Sunday, March 13, 2011

Review And Redemption

OK, after a great time of running yesterday it finally got me into the mood to look back at my racing since the new year has begun. First of all, yesterday was the 10th Annual St. Patrick's Day 4-Mile Road Race in Binghamton. This is truly one of the best races around ... the RD is awesome, the volunteers are so great, and the church ladies really know how to put on a spread! Joe and I, as always, were totally geared for the race and ran in full uniform. I finished in 27:42, 10 seconds faster than last year. Good enough for second Female Masters and first Athena! It was a great day of running and most importantly, great to see all of our friends during the social hour after the race!
So back to February, a race I have been putting-off writing about because, quite frankly, it just drained the hell out of me. Last year was the first running of the Beast Of Burden Winter 100 (miles) and 24-HR race in Lockport, NY. Last year I ran the 24 hours and it was just very cool and fun! Just run what I could in 24 hours and no pressure. So I was game for that again this year ... but for some unknown and likely insane reason, at the last minute, I decided that I could do the 100 miler. What the hell was I thinking? My last long run had been in early December and due to lack of enthusiasm and bad weather, long runs were just hard to come by to fully prep for this event. But I was confident that I could do it.

Well, long story short ... The Beast showed-up in full-force! The temps were low 20s with just NON-STOP winds, gusting 20-30 mph. The snow was actually quite good for running and my yak traks worked well. However, the cold (which I usually love) combined with the wind and windchill, just made it hard. I had been practicing with a new fuelling strategy of drinking Hammer Perpetuem as my main fuel, which worked OK. But what I realized was that the fullness from the Perpetuem actually kept me from eating enough solid foods and apparently the Perpetuem wasn't enough to keep me fuelled for the long-run. Lesson learned. I like and need to eat solid foods, especially in that type of environment, to keep me well fuelled.

But the main issue for me was that for the first time I actually felt hurt during the run. Not just hurting, but actually hurt. There is a difference. Hurting is expected ... you expect to hurt during this type of run. It's not easy. But being hurt is different ... like there is actually an injury presenting itself. Approaching the 50-mile mark, my right groin felt so strained that each step forward with that leg felt like some ligament or something might just tear. It was incredibly painful. There really wasn't much of a decision to make ... no way did I want to do permanent damage to myself and jeopardize the rest of my racing season. The hard part was, well ... yet another 100-mile DNF. I am so hating that feeling.

So I rested and drank some beers and coffee with Bailey's and that seemed to ease the mental anguish but unfortunately it did little to help my leg pain. At least the continuing pain let me know that I made the right decision in stopping. The nice thing was that I got to help Joe crew for our friend Karen who was also running the 100. She is one amazing and tough lady. I just wanted to cry (and I think I may have) when I saw her approaching the last couple of miles on the other side of the canal. Karen finished in 29 hours, 2 minutes ... DFL. But, like I told her, DFL is actually a great place to be ... the cheers are as loud for you as they are for the winner! I know ... I have been there.

So it was a great weekend and actually a very fun time. Lessons learned, as I always do at each one of these things I attempt. I was honored to be there to see Karen truly grit it out in some of the harshest conditions. I will go back again next year and take-on the 24 hour again and see what I can do. I love to run, but I love more having fun when I am doing it ... and the 24 hour event for me is fun. No pressure. And really, for me, in those conditions, it's all about finding out what you have in you. So Sam ... I WILL BE BACK!
(Karen & Chris pre-race at the BOB)

And on another note ... Fox Soccer Plus ... thanks for NOTHING! I can't even watch the Six Nations rugby tournament because you're not showing it! And I so needed the distraction of watching good rugby and I am apparently missing some really great action by England who are so far undefeated and could take the Six Nations in a grand slam!

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