Kasia needed motivation, so I offered to run with her on her 10k route. Well, at least part of the route, anyway.
My legs were still a little tired, although not that achy from my 18-miler at the weekend, and unfortunately, I’ve developed a rather nasty blister that likes to get worse with every run (see previous posts).
A stroke of genius hits; I take a craft knife to the insoles of my Brooks that I stopped wearing a couple of months back. If the arch support was too high, and giving me trouble, then I’d simply get rid of it. No more blisters… Right?
So we head out, together. We don’t run together as a rule; our paces are too different. But I’m not really in the mood for a run, and want to take it easy, and I can motivate Kasia, who, it has to be said, has not trained anywhere near as much as she would have liked. Although, she does have the benefit of running marathons previously, and knows precisely what she is letting herself in for.
My Brooks feel weird under my feet. I’ve got used to running in the minimal shoes, and the extra cushioning is now both uncomfortable and unsettling. I feel unstable, like I’m running on a trampoline, and my gait suffers. It’s strange how these shoes once felt like the greatest thing I’d ever put on my feet, and now it’s almost like I’ve betrayed myself. Without resorting to punning, I feel like I’ve taken a step backwards.
After about two miles, I tell Kasia that I want to run a bit further, to test myself a little, as I have hardly broken a sweat running at the slower pace. This would be my second mistake of the evening.
I ran off into the distance alone, my feet a little uncomfortable, my stride stretched and unnatural. I hated to admit it to myself, but I was really struggling in those shoes.
Kasia was running as far as Liverpool Street, and the far side of London Bridge was my goal. I’d cross the bridge, turn round, and try to catch Kasia on the way back. As Kasia didn’t have a door key with her, I couldn’t let her down.
My feet hurt. There was no getting around this. The cheaper blister plasters I’d bought from the chemist just weren’t doing their job, and although both feet were bound and the plasters secured with Rock Tape, I could feel them slipping around inside my shoes.
I crossed the bridge, trying to forget about my feet and try and enjoy the run. It wasn’t working. I turned around and ran straight back, and was outside Liverpool Street inside fifteen minutes, which is about standard. I ran as hard as I could, scanning the distance for any sign of Kasia. None.
I’m about a mile from home when the pain in my feet becomes to much. The Rock Tape has now attached itself to the sore skin and is tugging with every step. Where the plasters are now, I don’t know.
I limp home, feeling the worst I ever have after a run. Not just physically, but emotionally. I begin to doubt myself, wondering if I can even run a marathon, let alone the ultras I have planned for next year.
Kasia’s waiting for me on the doorstep. She says that she’s been there nearly ten minutes. Which means that if I’d kept running just a little further, I would have caught her. She must have been right in front of me at the time I stopped and began walking. I feel even worse.
Once inside, I take my shoes off. It’s not pretty. There are blisters on top of blisters. The Brooks nearly get thrown across the room in frustration. I’ve never been this low after a run. I’m depressed, and can only see setbacks in the week to come. My ankles hurt, and I have a pain in my knee too. My calves actually feel worse than they did on Saturday. It’s amazing how much my style has changed running in minimals.
And then. Kasia pulls my pair of VivoBarefoot’s out of the closet. I’d completely forgotten about them. They’re running sandals, virtually no more than flipflops. They’re the reason I was running in the transitional shoe in the first place. I’d not worn them as the elasticated strap that keeps them on was way too long and needs adjusting.
“Perhaps these are the answer?” Kasia asks, “I’ll fix them tomorrow.”
Well, they cannot be any worse. Here goes nothing.