After spending the last several months testing the waters to see how my body and lungs might react to doing another race, the verdict is finally in. Assuming I can work out some nagging foot issues…..I’m going for it!
On Oct 14th, with my lung function the lowest its ever been, I hope to attempt my first race in 4 years and my very first one in Canada. There’s no way I can physically do another full 26.2 mile marathon at this time, so I chose the WFPS RUN half marathon in Winnipeg, Canada. The event looks fun, it’s for a great charitable cause and the 13.1 mile course still offers a considerable and worthwhile challenge for me. If successful, this will be my 22nd race since starting the crazy journey 13 years ago.
Plagued with doubts from the git go, the decision to put this lungless 63 year body through the torture mill to complete even a half marathon distance again, was a tough one. As was the decision to travel out of the country to do it. I’m so out of shape from being constantly sick and in the hospital these past 3 years, that I had just about written this idea off as crazy talk. Even the 2 and 3 mile test walks that got me to this point were difficult. Thankfully, I got past all the negativity my brain and body were throwing at me, and in the end I said….Fuck it, Im gonna find a way to accomplish this goal or make a fool out of myself trying.
Oddly enough, in doing these preliminary test walks Ive found that despite my crappy breathing, it’s been mostly my feet and the GI side effects of the medication I take that are the real concern. I’m having several issues with my left foot. I get a burning type pain emanating from the area around the anterior tibial muscle, which is located on the top inside of the foot. Could be related to improper gait or shoe construction, an over-use issue like extensor tendonitis , arthritis, or possibly even diabetic neuropathy from years of prednisone use. The pain gets worse when the inside of my running shoe rubs on the area. Its gonna take some shoe lacing wizardry to tighten that shoe while bypassing that affected area. Even if I can the adapt shoe, the second issue is that the pain intensifies when I flex my foot. Im not sure this is related to first problem, but it makes formal racewalking almost impossible, as you have to always land heel first when you step forward. Ive been experimenting with different walking patterns to see if I can minimize the amount of flex in my foot, but all these changes will really slow me down. Whatevers causing this foot problem, needs to be remedied before I can do any serious distance or speed training. Fortunately, I have 5 full months to figure this all out. If I can’t solve or work around the problem , Im confident I can still complete at least a 10k race, which I can downgrade to the day before the half marathon event if needed.
Timing, preparation, back up plans and then more preparation are everything when you’re trying to work a fitness challenge goal around a severe chronic health condition. There are so many things to consider when taking on an activity that requires a healthy set of windpipes, of which you don’t have. Right now Im in the very early stages of building my endurance back up, devising a training plan,and trying to sort out how to best handle the foot and GI issues. The race isn’t until October, so I wont actually begin training in earnest until early August. Once I get started though, it doesn’t give me much wiggle room should my asthma decide to goes crazy and put me in the hospital, which is a definite possibility. Back in 2005 I had planned to do a full marathon, only to get sick at the very last moment and having to cancel all my plans. So again, timing and preparation is everything. Fingers crossed I can get through this first set of hurdles.