Long time no post. I never had a chance to update my blog for the Napa Valley marathon. But, that seems like years ago (it was in March of 2013). So, I'll skip that one and talk about more recent races.
It's official - I'm an ultra marathoner! On June 9th, I ran the Big Basin 50k! It took me a very long time. It was a nice course and a few of my friends were running it (so having company out there was great), but I struggled with it.
I did most of my training in at Rancho. I clearly did not give myself enough training runs, but I did the best I could with my time commitments (work, family, teaching). I had about 4 runs around 3 to 4 hours in the hills of Rancho. Rancho is great because there are some very steep hills and, best of all, I can run there from my house (3 miles away with climbing to get there). Overall, I knew I maybe needed another two months of training, but I felt I could complete the course - and that was my goal!
I carpooled with some friends and met other friends up there.
Then we were off on the course. It was mostly single track with a number of ups and downs. The first few miles are mostly declines but after the first aid station you started climbing a little. I did well the first 5 miles and then started slowing down a little, but was still doing good the next five miles.
About mile 11 or 12 I was starting to slow some. I think the down hills at the beginning were working my legs. But, I felt confident. Big Basin has a marathon and 50K. The 50K has a loop at aid station 3 where you do the extra five miles. I just wanted to get to aid station three and start the loop so I don't back out and only run the marathon. I signed up to complete the ultra and that was my goal. At this point I felt I could complete it. Here are some more pictures (I got from the Big Basin runners). Stay tuned for more fun details below:
So I made it to the third aid station and started the loop. There was about a mile and half climb (I'm guessing) and then down hill. About mile 17 (the down hill part) I was going good and then . . . I hurt my ankle. I landed on a tree root (I think, maybe it was a rock). I hurt my ankle about 3 weeks before sort of bad where I had trouble walking on it. This was the same ankle (my left one). I landed wrong and it gave and I fell. I grabbed onto my ankle in a pain. I was in a lot of pain and said a number of F works (lucky there was no one near me). And, I do not curse much. Usually I say Frak. I could hardly put any weight on it. I almost started crying because I thought the race was over for me. But, I was too mad, I think, to cry. I was passed by a few people who asked if I was okay. I was except for the pain. I sort of wanted them to check on me, but I also wanted them to just get away from me. They passed me and kept going. I knew I had to also.
I knew I had to move so I walked and walked and walked and finally the pain was manageable. I finally completed the loop. Only 10 miles left. I was going to fuel up and then take off. My ankle was sore, but I felt I could run on it. I wanted to complete the course.
That's me talking to one of my friends who was resting
Getting my rubber band for completing the loop
And, I was off. The last 10 miles were tough. I pushed forward, but my ankle got worse. I landed wrong a few times and it just killed me. My goal though was to complete it. I pushed forward. Ran when I could and walked when I had to. I also yelled an F word when I would land wrong and my ankle would scream out in pain. One time two hikers moved to the side to let me pass a turn, I looked at them to say thank you -- landed wrong, came to a stop and cursed while I hopped on one leg. I wonder what they thought. I walked it off and then started running again.
At the end of the day, I finished!!!! My first ultra. My left ankle ended up being twice the size of my right ankle and was black and blue. But, I finished!
And, to top it off on June 16th, I ran the SF marathon! My wife told me I was crazy to run it. Maybe, but I wanted to know if I could and wanted to try to run it. My ankle was still a little swollen, but not as bad as it was. On Sat am (after not running all week), I went for a short two mile slow run to see if I can run on it. I could and felt I could run longer. Could I run 26.2 miles on it? I did not know. But I wanted to find out.
I woke up early, drove to SF. And, off I went. I was taking it "easy" and things were going good. I would get shooting pains in the ankle here and there, but I taped it really good (I know I'm risking major injury, but if you don't try, you don't know what you can do). I told myself I would pull out if the pain was too bad. Had money for a ride back if needed. About mile 11 or so, my legs were just giving out on me. My ankle was very sore, my knee was now sore (the same one that I hurt on my first marathon) and my other parts of my legs were cramping up!
The marathon split off from the1st half finish at Golden Gate Park. I have never in my life wanted to stop at the halfway point so much as I did today. My legs felt like they were toast. I walked the area where the full and half split. I debated should I stop. I'm going to hurt myself, I thought. I can't do that, I thought. But, I had to try. So I pushed forward. I tried to take it easy, but with my legs and ankle, this was not easy no matter how slow I was running. Yet, finally we got out of Golden Gate park, which meant we were around mile 19. Only 7 more miles. I knew I could do it. No matter how long it would take me, I knew I could finish. So I kept pushing on. I tried to "land soft". Tried to ignore the pain. Kept running (walked the aid stations and a few big hills). I tried to run from aid station to aid station, with walking a hill here and there.
And, I finished! A marathon one week after doing an ultra, with my ankle injury. My worst time for the SF marathon, but a marathon I'm very proud to have completed.