Monday, November 11, 2013

Media Mud Stain 5-Miler. 11/10/13 Race Report

Yesterday I finally got back out on the trails for a race.  I was very excited for any race at this point as it had been months since any race, so even a short 5-mile trail run was perfect.  Since mid-August, I'd been having some pain in my left shin, which I had just figured was a rogue shin splint that maybe I'd tweaked something and it would vanish because I'd been running pain free for years.  I'll complain about my shin splint later.

The Media Mud Stain is a 5 or 10-mile event in the trials of Ridley Creek State Park, a place Kristen and I enjoy running or hiking as often as we can on their network of trails.  The course is a 5-mile loop so, not seeing the point of doing it twice this time, I elected to just do 5.  It's a beautiful park and the weather was perfect, a little breezy but about 50 and sunny.  I had no real goal for the race, I was just excited to be back on the trails in a pack of other runners, winding our way through the woods.  We were also feeling pretty great considering we'd just celebrated Kristen's birthday the evening before with more than just a few beers.
The race course loop by Garmin.
While loosening up by the registration tables, Kristen asked about my nonexistent race goal.  I had made habits of making a race plan with a real goal time for every race.  Maybe I'd just forgotten since I was preoccupied with getting through my first race since August.  After careful consideration (pulling a guess out of my ass) I thought I'd be content with a 45-minute run.  Holding 9-minute miles on trail is a decent pace for me, so why not?  Sounds good.  Truthfully, I wanted to aim for 40 minutes but this is a test race after far too much rest.
Near my goal time but 4.82 is not 5 miles... C'mon, man!
I was pleased to be near my desired finish time and come in 34th overall but 11th in my age group wasn't particularly amazing.  Reviewing my nearest competition, I see I missed out on a better finish.  It's good mental fuel for the next race.  But finishing strong and recovering quickly after the race gave me some insight on what I could have done better.

Kristen came through the finish line just under 1 hour.  A very strong finish to beat her goal.  She came charging and I thought she looked pissed!  Almost as if she was going to tackle the runner in front of her.  Thankfully, she just passed her and crossed the finish line without any violence.

I held up well during the race physically.  I wore compression sleeves for a little extra calf support and made a point to be aware of how my legs felt.  It made me a little more paranoid about little twinges I felt here and there.  My achilles had some minor discomfort and I thought I felt a little pain in my left knee too but I think it's just a paranoia, all stemming from months earlier at North East Tri, the pain was there, it slowed me on my run a little but was nothing major.  The weeks after that race, with less on the calendar, I rested a little to let the shin splint subside with time as they tend to do, even ran (only one leg of) Ragnar and felt really good.  As time passed, the pain departed but constantly returned after a run.  With some concern about permanent damage or a possible stress fracture, I sought some professional help which after some time and an MRI later, showed I am stricken with Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome - basically a specific version of shin splints...
Somehow my expert team of doctors saw something more than 2 amazing legs.
My understanding now is that this is a muscular condition that I will learn to deal with but I imagine that I can find a way to get rid of it.  It can get painful but is not a threat of any real damage.  24 hours after Media Mud Stain and I feel fine.  Some tenderness in the lower part of the inside of my left shin.  What I think is BS is that this just kinda... happened.  I'd been running for years with no problems like this so I'm re-evaluating my training regimen.  I'll be adding some strength workouts and yoga to the mix more regularly and immediately to try to prevent any more flare ups.

Next race up is the Dirty Bird 15K on Dec 1.  Looking forward to a more aggressive race after testing out the legs!

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