Welcome! The intent of Anecdotes from the Trail is to share my experiences while trail running or racing (occasionally on the road too.) And to feature other trail runners and their accomplishments. You may see the occasional gear review or even contest. Please visit from time to time. Happy trails!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

What's happened and what's next?

Me and my buddy Wes just before the start of the SweetH20 50K earlier this year.

It's been a strange last few months regarding my running. I haven't posted on here as a result, but I decided to dust of the cobwebs and share with you what has happened and also share some thoughts as to the future of this blog.

Love the blues and purples.
After coming off the high of the Double Top 100K back in March, I was looking forward to my last race of the Spring season, the SweetH20 50K in April. Knockin' out the 60+ miles of the Double Top course and doing it in 14 hours had me buzzing about my fitness. As long as the weather would cooperate on race day at SweetH20, there'd be no reason not to do well on that course too. However, a few weeks after Double Top, I twisted my ankle on a routine group run with friends and that changed things. It was a stupid injury too. I was just running along and I stepped off a curb and some how had my foot turned where the weight of my body made me come crashing down on it. I heard a pop and I thought it was bad. After a few minutes though, I was able to get up and walk it off. I iced it when I got home and hoped for the best. I gave it a few days before trying to run on it and when I did, iIt surprisingly felt better than I thought it would given the hematoma still coloring the swelling around my ankle. However, it was definitely not feeling 100% and I had to dial back some mileage. Heading into SweetH20, I was without a double digit run since Double Top which didn't help my confidence much.

Looking down at runners
coming up the gas cut out.
Race day arrived and I lined up at the start with everyone. I was particularly excited for some friends, Julie, Wes and Angela who were racing their first 50K that day. We were all gathered at the start when a Civil War era cannon was fired and off we went, a little over hundred runners down the road before hitting the trail. In the early miles, the ankle felt fine and I was keeping a good pace. I stuck with a buddy named Spurgeon for a bit, but it was obvious he was feeling fresher and so I dropped back. I've reported on here before about running and racing at Sweetwater Creek State Park. Johnny, the race director for SweetH20, loves to change things up, some times out of necessity like the flood a couple of years ago that took out a bridge over the creek, and some times by design. This day it was by design and it would again be a slightly different course than the previous time I ran this race. I was having fun for the first 8-10 miles. We ran on trails that I hadn't been on before, but soon the ankle started complaining. We were in some tall grass at one point and I slightly rolled it again. I got through the gas line cut out, then "Top of the World" and an out and back to an elementary school along a forest road when I started doubting my chances of finishing the day across the finish line. The power line cut out was particularly difficult and my pace started to give. Re-entering the park, I told myself that I just had to get to the creek crossing and I would be fine. A few miles later, we arrived at the ropes to cross the creek. Jumping in the water felt refreshing and instantly made my legs and even the ankle felt better. Then we hit a tough little loop before having to cross the creek a second time and when I made it back across the water again, I was done. I'm not sure as to exactly the mileage, but I don't think it was even 18 miles of the race course. The ankle was throbbing and trying to finish it off would have been senseless. I'd had a good racing season starting with the Stump Jump 50K back in October with a couple of other races in between that and this race. So I DNF'd. I was OK with it. I stayed on the creek side and cheered some friends crossing the creek. I saw Julie, Wes and Angela and they all looked great coming across. They would all go on to finish and earn their first 50K finish. I was so happy for them.

Little hardware in my shoulder.
So what was next? I didn't have anything immediate on the calendar so I thought I'd take it easy for a few weeks, let my ankle heal and maybe even get back on the bike. My wife started training for a triathlon too, so that further had me lowering my mileage and just running to run. No training involved. Eventually, the ankle improved and I was running and cycling just fine. And then another injury happened that unfortunately now has me doing nothing at all. In the first week of July, I dove after my toddler son who was falling back down a flight of stairs and when I hit the landing, I separated the ligaments in my collar bone. I tore it right out of my AC joint. Luckily, my son was fine, but I had surgery to reconnect the clavicle. A steel plate and three screws later, I haven't been able to run or bike at all since. I have physical therapy twice a week, and until the shoulder gets stronger, I won't be able to do anything impactful. Which puts me at an odd place. In a couple of weeks, I will be registering with a friend of mine for the 2013 TransRockies Run, a six-day, 125 mile two-man team race through the Colorado Rockies. I have time to get ready since it is not until August, but I'll be anxious to get going soon. I was looking to sign up for The North Face Georgia Endurance Challenge 25K in October or the Duncan Ridge Trail 30K in November and I can still make it, but I won't be racing either by any means. We'll see. I also have tentative plans to race a couple more 50K's in the winter and spring and then the Chattanooga Stage Races next June as a tune up for the TransRockies Run. I have goals and now I just need to be patient, heal and then get back at it.

As for the future of this blog, I want to include additional content besides just my race reports and occasional account of long trail runs in the mountains. I'm planning on adding interviews with other trail runners. I want to hear about their adventures, goals, achievements and basically, their shared passion for this sport. I'd be happy to interview an elite trail runner, but I am more interested in those like me who run and race on trails because we love it too, but are not at the front of the pack necessarily. If that's you, leave a comment below and we'll figure out a way to connect even if by phone or Skype. I'm also going to use the blog to run occasional contests. In fact, stay tuned as I'll be rolling out a contest to give away a free entry to The North Face Georgia Endurance Challenge on October 13-14 in FDR State Park. If you win, you'll have your choice of running anything from a 25K to a 50 miler on some of the most beautiful, but technical, trails Georgia has to offer.

That's where I'm at the moment. I'll be back at it soon. I hope you'll follow along. Happy trails!


  1. oh man, I knew you had been out for a while, now I know why. I've finally been able to get back to running after my mystery injury but I don't really have anything on the calendar this year. Hope your wife's Tri goes well and you make the smaller events on the schedule. The transrockies sound interesting and fun. Glad you're on the mend.

  2. Thanks Mark! And I'm glad to hear you're back at it now.

  3. One of these years, I'm gonna have to get out there for SweetH2O. The pictures always look so good. (The picture of your shoulder, on the other hand, while a nice xray, does suck.)

    You should put other stuff up here. Awhile ago, I was contemplating the same thing on my site, and someone said something to the effect of "a person is the sum of the pieces", saying that there is more to life than just race reports, so share what you want to share.

  4. Hi Rahn, You'll definitely have to put SweetH20 50K on your race schedule some day. It's a fun race. Thanks for the encouragement with my blog. I do plan on beefing it up a bit more. Stay tuned...

  5. Glad to hear that you are on-the-mend! Hang in there, Javi!