Bandera 100k was way back in January, and I haven’t updated this thing since 2 months before that.
Consider these next few posts as my penance for neglecting the blog, and I’ll do my best to get up to speed.
Overall, I can say that that training cycle leading up to Bandera 100k was one of the most ideal build-ups that I have had since I started running. I wasn’t necessarily pain free throughout, but I was seeing my physiotherapist weekly (and sometimes multiple times) to address the little things as they popped up and seemed to have the injury bug at bay. Mileage was consistently in the 70 miles per week area and I was beginning to feel fit after knocking out some great long run weekends. All systems seemed go for launch.
So, what happened?
Well, let’s start with the weather. Central Texas never gets that cold. I grew up in the Midwest and saw several winters with below zero temperatures and wind chills, but nothing in Texas gets close to that. As luck would have it, Bandera weekend sent us some sub-20 degree Fahrenheit temperatures with no precipitation in sight. On paper, it seemed like it could turn out to be ideal running weather.
In reality, it proved to be my undoing.
With such cold weather and no indoors to hang out in, I mostly just spent the whole weekend in between packet pickup and start time sitting in my car. All of the sitting and tensing up from the chill aggravated an old hip issue that flared up when we started running. From the gun, I was in pain. I felt like I was having to learn how to run again on the go. I convinced myself in the early stages that I would warm up and I would turn early discomfort into smooth running once the sun came out.
Considering the pain, I was running a decent pace, but it wouldn’t last.
After about 10 miles, I started to feel more discomfort and I could tell it was affecting my gait, with a bit of effort needed to keep from limping. I began to feel tugging in my hip flexor and then occasional shooting pain coming from my proximal hamstring just below my glutes. When coming into the Ya-Ya aid station around mile 21, I was already done. I was walking, and not walking well. I got some warming cream from the lovely Meredith Terranova, some well wishes from my beautiful crew, and a quick massage from the solid Jonathan Garner, and I tried to head out again.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t going to be my day.
Mentally, I just couldn’t’ convince myself that walking for 40 more miles to preserve my ego was worth it. I made the solemn march back to the park road and walked with my head down back to the Start/Finish. I had tears in my eyes as I handed my ankle chip to Race Director Chris McWatters, and I quietly sat in the grass with my brother, trying my best to compose myself. I had worked so hard and so long for something that ended in failure in just over 3 hours. I’ve never been so disappointed in myself, my body, or a race result, and it truly hurt.
I knew I had to find a way to come back from it, and I’ll explain how I did in my next post.
Photo credit: Nora Colligan and Travis Gillespie (who ran a great race on this day)