It wasn’t pretty, but…

It wasn’t pretty, but I got it done.

Last night I woke up wide awake around 11PM — not an auspicious thing with a 5AM alarm set. I could not get to sleep for the life of me and have some suspicions as to some of the causes. One issue was that I felt a little twinge of pressure in my left pinkie toe. It seemed a little tender to the touch and contributed to not finally getting to sleep until sometime after 12:30AM.

What a barrel of laughs when the alarm went off. But I mustered, kitted up and drove up to Penasquitos to get in my 10 mile long run. I noted my swollen toe, but it seemed fine in socks and shoes. My goal was be on the trail as the sun was rising to avoid the ominous temperature predictions for the day. My timing was good and about three quarters of the run beat the heat and direct sun.

Beating the sun (for the most part)

Penasquitos is about as perfect a simulation for Lake Hodges as one can find. Mostly gentle grades over fire road, with a mixed surface that includes sand, rock, gravel and default buffed out hard pack. A few short, punchy climbs round things out.

About 600 feet of vertical in there

Overall, the run went well. I didn’t set any speed records (although bagged a few segment PRs). As I got near the turnaround, alarm bells sounded for an extreme #2 emergency, which required tact, camouflage and careful selection of foliage to properly deal with. Even at this hour there were many people out and there is plenty of Poison Oak if you’re not careful… (for some reason people are always curious about this, so there you have it). Here is some required reading on the topic: Never Wipe Your Ass with a Squirrel. It’s one of the cherished titles in my home library.

I faded in the last mile or two. After, I realized that it was likely a combination of the distance (it’s been a while since I’ve done this) and having just water as my only input — in a race scenario I’d be getting some calories and electrolytes down the hatch for this kind of effort.

Fast forward to midday and my toe looks startlingly swollen, throbbing and is painful as all get out. My wife talks some sense into me and I end up going to Urgent Care to get it looked at. Diagnosis: infection. I come home with antibiotics and pain medication to round out the day. The pain medication has performed its merciful task and tomorrow I’ll start scoping out how to think about training while on antibiotics for the next 10 days.

Of all the crazy things I’ve done this year, it’s my little toe that’s gimping me.