Monday, August 22, 2011

PPM

As I sit here in the Colorado Springs airport, I have a little bit of time to reflect on my experience from yesterday. Before I get into my race report, there are two things that really stand out from where I sit, one: there is no substitute for running actual mountains and two: it doesn’t matter what kind of fancy gadget you have to try and acclimate yourself to higher altitudes, again there is no substitute for running at altitude, period.   

Race morning started off great, since Colorado is a two hour difference in time from Indiana, getting up at 4:00 Colorado time is a breeze.  I had a pre race meal of a banana, coffee cake and a banana nut muffin along with plenty of Gatorade and water.  I made my way over to Manitou Springs and found a great parking spot near the park.  I sat in my rental car for a bit taking in more fluids and going over plan A,  B and C.  Around 6:00 I made my way over to the start line to “get rid of some butterflies”. (Thanks for that euphemism GZ).  Speaking of GZ, I ran into him and we exchanged some pleasantries.  Later I ran into JV, Brad and Daryn Parker. I lined up right on the line and hoped I could hang with some of these guys. A couple of arms lengths away was Matt Carpenter, the King of Pikes Peak.

The race started off uneventful, I found myself on the tail of GZ and Sean O’day (who would eventually finish 8th)… I hit Ruxton in 3:01 and feeling very good.  Up through the W’s I was feeling very smooth and relaxed, around mile marker 3, I stepped on a rock and turned my bad ankle (the right one) very hard and searing pain went shooting through it.  The guy behind me said, “oh dude, are you alright... That didn’t look good.” The only thing I could say was, “I’ll be alright”.  I hobbled over to rock and sat down waiting for the searing pain to subside.  After about a minute, the only thing I could think of was quitting and walking back down.  But then other thoughts started filling my head, my kids, my wife, my family.  I had to get up and at least try to finish this thing, even if it meant walking.  I got up and starting walking back up, after about a minute I tried to start jogging, it was slow but it was faster than the alternative.  Around Barr camp, the jogging morphed into running and I was feeling better, the ankle was hurting but tolerable. Past A frame, my breathing was not as labored as it was last year, I didn’t have a splitting headache and I didn’t have the urge to vomit ever other minute.  I said hey to JV coming back down as well as GZ, and just about took out Brad as I didn’t see him, he was right behind GZ.  I hit the summit in 4:22,  about an hour slower than last year.  The downhill was uneventful this year, even with the bum ankle there were no spills before Barr camp.  I did take a minor spill at the 1.44 miles to go sign that just got my shoulder a bit dirty, but I was up and running back down without missing a beat. I will say that the last 5k was probably the most painful 3 miles I have ever run. With the ankle being injured, I was altering my stride, which in turn was throwing off my hips and my back, so along with the ankle, I had all those other things working against me.  I was really happy that this run was almost over. 
It’s still too early to contemplate doing this race again next year, but I still have to think about it.  My time means that I’ll have to register in the 2nd wave, which really sucks, but maybe that’s a good thing.  I’m still hoping that I win the lottery so I can move out here for a couple of months prior to the race…

11 comments:

GZ said...

1.) That 'effing sucks.
2.) O Day was 8th.
3.) They do two waves of registration for the marathon but everyone takes off together (unlike the Ascent).

Get well. I am really bummed that you hit that rock.

Justin Mock said...

Wow, THAT is nasty looking! Hope it turns out to be just a sprain.

Jeff Valliere said...

Hey Ward, man, I am really sorry that your day did not go as planned, but you seem to have a good attitude about it and congrats on sticking it out to the finish. Nice to see you at the start line if only for a short time.

I think you can use a qualifier as long as it is no longer than 5 years old, so I think your time from last year (or other appropriate qualifier) would be legit to get you into wave 1 (but are there waves for the marathon? I thought that is only for the ascent?). Anyways, heal and rest and before long you will be making plans to come back out.

Take care. Jeff.

Ward said...

GZ - Thanks for the correction, I've made the change.

Justin - The ankle actually feels half way decent today, will probably give it another day or two before I try to run on it.

JV - Nice to see you as well.

Jim P. said...

Ugh...that's a nasty-lookin' ankle. So sorry that rock jumped into your path! Glad to see you're looking a head to next year. You no doubt learned a lot about determination, gutting out a painful run and dealing with the mental side of not performing the way you'd hoped.

Kudos for sticking with the run and making lemonade out of those trail lemons!

Paul said...

Hope you heal quickly. Way to suck it up and make the finish it would have been really easy to bag it that early in.
Let me know what you do next year. You've piqued my interest in attempting this race. I may have to put some feelers out to the wife and see what comes back.

Ward said...

Jim - thanks, sorry I didn't see you out there this year.

Paul - thanks,Oh yeah, you NEED to do this race! Maybe we can get a whole Fort Wayne/NE Indiana contingent going next year...

Ward said...

Paul - When you have about an hour, watch this You Tube video, it will inspire you!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDBXjbsqy4M&feature=player_embedded

Brandon Fuller said...

You should write a letter! That Barr Trail is the most manicured path in the Rockies and they had a rock laying there. Geez. (Seriously, that trail is immaculate.)

Well, sorry that turned out that way. Looks nasty in the pictures. This is probably one of those that actual trail running probably helps with. Twisting ankles all the time and keeping your eyes peeled. But it only takes a second and the wrong turn and you can suffer what you did. Might just have been chance. Sucks when you have a lot invested in a trip.

Now, next year...oh there is a next year, you get out of that god forsaken Manitou and come up to where the pain follows like wine.

See you this fall hopefully.

Ward said...

Brandon - Leadville isn't even a thought on the brain... yet. I still have demons to wrestle with in Manitou.

Brandon Fuller said...

We have a marathon too! That's what I meant.