Obviously, the spring season was a disappointment. After a good opening race and an amazing workout 3 weeks later, I was so excited for Boston and the trail season. Unfortunately, my excitement led to expectations that just didn’t materialize. After an abysmal running at Boston, I had 2 DNFs (GRC 50k and Kettle 100m). I thought that I was going to be able to go my entire career without any drops, but alas, expectations become altered.
While this season was unfortunate, I did learn a lot. I can’t overlook boring but critical aspects of training: rest days, stretching, and better planning are all very mundane aspects of improving, but eventually, they come back to bite you in the butt (or the quads) if you overlook them. Also, I simply over-raced myself with races that I didn’t really care about (GRC) and races that I wasn’t ready for (Kettle). I also lost having fun some time along the way.
I took about a month off from all training, barring some occasional golf on the weekends (see above picture). When the nagging pain in my quads didn’t subside, I went in to see Tom Whipple, the go-to guy in State College for any running injury or ailment. He diagnosed me with a pinched or compressed nerve in my lower back stemming from less-than-optimal posture and flexibility, and he suggested that overuse just exacerbated the problem until it blew in my face. Currently, I’m doing a number of posture and back/hip/shoulder stretches and exercises to improve the pain. While the pain is lessening and I’m feeling better and better, it is certainly not all of the way gone yet, which is still some concern for the upcoming year.
This fall, I plan to only race the Mountainback. The USATF 50m Road Championships have returned to Happy Valley, and I really don’t want to miss them. Looking back on the Mountainback from last year, I definitely had a hangover from Pine Creek, and in addition to not wanting to be over-raced again, I don’t want to miss out on the crucial training block during September. I know that the competition will be steep, and I don’t want to be left out of the pack. As long as I can fix this nerve issue, I’ll hopefully be able to do something positive in a big race.
In terms of spring racing, I haven’t really planned that far out yet. I would ideally like to race the Hyner 50k and something at Kettle (maybe the 100m, maybe the 50k, who know?), and then possibly some intro race like the Naked Bavarian. It’s still a long ways in the future, and I have to get through the fall season first.