Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Soreness, Bloody Knees and Stubborn Running of the LI Greenbelt 50k: May 10, 2008.




The top photo is amazing athlete Amy Palmiero Winters who also ran on Saturday!

Before discussing The Long Island Greenbelt Trail 50k race I must say “Thank you Mom” for crewing me and Happy Mother’s Day! (This is the 2nd year in a row while visiting Mom on our native Long Island that I have run this very excellent event).

Sigh.
I do look forward to the day again when I can reflect on a run with celebration rather than disappointment and frustration over “mysterious” mechanical difficulties of my body. I know many people say I should be grateful for what I can do, rather than with my limitations- (temporary, permanent, or perceived)…yet I am an adventurer, greedy not to miss out on experiences of pushing boundaries what I and others in the past have perceived to be coming to the “edge”. In my life as I have known it, I have been most alive frolicking in the wilderness: be that a wilderness of trail running, multi-pitch lead climbing, wandering for NYC in my theatre days, or simply contemplating the wonderful possibilities of the future.

Though I have dealt with injury –both serious and minor in my ultra running years I am very frustrated now as I have no clue as to what caused my right calf to start to stiffen, get sore and move up into my hamstring. It started during a 30ish mile training run 4/5/08 in the Iron Mountains that ended turning around and slogging the last 12 miles back to my car…I rested thinking it a strain. My PT said it was “barely a strain”… Then went to my chiropractor and started seeing another thinking the accompanying tingles and hamstring tightness might be nerve related. Lots of stretching. Break from running. Lots of growling from me. Some training as my fussy leg will allow. I backed out of Zane Grey 50M last month 2 days before, knowing I wouldn’t be able to participate…Grrr…I cried. Sadness. I wish I had answers…

So I have an appt tomorrow with a PT in Winston-Salem…with a fellow who is one of the PT’s for Wake Forest’s athletes… I can more easily deal with limitations if I know how to work towards changing them…Sigh…time will tell!!

I can’t image being prepared for WS 100 this year. I did some good prep during February and March, yet have been snafu’d since. I am really wanting to go out there and round out my participation in the Montrail Ultra Cup. Yet I have no desire to go out wayyyy under trained and limp my way through the miles. If I don’t earn the right though time on the trails-I don’t belong out there clogging them up! June 1st will be my cut off day of what I will do about that event!

Get to the point you say! (I agree!) What does all this blundering talk have to do with LI Greenbelt 50k 2008?
Because the race was this past weekend out of Plainview, NY and for smarter or less smart, I ran the event while on Long Island spending Mother’s Day time with my Mom.

Mom knew I was hesitant about entering. She knows me well enough that it would be really hard for my to quit even if I started hurting very badly. I chose to enter because my calf/hamstring is soo inconsistent that sometimes sitting/standing is more uncomfortable than running...so I was not convinced I would do any additional damage-especially if I ran and did not race.
So I christened my new green Montrail jersey and ran the course. I was fun to be out with folks I’d met the year before. It was even more awesome to watch Amy Palmiero-Winters (pictured above) reportedly set a world record as a trail running amputee that day! This woman is very strong and graceful; she inspired me not so much as her obvious overcoming hardships, yet by her grace and transparent athletic talent! Her efforts and achievements make me more steadfast to not want to give up in the face of my own current frustrating body mechanics!!! (good or bad…I don’t know?)

The course was as I remembered from last year-very runnable with steeper attention getting sections in the northern 4 miles. Some sand, several road crossings, generous volunteers. It was a very well marked trail-yet runners still had to pay attention. I got turned around at one point only because I was daydreaming and added on a couple on inconsequential minutes…

Several times during the 1st of the “double out and backs” on the all dirt/sand LI Greenbelt Trail (or one of the LI Greenbelt Trails….there are actually several long trails on The Island with this designation, with this one being the shortest and the most western and the steepest!) I considered “dropping”… my calf was sore and I didn’t want to spend all afternoon on the trail. After all, the plan was for Mom to crew me in the am and we would spend the afternoon with George’s family across the Island in early Mother’s Day celebration with Mom Santucci, Grandma, Mom Bednosky, our sister in law Nikki, and George and George’s Pop…

Yet history proves I am not an experienced or graceful DNF’r and my leg did feel better after the first 15 miles. In fact-I started to feel the familiar amazing freedom of trail running and joined THE FLOW bobbing along “semi conscious” to the dirt and roots and acknowledging the passing runners as we navigated our different directions…until somewhere around mile 25: splat!

Next thing I knew I had rolled off the trail and was on the verge of hyperventilating. I had taken a silly fall and scraped both knees, bruised both knees and sported dusty bloody streaks on both legs within minutes. In climbing language, I achieved 2 “flappers”. I was surprised and shaken up and after several minutes of walking and calming down while picking the bits of gravel out of my palm realized I was okay. I did not hurt myself-a few light bruises and maybe forfeited a half ounce of blood…and I got distracted from focusing on my calf. I ran again and was overjoyed! The remaining miles became a focus of looking forward to spending more time with Mom, changing my goal from beating last years time to “beating” 5 hours…So I ran and appreciated being on the trail and sharing encouragement with other runners. No doubt I was pitiful for a little while. I saw others were too-and the “out and back” staging of this course made it so easy to share empathy with and encourage other runners.

I ran hard the last non-technical mile and crossed the line at 4:59:40! About 12 minutes slower than last year…yet I was still pleased as I ran an honest race and felt better at the end than the beginning. I will sort out what is going on with my body…and I strive for patience and the willingness to accept these ebbs and flows with by bodying abilities…

I don’t know about WS 100 2008. For the remaining 2008 I seek for a resolution to my calf issue and to pull my weight and then some as a member of the Montrail UltraRunning Team…running more races, race directing The New River Trail 50k and being a sincere and “real” ambassador for our amazing sport!

I did “win” on Saturday (results here)…the numbers were low (bummer because this is such a GREAT trail run!) I look forward to a strong woman coming out next year and running the 50k in 4:30ish…I know it can be done! It is such a runnable course! My real success I think will be with the action I take from the information about my body I received on Saturday. Thank you to ALL the folks that made the LI Greenbelt Trail 50k come in to reality. The subs and yummy beer and smoothies at the end were totally NY! Thank you to Nick P and everyone else!!!

4 comments:

AnthonyP said...

Annette - Great to see you out there in action on Saturday, and I'm glad that the calf issue didn't prevent you from winning for the 2nd year in a row. Great work !!

I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time with Amy P-W...what an amazing woman.

Hope to see you again soon. I hope you end up ready to rock and roll at WS.

Bedrock said...

Sorry the injuries are rearing their ugly head. Nice effort up on LI. Hopefully WS will come through for you. Talk to you soon.

I am a runner. "We are what we repeatedly do" said...

Annette, I bet money you have sciatic nerve compression under your piriformis muscle deep in the butt on the side of the "tight calf /hamstring" google the pigeon pose in yoga and start doing that stretch 5-10 timees a day if even for a quick 15 sec at a time. it will make a difference. Good luck Greg- PT

zircon said...

YEAH!!! Good to see you back in action. As usual you inspire us even through your frustration. It was great to see you in Valle Crucis a couple of weeks back. I've been thinking about you lots since then and checking this blog for updates. I'm sending good energy and healing thoughts you way. I hope for the best but also know you will continue to amaze us all no matter what the outcome...

Russ...