Scroll down and view the following images at your own risk. People who are uncomfortable looking at bodily problems might want to skip this entry entirely. You have been warned.
I knew that my feet would worsen before getting better, and today was proof of that, despite the good time I made and the energetic pace I maintained for about two-thirds of the day. But since I started the day with that nasty blister, it was a foregone conclusion that it would only get nastier.
Below, you see two pictures, one of my still-unblistered left foot, and one of my worsening right foot. I'd like to say It looks worse than it feels, but let me run you through the reality.
Today began with a great deal of momentum. I didn't slow down until I was near the certification center. In terms of pain, there was none at the outset (not in my feet, at least, but I'll save that story for later). By the halfway point of the walk, my feet were achy, but that was normal. Toward the end of the walk, my feet were getting painful enough that stopping was becoming a problem: stop too long, and the pain becomes acute, which motivates one to keep moving. And as has happened in all the previous days of this walk, all the day's pain caught up with me once I was in my hotel room and starting to relax. After a few hours, the pain subsided, but not completely.
The blister is swollen enough for me to wonder whether it will burst while I'm walking. The skin isn't broken yet, so I'm still gambling that the blister will behave itself. Losing that bubble of fluid would actually be even more painful: the sensitive new skin would be abraded by the outer callus, resulting in agony with every step. More likely, the blister will eventually subside on its own, leaving a shield of hard, numb skin in its place.
As I said before: leave the thing alone. If it pops, it pops; if it doesn't, that's great. Either way, I'll be forging ahead.