Trials and Tribulations of a Runner

I saw this vulture on the fence as I ran today. Was this a sign of what my run was going to be like? 😉

It was incredibly difficult to motivate myself to run this morning.  I just did not want to run.  Have you ever felt that way?  That happens to me from time to time.  Around 12:30 I decided to go to Fleet Feet and get some electrolyte caps.  When I got there I looked for and found cushion inserts for the ball of the foot as well.  The lady working at Fleet Feet was kind enough to let me take the inserts out of the pack and allowed me to insert them in my new blue bikilas.

I put these in my bikilas to hopefully aid in my ball of foot callous problem

The inserts I was playing with are called Spenco RX Ball-of-Foot cushions.  They cost $7.99.  They inserted into the vff’s nicely but they did feel a little funky but comfortable.  If that makes any sense at all.  I purchased the cushions and walked around with them in my blue bikilas for about two hours.  After a while I did feel good and comfortable in them.  So, when the time came to run I had them happily inserted in my smelly, old red bikilas.  Before I move on to my experience with the run let me mention a couple of other things I purchased at Fleet Feet.

These caps are essential for long distance running during the summer. You just have to find the right balance for you on how many to take during a run

I bought a 100 pack of saltstick caps.  These caps do not seem any different from any other brand of electrolyte pills I tried and, the price for the 100 pack is approximately the same as the other brands too.  I paid $21.95 for the 100 pills.  I took one pill before my run and only that pill for the entire run.

Ahh, I love these things! I want to buy the company!

I also bought a couple of packs of sport beans.  These are like energizer jelly beans.  They taste great and do not upset my stomach like some gels do.  Basically, it’s an alternative to sport gels and those dry nasty sport candy bars.  Can you tell that I’m not a fan of sport gels and sport bars?  Never have been.  I view sport gels and sport bars as necessary evils.  So, I buy them for long runs and force myself to eat them.  Not so for the sport beans.  I love those things.  I tried sport beans for the first time while I was climbing Kilimanjaro a few months ago and, I’ve been in love ever since.  The sport beans cost me $1.25 for each pack.  Everything worthwhile costs money, doesn’t it?  I wish I won the lottery.  If I did win the lottery I would definitely buy stock in these sport jelly beans!  I would be their number 1 customer.  So, all the money come back to me! 😉

After I left Fleet Feet I cruised over to my friends home and let their dogs out for about 30 minutes but that’s another story for another blog.

Wildlife inventory:

  • 3 squirrels
  • 14 doves
  • 5 dogs
  • 2 cats
  • 7 mocking birds
  • 1 grackle
  • 1 black-winged butterfly
  • 2 vultures
  • 6 great egrets
  • 3 seagulls
  • 5 sparrows
  • 1 red cardinal

About 3:00pm I started my run.  And boy, what a disaster it threatened to become!

The traffic on Bonaventure Road was preposterous!  I’ve never seen so much traffic on this road before!  I was thinking that there must be some big funeral going on at Bonaventure or Greenwich cemetery because it was like bumper to bumper on Bonaventure.  I kept having to run on the narrow, rocky, soft, slanting shoulder so much that I began to lose my fun for this run.  As I approached the cemeteries I realized that the traffic was not due to a funeral service.  The traffic was just heavy on this road today.  I began to wonder if there was a problem on Victory Drive and maybe traffic was being rerouted through Bonaventure.  When I reached Victory I realized that wasn’t the reason either.  For whatever reason everyone and their grandchildren’s children decided to drive on Bonaventure Road today…just to aggravate me, I’m sure. 😉

I hopped onto Thunderbolt bridge and ran it with no problems.  My feet, with the ball of foot cushions inserted in the red bikilas felt a little lumpy but ok.  I got to the other side of the bridge and into Isle of Armstrong and another problem emerged.  My stomach began to grumble.  That I have a little grumbling stomach during a run on a hot day is nothing new but this grumbling at such an early stage of the run was troubling.  I was around the four mile mark and, this grumbling was going to require a bathroom stop very, very soon.  I could definitely sense that.  And, I didn’t know of any restroom to use on Isle of Armstrong except one at Desposito’s seafood restaurant.  And, I sincerely doubted that the Desposito’s employees and customers would want to see a sweaty shirtless runner walk into the restaurant looking for a toilet.

