Welcome to September

So I’ve been negligent in posting, mostly because not much was going on.  After Sweltering Summer my foot was kiling me and my miles low.  That all changed a little over a week ago when I went on a business trip to Vegas and ran up in the mountains there.  Beautiful territory that I was totally unprepared for!14089040_10210627038301856_9087211700239794953_n

For starters I got there ahead of the sun cresting the peaks.  This was a little later in the run, but to start it was in the 50’s.  I had come from 100+ degree heat all week and was FROZEN!  My hands were actually super stiff.  It warmed some later but I should have expected that.

And of course I also had to deal with the elevation.  I live at about 390 feet or so normally.  The trail STARTED at 8800 feet and quickly climbed above 9200.  I was sucking wind big time trying to get a breath.  Running was out of the question for the first part, I was just trying to move one foot in front of the other!

14067624_10210627037621839_7454873592243143744_nStill the view was amazing and I was enjoying myself… mostly 🙂  I was due to do 12 miles which would have meant doing the loop twice.  Given my pace I would have been out there a long, long time.  Mistake number two was I had nowhere near enough food and water for that so I was resolved to do a single lap and then get more miles in later in the day.  I was definately feeling the pain!

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About 2 miles in I fell.  Now, I fall a lot.  But falling in New England usually involves a relatively soft forrest floor maybe with some roots.  Falling here?  All rock.  Very sharp, very painful rock.  I avoided banging my head but I cut up a knee and banged my arm (more on that in a sec).  I was also getting very dizzy I assume from the elevation and was seeing spots.  I said screw it and turned around, choosing the shorter 2 miles back to my car rather than the 4 miles to finish the loop.

About 10 minutes later I was actually moving pretty well down hill.  I was beating myself up for my decision to turn when I happened to glace down at my forearm and said… what the hell??? I had a GIANT lump on my forearm.  It was just weird, and I kind of wondered if I had broken it or something.  I kept heading back to the car and over the next 10 minutes ANOTHER huge lump appeared and my whole forearm looked like a mess!

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I thought for sure I’d broken it.  I was in a panic and trying not to hyperventilate.  I made it back to my car finally, and went down the mountain all ready to drive to the emergency room.  After a while driving reality set in.  I could fully move the arm.  It hurt, but it was a bruised hurt.  And the swelling was starting to go down!  By the time I got back to my hotel it was still swollen but no longer looked broken.  So I lived with it.

A week later I hurt and still have a small goose egg but it isn’t too bad.  I suppose I still might have cracked it a bit, but whatever.  The immediate swelling was scary but I’m guessing was something to do with the elevation.  I really wish I had gutted it out and finished the loop.  Have to wait a year before I am back in Vegas to try it again!

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Sweltering Summer 8 Hour Race Report

13908970_10208912869992495_8335691095411822504_oThe Sweltering Summer 8 Hour lived up to it’s name… for maybe an hour and a half 🙂  In between we had overcast skies, a nice rain shower, and a pretty consistent breeze.  This race was made for me to finally get my 50k in and I was READY!  Well, as it turns out, not all of me was.

I was meticulous in my planning.  I had my bottles prepared, I had enough food to feed a small army, I had my homemade ice bandana… you name it I was good.  I even had my new BURCS Badass hat, which I really like.  The night before we stayed in the “scenic” Berkshire Inn, a motel that on the outside gives off Bates Motel vibes but was actually quite nice.  We were 2 minutes away from Clapp Park, so waking up Saturday morning and popping over was a breeze.

Rachel and I brought a shelter and chairs, figuring we would need it for the sun.  Ultimately it was more useful to others needing to get out of the rain!  Check in was a breeze and the swag bag had fun stuff.  I picked up my “I got Clapp” bumper sticker and settled in for the start.  The area filled up pretty quickly with over 100 runners doing the combined Marathon/8 hour start.

We got off a couple minutes after 7 and I felt good for the first couple hours.  I was on pace for 35 miles which was way more than I intended but I knew I would slow down.  There was a light misting early on which was good, and it stayed overcast until probably hour 5.  Unfortunately my good feelings were not to last.  About 3.5 hours in I suddenly had a spike ramming through my foot.  My Tarsal Tunnel was flaring up big time and I was in agony.

I walked a couple laps and then sat for a while and iced it.  I was still doing ok time wise and had a shot at the 50k, so I fueled up and got back out there.  But it was pretty apparent this was not going to be my day.  I got a few more miles in and honestly thought I was going to have to quit it hurt so bad.  I sat down and iced again with very little intention of getting up.  My wife was suffering too but she was hobbling through (and went on to walk 3.5 hours!!!).

I probably sat for 45 minutes in a funk.  I was depressed, in a lot of pain, and I felt like the other runners were looking at my thinking “You wuss.”  I know they weren’t, but I felt that way about myself.  I was also seeing Marathon runners finishing, and I felt like a failure for not at least going that distance.  I looked at the time and figured I could still make a marathon finish even with a lot of walking.

13887090_10208916085872890_6568389892444185783_nSo I strapped on my big boy pants and got moving again.  My first few steps were more like a stumble but I kept going.  And eventually I did it… 74 laps (the official credit is 75, and my Garmin says 27.6 miles, so who knows…) and I finished the marathon distance.  Rachel had staggered through a little more than a 50k, and we were both wiped.  So we called it there with about a half hour left and got our medals.

