Friday, January 31, 2014

This Is Not an Uwharrie Race Report

This is the part where I warn you that the following sentences will be boring and obnoxious. I've been awake these wee morning hours and feeling sorry for myself. And, I've finally hobbled out of bed for the sole purpose of sharing that self pity with you fine folks. Ignore me if you like.

I am on the roster to run the Uwharrie 20 miler this Saturday. But, I've had to accept that I am in no condition to run twenty hard trail miles — because shin splints! So, my sought-after place at the starting line will be wasted. (I am sorry, people who didn't get past the lottery this year!)

It's medial tibial stress syndrome to be specific. And, I further aggravated this condition to the point of suffering a dull pain on my upper calf and upper hamstring when I went for a test run nine days ago.

Basically, I think I strained the soleus on my left leg. And, I may have developed an overly tight hamstring situation when I ran on that strained soleus due to my body's attempt to compensate for the ruined lower leg.

I swear, I really do try to listen to my body. But, sometimes... Well, do you ever think that maybe your body isn't as assertive as it should be?

How embarrassing that this post is my first since writing about being injured in the early part of 2013. That humiliation is compounded by the fact that I know I've sustained this rookie injury by not following my own advice! In my ambition to "train well" during this past month leading up to Uwharrie, I took on some very intense hill workouts. And, in hindsight, I now know that those workouts were definitely not as moderate as they should have been.

Needless to say, I am enormously disappointed. Sure, I've been looking forward to Uwharrie ever since I first read about it three years ago. But, finally being officially registered for the 2014 edition of this legendary trail run has had me practically giddy. It was to be my first real race since November 2012. And, it was going to be awesome.

When I realized that my running abilities were seriously hindered two weeks ago, I babied that leg as much as I could in my desperation to heal it. I had a graston session, rolled and massaged the calf almost daily, applied Rock Tape, stretched, strengthened, and walked around ever so gingerly.

I maintained a fantasy that I could just rest for several days, execute an extreme taper of sorts; and be well enough to run the race on February first. I'd have lost a little speed. But, surely I could make a good long run out of it.

After all, I anticipated that my virgin Uwharrie experience would be more about the trail run itself rather than aspiring to a specific finish time. My goal was really to just run the race rather than race it. And, even after that failed test run ten days ago, I imagined myself showing up at the starting line, maybe slightly pained, but in no way at risk of serious injury.

I ran another short test run yesterday. And, I am sadly certain it would be drastically stupid of me to try running twenty miles on this stubborn soleus. Uwharrie is not happening for me this year (again).

When I've read blog posts or comments by elite runners who are facing injury prior to a race, they always seem to describe their predicament with a great deal of composure. I don't have that, not right now, anyway. I'm pissed and depressed. I don't blame anyone or anything but myself, of course. It's just sucky that I'm missing this race, and I'm not gonna keep that fact a secret from you.

It's also irritating that I have to recover from f'ing shin splints for the next few weeks! I still can't believe that crap!

I used to think that I wouldn't want or need a running mantra. I have one now: "Moderation, moderation, moderation..."

Thanks for reading! Thanks for letting me vent.

The next post will be about something interesting, I swear!


  1. Oh NO, Ash! I am so bummed for you and selfishly sad for myself that I won't get to meet you in person this weekend. And, even as I was reading, I was thinking "come on Ash! You can hobble through 20 miles!" which just goes to show we are all this way. Come run with the Peeps when you are ready...sure, we're all about support and encouragement, but we are also a vigilante group of old hens and roosters who keep each other from doing stupid things to ourselves. I'll run a mile or three for you on Saturday and send good thoughts your way. Steph

    1. Thanks Steph! I was looking forward to giving you a cheer on your return half of the 40, too! Have a fantastic race this weekend!

  2. Thanks for posting this. It's inspired me to blog more. I always think "nobody wants to read about me NOT running".

    But everybody blogs about their successes and stays quiet when things go badly. It gives a horribly skewed version of reality. I look around and think "everybody runs an ultra every weekend, never gets injured, and always feels great. What the hell is wrong with me?"

    So be smart and take a few weeks off, and you can enjoy the glorious NC spring running trails. Around here there's ALWAYS another trail race.

    1. Well, I'm not sure about other people wanting to read my particular brand of whining drivel, Anthony. But, it certainly felt at least a little better to type this stuff out. Thanks for reading, man!

  3. OH I can relate. I don't know whether we ever really learn - I hope I am but having just come off a long and lingering shoulder injury (swimming) which I never really rested and therefore endlessly aggravated - I don't think I've learned. It REALLY sucks missing a race you're SO keen to run and have trained hard for so I really do understand your being massively pissed off. Carry on venting - we understand!

    1. Thank you Petra! It's funny you mention your swimming injury as I begin X-training with swimming. ;) You're right, of course. We try to learn. But, every time we learn something new about our limits, a new limit in a different body part seems to appear.

  4. Thanks for posting, Ashwyn! I agree completely with Anthony. Sometimes I look around and it feels like everyone else is ok all the time and cruising along from race to race. Thanks for writing about injuries we all face. Definitely has encouraged me to take a month or so off after Umstead to heal some long nagging issues.

    1. Thanks for the comment, DNash! If you are indeed suffering some sort of injury, I hope your break after Umstead is exactly what you need!

  5. An amazing post and I agree with you on this. I've been finding motivation to continue my custom research papers and I guess I found it. Gold bless you and your work.



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