The Watchung Winter Ultra "fat ass" trail race had two options: run 50K or a marathon. I chose the marathon.
I run at Watchung about a dozen times per year. I used to ride my mountain bike there, for winter training, back when I was a serious triathlete in the late 1980's- early 1990's - before the park banned them.
This was to be a fun day - I wanted a good long run as an easy race on a trail I was very familiar with. I had no qualms about cutting it short if I felt over-stressed, since my recent running mileage has been relatively very low. Plus there was the forecast for snow at a high of 25 degrees F.
I felt cold before the race in the morning. About 50 people showed up, including my friends Paul, IronPete and Dixon. They were all slated to run the 50K; Paul and Pete have done many, but it was Dixon's first. The race director did a great job setting up this event and even marked some of the course himself that morning before running a couple laps of the course himself. I ran a lot of the first loop near enough to talk with him. I ran almost the entire loop with David, a Chi Running enthusiast who I had emailed with before but never met in person - and running with him turned out to just be a chance meeting. I was amazed that he survived about three falls from trips and slipping on ice on the first loop or so. The last fall he had on ice hurt his knee enough for him to cut the second loop short. Little was I to know what I was headed for.
The marathon was two and a half loops of the Sierra Trail at the reservation. (See my account of running there last weekend for comments on that.) It was a beautiful day to be running - not many people on the trails, it warmed up a little within 30 minutes of starting, and snow was flurrying just enough to add to the ambiance.
I had two great loops and was leading the marathon runners - loop splits were 1:44 & 1:47- and I was feeling GREAT. Really great. I was gonna chop off that half lap in 60 minutes. But about a half mile from the start/finish I tripped and fell and broke my rib.
I have fallen dozens of times running trails, but this time I fell really hard and I think a protruding root or rock just hit my side in a bad way. The break is kinda under my left arm. The fall did hurt a lot and the wind got knocked out of me. I tried walking to keep going but noticed it felt really weird in there, like something was rattling around, and I noticed I couldn't breathe deeply without pain. So I think I smartly decided to bag it and walked back.
I checked in as DNF and drove myself to MediMerge... The Vicoden I just picked up is defiintely working better than the advil....
At the doc, my temperature was 94.3. The nurse said it was the lowest she ever recorded. It was kinda funny because she asked a couple of times why I would want to run that far. Doc said, "curtail your activities" for a few weeks. I told him I was going skiing next weekend. He said he wouldn't do that... hope I can.
One of the reasons I think I felt great was fueling. I used my skiing Camelback plus a Powerbar Gel ("2X Caffine") about every 30 minutes. That stuff works pretty good for me. I don't like eating random food handed out at races. I used the Powerbar Gels at Philly too, every 45 minutes. After today I think my next marathon - Boston - I will do one every 30. Gotta start shooting that stuff early. They are sort of a pain to carry - pockets of circa 1980 Moss Brown jacket today were fine, but gotta work that out for Boston.
Hey, just looked, you can still get those jackets ... think I might get a new one.
Thanks to Paul for the pics and vid from the race below, and to Associated Radiology in Warren for the x-rays.
Race Director Rick explaining too much before the start & me looking too happy
One of my x-rays. Difficult to scan and see the break.