This one will haunt me a bit.  If I hadn’t had access to a chair and a shelter would I have just kept going on it?  I don’t know… I don’t think I could have far enough.  I have yet to earn the right to put a 50k sticker on my car, and that made me sad.  None of my remaining races will offer that chance so it’s going to have to be a next year thing.  And what do I do about my foot?  It still hurts badly today (and I am going to lose my toenail on my big toe) but otherwise I actually feel really good.  Legs are a bit stiff but nowhere near as bad as they were after Boston.13920664_10208916085472880_8687888930930538128_n

Calorie wise I made do with Tailwind, 2 UCAN bars, some salted potatos, a bit of coke, and a couple cookies.  Once I lost my rythym I lost track of my nutrition and hydration strategy.  My stomach was ok, just one quick bathroom break in there.  No gear worn since I passed my stuff every .35 miles so no need to carry anything.  All in all this should have been my perfect race, and it wasn’t.

I want to say a word about the organizers and volunteers… all absolutely the nicest people.  The bottle drop where they would refill for you was just a great thing to have.  I used that for my water, and must have had them fill my bottle 15 times. The food spread was great although I only nibbled a couple cookies, and the drinks were great too when I was flagging towards the end.  Thanks so much to everyone who took the time.

13925151_10208916086392903_8923271467493135933_n (1)I did run a marathon.  So I can’t knock my effort.  I just wish I hadn’t lost an hour to sitting and icing.  If I’d stayed out there I might have made my 50k after all.  I did get to wear this shirt after just to make my wife smile 🙂

5 days out from 50k!

In 5 days I’m tackling the Sweltering Summer 8 hour, and hope to top 50k.  It should be doable as long as my foot holds out.  And that really is starting to be the problem… every week it’s getting worse.  I am now popping Ibuprofin like it’s going out of style and ice soaking the heck out of it.  Doesn’t seem to be helping very much.  I can’t let myself get too beat up, I still have to deal with NYC in November and then I can rest.

It’s been a taper week so my mileage was down, just 18 for the week.  The weather has been nasty so I did a fair bit on the treadmill.  I’m leaving in a week for a work trip and then vacation, so I have to get on a plane 36 hours after running the race.  I’m sure that’s going to be fun 🙂  I’ve got to get everything together for the race, plus I have to get everything ready for my trip.  Fun times!  Next post will hopefully be a successful race report!

7-24 Week In Review

Well, I forgot to post last week 😉  Sorry!  Not that I think anyone reads this but who knows.  Anyway I am tapering down towards my 50k at the Sweltering Summer 8 hour in 2 more weeks, and yes I am very nervous.  I think I may finally have my food and hydration under control but we will see when it comes race time!  I do know my legs are fairly beat, so I am looking forward to the taper!

So a couple weeks ago I got a diagnosis for my ankle and foot pain that finally makes sense. For 3 years now I’ve been fighting pain in my foot and had diagnosis ranging from PF to Posterior Tib (never mind that my symptoms never matched any of them) and finally capped with ankle surgery to remove a chunk of cartilage floating around in there. Since the surgery I now have the joy of a far weaker ankle, a screwed up running gait that messes with my leg muscles and opposite shoulder swing, and still just have an almost constant level of pain. Fun is.

Anyway, talking with the doctor a couple weeks ago he said that what I have is tarsal tunnel syndrome… carpal tunnel but in my ankle. And that I have the choice of live with it or get an even more complex surgery that will mean I can’t run for a year and a half and may NEVER be able to run distance again. In fact it might not even help the pain. On the flip side he’s done this for other distance runners who have been able to come back better than ever.

So what to do… I won’t make decisions now, I still have a few races capped off with the NYC Marathon. But some day I’ll hit a point where the pain is just too much and I’ll have to get this damn thing done. It’s not a day I am looking forward to 🙁

The Week in Review

Rough week… we had to live out of a hotel with our 2 dogs all week because our floors were getting redone.  Did terrible things for both my diet and my running 😉  Diet because I ate out all week, running because the hotel treadmill SUCKED and I had to run outside at the hotest part of the day from a hotel that was on top of a big hill.  Starting out was easy, getting back not so much.

rabbitThis morning was fairly light, only 10 miles.  I had this little guy as my pacer for a bit.  Ironic given my leg tattoo of a running tortoise.  Next week is my peak (I think?) of 24, then taper down to my 8 hour timed event August 6th (Sweltering Summer 8 hour).  The goal is 50k.  I’ve been feeling terribly sluggish which could be tired legs or could just be my crap diet.  Also put on a couple pounds which is the wrong direction.

Nothing new on the gear front this week but I am going to be putting on some sleeves next week to try the trick of shoving ice down them.  Also making a nice ice bandana as per the instructions here.  Got all the stuff from Amazon, just need my lovely wife to stitch it together.  I am torn about whether to actually try a semi-duplicate of what my race will be and head up to the track at the high school.  Although shorter than my race loop (it’s like .35) I need practice with the monotony, as well as with having a cooler and all to stop at.  So I may give it a go.