Sunday, May 06, 2012

A Chapter Comes to a Close

My previous described my journey and how I injured myself prior to running the 50k The North Face Endurance Challenge at Bear Mountain.

Before the injury my plan was to go to take Friday off from work and go to NYC to pickup my race packet so that I wouldn't have to deal with any of that on race day morning.

Since the injury, my running has been dormant. I saw significant healing from Saturday to Wednesday and then only minor improvement over the following few days, leaving my skeptical about being able to complete a 50k (or any other distance for that matter).

The Bear Mountain Bridge
I decided it would be best to listen to my body and take advantage of the opportunity to move my registration for the 50k to the 5k and gain another day of healing. I still wasn't sure I would run but my thinking was that if I could run or walk the 5k at least I participated.

I went to The North Face Store on the upper-west side of Manhattan on Friday morning and easily changed my registration( for a $10 fee). The team handling the morning registration we're totally sympathetic and accommodating to my request.

I stuffed my bib number and jersey into my bag without inspection.

When I got home I was pleasantly surprised that the red, short-sleeved, performance shirt had little more than the event logo on the right sleeve.

Event Village
I thought the shirt was perfect.

I could wear the shirt without guilt, even if I didn't do any portion of the event. It was as if the shirt (as it was) reflected the fact that I had trained for the 50k event but wasn't boasting about having completed it (or any other distance).

I later learned that distance specific silk-screening was available at the event site. I was happy with the blank shirt, the metaphor was perfect.

Dean K. Welcomes Us to Church
On Saturday morning I was somewhat depressed knowing the race I had trained for was underway without me. I struggled with the consolation and felt like I would attempt to run the 5k the following morning. I was still trying to be cautious about the decision.

On Sunday morning I woke early and got myself together to make the short drive to Bear Mountain.

I opted to park at an alternative parking lot. As I walked to Bear Mountain I realized just how far it was from the start and that if I did have an issue with my calf, this was going to be a long walk back to the car.
Lineup for the Start

I made my way across the high traffic areas without incident and entered Bear Mountain State Park as an enthusiastic announcer was getting the Sunday runners prepared for the days events.

Today would include the shorter distance of the weekend's festivities. First the 1/2 Marathon runners would leave, followed by the 10k and then the 5k. Then there would be a Karno Kids race after all the other events had departed.

Bear Mountain 5k
I wandered among the other runners feeling somewhat detached. I yearned to tell someone that I was suppose to have run yesterday. That I had trained for the 50k and that an injury has me doing the 5k.

I was also silently hoping that I would be able to finish the shortest distance of the weekend without further incident or injury.

I watched the other distance depart and finally put away my fleece and checked my gear bag.

Dean Karnazes welcomed us to the start by proclaiming "Welcome to Church", he joked that he felt like a slacker because he took a plane from California to New York, while last year he had done his famous Run Across America.

Tough Descent
Soon enough we were starting the 5k. We headed out across the soft grass and quickly into the woods. The 5k crowd getting backed up as the less experienced trail runners struggled with the ruts and rock strewn terrain.

Stairs at Doodletown
The first mile seemed to go by rather quickly and I'll admit it seemed like it was a mostly uphill mile. As I favored my left calf I found myself doing most of my pushing off from my right side and could feel the obvious imbalance in stride.

Through the abbreviated distance we were still indoctrinated into the full Highlands experience.

There was no shortage of hills or rocks to maneuver around or over. The trail rose and fell. We crossed mud and rock. We climbed railroad tie stairs in Doodletown and rock strewn culverts before cresting the final hill.

Final Approach
Soon enough we merged with the 1/2 marathon and 10k courses as we all descended a final muddy slope.

The red inflated finishing line became visible in the distance.

 I resisted the temptation to sprint to the finish, as I let a couple pass me just before the line.

I finished in 36:46 without incident.

The 2012 North Face Endurance Challenge chapter has come to a close.

Now to turn my sites on healing and focus on the next chapter.

Elevation Profile
The Route

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you were able to do the 5k distance without incidence...congratulations! Your injury will heal and you will be back at it soon, have faith!