Sunday, December 5, 2010

"Mind the Exit Wound"...and the .44 Magnum on June 25th.

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November, and the aftermath of my first ultra on 10/30, has gone by quickly.  The restful weeks following the 50M went quickly and easily -- as I've been busy with work, education courses, and coaching.

Initially, I was far less sore after Autumn Leaves than Twin Cities -- no hobbling or aberrant stair-stepping. If anything, my only soreness was due to my own mechanical flaws -- overloading the left side, lacking push-off on the right, and chronic under-pronation on the right side.  I had some left lateral knee soreness for about a week, then a touch of heel pain on both sides for another week.

My college coach, friend/mentor and distance running mega-guru Sean Hartnett has a saying, "Mind the Exit Wound".  In other words, be mindful of not just the initial soreness, but the lingering after-effects of a hard race or workout and how they can affect your body.  

I did not heed this advice as I should have; the left heel pain, which I thought might've been lumbopelvic or ankle joint referred pain, turned out to be a significant musculo-tendinous strain.  It took a good two weeks of "barking" -- and pain escalation -- to make that clear.  And since then, I've run only twice in the past two weeks.  It's improving, but SLOWLY. 

It IS irritating, though: I should've been wiser.  I THRASHED my calves at Twin Cities (my left worse than the right), then did not sufficiently work them out prior to Autumn Leaves.  Then, when Lefty began barking, mid-November, I ignored it, thinking it was just "joint stiffness".  So, as it turns out, I've been pissing it off for a month.  It could take another week or more to heal sufficiently to begin training.

And train, I must, because on Saturday I Won The Lottery. I was among the 10% of the applicants lucky enough to win the privilege pay $370 to run 100 miles through the mountains on June 25th, 2011 -- my mom's "29th" Birthday! 

I have mixed feeling on this "win".  One one hand, winning a spot in the 2011 is a shot at achieving a lifetime goal of finishing an event I thought was completely impossible when I first heard of it.  I remember being at my mom's house in the summer of 2004, reading an article online about a Northern Minnesotan who was in the midst of a six-year streak of complete domination of an event I thought was "punishment for shoplifting in some countries".  Yet it intrigued me to the Nth Degree.  A ten mile trail run can be tough, but 100 miles??

On the other hand, I feel as though I haven't earned this spot -- I wish I was forced to win a Montrail Cup race in order to gain a WS100 berth, because that'd be more evidence that I was prepared and deserving of a spot in the "Boston Marathon of Ultras". 

Back in 2004 I remember poring over the WS100 website and the participant guide -- the maps and pacing and crewing...  Since my pacing experience at the 2010 event, I've pored even more, nearly to the point of obsession.  Now that I'm IN FOR SURE -- I am equally excited and frightened.

Some thoughts:
  • I'm definitely less scared about 100 miles than I was before Autumn Leaves.  And much less scared than my first impression 6 years ago.  However, I do remember being "several kilometers" into the 50M, thinking, "There's NO WAY I'm gonna even apply to Western States!"
  • I'm nervous and anxious about this Achillies -- heal, already!
  • I'm flattered and excited about having a burgeoning crew comprised of friends and family, that will add a sense of meaning to the event that would far exceed a solo endeavor
  • I firmly believe that the key to ultra-marathoning success is Biomechanical Excellence.  And I have a plan to make my own mechanics as excellent as possible, this involving maybe one of the most skilled and experienced "sports medicine movement experts" in the US.  Thankfully his office is a mile away from mine
  • I've got some fun and exciting training ideas already, my favorite being HERE
I've been telling people that Ultra running combines three of my favorite things: running, the outdoors, and EATING.  So, if nothing else, I suppose I can try to eat $370 worth of Mountain Dew, M&Ms, brownies, and PB&J sandwiches, come June 25th!  

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