Saturday, November 3, 2012

Race Report - 2012 Pinhoti 100 Mile Endurance Run (DNF)

One of my favorite race logos.
I've been procrastinating over this one for weeks now and rather than things becoming clearer in my "running life", they've become more complicated. Rather than continue putting off my thoughts on this race, I decided to close off this chapter on move on.

This was my second attempt at the Pinhoti 100 in three years and all things considered, I felt much better prepared this time around that 3 years ago. After all, 3 years ago, I attempted Pinhoti as my very first 100 miler. Since then, I had completed four 100 mile races, two of them this year and on other sections of the Pinhoti trail. To be honest, I felt more than ready. I had put in the miles and the climbing and I had done so on pretty technical terrain for the most part. So even when my mind started to wonder if I was really ready (just like before any ultra marathon race), I reconsidered all of these things and all of my previous finishes. I even considered the difficulty levels of some of these races and how Pinhoti 100 seemed much more runable, etc. Granted, I had dealt with a couple of little issues, a tight muscle here, a little pinched nerve there, overall nothing that I would consider race ending.

When I finally lined up for the 2012 edition of the Pinhoti 100 along with Ed Johnson, a fellow training and crew partner attempting his very first 100 miler, I had put all doubts aside and I was ready to have a great race. After all, this was meant to be the highlight of my 2012 racing year, completing the first unofficial "Pinhoti Slam" by running the Double Top 100, Georgia Jewel 100 and Pinhoti 100 all in the same year. To make a long story short (and as the title already indicates), I fell about 35 miles short of 300 miles total. Somehow, it all fell apart for me early on.

About 15 miles into the race, previously minor twitches (tight groin muscle and sciatica) had turned into major pain factors, leading me to favor one side over the other. This caused hotspots and overall muscle soreness and pain. My physical issues affected me so badly mentally, that I was ready to tap out just 20 miles into the race. Thanks to my very good friend Ronnie Hines (who was crew and pacer for Kena this year, but still managed to take care of all kinds of other people), I was able to recover mentally with the new goal to just make it to the next aid station. I plugged into some AC/DC and I was off running. What was so remarkable about this is the fact that I had been walking for over an hour up until this point. I was already eyeballing cutoffs after 20 miles, which had never happened to me before. Yet, here I was running again, jamming to AC/DC and making up some serious time.

I knew things could and would change again later on, so I just enjoyed a good bit of running. I'm sure the Advil had a little bit to do with my "recovery" as well. As it happens very often in a 100 miler, I started to feel the pain again a few hours later and things went from bad to worse in a hurry. I was already formulating all the excuses I would tell Ronnie the next time I saw, when I ended up catching up to Kena and Perry. Wow, if they are struggling, maybe I should just stick with them, you know, misery loves company. I figured if anyone can keep me going, it would be them. I stuck with them for quite some time and even went ahead
for a few miles. Unfortunately, by mile 65 all of that energy and will had evaporated into thin air. As Perry approached, I waived him off. I was done. My buddy Ed had quit a few hours earlier and so had Enoch, both of whom were hanging out in my car while I was trying to muster the energy to continue. It wasnt gonna happen. I did not want to be out there any more.

As these things ALWAYS go, by the time I woke up the next morning, I was extremely disappointed in my decision. No reasoning and comparison to other who had failed along with me helped. I was just slightly short of disgusted with myself. I knew I had encountered a lot more problems physically than ever before, but I now thought that maybe I could have done it.

P.S.: I finally made peace with my decision, well sorta. It appears that I was indeed more seriously injured than I initially thought. One of the pain spots during the race has now turned into something more serious. I am still awaiting the results of the MRI. I suspect a stress fracture or torn ligament/tendon in my outside left ankle. Heck, what else could it be? My main concern now is to get a proper diagnosis as well as a treatment and recovery plan so I know how this will affect my plans for the remainder of the year as well as early 2012. To be honest, I am extremely concerned that this is worse than any previous ankle injury I've dealt with. However, keeping my fingers crossed and my thoughts positive...mostly!

Lifetime 100 mile race score: Buckles 4 - DNF 2

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