Thursday, October 1, 2015

One Step Closer...

Saturday I ran the McKay Hollow Madness 25K for the third time.

In 2011, the first year I trained to run McKay (sort of), the race was cancelled because of a bad storm on race day. I went out the following Monday and ran it on my own. I stopped a lot and took video and pictures, until my phone died. It was the first time I had seen many parts of the course. (This is why I said I "sort of" trained for it, I didn't have any idea how challenging many parts of this course really are.) Funny...I was just looking back at my training log (AKA Garmin Connect). Leading up to that race I ran the NOLA Half Marathon in late February (my 2nd half marathon ever) and then didn't run more than about 4 miles until MHM. So...I really didn't train for this race. In my mind back then I had trained for it. That's funny!! Anyway...the total time was 4:10 and the "total moving time" was 3:36. It was WET that year. With all the rain there were streams and puddles and just a lot of water to navigate through and around. It was foggy, chilly, and I was alone.

In 2012, leading up to this race I was training for my first 70.3 (NOLA...see a theme?). I was doing a lot of running and biking and swimming. It's funny I didn't feel as "trail ready" that year. The course was a bit drier that year and it was warmer.  Don't get me wrong, it wasn't dry, as you can tell from the pictures, there was mud, but I wasn't even wearing gators and the mud was barely up over the top of my shoe on one foot. That year I didn't stop to take pictures and had a finish time of 3:36. (My moving time was 3:22...the other 14 minutes was at the aide stations kissing my husband, refilling my bottles, and catching my breath at the top of Natural Well.) I remember it being really warm.

Sadly, I didn't get to race in 2013 because I was battling my shoulder injury. From September 2012 until...well, really until almost September 2014* this shoulder has been a major issue for me. In the spring of 2013 I was trying to figure out what exactly I needed to do in order to do what I wanted to do and, sadly, that didn't include running McKay. Then in 2014 I was recovering from the shoulder surgery I had in January of that year. Which brings me to this year, 2015.

Well, before we get to this year, I want to revisit my 2011 self. I had completed two half marathons and one trail race (Xterra Dirty Spokes 5K). When I went out to run the McKay course by myself I was feeling really spunky. I pretended to be David O'Keefe and fully imagined myself giving Katie a run for her money in 2012. Oh how I wish I could go back and talk to that 2011 self... When I first started running I was making such great improvements that taking off a couple of minutes per mile seemed like a normal thing. It's just a couple of minutes per mile.  HA! The faster you get the harder it becomes to take a couple of seconds per mile off your best time. But, I digress...

I started this year with the goal of setting a PR on the course. I planned to train on every section and train hard to find :30/mile to get my finish time down to 3:30 or less. I'll skip the details, but that didn't exactly happen in reality the way it did in my mind.

I went to bed the night before the race not sure what would happen, but I knew I wanted to give my best effort and be happy with the results.
It was much colder this year than the past years I've run this course. I have developed Raynaud's in my feet and could feel them going numb from the cold before the race start. Ordinarily that wouldn't be a big deal but, with Raynaud's, when the feeling starts coming back it's very painful. I told myself to be ready for it.


I wrote the above right after the race but stopped writing it and haven't come back to it until now. The sad thing is that I don't remember the details of the race the way I would have if I had written about it right then. The big things that stick out in my memory are that I still didn't break 3:30. In fact I got SLOWER! My time this year was 3:43. At one point I thought I might have broken my foot because the pain was just getting worse and worse. It turned out that it really was the Raynaud's. One factor that made this year slower was the mud. It was ridiculous. Mountain Mist was muddier, but this was a very close 2nd.

Even though I was a bit disappointed that I didn't even come close to my goal,  I had to take a step back and realize every year presents new challenges, especially on trails. This year ended up being about pushing forward even when I desperately wanted to quit.

As I said, I didn't break my foot, but ironically, Bilbo DID in fact break hers on this course!! She apparently kicked a rock a little less than 1/2 way through and ran on a broken foot the rest of the time (about 9 miles)! We had to take her to the ER right after the race!!

Next up: what I have been up to lately!

*Funny, this was written in March and I apparently felt like my shoulder was doing pretty good when I wrote it. Maybe I hadn't really started swimming again? I have struggled with this stupid shoulder all summer and it's still not "right".  Here I am THREE YEARS after it first started causing me trouble and it's still a thorn in my side! :(

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