Tuesday, September 04, 2007

RR American Discovery Trail Marathon

Race Report
American Discovery Trail Marathon
Colorado Springs, CO
Mon, Sept 3/07
Marathon #289
3:58:23 - 1AG

I wanted/needed to run this marathon for a number of reasons:
a) it is close to home in CO and thus easy/cheap to get to
b) another marathon in my quest to reach #300 in Mar 08
c) needed a race to get me in marathon shape
d) needed to defend my Senior Title

I did not have much confidence in my conditioning/shape as I drove down to Colorado Springs. I had not run a marathon since early June since I took a 3-month sabbatical to rest and resolve the nagging leg cramps and my long distance runs for training included only two –15 milers! But you have to start somewhere and I needed a marathon/race to start getting me back into marathon shape for the upcoming Fall marathon season.

The race started at 6:30 am in ‘America the Beautiful Park’ (elev. 6200 ft) in downtown Colorado Springs. The course follows paved and dirt bike trails along Monument and Fountain Creeks to the North entrance of the Air Force Academy at mile 16. Miles 14 to 18 are a series of BAHs (Bad Ass Hills) that rise to 6500 ft elevation! I had run this race five previous times and won my age group each time including the last three consecutive years! Since the awards are beer mugs I needed to defend my Senior Title and complete my set of beer mugs! From my past experience with the race and course I figured a sub 4-hr finish would win my Age Group and that became my target as I lined up at the start with 200 other runners. I needed to start slow to save some energy for the BAHs and the final 10Km which I figured was probably going to be very ugly and painful because of my lack of long distance training?

The weather was the warmest I can ever recall (global warming?) with sunny skies and a temp of 60 F at 6:30 am. The temps rose quickly with the sun to the high 70s by the time I finished. I tried to start slow but my splits at mile 3 were 8:10s. As I reached the 1st turn-around near 3 miles I noticed another old fart only 500 ft behind me. He caught me at mile 4 and we ran together for about 1 mile and I let him pull ahead as I slowed my pace to my target range of 8:45 to 8:50. I kept him in sight through the 1st Half in 1:53:40. At that point my right plantar fascia started to hurt? It had been bothering me for the past few weeks but four days of forced rest before the race to heal an inflamed adductor in the right leg had seemed to heal both problems? It was also strange that the plantar fascia would flare up while running – it normally only hurts after you finish running? I ignored the pain and continued to follow the old fart into the BAHs.

I expected to pass him in the hills but when I closed within a few feet I decided to stay behind him through the BAHs. As we made the final turn-around near 16 miles I caught up to him and asked him what age group he was in? We were both relieved when he replied “55-59”. I informed him that we didn’t need to do something crazy and try to kill each other! As we raced back through the BAHs to mile 18 I picked up a pebble in my right shoe. I tried to ignore it but remembered what happened a few years ago at Pike’s Peak so when we exited the hills at mile 18 I stopped on the side of the course and removed my shoe and sock. That little diversion lost me more than 90 seconds and by the time I was back on the trail I couldn’t see the old fart – and never saw him again! I decided against trying to lower the hammer to catch him.

I passed mile 18 in 2:40:21. My right foot was killing me – each foot plant sent a shock of pain screaming up my leg. That 90-second stop had allowed the plantar fascia to tighten up! I had no choice but to ignore the pain and push on. I was too close to the finish line to quit! My pace slowed to 9:15s and when I reached mile 21 in 3:08:02 with a split of 9:35 I knew I was in trouble! I struggled to average a sub 10-min pace over the next three miles! My body was hurting and my right foot was killing me. I reached mile 24 in 3:37:48. I had 22 minutes to run/crawl the final 2.2 miles! I figured that was too close so when two youngsters passed me I decided to use them to pull me to the finish line. I dropped in behind them, blocked the pain/agony out of my mind and focused solely on staying with them. The pace dropped to 9:30 on mile 25 and 9:08 on the final mile as they dragged me across the finish line in 3:58:23!

I had achieved my goal of sub 4-hrs and successfully defended my Senior Title! But I was in excruciating pain! The second I crossed the finish line and stopped the plantar fascia tightened up and I was unable to walk without terrible pain. I almost had to crawl back to the car to get the camera for a standard finish line photo.

I limped back to the car again and returned to the hotel for a quick shower before returning to the finish area for the awards ceremony! It was embarrassing when I almost had to crawl to the podium to get my award. CRAP! They changed the award from a beer mug to a beer glass! I still don’t have a complete set of 6 mugs!

By the time I drove 2 hours back home the plantar fascia had completely frozen and I couldn’t get out of the car or walk into the house. I had to crawl to the couch and ask the Sports Manager to unload the car. I tried icing the foot most of the day and applied copious amounts of whiskey/medicine to the internal body in an attempt to alleviate the pain in my foot. All to no avail. When it came time for bed I had to crawl upstairs on hands and knees to go to bed!

I am hoping that ice and a visit to Peggi (de Sade) for a massage will help to reduce the pain and inflammation so that I can continue training? I have several marathons scheduled and paid for through the Fall season and cannot afford to be injured. Getting healthy again must be my top priority!

Fortunately my next marathon/race is not scheduled until the 1st week of Oct so I should have time to recover?

Stay tuned!

The ice didn’t work. A few days later a MRI revealed a severe (60% longitudinal) tear in the plantar fascia in my right foot. The orthoped advised that it would take 6 to 9 months to heal. I believed him since it took 1 year to heal when I ruptured the plantar fascia in the left foot in 1991. However at that time I didn’t have a next international marathon scheduled for 1 month later?


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