My new racing season began yesterday with the Woodside Ramble 50k. More on that here.
Since AR50, last April, I was trying to take it easy and let my various injuries heal more completely. Perhaps running Born To Run 30 miler in May was not the best way to do that, but I wouldn’t have missed that either. Read my post about that here.
I thought this might be a good time to spend running with my son, Sean. We entered the Folsom Prison Trail Series and ran the 5k course together every week. He was enthusiastic about it and I’m thrilled to find that he loves doing something with me that I love doing so much. Sharing this with him is reward in itself. However, the coach in me started encouraging him to improve and be a little more competitive. After the 2nd or third week I could tell he wasn’t enjoying it as much. The conversation went like this…
“Sean, do you want to get faster?”
“No, not really.”
“When you see someone ahead of you, do you want to pass them?”
“Do you care if you are last?”
“No, not really.”
“Then, why are you running?”
“Well,” he said, “I like the trails and getting exercise, but, mostly, I just like being with you dad.”
I recalled my post about running for the love of running and wondered how I had gotten to the point that I was pushing so hard through injuries and trying to get into better shape that I was losing the joy of running. I didn’t push him any more. My summer became about spending time with my son on the trails. I spent more time volunteering and supporting others and focusing on being out there, whether I was running, walking, or just working at an aid station.
After a year of plantar fasciitis, followed by a year of Achilles issues, it became obvious that rest was in order. I just can’t seem to rest as long as I need to. I changed my training schedule to only running on the weekends. Lots of stretching and rolling. Occasionally a short run during the week. Unfortunately, that put some weight back on, which made the weekend long runs slower and more difficult. After finally going to see the doctor, it appears that I have a chronic sprain and it’s just going to hurt sometimes. I told the doctor of my plans for the next year and he asked me if I really thought my ankle would stop hurting with all that running. I said no, but I hoped he would tell me that it wouldn’t get worse so I could just run and realize that it would hurt. He told me that that was probably the case. So, I run on.
More than I could chew
After taking June and July off and a slow 20 miler, and even slower 50k, in August, I was talked into my first 100k attempt. SingleTrack Running put on the first ever circumnavigation of Folsom Lake, combining all of the trails I run on regularly into one 110k run. I knew I wasn’t ready for it, but if we never try to go further than we are able, we never really know how far we can go.
I toed the line at Beals Point and shuffled off into the dark. The course follows paved bike trail and sidewalk until Folsom Point and then drops onto the lake bed (the levy was under construction and the lake is nearly empty). I got there just before sunrise and the sky grew lighter as I made my way to Browns Ravine and beyond. I was feeling really good at New York Creek aid station and was comfortably ahead of the cut off.
Winding along the single track towards Salmon Falls, I still felt good and was gaining time. I reached the aid station and changed shoes and clothes to accommodate the warming weather. That took too long and, in spite of others prodding me to get going, I left about even with the cut-off. I thought I could make up some time along the lake shore, but the footing was bad and running alone slowed me down further.
The first major climb was as the day started getting uncomfortably warm and I ran out of water. By the time I reached the Flagstaff aid station, they were closing up and I was 10 minutes behind cut-off. It was not a hard cut-off however, so I pressed on. The course immediately goes to pavement and on to the next long climb. Exposed and hot, I ran out of water for the second time and by the time I reached Oakview Drive, I was done. I was still only 10 minutes behind cut-off and I was given the option to keep going, but some quick math to realize that the pace I would have to maintain to get back on schedule was not doable, I chose to DNF. 56k. I never made it to the rest of my wonderful crew, but I appreciate them being there. Maggie, Matt, and Joel, you are all inspirations to me and continue to be so. I’ll get to you next time.
After some recovery time, I’m ready to start training again.
Truth be told, I have big goals for the next year, including a return to FLUT.