FYI – pic from 2017 race.
I feel like I’m flying.
Legs are moving swiftly over the ground. Heart is thumping. Breathing is smooth and not labored. Well, a little labored. I am running Loon Mountain Race after all.
I’m feeling good.
And then it happens.
I hit a rock and my ankle rolls to the side. I hear (or is it feel?) that familiar snap, crackle sound.
I stay upright and begin to walk it off. I’ve only been running for 17 minutes!!
Walk it off. It will get better. Walk it off. It will get better. Walk it off.
That is my mantra as I limp/walk along the most runnable part of the Loon Mountain Race course. All my hard work up until that part is flushed down the toilet as other runners pass me one by one.
I can only grunt out a “yes” as the other runners ask if I’m ok as they pass.
Immediately, my confidence goes out the window to here we go again. F*cking ankle!
I walk and things start to feel better. I’m not limping so I try to run. It feels ok, no shooting pains, just tightness, so I keep going.
We are back in the game.
Or at least I try to get my head back in the game. There’s still a long way to go before this race is over.
On Sunday, I was feeling great as I took off from the starting line. I was feeling confident that I could shave at least 4-5 minutes off my time from last year.
After my ankle roll, I let all time expectations go out the window. Now it was just one food in front of the other as best as my body would allow.
I took my time on the remaining single track section (P.S. That’s my favorite part!) and was actually feeling quite decent when the next big ski slope climb came along at around mile 3. This is the section where the grade really starts to climb with a 20% grade in spots.
The remainder of the race went down like this – run/power hike repeat x 10,000.
I felt solid on the climbs until the last climb just before the gondola and the last water station. I needed water BAD! I grabbed two cups and tried to choke down water but for some reason could not swallow – probably because I was trying to drink while breathing ridiculously hard. I grabbed one more cup for my head and then took off down the super steep, 15% grade, backside of the gondola. I suck at downhill running on a good day but with my confidence in my ankle low and my quads feeling like jell-0 after all the uphill, I put the brakes on hard. It seemed like that section was way longer than years past. Maybe because I knew what was waiting for me at the bottom of the hill – Upper Walking Boss.
Upper Walking Boss – the 40% incline (and spots at 48%) that stops you in your tracks as soon as you make the right hand turn to face it.
There’s no easy way to get up that thing. Head down, one foot in front of the other.
There was a girl in front of me who was trying all kinds of positions the whole way up. At one point she was legit crawling on her hands and knees. I was tempting to give it a try but then I didn’t think I’d ever stand back up. Lol!
I’ve tried to explain UWB to those who have never done it. Pictures don’t do it any justice. It’s ridiculously hard. You may think, it’s only 1 km but it takes FOREVER to climb it. You feel like you are barely moving.
I felt slower than ever and felt myself staggering to try to find good footing to move forward rather than to the side. I smiled for the photographer and then immediately had my head down and continued to climb.
For that last short section, I could hear people cheering and saying my name. I knew my friend, Jen, appeared and was walking/cheering me on for the last push. But I could not lift my head to acknowledge them. It seemed like too much of an effort in addition to powering my body to the finish line. I wanted to be DONE.
2019 finish time: 1:32:12
2018 finish time: 1:33:54
A 1:42 PR. I’ll freakin’ take it!
I’m still pissed about my ankle. I can’t believe I did that! Well, yes, I can believe I did that because that’s what I do. Lol! Stuff happens but I was having such a great streak of not doing anything dumb for quite some time. The good news is that it’s not my best work ever in the injury department. Haha. No bruising, no pain, just swollen. After seeing my chiropractor on Tuesday, he reassured me that my foot is stronger than ever. Keep doing what I’m doing and I’ll continue to grow.
I’m already counting down the days until next years race to see that growth.
Linking up with Coaches Corner.