Medoc training part IV: The Revenge

Fuji wouldn't stop telling people how much his car cost
at last year's Christmas party
   Sometime last year I read another blogger's post entitled Leadville Doesn't Care. Known as "The race across the sky," Leadville is a brutal 100 mile trail race located in the heart of the Colorado Rockies. I was inspired by his thoughts on training and how he noted that for every injury, every time there was an event happening, a new delicious burrito was premiered, or something special in his life happening other than running, Leadville didn't care.

   As I began preparing for the Medoc Trail Races this year and read about other races on other mountains, I came to one rock solid conclusion: mountains are jerks. You see, the author of the leadville post was right. They simply don't care. The mountain doesn't care how much time you have to spend working. Take all the time you need! Want to spend some time with your friends and family? Sure, go ahead! Got an injury? Rest it. But the mountain is going to make you pay for every bit of it later. (They have really had it out for us since Sir Edmund Hillary slapped down their best sixty years ago.)

I believe his last words were:
"Everest can suck it."

   For every morning that I didn't want to wake before the sun rose, or wanted to just go home instead of run long after it bled through the sky and set, I reminded myself of one thing: The. Mountain. Doesn't. Care. It's going to throw its roots, rocks, elevation and low hanging branches in my face no matter what my training conditions were or how much sleep I got. Every hill that I wanted to take just a step slower the mountain seemed to be right behind me, whispering that it was fine, it was just going to smash my quads that much harder in a few months. Why? Because it's a jerk and that's why no one invites it to parties. And so I pushed up the hills and plummeted down the descents.

   The weather in particular this season has been brutal, but not unexpected. Weather during the summer months in the southern U.S. typically alternates between really hot sauna-like conditions, and really, really, really hot sauna-like conditions with average temperatures being in the 90's and the heat index usually breaking triple digits at least twice a week. Just stepping outside the front door to run is like stepping onto a vat of super heated jello.

Not the cool kind either

 That is, until this week. The temperatures over the past week have plummeted daily anywhere from 20 to 40 degrees like some kind of cool fall weather tease. And while I know this won't last, it feels amazing. Spending the past months doubting myself and my running while forcing myself outside to run in the miserable weather has taken a toll on my confidence. But suddenly, it was like someone had opened my lungs and cut the cords that were attached to weights I din't know where there.
   My times and pace dropped easily 40 seconds to a mile without feeling like I was exerting any effort whatsoever. THIS is what running was supposed to feel like! Now I felt as if I could really prepare for Medoc. And then it happened. It started as a twinge in my left calf that seemed to slowly move from spot to spot around the leg, as though it were some painful parasite swimming through my muscle. I decided it was just some muscle cramping and strain from almost doubling my usual mileage inside of a month.

You like these cooler fall temperatures?
Yeah, You know you do.

    Almost three weeks went by, and I continued to feel the sharp ever-moving pain in my leg when I was forced to stop one day on the run as it felt like there were knives being driven through my calf. I tried to take off again after walking some, but to no avail; the knives were here for the day.

   I tried again to take off the next day, with the same results, only happening quicker. Reluctantly, I reported the phenomenon to my coach, expecting one of two things to happen. Either A) I would get some cool magical fire / acupuncture action happening on my leg like in the latest Karate Kid, or B) I would get some "stop being a nancy-boy" speech like he was a 1950's no-non sense football coach. I got neither. What I got was more of a shrug and an acknowledgment that shit happens. In all likely hood, I had either severely strained the calf muscle, had a slight tear in it, or worst case scenario had fractured my tibia. He told me to take a couple days off, and my training schedule would be adjusted to keep me on track, while lowering the volume.

There, I saved you 30 seconds on google

   The rational part of my brain knew that taking off two or three days would not effect my fitness, but that horrible monster that lives in the dark shadows in the corner of your mind began cackling at me like he was conjured straight out of the lord of the rings. This is it, I heard it say, all your training is useless and there will be no time to make it up. Hahaha!  To make matters worse, the great crew over at Medoc Trail Races had just posted up a picture of this year's pint glass awards.

   Knowing that I should probably take it easy for a few more days, I laced up anyway, deciding that the mountain wasn't going to get the best of me. If I was going down, then well, I was going down swinging. I got one mile...then two, then three, and I had just hit four when the pain began to creep back up on me. I figured that there was no way it could be anything worse than a strain if the muscle was able to pull down four decent (not great) miles before I heard even a mild complaint from it. Working my way back home slowly and carefully, I resolved to get back on plan. Though I was going to go without a burrito for the entire week. (Those are for winners.)

   Easing back into it, I was able to get back on plan, and try to listen to my body as I ran, not wanting to make the calf any worse than it was, while at the same time trying to maximize my training. Feeling good, my coach told me he wanted me to run a time trial to see where I stood. My choices ranged from running by myself against a clock with little support or motivation in the hot, hot sun, orrrrrrr sign up for a 5k within the month. Scouting it out, I found that only one 5k was going to be available at the end of the month, so I signed up for it in hopes of smashing my old pr and making my coach proud.

   Check out the next blog update for a race review of the Fitness Connection 5k! Thanks for sticking with me so far guys, I know its been way to long between write ups, so expect a lot coming your way, including race reviews, our first gear and shoe reviews, and so much more. In the meantime you can also find and "Like" us on Facebook (Crazy People with nice Shoes) to keep up with all the fun!

My Precious 


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