Crossfit and Cheesecake
The night before what could have been my second 50K trail run, a running acquaintance asked me “so how’ve you been training for this one?”
“Well, I’ve been doing Crossfit, some cycling, a few Cardio Sculpt type classes and I ate a big hunk of cheesecake on my birthday earlier this week.”
This comment was met with a blank stare.
What do you mean that’s not a very good training plan for a long distance trail run? I mean, last minute training always works in the movies.
I admit, I was woefully unprepared for 30 miles of trail. I knew it going in but I thought if I just took it easy and did a lot of run/speed hike intervals, I’d be fine since the time limit was 8 hours. But there were things I did not count on:
1. Dinner the night before.
I ordered the butternut squash enchiladas, which seemed like a somewhat safe choice. I was wrong. About 5 hours after said meal, I got the butternuts. In the morning I tried to eat my usual oatmeal and chewed a tums. I got to the first checkpoint and asked for tums. They didn’t have any. Luckily even though I’d forgotten to put them in my pack, my husband happened to be at CP1 and had tums! Yea for a man with acid reflux so bad he carries antacids in his car.
Not just rain, an overnight pounding with lightning, wind and lots of rain. Flood warning rain. It was still raining at start time but a half hour delay let the lightning fritter away except for a couple of errant flashes. I was soaked from step one. I thought I was prepared for it, only wearing clothes that had been race tested before. But this was truly the wettest run I’d been on in recent memory. Perhaps ever. I don’t know. All I know is, I was wet and there was chafing and I felt heat on the toenail that had come off in the 50K five weeks ago. All this by mile 5. This does not bode well.
I couldn’t help but think of my friend Ashley and her disastrous OT50 attempt. I struggled with the guilt of leaving her to run my own race then and wondered what would have happened if I had stayed with her. I was all on my own for this one. I suppose I could have tried to find a partner but my pace wasn’t matching up with anyone else out there, at least no one I knew since that would have been like 3 people out of more than 200. It’s lonely out there with the rain and wind in your face and blisters on your toe and chafing boobs.
At mile 9 I came to the check point where I had to choose to continue on the 50K route or drop to 25. I was not feeling awful at this point, just a few small nagging things that were probably not going to get better, like the hot spot on my toe and the chaffing boobage. My time was still on target to easily make the 50k cut off but, I wouldn’t be able to slow down too much if I wanted to finish with any time to spare much less energy for anything else that day. I made the call. I dropped. And about 2 miles after that, my knees started hurting like they hadn’t since a training run more than 2 months ago. I think the wet shoes and socks were allowing my feet to move and shift inside my shoes which was causing the knees to go. I should have stopped, sat down and retied my shoes but in my head, I was thinking I was already behind by keeping a slower pace on the front end of what was now a much shorter run, I should just go. So the other thing I wasn’t counting on?
4. My own stubborn stupidity
If it hurts and you think there’s a solution, stop. Because that little thing can turn into a big thing. The pain was so bad that the last 3 miles were mostly walking. Boy, talk about a finish time killer. I had to crab walk down the last steep decline where normally a good downhill is where I let myself go and take all the speed gravity will give me.
I knew as I was finishing that in spite of being ill prepared, knowing that my knees were on fire but I wouldn’t feel it at all within minutes of finishing, telling myself over and over that it was the right decision to drop, there would be a nag of regret. Running has to be a priority to be able to do events like this. It can’t just be something I do occasionally. I’ll just have to find more time in my week because I don’t think the crossfit and cheesecake training plan is ever going away completely.
Thanks to the War Eagle Trail Running Festival for a great time in spite of the above list of whiny crybaby complaints. And thanks for the cool finisher medal. This one does not get tossed in a drawer.