I took this yesterday on the trail where I'll be racing this weekend. Check it out...
Well, I guess I didn't learn my lesson after putting myself through the last trail race ( aka...26.2 miles of torture) a few weeks ago. Now don't get me wrong I love trail running, but actually pushing the limits in a trail race is a whole different game, so to speak.
Just like every triathlon 'off season', this one is proving to be no different for me. Every year when my triathlon season comes to an end, I take up more running. Last year was one of my best running seasons until I ended up with a stress fracture. My plan then was to try and qualify for the Boston Marathon, so I really pumped up the run training. I had my best half marathon time to date exactly one year ago where I pulled out a 1:38 on a hilly, cold and rainy course on Thanksgiving morning. I knew I was in good for my marathon goal and was exactly where I wanted to be, but fractured my leg in a kickboxing class one week after the race. I was out of running for the next 14 weeks after that. DOH!
Not sure why every off season I desire these long runs/races. Funny thing is every time I finish a marathon, I tell Rich immediately after finishing it that I will never do another one (except in 140.6), only to find myself a few days later signing up for another. Same as Ironman!! I just can't get enough of that 140.6! Endurance sport= mad addiction!!!
If you've read prior blogs or know me, you know I had some serious issues with my foot after my last Ironman. Once that was all worked out, I started the long runs again. I decided to do the trail marathon a few weeks ago as more of a training session than race, as my longest trail run before the big day was only 8 miles. Adding 16 more miles to that on a trail wasn't the easiest thing to do. Not to mention that the trail marathon I chose is known for being one of the hardest...can I get another DOH??
It went as expected and I came off of it feeling really fit and ready to start my real training. Unfortunately the forces of nature had other plans in the form of a bike crash five weeks ago on wet leaves. The crash caused a pretty nasty knee injury and the first week after the crash, I couldn't walk... let alone run. Swimming was even difficult for the first couple of weeks and there would be no cycling at all for the last four weeks. I totally smashed the mountain bike and am currently without it which makes me sad. The back wheel was completely destroyed! So...after Dr. Allen told me to take some time off, I had to fight my stubborn nature (haha..for u Laura Temp) and I eventually took the advice. It's been a couple weeks rest and my knee is now feeling some better but still not 100%. I had signed up for this upcoming race before the accident, so I really want to do it. I feel ready to go out and 'get around it'. I haven't been able to properly train for several weeks and there has been ZERO speed work. I do like a challenge though, so am going out there and give it my best.
I hope that my knee holds up for the race and am almost certain that it will. Coach has cleared me to do it ( Dr. Allen hasn't, so hope he's not reading this or I'm in big trouble) It won't be without difficulty I assure you. This trail for this weekends race is a beast and it's two laps around. With too many hills to count, it is a real heart thumper---even on an easy day. Now that the leaves have fallen, it's impossible to see any rocks, roots, stumps etc. Not only that, you can hardly see the trail in some places from all of the fallen leaves. Plus with the overload of runners on a single track trail, this adds an extra degree of difficulty. Picking up my feet and eyes glued to the ground for the entire race...that should get me through hopefully without any nasty falls! Not looking for PR on this race, but looking for another good opportunity to build more strength to help me achieve my marathon goal.
This race will be my intro back into training for the marathon. The plan is to do Charleston Marathon in January where I will be training to try and qualify for Boston. To do that I need a sub 3:40. We shall see. After the marathon, full blown triathlon training will swing back into full gear in early February as 2012 will be a busy race year for the Allens :)