What a shit. The weather was magic, the course is a nice one to run….it was even my f**king birthday (well, a day later at least). I was feeling fit and good to go. Unfortunately, someone failed to advise my ITB of these facts and it therefore chose to lull me into a false sense of security. After upsetting it at the 25-hr O-School selections two weeks prior, I had been religious with my rehab and it was feeling pretty good. A couple of light test-runs proved to be encouraging.
In my usual “all or nothing” mentality, I foolishly pressed on with my registration for the 15km long course. In hindsight, a wise man would have jumped into the 5km short course and used it as another step in the healing process…following the example of my Mountain Raid team-mate, Good-O (aka brain-trust of building/architectural gurus, Altereco Design). Jimmy was nursing a quad niggle and just wanted to have a quiet run about…even though the bloody over-achiever still finished 10th in gender and 9th in category for the 10km course, averaging a slick 4:08/km. Nice work, mate.
I wandered up to the start line with Claire & Jimmy, shaking off the cold but happy knowing that things would warm up soon enough. Claire elbowed her way to the front of the pack…ready to unwind the windmills and carve up the course ahead at a not-so-average pace of 4:33/km, finishing 4th in gender and category *yawn* 😉 . I knew my pace would be mediocre at best as I just wanted to turn the legs over and be kind to my ITB. The start was really nice…the air was clean and cool, vibes on the course were good, the sun was out and I was happy to be in amongst it. My average pace was holding steady at 4:48/km over the first 5-clicks and I was nervously optimistic about making the full distance. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before that optimism evaporated (cue sad face).
It took exactly 6.0km to fully awaken the previously quiet inflammation, forcing me to adopt an assortment of weird and wonderful running styles in an attempt to maintain some kind of pace without the pain. At this stage, I stopped and asked a race marshall what the fastest way back to the finish line was, thinking it may be best to avoid risking any more potential damage….answer: “I don’t know really. Sorry.” Shuffling onwards, I tried my luck with another….”Nah…sorry. I can’t help you there, but the race course continues that way.” We even consulted a smart (?) phone but this wasn’t really helpful as it didn’t include any of the track network. I know these guys are volunteers and I will always be grateful for the time and effort they donate to make our races possible…but….it would be awesome if they were maybe given a map of some kind to assist poor bastards such as myself.
In the end, I pretty much covered the full distance anyway…albeit somewhat unconventionally. At the finish line, I made my way straight to the Optimus Health Group tents where I happily paid my 25 Australian Pesos in exchange for two massage therapists (oh, yeah) going to town on my legs for 20-30 minutes followed by a nasty-but-necessary dip in their ice bath. Bryan and his team are pretty awesome, so I encourage you to give them a crack after your next Trail Series race. You’ll pull up a treat the next day….the fact I was pain free for my birthday is testament to this.
I am now back to the rehabilitation drawing board….anti-inflammatories, Rock Tape (click to see the video), short runs, mobility work, strength/conditioning workouts…aiming to gradually increase my distance intervals sufficiently so I am worry-free for the 17.6km at Race 2 at Plenty Gorge on 20 July….and “yes, mum…if I don’t think it has healed I’ll jump on a shorter course”.