Thursday, January 9, 2014

2013 - You run some and you lose some (running miles that is) ...that's life as an injured runner

2013 you are done, completed and in the history books of  Gimpy's blogs.

Gimpy's new running mantra

As I reflect on last years running experiences and preparing for 2014 they leave me feeling at once frustrated and hopeful.  Of course, I was frustrated by a laundry list of injuries that challenged my training schedule and impacted some of my goals that went unaccomplished. Going into 2014 they sit at the back of my mind quietly cautioning me to try and avoid  a repeat of some of my training errors.

But I did realize some bright spots for the year that brought satisfaction, bring forth smiles, and foster anticipation for better running days ahead.

So in brief here is the year 2013 running minutes:

Rosary Lakes - Waldo 100K
Silver Falls Trail Marathon

Late 2012 and early 2013 injuries caused me to miss the Capital mile, the Hangover run, the much acclaimed and undervalued Beer mile, and Hagg Lake 50K mud run in February.  These would normally be my season starters to kick the cobwebs free and get into trail shape.  But they were put on hold due to multiple injuries that lasted through the first half of 2013.

I attribute these injuries to too many mile repeats early in the season, that resulted in a pulled left hamstring muscle (snap).  But, never say that Gimpy isn't stubborn regarding certain things.  It was my stubborn commitment to continue training through the pain without repair that resulted in additional issues that would persist for too many months.

The hamstring issues progressed as left Achilles pain followed by right Achilles pain followed by left Achilles pain (Rinse and repeat).  If I could re-invent a single body part, I think it would be the Achilles tendon.  Well maybe there are a few others, but for 2013 this would be the part that fails to receive Gimpy's running body part of the year.  Once they break or tear or gets overly stressed, they needs lots of rest and relaxation, if you do not they will complain bitterly every chance they get.

While I missed many running opportunities, I did run the Cascade Half Marathon in Aumsville and one of the highlights of early 2013 was a P.B. at the Roaring River Half Marathon - 1:47:54.  I think William Swint, Mr Pain Train himself will be credited with this assist.  He was kind enough to warm up with me and reminded me that warming up is a good thing, but he also cautioned that too much warming can result in barely making it to the start line before the start of the race.  Thanks William for your kindness.

Opting out of the Hagg Lake 50K was a strategy that may or may not have helped with my preparation for Gimpy's return to Marathon running.  Ultimately, I took a nice trip with my wife and daughter to Napa Valley and completed it in 4:17.  Not particularly fast, but improvement in time over previous marathons in 2008 and 2010.  However, as you can see below, I wasn't feeling it immediately after the race.  Maybe I needed a hot dog, cotton candy, or something equally fluffy and pretty.  I'm not sure at this point.

Note: Some of the following images may be distressing, if you have an overwhelming urge to faint, just look away from screen.  I can assure you I only look exhausted.

Unexpectedly Exhausted - Napa Valley
Expectedly Exhausted - Mt Hood 50

Moving forward through the year, my running times at Peterson Ridge 40 miler in April and McDonald Forest 50K in May were also slower than expected, but finally in June things started to click for me.  I felt better physically and relatively pain free during the Run for the Hills 30K, I ran a sub-11 hr Western States qualifier at Mt Hood 50M (Yeah!!!), although I don't look much different after this run than after Napa in March. 
Maybe I should have requested an IV, hhhhhmmm, maybe next year.  My favorite running coach and mentor, Mike "Speedy" Rosling says it is quite the pick me up.  I'm not a big fan of needles so I'll have to take his word for it.
The SOB 50K South of Ashland was beautiful and well worth the drive, although the heat and fire looked ominous while I was driving down.
I happily made it into the Waldo 100K, which would become the longest run of my life and with Mike Rosling pacing me, I was able to finish in a 17hr 24 minutes and I got my hat.  Since I'd dropped the previous year, it was one of my biggest running accomplishments.  I did rip one of my other hats while swatting at bees.  Why can't they just be happy creatures?  Fortunately no stings.  And I will painfully and always remember that long and seemingly infinite trudge up Maiden Peak. 
These kind of memories help hold the brain cells together.
After Waldo, I started tapering the miles in September in preparation for the Mountain Lakes 100, but decided on a last minute whim to try and get into the McKenzie 50K and pace it like a 100 miler.  Surprisingly, I finished McKenzie with an improved time from 2012 and felt ready for,

wait for it...

My first 100 miler, Mountain Lakes 100.

Going into this run, I was super excited.  I had a great crew with my older sister Sherrie, her husband Brandt, their son Carson, as well as two pacers, my nephew Ray "that 70's guy" Davanzo and Mike "Speedy" Rosling.  To every ones surprise, the bizarreness that is Oregon weather struck and I finished my race at mile 49 as everyone was pulled from the course due to high winds, rains that left inches of water in the trail, snow, and falling trees.  I was super cold as I approached the Red Wolf Aid Station and I was glad they had heaters and space blankets to help warm up.  I haven't summarized all the things I would do differently yet, but a life after this run continues on and I don't have any regrets even though I didn't exceed my 100K distance at Waldo.  I think I'll be better prepared for next year and I will be going back, especially if I stay away from the dreaded injury goblins.

I finished up the year with some fun and memorable runs like the Condor 25K, a super nice race for a great cause in honor of Dave Bateham, the Detroit Lake fun run, a trail marathon at Silver Falls, and Shellburg Falls put on by Gary and Shandi Terlecki and the folks at Run Wild Adventures, and Mike Ripley's Hell of the Northwest 25K on some nice trails near Starker Forest, just outside of Blodgett, OR.

Although my total miles for 2013 were low relative to my goals, 1550 vs 2000, it was a quite a running year...

Highlights include decision to try out shoe testing with Nike, running a half marathon PR, completing my longest run to date of 100K, completing a Western States Qualifier at Mt Hood (even though I didn't get in via the lottery (Sadness inserted here), toed the line for an attempt at a 100 miler, and got to run some super fine trails with some super nice people.  What could be better?  Well besides being injury free and an endless supply of diet pepsi and an occasional beer.

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2013 Race Summary
Jan 2013   - Cascade Half Marathon
Feb 2013  - Roaring River Half Marathon
Mar 2013 - Napa Valley Marathon
                 - Buck Mountain 6.5M
Apr 2013  - Peterson Ridge Rumble 40M
May 2013 - McDonald Forest 50K
Jun 2013   - Run for the Hills 30K
                 - Pacific Crest Duathlon Relay (Half Marathon) - Bike = Joe Rothery
Jul 2013   - Mt Hood 50M
                 - SOB 50K
Aug 2013 - Waldo 100K
Sep 2013  - McKenzie River 50K
                 - Mountain Lakes 100M (DNF - Weather)
Oct 2013  - Condor 25K
                 - Detroit Lake 6M
                 - McDonald Forest 15K
Nov 2013 - Silver Falls Trail Marathon
                 - Hell of the Northwest 25K
                 - Mid-Valley Road Run 3.7M
Dec 2013 - Shellburg Falls 7M

So 2014, be gone frustrations and hello hope, can't wait to see what you bring...

Happy Running New Year...

Until then Let's Go Gimpy, Run...