Coach Spencer Runs in the Woods

Coach Spencer Runs in the Woods

Friday, December 13, 2013

Summer Mountain Odyssey Needs a Write-Up

I haven't written on here in 6 months. Not much of note has occurred for most of that time. Another injury, some laziness, not as much running as there should be. But I have done my Summer Mountain Running Odyssey a disservice by not writing about it. The whole blog thing is a little self-absorbed for even me- who cares what my experiences are? BUT, the mountains & trails I ran this summer- they deserve being talked about. About 3 weeks of 3-6 hour runs each day. Chased by wild boar, up over 6000' most days, camping, meeting weirdos, seeing so many totally awesome things... that has to be talked about or at least shown in photos. I'll do that very soon. I still remember every detail of every day it seems.

Derby 50K & Health Scare

The folks at Mangum Track Club put on excellent events... or at least I've always heard. Hinson Lake 24 Hour Run is the only one I'd ever done & it, of course, is excellent. I've always wanted to get to some others but they've either not fit my schedule or they filled up before I could register. I was happy to put the Derby 50K on my schedule a few months ago & looked forward to it.
For the past 2 years, I've struggled with injuries which have left me perpetually out of shape & 35 pounds heavier than I was 24 months ago. Frustrating. I thought I'd kicked it but in July, I had another setback with a serious achilles injury. Life & laziness got in the way of decent training once I was able to. I was able to get in some good long runs, but haven't put in the consistency I should've. I was looking forward to really racing Derby a few months ago, but would settle with finishing comfortably.

Derby, NC really is in the middle of nowhere. Open farmland. The course is three 10.5 mile loops- which I really appreciated. I like knowing what's ahead. The long runs I've done have all been on single track trail, so adapting to the (attempt at) even pacing on roads was a challenge early on. Later in the race, it didn't seem to matter. The hills & wind were a little more than I'd expected, but I did enjoy the course & organization.

I had some of my usual GI problems but it didn't ruin my race. Threw up at MILE THREE of the race- I think from nerves more than anything. I was actually tired 3 miles into it though! Experienced quite a bit of general fatigue but no other problems. I was VERY slow, finishing in 5:09. My PR from 2 years ago was 3:54, so this race was a humbling experience for someone already in doubt. But it was also affirming that- hey, at the worst shape you're going to be in (other than injured & unable to run), you can still finish a 50K. Races like this- the first one back after a stretch- also serve to inspire. "I'm going to get serious now."

I didn't run for a couple of days so I could recover. That Tuesday, I didn't run because we had a track meet & I felt like I was getting sick. Wednesday, I didn't run because I experienced some shortness of breath & chest pain. Thursday, I ran 3 miles & struggled to breathe. Late that night, some nurse & EMT friends on Facebook told me it sounded like pulmonary embulism- a blood clot in my lung. Of course, that was worrisome & I decided to go to the ER. 3 days of chest pain isn't something to take lightly, I guess. Spent the night in the hospital & was told my tests looked OK, but not to do anything- to go home & stay in bed for a day or two and then no physical activity for a couple of weeks. Sigh... Went to my regular doctor this week & she gave ruled out heart issues & gave me an inhaler. It's worked wonders. No more symptoms. Not sure if I'm sick or if its some asthma-like symptoms, but just happy to be breathing & running again.

So now, in worse shape than I was in before Derby, I'll run the Table Rock 54 Miler tomorrow at Linville Gorge... or I may drop to the 50K... or I may stay home. I'm on the fence.