Hitting the Wall

I can do this. On the count of three. One. Two. Three. Yuck!!! Nose breathing –In. And out. In. And out. Just swallow this GU, PJ. You can do it. On the count of three. Wait – I’ve already tried that.

So, I’m not very good at swallowing energy gels during my long runs. But recently I felt like I’ve had to try my count-to-three trick just to get my feet moving at anything faster than a walking pace! Stepping outside of my house and on to the sidewalk lately, my body just flat out has not wanted to run! And when I have finally gotten my body moving at an embarrassingly slow pace, running felt awful – My legs felt deader than the Halloween skeleton decorations on my neighbor’s front porch. Thus, after going a week without workouts and still dragging like a zombie, I decided to not run until I felt better.

My Running Crew (Zombies from Night of the Living Dead)

My Running Crew (Zombies from Night of the Living Dead)

It took 9 days of total rest (conveniently a few of these were at the Grove Park Inn which I love Love LOVE!!!), and even then, I didn’t feel completely healed but instead I decided that I felt at least “good enough” to start running again.

Grove Park Inn

The Grove Park Inn

So, what happened you may wonder? Well, it was that damn plantar fasciitis…As I predicted, I’m screwed. I also tried not running in my orthotics, which turned out to not be the brightest of training plans. Perhaps the orthotics have helped more than I thought or maybe you aren’t supposed to stop running in your orthotics cold turkey and attempt your first twenty-miler in about two years!

Regardless of where I place the blame, I have come to terms with the fact that a marathon this training cycle just isn’t going to happen – or at least shouldn’t happen. When I race a marathon again, I want to get to that starting line prepared and healthy and right now I just can’t do that.

But this isn’t supposed to be a sad post – I don’t like to read sad books, and I don’t want to write sad stories! Instead, I want to focus on the positives. One – I met Roy Williams. And two – I raced for the first time in a long time on Team JITFO at this year’s Blue Ridge Relay!

Meeting Roy at the Start of BRR! (He drove his son's team.)

Meeting Roy at the Start of BRR! (He drove his son’s team.)

Other than the nagging plantar, I felt optimistic going in to the Blue Ridge Relay. I had some miles under my feet and a few strong workouts under my belt, but I’m not sure much could have prepared me for the mountain hills I was forced to creep up at what felt more like a brisk walk than a run. And I didn’t even have one of the worst legs! I can’t imagine having to run up a mountain goat track!

Mountain View

The first leg on Friday afternoon was like throwing me in an ice-cold lake in the middle of winter. It was a shock to my system to say the least! The second leg later that night (around 11:00pm???) was a slow, dark trudge that was mostly uphill. I still can’t decide if I should have worked harder on this leg and pushed a bit more. But, on the other foot, I might have played it just right leaving something in the tank for my last and longest run. Who knows? – I’m not sure I ever will. On my third and final leg, I finally saw the light at the end of my journey. And I mean that literally. I started the run in total darkness (and in a mess of road construction!) but when I handed off the baton to my teammate, the sun was up and the work was done. And I couldn’t have been happier!

Cute little mountain store at an exchange zone.

Cute little mountain store at an exchange zone.

At the next stop, I bought a $5 breakfast that at the time tasted like a $30 Sunday Buffet. I got made fun of for taking a picture of my feast, but the food and coffee that morning couldn’t have been more satisfying.

Breakfast

Then, we were on our way to Asheville where we stayed Saturday night in an adorable old home in the historic neighborhood of Montford.

Montford House

While Team JITFO lost the top prize in our category to the rival team Stache and Dash, we still placed 8th overall out of 179 teams! All in all, it was a solid time.

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