Odyssey 40 miler
DNF - 1 loop (13.5 miles)
The Odyssey 40 miler was supposed to be my last long run before Grindstone. The race consists of 3 loops 13.5 miles long with about 2,600 ft. of elevation gain on each loop. Perfect training for Grindstone's course.
My buddy Jon and I headed out at 3am to drive to the race. We got there in plenty of time to catch the pre-race briefing and set up our coolers and drop bag at the start line. Soon enough, 7am rolled around and the race director sent us on our way.
The course starts almost immediately starting up the local mountain. Semi-technical trail and gentle uphill made it easily runnable to start the race. The two latter loops would probably require runners to walk this part but I ran to try and stay out of any bottlenecks. Eventually we're climbing the mountain and something stunk. Literally. Smelled like bad BO. I asked another runner if he thought it stunk and he said yes and there was a paper mill nearby which caused the smell. Glad I didn't live there!
The first three miles were basically all uphill. Once we got to the top of the mountain we had to check in with some volunteers that were stationed at a cabin with an amazing view. The sun was rising and it was a beautiful morning to be running.
After a quick look at the mountains in the distance, it was time to turn and head back down the other side of the mountain. It was some really nice downhill running. A little technical with some loose rocks but I was enjoying it. Maybe a little too much though.
I decided to practice my downhill running so I let loose and started barreling down the mountain. Big mistake. I passed a few guys and rounded a corner and my right foot hit a root or rock or something that just didn't move. Typical physics, my body stayed in motion while my right leg stopped. Eventually though that right leg landed and went the other way. Instant pain. All I could think about was Willis McGahee's knee injury. I'm sure mine didn't look like that but that's how it felt. Basically hyper-extended the crap out of it.
I sat there on the trail in a world of hurt wondering what was next. I was less than 6 miles into the race and at least 5 miles from the start/finish area. Only one thing to do: Get up and keep going. I started walking to see how bad it was. Nothing broke, and I didn't think anything was torn, so my thought process became 'let's see how it feels over the next 7 miles on this loop'. Once I finished the loop I could decide if I would keep going or not.
By mile 9, I knew the answer. One and done. I could continue in the race but it most likely would put Grindstone in jeopardy, and that was not an option. As lame as it would be, I had to drop.
I made my way down the mountain, walking most of the way. Runners passing me by asking if I was ok. I was. Just my pride was hurt mostly. I came into the finish line and told the race directors and timers what had happened and that I had to drop to avoid messing up Grindstone. They understood and my day was done.
The worst part was having to wait another 6 hours for Jon to finish! He did great though coming in around 8h30m. I hung out and watched all the other runners from other races (26.2, 13.1, 6, they had them all!). One girl gashed open her knee on a rock so I watched the medic put stitches in her leg. Ended up taking a nap on a bench. But overall a very unproductive day! It happens though and made me realize that I need to keep myself under control going down hills and not run as fast as I did. It was now time to rest up and make sure the knee was ready for Grindstone in four weeks.