Wednesday, April 13, 2016

It's the End of the World as We Know It

It's the end of the world as we know it.  REM

Not really….but it sure felt like that for a while.  Another attempt at 100 miles in 24 hours has come up short.  30 miles short this time.  I’m going to make the autopsy report brief, because I’d rather talk about the amazing people in my life and future plans.  

Perfect running weather.
 I ran Pacific Rim One Day on March 19th with a goal of at least 100 miles.  I woke up feeling really good, which was a surprise as I’d been fighting off the flu for a week.  Jeanne was so sick, she had to beg to be able to come along.  She really is amazing.  The first 20 miles felt really smooth and easy.  I ran with Ken Ward for a few miles and then finally met Greg Pressler, in person, for the first time and we ran several miles together. Through 20 the only real trouble I was having was heavier breathing than usual.  That can probably be attributed to the flu, it just felt like I was working a little harder to breathe than I should have.  Around mile 22, Jeanne’s cousin Lori arrived.  She is training for her first marathon, is a bundle of positive energy and I figured she would run about 10 miles with me.  We talked and talked and talked and talked as the mile went by.  I hit my first low spot around mile 34 and I remember it occurring to me that she was probably over 10 miles.  I asked he how long she was planning to run and she said “26 miles”.  I was pretty shocked.  She figured a slow 26, in shifts, with me and the distance wouldn’t intimidate her on race day.  Pretty brave. 

Early miles
 Bo got there around mile 40, as I was starting to have some pain in the left ankle.  This has been a problem spot for me, on and off, for several years.  It flared back up on Dawn to Dusk in December and has really never completely gone away since.  I really started to struggle and at mile 48 decided that if I couldn’t get the pain under control and get back to “normal” running I would have to consider pulling the plug.  I sat down for the first time, drank some coke and took some ibuprofen.  When I got back up I announced that I would walk a mile and then run a mile.  If I couldn’t run a full mile normally, I drop at 50 miles.  The ibuprofen worked, the mile wasn’t that bad so I continued on.  By mile 54 it was back, and worse than before.  I was limping noticeably, and aware that I was going to do some damage in other places if I kept going.

Britt was due to arrive in about a half hour, so I made the decision to change into warmer clothes, take some more ibuprofen and try laying down for 20 minutes.  I was stiff when I got up but the pain was once again tolerable.  By mile 58 it was back and I knew I couldn’t just keep popping ibuprofen every 8 miles.  It seemed all that was left was to pick a suitable jump off distance.  I thought about 100k, but eventually decided that if I knew the end was in sight, I could tough it out to 70.
That's enough.
 Lori got some good running in, about 19 miles, but didn’t get to run a second shift to get to 26.  Bo and Britt got a lot of struggling miles.  I’ve done a little bit of pacing duty with a struggling runner and I know it’s hard on the soul.  I really wish I could have rewarded their efforts with a better performance.
Somewhere in the middle of the night I went passed 24,000 miles since I started running 13 years ago.  Which leaves the next big milestone 24,901, Once Around the World.

It’s been 3 weeks since Pacific Rim.  My ankle is slowly getting better.  I haven’t run more than 4 miles at a time and it’s all been pretty slow.  I’m getting back into a routine for core and strength training which is really at the heart of ankle problems.  I have a weak core and weak right hip that make the left leg do too much of the work.  In the past, I’ve addressed this problem only long enough to get back to running and then ignored it.  I am becoming painfully aware of the ravages of time, and the realization that this cross training can not be ignored for much longer.  I truly hope to update, in a blog 6 months from now, how I’ve stuck with it and how much it has helped.  For now, get healthy, get strong and get ready for Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon in June and hope to be half as good at supporting Lori in her first marathon as she was for me at Pac Rim.

*Update:  Since it took me awhile to get pictures together, I’m now happy to update that I’ve been able to stretch my distance out a little and just this morning ran 6 miles at marathon pace with no discomfort…..onward.

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