Saturday, November 3, 2012

Mountain Madness (Part 1)

Suffering through Mountain Madness


It has been well over a month since the race, so it's time I finally get this post completed. Now, post-Sandy, I'm writing this from a hallway floor while my computer gets a full charge.

Sadly, since the race, I have not had much time running due to some severe strain in my left leg that is leaving me with significant ITB pain. I tried to take a light jog around the neighborhood to assess the storm damage, but ended up limping home after a mile. Funny, because it was the same thing in the right leg that made me doubt if I could finish the race in the first place.

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Since my mid-summer ITB injury with my varied time-outs and re-starts, I contemplated this race as a "test". As my leg healed through the summer and early fall, I tried to build up the base miles, trying to pick up the pace. But I still had this nagging, profound level of doubt about this run. It would be the longest, hardest trek through the woods that I had completed since a dehydrated, nearly calamitous march down a long stretch of the Long Trail 20 years ago.

Two weeks before Mountain Madness (the 25k one), I decided that I would live and die by the work I had already put in. I determined that there was nothing left I could do to make myself more physically ready. I tapered and got some sleep. I didn't wake up at 4:30 am to run alone in the dark. I slept a little more and spent the mornings with my son.

The night before the race, I worked obsessively with my gear, worried that my toes would be torn to shreds, that I would not have enough water if I had to walk some long stretches, and that I wouldn't be prepared to get the calories I would need to keep the wheels from falling off.

By morning I was excited to get it started so that I could see how it played out. The weather was cool and damp. It had rained the day before so I figured it would be wet and slippery.

I had not been to the park before so was surprised to see how hilly it was. Being from northern Vermont, I assume everything below Massachusetts is flatland. So, I still find myself shocked at some of the steep terrain that New Jersey can throw out.

I nervously awaited the start by walking from my car to the camp house on the edge of a small lake. I checked in and made one last run to the car to deposit my outer layers.

After a quick review from the RD, we lined up on the grass and headed on our way. I am not sure why I thought I could do this race.

Next post - a report of my misery.