The track may feel smooth under your feet when you’re wearing spikes or trainers, but with bare feet, you truly feel the roughness of the terrain.
That was a hard lesson learned over the weekend at the Ivy League Indoor Heptagonal Championships in Cambridge, Massachusetts, when Harvard junior Kieran Tuntivate lost his shoe between the 400 and 500 meter mark of the race.
His shoe began slipping off after a competitor stepped on its back heel, creating an unnatural and uncomfortable motion about 300 meters into the race. Soon, Tuntivate had enough, and forced the shoe off his foot, leaving his left foot exposed to the recently redone track surface at his home stadium.
“I just let the shoe come off so I could run naturally again,” Tuntivate told Runner’s World. “I just just tried to stay calm and stay in the race and last a long as I could.”
Tuntivate powered through the following laps without issue until about the 2K mark. That’s when the pain really started kicking in.
“Up until 2K, my foot felt okay,” Tuntivate said. “After that, it got worse. I could feel my skin peeling away, and the last lap was pretty painful. I was trying to accelerate around the turn, and my foot was slipping on the track when I tried to push off. That was the worst part.”
Despite the discomfort, Tuntivate finished the turn and sprinted down the home stretch to finish the race in 8:12.72 for the win in a tight race—the top three were all within about a second of each other. A victory for the junior earned his team the 10 points he wanted to get them for the race, but his mind immediately went to the race he was slated to run the following day: the 5K.
“My first reaction was I was pretty upset,” he said. “I didn’t think I’d be able to do the 5K the next day.”
But that thought was quickly interrupted by the team’s trainer, Nicolas Benitez, who appeared at the finish line and picked up and “cradled and carried (Tuntivate) like a small child.” He took the runner to the medical area, where his wound was cleaned and dressed.
“I think my teammates were just pretty surprised and shocked about my foot, and seeing the injury was pretty gruesome,” Tuntivate said.
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For the rest of the day and the following morning, Tuntiviae was on crutches with his foot wrapped. When he showed up for the second day, he was feeling good, but then he tested out how his foot felt in his track spikes.
“I tried warming up, and tried doing strides with spikes, and it was really painful on my toes,” he said. “So I switched into my trainers.”
Those were his Nike Zoom Flys, which he had trained heavily in, but never raced in. However, though it felt more like one of his training runs, the shoe was more secure on his foot.
With the help of his teammates setting a comfortable pace in the 5K, Tuntivate went on to win the race with a time of 14:25.32, securing the 20 points he wanted to get his team for the weekend.
“It was a good weekend,” he said. “I couldn’t have done it without my teammates. They paced me in the 3K, and in the 5K, they helped me set a pace, because if we were changing paces, that would have hurt my foot.”
A few days out, Tuntivate is still recovering. He has not run on his injured foot yet, but he feels comfortable enough to do so in the coming days.
From: Runner’s World US
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