Photo courtesy of Andrew King - D4 Productions

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Leona Divide 35.3 - 4.50

Translation - DNF.

"You're crazy, that's too much racing" said Dave Mackey post Lake Sonoma.  Dave is pretty much a doctor so I should have listened to him.  In addition, I was battling my shins for the week post Lake Sonoma but I thought I'd made it through.  A good reminder of doing too much too fast.

Since I was working in Los Angeles the week leading up to Leona Divide, it made perfect sense for me to be racing.  That was until we starting climbing the first hill.  This day I was real content letting about 20 people slowly fade away, along side Dominic Grossman.  Dom and I would spend the next 20 myles going back and forth, he was battling his stomach and I was unsure of what I could sustain.  The climbs seemed to get easier so I was thinking I would maintain the pace and cruise in.

At the top of the last big climb going out, I caught up with Jamil Coury and then James Bonnet shortly after @ mile 24.  Even though it seemed slow, I was very comfortable at 8 pace on the rolling hills and really started to gain confidence that I was going to run a good race.  The turnaround for this race is at mile 29.6 with a steep fire road down 2.5 myles.  During this descent is when I started to get shooting pains in my shins, an all too familiar problem I had for the better part of the Colorado Trail a few years ago, I knew this was not good.  Going up hill, the Tibialis anterior gets a good workout by pulling the toes up, but it's on the downhill when it's stretched out and that's when the pain occurs.

I climbed back up to the single track where is was more rolling to get a better evaluation of how the shins would feel....  even on the shortest dip the pain returned.  At this point I knew it was not a good idea to try to make it in 15 more myles, even though the energy was good.  I got to Jimmie Dean Freeman's aid station and it was a full on 80's Jazzersize dance station.  JDF asked if I could walk to the next aid station, which was only 3 myles away and I told him no and would wait until they packed it up at 5.  Thank goodness Jesse Haynes came up to make a deliver and graciously gave me a lift back to the start.  Thank you Jesse!  And thank you to Kiera and all her volunteers for pulling together an amazing race!

I'm not upset about not finishing because I did the right thing and in the moment when energy is good, it's a tough call.  Hardrock is the goal, and at this point I can't afford any injuries to force extended time off.  Having said that, I will bow out of Nick's race in two weeks and re-evaluate.   So I take away a few lessons re-learned: 1. If it sounds like too much, it is.  2. Listen to your body and gut.  3. I don't recover quick.

I walked away from this race feeling positive with my fitness and climbing legs with a good 35 myles and 6k climbing in 5 hours.  My only regret is that I missed Myles soccer game where he scored two goals.

On another note, HOW 'BOUT Dylan Bowman, Timothy Olson, and Ashley Nordell!!  DBow and TAO threw down the two fastest times in the history of Leona Divide.  Those guys, along with Nick Clark, are primed for podium spots at Western States.  Ashley Nordell ran from behind to nab 2nd place with the 6th fastest time!  Will she run Western States?  She is quietly putting together a great year!  Becky Wheeler ran CP50 and came away with 2nd in 8.11!  What's amazing is that she broke her foot in the first 15 myles and continued on.  Wow!  Congratulations Team Pearl Izumi!
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