First, thank you so much for supporting my run. It's all over and I thought you might like to know how it all went.
Going into the run, my real goal was simply to finish without getting injured. Since I left myself less than a month to prepare, I felt this was reasonable.
A few days after deciding to the do the run, I found a trainer here named Kiefer at Momentum Athletic Training who put together a training plan. I stuck to the training plan for about 4 or 5 runs then did a big run with hills.
I started getting some pain on the right side of my right knee. I found out I had developed IT Band syndrome. This is a very common running injury and is caused by a tendon repeatedly rubbing over your knee when you run. I had to back off from my training plan and started a heavy dosage of stretching, icing, and Ibuprofen hoping it would get better by race day.
The weather was amazing on race day. 70 degrees and sunny doesn't happen very often in October here. My wife and son came out to see me start.
After a short warm up and listening to a few announcements, I lined up at the back of the pack. There were 100 runners for the race and most of them looked in much better shape that I am. With a gun blast we were off.
My focus on the first 1/3 of the race was to take it easy and try to stay in sight of the back of the pack.
A few Kilometers into the race I was staring at the first mountain I had to climb. In this type of run, most people (except for the hard core ultra-runners) hike the uphill sections and run the flat and downhills. There was no way I was running up a mountain so I was happy to see everyone was walking. I turned on my Ipod and settled in for the climb.
Somewhere between the 5K and 10K mark I started mixing up kilometers and miles in my head. The run was 30K or 18.6 miles. At 10K I was thinking I only had 8K more to go when really I had another 20K to go.
When I reached the 15K mark, I snapped back to reality. At the aid station where they give you water, food, etc., they told me I'm half way done and was probably on pace to finish in 3 hours and 45 minutes. I loved the aid stations. Everyone was super supportive and when you're running a long time it's amazing how good pretzels and fresh orange slices taste.
The trouble started when I came out of the half-way mark aid station. I think it was a combination of just running a long downhill section and letting my muscles tighten up when I stopped to rehydrate but my IT Band really started hurting. I was able to run with the pain for awhile longer and climbed the second mountain in the race.
I didn't realize how difficult the climbs were going to be in this race. There was the same amount of elevation change as climbing up and down the "M" trail here in Missoula about 6 times. It does make for some nice views though.
The top of the third mountain was amazing. It's the highest point of the race and provides a 360 degree view of the Missoula and Bitterroot valleys. I filled up on pretzels and orange slices and started back down, but this time I couldn't run. Basically every step hurt due to my IT Band.
This was the low point in the race. I realized I probably wasn't going to be able to run the rest of the race, I'd have to walk. Injuries are very frustrating and knowing I had over 10K left to go where every step would hurt really got me down.
However, I was committed to finishing and kept going. As cliche as it sounds, all my supporters who donated and thinking about what the kids at Camp Mak-A-Dream have to go through kept me motivated to keep going.
On a lighter note, by this time I was completely sick of all the music on my Ipod so opted for the sounds of nature and the occasional ATV zooming around the trails. At this point, all I really wanted was to be done.
I pushed through the remaining 10K and even managed to run through the finish line. I was so focused on finishing that I ran right past my Wife, son, and sister-in law who were cheering me through the finish.
My time was horrible, but that's okay. I finished in under 5 hours and was the last of the men and 3rd from last overall. However, considering my goals going in and my knee issues, I'm happy with the result.
It took me about 4 days of recovery to be able to walk somewhat normally, but I'm doing much better now.
I'm also so grateful for everyone's support. I'm amazed I was able to raise over $2,500.00 for Camp Mak-A-Dream. That's enough to send 5 kids to camp for a week for free. Thank you so much!
30th Birthday, here I come!
Happy Champagne Thursday!