Well…at least I got half

On March 24, a marathon hike event was held in Otterberg, Germany which I attended.

It’s about six in the morning when I start the 1.5 hour drive through thick fog towards the event site. I watch the sun rise as a fireball through the misty clouds, relishing in the atmosphere, the quiet before the storm (of people).

I reach my destination just as the event officially starts and watch a herd of walkers rush out of the gates, while I leisurely get my stuff ready and saunter over to the official’s table to sign in. I am handed a map and information spreadsheet, forego the offering of coffee and cookies and just start walking on the designated path.

It’s a pretty cold morning, but as the path steadily climbs up out of the town, I start getting warm pretty soon. There’s a ton of people out walking, mostly in small groups, chatting away noisily. So I put in my headphones and blast some music.

I am almost up the first climb (not huge, but pretty steep), when there’s a shooting pain in my left foot. And I just go……oh no….nononononono. I’ve had this pain before, mostly during my monster training hike the weekend before and then again last night. I had hoped it would just go away on its own, but I guess there’s actually something going on that I need to adress. And I had looked forward to this challenge so much, what to do now?

It was pretty clear that I wasn’t hiking 42km (26 mi) on that foot. I was barely an hour into the challenge, not even having covered 10% of the trail. So while trying to figure out how to progress with the day, I just kept walking. I was NOT turning back.

The pain in my foot ebbed and came back, ebbed and came back, and I just gritted my teeth and carried on through the forest. The trail was honestly pretty boring and so crowded that there wasn’t much enjoyment walking. I came to the first checkpoint after 10km and just grabbed a tiny chocolate bar. Too many people.

At the second checkpoint, at roughly 16km I made a decision. There was a possibility to shorten the marathon to a half marathon by cutting across via road to the trail coming back to the start point. I decided that a half marathon on an injured foot is still pretty cool and an achievement I can be proud of, so I hoofed it the last 5 km back to the place I had set out from.

I ended up finishing the 22.1km in 4 hours and 15 minutes. And even though I didn’t finish the whole marathon I still got a certificate of attendance and a gift – a tiny fanny pack!

I then made my way back home, a 3-hour drive away, feeling sad because I hadn’t finished the marathon, but also feeling accomplished, because I had pushed through the pain and at least managed to finish a half marathon. I don’t know if I’ll attend events like that again, because for me, it’s just too crowded. It kind of defeats the point of hiking for me, which is to get out in nature and NOT have to deal with people so much.

We’ll see what the future holds. I’ve got a few ideas cooking right now (and a doctor’s appointment because of my foot) and until next time, let me know your thoughts.

Keeping you posted…

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