You know the old runner’s saying: “Do not try anything new on race day”? I’m thinking maybe that should be extended to race week. Do not try anything new the week of your race. Wait…now let me repeat this slowly in case you’re just perusing quickly through:
Do. NOT. Try. Anything. New. The. Week. Of. Your. Race. PERIOD.
“Oh, but it’s just a short run.”
“Yeah, but this is really no big deal.”
“I’m sure I’ll be fine.”
“Come on, what are the chances?”
“I think I can handle it.”
NOPE. Stop. Back up. Go read my boldly printed slowly written period excessive sentence again. Under NO circumstances should you try something new the week of your race (unless perhaps your children are being chased by a smelly pack of wild foaming at the mouth hyenas who are angry because your daughter just tried to give them a makeover while they were sleeping or some other highly unlikely extreme makeover scenario gone wrong situation).
You see, I did end up going on vacation Up North this week. For those of you who are not familiar with the general location of Up North, that would be for us Michiganders anywhere in the fine state of Michigan below the Upper Peninsula and above the approximate middle of the mitten. Really, if you’re not from around here you should know we in Michigan throw around the term “Up North” like it’s going out of style in the summer time. Not only are we surrounded by the Great Lakes around here, but we are FULL of literally thousands of gorgeous inland lakes. Therefore, the vast majority of Michiganians will head towards the north and to the edges of the state anywhere there’s water in the hot months for at least a weekend. And honestly, if you’ve never been on a vacation in Michigan you are SERIOUSLY missing out. Think rolling forested hills, pristine white sandy beaches, crystal clear blue water (with nothing that can eat you in it), cozy quaint friendly little towns, and fabulous food including of course tasty yummy fudge…mmmm….
I can not think of a place I’d rather be in the summer than Up North right here in Michigan. And on that note, we’ll pause here briefly for a commercial interruption. After the break…my foolish race week mistake and the results thereof. Is the weekend tri up in the air now? Back…in 60 seconds…
So we were in Frankfort this past weekend at the Harbor Lights Resort right on the shore of Lake Michigan. THE perfect place to go for a little barefoot beach run, although my husband wisely called me off suggesting I probably didn’t want to tackle that for the first time the week of my tri. What if I stepped on a shell? Or the sand was a far harder workout on my legs than I thought?
Taking his advice I decided to run on a bike path, through town, and then on the sidewalk to get in a little 4 mile run. But the brilliant beach running idea was followed by an even more brilliant idea #2, why not run sans socks? Now I realize this is not exactly the same as running barefoot on the beach, but I figured it was a little bit closer to it and more importantly, I was planning on running this weekend’s tri (3 mile run) without socks on to save time in transition. I mean, I ran the last tri (1.5 mile run) without socks on and had only the mildly irritated beginnings of a blister so what the heck? How much worse could it get? Let’s just throw caution to the wind shall we and try 3 or 4 without socks.
Now, I guess if I look at this positively, it’s better I found out what a 3 mile run without socks will do to feet that have not been properly acclimated to running in such a fashion BEFORE the race. Let’s just say by the time I hit 3 of the 4 miler, I was sensing something was wrong and about a 1/2 mile later I felt that something wrong tear open. So I stopped to remove my shoes and take a peek.
Lord have mercy! My shoes chewed my feet up and spit them out. I’ve got two huge blisters on each of the insoles of my feet and the skin on my right heel has pretty much been ripped right off (that’d be the something wrong tearing open). It’s ridiculous. (I like to call them my battle scars, but my husband says in order for them to actually qualify as battle scars I probably had to be running for more than 40 minutes. To which I pointed out that the actual time of injury in battle makes no difference, the only requirement for a battle scar is to be in battle. Although he astutely noted, I was not in an actual battle. A point which I was forced to concede. But then again, if one were to look at the wounds on my feet, one might suggest that the damage my shoes caused would certainly qualify them as a some sort of violent aggressor to be fought OR say it with me now…battled. But I digress…again…)
To make matters worse (because let’s be honest here folks, that’s totally the way I roll), I walked around on the sandy beach all day with my kiddos (why deprive them because of my silly mistake?) thus rubbing dirt into the open wound on the back of my heel and further exacerbating the closed blisters to just this side of monstrous. Which although make fascinating skin bubbles for my 4 year old to look at, are more than a little annoying for me.
**SIGH** So that would be my current conditioned. Irritated. Basically, as I sit here with my feet in a bowl of warm water and sea salt, thanks to the terrific suggestion of my fellow running blog mamma, Cynthia, I’m thinking about just blowing off transition #1 on Sunday and taking all the time I want to put on some socks, maybe even a band aid (or two…or three) before I head off on the bike after the swim. My goal for the race can be to swim, ride, and maybe, depending on the feet, run a faster pace than at the last tri and not worry about the total finishing time. It’s kind of hard to compare the two anyway, because the distances are not exactly the same (400 yard swim not 400 meters, 11 miles on the bike not 10.7, 3 mile run not 1.5 miles).
Either way, I have serious doubts though that I’ll be getting through this one with out causing some more damage. But at least in the eyes of my husband, it’ll take long enough the be a “battle scar”. In the words of a famous greens keeper, “So, you know, I got that going for me.” (Anybody know that one?)
And the lesson from all this besides if you’re going to run without socks or barefoot you might want to start slooooooowly is: DO NOT CHANGE ANYTHING RACE WEEK. Your feet will thank-you.
P.S. Best place to travel in Michigan? I’m partial to Lewiston on East Twin Lake where my Grandpa’s cabin used to be, but unless it’s changed a lot since I was a kid, it wasn’t really a touristy town. Here’s a few of my other favorite Michigan places in no particular order except for the way they pop into my head: Ludington, Grand Haven, Mackinaw, Mackinac Island, Traverse City, Leelanau Peninsula, Silver Lake…I could go on and on, but let my defer to my fellow Michigan enthusiats. Anybody else have any other favorite summer Michigan vacation destinations? Leave us a comment and/or a link to check out.
P.P.S. Gu review. Tonight! In the meantime, check out two of my other recent reviews/giveaways, Scarlett Craft Running Headbands and Scape Sunscreen. There’s still time to get in on the giveaways if your interested and it really doesn’t take much to enter. Really. I swear. If you’re reading this, you’re probably only one or two clicks away from entering. Promise. It’ll take all of 30 seconds.