Monday, September 29, 2008

Roads no more!

Back in around the mid 90's I developed Patella Tendinitis from running fast on least this is what the surgeon I saw told me. He said if I continued down this road, it would sever and probably separate from the bone it's attached to (kneecap), so after finishing a 30K road race in the New England Grand Prix circuit for my club at that time, the Cambridge Sports Union, I walked into the gym and told my team mates I was done and would be leaving the team due to this. I had run the race I wanted, running 2:00:02 for 18.6 miles, finishing as the top master in the club and third overall for my club. But afterward I could barely walk.

This injury and leaving the sport of road racing moved me into what I was slowly moving into anyway, Ultrarunning on trails, which worked and my knees slowly got better and i no longer thought about the issue anymore. I trained exclusively on trails and in the Winter if we couldn't find trails to run on because of the snow, we would snowshoe or XC Ski. My knees were happy.

When we moved back to New England from New Mexico last year(where it was all trails all of the time), I thought about running a marathon to see what this old bod could do. My last marathon was around 3 hours in the mid 90' last fall I ran a local marathon and was shocked to run it in 3:45, barely qualifying for the Boston Marathon. I was disappointed, but on a mission now to see how fast I could get again after 10 years running slow ultras.

The past year I had started the year by doing a Lydiard type training, which is basically aerobic building doing long runs, hills for leg strength and then speed. I did hills most of last late Winter, then had to take a hiatus from this to prepare for Hardrock...but when I got back from and somewhat recovered from Hardrock I began to run 200's on the track as a fast forward re-introduction to speed. Before Hardrock I had run several ultra length runs with no problems, but did have a little knee aches and warnings after a 5K I had run here in NH several weeks before Hardrock. I should have listened....

....but I didn't and kept training. Speed on the track, a couple more 5K's and my knee would ache everytime I ran on the roads. Funny thing is when I ran slowly with Deb on trails on the weekend, I had no issues....I should have listened...

Yesterday I planned on running another marathon to see how the progress was coming along. Yeah, my knee was a little sore last week, but did quiet down with the taper. I was running around an 8mpm pace in the marathon and around mile 15 noticed the knee ache. By 18 it was a pain and was getting stiff, by 20 I was noticeably limping and having trouble bending my knee, so at mile 21 I took a right when everyone else took a left and walked back to my car.

Everything has a good and bad side....the bad is I won't continue on this quest to run on the roads fast again. If i do my days as a runner are numbered. This quest for speed at the almost age of 57 (Nov 5th) is ridiculous. It's gone and it ain't comin' back. The good is I now know where I belong and it's back on trails, running ultras slowly because my knee is happier doing that! I should have run the Vermont 50 instead of this knee smashing event. I always enjoyed Vermont...

I'm done for the year...I was going to run the Hellgate 100K in December, but I wisely bailed out of that this morning. It's time to hike and enjoy the trails before Winter sets in, which Deb and I will do....that and get out old farmhouse fixed up to sell so we can move back to New Mexico!

'til next time...

1 comment:

Derrick said...

Roads are poison. Sorry to hear about your knee injury, but good to be in a place where you know what your goal is, in addition to what you enjoy.

Get healthy and get back out there.