Last Thursday, while running around like a madman trying to put together a respectable Halloween costume, a heavy piece of luggage fell on my right foot while I was in line for the bus. In my hand was the plastic bucket that would ultimately be used to create my lamest Halloween costume ever.
I didn't think anything of the incident at the time, and good-naturedly accepted the apology of the poor traveller, who was wrestling with several big suitcases while attempting to root through a handful of foreign lucre for Canadian coins.
Two days later I found myself on the Lougheed Highway, huffing and puffing up a long, winding hill in my running shoes. The stabbing pains in my right foot, or more specifically the raised area above my big toe where the suitcase fell, are all I can think about - at least until a couple of blisters develop under the big toe on my left foot.
My leg of the relay run, the 100 km Haney to Harrison relay, is about 13.5 km - my personal longest run since I took up the sport of running back in April, although I ran almost double that distance over three legs during the Hood to Coast race back in August.
Both feet held together until I reached the handoff point, as they always do, and after consuming a few mouthfuls of water I reached for the first beer of the day. It wasn't even 2 o'clock., but I felt it was well-deserved for my hour and five minutes of labour and discomfort - as was the next beer, the next two after that, and the next four after that.
By five o'clock that afternoon I couldn't even feel my sore feet, and that suited me just fine. In fact, that's what I was counting on.
For me, that is what competitive running is all about. You get up early, you stretch, and then you pound pavement until you hit the finish line. And then you either go somewhere for a huge, greasy breakfast or hit the beer tent to sympathize with fellow runners.
Running events are a lot of fun, I'm discovering, except for the running part - I'm glad I started, and think I will be a runner for the rest of my life. But I have started to worry that I might be developing a little bit of a running problem.
One member of our relay team started the first leg of the race at 6:30 a.m. that morning. He cracked his first cold beer at about 7:15 a.m. and kept up a an astonishing pace until about 1 a.m. the following morning.