After the Ultra Boucle de la Sarra yesterday I knew my feet would be hurting. It’s not the distance, mind you, as it’s “only” around 50km. Instead, it was heading down a steep descent three or four times an hour for six hours, and the sliding that inevitably happens as you try and keep your footing on that descent.

By about the three hour mark it was noticeably painful to descend, and by the last hour I was not looking forward to the 90 seconds of downhill I would be enduring. My toenails on both big toes were mashing against the front of my shoe and I could feel a blister starting to form on the left side of my shoe, also a result of the sliding on the downhill.

It’s not that my shoes didn’t fit – they are great – and it’s not that I was still wearing them in as they have about 180km on them now. Rather it is just the fact that the descent was so steep, the trail down the hill so narrow and slippery, and I am so inexperienced running the downhills effectively.

The verdict?

I have two black toenails on each big toe and they’ll likely come off in the next week or so. That’s life for an ultrarunner, I guess, and I am not too worried about that.

The blister that formed on the left side of my left heel burst during the race and Cécile showed me my sock full of blood and pus – not the most attractive thing to see, I can assure you.

My feet are sore, too, though that’s normal for the day after a race. I don’t have any trouble walking around on them, but I am conscious of them stinging a little when I walk.

 All is good preparation for the uphills and downhills of the Saintelyon at the end of the year. I think the downhills there will be a little easier than the Piste de la Sarra as they are longer and less steep than the race yesterday. Still, I’ll continue to use the anti-friction cream all over my feet and try and take care of them as best I can – you only get two, after all.

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