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.