The Arkansas Traveler is a mostly rutty-type jeep road 100 miler with 7 or so miles of spectacular single track trail early on, and around 1200 ft of elevation gain. This isn’t one of the “hard” 100s but it’s no Rocky Raccoon either (and I don’t think RR100 is quite as “easy” as it’s reputation, just FYI). I came to run this race this year because my husband planned to run it and I thought it looked fun, so why not?…
The why not’s:
I’ve spent the last few months training on faster, flatter terrain. Like a track. And the treadmill.
I currently have no trail shoes to run LOOONNGG in.
A few weeks ago I injured a muscle deep in my lower abdomen. As a result, I spent the last 2 weeks doing nothing, not even one vinyasa, in hopes of avoiding an MRI and a potentially more aggressive approach (like surgery) to “fix” my hurt muscle.
When it came down to it, I knew I could start this race (my ab felt good!) but I was not sure how far I would go. I knew I had to be willing to drop to avoid possibly worsening a pull and creating a tear to my abs. I was so thrilled that 2 weeks off had good results that I in no way wanted a 6 week lay off, and I knew that any miles would be a happy thing if I could run uninjured.
I also knew my lack of footwear could be an issue, though I wasn’t too worried about that. What I did was stick insoles into my Sketchers (I normally run without the insoles that they come with). The Sketchers I have are so perfect on roads and flatter trails but my foot moves around a bit too much on rocky hills. I need to get me a trail shoe for some things. 😦 In hindsight, I would have worn different shoes! Ouch toes and that meshy upper I love so much was no bueno on the Rocky type bigger hills.
Still, the biggest goal of all for me was to avoid a real injury that would take more then a few weeks to recover from. I’m hoping to run a fast 100 in December. The December race takes priority for me, so I was willing to view this race as training and hoping I would get to mile 60 before I had to push into the “bad zone” where your muscle just rebel. This did not happen.
Somewhere around mile 17 my legs started to feel crampy and yuck like they do later in 100s or when I’m reaching the end of shorter fast races. I wasn’t running hard ever and my heart rate was low. I also had a headache (though I thought that might be due to some insect that stung me in the head around mile 12. Ha! Funny, but it even bumped up and stung bad. First bug bite in a race for me.) I thought I had my nutrition right so I was confused as to why I would feel kinda blah so early on. A few miles later I noticed my hands were hurting. I looked at my right hand and it was supper puffy! My fingers from my knuckle to my nail were white. This creeped me out a bit. Soon after, I had to stop and pee. I suspected I was low on electrolytes. At the next aid, I ate a pickle, took extra electrolyte tabs and refiled my bottle with Gatorade. I had been taking electrolytes, but I was thinking I needed more. I also grabbed 2 GUs (yay salted caramel!!!!!) At this point, I stated walking more hoping my legs would feel better soon.
All told, it only got worst. 😦 I kept taking in more electrolytes then normal with nothing getting better. Around mile 30 my head began to ache bad bad, and my ears were ringing off and on. When I started tripping every few steps, I knew I was done.
Could I have walked it in and finished? Likely, though not assuredly. My main thought was that I would end up with a new injury if I continued. I also began wondering if my abs might actually have something to do with my legs, though I think more likely not. The only times I felt my (hopefully old) injury was when I tripped after mile 40.
Right now, my legs are mostly trashed but I think I’m fine. I so much enjoyed getting in a nice long run. I so much enjoyed meeting many trail runners from many states. I enjoyed the little running time I had with old friends and my hubby. I very much appreciate Mr. Crownover’s words to me, both in asking thoughts and advise and in giving thoughts and advice…Mediocrity is something to be pondered for me. I also purposefuly wore a tank that said “live in the moment”. This was such a beautiful thing for me, having a constant reminder to stay present. This reminder helped me take honest inventory of my body and mind. It helped me stay positive and not let the beauty of the moment I was in escape me, even though there was pain too and a little frustration and disappointment. Over all, I wouldn’t trade the day I had for anything other then the day I had.
Now, after a burger and fries and a SHOWER!!!, I’m going to head back to the finish line to see Scott finish. GO SCOTT GO!!!!!!!!! 🙂