Wow. The last month has been a whirlwind of highs and lows. I ran the Hyner View Trail Challenge 25k on April 21st and finished 9th. It was my best race to date and a confidence building effort two week prior my first real ultra: The North Face 50 mile at Bear Mountain. I was tapering and ready to rock when I woke up with a nagging stomach pain. No big deal I thought and promptly left on a weekend canoe and camping trip on the Pine Creek.
Needless to say the pain got worse and I by the end of the weekend I could barely stand. A visit to the ER led to a 3 day hospital stay and the talk of surgery loomed overhead. Not exactly the best training strategy for any event much less a 50 mile trail race. Lucklily my body responed to antibiotics and I was released two days prior to Bear Mountain with no restrictions (I didn't tell them what was on the schedule). I was convinced I could run. As I packed the car with my wife preparing for the drive north I said, "I'm fine. I can run. I feel like a hundred bucks".
That's when it hit me: 16 weeks of training. 5 hour slogs in the early spring rains. Gluten free eating to prevent inflammation and improve recovery time. The perfect training plan that was executed as written was all for naught. I should feel like a million bucks. In fact I was weak, dizzy, and clearly out of sorts. Risking my health for one event was ricidulous even if I didn't want to admit it. Is a DNS better than a DNF? I don't know. I picked up my free arm warmers, t-shirt, and water bottle and cheered my friend Ben to a solid 18th place finish.
Now it's time to get back into a rhythm training wise. I have no energy to run. The brain seems unwilling to let the body move fast. I am definitely not "well" by my standard. Waking up is difficult. Focusing on any mental task is sketchy. I'm on a restrictive "low residue" diet designed to calm my intestinal constitution. So i'm eating lots of refined foods which isn't doing much to help my state. Think chicken and rice without the spicy salsa. The fresh greens in my garden are bolting as i've got no desire to pick something that I can't eat without first boiling it to a pulp. I've eaten more doughnuts in the past week than I have in the previous two years combined. No wonder why i'm not getting better.
The best effort i've had over the past two weeks was pacing my friend Jason during his win last weekend at the MMT100 mile trail run. I managed 22 non-consecutive miles and am paying the price with some slayed achilles tendons and super tight iliotibial fascia. Thankfully he had already run about 70 miles before I joined him. Getting dropped would have been a tough pill to swallow but I managed to hold on even with his strong finish over the final 5 miles.
The Rothrock Challenge is less than three weeks away. Time will tell.