerned and upset that you were so in pain and so hard on yourself...and then I read all these comments and felt myself uplifted and pepped up. So I can only imagine how you feel reading them as they come into your box. I honestly can't think of a single thing to add here, other than "Word." (Indeed.)

I will say this though...I ran yesterday. OK, it was jogging. And yes, it was only for about 3 minutes out of the 30 I had set on the treadmill at the gym I just joined. (!) But I thought of you and all your dedication (or stubbornness. Same thing?) and just decided to do it. Love you.

One step at a time (OK, trite, I know). First...the right equipment. Get those orthotics. My husband has been through this. The best ones are created specifically for you by taking molds of your feet. Then...allow yourself to heal. Sweetpea...you can do this thing...even if you have to walk. But not if you tear yourself up just getting there. Patience...

Don't know if this helps or not but just the magnitude of your determination helps me conquer my fear of running. You are amazing! I would have stoped with the blisters at mile one just becuase it would have been a pretty darn good excuse. You rock girl!!! You've become an inspiration to more than just me.

What a story! I'm so proud that you made it as far as Mile 8--it might sound bad, but I think it was very strong that you worked through the pain, and foot pain to boot (lol). Ditto waht Kate said, you are definitely amazing...and inspiring too.

Dude, what can I add to all these awesome comments, inspired by an awesome post? We all love you and are so proud of you. You have taken on something huge, but if anyone can handle it, you can, Miss Thang.

Have a *great* day. And your description of the blisters - ow! my feet hurt now.

Yeah. What they said. And if you were reading your post, what would you tell you?

You can do this, I know you can, once you get some good orthotics, you'll be fine. Most people would have just quite when the shinsplints happened, you didn't, that's awsome.

You'll do this :)

Soo..here's my two cents. I tried three times before I could finally finish a Century (100 miles) on my bike. Three different years. I got donations...I geared up...and I could get to 50 miles..but never further...

I remember one particularly horrible ride when I fell the bike fell on top of me and I would let anybody touch me...I was just hysterical...for almost half hour.

The next year..I finally finished my goal...and completed the century. It was a bitch but I did it.

So what is the message here? Do what you can do. You've taken on a difficult task. I think you can do it....we all think you can do it...you need to keep moving out there..and don't be too hard on yourself... the truth is you've raised a ton of money for a hugely worthy cause...

Take a breath...and hug yourself. It's all good.

The message I want to say..

Hang in there.

Oh, my. Ditto, ditto and ditto. Them's some wise readers you got here.

Lemme just excerpt something here: "...suddenly, I let it hurt. At mile eight..."

Now, just think on this for a minute. You're at a point where freakin' MILE 8 comes up 'suddenly?' Would you have thought this possible, a year ago? Six months ago? I'd say you've made it pretty dang far. Take heart and take care of those gams; I don't think they're quitting on you just yet.

Oh, my. Ditto, ditto and ditto. Them's some wise readers you got here.

Lemme just excerpt something here: "...suddenly, I let it hurt. At mile eight..."

Now, just think on this for a minute. You're at a point where freakin' MILE 8 comes up 'suddenly?' Would you have thought this possible, a year ago? Six months ago? I'd say you've made it pretty dang far. Take heart and take care of those gams; I don't think they're quitting on you just yet.

Rach,

Hugs. I'm not as eloquent as your above commenters, but wanted you to know that I agree wtih them. The journey is more important than the destination - what you learn about yourself while trying to do something as awesome as run a marathon is the real goal here. Take care of yourself. (While I completely understand working through pain, keep in mind not to do it too much so you don't severely injure yourself.

Always remember - you rock.

I'm so sorry you had a crappy, blister-filled, shin splint-flaring run! But dude, you need to break in the orthotics SLOWLY. It takes a while for that old body to adjust to all the realignment that goes on with new orthotics. Once I got some new orthotics, went for several 6-mile runs in them, then went on a 25-miler. Oops. Knee pain. Urgh. Better to err on the safe side. And if you went to a "fake" podiatrist, I would suggest marching down to Transports on College Ave and asking them who they would recommend. You need to go to a podiatrist who actually runs or deals with tons of runners. Don't give up, Rachael. You are doing amazingly, amazingly well, and you have discovered something new and wonderful that you love. Who would've thought that could happen past age 30? Heh.

I have nothing to say that everyone else hasn't said. BUT...take care of yourself with all of this. You've got a huge network of support here that will love you whether you run 26 miles, walk it, or crawl it on all fours. You've taken on something that most of us here would NEVER have the will to do.

oh my god. you ran 8 miles. you RAN 8 MILES!! that's an accomplishment in itself.
just take care of yourself, OK? don't push yourself and get hurt. we all know that you're gonna rock that marathon.
: )

To sum up what's already been said:
*Definitely see a sports therapist - they know your pain and the right one will become your best friend as all your hurts start melting away.
*Get a pedicure - treat those feet to some massage therapy because you've already covered a marathon in training miles.
*Revel in the knowledge that you have friends near and far who are totally committed to supporting you
*Consider commemorating your to-date accomplishments in something rather like Lizzi's wallhanging - each training run and your mileage represented by rows, colors, textures. Tangible evidence of your determination will be inspiring to you and others.
*And lastly - YOU ROCK!

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Rachael, you are my hero. Not just because you've taken on this incredible task. Not because you run 8 miles through searing pain and fighting defeat. Not because you push yourself to your physical and emotional limit. You're my hero because you share all of it with such humility, such dignity, even when you feel that you're coming apart at the seams. You could sit on a stump, stubbornly cross your arms and refuse to go on and I would still sing your praises. So much love headed your way. Wishing I could squeeze you in person!

8 miles!
WOW! I think that's a lot. I understand about not hitting personal goals but I'd be pretty chuffed if I made it 4 let alone 8 miles.

You are amazing for even taking on that challenge.

Congratulations!!

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Rachael loves it when book clubs read her work! She's happy to attend book clubs that read her books either in person or via Skype. Contact her at rachael@rachaelherron.com to make arrangements.

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