Sunday, December 11, 2016

50K redemption run: juggling with the pains

2 weeks before Quad Dipsea I was quite pumped up to ramp-up my training regimen after the 6-week break due to the sesamoiditis I contracted after the 24-hour Nationals in September. I had run 87 miles over the previous 7 days and was on my way to run an easy flat marathon that Sunday. 3 miles in the run though, a pain along my left tibia was unbearable and I called Agn├Ęs for an emergency shuttle pick-up. I feared the infamous shin splints syndrome and took it very easy the following 2 weeks, taking another week off and resuming running with a 10K at the Turkey Trot, then dropping at mile 21 at Quad Dipsea 2 days later.

Since then, the pain has been on and off. As a matter of fact, I used the plural in the title because over the past month, I have experienced all sort of painful spots, all along my lower legs, from the toes to below the knee. Half a dozen of spots, in and out, which really puzzle me and make me wonder what to do. If I was following the "Listen to your body" advice, I would stop for good! But, they don't seem like serious injuries either, at least not passing with breaks and rest. Well, I defied aging all these years, I really feel it has been catching up quickly lately...

This Sunday, however I decided to try again and see if I could go through the painful signs my body is sending to my mind. I was thinking of the pain which Gary Gellin must have experienced trying to break the M40-45 American Record for 50-mile road (5:40) in Florida yesterday, or those of all the Invitational Desert Solstice participants running in circles in Phoenix las night, a race I ran 2 years ago.

By mile 3, the point I stopped a month ago, several spots were hurting but I decided to keep going. Fortunately, the rest of the run was punctuated with great views of birds but also an unusual number of social encounters which brought quite a few distractions away from the wrong signals sent my by body.

Km 10: Winnie & Lee

I forgot I was carrying my phone and missed taking a picture of Winnie's training session as she was experimenting a new folding shopping cart. It had been a long time I've seen the Jebians, I probably missed them at Miwok since I dropped before the aid station they used to handle the runner checking in at.

Km 20: Jean-Francois

By mile 11, before reaching the main parking lot at Shoreline, I caught up with a runner who asked how many miles I was going for, then telling me he was a big fan! ;-) I apologized for not recognizing him, but we had never met actually, nor did he leave a message on my blog so I couldn't know he was checking on my results. Anyway, we ran the next mile together, it was an 18-mile long run for him as he is ramping up his training before the Huntington Beach Marathon (Surf City).

Km 30: Chuck

I turned around at the Bixby Bridge entrance and, on my way back, was surprised to run into Chuck Wilson, who is usually running in the hills. He admitted he was just going for a short 5-mile run before packing and flying to Patagonia tomorrow. Chuck has visited many places around the world, and returns to Patagonia because it will be one of the last trips put up by this organization.

Km 35: Ron

Chuck mentioned that he had just crossed a local ultra legend, Ron Perkins, and I stopped again for a quick chat. Ron is now 78 and he ran 100 miles again last year at the Race of the Ages, where invited participants are given as many hours as their age! Ron asked if I had news of other local runners we used to run with 5 years or so ago (Mike Topper, Charles Stevens, David, Eric Klein, Pierre Tardif, ...).

Km 40: the unnamed ultra runner

As I was approaching Cupertino on my way back, I crossed a runner who looked familiar but I couldn't recognize. For one thing, he was wearing the 2007 Western States shirt, and there aren't that many out there!

Not counting the chat and pit stops, I ran the first 26.2 miles in about 3:12, and the 50K in 3:50. But, for a full disclosure, I stopped by the MadDonald's on Homestead for a full lunch and checking emails. With the digestion, the last two miles weren't the most pleasant ones, but I was happy to complete this solid training run; with the normal good pain and muscle fatigue covering the bad signals of the first half. Juggling with the pains...  And while the word juggling seems like it's fun, I'd rather think of something else while running and training. Yet, I have to admit that things could be worse, I know many people who would dream of running a 50K as a training run. Besides, this concludes a 93-mile training week, so I shouldn't complain. Just hope to get through these weird sensations before next year's season starts over.

Stay safe, and see more of you on the trails, like today!

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