Last week was the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Race. Two days before the start, Tonya Olson and I gave a presentation to the runners about foot care preparation and foot care during the race. At least we gave it to those who stuck around after three other talks.
Among other things, we stressed the importance of being prepared for snow and wet conditions. We advised the runners to use either Squirrel’s Nut Butter, RunGoo, Trail Toes, Desitin Maximum Strength Original Paste, or some other substance as a protectant from moisture on the skin. This is based on our years of experience and seeing runner’s feet.
We also talked about the importance of proper toenail care, explaining how to trim and smooth one’s nails. Good toenail care keeps the nails from catching on the socks and being pushed back into the cuticle and causing toe blisters.
Thank you to the runners who took our time-tested advice. I’ll bet you had a better race than some of those we helped at Michigan Bluff and the finish line. Many runners had their crews helping them, which we love to see.
When I work the race though, I’m reminded of the old adage, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.”
In other words, we can give runners advice. We have tried to put the information out there, whether in the pages of Fixing Your Feet, on social media, one-on-one and in group presentations like we did at Squaw Valley.
The picture shows one runner’s feet at the finish line. In talking to him, we found out he had not changed his shoes and or socks anytime during the race. He had put nothing on his feet to protect them from maceration. And his toenails were not trimmed. In further conversation, he said he had heard our presentation.
In reality, I don’t know anything more about him. Maybe he didn’t have a crew or a crew with some experience. Maybe he had never run in wet conditions. I hope he had a good race experience anyway.
Everyone who toes the start line at Squaw Valley or any other race makes choices.
Amber Monforte Weibel finished in 21:13:20, a great time, and crossed the finish line carrying her son. She told me she didn’t need our help because she used Desitin on her feet and changed shoes at Robinson Flat, and that did the trick for her. She made wise choices—and had a great day.
There are choices made from the time someone finds out they are in the race. Training, conditioning, toenail care, shoes, socks, skin care, food, hydration, crew, hydration system, clothes, lights, and many more. What some runners overlook is the advice given by those who have run the race before them, or by those with special skill sets, like Tonya and me.
We hope for the best for every runner. We want you to have a good time and a successful race. When we speak from years of experience working with runners in 100 miles races, one-day races, and multi-day races, and in all types of conditions, we speak from our heart.
In this case, if you are running a long race in wet conditions, there are steps you can take to increase your chances of success. Go back to the top of this blog post and reread the second and third paragraphs. We won’t lead you astray. We promise.
Good luck and good feet.