Thursday, October 28, 2010

2010 Stone Steps

I knew coming into this Stone Steps race that the 50k distance would be stretching my limits & that the course itself was not the easiest one for an attempt to return to ultrarunning after a 4-5 month layoff. And it proved just that - tough!

My legs were so sore after the 1st of 7 loops that I knew then I would be walking quite a bit this race -- & did. I really hit a wall with 2 loops (8.5 miles) to go & couldn't take another step. But I got some help: Brad Compton, who had signed up but didn't race due to an injury, showed real dedication & drove to the race anyway to volunteer. He was instrumental in getting me off the picnic table bench that I had been glued to. And also, thanks to Mike Matteson, I was able to start walking (baby steps at first) on the 6th loop. A couple miles later, I was able to break into a shuffle & continue that (w/walk breaks on inclines) to the finish. Final time was just under the 8 hour cutoff for the race -- almost exactly an hour slower than my previously slowest time on this course last year when I was recovering from the flu.

What made it so enjoyable though: I know or recognize more runners at Stone Steps than any other event that I regularly run. Yes, it's in Ohio, but KY only has 2 (or sometimes 3) ultras the entire year. It was great to hear how everyone's been doing! Of course, I would have enjoyed this event more had I been in better shape . . .

One thing was drastically changed this year at Stone Steps, and I hope it was just a one time deal (but I don't think so): A 27k race was added this year. They started a half hour later than the 50k. Exactly 6 miles into the race, the leader of the 27k unexpectedly passed me -- that meant he was running right at 5 minutes per mile faster than I was -- I blinked once & he was out of sight. That was just the beginning. In the next 2 1/2 laps, it seemed like every 27k runner passed me on the sometimes narrow trail. It became crowded on the 2nd pass thru the short out & back of the 3 mile loop: there were alot of runners behind (27k runners) & even more runners approaching (50k & 27k runners) -- all moving faster than I was. I think I just happened to hit the rush hour for this portion of the course & had I been running faster up to this point, I probably would have avoided most of the traffic jam.

A few weeks ago, I signed up for the OPSF 50/50, instead of the Pinhoti 100 (which I had plans on running before my problems over the summer). At the time though, I didn't realize I would aggravate a (ganglion?) cyst on my right foot during Stone Steps. The cyst looks like a bunion, but mine is near the small toe. Trying to divert excessive pressure off that side, I also strained my arch somewhat. So I'm going to see how my foot progresses before deciding to take on the race. As for my abdomen where I had surgery, I could tell my gut was not the same, but I did not have any issues thank goodness!

Friday, October 8, 2010

training resumes

Since my last surgery, I've felt a little better every single day -- maybe that last one did the trick (fingers crossed!). The only real pain I'm having right now is from my joints, which is typical when I start back into training after a long layoff. No pain from the abdominal region. I started hiking earlier in the week and I'm now into jogging. The first jog was about as tough of a run as I've done in a long time -- fits & starts & negative thoughts. But after the 1st mile, I was able to slog steadily. A couple miles later though, my right knee said "STOP, you will NOT take another step!" and I had no choice but to comply. My 2nd jog yesterday was better.

Being so out of touch with the ultrarunning scene these past several months, today I caught up on my reading of everyone's blogs that I used to keep up with regularly. Reading all those interesting stories & race reports sure has me motivated to get back into shape! I already have some leg muscle soreness just from jogging -- boy do I have a ways to go. . .

As an added incentive to keep moving forward, I've signed up for the Stone Steps 50k (in 2 weeks). The race is on one of my favorite courses & has a great RD in Dave Corfman. I know I'm not ready for the full 50k at the moment, but he has added a 27k option this year. Plus, the fact that runners pass by the start/finish every 3 or 5 miles thruout the race, I could easily drop -- DNF, which I've done there before.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

the end is near?

Yes, I 'bout fell off the Earth. It's been a difficult few months since my last blog entry. Been depressed with the everyday coping with pain & nausea as the simple side pain I had in June steadily worsened to an unbearable point. I had my 3rd surgery Thursday & for the first time in a few months I have optimism that there can be an end to this misery. I'm hoping I can slowly start some hiking & then try running again. I know my leg muscles have atrophied as I learned several years ago that as I age, the longer the break in running I have, the higher the rate of muscle tone loss. A 2-3 week break is tough, a 2-3 month break (w/zero exercise) is very very tough. I seem to keep up on the aerobic side after a long break but I'm sure that is affected, though not as noticeable at first.

So once again, after signing up earlier in the year, I'm going to miss the 2nd annual OIL CREEK 100 next week (Oct 16) because of a health issue (swine flu last year). However, I just signed up for the Jan 2011 Mountain Mist 50k (because they fill up so quickly) -- so I am thinking positive!