Monday, July 11, 2011
THE WAY THE COOKIE CRUMBLES!
(Dirk and I at package pick-up at NSA)
Where does the time go? I have sat down twice since my last post and have written 2 rough draft blogs but they somehow have not made it to the real page. I'll try and make a quick update on all the happenings as of late!
The day after Test of Metal I ran with the Knee Knacker training group. The run was the first 3/4's of the knee knacker which took about 5.5 hrs. After doing "The Test" one day and the long run the next, my body was trashed and I needed a "down" week bad. However, there was one more week to build before tapering for the knee Knacker. I kept the mid week runs pretty melow and prepped for the Comfortably Numb 25km which was taking place on the Sunday (June 26th). My friend Gretel, who is training for UTMB, had a wicked idea of sleeping in her mom van at the finish line, running to the start of the race, and back, for a total of 50km. I hesitated on the idea but after watching Western States 100 unfold that day I was drawn to spend a long day versus a short day in the trails the next morning. After a 5am wake-up call the next morning, we were off. We made it to the start line with just 10 minutes to spare and before we knew it we were in the race heading back from whence we came.
(Gretel and I in the morning at 5am)
I couldn't help but get excited by all the racers and began racing myself. I think having already ran 25km , my body was all warmed up and I was starting to really push. However, 10km into the race I went to pass a guy. We were on single track trail and I really couldn't see passed him but saw a quick widening in the trail and silently took my chance to pass. As I sped up and extended my stride, the trail all of a sudden dropped off and I was in no proper position to land and jammed up my ankle...BAD. In all of my 5 years of trail running, I have rolled my ankles many times without consequence, but this was different. I heard something GO and I fell to the ground in pain, knowing that I had done something serious. This race is a point to point and there was nowhere near by I could really get out and so I started to walk towards the finish, knowing it would be a long, slow, painful march. I got to the midway aid station and sat down, pondering what to do, when all of a sudden my buddy Gretel came running in. Gretel is such a kind, honest, and generous person and she said she would walk to the finish with me. My patience when it comes to running is pretty bleak and I attempted to start running again. Surprisingly it didnt feel to bad as long as I kept my foot from everting. You can read all about our adventure, with pictures here on Gretel's blog.
Basically, since then I tried to rest up my ankle as much as possible, praying it would be better in time for Knee Knacker 50km (KK 50km). I did this race 3 years in a row and then had to sit out the last 2 due to injury. Because I was tapering I really wasn't too concerned by my lack of running at this point and Peter and I were also moving back to the North Shore and my time was spent packing, cleaning, and moving. The week before the KK 50km I grew increaingly worried that it wasn't going to heal in time as it was still a bit swollen. 11 days after the initial sprain I ran on it and it felt alright. Alright enough that I decided I would start the event. Mentally, I knew that if I were to roll it or tweak it, I would drop out immedietly.
(The start of KK 50km, Sean borrowed my La Sportiva jersey because he forgot his. Dirk and Heather also make appearances in this photo)
My biggest weakness in this event has always been the start. My boyfriend Peter killed this event 2 years ago and beat my best time by 11 minutes. The only place he gained time on me was 14 minutes in the first leg. So, the main goal of the day, besides going for the win, was to improve my time on the first split which goes from the start to Cypress aid station. I felt great climbing up Black MTN and my ankle felt golden. I managed to keep all the lead ladies in sight and improved my first split by 8 minutes!
I came into Cypress 4th female and within 2 minutes of 1st place. By the time I got to the Cypress cross country trails I was about 10 seconds off 3rd, 2nd and 1st (who were all running together!!)! By the time we came into the Hollyburn aid station I was running with the leaders (Louise Oram, Lisa Polizi, and Shannon Berardo), pretty much side by side. This was a pretty cool moment for me as I have never run in a lead pack like this before. The craziest part for me was passing Suzanne Evans and Lisa Polizzi. I have these 2 girls high up on a pedestal because in my first Knee Knacker Suzanne won running a 5:18 and Lisa came 2nd in a time of 5:25. In my 2nd year runnning the race, suzanne won again and I finished second, my best time still nowhere near those girls (5:48). These girls were my first ever trail idols and I look up to both of them. Lisa has since had 3 kids and Suzanne has been focusing on road running and it was really special to be back running with them again.
A short while later the 3 of us were bombing down the Hollyburn shoot. This is my favorite section of the entire race. It's a straight shoot of technical downhill, where I would normally excel. I held back a tiny bit as to protect the ankle but at the same time, was chasing Louise and didn't want to let up. I could feel that my ankle was a bit unstable but was surprised at how well it felt hammering down the hill. BUT in the end, all it took was one roll in the wrong direction and I knew it wouldn't be smart if I continued. I was BEYOND CRUSHED! Here I was, 3 years from the last time I was able to run this race, in 2nd place, running in my happy place, and I had to stop. Ann and her dog Benny, volunteers, happend to be a minute away and I was able to call Peter and walk to the road within 5 minutes.
Mentally, I knew this scenerio was a possibility but it's so much harder when it actually happens. Looking back, I have thought about whether or not starting was a good idea. And to answer that, maybe it was, maybe it wasn't. There are always positives and negatives from scenerio's like this. I spent the remainder of the day cheering on all the other runners and had a lot of fun with that. In the back of my head however, I couldn't help but wonder how the day would have unfolded had I been 100% healthy. Congrats to everyone who raced and finished on Saturday. I managed to catch the sprint off b/w Lisa and Louise and boy was that was exciting! Lisa you are such an inspiration! This race holds a special place in my heart, having been my first ever ultra, and I can't wait to come back and try again.
Next up is Waldo 100km, which takes place 70 miles southeast of Eugene, Oregon (aug 20th). Send me all your healing power and I`ll cross my fingers that this ankle heals up soon. If I can manage top 1 or 2, I get an automatic entry into Western States 100, which ultimetly is the goal of the day, as well as to run in new trails and have a lot of fun!
See you in the trails!!!!!
Alright, time to go climbing,