Tuesday, August 9, 2011

We sometimes lose perspective because of the company we keep, but 21.24 miles is a LOT of miles. : )

That was a message from my friend Kim when I thought I was out.

When I planned out this year I had a ton of aspirations of running like there was no tomorrow.  I was really starting to get good and I knew it and then I got my slap in the face.  On January 29th I, being the kid I am, hurt the heck out of my right knee fooling around in my house.  Ever since then I have had one injury after another, and am still being haunted by it.  Most recently I had a really bad ankle sprain that is just kicking the shit out of me.  Because I've had to reduce my running, I have picked up some extra weight and I am beginning to notice a slight reduction in my leg strength.  Boo!

I ran this race with a plan in mind.  Run - rest - repeat.  After reaching a 50K I was so stoked thinking I was cured of my ailments.  This technique worked awesome for me and didn't strain e much at all.

Look at me I'm invincible!  I''m run the hell out of this race!  I'm going to beat Jenn by a second if I that's all.  I'm going to get a PR with a sub-6 time!  Which of those did I do?  NONE :D
OK, the LC50K was kind of an eye opener to me saying that although you feel good you are not totally healed.  Toward the end of the race my ankle started aching a good bit and really slowed my pace down to something stupid.  In the days following the run I really paid for it.  There was swelling and the aching didn't go away right away, even after icing it. 

I love seeing this sign...it's actually kind of spooky seeing it in the dark...

This is my second timed event.  We get 8 hours to run around a 1.18 mile track as many times as we can.  If you've read my friends' blogs you know the details.  But here's the jist of it:
  • To start things off it was 985ºF outside with a relative humidity of 600%.  
  • The hills were covered with broken glass, punji sticks, and set at a consistent 98% grade.  
  • The flat spots were booby trapped with swarms of killer bees, scorpions, and venomous black mambas.
  • At one point a crocodile was seen coming out of the water of "Piranha Creek" with a freakin' grizzly bear on it's back. 
  • The aid station was being controlled be Monsignor Frank who continuously forced his religious beliefs on everyone.
  • On my penalty lap they made me walk barefooted across the hot charcoal briquettes from the grill.
  • Oh, yeah, and I also got arrested!
This race is no joke!

The thing I love about the crowd I run with is that at these small races I know a good percentage of the people.  It really makes me happy to talk to my friends before, during, and after the race.  It's really hard to explain.

Jenn (Yes, you get top billing this time!)
Jenn has become my nemesis on the trails.  After beating her only once she has kicked my ass every time since.  I've lost one bet to her and almost a second one this weekend, fortunately she does not remember our conversation from Friday about me running one more lap than her.  We started the race out together and ran probably about half of my miles together.  It was awesome.  She would sing to me, yell to me that she could see my blonde hair (as she caught up to me), and did just enough pickin' to keep me on my toes but not so much that I wanted to kill her. I have to say that I have some mad respect for the way this chick runs though.  Don't let her pretty smile or sweet southern accent fool you...She can, and will, lay the smack down on your ass and run circles around you while you hope for death. (OK, enough being nice...I am going to get sick.)  For real though she did great and I was happy to run her last lap with her, which, yes I did get credit for even though I stopped running an hour plus prior to that.
My nemesis and me...she slowed down so I could catch up for the picture.
(Photo: Sean Oh)
Getting Arrested:
A couple of weeks ago after a training run my friend John warned me that there was going to be some heckling going on at the race.  Little did I know that he would slap the cuffs on me and throw me to the ground only to let the other runners kick dirt in my eyes.  It was no fair, and probably cost me winning the race, but oh well.  I definitely had it coming.  John, that really made my day!
Officer John doing what is right...I was bad...
(Photo:Carol Downey)

Monsignor Frank:
One of my favorite running friends on Tuesday nights, always offering sage advice when I need it most and he even started a fund raiser to help me get air conditioning for my old car!  Now, that's a friend.  Every lap he filled my handheld with holy water, and as the race went on started reminding me that I needed to drink more.  He was right!  Even the heckling as I got back from my ankle ice breaks was great. "Aaron, it's been an hour...where have you been?"  "You need to run this nest mile in 8 minutes." "I don't know what's wrong with my holy water.  It doesn't seem to be working for you."
Monsignor Frank!
Mostly everyone out there knew I was running with an injury and it seemed like they were keeping an eye on me.  Sean came over and hung out with me for quite a while on one of my ice breaks.  We talked about everything from his new coaching job to exercises I can do to strengthen my ankle to how much better and recommended it is to do shots of tequila while you are running. Sally, who eventually told me that I was done running (and then later told me to run one more lap) was a lifesaver.  I think she knew I was contemplating continuing on and told me what I needed to hear...I needed to stop.  The fall is right around the corner.  She also offered some suggestions on how to make myself stronger.  What a cool group of people!
Thanks to everyone for not letting me feel too down about not making my goal...even, and especially those not at the race but who told me that they were really proud of me for what I had accomplished.  It all means a lot to me!

If I want to be able to follow in the words of Bill Keane I need to recover.  I really want to get back on track and beyond where I was in January, where I am now.  I am excited, but at the same time know I need to take it easy.
Anyone want to go hiking?

I did the strike-through because, well, it was depressing to me, but I needed to save it as a reminder.


  1. It's always a pleasure and an honor to run with you at these races. Keep up hope, recover well, and you're gonna have a rocking rest of the year!

  2. Whatevs dude, you rocked my face off!

    Seriously, it was great seeing you and getting some miles in...take the advice and build back slowly. Summer is the best time to recover, Fall/Winter running will be here soon!

  3. Dude you ran a lot more miles than most people do in a week, and you did it on a bum ankle. This crowd we hang out with will make you push yourself further than you think is possible. Take care of that ankle, we have some miles to run together.