I went to the track practice on Wednesday ready to walk. My blisters had healed, and I was ready to use this new “it doesn’t matter if I’m slow” philosophy on the track.
Things started out ok; I walked 3 times around the track without much complaint. I mean, my calves always give me some pain and cramping, but I’m getting used to pushing through this.
Then we met up in a group and the coach told us that today we were going to work on building speed. He told us he wanted us to start off slowly and gradually gain speed with each lap. Using this method, we’d be able to conserve our energy throughout the endurance event and would be able to sustain ourselves in order to finish strong. This made sense to me because I always feel better at the end of my long Saturday walks than I do at the beginning.
I began on the slow lap and found my right foot cramping at the arch, but I wanted to push through it. I completed the first lap in a reasonable amount of time (I can’t remember right now), and then during the 2nd lap, I began getting numb in my right foot. Still, I tried to increase my speed, and when I rounded lap 2, my time came in at 9:45, which is great for me. Then lap 3 came and I was really numb. I can’t tell you how discouraging this was. Usually it takes a couple of miles before I get numb, but today it was starting really early.
I tried my best to keep going, but the pain became too much. I had to stop at the conclusion of my 3rd lap. I removed my shoes, told one of the coaches what was going on, and tried a few of the foot stretches that she suggested. I was getting so discouraged, because no matter how much I try to change my attitude about not worrying about being slow, this pain was getting to me. Not only does it hurt (obviously!), but it keeps me from practicing, which is what I need to do in order to get better in my training. I started thinking, “if I’m going numb at 3/4 of a mile, how the hell am I ever going to be able to complete a half marathon?”
I didn’t walk anymore that night, and took time to chat with Kelly about what had happened. She said she thought I should go to the running store and see what they thought about the way my shoes were laced, whether or not they were the right fit, etc. I decided that I’d go to the store the next day during my prep period, since the running store is close to my school.
I did stay to complete the core work, which always makes me feel good. I don’t love doing the plank, but at least it’s a move I can do. I may not do it perfectly or well, but I can do it without pain. Yes, it makes me sore, but soreness and pain are definitely two different things. I wanted to stay and do the core workout to help myself feel like I had tried my best that night.
The thing that worried me about the numbness was the fact that it was occurring so much sooner. Whatever was causing the numbness was getting worse, and I wondered what that meant. It’s so frustrating not knowing what is causing so much pain.