Sunday, May 18, 2008
I'm back from what was a perfect day for running 101.8 miles in the George Washington National Forest. Unfortunately for me, I tripped on a rock around mile 8 or so, and during the subsequent stumble to save my balance, I ended up doing some real damage to my left leg up where the quad meets the hip. There was definitely an awkward and ungraceful series of flailing limbs as I attempted to stay upright (imagine Elaine from Seinfeld dancing and you'll get the idea). It hurt like hell right away, but a handful of Aleeve and an easy 3 or 4 mile section right after that helped me "run it off", so to speak. As the race went on, however, the intensity of the pain grew to the point where I actually had to use my arms to pick up my leg on the climbs. After an epic ascent of Bird Knob (during which I'm pretty sure I invented 2 or 3 new swears every time I picked up my leg), I knew I was done. I ended up needing my friend Amelia to help me up the final few yards as I limped into the Rt. 211 Aid Station. Once there I immediately told the Station Captain I was dropping. I had covered 58 miles to that point, but I was dangerously close to doing serious damage if I tried to drag my leg any further.
I know lots of people have epic tales of fighting fatigue and injury all night to show their bravery and desire, but I can say without a shred of doubt that I HAD to stop when I did. I could no longer lift my left leg to step up the slightest incline. The frustrating thing about this injury is my legs were actually still feeling strong. If not for the lightning blots of pain shooting out of my left hip, I definitely would have had 42 miles of running left in them. I was running in 6th place at the mile 39 Aid Station, and even though my leg really started to fall apart right after that, I was still in 8th place when I had to drop at mile 58. You might think it would be tough to drop a race while in 8th place with strong legs, but I assure you the intensity of the pain made it an incredibly easy decision.
The good news is, I was able to run enough of the race to know my training plan and preparation over the last few months were perfect. Even with the injury I was running on pace to finish between 22-23 hours. I'm not sure if I'll return next year to avenge this DNF, but I will most certainly be back sooner than later. It is a tremendously challenging course and a very well organized race. The volunteers at the Aid Stations are amazing - I look forward to meeting the rest of them when I come back. I feel bad for dragging my crew out there and not finishing, but we'll all be back together under happier circumstances in 5 days at my wedding. ...and the race down that aisle will certainly be one I finish in record time with a big smile on my face!
Posted by Dan Rose at 5:04 PM