Well, I've gone 1 for 3 in big races this year, with one more to go before the year ends.
Race 1: Marathon - finished in under my goal time, injury free, had a fantastic time.
Race 2: 50k - cancelled due to wildifres
Race 3: 20mi - Oooooooooooooooh boy.
This one I was extremely excited for, after having ran the half-marathon distance last year, which is no longer offered. The entirety of the race occurs in the backcountry around Mt. St. Helen's, and features a handful of lakes, amazing rock formations, and expansive fields. Single track trail is a beautiful, sexy thing if you're a trail runner. The course itself is slow, technical, and with significant elevation change. Roughly 4,850 ft of elevation gain in the 20mi, and roughly 8,000 ft of elevation gain in the 50k. To say it's challenging is accurate and possible an understatement. But the atmosphere, the community, the camaraderie is unlike anything you experience running a road race. It's part of why I trail run.
Training largely went well, my legs were feeling fresh, and the first 2.5 miles went swimmingly. I was on target to hit my goal of 4:20:00. And then, I hit underbrush just off the trail. And then, it grabbed at my foot. And then, I rolled the ankle. And the, I was down. Hard. Everybody passed my, friends stopped, strangers stopped, lot's of asking "Are you okay" - "Yeah, I'm working on it" as I literally have no movement in that foot and swelling starts immediately. It's 2.5 mi to the start, or 2.5 mi to aid station 1 (AS1). Fifteen minutes go by, and I'm able to move, at least enough to get up, as some of the back-of-the-pack starts to pass me by. At least there's still people around. I make the decision to proceed to AS1 because there's a medic there, and shuffle my way over the course of what feels like the longest 2.5 mi of my life. Hours go by, or maybe just tens of minutes. Pain comes and goes, and my right ankle is now twice the size of my left...
I finished the race. It was a stupid decision to keep going, and more damaged occurred because of it. One trip to urgent care for x-ray and the good news is, there's no fracture! Just a severe sprain, which will take as much time to fully heal. But no cast, so that's nice. Boot, ice, compression, and plenty of biking. I'll be writing a full post on this race for a Northwest Trail Running blog, which will be my first piece of externally published writing. if it all goes well, maybe I'll do more in the future. How can you not keep going when you're rewarded with views like this later on in the race?
Race 4: A 50k I'm supposed to, and will, run in November.