Sunday, June 17, 2012

Mount W and FD5K: Not your doctor's management plan

I had been planning on running up Mount Washington since March 18, which was when I heard that I failed to make it through the lottery for the road race. I was excited to both 1) get in my first mountain run of the season (I'm not counting Pack Monadnock) and 2) watch the elite racers take on the wall at the finish of the race. Despite the absolute fantastic forecast and the chance to watch the badass mountain elites, and the opportunity to get in what I would think would be a badass double weekend that should be the bread-and-butter for Big Brad/Vermont 100 training, I got a lot of negatory responses from TMR. But Susannah Beck took the bait and we had a great climb in gorgeous weather. The goal was to simply get in some strength training, not twist an ankle, and not challenge the O2 delivery system, so we maintained a very reasonable running pace and even walked some of the steeper sections. Once we turned onto Lion's head, it was almost all walking. Above the treeline, we briefly chatted with Jamie and Kate, who were also hiking to watch the race. The last little push to the top (rock hoppin' the boulder field) required a surprisingly high effort given that we were walking but I guess the trail is kind of steep in that section! We reached the summit sign in 95 minutes and in one piece.

We stayed at the summit for about 1 hour and then took the Tuckerman Ravine trail down. I had never been in the ravine so was eager to see it despite the looooooong train of hikers ascending. This made for slow progress. Once we passed ho-jos we did a very ez jog down the ski trail. At one point I turned around to look for Susannah and noticed two guys running down at a moderate pace and figured they had also run up to watch the race. But it was Sage Canaday (1st place) and Max King (8th place) - not who I was expecting to see running down the trail (wasn't there an awards ceremony at the base of the auto road?). We also ran into Chuck and Katy heading up! Our time down was about 2 hours and our pace on the ski trail was about the same as that climbing it! My left retrocalaneal bursitis and my right achilles felt surprisingly good until we spent 5 minutes soaking our feet in the very cold river and THEN starting jogging again. Running on the frozen tendons was NOT what the doctor ordered.

I had also been planning on racing the Sea Dogs Father's Day 5K since I signed up for the MD5K back in February. I bailed on the MD5K due to injury. I still have the same injury but I've either grown in wisdom (that I can race on it) or thrown wisdom out the window. I also decided to race in my asics piranahs, which are about the sweetest, reasonably durable racing flats out there (< 5 oz). The low heel drop (4 mm) and fast pace would put a strain on my L and R achilles that they hadn't seen in 9 months. The race went well enough, I guess I thought a 18:15 was on the table but given my complete lack of fast training (other than last week my fastest training pace was about 7:20 - last week I dropped this to 6:40). I ran 18:12 so I'm pretty happy with that. I even outkicked some guy in the last 100 m. Following the race I did a 4 mile cool down, also in the Piranahs despite having brought wu/cd shoes.

Mountain runs and 5Ks in low-heal racers are not the conventional prescription for calf/achilles/RCB issues. I'm going to take this weekend as a green light that I can bump up my running and maybe even train to race and not just run slow in the woods.


  1. Or you could race like I do and run slow in the woods....haha
    Good to hear things are getting better.

  2. Man, that sounds like a great weekend Jeff. I'm sorry I missed the Washington hike. I'm super impressed you're able to run that soon and that quick on your injury. Sounds like you're managing it well.