Monday, February 14, 2011


I have run only one time since the Sultan 50K on 1/29.  The one run I have had was a nice half marathon though the mountains.  This run however brought to the surface a painful lower left leg injury.  I have had discomfort about 2-3 inches above the ankle that started after Harbison 50K on 1/08. 

The discomfort was mild but after the half I ran at SM State Park I was in serious pain.  I was about sure I was suffering from a stress fracture of the lower leg.  A stress fracture would mean no running for at least 4-6 weeks and would keep me from running Mount Mitchell Challenge on 2/26.  I stopped my training runs completely and visited Carolina Orthopedic.  I was not optimistic....

My Doc stated he also believed it to be a stress fracture but an MRI would be the only way to know for sure.  He said the MRI was not necessary but I insisted as I needed to know if running Mitchell was still a possibility or not.  I had to cancel my spot at Shut-In-Ridge due to an IT Band injury last November and I was getting depressed at the thought of dropping from Mitchell as well.  This close to the race a refund was not possible. 

The last week has been long and very stressful.  I lost my 93 year old grandmother and flew up to Boston for the service and to be with my dad.  Losing a family member quickly changes ones perspective on what is really important.

I arrived home yesterday and I received a call today with the results.  No stress fracture but more than likely a stress reaction to the lower leg.  I need to test things out with a few runs but it looks like Mitchell is a go. 

My training plans for this month did not go as planned but I'll try to suffer through another ultra marathon just for the challenge of finishing.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Raven Rock & Saddleback 13.1

After a handful of days of rest and recovery from the Sultan 50K I needed to get back to training.  I set out this morning on a punishing course that I thought up on the ride to the trail head.  I've run these trails countless times but I have never put them together in the route I had planned for today.

The run started at the Cicero parking area at South Mountain State Park.  I sat in my warm vehicle for about 5 minutes struggling with motivation to get moving.  I considered the limited time for training left until Mount Mitchell Challenge and quickly cut the car off and entered the cold morning air.  The air although cold is so refreshing and smells clean and fresh with the Jacob Branch rolling by within view.

I began with the easy run along River Trail to the the main parking area before heading up the first climb on Little River Trail.  I climbed Little River to the highest point on the Turkey Ridge.  I was clearing my self out to help with breathing with the efficient means of the snot rocket.  The cold air lately has been doing a number on my sinuses and I realized I was now suffering from a nose bleed.  Nose bleeds are never fun but are a real pain in the ass while trying to run.  Fortunately I was able to keep moving and get it stopped up.  On the descent I picked up the Raven Rock Trail which would be around 1.5 miles of steep climb.   Slowing working my way up the mountain I reach the all to familiar trail head of Saddleback Ridge.  I have a love and hate relationship with this trail.  It truly is the best trail I have for training but I have never been able to tame her yet.  Saddleback Trail is about 3 miles of wide single track.  I begin the descent with a comfortable and controlled pace.  I start to feel a throbbing pain in lower left leg just above the ankle.  This pain has been light but still present since the Harbison 50K.  I had no difficulties with it in last weekends race and grew confident that it had faded away.  The mental game of the onset of a running injury starts to play with my head.  I reach the bottom of the trail and gather myself for a moment before beginning the 3 miles back to the top of the ridge.  I'm moving along fairly well considering how tough this route was to this point.  The pain in my leg is growing and so is my concern.  Reaching the ridge it is all downhill from here back down Raven Rock to my vehicle.  I try to keep the speed in check on this steep grade as the leg feels very tender and I'm not sure what damage is already begun.

I arrive at the vehicle with about 12.5 miles in and opt for a easy run around the parking area to finish out with nice 13.1.  This route had over 3000' of ascent and another 3000' of descent.  I can sometimes become obsessed with numbers but I'm sure I'm not alone. 

Appointment made for Monday at Carolina Ortho in Mountain View.  I'm afraid I already know the diagnosis but I need proof before the reality of it all sets in.