Dallas White Rock Marathon Report - December 11, 2005

(NOTE: The following is not for the squeamish! It contains text and graphics that might offend the sensibilities of some readers. I take full responsibility for my lack of judgment in this matter, and no responsibility whatsoever regarding any person who would attempt to duplicate my errors, either wittingly or otherwise.)

In order to be as truthful and accurate about this report, it is best that I begin on Wednesday December 7. I had decided to cut my mileage this week knowing that I was close to meeting my goal of 2600 miles for the year (50 mile a week average) and was just wanting to take it easy since I knew I was going to be running Dallas on Sunday. Wednesday was the beginning of the first sizable snowfall Kansas City has received so far this year. I was excited to get out and run my first barefoot snow run of the year. Sure, it was cold but I had ran the day before in 14 degree weather with no adverse affects. On Wednesday, however, the temps were 10 degrees with -5 windchill. No big deal, I thought.

So, I decided to go out and do a quick 3 mile run. After the first mile, my feet started getting numb but I didn't think much of it. I knew they would thaw out. I finished my 3 miles and got back to my truck and started massaging my feet and toes. My toes were frozen! I was a little alarmed but I knew they would thaw out. I went back to work and my feet became very uncomfortable. I was not getting feeling back to my toes! I went home later and the feeling was starting to return but not much. I still had less than 20 to 30% feeling in about 6 of my 10 toes. I took some pain medicine and went to bed and slept rather uncomfortably.

On Thursday, we were snowed in with 10 inches so I worked from home. Thank God! I was able to soak my feet and try to restore feeling in my toes. They were coming back but by this time I started to question whether Dallas was a possibility on Sunday. I decided that night to go ahead and make the trip because I owed my mom a visit anyway in Arlington Texas. I figured if I couldn't run then I would at least get to see my mom, brother, sister-in-law and their kids.

Friday morning the feet were feeling a little bit better but I still had numbness in 4 toes. All of the toes had begun to blister and ooze liquid. On Friday, I lost the skin on the top of my 3rd toe on my left foot. I kept telling myself, "That was REALLY stupid what you did on Wednesday. Now you probably won't be able to run". I drove to the Dallas area and got there Friday evening, picked up my packet at Reunion Center and went to my mom's in Arlington. Took some Advil and slept pretty good that night.

Saturday, my feet were feeling better. I could tell I was getting most of my feeling back in my toes. Unfortunately, my toes were really blistering. The skin on the bottoms of the toes weren't that bad but that one toe on my left foot was looking pretty bad. I decided that I could run if I wrapped that toe and carried some medical tape with me on the run in case I needed to rewrap it. Slept really good Saturday night.

Race Day

The weather was great in Dallas on Sunday 12/11. It was about 40 degrees when we lined up a little before 8 a.m. I love races where they sing the National Anthem, and then to boot, they had a F-15 flyover. Very inspiring! I decided that I was definitely not going to push myself for 2 reasons (1) and most importantly was because I did not want to injure myself any further, and (2) I felt like I had ran a decent time at the Gobbler Grind 3 weeks earlier (3:46).


At The Start Line

We were off at 8 a.m. The first few miles were very crowded as the half marathoners converged on the marathoners within a few blocks from their respective starting place. My feet were feeling fine, except for the slight numbness in a few toes. The first few miles were nice asphalt and concrete. I was sporting my Santa hat which got a lot of the onlookers cheering for the "Barefoot Santa" or "Shoeless Santa". (The later does have a bit more alliteration ... I was kind of partial to that one!) The miles just kind of peeled away as I really wasn't in a huge hurry so I chatted with lots of folks about barefoot running. When I would come up on a large group of spectators I would cajole them, shouting "C'mon these folks are running 26.2 miles ... GIVE IT UP FOR EM!" The crowds would roar! It was a lot of fun.

At about mile 8, I felt a small piece of glass enter my left heel. Hmmm ... should I stop and pick it out? Nah, it wasn't hurting. I'll get it out later, I thought. (Which I did ... it came out with a squeeze that evening, hours after the race.) At mile 9, I met a guy named Jack who posts a lot on the Pose Tech Forum. He knew who I was and we exchanged pleasantries. I told him to tell my friend Jerry G. "hi" for me, who also posts on Pose.

Shortly after, we started our trek around White Rock Lake. Beautiful day, sunny skies, and blue water! Chatted with several more folks going around the lake. I was still feeling strong, because I wasn't pushing it. I knew if I started pushing to go faster then my form would suffer and I might really hurt my feet.

At about mile 18, we turned away from the lake and onto Garland Road. That is always a fun stretch because traffic is slow and they're going the same direction as the runners. They usually yell from their car windows encouragement to the runners as we head toward mile 20 and the Dolly Parton Hills. As usual, the Dolly impersonators were out in their full gala, handing out water and "sweets" to the runners.

Mile 21 through 26 are pretty much downhill. The crowds were great in this area! When I got to about mile 24 I was running alone and looked down to notice the bandages had come off my toe. It was feeling okay but it did not look well at all. So, in order not to gross spectators out when I finished, I decided to stop and rewrap it. That's when I noticed that all the skin from the toe was hanging off the tip, toenail and all! I pulled it off and rewrapped it. Geez! It gave me the heebie jeebies just looking at it! Just another reminder to not do something as stupid as to over-expose my feet to sub-zero windchills again!

The remaining 2 miles were just more of the same. I kept playing on the crowd to whoop it up! When I got to the finish line, I stopped short about 30 feet and just kept engaging the crowd for a few seconds to whoop it up! It was a lot fun!

NO  FN  LN  OVERALL  DIVPL  SEXPL  TIME  PACE 
1013 Barefoot-Rick Roeber 1270 172/311 1005/1973 4:09:08 9:31

Met my brother after the race. He had come out from Cedar Hill, a suburb of Dallas, to watch me come in. We talked for a bit and then I headed back to my mom's in Arlington to spend the afternoon and evening with her. On Monday, I drove back to Kansas City. The feet were definitely sore as I was reminded each time I engaged the clutch on my truck.


Brother Don and Me Post-Race

Postscript

In retrospect, I'm glad I did the race despite the condition of my feet. They will heal, by the grace of God. It's just given me a better understanding of my limitations. Sure, it was a stupid thing to do a few days before a marathon, subjecting my feet to such extreme cold. I just need to take this lesson and learn from it. Next time, I might not be so fortunate.

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