Friday, December 28, 2012

One Epic Run (well, not too epic for me)

Alan and I had both signed up for One Epic 24 hour Run, but I told him the week before that I had not done a long run since Pinhoti that didn't hurt.  We agreed that we wouldn't run the full 24 hours and would either do 50 miles or 100K.

The race was held at Croft State Park near Spartanburg, S.C., less than three hours from home.  The race director reserved a loop of the campground so runners could camp (for free) during the race and have access to the restrooms and hot showers.  Alan and I, however, opted to drive up that morning since we weren't staying the full 24 hours.

Check-in was well organized, runners received a beanie rather than a t-shirt, and after a short race briefing, we were off.  The run is on a single-track 3 mile loop.  You first head downhill to cross a scenic river (on a bridge) and then gradually uphill through the woods until you hit the combat zone.  (To the left of the trail was a 20 foot bank and directly behind that was a firing range.  Judging from the constant barrage of gunfire, this was a very popular firing range.  And oddly, and this may be a remnant instinct from my law enforcement days, every time I passed by, I had a strange urge to crawl on my belly up that bank and peek over to see what they were firing.  Of course, I also had an urge to go take a nap in the car, but I resisted both). 

Anyway, back to the run.  A lot of the course was nicely groomed, but there were some technical areas with roots and uneven ground, along with a small stream crossing on a log.  There were some hills, but it was all runnable. You continued clockwise, heading back towards the river on a long flat section, back over the bridge and up to the aid station to check-in.  This was a great aid station:  jerky, sandwiches, potatoes, sweets, pretzels, gels, pizza in the afternoon, and a lot of other food that I didn't try. The volunteers were super friendly and helpful and the race felt like a reunion of area runners. You were almost always around someone you knew.

Unfortunately, my run continued the pattern of hurting since Pinhoti.  My knee felt stiff and sore and I was doing some weird compensating with my other leg.  Pretty soon my uneven gait made everything hurt and I quit having fun.   I decided to stop at 50K and Alan agreed to as well.  After a hot shower, I left a 24 hour race for the first time ever before dark.  It was actually kind of nice.

I was disappointed, not so much with only running 50K, but with the problems I was having with my legs.  Tony, who has done the whole ACL thing and more, on more than one occasion, says that despite what the doctors say, it will be a year and a half to two years before everything is normal.  So, I am back to serious rehabbing, trying to build up my weaker leg more, and not a whole lot of running since the race. I don't have any major runs for a while, so I am just going to be patient, have fun, and do whatever my legs feel like doing.