I headed to Bradley Palmer State Park this morning intending to run for 6 hours or 50 kilometers, whichever came first. In the back of my mind I knew there was a strong possibility this may not happen. Two weeks ago I experienced significant knee pain while running the TARC 50K. Since that race I have only run twice and still felt some discomfort even though I kept the runs very short. I was hoping today would be different.
I started out walking for 10 minutes to warm up my IT band. That seems to help with the knee pain, sometimes. After that, I began running at a comfortable pace. The two week rest since TARC was beneficial as I felt well rested and very strong today. I was ticking off mile after mile at 11:00 pace and it felt very easy indeed. I know that sounds slow but maintaining that pace for the full six hours would give me about 33 miles, more than I needed, or wanted for today.
I was monitoring my body closely for any signs of discomfort but there were none. For a while I thought I had 50K in the bag. Then, at mile 11, I felt the usual stabbing pain in my knee. I knew then my race was over. I decided not run the remain 20 miles in pain like I did at the TARC race two weeks earlier. I only had one more mile to go to the end of the fourth loop and would end my race there.
Although I was disappointed I didn't go the distance, stopping when I did was the right decision. I don't want to jeopardize my Bay Circuit Trail runs nor my chance to run the Wakely Dam Ultra in July. I still had a great time seeing so many familiar faces and a few new ones too. GAC races always brings out a huge North Shore contingent.
I was also very happy to have my wife out with me on the trails today. She planned to walk a loop and then head back home while I continued to run. Unfortunately, she had a hard time finding her way back and ended up walking for 2.5 hours. Because of this I got to see her three times during my run. Although I explained to her where the trail went, she just didn't seem to get it. Or did I leave out an important piece of information critical to her finding her way back? Of course I would never do something like that on Mother's Day!