Sometimes we make choices to do things we want to do even though there may be a risk or even if we may know that it's the wrong choice. Today my choices caught up to me. I went into Chippewa probably undertrained physically. I thought it was my base training that was my problem, my long runs or lack of enough of them but it was my ankle that revealed itself as still being a problem today. If I had been honest with myself I would have admitted it but I can be stubborn.
Now my ankle is strong enough to run 5, 10 and maybe 15 miles. I was feeling great today through most of the first half and had a 50k PR in my sights when it all kind of unraveled. I am not exactly sure when it off track but here is what I know, when I left the 2nd self serve aid station I stepped into a hole and hyper-extended my left leg. It hurt but I was more embarrassed than anything, as I started to run again I had knee pain but it seemed to go away. That said, after that, my right ankle went from occasional pain twinges as it dealt with uneven surface changes to more of a throbbing and my achilles was hurting as well. No big deal I thought and I continued to the turn around point.
I got in in around 3:35 which was right where I wanted to be. I talked to my wife and said all was going well and that I would see her at the next aid station. Looking back I think I may have been talking to myself as much as to her. As after I left the aid station I started getting nauseous, so I took a S-cap, I slowed down a bit but kept moving, the nausea continued so I retraced my eating and drinking and decided that I might have not eaten enough nor drank enough or was it just an electrolyte issue. I hate nausea, I hate it. I kept going and it seemed that the S-cap helped. So I kept going along but slower, after 45 minutes, I took another S-cap and sure enough as I started feeling better my ankle/achilles changed to more of right foot numbness reinforced with pain on each step.
So on I went, I was still doing math in my head and I thought I could get in easily with a PR and if I could loosen things up a really good one for me. That's an advantage of being slow and having not running too many 50k's, a PR is setting there waiting on me to just have a good day. I really wanted the PR, I really wanted to finish but the right foot issue was causing pain in the left foot and leg, so I had to make a race decision. Do I continue and probably get a PR but risk ending my running season in April or stop and drop from the race. I debated for a while and finally decided that I should drop. I lost 2011 to a decision to continue to run in 2010, repeating that again just wouldn't be wise.
So what does this mean?
My analysis during the run led me to conclude that is I was trying to do two things at once that weren't complementary. I was trying to ramp up my base mileage to do long distance events and strengthen my ankle to be able to bear the stress. If I was honest during my training the ankle had been bothersome, I got around it by avoiding uneven surfaces later into my runs. Add in reduced training time with the internal job change and the robotics mentoring and my effort today reflects all the things I did and didn't do.
Time to move to
I am probably going to abandon the Superior 50 for this year and instead will focus on strengthening the ankle by doing more minimalist running. My other choice would be to go for stability shoes and lock down the foot but I think that will ultimately make it weaker.
I will pick up some minimalist shoes to complement my VFF's and once I am walking pain free I will start to focus on speed and strength training for my ankle. I am thinking that 4 to 12 weeks may make a huge difference and after that I will for shoot for Moose Mountain with and an outside chance os still doing the Afton 50k, if either of those work out, then Wild Duluth and/or Surf the Murph 50k's maybe followed by Tecumseh Trail marathon down in Indiana.
The key for this year now is to get the ankle working well enough to handle longer distance running.