Definitely Not as Planned

I know how this guy feels... 

We all run/train through injury to some degree. If I skipped a workout every time I didn’t feel 100%, I would be sitting on my ass a lot. Bangs, bruises, tight spots, etc are just part of the norm for most of us. A lot of what we get from a training run is more than just the fitness gains: fun, stress release, time with friends, etc.... these are all reasons to run, even when we don’t feel great.

Four weeks ago, while racing the Knee Knacker, i took a fall and hurt my right knee. For a few days after KK, i assumed that i just had some bruising, and that it would clear up on its own. After 10 days (or so) of denial, i had to accept the fact that i had some pretty serious IT band inflammation at my knee.

Knee Knacker crash

Knee Knacker crash

But i am really stubborn

Yah, every step i took hurt, but i had the Squamish50 coming up, so i had to get in some quality running.

Run, ice, advil, stretch...repeat

I am even so dense, that about two weeks ago, i ran more than half the Squamish50 course. It hurt, but it was fun as hell. Gary was ‘racing’ his own course, and i hopped in with him for a big chunk of it. As you can guess, running with Gary, it was the opposite of an easy run. BUT, it definitely fit into the category of ‘fun and friends trumping common sense’. I really enjoyed that day, but i did not do my knee any favors with a hard 5 hour trail run. Throw in a few more quality runs, including 23k on course with Eric Carter last week, and i was feeling very fit....with one really sore knee.

RACE DAY GAME PLAN: (very similar to my successful KK plan)

  1. very conservative for first 50km
  2. hike (not run) the entire climb from 40-45km
  3. be at Quest in 5 hrs
  4. the race begins at Quest
  5. demolish myself on the last 30km

Everything was going to plan to about 50km. I felt like i was running really smart: within myself, and right on pace. My knee was sore, but i was coping. I was compensating a bit on the downhills, but I had taken some advil and tylenol (at aid #3) which seemed to be working.

Then, like a replay of the Knee Knacker, i took a bad fall while moving really fast downhill. I hit the ground in almost the exactly same way; full right-side impact. I knocked the wind out of myself too, and garage-saled my water bottles and gels down the trail.

Holy shit that hurt!! (Gasping for air)

Eventually i gathered myself up, and got moving again.

Stay on track Mike. Quest is only a few minutes away.

I limped my way down the rest of the trail, still totally focused on my plan for the next 30km. I was pretty messed up when i got to Quest. In hind sight, I obviously should have dropped out at that point. Seeing my wife and kids though, reinforced my commitment to not give up. I stuck to the plan: refuel, and keep moving forward. Sadly, I was reduced to walking up Mamquam Rd. My knee was so sore that i couldn’t run on it. I kept hoping that the pain would dull, and that i would be back on track, so i kept moving forward. Unfortunately though, things just got worse.

With massive amounts of stubbornness and tunnel-vision, i made it to the top of Climb. I then took a total of two steps down AM and it was over. It hit me like a brick wall. I couldn’t block the pain any more. Not only was i going to have to quit, but i had to get down to the FSR to get help. My mood dropped through the floor. Downhill on a messed up IT band was horrible. Every single step was agony: both mental and physical.

The Squamish50 crew was amazing. Once they saw how rough i was, they shuttled me off the course and back to Quest. With a few radio calls, the message was out to my wife Jodi. While I sat in shock, waiting for my family, the volunteers at Quest took great care of me (Thanks you guys). About 60 minutes later i was in a warm shower and scrubbing the dirt out of my open wounds.

So....with some time to reflect...i really didn’t give myself a fair shot at the Squamish50 course.

Should i have even started the Squamish50?  Absolutely....BUT.... 

I should have taken better care of my knee knacker injuries.

I should have rested my damaged IT band.

I should have backed off my training

If i had made better decisions over the last month, i can almost guarantee that my day would have turned out differently. But i am stubborn. Stubbornness and determination have worked well for me so often in the past. I really, really, really hope that I am able to learn from this experience.

Gary and Geoff and ALL the volunteers put on a world class event. Thanks you guys. I am really looking forward to tackling the 50 miler again next year.