Yesterday I ran the 25k at Surf the Murph and had a blast on an absolutely beautiful fall day.
I got there early in order to see Wayne and Rick off on their 50 mile journey. It was a crisp 28 degrees but nary a cloud in the sky and the stars were out in force. I was a little jealous I couldn't join them but knew the 25k was the most I should and probably could do. I ran into Lisa at the start and we talked for a while and watched them take off. Rick with his finish at Surf the Murph would accomplish his goal of 1000 race miles for the year. An amazing amount of race miles. I then went to my car to relax (and get warm) since I still had 2 hours until my race.
After a half or so I went looking for some folks I thought were running the 50k. I found Lisa and talked with her a bit more and talked with Steve and Elly, they were running in their VFF's. If only I had gotten my mileage up I might have joined them in my VFF's. It was funny as the 50k got close to starting I decided to go pick up my packet. I gave them my name and said 25k, they didn't find me but then found me with the 50k group (I had registered for the 50k but when I hurt my heel I emailed requesting to drop down to the 25k). I had a brief thought that I should go grab my stuff and go for it, that it was fate but quickly decided that would be really stupid.
Soon enough I was getting ready for my race, I had like 4 pairs of shoes with me and was trying to decide which ones would cause the least pain. I ended up choosing my Montrail RockRidges as they seem to fit my feet although I was a little concerned with their stiffness as I had placed inserts in them to stiffen them up when I bought them. I debated taking them out but they had caused the least pain of my shoes so I figured I should stick with them. Then we were off, it felt great to finally be in a race again. I went out probably a bit too fast but it felt so good to be running again that I just couldn't help myself and I kept thinking I am only doing a 25k, granted a long 25k, as the loop was just short of 17 miles. The course at Murph has us running in the hilly northern section first, then we loop to the flat southern section and finish in the northern section. What the northern section has are hills, steep but not long hills, just a lot of them. As the miles unfolded I tried various ways of running down them to minimize heel pain but I never really found a good way to go down.
As we left the northern section, I was feeling good and went to the aid station to say hello to Londell and the other volunteers. I had chosen to carry my Nathan so I knew I could skip most of the aid stations. Not sure why other than I am used to wearing it and I figured it would save some time as I did hope to beat last years time. I figured I was hurt worse last year and even had hope going into the race that my heel wouldn't slow me down. I continued to run well through the next aid station which was around 8.5 miles. I again skipped the aid station and continued on my way. It was about at this point in the race that my heel pain was getting stronger. I had felt pain on every step from the start but it had started as more of an ache but had gotten a little more intense as the run had gone on. Then I tried to run the section along the road where they had mowed down high grass. It was very uneven and after a few too many sharp pains I had to walk. It was now very clear that my heel did not like uneven surfaces or downhills. After I got through that section I tried to resume running but I had lost it, my thinking looking back was that it was a combo of going out too fast, the increased pain taking it's toll over time and in insufficient training coming into the race. From this point on I just ran when I could and walked when I had hills or uneven surface. It was such a beautiful day that I just kind of soaked it in but I was ready to be done after about 10 miles.
I have to mention the smurf village, it was new part of the course that they added, it goes through one of my favorite short single track sections of the park. I had always wanted them to add that section to this race so I was glad to see that they did even though the entry and exit points were different. I kept making forward progress and finally finished, I ended up finishing about 15 minutes ahead of last year so I made my goal of beating last years time.
After the race I took off to watch my brother-in-laws soccer team play. If they won they would win their conference. Turns out they lost but the second place team tied so they ended up in a tie with the team they lost to and are co-champions. Congrats to him, it is I think his fourth conference championship in the last five years. I then returned to the race to help out. I basically just talked with other runners. I talked a lot to Bill P. and John T. I was basically asking John a lot of questions about 100 mile races. Lisa made it back and we waited for Rick and Wayne to finish. They made it around 8:00 PM, Rick had done it and completed his goal. Congrats to him. It was fun to watch the 50 miler finish, I do hope to return to that distance next year.
My thanks to Les, Cindy, Molly and all of the other volunteers for again putting on a first class race. Can't wait until next year.
Today, I went for a recovery run in Lebanon Hills. I ran my 3 mile out and back section from Jensen lake. I chose to run in my VFF's and I really felt good. It was my farthest run to date in them. I kept the pace easy, no garmin, no watch, no hurry. I was real glad I made it out. I told my wife afterward that I figure it counts as cross training. She didn't agree but I still think it qualifies :-).