I was more than ready to tackle this 25K course. For the first time ever, I set a time goal for myself. I wanted to finish in under four hours, in order to start preparing for finishing ultras in the normally allowed eight hours. I was super excited to run yesterday. I was also excited Christy was joining me again. This was her first PCTR run since she injured herself at Pacifica in January.
After getting lost a couple of times on our way to Big Basin and finally finding a place to park, I met up with Theresa and her friend Toni before the start of the race. Theresa (on the right) participated today but Toni was putting in her volunteer hours. ;)
The 15K, 25K and 50K runners all start on the 15K loop together. Christy and Theresa were signed up for the 15K so we were able to run together. I had already decided I wasn't going to take a TON of pictures because I wanted to make my time goal. (That changed as soon as I got hurt.) I was feeling very strong. I didn't start at the absolute rear like I usually do and I was willing to pass other runners when I could. At one point, I was in a group of about ten runners on a very nice downhill portion and was actually pissed because I was at the mercy of the front runner. I could tell the girl in front of me wanted to pass so I quietly told her I would follow if she wanted to go. She made a break for it and we cruised on by and picked up our pace down the trail for a while.
It was for a very short while, however. Because it was at this time, mile 1.69, I rolled my ankle and heard a snap. This is not the noise you want to hear when you are less than two miles into a 15.5 mile run. I stopped right there. I didn't even put my foot back on the ground. I was on a bridge so Christy told me I needed to move off of it. I sat down and took my shoe and sock off. Theresa reached into my hydration pack and handed me an Advil. Christy suggested I put my shoe back on before it really started to swell. I put my shoe and sock back on and started walking. At this point a decision needed to be made. Hike back out to the starting line or continue the eight miles to the finish. It didn't feel THAT bad, let's go forward. The scenery on this course is probably the prettiest I have ever seen. All covered single track trails. And just look at everything I would have missed out on. ;)
This one is my FAVORITE!
So forward we go. Christy and Theresa said at this point they were not worried about their time and wanted to stay with me. I was able to run some, mostly the downhill portions. But I wasn't really hobbling. If I landed my foot more on the front part, it actually wasn't that bad. But I did stop for many a picture opportunity (as you can tell).
Then, all of the sudden at about mile three, I go hurling forward and roll off the trail. I have no idea what happened! When I stopped rolling, Theresa was there with a hand to help me up. I asked her what the hell I tripped over. She humored me by dragging her foot across the extremely smooth trail surface and said, "um, I don't know." My left arm and rib cage took the worst part of that fall. WTF? Thank God they agreed to hang back with me. It made for good conversation and laughs at about mile seven! LOL
This was a very interesting portion. Moss covered, steep, wet concrete steps alongside a waterfall. You needed to hang onto the cable handrail to make your way up to the top. It was pretty cool though.
This is the first banana slug Theresa has ever seen. They're pretty cute and they are University of California Santa Cruz's mascot. I would try to get them off the trail when I'd see them so they weren't in danger of getting stepped on.
At mile 6.5 I was upset about my initial decision to not hike back out to the start. I did have to take another Advil before it was over. At one point I felt like my entire calf was swollen but I guess it wasn't. I pleaded with Christy to let me take my shoe off. She and Theresa simultaneously told me "NO!" If it weren't for them, I'd probably still be sitting on the side of the trail, trying to fit my shoe back on my foot. My sincere thanks to both of you!
The three of us eventually made our way through the 15K loop in three hours. Surprisingly, we weren't DFL. LOL I immediately took my damn shoe off, (now that I COULD) and asked Sarah, the RD for some ice.
I did go get checked out this morning. Just to be safe. Nothing broken, just badly sprained and bruised. No work for me this week. It was very difficult getting out of bed this morning. It's my right ankle and my left arm and rib cage. I feel like quite a wreck. It's not my first sprain but it was my first tumble. Will it stop me from doing what I love? Um, that would be a big fat NO!