A Fresh Start01/18/2010
It’s not that I haven’t been able to run. Quite the contrary. In all of 2009 I actually missed “only” 51 days (I employ the scare quotes because that still averages to nearly a day off every week) of running (compared to 118 in 2008), but curiously logged ~900 fewer miles in 2009 than in 2008 (~4300 vs ~5200). This is a function of my trick retinaculum/patella being pretty much happy with runs up to 2hrs in length, but nothing much longer than that. This fact makes the training and completion of an ultramarathon an especially sticky proposition. Any venture into the 4-5hr range of running duration has consistently led to a forced week or so of rest, waiting for the knee to quiet back down.
So, with that knowledge, and the commencement of the new year, I resolved to limit myself to 2hr length (albeit, frequent) outings, and, combined with some new proactive measures (acupuncture, sacroilliac joint adjustments, abductor-strengthening exercises), I hope to only extremely gradually increase the duration of my runs from the seemingly magical 120 minute threshold. So far, it has been working. The first 18 days of 2010 have seen me log 18 pain-free 2hr runs, each of which has included the 2500′-in-less-than-three-miles climb to the 8162′ summit of Green Mountain here in Boulder.
Much to my joy, these daily sojourns have been greatly ameliorated by the Mountain Gods (and Microspikes). For the past ten days, Boulder (and, the rest of the Front Range, I imagine) has been regaled with consistently excellent weather–highs in the 50s, plenty of sunshine, no precipitation. This is the kind of stuff that makes me love the Front Range climate so much.
(It is hard for me to not contrast that with the frigidity that I experienced back in Nebraska over Christmas, and that my parents continue to endure. A little over a week ago, my Dad reported lows of -25F and -30F on successive days (with a high in between of -5F) compounded by one of the top three biggest blizzards in northeast Nebraska history. Fun stuff.)
So, in what state of flux does this leave any future (probably maligned and misguided) attempts at ultramarathon racing? Hard to say. I have several classic ventures bouncing around in my head with Miwok, Lake City, and Western States being the most prominent. The primary goal this year is to actually race a full, healthy season (I managed to finish one, count it, one actual ultramarathon last year–the White River 50). However, all of those events–despite my most rigorous and assiduous efforts–will surely require more than two hours for me to complete, so at this point, my participation remains largely theoretical. In the meantime, I absolutely plan to continue simply enjoying the relative health and ability I have been granted.
Finally, I recently gave a rather extensive interview to the author of this blog. I found many of Mr. Babinski’s questions to be refreshingly engaging, so I thought maybe some of my own blog readers might be interested in the topics covered.