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!
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.