I had some legitimate apprehensions going into the race; over-training, knee problems, no mountain training, lethargy, whatever. I brushed them under the rug, effectively acting like a minor god of some sort. I thought I could gut it out, but was quick to find that I had no guts, at present.
The race starts with a pretty steep climb to gain the trail, which begins with some pretty good elevation gain. I hung with some pretty legit trail runners for the first several miles of the race. Immediately, I felt like less of a runner in my overall strength and power than I was used to feeling like. My climbing wasn't bad, my flats were great, my downhill was awful (because of my fastidious downhill stride on account of my knees aching, down hills were crippling). Considering that I had no mountain running in me this go around I was pretty pleased on my performance up hill, hanging pretty close to the front of the pack through mile 8 or so. The down hills just kept getting worse and worse, I was continually slowing on them, with my painful abrupt stride. On a whim, at a forest service road about 9 miles into the race, I removed my number and headed back to town. It just didn't seem worth it. Things seemed to be degrading rapidly. So I jogged a couple of miles down the service road, back to town and called it a day. I hate quitting. I really do. Maybe it was the right decision, maybe it wasn't. My flat/slight grades running has been pretty top notch lately, but man, I really wasn't ready for those mountains.
My body really isn't ready for anything. I know I have said this before and that I was going to do something about it, but there has been a slow fade in my performance since November. I can't run nearly as many miles comfortably as I did back in the Fall, my overall pace has been sliding, now a pretty drastic difference from last Fall. My legs aren't recovering, my knees are angry. Now it is time for a serious break. I will probably scratch my summer running plans as the prospect of training right now has fallen completely off my radar. My goal is to take an HONEST break and let my body fully recover, whenever that is, and then go from there. Anyways, it is going to be a busy summer, what with summer LEAP, moving, a new job, etc. No need for added stress.
Well, today will be a wallowing slump day. Quitting is never something to celebrate, and things are on the recovery, not growing. I guess I am growing, hopefully, as a person. Taking lessons along this journey. I am. Of that, there is no doubt. At least I had the sensibility this time around to cease and desist before the wheels came off and I really hurt myself. Regardless, I will need some time to re-evaluate my values and confidence in those values. Peace.