It's been awhile again between posts. That's because our weather hasn't been good and I have had a lot going on which has kept me distracted from my blogging and to be honest my running motivation has been poor because of the weather. So with that in mind, it's no surprise that my training has been sporadic, I had managed a couple of long runs and went into Chippewa under-trained but trained enough to get through the event.
The one issue I was nervous about was my left foot and my lack of specific training on trails. My foot is tender right under the ankle, it's a carry over from Surf the Murph and whether I like to admit it or not, damage done in the past say at Superior and some issues with some of my minimalist shoes. I went through PT in January and he fixed the muscle issue but the tendon and ankle were still occasionally sore. I should say though after PT, it was about 95% pain free, the pain came back as I increased my mileage and of course I blamed it on a certain pair of shoes. The pain was not enough to cause major issues on the roads, some pain during my runs but I was able to get in an 18 and 20 mile run and manage the pain. On one of my long runs, I wandered through Lebanon and the snow-ice, unevenness caused enough pain that I left the park quickly.
Anyway back to Chippewa, my reality is I dropped again, the course was terrible at least for me, snow, ice, mud, sloppy, treacherous, if it had been normal, I think I would have gotten through it, if I had been healthy it would have been extremely hard, but with the foot it turned into impossible. To the right is a picture they took the day before I think but it is symbolic of what the course was like, I got it from the Chippewa 50k Facebook page.
Around mile 7, I rolled the right ankle for a second time, I had done it earlier and had tripped on a root, gotta love trail running, anyway this time it was an inward roll and as I compensated, it caused significant pain in the left foot. Up to that point I had been just taking my time, I was with a group of other runners and we were maintaining an ok but fairly slow pace. I made the decision that I should pick up the pace a bit to give me a bit more margin with the cutoff and sure enough it was only a few minutes later where I had the misstep. I initially thought, no big deal and figured I would walked it off, after a minute or so the right ankle felt ok, but the left foot did not, I tried to run, not good, I tried to walk longer but to no avail, each mile got slower, I tried packing snow into the shoe, that made it feel better but not good enough to run in such crappy footing, I laced the shoe as tight as it would go, better but not good enough.
I got to the Plummer lake aid station and it was a struggle running on the road but with the even surface I was able to ease the pain, I debated dropping but continued on hoping the pain would settle down even more and the course would get more runnable. It was such a nice day and I so wanted to finish this race. No luck, the course stayed crappy and we had been warned that the section into the turn around was even worse. The highlight of my day might have been when I crossing over some foot bridges and just plopped down on the bridge with my foot soaking in the running water. It is such a pretty spot, I wished I had thought to take a few pictures. I felt like staying there but I knew that I still had 4+ miles to the turnaround. It felt good after the soak but the course continued to punish the foot and I had to face my reality so I called my wife and said I needed to drop.
Disappointing yes but it was beautiful day,on a beautiful course and I got to see some friends who I have not seen in awhile. Being injured and not being able to do what you want just sucks.
Over the last week, I have iced the foot and am walking better and I have tried a couple of short runs. I have pain so running a gnarly trail will need to wait for awhile. I will work to strengthen the foot, ice, ibuprofen and if things don't get better, see someone.
One thing that I was thinking about during the race kind of helped me keep things in perspective. Two weeks ago my brother was diagnosed with lung cancer, they removed part of his lung and said he is at stage 2A then on the Thursday before Chippewa I found out that an old friend, someone I have known for 30+ years, was having surgery for prostate cancer the next day., So when I thought about the pain I was in during the race and the fact that I haven't been able to do the distances I want to do, I basically said what are you doing, this is stupid, get the foot healthy and get your rear back out here the right way.
Right now, I am thinking that I might try to do Med City and then if the foot/ankle feel ok maybe do Chester Woods 50k and then Grandmas and if that all goes well, then maybe Afton 50k. I will know in the next 2 weeks whether I can make progress on the foot to attempt Med City, if do great, if I can't, so be it. The main mission is get the foot healthy before Grandmas.