In October 2011 I had no intention of running an ultra, I had friends who had done it and always thought it was beyond my ability. I continued to read trail running blogs and magazines and finally decided to sign up for the Holiday Lake 50K. I had heard many good things about the race and many positive comments about Dr. Horton and the wonderful volunteers who make this race possible.
I signed up for the race as soon as the registration opened…my training had begun. I trained as hard as I could, running several days a week 6 or 8 miles at a time. Just about the time that I needed to start increasing my mileage I managed to step in an open manhole…yep that’s right….stepped right in it ( it was dark and I just didn’t see it, luckily it was only 14 inches deep) The result was an avulsion fracture of the cuboid bone in my foot and a severely sprained ankle. Luckily my good friend helped me hobble back to the car during the painful 2 mile walk.
The injury was extremely de-motivating and I immediately emailed Dr. Horton to say that I would most likely be dropping out of the race. I received a response via email from Dr. Horton very quickly; he made it clear that quitting wasn’t an option at that particular time. He advised me to allow my body time to heal and train smartly. I took about 5 weeks off from running but continued to strength train. I managed to start running very short distances at a very slow pace and little by little increased my mileage. My longest training run was 22 miles, needless to say I began to get a bit worried about my commitment to enter and finish the Holiday Lake 50K.
The night before the race was very exciting; I got to meet a lot of very nice people as well having the opportunity to hear Dr. Horton pre-race talk. I felt more energized than ever. 5:00 AM couldn’t come soon enough; I don’t think I slept very much…not because of noise but because of pre-race jitters. I was worried…should I wear two shirts or three…shorts or pants….gloves or no gloves…and what about all the music that I had carefully selected for my IPOD?
The time had come to move out to the starting line…6:30 AM…and off we went. The pace was comfortable up the first hill. I was able to pick up the pace a bit once I hit the trail….then it hit me…everyone had been saying, “don’t go out too fast, the second lap will not be as fun as the first”. I settled in to a 9:00 pace and just ran. The trail was great, the creeks were cold but not as bad as I had imagined and the hills were tolerable. The other runners who I chatted with while running were very uplifting, friendly and helpful.
I must mention the volunteers, without them I would have found this race much more difficult. The energy at each aid station as well as various points along the way really made the race fun. I really do appreciate the excitement and the cheering as we each made our way through each station. I finished the first loop and started back on loop two. I looked forward to each aid station, for me it was a way to mentally knock out sections of the race. As I ran I started to worry that my foot and ankle would start giving me problems. At about mile 23 my left knee started to hurt a little bit, the pain was slight at first but gradually increased over the next few miles. By mile 27 I was starting to get concerned that I would not finish, the old ITB injury had started to come back with a vengeance. I knew I would need to incorporate much more walking than I had been doing. When walking the pain intensity dropped considerably but as soon as I started to run again the pain returned.
The last couple of miles seemed like forever. I made it. I finished. I achieved my goal. The knee pain is still there but my foot feels fine. Thanks again to everyone who made this race possible, it was truly a wonderful experience for me. (I got to meet R. Trittipoe which was great)Scott Myers