I'm just back from a run, my first in 2 weeks and I'm feeling good. It was a real achievement and has got me back on my feet after what can only be described as a failure of mojo. I didn't run very far or very fast, but I got myself into my trainers and out the door and I ran more or less non stop for an hour.
'So what?' you cry. 'Aren't you the woman who ran a half marathon? Aren't you the one who says we can do anything if we set our minds to it?' Yes, I am, but did you know that I ran with a blister! Ha! you didn't think I was that tough did you? Well I am, and I survived, and I might even do it again. But I am the woman who was nearly floored by a very tiny (but immensely sore!) blister.
I got this blister after a moment (well half an hour) of stupidity on holiday when I went for a run without socks. I was too lazy to go and get my socks and it was only a short run, but after 30 minutes I got a blister. Not a big blister, but one of those really stingy ones on my heel that nips like mad. Now I really hate having sore feet, comfy happy feet matter to me. Sensible Sue took care of it, wore plasters and socks, went to spinning and pilates to try and get it better quicker. After all, there's no point in making it worse for no reason.
But it was taking ages to get better and also niggling away at me was a feeling that I was being a weedy wet. A proper runner, a committed runner would not be put off by a tiny blister, I know this, I've seen the pictures. Tackling pain, running through pain, mental toughness are all part of running. As I sat and pondered my blister, Marko (the amazing @runner786) was on his way to run across the Gobi Desert to raise money for MS (read all about it and sponsor him on http://www.runner786.com/ ).
Marko is a totally inspirational athlete, who keeps going through levels of pain and discomfort that most of us would never contemplate, he is totally determined. And there was me sitting at home, not running because of my tiny blister. I felt ashamed and weak and pathetic.
I slept on it and woke up to a magnificently sunny morning and a 'tweet' from Za, another runner, who's been cheering me up. I began to look for ways I could run. Maybe I could try barefoot running on the beach. My mindset shifted from can't to can. I put on my lycra and immediately I began to feel like a runner again and I started to perk up.
Next I began to find out how 'proper runners' dealt with blisters, they obviously don't just ignore them if they have a long way to go or a big race ahead, so what did the experts do? A quick google told me how to protect my blister from further damage, so I plastered myself up and donned the trainers (and my best Sweaty Betty running socks, I won't make that mistake again!). After walking round the house with not even a twinge, I decided to hit the beach.
The run went fine. No pain at all and I knew I wasn't making the blister worse. I had found a way through my impasse and marked another milestone. Running is always a great time to think so I pondered the blister. Some of the block was about me, I am a bit self protective and I don't like pain, I know it means something's not right. But that doesn't have to stop me completely and what got me through was the support and encouragement of others who understand and their experience and knowledge of how to deal with it. I'm still learning, I need all the encouragement and learning I can get.
The other thing that this reminded me was that everyone has been a learner at some time. Even Marko had to start somewhere and learn. Some get coached by experts who know all about blisters and mojo, the rest of us learn from others. I need to learn too and now that I know how to handle blisters safely, I won't hesitate to run with a blister. As importantly, I'm going to make sure I take blisters more seriously in future and ramp up my blister prevention strategy and stock my medicine tin with moleskin plasters. I am good at learning!
I finish the day with my mojo back and feeling pretty perky and not just from the endorphins! I must remember that this lesson isn't just about running, it's about other challenges. I'm always learning and when I hit a problem or block, someone will have found a way of dealing with it one way or another, I just have to ask.
I also finish the day with a lovely warm feeling about people who encourage and support us, who inspire us, who help us achieve our dreams, who share their wisdom and experience. Other people helped me lose weight and keep it off (just!), runners inspired me to run and push myself. So, a big thank you to everyone who's helped me through and a promise that I will try and give at least much help back. None of us does this alone.
Right, it's the weekend! We have a rare treat tonight - a night out. We're meeting my friend Jill and her husband at the Rocks in Dunbar. I'll do a blog about Jill sometime, she changed my life too.
Have a good one and take care!