Sunday, April 24, 2011

reality check ... i am not a roadrunner ...

yes, i run the roads ... sort-of. we have a lot of seasonal dirt roads around our house and i love to run them. there is no traffic and they are dirt ... soft sometimes, rocky sometimes, not unlike the trails. in the winter i am forced to run on the regular roads where traffic goes. my favorite dirt roads allow access to me only on skis or snowshoes. and i run road races ... sometimes. so i run roads ... or so i thought. well, i was given a HUGE reality check in this department this weekend. and what i found out is that i am not really a roadrunner.

yesterday joe and i were in connecticut for the jack bristol lake waramaug ultras (50k, 50mile, 100k); a multi-loop run around lake waramaug. it all started when i didn't get into the bull run run 50 mile race this year and had to find something else to do. i had heard good things about the lake waramaug ultras and thought it would be a fun thing to do (joe's sister also lives very close to this race venue, so we would get to visit with her and her husband, which is always good fun). i am comfortable with the 50 mile distance, so i signed up for that race. joe had planned to run the BPAC 6-hour race, but skipped that due to bad weather and decided to go with me to lake waramaug and run the 50k. piece of cake, right?

well, first of all, the morning started out with temps below what was predicted (it was around 40 degrees at the start) and the weatherman's prediction of 70% chance of rain was wrong ... it was a 100% chance of rain. hard rain. but ultras are always fun just being around the other runners and the volunteers, so it was ok. however, after only a few miles i knew something wasn't right. my left hip was nagging me with an achiness i have never felt. but i thought i was just stiff and not warmed up yet, so i just kept trotting along. unfortunately about five miles in, the ache was no longer nagging, it was starting to scream. i ate, i walked, i jogged ... nothing helped. and then i realized it ... the pavement. i thought i had done enough road training, but the reality of it was that i don't really road run. i thought i run on the roads, but the reality is that even when i run on paved roads, i don't. i run on the side of the road where it is soft and dirt. wow ... pavement is much harder. and i don't like it. and there are no dirt shoulders (well, very few and in very short segments) on the roads around lake waramaug.

fortunately, as i was self-commisserating early on, there was joe. my hips and low back were in agony and my pace had slowed. i had already decided to down-grade to the 50k distance and not hurt myself for the upcoming Bear Mountain 50K. at least i was feeling mentally better running with joe and that helped to keep me moving. and it was fun again! our buddies karen, rob, and will were manning an aid station, serving some awesome grilled cheese sandwiches and hot hot soup. joe's brother-in-law, dan, jumped in and ran about 10 miles with us and we just had a good time!

joe and i finished the 50k in under 6 hours (i don't really know what time it was ... seeing friends and talking, i forgot to look at my watch!). the rain stopped for a bit when we finished so we were able to visit with karen, rob, and will at their aid station. it was just good fun. today i feel a bit sore in the hips, but no long-lasting damage. it was, all in all, a great weekend of friends, family, and running, but i can't wait to get back to the trails. trails don't hurt ... even my falls hurt less than pavement. but i know i can't help myself ... if my friends are all going to be at a run, pavement or trails, i can be coerced into doing it too. i hate being left out!