Saturday, July 19, 2008

Volunteering at TRT

Ed note: results for the TRT can be found here

Last week I finally made the decision to drop out of the 50 mile version of the TRT and sign up to volunteer instead. I guess in the back of my mind I kept hoping for a last minute miracle. It didn't happen.

I was signed up to help at the finish line so I didn't need to get up there until about 8am. I woke up at 4am and decided to head up to the lake early. I arrived just before 6am, quickly headed down the hill to the start line and had about 30 seconds to spare before the 50 milers and 50 km were sent off down the trail.

Mark Tanaka and Thomas Reiss in gold (center)
I had some time to kill so I checked in with the volunteer coordinator then changed into running clothes and headed out for an easy 2.5 mile trip around Spooner Lake. (Yes, I'm running, I'll have more about that later in the post). It was a beautiful early morning run but I could tell that I'm not in great running shape and I was also noticing the altitude. I was happy that I had dropped out of the run. I would have destroyed my body trying to do even the 50K. One thing I've discovered this year is that running gets you in good shape for cycling but cycling doesn't get you in shape for running. Only running gets you in shape for running.

Sunrise over Spooner Lake

After cooling down I helped set up the finish line chute, putting out cones and hanging sponsor banners, figuring out who will do what as the runners finish. I was selected to tear the tags off the numbers. A note to runners: I know it's nice to fold up your number but please don't pin that bottom tear off tag. You can still fold your number to make it smaller without pinning that tag. It sure makes it easier and faster if the finish line volunteers don't have to unpin your # to get to that tag. Thanks.

Race day turned out to be beautiful with no smoke in the air which sure made everyone happy. But it soon became apparent that times were going to be slower than last year due to higher temperatures. Peter Fain was the first male 50K finisher in 4:48:39 saying it was really difficult this year. He also mentioned that there was smoky air down in the Red House loop which probably accounted for some of the slower times. Maureen Shaheen was first female in 5:48:14.

Peter Fain finishes before lunch time. Wow

My husband and daughters showed up and set up a little picnic area near by. I was able to sit with them and eat lunch, getting up each time a runner came through. There was never a large group of runners, they seemed pretty well spaced out. It was great to see all the other families there supporting their runners.

My family enjoying lunch

The 100 milers started an hour ahead of the second group and the first 100 miler to come through the half way point was Jon Olsen in just under 8 hours. He was moving and looked great. Thomas Reiss was the first 50 mile finisher in 7:52, about the same time as Olsen came through and he still had another lap to do. Incredible.

Thomas Reiss stops his watch as he crosses the line

Jon Olsen coming through halfway point
Only 1 or 2 more 50 milers finished and only half the 50k runners had finished when I decided to head home about 3pm with my family. About 10-12 100 milers came through the half way point by that time as well including Nikki Kimball and Bev Abbs.

Nikki Kimball

Bev Anderson-Abbs
It was a great way to spend the day supporting a sport that I love.

Injury update: Some of you may have noticed in my training log that I've been running 1-2 miles here and there. Bottom line is I'm not convinced my doctor was correct in his diagnosis of a stress fracture. I've reviewed the test results and talked to other doctors and there is no evidence of a stress fracture in any of the tests. And earlier in the year I had ultrasound done on the sore spot and I've been told if you have a stress fracture, ultrasound will "light you up" with intense pain. That didn't happen to me. I believe I did have an over-use injury, perhaps even a partial stress fracture but that it's healed in the last 2 months of no running. I ran in San Francisco but I know I did too much too soon and it started hurting again. Well, that pain went away quickly and now I'm running 1 mile on the treadmill 1-2 times a week. Yesterday was my first trail run over 1.5 miles and it felt fine. I can feel the different tendons, ligaments, and muscles getting used to running again which creates a little soreness but there is no more pin-point pain on my shin. So bottom line is, I'm back to running if you can call it that. I'm taking it very slow and as soon as there is discomfort, I stop. So far so good.

I'm signed up to do 12 Hours of Cool but I'm still undecided about it. I would like to get some experience of being out there in the dark so I may do it and just walk most of it and quit when I don't want to do anymore. I know Peter and Gretchen really enjoyed doing it last year. It will probably be a last minute decision. Keep you posted.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Nope, Not Running Again

Well, it's official. I've been diagnosed with a stress fracture in the front part of my lower left shin. That means all of the running I did this spring (AR50, Daffodil 5K, Big Sur Marathon) was all done with a stress fracture. Wow. What a dummy. But I guess this is as good a time as any to take some time off running. With all the fires in the area the smoky skies are terrible.

I told the doctor about running in San Francisco because the leg had stopped hurting and he said that's a good sign. It's healing. However, 15 miles in 3 days is not the way to stage a come back. He thinks more along the lines of 1-2 miles on a treadmill would be more appropriate. Sounds boring to me. Last summer I had a torn calf and was much smarter about the recovery and easy come back and ended up doing some great runs in the fall. I'll work on doing that strategy again. But from the sounds of it I won't be doing any running for another 4-6 weeks, or longer. It's all based on pain: if it hurts, don't run on it. Ok.

It's been so long since I ran (end of April) that I've kind of gotten used to it. I still miss it, the simplicity of putting on a pair of shoes and heading out the door for an hour or so. But my focus has switched to the bike and that's not a bad thing. It was my original passion, starting with centuries and double centuries and moving up to 300K and 400K Brevets, even a couple 24 hour Fleche rides. My dad got me into bike riding so I don't have many memories of bike rides that don't include him. We've spent hours following and leading each other up mountain passes, across deserts, and along rivers, exploring the beautiful areas of this country. We don't ride much together anymore and I miss that very much. Life gets so busy, we live 6 hours apart, I'm busy with work and 2 little kids, and he's busy living the wonderful life of the retired with lots of travelling (and double knee surgery). But it's always there, in the back of my mind, the hope that our days of riding together will happen again. There are a few more roads left to explore.