Monday, October 24, 2016

Fallout: Coming Down to Earth

With a title including Fallout, you might think I'd be talking about the post-apocalyptic video game series. If you did, you'd be wrong because the apocalypse has not happened...yet. However, it is about a 'post' event chronicling.

Let me take you back in time to just after Boulder Field. Around that time, I decided to do some schedule shifting. I opted on the weekend of November 5-6 to do a 50K called Fire on the Mountain in MD as opposed to traveling to Nashville for one that same weekend. I had done the last FOTM and loved it. This year it is coming back as an out and back as opposed to a point to point. I'd say this year's version is going to be a beast. As a result, of this decision, I still wanted a 50 miler before FOTM as part of my Brazos Bend prep.

Following some internet searches, airfare checks and all around logistically number crunching, I decided to fly out to Colorado and run the 50M distance at Indian Creek Fifties. My trip was going to be a 4 day weekend with the race on the 2nd day followed by camping/hiking the remainder of the time. To say I was excited was an understatement. I was very much looking forward to racing in the mountains and hiking. Not to mention, sitting at a campground reading.

All was going smoothly until the day before my traveling began. In fact, it started right not long after I had officially registered. I had waited in the event work threw me a curveball causing me to not go. Apparently, I was naive to think one wasn't coming. Around an hour before my workday ended, one plunked me in the head. Pretty much, a get it done ASAP situation. Considering, I was going to be remote as I traveled it made the work project tough. It set me into full on anxiety attack. Before it swallowed me whole, I left the office telling myself, I'll somehow get it done as I traveled. Still, it freaked me out and on my ride home, my head was thinking of the ways, I can make traveling easier. I opted to just get home and finish it remotely. At home, I can use two screens which really was needed to complete my task. Despite getting it done timely, I was having a tough time calming myself from the anxiety. In fact, it lasted into my attempts of trying to sleep before I had to wake up at 4am to be driven to the airport.

On the plus side, I had my bag packed a week in advance!

Traveling out to Denver was easy. And the first 4-5 hours was good after landing. However, to cut to the chase, I ended up getting altitude sickness. I had not expected it considering I'd been around and above the elevation before. To spare you, I ended up having to bail on the race and came home the next day.

In short, it was a wasted trip. My options were limited. I could have stuck it out with possibly a headache the whole trip (as I still had one on the day of my return). That was something, I didn't want to risk. How much fun would be to just camp and not hike? To me, not much. I was not looking to spend the time in a movie theater. In looking at flights, I couldn't try an extra day because no Sunday flights were available.

Did it stink to not get the trip, I wanted? Absolutely. That said, I do aim to go back out there. I will just add extra time to the beginning in case, it happens again.

On the plus side, I had a wonderful Sunday hiking in the morning with Peg in the Wissahickon and exploring Tyler State Park in the afternoon. Plus, on Monday, we saved a couple of hundred dollars on paint for the house because I was home!

Still, my schedule was now out of balance. I saw the 50 miler as an important distance to complete. I knew I had the option to race Stone Mill on Nov 12th. However, I felt that would be a little too close to Brazos Bend. Thankfully, the race directors of the Batona Trail 50 allowed me to join the new 'Fall' date on Nov 5th. Unfortunately, that knocks out FOTM. In an attempt to have cake and eat it too, I looked for a 50K this past weekend (Oct 22-23). All those close ones were full. However, a little out of my usual range was the High Bridge Ultra down in Pamplin, VA. Being able to register day of, helped keep it in mind. However, the 5 1/2 hour drive did not appeal. Especially since I would have needed to finish and drive straight home after the 50K. For some reason, I thought it was doable.

Reality set in Friday that it was not a wise choice for me due to the timing. It was going to push my limits driving. Wiser heads prevailed and I abandoned the idea. However, I let myself approach the idea of racing the 50K through the week. So for the second week in a row, I was not doing something I initially told myself I was. Granted we are talking two different sets of circumstances. Still, this was enough to get me really off balance. I immediately lost motivation to do a long run. I really did not want to run a long run solo in the area I always run. Factor in the 24 degree temp drop from Friday to Saturday and it just stacked up. More or less, I was becoming my own worst enemy. I wanted to do something but nothing appealed to my need of being long.

Denver Fallout was coming to a head!

Being so far down the rabbit hole, I didn't want to even socialize and missed the street block party.

Later in the evening, I took a look at Sunday's area events and noticed one that was a longer race that was cheap. Hotfoot 8.8. It had a 5K, 8.8K and 8.8M. I told myself I could get 12 in easily if I did the 8.8M. At that point, anything over ten felt uninspiring solo. Likely because it was running in my head within the framework of my usual local runs. Then, before bed after I decided to give it a shot, I realized if I did the 8.8 a second time I'd get 17.6 right there. Add my warmup and tack on a hair more, I could hit 20 miles. Mentally that would be a step in the right direction.

Sunday morning, I managed to get myself together and get out the door to the race. After registering, I went for my warm-up and got hit with some nasty wind. It was enough to make me question being able to run fast during the race.  Luckily, during the race, I was able to keep it together. I managed a modest pace considering the trouble with the wind. (5:44 avg) It was the fastest pace in any of the distances. Upon finishing, I quickly threw on a shirt and regular shorts (over my racing shorts) to head out for a second loop. Wind wasn't as bad during the second loop but the hills did suck a second time. (Oh, I neglected to mention this course was hilly. It was hillier than some trail ultras.)

In the end, I got my 20 miles in. Whew. I would not have been able to do it without the existence of the Hotfoot 8.8 race. On top, of the race serving as an avenue to get my 20 miles in, it is a top notch event. There was a beer garden and hot food. Amazingly, there was still eggs after my second loop! I missed awards but it was worth it. I got to get a few glasses of PA Dutch Birch Beer too. I didn't quite tap the keg of it. In some ways, the event because it was hosted by the Fort Washington Fire Dept 88, reminded me of the Jimmy D 5K. It was such a good feeling to have and doesn't let me forget how much the Jimmy D race meant to me.

These 20 miles while not the 50K (or even the 50M) I had expected to race, I feel much better going into Batona that I would have without them. And ultimately, I feel this keeps me on track for a good showing at Brazos Bend.

1 comment:

  1. The plus side you got your 20 in! Good luck at Batona. I bailed as I decided running both Batona and Stone Mill would be somewhat foolish. :)