Today I headed to Spruce Pine to run the Springmaid Splash 10k. It's my first attempt at real racing since my calf injury at Beat the Heat on July 17th. After two weeks on the exercise bike (and a ridiculously poor attempt at a Mtn Cup race) I gradually transitioned back into running. Initially I started running in a shuffling stride staying off of my toes which did not aggravate the calf.
Over the next few weeks I increased my mileage, left the exercise bike behind, and began running more on my toes which is my natural running stride. Two weeks ago I attempted my first workout. A fartlek run of 3x5min with 1 min recovery. 8x5min with 1 min recovery is a staple of mine so I decided to attempt it but cut in half. I felt pretty good throughout it and even added on the 5th interval. The next day the calf wouldn't let me run comfortably but that was the only noticeable bad event in the calf up until as I type right now.
Springmaid Splash 10k
If I was going to compete well at the USATF Trail 10k championships next weekend I needed a tune-up and a test. Springmaid Splash offered just that. I lost this race last year by a minute but was 4 minutes ahead of 3rd place. I was hoping that no one would show up this year and I could turn it into a hard effort. I got my wish.
Springmaid Splash Garmin
It took me half a mile to pass the last hard charger at the start line and from that point on I was running solo. There was 4 river crossings, mud, ruts, and the middle 4 miles had some major ups and downs. I wanted to be conservative, to make sure the calf didn't get reinjured. In the end though I was 5 seconds faster than the time I put up last year. I couldn't be happier with that and feel much better about Continental Divide trail championships next weekend.
One big difference from last year to this year was shoe choice. Last year I ran in La Sportiva's Crosslite which are heavy duty shoes good for the mud and rocks but they didn't drain the water from the river crossings well. This year I ran in Inov-8's X-Talon 212's, a lighter shoe with equally good grip and a thinner lining which drained water very quickly. It was a good choice in shoe wear this year.
USATF Trail 10k championship next weekend in Laurel Springs. Two weeks later on 9/11 I'll be racing for the US in Albania for the mountain running world championships. I got my USA gear this week and I'm psyched. I'm equally psyched to be healthy. Well, healthier. There's still some rehab to do.