Friday, November 25, 2011

Mayflower Marathon

Another visit to the Chinese Medicine Man.

I'm not really sure what exactly happened, but something must have gone awry at my 50th life time marathon. I didn't feel anything at the time, but one day after completing the Charlie Alewine double header marathon weekend, a sharp pain hit my right foot. This was the same pain that hit me in New Orleans earlier this year, and quite frankly, it concerned me. I have on my schedule the Thanksgiving Triple in a few days, and any injury at this point will knock me out of the Titanium race. Fortunately, the Chinese Medicine Man was able to squeeze me in on Tuesday afternoon. I feel like a voodoo doll every time I visit the acupuncturist, but Dr. Needles knows what he's doing, so I let him work his ancient Chinese magic on me.

The pain worsened late Tuesday night, and by about 3am, I couldn't move my foot without feeling any pain. Even the slightest wiggle of my toe made me flinch. I positioned myself in bed like a corpse in a queen sized Ikea coffin, moving not one muscle in my lower body. Seriously, it hurt so much that I couldn't sleep. My mind quickly sprinted down the path of doom and gloom. As melodramatic and tragic as this may sound, the only thing that lingered in my paranoid head was diabetic complications and amputation. Three years ago when my hemoglobin A1C numbers jumped to double digits, morbid thoughts of losing limbs took up permanent residency in my psyche. My doctor warned me that I was on that amputation track, and that frightened me. These days, any time my foot fails me--no matter how big or small--I am brought back to that dark time. I laid motionless in my bed until sunrise.

I called in sick that Wednesday before Thanksgiving and dragged myself to the acupuncturist early that morning. At one point, the pain was so unbearable that I had to do the left foot hopscotch skip so that I could keep my injured right foot still. I managed to get to my Chinese Medicine Man, and he said it looked really bad. In fact, my foot had flared up so much that he was only able to do partial acupuncture on me. He worked around the swollen areas, applied some ancient oriental potion in the form of a cold green cream, and then gave me a pair of crutches to wobble home on. I spent the rest of the day in bed with the sick foot elevated and iced. I also popped in a few ibuprofen throughout the day. Miraculously enough, the swelling dramatically went down by late evening and by Thursday morning, I was able to walk with only a slight limp. I headed down to my family's Thanksgiving get together that morning, where I stayed off the foot with hopes that I would heal 100% by Friday morning for my first marathon of the triple weekend. I didn't quite hit that goal, but I felt well enough to get out there and walk 26.2 miles. I showed up on race day determined to get the job done. Titanium was on the line.

My walking sticks saved me. Not only did they give me balance, but they served as make shift crutches.
Love this sign. Notice what's hand written in a Sharpie there? It's true. There was horse manure all over!

This was probably the toughest 26.2 miles to date. I managed to physically plug through with minimal pain, but my mental state was completely shot. I didn't even bring my camera, and the few photos I took were with my iPhone. I just wanted to get out there and get the job done with as little distraction as possible. There were moments during this race when I broke down to my fellow runners. Fellow Marathon Maniac Jon "Coconut Boy" Mahoney got an ear full from me, as did Cadillac Steve and Sofie Romero. I see these guys at so many races, so I knew that I could count on them for support. Sure enough, they gave me the free therapy that I needed to get myself back on track. At the end of the day, I played it conservatively and set a course record: a 9 hour marathon! I played it safe and it paid off, as I was able to cross that finish line once again.

Titanium Score Board: 44 down, 8 to go.

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