12 June 2021


After injuring my proximal hamstring just one week before this race last year and volunteering at the event, instead, I decided last minute that I would try my luck again this year. This time, it would be my first test after staying off trails for nearly 8 weeks to nurse another small injury, a rolled right ankle, back to health. I wanted to test it out before running my last bigger event prior to the Triple Crown of 200s this summer, the Beaverhead 100K in Idaho next month. The plan was to take it easy and to just get the training miles without re-injuring the ankle or otherwise making it worse. That plan worked, for a moment...

I took our camper van down to Heflin, Alabama the night before the race and stayed at a small RV campground right off the interstate just outside of town. I woke up with plenty of time for a cup of pour-over coffee and my favorite pre race breakfast snack, a Wolfpack from Spring Energy. It's delicious and usually provides enough easy to digest calories to carry me through the first 2 hours of any trail race aside from fluids. I arrived at the race start and finish area of this out and back course, a nice large park with a lake in the center of Heflin, Alabama about 45 minutes before the race start. I grabbed my bib, caught up with a few running friends and retreated to my van for final preparations. I woke up to some serious condensation on the windows of my van realizing very quickly that it would be an extremely hot and humid race day.

My plan included carrying 5 Spring Energy gels, different flavors to keep it interesting, 12 SCaps and 4 Benadryl tabs in my Fitted UltrAspire Belt 2.0 along with a 550 Race Handheld with a Vegan Endurance Mix from Silver Star Nutrition. i decided not to carry my own drink mix in order to go as "light" as possible. I figured I would be fine just grabbing whatever fluids the closely spaced aid stations would provide for the 50K distance. That turned out to be a huge mistake. While the aid stations were well stocked all along the course, they provided water only for fluids along with soda until the turnaround point. As a result, dehydration or more specifically, lack of electrolytes, started to become noticeable to me at the turnaround point.

I took my time downing an entire can of ginger ale and a few tiny cups of Coke along with a banana. I also filled up my bottle with Nuun Electrolytes they provided here, but it felt like it was all a little too late. Nonetheless, I was determined to keep running as strong and consistent as possible. I had been sitting in fourth overall with third just ahead of me and I kept it that way as we left the aid station. But none of it mattered as just a mile out of the aid station, I once again rolled the ankle that had completely sidelined me briefly about 8 weeks ago. My foot popped right back up, but I stopped running immediately and decided to drop out right then and there. I was not willing to risk my entire summer of races by pushing through this and potentially making it worse.

Thankfully, the husband of a fellow racer was still at the previous water stop and kindly offered to give me a ride to the next manned aid station so I could catch a ride back to the start/finish with one of the volunteers. Thanks again for that kind and much appreciated gesture! It is now a week later and I have been able to run roads without any issues. My right ankle continues to be slightly bigger than my left, but I have no pain. Now on to continue training for my "Ultra-Trail du Triple Crown".

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