28 June 2014

race report - MEC Barrie 2014 Race Series Three

i've really enjoyed the MEC racing series.  i feel as if the momentum is growing around these grassroots-type events - and there really is nothing about these events that make them second-class or lacklustre, despite what the $15 entry fee might lead one to believe.

the race report from today will be short and to the point - i entered the 10k race (distances of 5k, 10k and 15k were offered in this particular event) as a substitute for this week's tempo run.  i've officially begun tapering for the limberlost challenge in a couple of weeks, so i didn't want to push too hard but still wanted to keep the legs turning over.

my pal rick doucet and i traveled up to the start/registration area together and arrived about 90 minutes before the gun would go off ... call us eager beavers or whatever.

representing Skechers Performance Division once again!

we'd pre-registered so we spent some time schmoozing with the MEC staff, including our buddy jim willett (who will be attempting to set a new record for completing an end-to-end run of the bruce trail later this year).  

we also connected with our friend trevor morgan who is coming off of an injury sustained during the pick your poison 25k trail run this spring.  as any athlete in recuperation mode would do, trevor decided to take it easy and register for the 5k at today's race ... after having cycled 40k to get to the start location.

a number of other friends also participated in some of the other distances, including tom "flash" mullen and his wife brandy (5k), lewis sabo (15k) and sean rootham (15k).  we all chit-chatted beforehand suspecting that with the staggered start (each distance went out 10 min. after the previous one, beginning with the 15k distance) we might not all catch up after crossing the finish line.

the race itself was on the limestone-packed oro rail trail - a fairly straightforward out-and-back on a straight, flat(ish) route with very little need for marshalling ... except to cross a few rural sideroads.  i started out near the front of the 10k pack and tried to keep pace with the lone female ahead of me - which i managed to do for about 2k before she started to drop me.

i quickly realized that having only done tempo runs of 5k since my mississauga marathon that trying to set a sub-40 PB on this day was not feasible.  add to that the fact that i seem to really suffer in the heat (even at 9:10am it had to be a pretty solid 22°C before a mild humidex effect) and that for the last two weekends i'd put in 85k and 88k runs ... well, my legs were having a hard time stomping out decent paces, even with my Skechers GOMeb Speed 2s on.

my mile splits were 6:28, 6:43, 6:51, 7:01, 7:16 and 6:37 - resulting in a finishing time of 42:33, and a fifth-place overall finish (but first in my age group, methinks).  rick was hot on my heels most of the way, and finished with a 45:24 - none too shabby for his first ever 10k race, and a week after posting a PB in the 5k last weekend.  tom took first overall in the 5k distance, and wonky-knee trevor (who seemed to benefit from some free medical assessment and kinesiology tape from the back to function team) came across in fourth overall for the 5k. 

after the award ceremonies (in which tom and trevor scored some well-deserved MEC swag) i had another 75 min. of running to log so rick and i headed out on the trail again with trevor embarking with us for his 40k ride back home.  after about 3k rick turned back with some tightness in his hamstrings, and i continued out for about another 3k before swinging around and letting trevor finish his trek back into barrie.

by the time that i got back to the start location rick had the car running, the A/C blasting and some chocolate milk in the cooler.  what a great guy.

all in all another fantastic saturday with the MEC barrie running ninjas!

15 June 2014

a tale of two achilles

prior to january 2007 i'd not had any athletic injuries whatsoever.

then came a fateful day on the squash court.

planting my right foot for a quick dash toward a front-wall dropshot, i felt a snap just above the ankle.  i thought that there was an accompanying audible sound, but that might have just been in my head.  the odd thing was that there was no crippling, even grimace-inducing pain.  just the knowledge that something very, very wrong had just taken place.

after a bit of a debacle at the after-hours clinic and the local emergency room (whether neither of the two doctors nor the observing medical student could tell that i'd fully ruptured my right achilles tendon) i waited a week to see a sports medicine doctor.  the sports med guy took about 10 seconds to feel where my achilles tendon used to be, left the room, and returned a minute later to tell me that he'd booked me in for surgery the next day.  he was absolutely baffled as to how three other medical specialists could not have determined that my achilles was completely blown.

long story short, the next day my surgery took place under the careful hand of dr. john o'sullivan.  the operation itself was surprisingly simple (thanks to an epidural and a book to pass the time on the operating table) ... the five hours spent in the recovery room awaiting feeling to return to the lower half of my body was a bit nerve-racking.

i wound up with a pretty gnarly scar that instills fear in young children (think Frankenstein) and prompts the occasional stranger to come up to me and (pointing toward the scar) say "i know what you had done!".

the caveat that dr. o'sullivan gave me was that under optimal conditions i could expect to regain 80% of the strength and flexibility that i had pre-injury.

that was seven marathons and easily over 10000km ago.

if i had to comment at all on my now repaired achilles tendon, i'd lean toward 110% capacity compared to pre-injury status.

quickly compare that to my brother-in-law's achilles repair job ... he ruptured his right achilles tendon springing off of a pool diving board.  his doc must have had plastic surgery skills because his scar is almost invisible - razor thin and maybe 3 inches long.  but you know what?  his achilles is tight and tender at the start of every morning.  while he's managed several half-marathons on his repair job, he would tell you that it's not been the same since the injury.

i'll take the mondo scar tissue but bionic achilles any day.

have you had any sports injuries?  how have they healed up?  have they hindered your ability to perform/enjoy your sport at all?