So, yesterday I had the opportunity to join some friends and run the Rocky Raccoon 100 just north of Houston, TX. I had not planned on running this event until about a month ago when I thought it sounded like "fun" and would be a good test of muscle memory as I had not run much since the Mother Road 100 due to a injury to my right foot. Well what I found out was that if muscles have memories, mine have chosen to forget. The lesson; attempting a 100 miler with a training journal low on miles and heavy on ego is not recommended.
Rocky Raccoon is an extremely well organized event run on a fairly flat twenty mile loop (for those with limited math skills that means you get to run the course five times) For me, multiple loop courses are somewhat mind numbing to begin with. In the case of the RR course, each lap seemed to grow increasingly difficult with steeper and steeper hills and tree roots that grew larger with each trip. The day was hot and humid with highs in the mid 70's, a bit of a shock to the system for those of us from points north, but overall a great day for running!
Early on I knew this was not to be my day. The course ran much tougher then I anticipated and although I was on track after 20 miles, the heat was starting to get to me and my right foot was already throbbing. After 60 miles I was still in the hunt for a 25-26 hour finish but the pain in my right foot was beginning to concern me and I was searching for a good reason to keep running.
There are races you dream about, train for, sacrifice for and once into, are willing to push beyond and through what may seem like reasonable reasons to quit, fighting on in hopes of finding your way to the finish line. For many this was one of those races, for me it was not. As I said I thought it would be fun and once it was no longer fun it was hard to keep going. So when the very real concern of inflicting long term damage to an already injured foot became an issue the decision was really quite easy.
The real fun of the weekend was not getting in a 63 mile training run but in seeing several of the Trail Nerds complete their first 100 Miler, watching fellow runner Gary Henry dig deep and get his RR100 buckle after a DNF here a year ago, getting to run 20 miles with fellow podiatry patient Ben Holmes, and having the opportunity to witness my friend Lee Crane complete his first 50 Miler in 10:28. Way to go Lee, Gary, Darin, Coleen, Gabe, Nick, Danny and all the others who got 'er done!