Within the first 15 km of a possible 100+ km training weekend, I developed some pretty bad blisters on my heels. My old socks were worn thin at the back and offered no protection from my shoe. I ignored it for a while, which didn’t solve the problem, and eventually taped up the sore spot, which was only effective for a short time. As I shuffled along, I tried to imagine an item that would offer relief. I thought about fluffy new white socks or travelling in flip-flops. I wished for a few strips of thick sticky tape. Perhaps I could use the duct tape that was in the hatch of the car. All of these solutions would help, but none could help me now.
Next, I began considering each item that I was actually carrying in my hydration pack. Would any of these things relieve the pain? Ziploc baggy? (too slippery) Clif Bar wrapper? (too sticky) Lip balm? (too slimy) My buff? My buff! Somehow I could fashion a sock from my buff! But I tossed this idea aside as well, since I only had one buff and two equally bad feet. But now I was onto something. The gears in my brain were working and I felt that an answer would come to me within the next kilometer or two.
Arm sleeves! The day had warmed up nicely and my arm sleeves were simply dangling from my pack, in plain sight. I considered all the pros and cons and eventually decided that this was the answer I had been waiting for. The next time that B and I regrouped, I sat on a rock, removed my shoes, slipped the arm sleeves over my feet and put my shoes back on. The sleeves shielded my heels from direct contact with my shoes and I was able to pull them up to my knees. What a stylish look! No one had to know that they provided no compression.
As we carried onto complete our 41 km day, I tried to remember that saying about inventing things. How did it go? Necessity was the birthright.. Necessity is born of… This new mind puzzle kept me busy for the next few kilometers.