Yesterday’s plan called for some speed work, and I was very excited about it because I enjoy breaking the stride open and letting out some speed. I decided I would actually go to a track and kick it old school for the workout since I had not been on a track in a long time. I train people on the track pretty regularly, but I personally have not run on one in more years that I can remember. So Sam and I headed over on a nice overcast day, full of excitement for a good workout.
We made it through the workout just fine as it only called for some sprint buildups. We started off with a quarter mile run to warm up and then did some flexibility drills to open up the hips. We then ran 100m buildups for about thirty minutes. The idea is to make some marks along the track at which you will increase your speed so that you are either at a full sprint or very close by the time you cross the finish line, then walk back to the start and do it again. I’m not sure how many we did, but I planned it to just go for the thirty minutes, and we would be done. After the buildups we were stretching a little, and I told Sam to lose the shoes. He was a little surprised as I told him we were going to do a little barefooting to finish off the workout. We both felt good, and the extra running was not going to hurt us, so why not go enjoy the soft track on the bottoms of our feet?
The answer to that last question would soon make itself very clear. As we ran around for the first lap Sam said that the track felt really hot, and he wasn’t sure about it. I, however, felt nothing in terms of heat and told him he would adapt as I figured his feet were just more sensitive than mine. It was in the upper 80’s, but it was completely overcast so the ground really was not all that hot. We made our way around and completed a mile of good old-fashioned bare foot running before we called it a day. We stopped because his feet were hurting, and I was now starting to feel the heat underneath my feet, too. While we were out there for that mile, the clouds cleared, and the hot Texas sun made its presence known.
I had not taken much notice of it until that final lap, and when we stopped, I saw that I had a couple of small blisters on my right foot. They were the size of a pencil eraser, and I didn’t think much of them. The drive home took about ten minutes, and by that time I could barely get out of my car for all the pain I felt on the bottoms of my feet. I got inside, took off my Five Fingers, and saw monstrous blisters on the bottoms of my bright red and swollen feet. I was shocked at the sight I was seeing. I drained the blisters, and that process hurt more than it ever has, which gave me some cause for concern. I got cleaned up, and my feet kept getting worse. I finally contacted a doctor I work with, and it turns out that these are no ordinary blisters. I have second-degree burns on the bottoms of both feet!
I still cannot believe that it got that bad without me really noticing at all. I guess maybe my feet are pretty tough, but that could be a bad thing if I cannot feel when I am being seriously injured by something like a hot surface. Part of me thinks I should have paid more attention to Sam’s concerns early on, and the other part of me understands why I didn’t. He’s new to this game so it would make sense for his feet to be more sensitive than mine. Still, I wound up with burns, and thankfully he didn’t stay on the track as long as I did so his feet are just a little tender. I think there are a few morals to this story and some lessons that I have learned. First is that I should never let myself stop thinking like a newbie. I should always remember that even though I am trained and have years of experience under my belt, I still need to be thinking like it’s my first time out. Second, I should listen to those around me a little more, especially when they have newbie feet and are trying to tell me something like “the ground is really hot”. Third, I live in Texas, and when the clouds clear the black rubber track is going to get very hot even if I don’t feel it.
It’s going to be a few days before I can get back out there and run again so in the meantime I am going to rest and try to find other ways to keep myself busy. Oh, and I think I’ll just wear my Five Fingers for the rest of the summer. No shame in living to run another day.