Very odd day today.
Alarm went off at 6 AM. I am tired today, could not get asleep until almost 2 AM. Last night was an uneasy night of thinking with a little anxiety. My body is on it's 2nd injury of the season (cover that later), plantar problems are no fun. Today's race/run was held on wooded trails, many times jumping ruts, roots, and mud while ducking some branches. Knowing what pain may be in store, I wanted to pack some ice.
Why running while hurt? My injury is almost gone, I will not hurt it any worse, it's just pain, and this is a pre-paid 7 race half series with a points total for the series.
Now packing up the ice, where are my ice packs? I take 3 moldable packs for my body and 2 thick heavy ones to keep cooler bag cold. Those are gone. What I have is loose ice and Ziploc bags with last falls squash. It might smell like feet, but we're having squash for dinner.
Now the race. Took a ball to help pre-stretch foot while driving up. Got race dressed at a rest stop and checked in race with 20 minutes to spare. Warmed, stretched, and foot is a little tender but ready to go.
And we're off. This would best be described as a wooded hill race, not a trail race with climbs. The first hill (1000 yards in) was bad enough that some had to walk part of it. There are three groups the fast, the slow, and the in between. I'm part of the middle group. Right in front of me is my age group series winner from last year, another winner type who wins her age groups a lot, and a well known local. Great group! I'm hoping to just hang with them as long as I can. The lady of the group is just pulling away and leaving us behind, soon she is gone. The woods and route are such that 30 seconds, and your co-runners are out of sight. Now we're 3, and moving. Trying my best to keep up and not tweak my foot early. Third guy, our leader falls. Bang. We pick him up and re-form. I'm the new leader. Off again. Another mile, another fall. The first one hurt him enough that he can't keep his feet up. We get him up, check him, but he'll do a lot of walking. Down to two. Moving again. 5 miles in and something is wrong. Flags are wrong. Off coarse, way off! By some flags, but we are in the wrong place. At this time running partner and I are conversing. He's been doing halfs for 5 years, full marathons a few times, and he is way out of my league. "This guy can run for days" He is very surprised I'm running a half series when my first race was an early spring 5k in 2013. We decide to keep running, thinking we turned right instead of left some where, and doing the course backwards. SO SO WRONG! 7.7 miles in, he's now leading, and we're at a 9:12 per mile pace. Exactly the correct pace for the terrain. We have seen an aid station and some other runners, but us doing the race is over. Just running out now. Over nine miles and in the middle of no place. Stop, look at the sun, orient ourselves, pick up the correct trail, and get back. Did around 10 miles in 100 minutes (this contained 5-10 minutes talk/walk time).
Results of run. We check in and the leaders are just showing up. The leaders are usually 72 to 78 minutes runners. They are now hitting over 90. Some saw our lost lady, but no one knows where she is at. Not good, hope they didn't have to take the bikes in for her. The guy who fell, people saw him, but way behind everyone. Me- I slowed down, foot got really tight, tripped on a root, have 3 marks on my hands from catching myself on a tree before I face planted, and I used the frozen squash to numb my foot. Co runner waited for me and we finished together. He is a great guy! His brother won an age group and his son took his own too.
Conclusion- Felt very dejected for a while- no points, no medal, no goal accomplished. Found a new friend, had a great workout, foot is ok.
Some times it's the experience that counts.
Can't wait for next year.
PS- why I keep getting hurt. I'm not giving my body enough time to build up tendon and ligament toughness, so my muscles are pulling on them too much. Should be good by next spring.