Monday, November 30, 2009

Recovery Running or Falling Head over Heels


That giant hole doesn't come with the shoe
As I mentioned on my Delicious Journey Blog, this past week has felt like 2 years! I have been trying to savor my victory at JFK last week. That and outpace my savage appetite. While I am pretty sure I managed to do both, I also wanted to make sure not to start running too soon. I was good, my season is over. JFK was the last big hoorah until March. But that doesn't mean I don't want to be running! But as I said, I was good. I took 4 whole days off. And that felt nice.

I ran on Wednesday out of necessity more than anything. There was a big accident on the Golden Gate Bridge and I needed to get across to meet my aunt for lunch, so I opted to run the 6 miles (each way). Ultimately, she canceled on me after I was already standing outside the restaurant, but I hopped over to Blue Barn, grabbed a salad and showed off my ultrarunner skills of eating on the move. I ate my salad while walking and immediately after the last bite broke into a run without issue. Funny how we ultrarunners adapt. It was a good salad.

I also ran on Thursday, 12 miles of very hilly San Francisco streets. We hit up 4 of the SF 7 hills and I again, felt really good. I mean, I have felt good and healthy and without issue from running JFK. My legs were a bit tired on a few ups. But hell, a little lack of energy as a side effect for running 50 miles? I'll take it! Thanksgiving's run was awesome. I really enjoyed myself. And worked up quite the appetite. But that is what T-day is for right? That's a whole other blog post though.

Friday I was good again and took the day off. 24 miles in 2 days was enough weekday mileage, especially since I ran on Wednesday when I hadn't planned to. And I wanted to be able to enjoy my weekend of running.

Saturday was the Quad Dipsea and Nathan and I had decided to go out and be Larissa's crazy cheer squad. 



Nathan puts the "G" in go.

I got up to Pantoll a wee bit after 7am and powered through 6 miles up/back Boot Jack and Nora trails to check out the beautiful view at West Point Inn before meeting Nathan at the Quad Dipsea aid station .6 miles from Pantoll. I brought with me two "throw away" t-shirts for us to customize with the words "Go Larissa". Nathan ran up from Tenn Valley (with a permanent marker) and met me there. He is hitting the HURT training hard right now and needed much more and faster mileage than I would be running. We met up at 8:45 and waited around chatting with Peter of Vespa and awaiting the runners.


The Larissa cheering squad

Nathan and I donned our "G" And "O" and when Larissa came up the hill we cheered wildly and spun around so she could get the full effect of the GO LARISSA t-shirts. It was hilarious. At least I found us hilarious. Nathan and I then took off the long way to try to meet or beat Larissa down the trail. We ran up to Pantoll in our GO LARISSA shirts, then down Steep Ravine. We quickly realized she had passed the cut off already between Dipsea and Steep Ravine, so we headed down to Stinson Beach to catch her on her way back up and then visit friends at that aid station.

Go Larissa Go!



The flat part of Quad Dipsea, all 150 feet of it


After seeing Larissa and other assorted friends and runners, we headed up Matt Davis so we could see Larissa again on her 3rd passing through the aid station near Pantoll. I told Nathan to run as fast as he wanted to up the trail and I was going to take my sweet ass time. I ran decidedly well up the hill, but was so far left in the dust by Nathan that the dust had settled before I even got to it......


Nathan running down a crazy grade
While he was waiting for me, near where Coastal Trail and Matt Davis connect, Nathan decided to sprint up a crazy (more than 20% grade) and I got to catch a glimpse of him just as he got to the top. There were a few runners (that it turned out I knew) on Coastal who stopped to watch him in awe.

We continued up Matt Davis, the technical nature of the trail smoothing out and getting much more runnable. I should have known that meant danger for me! I am pretty much an expert at staying on my feet and moving fast over technical trails, especially downhills. But give me a clear trail with one root on it and I will obliterate myself!

And that is just what happened. I was running behind Nathan up the trail, sun in my eyes, just as two hikers were passing us on the way down and bang! Yard sale. As the shoe picture above would indicate, my shoe got shredded. In fact, I got stopped stone cold. I didn't even have time to stumble. The sharp root skewered my shoe (but thankfully not my foot) and I slammed into the ground right straight. I lay there for a second and tried to take inventory of the damage. Nathan came running back to see if I was ok. Within seconds the runners who had stopped on the ridge to watch Nathan caught us (they had been trying to catch us) and it turns out it was Jeri Howland and her husband Jerry, whom I met at my first ever ultra 3 years ago. I was introduced by my friend Jerry. Ha! Jeri is an awesome ironwoman and ultrarunner and has won the Quad a few times in addition to tons of Ironman events and probably has every age group record known to man. She is awesome.

Back the the lying on the ground though. I lay there for a second and determined I was not completely broken. I did cry a bit. It freaking hurt, we were not running slowly and I hit hard. I smashed my knee (left), arm (right) and scraped my hand and face (left). Good work me! It was pretty intense to see the clean hole the root left in my shoe!


It hurts way worse than it looks

I guess I am just a spaz on the smooth, even flat single track! We continued our run, my knee a bit more stiff and went back to Pantoll where a ranger wrapped up my hand and we cheered on Larissa on her third pass through. She did awesome. Ended up 6th woman and was under 6 hrs! She is a rockstar and will have done 4 races in 5 weeks after next weeks TNF50miler! Go girl!

We ran down Heather Cut off and I turned around and returned to my car at Pantoll for about 21 miles. Sunday I hit up my favorite 15 mile loop on Mt. Tam watershed and ran into Jeri and Jerry again! It was hilarious. I had a good weekend of running though. And I am still in awe my legs feel so good. Right now I am working on correcting my upper body and arm swing so I can be more efficient. For the next few weeks I am just running. I may do big (undirected) mileage or I may not. I may take 1 day off a week, I make take 3! I may run 30 miles on a Saturday or none at all! It is my "off season". While in the past I have taken 2-4 weeks off completely off from running, my muscle health is so great that I am just going to back off for a bit and then start base building in a few weeks. In past years, this time of year I have felt desperate for a rest and instead this year, I am just energized and ready for the next mountain to climb. I am being patient and looking forward to cultivating my fitness into something cool. That, and healing up my wounds from falling head over heels on the trail.

3 comments:

  1. The trail gets easy and the mind wanders and... WHAM. Isn't that always the way you find yourself hugging the trail? And the painful bits never look bad (I dislocated a hip once and it didn't even leave a mark).

    Sounds like your mind's in the right place. Enjoy the runs that aren't part of a training plan. There'll be plenty of tough training yet to come.

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  2. Devon,

    You may have tripped over the root like that because you're still just plain tired, and as you said, "we were not running slowly".

    I did this same thing coming down the Maple Springs Truck Trail while training on the Chimera 100 Mile course 5-6 weeks ago, all except the "damaging my shoe" part. The inner heal of my left hand had a half dollar sized part of the skin ripped off. It looked bad, and as you say, felt worse than it looked! It's all better now, and it's got me wearing a pair of Pearl Izumi hand padded bike gloves for runs on trails like that.

    Congratulations on your JFK50 run. That was amazing. I ran the same pace, 8.1 miles an hour, during my 2005 LA Marathon run when I think I was in the best shape of my life, but that was on a course that had no trail, few hills, smooth pavement, and was only for 26.2 miles, not 50! And at the 26.2 mile mark of the JFK it seems like you were just getting started! :)

    Great job.

    Thanks for your thoughtful posts.

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  3. Cool post! Good thing you didnt try spelling LP's last name on your shirts ;-)

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