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The Road Back – Dirty 30(ish) Race Report

June 2, 2014

My last post was over 5 months ago.  I was motivated and enthusiastic, very much looking forward to, well, right now.  I had a lot of hope that, with hard work and a good attitude that just maybe I would be a runner again in a time horizon measured in weeks rather than years.  With the help and support of many Rocky Mountain Runners friends, my family, and good people scattered far and wide, I think I’m back to a place where I can call myself a runner again.

Green with pride, and perhaps some beer buzzing, just after the finish, with roughly half of the RMR gang.  Credit: Eric Lee.

Green with pride, and perhaps some beer buzzing, just after the finish with roughly half of the RMR gang. Credit: Eric Lee.

This past Saturday I ran the Dirty 30 50k up and down the mountains in nearby Golden Gate State Park.  It’s a rugged mostly single-track course, much of which is above 9,000′.  I ran it last year and finished middle-of-the pack.  This year’s version added a couple miles, bringing the distance to about 33 miles, with what I’m told had more than 16,000′ of combined climbing and descending.  That’s a lot of up and down for the distance (my first 100-miler at Cactus Rose had less total elevation change).

Just getting started heading up an early climb.

Just getting started heading up an early climb. I’m in the lime green shirt. Credit: Ryan Smith.

The run was a pretty good validation of the work I’ve done these last 5+ months.  I was able to finish the race strong, feeling relatively good all day, in roughly the same overall position as last year.  It took me – and everyone else who returned from last year – a good 30-60 minutes longer this year due to the course changes and heat.  Last year I ran it in 7:08 for 131st place, this year in 7:47 for 129th place.  So, all in all, I performed about the same as last year.  That’s huge, considering that a couple months ago even walking a mile was far out of the question.

Hobbling up some nice trail well into the race.  Credit: Neeraj Engineer.

Hobbling up some nice trail well into the race. Credit: Neeraj Engineer.

The whole weekend was really a nice getting-back-to-the-lifestyle affair.  About 20 of us camped out near the race course, where I was able to break in the Sportsmobile (kick-ass name TBD).  Spending the pre- and post-race with my trail buddies was uplifting, as was the on-course support by all the RMRers who were crewing, taking pictures, and running with (ok, mostly well ahead of) me.

Done, with some pep over the last mile.  Credit: Ryan Smith.

Done, with some pep over the last mile. Credit: Ryan Smith.

As usual, I ran pretty much all the flat and downhill sections, sometimes cruising, occasionally pushing a bit.  I probably hiked 2/3 of the climbs, only running when an especially good song came on or to close-in on the next runner (I think I passed 20+ runners between Mile 17 at Aid Station 3 and the end).  Two days removed I’m still sore but my ankle held together without any real pain.

The months since my achilles injury have been mostly good.  I think I did all I could to make the best of the situation, with lots of physical therapy help from Larry Meyer, and 10-20 hours/week of fitness/rehab work, combining stationary bike and hand cycle, strength training, and eventually a not-too-slow ramp-up of walking to hiking to running.  I’m still far from where I’d like to be, or where I was or can again be, with regards to overall fitness.  But, I’ve now been able to work mileage back up; the Dirty 30 marked my 5th long run in 2 1/2 weeks, 3 of which were in the final 9 day period.

Does all this mean the Western States 100 will go well?  Of course not.  But, I’m a runner again and I think I have a real shot of making it through the race.  Time cut-offs will likely be, for the first time in my racing experience, a real concern.  I’ll do what I can and knowing that I have a little bit of reason for optimism, that’s going to have to be enough.

 

 

 

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2 Comments
  1. Your comeback thus far is impressive. When I heard of the Achilles rip, I thought the time back would be way longer. Well done.

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  1. Golden Gate Dirty Thirty | Rocky Mountain Runners

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