Sunday, October 30, 2016

Broken Toe 50K: Aborted Experiment

                Yesterday was the Broken Toe 50k, a race I had signed up for on a whim as I was feeling fairly good after Grindstone. I had a secret strategy for this race (secret because anyone reasonable would try to talk me out of it). Typically, I run conservatively, sometimes feeling I could have gone faster. I wanted to push the pace from the beginning, a bit of an experiment. I viewed it as a 31 mile tempo run.
                I started out the first mile (road, mostly downhill) at what still seemed a comfortable pace and found myself in the top five—the top five men, that is. I looked at one of them and said, “I’m not this fast. Where is everyone?” A couple people passed me, but then as we turned onto the leaf covered singletrack, I immediately passed them back.
                The trails were beautiful with lots of great views of the lake. It was really a great course with some nice ups and downs (a few of them steep enough that I could walk without feeling guilty about it) and rocks and roots buried under the leaves. I hit the 4.7 mile aid station at 55 minutes, not all that fast, but I was still very much at the front of the pack. The next aid station was ~ 8.7 miles, and I arrived there at 1:40. I was hopeful I could run a sub-6 hour race.
                We headed back to the main aid station, a section that I understood to be 4.6 miles. I was running along at my “fast” pace, finishing some shot blocks, and looking for a good tree to pee behind. Wham! I was on the ground. My knee stung enough that I limped a little as I started to run again. Good time to pee then; I would also get a chance to recover from the fall. The knee didn’t bother my much as I kept going. What I did start to notice was my heels. I had grabbed a pair of Smartwools without much consideration in the morning, and apparently this pair had holes in both of the heels. The shoes I was wearing rubbed right at those holes. I made plans to get band aids at the next aid station, which should be coming soon.
                Except it wasn’t. I wouldn’t reach the next aid station until 2:49, even though I didn’t really feel I had slowed down. Thankfully, Lori was at the aid station and had bandaids in her car. I stuck them over the places where my heels were already bleeding and cheerfully headed back on the trail, glad to have found my solution. Two minutes later, the pain was back. I stopped a couple of times to adjust band aids and socks, but it soon reached the point where it hurt just as much not matter what I did. I have run 11 hours with bleeding heels before. The pain only got worse and I soaked socks in blood all the way down to my toes. I did not want a repeat of that experience, so I turned around and walked back to the aid station to drop out, having run about half of the race.
                I’m still pleased with the day. It was starting to get hot when I stopped and I would have needed to slow down for the rising temperatures. I likely overshot it some with my faster pace, which just means I got a better work out in for the 16 miles I did run. And it was fun to pretend to be fast for a morning, hanging out with the men in 4th-ish place. During my last attempt to fix my sock, the next woman passed me and looked super strong. I feel confident she would have passed me soon even if my heels had not given me problems.
                Today I’m sore in some interesting ways, some which I can attribute to my fall and some which seem to be from running faster. One has me puzzled: the muscles between my ribs, equally on both sides. Any thoughts?
                After 12 miles last weekend, 16 yesterday ended up fitting perfectly into training for the next race: Lookout Mountain 50 Miler.
                Thanks for reading!

Not sure how I scraped the front of the knee and bruised the side

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