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.


Sophie Speidel said...

Great post. You are to be commended for your clear thinking and wise decision. Yes, there is always next year, and the year after, and the year after will be in this for the long haul, no doubt, and will look back on your rookie year with fondness: "Back in 2009, my first year running ultras, this is what I learned..."

Take good care and we'll see you in the new year...unless you want to crew for me at Hellgate?

Mike Bailey said...


It's a hit, or miss with the injuries. I was worried going into JFK that my "injury" issue from MMTR would fire up. I risked it, ran conservative on the AT, and cranked it on the towpath. Ironically, it was horrible nausea that knocked me down at mile 36. Thankfully,it didn't knock me out, and I still finished. It's all about making smart choices.

We're still relatively young dudes. I made many judgement errors in '09 about race scheduling and "tapering" volume. Here's to a wiser, and smarter 2010game plan.

Michael said...

What tendon is giving you the problem? The one on the inside of the ankle? What are you doing for it other than running less?

amy said...

Hey Bobby. Good move to rest it. The body has a way of letting you know when it's not happy, and ignoring those warnings, usually doesn't work in the long run. Spoken from the girl in the boot.... here's to a healthier 2010 for the both of us!

The videoist said...

I'm giving away $10,000. If you help me, I’ll help you. I made a video for a contest where I am competing to win $100,000. To win the $100,000 I need to have more comments and ratings on my video than anyone else from now until December 20th. I was hoping I could use your help as a blogger. All you need to do is make one post about the video. Keep up the running! best wishes!

I tried to make it pretty funny too.