Sunday, September 14, 2008

Reach the Biatch

So this weekend was the 10th running of the Reach the Beach  relay. This was my 5th time doing it and 3rd as captan of the Front Runners Ladies Tea and Running Society. We pretty much load 12 people into 2 vans and run across the state of NH.
I was the first runner. My plan, to stay close to my marathon training plan was to run my first leg, 7.8 miles, like a tune up race. My 2nd leg was 3.8 so I figured I 'd let that one fly as well. My last leg, 9.3 hilly miles, well, I thought that would be good to do maybe on the high end of a long run pace. It would be good training for my marathon to run hills when I'm really really tired.
Well as we all know, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Things started out well. I was a bit stressed trying to get my team ready to go and being the first runner. I started at 11:40 am with 18 other folks. The pack went out too fast, I let them go and just settled in. I didnt have my garmin which wouldn't even turn on. It through me a bit but in the long run, I think was good. Forced me to run on feel and not be so information obsessed. 
I settled into a nice pace and started doing math in my head. It was cool, in the 60s and raining a bit.
Let's see, if it were 8 miles and I ran at 8 minute pace that would be 64 minutes and if I ran 8:30 pace....on and on. I figured I wanted to come in around 68 minutes. I stayed steady, kept my eye on a pack of 5 ahead of me. 
Then they started falling of the back and I passed one.
Then 2.
Then the last 3.
I was felling GREAT. I could see the transition up ahead. It was hard to gauge how far ahead it was with the road being slightly hilly. I picked up the pace a bit to finish strong. I passed off to my teamate and hit my watch.
1:03:20, about 8:07 pace. I felt awesome.
After running, there's a lot of time before you run again. But also a lot to do. 5 more people in the van to run, then drive ahead as 6 people in the other van run. Eat, try and take a nap.  The 2nd van on my team kicked some serious ass. At 10pm, their last runner was tearing up the road ready to pass off to me. It was a bit wet, warmed up a bit from my first run. I was waiting in my safety vest, blinking lights and headlamp ready to go. Running in the dark down NH country roads is great. It's surreal. No street lights, very little traffic, just the blinking of other runners. I actually couldn't see any. There was no one close enough in front of me to see.
I was moving. I was feeling good. This leg was 3.8 miles, my goal was sub 30 minutes. I could feel the road go up, even if I couldn't see the hill. I gave my self landmarks when I could look at my watch. I'd look down to see if there were any lights coming up on me.
I started seeing team vans making a right turn. I saw the race arrows pointing that was so I knew I was close. I also had the feeling someone was coming up behind me and I didn't want to be passed on my legs so I through it into another gear. I went to make the right hand turn.
And then it happened.
I was on the ground. I was pretty much on my face. I got right up with this streak of white hot pain in my right ankle.
I look down , there's blood running down my left leg.
Oh fuck.
The road sorta just ended. It had been paved recently and at the turn I guess it was pretty uneven.
A woman jumped out of a van and ran over to me making sure I was ok. I said yea, I'm fine and started to hobble.She offered to walk with me, I said no and started running.Cursing in my head as 3 people passed, offering encouragement as I went. I got into the transition and saw Loren, she could see I was hurt. I passed off and went right into the medical tent, which was of little use. At that point, the Front Runner's men's ultra team (6 runner instead of 12) had caught us. These boys were FLYING. So all of them, except the one running, plus another teammate who was their driver, were there. It was nice to have the support of so many familiar faces.  I washed off my knee, a team mate taped up my ankle and Loren carried me to the van.
Not only did she carry me, she scooped my up like the end of An Officer and a Gentleman and carried me while  singing Love Lift Us Up Where We Belong
This is a true story.
I got in the van and started cursing and crying, I was also in a bit of shock. I looked at Loren and said I think this is going to cost me my marathon. I was so mad and disappointed.  I knew I wouldn't be able to run my last leg, I couldn't even walk. My team mate said they'd take care of it. We figured out how to get the last miles run a person down. 
These girls are badass.
I spent the next few hours driving my team. When we got to the next van transition, I saw the EMTs.
This was about 7 hours after it happened. They kept telling me to go to a hospital, it might be broken. I knew it wasn't. It was feeling much better, I could walk. They iced it and rewrapped it. They said the same thing about my knee, I should get it stitched, but it might have waited too long, it was going to leave a nasty scar. I said I didn't care if it scared, please just clean it out.
Well, it's going to really hurt.
Hurt? I've already run 2x, sprained my ankle and been awake for 20 hours, pour kerosine in it if you need to, I won't notice. (it didn't hurt when they cleaned it).
I caught about an hour of sleep then got ready to watch one of my team mates run my last leg. Since I couldn't run, someone had to run 4 times instead of 3. 
Did I mention I love my team? Cause I do. Every year I do this I'm amazed by the bad ass women that show up.
And away we go. 6 more legs, the last legs for out van. Entry into the done club. I drove so everyone else could get ready to run or recover. After we were done, we grabbed some lunch and headed to Hampton Beach to wait for our last runner to come in so we could all run across the finish line together. By then, I was well enough to hobble along with everyone.
We finished the course, roughly 208 miles in 30 hours and 16 minutes, about an 8:43 pace. 3rd in the women's open division. We all got fuel belts for the effort.

