08 February 2015

My chosen frozen: The awesome & the ugly

Let me start this race recap just over a week ago, with me being my usual klutzy self and wringing my ankle outward in a weird position while awkwardly stepping over my daughter, who was lounging on the living room floor. Ice, ibuprofen, no harm, no foul. Or so I thought.

Two days later, there was a 15-mile run, seven miles of which included me wondering why the area under my right outer ankle hurt so much. Ahh, I strained my peroneal tendon and then aggravated it with the run. Awesome. So, I took the next week easy, rested, and prepped for the ICY-8.

I drove up to Virginia on Friday afternoon and stayed in a cabin at Lake Anna State Park, graciously hosted by Alex P., the RD, just five minutes from the start. Had a pre-race meal of lasagna, garlic bread and super veggie salad (prepared by the Robertsons!) and curled up cozy to sleep until morning.

It is hard to overstate the amazing work that Alex and the volunteers do for each race in the Athletic Equation Race Series. The thoughtfulness, from venue choice, to trail selection to food and medical care, is evident and this was no exception. A big thank you upfront to Alex and everyone involved, especially the HBCA crew! In addition, Alex donated the proceeds from the sale of race shirts that day to my fundraising efforts - humbled and grateful.

Alex is in the black shirt and jeans in the center.
The 2015 ICY-8 shirt. Yes.
Temp at the start was about 29F and it was chilly. I was layered and my ankle was taped, ibuprofen consumed and fingers crossed. Runners had the option of running an 8-mile or a 4.7-mile loop or a combination thereof. I had originally intended a 2 short/1 long alternating but with the sore ankle, chose to stay on the short in case I got into trouble out on the course.

Yes, this was part of the race course, which was well marked
throughout, if not always discernable through the leaves. 
Going for it. 
My average pace through the first 20 miles was about a 10:20, which had me on track for 9 laps of the short course for a total of 42+ miles, which I knew I was capable of with all the training I had done. At the start of the 5th lap though, the pain ratcheted up intensely, and I slowed to a 16:15 pace. I decided that I would push on laps 6 & 7 and go for 8 laps instead. I held onto that until 2/3 through lap six when I just couldn't push off my right foot. It just felt like a hot poker stabbing me in the ankle with each stride, and radiating across my heel. Which was truly frustrating and, oddly, the first time I have felt any real frustration during any of my races thus far.

I reassessed and decided to make one more loop, walking slowly. I had just under two hours to complete it. As I was departing the CP, Alex looked at me and asked, "Are you ok?" I cheerfully replied, "Nope!" I was forced to take my time, stepping gingerly and remembering my purpose in being there. I also had a little fun and took some photos of the course.

One for the Commandant, one for the Corps, and
one more for Chesty.

Nonetheless, I was happy to be done after 7 laps. After I hobbled up the hill, I got a little lift across the finish, courtesy of volunteer Peter O. (who was also at the 24-hr ATR last May)!

The other really neat things that occurred were the repeat sightings of other runners, some from the May race, and the best for me? Scott M., who I met in Sept out in ID at the YT50, driving down from Ottawa (yes, Canada!) to run this race, accompanied by a friend. We all had dinner that night, with two other dear friends who live in DC - fantastic - and are scheming our next rendezvous race! 

Scott M. halfway through the day, an inspiration and a great guy. 
Yes, that is Garrett "Rainman" H. on the right! Boom.
MARSOC Foundation in the house.
Bryan, with whom I ran several loops during the 24-hr ATR.
(Oh, and I finally found my lip balm, Bryan!)
Oh, and the ankle? This is what it looked like when I got back to the cabin. Physical therapy, a little help?

Super puffy and swollen below and around the ankle bone,
 even with the compression sock plus K-tape. 
All in all, I can't complain about a 50K+ performance on a jacked ankle, and I am happy to report that the only thing that hurts is my ankle - nary a sore muscle - which makes me confident in my training and what I'm capable of rested and uninjured (meaning, stop tripping on the carpet). Other bits from the race:
  1. I got a raw nose from wiping away the runny nose shmeetz with my gloves.
  2. I switched to my long sleeve shirt, then forgot when my eyes watered, and got nose shmeetz in my eyes. Perfect. 
  3. I fell three times on the trail, saving myself from injury with both the break-fall and the combat roll. #militarytraining #bruisedmyshoulderthough
  4. I saved myself four other times, which didn't help my ankle any. #shouldveusedthecombatroll
  5. Grilled bacon and cheese sandwiches. Pierogies. Pickle juice. Always the pickle juice. 

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