By the time I did get to Desposito’s I had to slow down to a walk and prayed for a way out of this nasty situation.  I looked at the Wilmington River and wondered what the heck I was going to do.  The answer came a few minutes later when some dude with a very intense look on his face ran from his docked boat past me and practically dove into a porta-john.  There was my miracle!  Never!  Never, had I seen a porta-john in this area, right there by the spot where people unload their boats into the Wilmington River!  I thanked God for this miracle but, unfortunately, I was forced to reflect on this miracle for another ten minutes or so.  The guy that had run into the porta-john seemed to have fallen asleep in there because he would not come out!  Here I am about to burst and this dude must be reading a book in that porta-john!  What gives!  I wanted to run up to the porta-john and start shaking it and screaming for the guy to come out!  I chilled, though and maintained my composure.

So, I went from sudden joy to horrific despair as I awaited for this guy to finish his business in the miracle porta-john.  It took him about ten minutes to give birth to whatever was inside him.  And, in that time I did learn patience and virtue.  I thought about Mother Teresa and Jennifer Aniston and slowly began to feel a little better.  Finally, the dude came out and I jumped in.  I was lost in that porta-john for approximately ten minutes.  I walked out of that porta-john a new man.  I felt lighter and at peace with myself and every living thing around me.  I continued my run.

Next problem…

After crossing the Thunderbolt bridge again and back in comfortable territory my feet began to feel incredibly uncomfortable due to these ball of foot cushions.  I don’t know exactly what had just happened but my feet began to burn and feel terribly uncomfortable where these cushions were.  I pressed on, though.

Bonaventure Road was back to normal now and that made me happy momentarily, forgetting that my feet were killing me.  As I ran down Bonaventure my Nathan Pack suddenly fell off my waist and onto the street, scattering my four water bottles all over the road.  I looked down at the Nathan belt and water bottles scattered about the street and wanted to curse but I realized this was a test.  God had allowed the devil to come down and test me just like Job.

My 8.116 mile run and the three tests marked

  1. I passed the first test.  I didn’t haul the guy out of the porta-john and throw him into the Wilmington River.  Nor, did I crap all over Isle of Armstrong and myself.  So, I built up faith, patience and perseverance & didn’t pollute.
  2. The second test was about enduring pain.  I was dealing with that without cursing at the top of my lungs nor was I at a point of amputating my feet, although, the thought did cross my mind.
  3. Now, I had confronted test #3.  My Nathan pack fell off my waist and the water bottles lay scattered all about the street.  What will I do?  Will I flip out and start tearing apart mailboxes?  Will I jump on top of the hood of the incoming car and start screaming and jumping on it like a crazy baboon?  Or, will I do the right thing and just pick up the Nathan pack and water bottles and continue my run?  Well, what else could I do?  Tearing mailboxes would hurt my hands and get me arrested.  Jumping on the hood of a terrified female driver’s car would only get me locked up in a looney bin.  I Reached down to the street and picked up my Nathan Pack and water bottles without pulling my back.  As I continued my run I realized I did the right thing.

I passed the test.  Satan was kicked in the ass and told to get out of town and not bug Dan anymore.  I ran down Bonaventure Road and when I reached the cemeteries I decided to run into Greenwich.  My feet began to burn again.  Trials and tribulations, I tell ya! 😉

One of the burning feet from the bench at the Greenwich Cemetery

At this point I was at the 7 mile mark and had grown a bit tired of all these trials and tribulations.  I found a marble bench by a grave stone and sat down and took off my vff’s and just stared out at the marsh.  In the distance I could see five great egrets and three seagulls.  Deep inside I found my peaceful place again.

They say that when the devil tempts you, if you do not fall for his vices he will leave you for an opportune time.  I guess he had decided to come back and rather than get mad and give in to the dark side I relished this particular moment, shoe-less in Greenwich cemetery, staring out at the beautiful marsh with birds gathering about it.

sitting on a bench looking out at the marsh in Greenwich Cemetery

I sat on that bench for about five minutes enjoying the breeze and staring out at the marsh.  It was a perfect moment.  I looked over at the grave and wondered what the person buried there was like when he was among the living.  I removed the ball of foot cushions from my bikilas, put the shoes back on and decided that today’s run was a wrap.  I ran home with no discomfort in my feet at all.

By the time I made it home I had clocked 8.16 miles, – a lot less than I had planned for the day but, that was ok.  Life isn’t always going to be easy, – you just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other and you will get to your destination.  When I walked into my house, Mr. Gypsy met me happily with a very fast wagging little nub of a tail.  All was well in my world.

Life is good.

Many thanks for stopping by.

All the very best to you and yours.




Saturday, 11:18pm

I took the video above from the pier on the Wilmington River (on the east side of the river). In the background you can see the Thunderbolt bridge. This is a common path during my runs through Thunderbolt.

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