Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Running Blind : Chuckanut Strikes Again

Last year I had a rough day at Chuckanut 50k, one of my favorite races around.  We had just had twins and I hadn't really been training at all.... this year was even rougher.  Apparently shingles stays with you for a while.  They said 4-6 weeks of recovery, and I guess the docs are pretty wise.  My body was just depleted from the start.  Add to that the fact that I had to run in glasses (normally I wear contacts, as I'm very blind), as I still have a shingles-related eye infection that's on the mend.  Running in glasses is amazingly tough!  Wow, I really don't know how folks do it.  Dealing with lenses constantly fogging up in the woods, no peripheral vision, etc.- I felt like I was stopped more than I was running.  Anyway, it was probably a bit ambitious to even toe the starting line, but I'm happy I gave it a go despite the end result.

I'm not one for detailed race reports, but here's a semi-quickie.  I started very unlike myself a bit back in the pack to force myself to start slowly and conservatively.  This worked fine and I got more than a handful of comments from friends that wondered why I wasn't sprinting out at the front of the pack (something I really really love to do).  The first 6 on the flat Interurban trail went alright, then it's onto singletrack for a bit.  This is when my glasses began to fog up and my pace became that of a snail's.  I then felt fantastic running strong up the 3 miles of Cleator Road and made up a lot of ground climbing fast with easy footing and clear vision.  The ridge trail ruined me.  Without peripheral vision and with foggy vision, picking through the footing and twists and turns was a true challenge.  Despite eating and drinking regularly, my body also began reminding me of its general depletion going into the race.  I considered bailing at the 2nd to last aid station (bottom of Chinscraper), but told myself I had to give myself until the next aid station to attempt to feel better.  After shuffling those 4.5 or so miles, I felt far worse and was officially done at mile 25 or so.  I've never dropped at Chuckanut and actually never dropped at a 50k, but on Saturday it was the right call.  Sometimes our bodies are healthy; sometimes they're not.  This makes me abundantly thankful for all the healthy times.

Big thanks to Krissy and Ellen for putting on another fantastic race this year!  It was amazing to see/hear about the incredibly fast competition (both men's and women's) at the front of the pack, and I know this race will just be better every year.  The weather was idyllic, and despite my less than perfect run, I was still really happy to be out on the trails with so many friends.  Now, time to lick my wounds and get back on the horse.

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