I left County Road 6 way earlier than I’d ever left before after pushing to get ahead all day. There were a few lower moments, not just mentally, but physically too. I’d gotten behind electrolytes between Silver Bay and Tettegouche. Then, I overshot the sweet spot on the way down the Sawmill Dome about two miles shy of County 6.
I grabbed my headlamp and a few calories and headed off into the dusk. Night was upon us and I cruised into Finland at about 10:30pm. I left Finland and began the trip to Crosby. Sonju Lake is a mandatory stop but I don’t like to stay there long. On the road into Crosby my pace was brisk, possibly too much so.
Crosby to Sugarloaf is a grind. It’s 3:00am and there is a lot of descending and climbing. Plus, this section of trail is 10 miles long. Sugarloaf is a spot I’ve dropped multiple times and I know if I can get in and out, I’ll finish.
As I pull into Sugarloaf my left foot has been on fire for miles. When I took off my shoe and sock, I expected to see a big ole’ blister on the bottom of my foot. We looked but found nothing. I was convinced there was a blister there buried deep under the skin. I grabbed a safety pin and talked my brother into sticking into the bottom of my foot, in hopes we would be able to alleviate the pressure that had build up. He stuck that thing in what seemed like a half an inch and came out with nothing.
The longer I sat there the better my chances of not continuing on. I had a lot of support sitting there in that camp chair under the stars. Caden was with me, I changed shoes and socks and we took off to Cramer Road as the sun was beginning to lighten up the Eastern horizon.
Fast forward to today, I had a small blister form on that left foot and immediately searched for a safety pin. It probably wasn’t the same pin but the memories came flooding back. Part of training for ultra-marathons and doing them is foot care. Our minds will take us through tough feet but it certainly makes things a bit more difficult, one step at a time. I was able to walk the remaining 31 miles plus to finish in 34 hours, 19 minutes and 19 seconds. That was more than three hours faster than my first finish in 2014.
In the days to follow Superior 2018 the blister we tried to pop at Sugarloaf reared its ugly head and it was buried deep in there. A part of the ball of my foot about the size of a quarter was exposed for the better part of the week, many layers deep.
Tomorrow I’ll do my work barefoot and focus on letting my left foot breathe and heal.