Saturday, September 11, 2010

Return To Trail Running

I have been on the trail running"beach" for nearly a year.  My pain in the heel is like a low grade fever-barely noticeable.  I tested the running waters this summer while camping in the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. 

I was planning on a nice 4 mile trail run.  The scenery was just incredible with Jackson Lake reflecting the entire Teton range like a water coloring.  I was on the signal mountain trail running past tiny lakes and streams.  After 30 minutes went by, I thought to myself "just a few more minutes...".  After an hour I just gave into my temptation and ran the entire 4 miles up to Signal Mountain.  It was about 75 minutes to the summit and and 45 minutes to run back.

There was little if any noticeable increase in my heel pain.   I backed off on any long runs for the next week until we made it to Bryce Canyon National Park.  We have visited the park at least 4 times in the past 6 years and I always try to get in a decent trail run.

I had all my running things packed and ready to go by 9 PM.  At 5:30 AM, I tried sneaking out of our tent without waking up my wife Idy.  As I was getting out of the tent, she whispers to me "Be careful honey".  Careful?  Me?  The world's foremost trail running expert!  The audacity of her comment!

I was cruising down Fairyland Canyon at a good clip.  My first time down this amazing canyon was 30 years ago with 2 of my  high school bicycling buddies.  We were on a 3 month cross country bicycling trip and we stopped at Bryce for a few days to hike the this strange land filled with hoodos and goblin like structures.  It was hard then and equally as hard now.

Just as first light was breaking, I hit a rock and bailed!  My flash light which I just turned off flew into a pile of rocks.  I landed on my right knee followed by both open palms and rolled onto my back and did a few acrobatic twists (not intentional).  Never in my life have I bailed this hard. Not in skiing, bicycling, snow boarding, or  anything.  I was down for the count!

My first thought  was "how am I going to get back?"  It was around 600 AM and there was nobody on the trail.  I sat on a rock for about 10 minutes eating an orange and trying to move my leg enough to either run or walk.  Since I was about half way through the run, I  did not have much choice in which way to go: back or forward.  What a genius!

I started to walk and gradually my  knee felt a little better.  It was bloody, swollen and basically looked like hell. 

When I returned to camp, like any good husband, I hid my injury from my kids and wife.  I wore long pants and hid any evidence of my fall.

Both my kids saw my injury when I got out of the shower and I told them to keep quiet as Mommy said for me to be careful.  I was good for the next 4 hours until my youngest told on me!  He said that Daddy fell running.

I got to thinking that maybe listening to my wife might have been a good idea.  But then again, she did not want me running on that trail that I can hardly resist.  I cannot image visiting Bryce Canyon National Park without running on the trails.

I took a few days off running.  It's been 5 weeks since I bailed and the knee is almost back to normal.  I ran a nice 2 hour trail run this morning with my good friend Dan.  It's great to be running again!

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