Monday, February 28, 2011

No More Nueces and February in Review

My last post talked about the injury that has came across me.  For five days, I did not run a single step.  It came at a bad time as I was wrapping up training for the Nueces 50 Mile USATF Trail Championship this upcoming Saturday.  It is a race that has been on my mind since the beginning of this year and I felt like all of my training was leading up towards it.

Even after I got the achilles injury and took a few days off, I didn't weigh out the possibility of racing at Nueces.  I felt that if I could get to 100%, even if it meant taking off until the day before, I would still race.  After a lot of advice seeking from different people, today I decided to cancel the trip.

This is not to say my achilles is not healing.  It has actually made great progress and the pain is hardly noticeable.  I am just waiting for the swelling to go down now.  I even ran today for a little bit.  After five days off, it felt good.

One reason I decided to not run is the risk of injuring my achilles even more.  Sure, it might feel fine now, and it could feel even better by Saturday morning, but what if I get 45 miles into the race and it ruptures?  Then I am out over a year with no running.  I do not want that.

When I was asking Keegan for his advice, he told me, "don't feel the need to prove yourself just because people have been blogging about you and labeling you as the next big thing.  Show maturity and patience so you don't have to pay for dumb decisions down the road."  He is totally right.  Even though I didn't recognize it, I was feeling some outside pressure to run in these types of races to "prove" myself.

Then, a conversation with another friend made up my mind completely.  He asked me if I had been cross training and I said "no."  He told me that I should have did that because I will probably loose my fitness.  I started explaining how I don't run just to compete.  I run for the love of running.  I don't love riding a stationary bike, or running on a elliptical machine, or aqua-jogging in the pool; i don't do it.  Running is the only thing that I feel passionate about and when I can't do it I do not feel the need to do supplemental activities for my fitness.

If you enjoy cross training, good for you.  I know a lot of people who do it a lot and it helps them.  For me, I cannot justify spending a lot of time doing something I don't enjoy.  If my main goal in running was to win races, I might be pounding out the pavement on my road bike right now, but I have come to the conclusion that simply getting back to running is more important - to get back to what I used to be able to do, which is run a lot of miles on trails.  I want to get back there.

Competing is something I think about a lot.  I have the feelings that I talk about from above; about how I simply love running just to run.  People may say, "well you still race and gear up for big events to try to win."  That is true.  I look at competition as showcasing what I love.  Plus, especially in ultra-running as I've found, being with a group of like-minded people doing the thing you love is even more satisfying.  Sure, ultra-running is competitive, but it is more of a communal competition.

This is not to say that I am not competitive.  I want to win the race as much as the next guy toeing the line.  That is the reason I raced that 5k indoor a couple weeks ago.  I was getting antsy with a break from racing and wanted to run fast against people.  Once the gun goes off, I am a whole new person.  I turn into a racer.  Still, running in its purest form is what attracts me most.  It is simple, self-actualizing, free, and self-sufficient.  Often I wonder what it would be like to simply stop blogging, stop showcasing my running log, and stop showing up to races altogether - stop all of that and simply start running. 

February in Review

Total Miles:  465
Total Time:  58:53:55        
Days Off:  5



  1. Micheal,
    Sorry to hear that you won't be running Nueces, but very wise decision re your Achilles. I ran through an Achilles injury for about a month in the summer of 2002... and I still felt it on my run today. Honest. Get yourself well and don't put yourself in a position (i.e., running Nueces) where you're tempted to run to the point of permanent damage. There'll be plenty of racing to do later this year when everyone else has over raced!

  2. Thanks Bryon. I definitely want to nip this thing good now so I won't feel it in the future. I still have some big races planned for this year... including the newly discussed UROC 100k.

  3. Michael,

    First, it was great to meet you in person at the FS 50K. I enjoyed chatting with you, at least until that became a bit difficult for me, and then chasing you for as long as I could.

    It seems that you are making a good call with Nueces, even if it is a tough one. There will be plenty of competitive races later this year, so a little patience now will probably pay off.

    I could not agree more with what you said about the forms of cross training you do not enjoy. You could explore something completely different though, even if it is just to distract you a bit and prevent you from running too much too soon. How about rock climbing? I know of at least one outstanding ultrarunner from the recent past who claimed that climbing was excellent strength training that helped his running a lot. I do it a bit and I am not sure if it helps much, but it is a fairly pleasant way to mix things up a bit.

    By the way, I thought this was a great post. I particularly liked the way you described your motivation to run and race.

    Good luck!


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  5. best post yet. Smartest thing you did was to check with your friends.

    For a young guy you have done well figuring out what's important to you.

  6. Eric,
    Friends know best. They don't have that internal bad guy bribing them to do bad things.

    It was nice meeting and running with you at the FS 50k. Let me know if you are back in the states and if you'll be running any races this way.

    I'm not sure if I want to turn into Quenton Cassiday. I know someone who told me that he was just a toy to Bruce Denton. That same person also ran 130 miles in one week because her friend would buy her an Applebee's sampler. It's totally worth the risk.

  7. I am really bummed to hear about the Achilles man. You are certainly making the right decision dude. Connective tissue needs attention, or it takes a long time to get back. It is ONE race, one day and it is really early in the season.
    I love pushing the body to the max, just as you do and when we play with fire sometimes we get burnt and hopefully learn something. You are going to kill it at your next race. You are doing some amazing running and will be back quickly by doing the right thing early. Look forward to racing together soon. UROC?