It was sheer frustration. Having gotten out of bed at six that morning to drive to Wexford I was more than a little disappointed with how my run went. I actually felt like I was going to cry. The race was on a Sunday morning. Thursday that week I was at a work event and was wearing a pair of shoes which became my mortal enemy. The heels on both feet were swollen and sore. When I got off the train that night I couldn’t actually walk the ten minutes to my house. I had to get my pal to come and collect me.
Ladies I’m Sorry!
I have been guilty in the past of rolling my eyes when I hear women say their feet are killing them after wearing a certain pair of shoes. I won’t be as quick to do that again I can tell you, the pain is real. For three days I soaked my feet in Epsom salts and rubbed cream into them. I was determined to go to Wexford.
Listen To Your Body
On the morning of the race I claimed my spot at the start line along side my running buddy but deep down I felt anxious. About one kilometre in I was sweating buckets and struggling to keep up. It wasn’t a lack of fitness or training. I have completed many half marathons and never struggled before. My shins were in pain and I was gritting my teeth to keep moving. I can be quite determined mentally when I want to achieve something but my body was saying something else and I knew I had to listen.
The Wexford race is split between a half marathon and a 10k route, with the 10k veering off after a distance of 5k. I had two options. One was to stop and walk back the way I came, the other to take the 10k route. My buddy didn’t want to go on without me but I really didn’t want to hold him back. He had trained hard and deserved to finish what he started. At the 5k mark we said our goodbyes and went in opposite directions.
My Pride Was Damaged More Then My Legs
I couldn’t run anymore my shins were too sore. With a heavy heart and mixed emotions I started my walk of shame (not the kind that follows an enjoyable experience) towards the 10k finish line. Every time a runner passed me I felt worse. My pride was damaged, probably more than my shins and I was feeling very sorry for myself. Not being able to finish what I started really upset me. I obviously looked like the saddest little boy in the world as three separate runners stopped to see if I was ok. That is one of the highlights of the running world. You are never alone and there is always a helping hand or word of encouragement ready for you. It really is a genuinely supportive community of people.
Eventually I spotted the finish line in the distance. Just before the barriers started in the run up to the actual finish line I turned off onto the pavement. I didn’t want to walk over the line and register a chip time for the half marathon which I was signed up to. It didn’t feel right to me. I found a race steward told him what happened and asked him to make sure my number wasn’t registered. He smiled, told me not to worry, asked me how my shins were and then walked me over to the finish line and gave me a medal for the 10k run. I had an actual tear in my eye and a lump in my throat and thought to myself, that right there is the essence of sportsmanship.
No Time At All
I hobbled back to the hotel then for a quick change and then made my way back to the finish line to wait for my pal and cheer on the rest of the runners. He, in fairness finished in great time despite having walked a little with me at the start. My time, well as you can see below it took ‘No Time’ at all. What did I learn from the experience? Well I really don’t like to fail and there’s nothing wrong with having a little cry now and then. I had exactly one week between my disaster in Wexford and my next half marathon in Madrid. I’ll let you know shortly how I faired out in that one…..