Wednesday, September 2, 2015

August 2015 Mileage: The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

August, 2015.  It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

The highlight of the month occurred early on, when I ran Howl at the Moon.  It went well by all accounts.  I didn't puke, get injured, or fall into a black-hole-like bad patch from which I could not return.  I ended up in a 3-way tie for third place female and and ran 2 miles farther than I ever have at Howl.

It was the best of times.

But.  I let go of my A goal while it was still probably within my reach.  And in retrospect, my finishing mileage--44.77 miles--is so tantalizingly close to 45 miles that I do feel a pang of regret for stopping to a walk when I still had 9 minutes left on the clock.  I so totally could have kept running and gotten another half mile out-and-back in during that time.  But I didn't.  Oh well.  I guess that just leaves me some room for improvement next year.

Howl pre-start

I didn't recover from Howl as well as I would have liked.  I had some residual calf pain, though thankfully it hasn't (yet) turned into a full blown injury.  Even so, I finally decided that I am sick of having issues with my calves, and while in theory, minimalist running shoes seem like a good idea, in practice, maybe they aren't.  At least for me.  I've given it almost 6 years, and I may have actually spent more time injured in minimalist shoes than I ever did before I made the switch.  Time to go back.  Well, maybe part of the way.  I bought a pair of North Face Ultra Cardiacs, 8mm drop.

Check out those lugs.

Another highlight of the month was an impromptu trip we took to Denver that involved a preview of the Bear Lake course, where I will be running a 50 mile trail race at the end of September.

We went to see the finish of the USA Pro Cycling Race, leaving home in the morning so that I'd have time to run at Bear Creek Lake while Rob and Will ate a picnic lunch.  I wore a watch that had my GPS tracks from last year on it.  There are a lot of trails out there.  On race day last year, everything was well marked, so navigation wasn't something I even had to think about.  But trying to remember the course on my own--there's a lot of noise to signal, I and definitely would have missed a lot of turns without my GPS tracks.

Near the top of Mt. Carbon. Hazy because of the wildfires.

The first of 3 creeks.  This was the lowest one.  The third creek came above my knees and I didn't take a picture because I was afraid I'd drop my phone.  I used to be scared of stream crossings, but really, just the ones that had small jagged rocks I'm supposed to leap to instead of getting wet.  If it is a wide stream and you just run right through it--that I love.

The back half of the course.
 It was weird, and for lack of a better word, surreal to be running this course again for the first time since the race last year.  I felt pretty strong for most of the run, and by the time I met Rob and Will back at the car, I think I said something like, "I could run for another 100 miles."  That probably wasn't entirely true, but it was nice to finally get a good run in after Howl.  I also realized how little I had been prioritizing hills and rocky terrain in my lead up to Howl (a flat smooth trail), and that even though the Bear Chase course is pretty easy, I needed to step up my game.

Will started first grade and, for better or for worse, my workload is fairly light this semester (at least for the time being).  After taking care of some campus business on Day 1, I headed out to go run Towers after Will got on the bus the second day.

Wildfire haze.  

I was in a pretty bad mood about the whole sending-Will-back-to-school thing until I saw a black squirrel on the descent.

Mind you, it wasn't really a black squirrel (that would be Sciurus carolinenses, a taxon that does not live out west), it was a squirrel that happened to be black.  In this region, that makes it an Abert's squirrel, and although they are abundant throughout the Front Range, this was the first time I have ever seen one.  It scampered up a tree so that it was very hard for me to get a picture of it.

With the sighting of the Abert's squirrel, everything seemed to turn around.  Several weeks post-Howl, I finally had my running mojo back.  Will is enjoying first grade and told me that he thinks his teacher is nice (hey, this is a huge change from kindergarten).  My own students all completed their first assignment several days in advance of the due date.

 I decided that on the Friday of the first week of classes, I would go out and run the Quad Rock course-- a 25 mile loop of what for me is an extremely difficult, technical trail.  If I got my long run out of the way, it would free up the weekend for family time.

This may be a good place to mention that last fall on the first Friday of the semester, I dropped Will off at kindergarten and then headed out for a trail run which ended in me tripping, falling flat on my face (one minute I was running, the next everything was black and I was bleeding on the ground), and possibly getting a concussion.  Actually, I should say that everything didn't end there.  I still had to walk 2 miles home.  Bleeding.  Rob had to go pick up Will from school.

I either didn't remember that, or I'm not superstitious.

A little over 7 miles into my attempt at the Quad Rock course, those beautiful lugs on my new North Face Ultra Cardiacs failed me (or more likely, I have terrible downhill form) and I crashed down hard on my tailbone.  Before I could even breathe, I thought, "Oh shit, I've fractured my tailbone."

I got up and ran another 6 miles before I decided to quit.  Unfortunately at that point, I still had another 9 miles to get back to my car.  It was a 22 mile day that took me 6 hours and 17 minutes, and I hadn't even managed to complete the Quad Rock course.

I came home and spent the weekend nursing a sinus infection (which in retrospect, may have been a contributing factor to the difficulty of my run) and asking my mother to Google "hairline fracture of the tailbone" because I was too scared to look it up myself.  What if it said I would have to take something like 12 weeks off?  I only had 28 days to Bear Chase.

These were the worst of times.

(I also had an allergic reaction from eating too many unpeeled peaches, and my lips ballooned to a size that looked vaguely Kardashian).

It has now been 4 days.  The sinus infection and peach reaction are both dissipating.  I no longer think that my tailbone is broken, but it does still hurt to bend, squat, lift anything heavier than a pound, cough, or sneeze.  It feels kind of like my pelvis is out of alignment and I need to pop something back in place.  Kind of a lot like how my pelvis felt after giving birth.

I tried to run again today, just to see what would happen.  I had to go slow and walk a lot-- not really because anything hurt per se, I just felt tired and like I didn't have it in me.  Here's to hoping I get it back by Bear Chase.

156.93 miles in August.  1079.37 year to date.  I think I'm 109.75 miles up from where I was at this point last year, and if I don't break any more bones, I'm still on target to meet my 2015 goal.

Trying out my new "The Jenny" vest today.  Rob bought it for me either because he is really nice, or he was tired of me constantly borrowing his vests and modifying them so they fit me.  Anyway, I like the vest and I'm wondering if I should use this picture for the faculty website.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

NO " K " POUT on this selfie!, good pic tho!! just keep in mind REST!! is a huge factor in your body HEALING!! R U listening to your BODY!!!???? cuz you won't listen to your mama!!!! take it easy!! and maybe stuff a PILLOW in your pants!!! miss you all !!!!, big hugs and luv !😘💃🏼mama