Sorry for the Convenience

After playing sports for most of your life you learn what it means to be an athlete.

Part of being an athlete is being tough. Gritting your teeth and pushing through the pain. Ignoring the pain. Denying the pain. Whatever it is you have to do to accomplish what you are working towards.

Pain can be viewed as an inconvenience. It’s there, but since you are an athlete – it is not enough to sideline you – just enough to annoy you, inconvenience you, and make you angry.

Then there comes a point where ignoring the pain can completely sideline you. What you thought was an inconvenience turns into something serious and you’re out of the game.

Two weeks ago I was a bit behind on my laundry. All of my running socks and running shorts were still in the laundry queue so I ran my 9 mile run in regular sports socks and a pair of old high school football shorts. BAD IDEA.

I got a blister on the bottom of my foot – in that spot on your foot where the big bump under your big toe is. That spot that hits the ground every time you stand or take a step.

I could feel it at mile 8 but went ahead and finished my run. I could also feel where my leg was chafed from where the hem on the inside of baggy football shorts had rubbed against my leg the past 8 miles. But I wasn’t going to stop a mile short – so I went ahead and finished my run.

Post-run I examined the annoyances. Both confirmed they were bothersome but no big deal. I slapped a band aid on and it was back to life as usual. I continued with training that week – back in actual running socks and shorts.

The chafed leg healed fine but the blister was not going away. It wasn’t getting worse but it wasn’t getting better

This past Saturday I had my 10 mile long run. Post-run the blister was definitely worse but not to the point of concern yet.

When I did my 3 mile run on Monday the blister reached the point of concern. It was deeper, bigger, red, and itchy. It was past annoying to stand and walk on and I was willing to admit it was actually painful.

My mind flashed back to June when work still required a business casual dress code and I got a blister on my other foot from a super cute pair of red heels – that I then exacerbated with running. That blister was deep, red, painful, and itchy. That blister became infected internally and started to spread down my foot through my bloodstream. The whole side of my foot became swollen, red, and painful.

Infections that spread through your bloodstream aren’t taken lightly in the medical world. A trip to urgent care, a script for some oral antibiotics, and 2 weeks of no running healed the blister and infection right up. BUT THAT WAS TWO WEEKS OF NO RUNNING.

THE HALF MARATHON IS IN 3 1/2 WEEKS.

I can’t sit out the last 2/3 of training before the race. I can’t let a BLISTER invalidate EIGHT & A HALF WEEKS OF TRAINING.

So do I keep running – grit out the pain for the next 3 1/2 weeks? Roll the dice on this blister being a repeat of the last? Or do I take a step back and try to give the blister some time to heal? Sacrifice some training runs to hope it gets better and then hop back on track with training?

I went with the latter. I skipped my other two weekday runs which is giving me a four day reprieve from the trail. I figured that it would be best to try to let the blister heal. I also figured some activity was better than no activity, so I hopped on the bike and pedaled away for the amount of time the run would have taken me.

Part of being a better athlete is recognizing limits. Part of being a betterathlete is knowing that if you take care of yourself now, you won’t be sidelined later. Part of being a better athlete is figuring out ways to turn inconveniences into conveniences.

“An escalator can never break: it can only become stairs. You should never see an “Escalator Temporarily Out Of Order” sign, just “Escalator Temporarily Stairs. Sorry for the convenience.””

-Mitch Hedberg

P.S.

“I Do” Cupcakes!

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Baseball Cake

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Some garage sale finds!

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Gunner intently watching “The Lucky One”

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