Today was the first day that I woke up and felt no improvement with my right foot. Most mornings I hurt but I could at least see some improvement after a full night of rest. Ice bath, dinner, and a great night of sleep did not seem to make a difference for me at all.
The sun was just starting to make its presence known and the cool Pennsylvania morning wrapped it’s self around me as I stepped out of the RV. I walked as easily as I could careful not to put too much weight on my right foot. Once inside the car I laced up my shoes as I wondered silently to myself how I was going to knock out 26 miles. I was thankful for the early morning start because my right Achilles told me that it was going to be a long day. I began my morning run after a one mile warm up walk. My right foot was killing me and my left knee only hurt enough to remind me that it could get worse whenever it wanted to.
I arrived at a small town and found a sidewalk to run on which reminded me of many hours I spent running the ones in San Angelo. Up ahead of me I saw a couple people running the same direction that I was going. Keep in mind I can barely move my right foot and I am not sure what I was doing even really resembled running, but I had this desire to catch up to them. I don’t know if it was just longing to run with friends or the competitor in me coming out but that is what I felt like doing. I didn’t catch up to them though. I didn’t even make an effort to do so. Just felt like I should mention that my brain wanted me to.
As I made my way into town I realized it was much bigger than I had first thought. I found much more traffic and realized the need to make a pit stop. Malcom gave me directions to where we would meet with a gas station I could stop at along the route. I never found the gas station and had to cross a very busy intersection along the way. Not typically a problem for me when my run does not mimic a zombie walk. I made it across though, met up with the road crew, and found another gas station to stop at.
At this point my urine had turned dark for the second day in a row. This was the earliest in the day that it had happened and I was concerned. I pushed on to the next stop and this is where it all went south for me. I don’t really remember much about those few miles except for a decent hill that took me to the car and having to go to the bathroom less than a half mile from my last stop. I recall sitting down in the grass next to the car and just defeated. I realized going up the hill I was getting lightheaded and just feeling like everything was off for me. This is also most likely the reason that I never saw the gas station I was supposed to stop at earlier. I got into the car, Malcom and Haley knocked out some miles for me while I hydrated and ate some food.
I was able to get back on the road but I wasn’t running. I was walking. Walking at a pace as fast as I could manage so we wouldn’t be out on the road all day long. I had to go to the bathroom again. We found a church and went there. My urine was still dark but not near as dark as it had been so I felt better about that. Haley and Ashley discussed my situation and determined it would be best for me to take a 5 hour break from the road to get rehydrated. Somehow we figured out that my salt intake was low. We attacked the salt and managed it better. I did not have another hydration issue the rest of the segment. Lesson learned.
I started up the second half of my day walking. As I walked along I increased my walk pace and eventually began to shuffle/run a little. I made sure to take in the countryside views as I moved along segment 17. I got more help with my daily miles from Malcom and Haley. On a long stretch of a quiet country road (except for a dog barking at me) with zero traffic I began to really run. Not fast. Not pretty, but I was running. It didn’t last very long but it felt good to run again.
I made a left turn onto a major road and was met by the biggest hill yet. I didn’t run the hill. I walked it. It was one of those hills that just kept going. Every time I thought I was close to the top it would continue to rise. The hill took a lot out of me but I did manage to make it to the top.
I arrived at the coolest bridge I crossed on my entire segment. The views of the town were pretty cool and I took some photos as I walked across. While I was walking I got passed by a guy who was running. I remembered a time when I could run like that (four days ago to be exact ). I crossed the bridge and made my way into a downtown area. I was able to jog a little bit but that ended when I reached a downhill slope and my right foot let me know that it was just done for the day. I hobbled my way down the hill where the road crew was waiting for me.
I was highly disappointed with how I performed that day. I was thankful that we figured out my hydration issues and that I was able to knock out miles as well. My hope was that an ice bath and some medication would help me recover enough for day 5 to be better.