Thursday, July 8, 2010

"Some days you're the hammer, some days you're the nail"

Lance Armstrong said these words after completing Stage 3 of this year's Tour de France - comparing himself to the nail on that day. I know how he felt! Last Sunday I went down to Como Landing on the Yarra River to take part in one of my favourite half marathon courses.

My running recently has been ok. Not any great volume but enough solid 12-14k sessions to give me confidence going into this race. I hoped to run around 1.40 or so, but would have been happy with 1.45. But long before I got anywhere near the race venue I realised this was unlikely. On my Saturday morning bike ride and again on Sunday as I rode to the race venue I felt quite sluggish with no zip whatsoever. I wasn't terribly fussed though, as this was more just a catered training run over a fun course than a race, so I would just take it as it came.

The course here is a simple three 7k laps of a path that runs along the Yarra River. It is basically flat with a few small rises near bridges and the like. It was a cool morning (then again, it is winter) but not super old and no wind or rain so pretty much ideal.

I began the race running quite well and cruised easily through 6k @4.49m/k pace so on target for a time of around 1.42. Unfortunately by that time a blister had started to form under the arch of my right foot and over the next 4k it got progressively worse to the point of not being able to run (well, not effectively).

I tried swapping my socks over between my feet, thinking that maybe a spot on them was rubbing, but to no avail. These were "old" socks and "old" shoes so there was no real reason why this should have happened. But it did and, with little to gain from this race, I considered just completing the second lap (14k) and pulling out.

But it is very hard to do that and so after the second lap I went over to the first aid guys and got a big band-aid to stick on my foot. It helped for one km (!) and I ran much better, but it was soon back to misery and I shuffled around the balance of the final lap to complete the course.

I finished this run in 1.53 (plus stoppage time of 3 further minutes) so a far slower run than I had imagined. Not to worry, it was great to get out and do another 21k run and it was a positive that I did not pull out of the race.


  1. Oh, the blister in a race! I know that feeling oh too well! Glad your running is going well again! And glad you feel OK about the race. You (and Lance) are right. If we were not the nail from time to time, we would not enjoy being the hammer half as much!

  2. Ana-Maria. You were the first person I thought of as my blister started to form! One voice in my head kept telling me how tough you had been to deal with a similar (worse) situation at Boston. Of course, the other voice in my head told be that a pussy half marathon in the back blocks of Melbourne ain't no Boston! In the end, I drew middle ground and finished at a modest pace. But you were definitely there pushing me on!

  3. Definitely the nail that day Paul. A bent one at that. Time to get your act together in time for the City to Surf!


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