My ankle's feeling much much better. Swelling's gone down, I can pretty much walk on it. I'm going to physical therapy tomorrow, I think this will be a mostly off week. I see myself running by the weekend, though most likely not the Philly half marathon like I had planned (sorry Flo!).
I'll assess and see how I'm felling, but I think I'll still be good for Steamtown.

Over all, Front Runners had 4 teams
1 women's team (12 women)
2 men's open teams (23 men, one team ran with 11 guys)
1 men's ultra team (6 guys)
Women 3rd place women's open
men's ultra 2 place men's ultra division
Men's open (11 man team) 3 over all, 2nd men's open
Men's open  17th over all. THIS JUST IN 4th open men's team!
Ya know, there are a lot of stereotypes about gay folks. And a lot about gay folks and sports. We just had 43 gay runners kick ass across the state of New Hampshire. 
Did some say sissy?


Flo said...

AMAZING REPORT!!! Can't believe your ankle and you'll be sooooo missed next weekend. I seriously laughed out loud about Loren carrying you and singing, what an amazing relationship you guys have. Really special.

And OMG, how great that your Garmin bonked!! (though you can do a cold reboot, I bet to get it working again, if you haven't already). 8:07? WOW!!! Such a shame to have to cap that off early, and damn, the whole ankle ordeal is terrible. Get a brace!! Seriously, go to Target or the drugstore and get a lace-up one. Geetah in RW forums always sprains his ankle and turned me on to them when I had bursitis. It'll help to have support, even if you're just walking around the house.

Heal up fast girl, we've got a job to do in a few weeks and you WILL be ready with me.

DogPound said...

Loren is hysterical. We argue over who's more funny (which of course I am, but it's close)

I got a brace this morning, it's a velcro one for now. I'm going to PT tomorrow so I'll see what they say. Believe me, I'm not planning on doing squat today.

I'm thinking I'll be good to go at steamtown. Even if I miss most of this week and have lower milage from here out, my runs this weekend proved I'm in pretty good shape. I dont think I'll loose that.

Ovens2Betsy said...

DP -- great race report! What a bummer about your ankle though. I'm sending good vibes your way that it'll be healed in time for your marathon.

k. green said...

OMG!!! ankles are the worst, you know all about my ankle-drama. i hope your recovery is speedy and complete. PTs are magical, im sure they will fix you up. your ankle will surely thank you for (kind of) RICEing it.

DogPound said...

oh yes, I've thought of you my child.
Luckily, my PT is a magic man.