Being injured always sucks. Being injured right before a big race sucks even more. Being injured right before a big race when a bunch of your friends are fit and ready to roll is the worst. Right now I’m in the last position. After finishing a 4 mile run this morning I think I have finally reached some form of enlightenment. If your hamstring hurts and progresses to get worse after a 4 mile run you can’t run a 100 miles. As much as I want to toe the line in Squaw and “gut” out a finish it just doesn’t seem to be in the cards.
Its not like I don’t have a lot to run for. So the privilege of being entered in Western States, for the points in the Montrail Ultra Cup (and the cash for winning it), for being able to run with some of my closest friends and training partners from Marin. Its peer pressure, its monetary pressure, its just the pressure of wanting so bad to be part of something so special.
Even as I entered race week I made sure to tick all the boxes for a normal taper week. Cutting out the caffeine, check, more sleep, check, massage, check, reducing the volume of training while maintaining some intensity, ummm, well I’ve been doing that for the last 4 weeks. Since my last post, I’ve been hiking, strengthening, massaging, going to therapy, rolling, and heat adapting in preparation. I felt like I had turned the corner and was even able to “run” up Mt. Tallac in Tahoe with some teammates and then do a Mt Tam summit a few days later. I was optimistic that my hamstring would at least allow me to “jog” and that if worse came to worse I could hike. Things seemed good, then they weren’t. I don’t know what aggravated it, but if something so tiny I didn’t even notice could aggregate it then how can I possibly run 100 miles on it. At this point it aches when I sit and twinges when I walk. Not good.
So I am faced with the decision of starting and making it worse as a fact, with the options of dropping out (likely) or staying “tough” and finishing at any cost (unlikely). Or I focus immediately on recovery and know that when I round the Placerville Track in some future year it will be all the more sweeter. For an optimistic like who likes to live in the moment its not a decision I want to make, but in the end though, “it is what it is”.
To all the runners competing. Best of luck to each of you. Running 100 miles is no small endeavor not to be taken lightly. Savor the experience and make the race your own. To all my Marin boys running it. Go get em. You are fit, you are smart, and you are tough. Now run like it. I’ll be cheering from as many aid stations.
That being said I think I won the race report contest. #seeyouinsquaw