Over the summer I was having a blast racing a handful of Skyrunning events and spending the weekends in the high peaks chasing vert and adventure. Those races along with a special focus this season on improving my downhill running must have pushed my body just a little too far. Sometime in July I noticed tightness in my ankle. It wasn’t much, but enough know better and pull back on the rains a bit. With some days off, flatter recovery runs, and a little extra time with the foam roller I was able to continue to put in solid training and race well for another month before it got any worse.
With just 3 weeks to go before the Run Rabbit Run 100 I had finally pushed it too far. Just moving my ankle under the covers at night left it screaming with discomforting pain. Something needed to be done and fast, so I got my bike tuned up, bought another gym membership and dove into the cross training. In those 3 weeks leading up to the race I didn’t run a single step.
Having ran this race and finished well the previous two years (4th in 2013 & 2nd in 2014) I knew the course and had a pretty good idea of how things would play out. Last year I ran solely off of heart rate and this year would be no different. My plan was solid, I knew my execution on race day would be precise, but I was flying blinds as to how my body would react after not running for 20 days. It wasn’t a complete crap shoot though. Jason set the CR 2 years ago after training on an elliptical, Ashley does a large portion of her training on one and crushes nearly every race, so it can be done.
I had Ashley & her mom Karen crewing for me which was great. Ashley was waiting at Fish Creek to crew and run the 4 mile stretch down the road to Olympian. I quickly filled her in on the details of the day and prepped her for what I needed at the next aid: New legs, new shoes / socks (I was getting a hot spot already), and a whole list of other things. Considering how smoothly last year went this was starting out as a suffer fest. "Just wait for the legs to loosen up, just wait" I kept telling myself.
I wan't disappointed in the race, just slightly frustrated with my body and the tendinitis that kept me from training. Had the race been a month earlier I feel as if I was fit enough to compete at the front with Jason and finish well. Some days you've got it, some days you don't and you can't dwell on bad days. Given the situation and my goals for the race I know I made the right decision and should bounce back and hopefully have a descent race in Flagstaff. After all, winning the US Skyrunning ultra series was my first goal of the season. All I can do is learn from this race and make the appropriate adjustments to keep it from happening again. As Pat O'Niel would say: "move on, run pure, stay hungry".
Did I mention the fall colors coming down Fish Creek Falls were spectacular!