Current Training Status: not blogging... running.

Friday, July 18, 2008

2008 Mountain Goat (on a stick?)

This past weekend, I earned my second consecutive Mountain Goat jersey. After the Ascutney race, all of us who ran all six races were handed a congradulatory letter with the following statistics about what we did:
 • Approximately 35 Race Miles over 8 weeks
 • 11,987 Feet of Elevation Ascended
 • 5,100 Feet of Elevation Descended
 • Completed by less than 60 people annually
 • Earned a Mt. Washington Lottery bypass for 2009
Later in the week, when official results were posted, I was honored to find my name among the following 'streakers':
 • Fred Ross III 24 consecutive finishes 2005-2008
 • Ray Boutotte 21 consecutive finishes 2005-2008
Others of note:
 • 18 Consecutive (2006-2008) Todd Brown, Thomas Parker, Richard Stockdale
 • 13 Consecutive (2006-2008) Tim Mahoney, Walter Kuklinski
 • 12 Consecutive (2007-2008) Christopher Corradino, Mike McKenna, James Whitehouse, Joseph McGuigan, Kevin Eaton, Lincoln Cox, Richard Mellor, Lisa Doucett, Kathy Hurst
After the race awards and descending the mountain, we all lined up for several group pictures which I'll try to post if they become available. There was an incredible number of hands in the air, answering the question, 'How many are first time Goats?' I saw how rare it was to have done the last two consecutive series, and was surprised.  Even before finishing 2008, a Mountain Goat Jesey in 2009 has been a goal in mind. It would be a shame to miss the lottery for the 2010 Mt. Washington Road Race, at its 50th anniversary running.
The next race on my personal schedule is the Escarpment Trail Run. This is a treacherous ridgeline course in the upper Catskills of NY. It may be the next race I run. I'll have competed in a race every single day that I have run in July, with one exception. This past Tuesday, rather than run the commute to and from, and race at the Northampton 5K, I decided to get in one last long run. About 6 miles into the East Mountain Complete Course, on the M+M behind Bear Hole Reservoir, I was brought to an abrupt halt by a blown down tree.
The M+M is incredibly overgrown behind Bear Hole Reservoir. Passing through the worst of the ever-present briar patches on that stretch, I rolled my ankle pretty bad and almost stopped the run. I was over-running the visibile footing, just as it's easy sometimes to over-drive your headlights on the road.  A quarter mile later, moving at a good clip through light underbrush, I swung my right leg foward right into the end of a blown down tree. The end of this tree, hidden from view, was very jagged and punctured my shin in sevaral places. This happened beside to the shinbone, in the fleshy muscle along the outside of my leg.  The wood was stopped by the fibula bone, where it is still sore. Blood quickly soaked my sock, and all I had with me were my shoes, shorts, and water bottles. It was a ridiculous situation, 5 or 6 miles from my car, 2 miles at least from any real road, 2 weeks since I was laid off and my health insurance ran out.
It didn't hurt too much, but was obviously a serious puncture wound. While I considered the possibility of using my shoelace as a tourniquet, the bleeding slowed and I chose to make a run back to the car by the shortest route possible.  Via atv trails and closed roads I knew from maps, I was fairly certain of a straight shot back to Ashley Reservoir. Adrenaline and other survival mechanisms of my body must have been in play, as the bleeding stopped within a minute of running again. I brought myself to a walk at the reservoir, three miles later, and the bleeding began again. Also the pain got much worse and I was hobbling by the time I was back at the car. I would have benefitted from a trip to the ER, but decided against it. At Rite Aid, I bought some pressuized sterile saline 'Wound Wash' spray, iodine solution, butterfly strips and krazy glue just in case.
I didn't go crazy (didn't use the glue), and the wound had closed up while butterfly-ed overnight. I could not walk Wednesday morning, and had to cancel my newspaper delivery for the day. The tree had passed through some part of my muscles and the bone was tender. Thursday I was walking with a minimal limp, and today, Friday, I'll do some light work. Hopefully, with a few more days off, I'll be able to return to running and do a enough to prepare me for Escarpment. My training base is pretty solid, and I'll be ramping up my core strengthening exercises in the meantime. The serious worry I have, is that the mechanics of my right leg are going to be worse. It is my weakest leg and my knee bothers me often because of previous injuries and imbalances I already have. This new injury will not improve the situation and might require some focussed recovery work. Only time will tell. The wound itself doesn't look half as bad as it seemed on the trail, 4 miles from my car.  Click this link if you'd like to see an annotated scan of the wound.