Thursday, April 26, 2012

Beach Running: An Inner Dialogue

First, let me set the stage:

On Tuesday morning, I decided to do my first ever beach run. Being an OCD neat-freak, I intelligently decided to do this run barefoot because the thought of getting sand in my shoes made me hyperventilate. I also wisely put sunscreen on.

Now for the monologue:

Hmmm. I can't decide whether I should run up here in the dry sand or go down there closer to the water. Too bad in between the dry sand and the surf there is a strip of broken seashells that I'll have to try to navigate. But it's really hard to run up here in the soft sand. The other stuff must be better. Oh look, there's a spot without too many shells - I'll cross over there.

Ok, excellent. I could get used to this. The sand feels a little hard with no give, but it is a lot easier to run down here.

Yes. Yes! This is great! This is so serene - just me and the beach. No cars to dodge, no red lights, no curbs to trip on.

It's getting a little warm out here, but that's ok - I can just go run in the surf and splash a little bit. That's it - a lot cooler. It's like my own built in fan. It's like I'm playing tag with the ocean! I love it! Man, if I lived on the beach I would run down here every. single. day.

Ok wait, my calves are really starting to cramp up. OUCH, darn it, I wasn't paying attention and stepped on a sharp seashell. Eh, it doesn't hurt that much so it must not have broken the skin. I'll just run through the water and numb it a little bit and it will be fine.

Ugh - up there is a really big field of broken shells. I'm going to have to go back into the difficult to run in sand. Blah.

Three miles in. Ok, my calves are screaming at me. I really need to stop and stretch.

Let's do some yoga stretching on the beach. Isn't this amazing? It's like I'm communing with NATURE. Here I am doing yoga in bare feet on the beach with nobody around.

Time to turn around and head back toward the house. There's that damn field of broken shells again. Stupid shells. My calves really hurt now and running in that soft sand is not helping at all.

Alright, here's my second wind. I feet great! I could run forever! Where's the house, I wonder? I should be able to pick it out by the little gazebo at the end of the stairs. And I should hit 6 miles right around there too.


Crap. That's six miles. Where in the heck is the house? Did I run past it??? How did I miss it? Oh my gosh. That next collection of houses does not look familiar. I think I'm lost. How in the heck am I going to find the house? And ouch my feet hurt!!! Why on Earth do my feet hurt so much?

I guess I'll just start walking back the other way. I must have just run past the house and not even noticed.

Man, my ankle hurts too. That's what I get for running barefoot. This just confirms that my stride is waaaaaaaaay too screwed up for me to go barefoot. I need all that crap in my shoes to prevent me from becoming a cripple.

Oh yay! There's my sister and mother-in-law! I'm not lost! Hallelujah! Oh, I should run up to them, then I'll 6.2 miles and I'll have run two 10ks in two days! I AM AWESOME.

 End monologue.

So friends, why did my feet hurt so much? I'll show you:

 Yup. Blisters.

EIGHT blisters, to be exact. In all of my grand intelligence, I had neglected to take into account the fact that I have never run in sand. Ever. And that this might result in blisters. I ended up with a blister on 4/5 toes on my left foot, 2/5 toes on the right foot, and one on the ball of each foot.

In all of my miles, I have been very lucky to get a blister only once before. I am definitely not prone to getting these things. As a blister rookie, I asked my mom and my sister-in-law (both nurses) what I should do about them. One said pop them, one said don't.

So to settle the tie, I consulted the almighty Google, where the majority of articles said that if the blisters were causing pain they could be drained with a sterile needle. I'll spare you the details, but I did end up popping all of the blisters and hobbled around the house for the rest of the day.

My plans of running every day were foiled. I did not run yesterday, partly because I wanted to let the blisters heal and partially because my calves were killing me.

Today I did not run because it was a perfect plant-you-butt-in-a-beach-chair day (and my calves were still killing me). Instead, I sat in the sand and made friends with a few sand crabs. I named the biggest one Chester and protected him from birds, other beach goers, and a jerk in a Jeep driving on the beach.

Chester! Isn't he cute?
Tomorrow I will be going to Duck in the morning and running again, even though my ankle and calves are still a little bit sore. This evening I ate my weight in crab cakes and scallops, so I need the work out.

And since I've treated you to nothing but photos of blisters and crabs, here's a Corolla sunset from last night.


  1. Um...I know you're on vacation but 4 blister on the left, 2 on the right foot and one on the ball of each foot makes eight. =)

    1. Ya know, as I typed that I thought maybe I did the math wrong but was too lazy to go back and look. Thanks for catching me. Fixed!