Sitting here in the waiting area for Linda’s cardio rehab class watching recovering heart patients being put through the paces makes you feel thankful for your health. I also have the opportunity to witness Linda getting better every week, a long way from a few months ago when I was terrified she would not be able to use the right side of her body. Thank god we live in a country with access to the best healthcare in the world. Pretty soon she will be crossing the finish line ahead of me so I better make the most of it when I have the chance. One thing I did learn about myself through all this is I’d rather be on the road straining the tendons and sweating a tsunami than sitting here watching others work out. At least I can recollect while I wait.
If you read my previous post, you know I was able to brush off the dirt from the Cry Me fiasco (link here) and get the legs moving again. That was a crucial test to determine just how far I had fallen (metaphorically this time). Although a slight mid-race recovery was needed, the body held strong and the damage might be less than feared. Naturally, I came home that weekend and immediately signed up for another attempt at the 50K – this time in the cooler temps of October. That left a little over 2 months to address some lingering issues (hip was apparently damaged more than initially thought due to the fall and there were some nagging pains in other places) and rebuild the stamina lost due to the reduced training miles (damn meddling doctors ha). The first good test would be the half marathon at the Springdale Cemetery in early September. That hilly course would be a good litmus for the chance I had at the 50k.
Hit the jump to see if this race ended up being a confidence builder or not.
Training went fairly well during the August weeks, breathing was back under control and the aches were starting to learn they were going to be unsuccessful in their attempts to keep me down. The temps were starting to trend down a bit as well – gone were the days of the >100 heat index that owned me in July. The rain forecasts were beginning to increase as well making for some soggy training runs. Not a big surprise that the night leading up to the race was a soaker with a planned continuance through the race hours. Got up at 4:30am, confirmed weathermen were right for a change and gathered up some extra rain gear. Made it to the course around 6:30am staring past the moving wipers for the entire drive – I had visions of once again running in the swimming pool that was Steamboat (link here). Put the hood over the head and headed over to get my number.
In that short walk, the rain stopped which brought some internal debate on what to wear – definitely did NOT want to overheat again, but I didn’t want to pull anything from being cold a month out from the big one. Weighed the alternatives and decided heat was the biggest threat and dropped back to minimal clothes… which, as you can see above, was the dominant thinking for the rest of the participants. To the line I went with 1000 err… 500 err, maybe 100 fellow runners willing to take on the 6 nasty hills the two loops of this cemetery had to offer. Forgot there were 10Kers at the start as well, so probably a lot less than 100 were going the full distance. Similar to the Bix, the strategy was slow and steady. Finishing without stopping was far more important than the clock. Plus I was there alone and Linda would have my ass if I dropped again and she wasn’t there – not to mention put a big ol’ X through my 50K plans.
I made it through the first loop with very little trouble. Clearly the 10k-7mile range was good to go. Headed out on the second loop after grabbing some hydration feeling good about hitting my goal. The legs were also powering through the hills which increased the confidence – the hip was a bit disgruntled, but now that it was nice and warmed up it appeared to be content with the slower than usual pace. It pained me to let a few runners pass me deep into the second loop as late race endurance is my super power. My eye was squarely on the future prize. Gave them some words of encouragement as they passed and remained content to keep the pace. This race typically has my chest burning and legs screaming on the final half mile. By the time you get to the 6th hill your mind is somewhere on the dark side of the mood. This year, I felt great. Amped the pace in that final stretch to see how much I had left in the tank. Hit the finish line and had a huge sigh of relief. At a minimum the race shape was back to at least a half – granted the 50K would be more than twice that – shhhhhhh, happy thoughts only.
Clocked in at just over 2 hours, 6 minutes slower than last year, 7 minutes slower than the year before that, 8 minutes slower than the year before that and yes, 9 minutes slower than the year before that. In the grand scheme of things, you have to be impressed by my consistency. Looks like every additional candle on the cake is costing me a minute hehehe. Truth be told, I probably could have shaved at least 3 to 4 minutes off without much trouble. No worries, the final test would be another half scheduled for the following weekend. Stay tuned to learn how that race went (note, that upcoming race is the one I usually throw up after, ugh). Things were definitely looking up for the second attempt at the 50K. Linda’s nerves were starting to settle and her scolding for signing up for a race distance that almost killed me was subsiding… just a bit, but subsiding nonetheless.
Linda”s finished with her workout. Time to put a bow on this race recollection. Stay well everyone!