B is for Blister

It seems like every runner is proud of their ugly feet. I know my dad is particularly proud of the fact that he had his toenails removed because of running in the mountains. (A story for another day). One thing I hear from new runners is complaints about blisters. I always seem to get new blisters from new shoes or at least a new model of a new shoe. Hoka is good for releasing a new model and completely reconfiguring the shoe. (Clifton 4 vs 5 vs 6). Whether it has a slightly narrower toe box or is shorter or longer, I always get a new blister, then a nice callus after changing to new shoes.

The Boston Marathon

Every runner has a story about their biggest blister ever, and I know my story trumps everyone. I ran the 2015 Boston Marathon for the American Liver Foundation. (A great charity). I prepared for the race with the Saint Louis Park Lifetime Run Club and trained well with the group. We start training the last week of December, so in Minnesota, it is cold and icy. We tend not to warm up until April, and I had a pair of Hoka Stinson ATR. Sort of a trail shoe with lots of cushioning. I did not experience much for blisters, and I am never worried about blisters during a race.

Wet Conditions

Race day was going to be nice and cool, the perfect temp for me. The only thing I was worried about was the rain. At the start, it was in the 40s and a good drizzle. I had a throwaway shirt which I ended up keeping until mile 10. (Normally, I throw a shirt away as we start running.) The rain didn’t really let up the first half of the race, and I just continued to get wetter and wetter.

Had to finish

As a side note, I had to finish this race in an ok time (I was hoping for 4 hours) as I had to catch a plane at 6 pm to get to Las Vegas, where I had to speak at the annual Magento Imagine conference. This part has nothing to do with blisters and all to do with motivating me to keep going and not fall apart and walk. The entire time I had it in my head that I could not slow for anything.

Wetter and Wetter

I can distinctly remember passing the Citgo sign with one mile to geet, then right on Hereford left on Boylston, and running down the final stretch to the finish line. Up to this point, my thoughts were all on finishing, but once I crossed the line and started walking, I realized my feet were wet, and my left foot felt like I was on a balloon. It wasn’t sore, but it sure felt odd. As I walked through the finishing area, collected my medal, and got some food, I realized that I had a blister on the entire bottom of the ball of my foot.

The Long Walk

I had to walk from the finishing area to my hotel. (About a mile). The pain started, and the odd sensation of being on a balloon only got worse. My feet were completely soaked, and as I got back to my hotel and took my shoes off, I realized that I had the biggest blister I had ever seen, and it had popped somewhere between the finish and the hotel. Not to get too graphic, but it was like a small empty bag attached to my foot that had been pickled in water for four hours.

Made it

I had this clever idea to book a flight on Spirit Air because, at the time, you could get a first-class seat for $99 (They called it the Big Seat or something like that). What I didn’t know at the time is that Spirit is natoriasouly late. My flight that I rushed to get to and made it to the airport on time was delayed by hours. I didn’t land in Las Vegas until after midnight. I did have my jacket and medal that I proudly wore throughout the airport and hotel.

No one cares

I didn’t tell anyone, and no one ever cares, is that you are sore and it is hard to walk. They also don’t care that you had the biggest blister in the history of blisters on your foot. I limped around the next couple of days and even made the mistake of trying to run when I was there. The one thing that the blister has given me is a lasting memory of a great day in Boston.

Please purchase Mark Remy’s book “C is for Chafing” He inspired me to write all these posts.

Brent W. Peterson

Commerce running, talking geek

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