After an extra day of rest I was ready for a timed 5K to measure my progress since completing the B210K (Bridge-to-10K) training program. I had planned on taking part in the Langenthaler Stadtlauf in Switzerland a couple of days ago but due to work commitments I had to return to Oman. So, today was my race day.
Before heading out for my timed 5K I drank as much water as possible so that I wouldn’t have to carry any water with me. This seemed like a good idea – less weight to carry should help with lowering my time. This assumption was wrong – 20 minutes later I had to rush home to get rid of the extra water. That accomplished I headed out again to start over. (Let’s just consider the first 20 minutes as a warm-up.)
Soon, I hit the timer and I was off for my second 5K attempt. I was clipping right along when I felt something sharp, a little pebble, in my sneaker. I stopped quickly, took off my running shoe but couldn’t find the pebble. It must have disappeared on its own. (Really annoyed at this 30 second delay but I continued.) Two minutes later the nasty little pebble was back. I would have to stop again and investigate the situation more closely. I removed my sneaker and hit it on the pavement but still no sign of a pebble. However, while doing this I noticed that there was something on the bottom of my sneaker. Good heavens, did I step on a nail? No, it was a thorn which took about a minute to remove. Problem solved and I continued. By now, I knew this would be a slow 5K but I was determined to finish until I encountered another sharp pain in my heel. I stopped and took my shoe off again and found a second thorn which was impossible to remove. My test 5K was over! I guess this practice 5K was just not meant to be.
Yet, I still had to get back home so I had to find a solution. So, I took the insole out of my sneaker and used a rock to flatten the tip of the thorn which was sticking into my heel. At this point, I decided that I would jog for another 20 minutes and then call it a day. As I approached my home, I glanced at my Garmin and noticed that it was no longer on.
When I arrived at work I done some research to determine the type of thorn I stepped on. I discovered that there is a variety of plant life in Oman even though more than half the country is desert. As many as 400 different types of plants have been recorded in this part of the Arabian Peninsula. Trees, plants and shrubs have adapted to the harshness of the climate in many ways. For example, the root systems of many plants spread out wide distances in order to collect moisture. A number of shrubs have long sharp thorns that discourage goats and other animals from eating them. Perhaps these thorns are meant to fend off people as well. With so many different types of shrubs with thorns I am not sure which one I met this morning. All I know is my heel is still hurting.
On the positive side, I am thankful that this happened during a practice race and not in the middle of a real race. Now, I will recharge my Garmin and get ready for my next practice 5K the day after tomorrow.