November 5, 2004

I decided to attempt a long run, there first since the Bear 100.   The past month has been a discouraging time because of my sore knee.   I had an MRI that turned up negative, thank goodness, but didn’t explain the terrible pain.   I rested it two more weeks and then attempted a short 3-mile run that left me in terrible pain, wondering if I would ever be able to run again.   Then what seemed to be a miracle occurred.   I went on a trip to San Antonio.  After exercising on an elliptical, I went out to run on a golf course.  I was shocked that the pain did not kick in.   I kept running, still no pain.   For the rest of the week I carefully worked on the knee to make sure it was tight before I ran.   I ended up running 30 miles that week.   The following week I hit the golf course at Saratoga and still was able to progress and keep running.  

Now the big test.  The weather was wonderful on Friday.   I decided to leave work early in the afternoon and hit the trail.   I would attempt to do about 50K (32 miles) around Lake Mountain.   I started very tentative.  I decided to keep a slow but steady pace of at least 15-minute miles.   Every fifteen minutes I would check the GPS and see how much ahead of the pace I was.   For the first seven miles, things went pretty well, but the knees were a little loose.  I used a strap, alternating knees and that seemed to help a lot.   It was a wonderful afternoon, and I ran and hiked in peace along the power line road heading to the far south of Lake Mountain.   The only humans I saw were a couple groups of shooters far in the distance.   I eventually had to run about a mile on the main highway.   I’m sure I looked pretty silly to the cars that passed me, a guy out in the middle of nowhere running on the road.  My knee felt better and better, and soon I realized that I wasn’t even worrying about it anymore, my thoughts were elsewhere.

At the 15-mile mark I reached my “aid station”.   I had cached three water bottles and a bottle of Ensure.    I reloaded and felt great.   I started feeling better and better as I ran along Soldier’s Pass road around the south end of Lake Mountain.   I realized that I didn’t plan well enough because soon the sun would be going down and I didn’t have warm clothes or a head lamp.   The temperatures started to fall as I reached the pass and the sun started to set.    I reached Lake Mountain Road (19-mile mark) and started a long straight run due north toward Eagle Mountain town center.   I felt very good!   I had been running constantly since the pass.   It became colder so I called Linda to come and pick me up.   I then pushed the pace for the next 45 minutes, clocking at least 12-minute miles.   I was thrilled!  My knees felt great.  I felt so strong.   No sore muscles.   I could keep this up for hours!   I was healed!

Linda picked me up about 2 miles south of Eagle Mountain.   The temperatures were in the 40s, pretty cold for my skimpy running digs.   I had covered 24 miles in 5.5 hours, about a 13.75 mile pace.  The course climbed about 1800 feet.   A nice pace.  I would have finished 50K under 7.5 hours, easy.   Despite my injuries, I had been able to keep my legs in good shape.