The Burning River 100 Mile Endurance run is now a little less than two weeks away. It has been – unfortunately – an up and down training cycle. I’ve had good weeks and bad weeks. Great training races along the way, and miserable ones. The yo-yo nature of the last five months has left me without the kind of confidence that a strong build-up would have given me in these final days.
The latest bump in the road was a little more than just a bump. While playing softball two Wednesdays ago, I had to dive back into 2nd base, and somehow managed to slam my left big toe into the infield dirt. It hurt instantly, but not enough to keep me from playing the rest of the game. The next morning, though, I woke to find it badly bruised and swollen, and I worried that I had broken it.
Just over 3 weeks before Burning River and I was afraid I’d broken my big toe. An unmitigated disaster.
But it seemed impossible. I couldn’t have hit the ground that hard. And I was wearing cleats, with their stiff foot beds, and spikes. I’ve stubbed my bare toe on the coffee table harder than that and not broken anything. But the pain the next morning was unavoidable and it was difficult to walk on it.
My father was a dentist and oral surgeon, and he’s always my first source for general medical advice. We talked over the phone, and based on my descriptions, we both agree that it likely is not broken, but only very badly bruised. We plot a schedule of icings and ibuprofen and decide that will we know inside of a week if it really is broken or not.
In spite of the positive diagnoses, the condition of my toe meant I had to skip out on my final planned training race. I was supposed to head up to Wisconsin that Saturday for a 50-mile race. It would have been a very hot race on a less than easy course, but finishing that race, no matter my finish time, would have been a great, final confidence booster before Burning River. Instead, I had to wait nearly a week before I could run on my toe again. Valuable training time lost just when I should have been at the peak of my build-up.
It’s been 11 days now since my injury. I’m running again, and planning to throw down one more 20-mile training run in the next couple of days, but it’s just 2 weeks ‘til BR100 and I’m left wondering again if I’ve been able to do enough to be ready.