Tuesday, October 22, 2013

2013 Vulture Bait Race Report

This spring when runnrgirl and I played on the Sulphur Springs trails, I knew I want to run a trail race.  Trail running is so different than road running, so many challenges with rocks and roots and the varied terrain.  I trained on the trails this summer.  I thoroughly enjoyed the uniqueness, the challenges, and most of all the people I met.

I squeaked in my registration for the Vulture Bait 25Km race with only 14 entries left available in May.  I worked on my trail race preparation, ran around the bulk of the race route around the Lake both forwards and backwards.  I ran it slow for endurance and time on my feet, I ran it at pace to work on technique and tempo.   I thought I was prepared.

And maybe I was.

But ….

I worked too many early 4am mornings in a row; over a month of them.

I worked too many days in a row; about 21 of them

My right hamstring was sore but with the work schedule, I lost training days in the two weeks prior.

Mentally, I lost focus.  Physically, I was burnt out.

The weather was cool and damp, not my preferred conditions.

I lined up on the starting line hoping none of this mattered.

And it didn’t

My pace was exactly where I wanted it.  I was cool but not cold. I had lots of open space in front of me.  My shoes gripped and I never tripped. 

All went well for about 10miles. 

Then the wheels fell off.

My right hamstring complained, then my hip, and eventually my calves.

I pushed through, less than 10 km,  I could do this. 

Something else was still a bit off, my chest was rattling when I took a deep breath.


Never had that happen before in a race.  I eased off a bit more.  Walked a couple of hills, couldn’t speed up on the road sections to make up time like I had planned.  Nothing felt right.

Eventually, I got across the Thorndale bridge and up the hill and back on to the trail with only 6km left.  I found myself playing tour guide and talked about the creek crossing coming up to another runner.  He appreciated that I knew the terrain so we chatted a bit as I led us splashing through the ankle deep water and  straight up the side of a small ravine.

A bit more running and then as my right foot slid a bit sideways in the mud the hamstring flashed in pain, calf locked and I may have used a bad word or two. 

I walked it off, jogged a bit, walked a bit and slowly came to the realization that my running for the day was pretty much over.

Ron before the fall that dislocated his shoulder.
Along here, my friend from the creek joined me looking quite distraught.  He had slipped somewhere behind me and injured his arm.   I tried to devise a makeshift sling from my vest but without the sleeves it was pretty much useless.   Since I didn’t want to risk further injury to myself I decided to walk the last 4km in with him.   I was miserable, and he looked like he could use the company.

Runners were passing us quite regularly now, an occasional mountain biker, and the odd person out for a walk.  We stepped off the trail for all of them to allow them past us and minimize any potential contact with Ron’s arm.  He slipped once and in catching his balance without actually falling wretched his shoulder painfully.  We asked at a water stop about any medical on the trail and were referred back to Race Chalet.  The longer we walked; we talked, about anything, about nothing.  The time passed slowly as we were taking over 12 minute a kilometer. Rain was falling, we were cold and numb.  It seemed like forever but soon the finish line was in front of us.
We walked across that too. (But no complaints)


Later in the day the race director tweeted out the injury report.   Diagnosis: dislocated shoulder.


Alan T. said...

I passed you while you were assisting the runner with the dislocated shoulder. (I was doing the 50K.) You're a good man, Jeff!

Sorry about all the issues you encountered. It certainly sounds like you prepared well, but it's hard to counter the effects of long days and the demands of work.

I look forward to meeting you again, perhaps at next year's Vulture bait.

Jeff Rowell said...

Thanks Alan.

Already signed up the next year's 25K and looking forward to the rematch.