Friday, July 17, 2015

Mt Hood 50k & Some Other Little Stuff

Well.......It has been awhile hasn't it? Like the 80's hit "Video Killed the Radio Star". Well Facebook killed the Blog. I really use to like to sit down and put my thoughts on the screen, but FB turned us all in to soundbites and pictures. Not that I am complaining but you don't get too much deep thought anymore.

My last post was just after the NYC Marathon in 2013. Gail and I then went to Honolulu and ran that marathon together and had a great time. Then on December 30th my life changed forever. While at work (flying) I slipped and fell and shattered my right pelvis. I spent the next week in a hospital after a 2.5 hour surgery and 9 pins and 2 plates. My first words to my doc was "Will I ever run again?". I was told "We are not sure".

I lived for 4 months with a walker and slept in a Lazy Boy recliner because I couldn't lay flat in a bed without pain. I started pool therapy, then after a month was allowed regular PT. After 6 months of hard work Doc said "You can start jogging". Boy that was the best words I had ever heard. I ran a 5k a month later at a 11 minute pace. Soon after that I was doing a 10k, then a half marathon. I was slow, it was painful every single step but I was happy.

In August I told Gail, "I signed up for the Portland Marathon and you did too". She was "WHAT? BRET!!". Well we had a great time and ran that whole race together in near record slow time. A few months later we did another marathon. I still couldn't lift my foot more than about 3 inches vertically but running slow you don't need much more than that. I would trip now and then and Gail's heart would stop thinking I was going to fall but I never did.

A year went by and I still couldn't work. I can't get in and out of the cockpit seat, as I had very little flexibility due to the cutting of certain muscles and tendons during the surgery. I can't sit for very long due to some pain I still have and I got 64 staple scares on my bum, wanna see? I continued to run and do PT 3 times a week. I hold the record at my PT office for something like 135 visits. Well we then signed up and ran the Vernonia Marathon. That is such a great course to run as the hard part is the first 13 miles and the last is a breeze. I ran on my own this time and pushed to my max. I did a 4:21 which is about a minute per mile slower than I used to run but was the same time as my very first marathon 16 years ago. I was thrilled I could run that pace.

I was told trail running is hard on my arthritic knee, so I turned in my trail running badge a few years ago. The uneven surface causes pain and swelling in my knee, so I am mostly a road guy now. But...Mt Hood 50 put out a FB post that said only a few spots were left in the new 50k race. So I signed up as the last entrant. What the heck, I can do 31 miles in my sleep...or I "use-ta-could". (thanks for that word Pole). So I did a few trail runs at Forest Park and a few up on the PCT and told myself that my quads will hate me but I will survive.

Race day was Sunday July 12th and it was perfect. Normally we get sunny and 85 for the Mt Hood 50 miler but not this year, cloudy and probably 55 at the start. It was fun to see a few familiar faces at the pre-race gathering. I had been going to Ultra's but only as a RD, friend or Mobile Aid Station Volunteer (ask Detour about that). I love folding my race bib into the required ultra little card deck size and pinning it on your shorts (never on your shirt!!).

My plan was to finish. That was all I cared about. To come from wondering if you will walk normal to running 31 miles in 18 months a big fricking deal to me. At 8 am I gave Gail the required pre race kiss and I waited to be last to cross the start line, I didn't want to hold anyone up. As the race progressed I passed a few folks, had some nice coversations and saw some old friends. The course is pretty easy as Ultra's go, only about 2800 feet of climb and mosltly really nice running trails.

The climb starts about mile seven and goes on for a bit. I power hiked and chatted with other runners. They time flew by. I kept waiting for the hard climb and it never came. I walked all the ups and tried to run the rest. At the mile 14 turnaround I felt pretty good. As we headed back towards Timothy Lake we have that nice down section.The fun part this year was the down seemed longer than the up! Now that doesn't happen often. My quads got tired on the downs and I new I should take it easy. Pulling into the AS at mile 18 or so I got a nice hug from Karen and all the volunteers took great care of me.

At around mile 21 we hit the loop around the lake. I felt fine, just tired. I cam upon many runner walking now as we approached the mile 24 area. That is when I looked up and saw Detour the Wife. Yeah, a happy sight. She had run out the other direction to get some miles in and then ran the rest with me, no Mr. RD not a pacer just a buddy.  I felt pretty good until the last AS at mile 26. Then we had a bit of an uphill climb and I knew I was done. The last 4 miles were not new to me but they still are uncomfortable. I was tired and ready to be done. I could do the downs and the flats pretty good but the uphills were all walking.

As we approached the finish Gail went ahead to get some pictures of her fat husband finishing his first Utlra in over 2.5 years. Yeah I am done! 6:13 which I was pretty happy with. I wasn't DFL like I thought I might be.  But I am so overjoyed in the fact that I can still be out there. I won't ever be what I used to be but that is OK with me. As long as I can do a few longer distance races a year I will be just fine. Running forever is more important to me than running fast or far. "2 miles a day" is what I told my Doctor while laying in that Spokane hospital bed, "2 miles a day, and I will be happy." Well I ran 29 more than that and I am pretty dang happy with that too.