Monday, October 26, 2009

Bimbler's Bluff

7 hours, 22 minutes. Going into the 2009 Bimbler's Bluff, I was worried about my left hamstring. It still was sore when I ran on Thursday and I was worried that it would flair up during the race. Turns out that except for two times, once when I first started and once later in the day when I semi-turned my left ankle, it did not bother me. Unfortunately, I had stomach issues. I have not ever had stomach issues during an ultra. But this time it was a problem from the start. When the race started the weather was great. Temperature was somewhere around fifty degrees with a breeze under clear skies. I ran with my North Face pack on with the bladder full of water and a hand-held bottle with Gatorade. At the start my stomach was feeling bloated and queesy. I thought that it was just pre-race jitters although I felt calm enough. Around the back of the school yard and across the street to head into the woods. The golf course crew was out blowing the leaves off of the greens, sending the vibrant oranges, yellows and reds swishing through the air as we ran by in the woods. With the worry of my hamstring, I started out near the back and took it easy heading down the hill. With the rain on Saturday, the trail was wet. Certain areas had large puddles, mud was evident everywhere and the rocks were slippery. The rocks, by the way, were plentiful, sharp and of various sizes. The bottoms of my feet protested vigorously. It become very painful to run on the rocky sections of the trail. But the biggest problem was my stomach. Everytime I drank or ate anything, I felt bloated and nauceous. I kept hoping that it would pass, but it never did. Knowing that I had to eat and drink to make it through the race was disheartening based on how I felt each time that I did. I spent some time walking to get past the queasiness a few times. Later in the race, I discovered that if I passed gas, it seemed to get better and I was able to run pretty well. Of course, I could not pass gas each time that it occured. I left the fourth aid station and was told by another runner that the last aid station was five miles away and then three miles to the finish. That was wrong. I figured I could do five miles in just over an hour so when it became one and a half hours and still going I knew that I had been misled. It was actually eight miles to the aid station. It just took a bit longer. I passed a gentleman on a horse while on the trail. He stopped the horse in the middle of a big puddle to allow me to pass. Me being me, I was plowing through the puddles, enjoying the feeling of splashing water on my legs. The gentleman commented that I must be cooling off my feet. I replied that I did it any chance I could. The cold water felt great on my battered feet. When I had started the race, I thought that eight hours would be pretty good for me. Seven hours and 22 minutes was better that I expected considering my state of fitness. Mr. Bimbler put on a fantastic race with some great volunteers out on the course. I look forward to improving my time next year (or some time after that).

Monday, October 19, 2009

Doin' the stupid

I had planned on running twice in the woods this past weekend. Dummy me that I can be, I did not go either day. Friday I decided to run the Run with the Penguins 5K in Mystic since the race director is a friend. I would do the race and then run the course again to get in some easy miles. Then Sunday I would go out to North Stonington and run on my favorite trail. Friday at work I was able to get out for a run at lunch time and I decided to see how well I could do running on my forefoot. I read 'Born to Run' and realized that my feet problems could probably (this might be stretching things a bit) be blamed on too much cushioning in my shoes and running the wrong way. So why not give it a try, slowly, to change my running style. So Friday I gave it a try. It was not very comfortable and I had to concentrate just to keep it going, but I did it. I also strained my right calf, which seemed to get worse as the day wore on. So Saturday morning it still was sore and I told myself to keep it low key and just jog it out, hoping that it would ease up with the warm up. When the gun went off for the race, I actually took it easy at the start. Unfortunately, I did not keep it easy and by the time the race hit the farmer's field (with some very enjoyable mud) I was moving faster and ignoring the signals from my leg. But what I did not realize was that my left leg was trying to compensate for the right leg and by the time that I was in the finishing stretch, my left hamstring and left abductor were making quite a bit of noise. Do you think that hearing that noise, I would not go for the extra run? Of course not. Just who do you think I am? After getting home and getting cleaned up, I went out with Carol to do a bit of shopping, hoping that the hamstring would loosen up a bit. That did not happen. So Sunday on the trails also did not happen. I am nearing fifty years old and I would think that I should have the ability by now to learn from my mistakes, but in the case of running it does not seem so. I ran this morning to the fitness center and on of the trainers, Ben, showed me some stretches that have help it already. I ran easy for seven miles and with the stretches, I am hopeful that I have not put my 50K in jeopardy. We will see.