Friday, November 20, 2009

MMTR 50 - I'm Still Broken Apparently

You may last recall reading about my case of anterior tibial tendinitis that forced me to drop at mile 86 of the Grindstone 100.  Sad, I know, but you shouldn't have had that much pity for me since I had planned in advance for a week of recovery in sunny Hawaii (Ironman World Championships were going on at the same time, coincidence?).  Lo and behold, three days post-DNF and I was back to walking and running like nothing had happened.  There must be some magical healing properties in those Hawaiian waters!

Being all healed up, I now had a chance to complete the Lynchburg Ultra Series (LUS), with it's final race being the Mountain Masochist Trail Run 50 miler in Lynchburg, VA.  In the interim four weeks I did some light running and got up to a long run of a mere 14 miles (in comparison to the ~50k training runs that had been frequent in my schedule).  All was feeling good and I was ready to redeem my DNF, just had to make sure I took it easy and didn't hurt myself.

Fast dudes at the start line

Easier said than done.  The race consisted of many open jeep and fire roads with only marginal climbs, which of course leads to lots and lots of fast and hard running, sort of like those pesky road marathons that I keep hearing so much about.  Well, having run 86 miles only four weeks prior, my legs started to fatigue pretty early, probably around mile 20 or so.  But no worries, fatigue is tolerable and I know how to deal with that beast.

Chris Miller (Beast Series leader) and yours truly

The real problems came around mile 26 when the tendinitis from Grindstone started to come back ever so slowly.  Now this wasn't the excruciating pain that made me drop and left me unable to walk, but it was in the early early stages of its progression from what I could tell, so I paid careful attention to it.  After a couple miles the pain became more evident and I could clearly see that it wasn't going to go away.  Yes, I could have run on it for a few more hours and made it to the finish and gotten my LUS award (a sweet sweet Patagonia puffy jacket nonetheless), but forcing myself into greater injury and a longer and longer rehabilitation process during the winter months did not seem like the right decision for someone like myself who yearns for a long and fruitful ultra career.

So, at mile 35 I DNF'ed from my second race in a row.  It sucks, but I like to think that these DNF's are the result of a good head on my shoulders and I will prosper in future races from making the right calls in those of the past. There is always next year.

I had a good time hanging at the finish line, and this allowed me the chance to grab some pics of friends coming in to finish.  Oh, and there was a common saying that I heard from those who had just run Grindstone: "Ouch!" Oh yeah, looking forward to next year's pain already!

Me, Sophie, Jenny and Justine at the finish

Annette Bednosky showing off her entry in the Best Blood category

And there you have it, the less than stellar end to my less than stellar 2009 race season.  I have decided that even though the tendinitis pain has once again disappeared and I'm back to running like normal, running the Hellgate 100k in a few weeks would not be wise.  Instead, I'm going to cross-train and strength-train while keeping the mileage low for a bit.  2010 will be my redemption year!

Here are the rest of my photos from the race on Flickr.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

RIP Scott Doyle

I know most of my content on here is ultra-related, but I just wanted to post a brief tribute to a good friend of mine who passed away today after battling a coma for six months.

Scott and Steph after their first antenna jump

I first met Scott Doyle (aka "Moose" or "Other Scott") at Bridge Day '07 where Scott and his lovely wife Steph were both enjoying the six hours of legal BASE jumping that happens every year at the New River Gorge Bridge in Fayetteville, WV. As it turned out, Scott was a fellow Marylander, so he was quickly indoctrinated into the MD BASE Crew (which I am not technically a member of because I do not BASE jump).

The day after Bridge Day, some folks headed out to a local less-than-legal antenna where Scott and Steph both did their first antenna jumps. I hung around and took pictures. Fast forward a couple months to the beginning of skydiving season '08 and who else is joining me in the ranks as staff members at Skydive Delmarva? None other than the safe, caring, and funny tag-team of Scott and Steph Doyle. Scott and I were both somewhat newly-licensed tandem instructors while Steph taught AFF students. Over the course of the year we had our share of fond memories - the overweight students, the puking students, the close call malfunctions and the late-night dropzone shenanigans. It was all good fun that we shared together, and as per usual in the sport, we grew closer as part of the Delmarva family.

Since ultrarunning has come into my life, I have spent a significantly less amount of time at the dropzone, but that didn't make it hurt any less when on May 10, 2009 I got a call saying that Scott had suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury and had gone into a coma while BASE jumping in Idaho with Steph. For six months he fought his hardest to wake up, at some points showing movement and responding to external stimuli, but today his body had enough of the fighting and decided it was time to move on to a more peaceful place.

It is with great sadness that I remove my "Wake up Scott" wristband that I have worn these past six months and add it to my desk alongside a picture of Bert Brooks, another good skydiving friend who lost his life while BASE jumping with his loved one. Scott wasn't the first skydiving/BASE friend to go, and unfortunately he won't be the last. BASE truly is an unforgiving sport.

As a tough-as-nails firefighter saving the lives of others and also as a skydiving instructor sharing the gift of flight with those looking to experience something new, Scott definitely earned his angel wings. Fly free my brother. I will miss you...


Here is the LINK to Steph Doyle's blog from the past 6 months.