Thursday, February 28, 2008

First Thoughts

I can no longer say that I've never dropped out of a race.

Way too many thoughts running through my mind to even begin to put all of them into perspective right now.

The short of the story is that at about mile 30 my right ankle started to hurt a little bit. I found ways to favor it so that it wouldn't hurt too much and I pressed on. It hurt on and off for the next 60 miles and then I had about 20 miles in which it didn't hurt much at all. Once the pain came back though it was much more severe and then soon after that my left ankle began to hurt as well. By the time arrived at mile 130 my right ankle was throbbing and extremely swollen. I took a 12 hour break and tried to head up the trail but after 7 miles I was reduced to a 1-2 mph walk with intermittent shooting pains in both ankles and up into the back of my left knee.

Just wanted to throw out a quick post focusing on some of the positive things I experienced the past 3 days:

I got to run 150 miles in perfect weather (temps on the trail ranged from negative 10 up to 25 above and were usually in the 10-20 range).

I met dozens of great people and was able to learn so many things from them which will make me a stronger racer the next time around.

My injuries wouldn't allow me to continue any further but I feel pretty certain that they will recover with some time off my feet.

When my ankles/feet felt good out there I was cruising along and feeling very strong. I did 130 miles in 34 hours running time and that includes over 7 hours of stopped time (eating and sleeping) at checkpoints. That means I was only out on the trail for 27 hours. Perhaps my injuries were a result of pushing too hard of a pace but I really don't think so. My entire body above my ankles was handling this pace just fine. I have almost no muscle fatigue and I don't think my heart rate was ever much above 100 bpm. I actually stopped on the trail a few times to check my heart rate because I was amazed at how easy it felt to keep moving along at 5 or 6 mph. This pace is about the same, or a little faster than the pace I ran the Susitna 100 in last year and yet my body still felt strong enough to push on at a similar pace if my ankles would have allowed it. This seems almost unbelievable to me as I could hardly walk and felt like I had been through a train wreck for 3 days after the Susitna, but right now I don't even really feel tired out, I just can't bend either ankle or my left knee.

I took a lot of video out on the trail. I will post a full report of my race soon with some pictures and video to go with it.

And now I am now reduced to life as a spectator. Jill has been cruising down the trail at an amazing pace but there seems to be news tonight that she is still at Rohn as a few hours ago. There was never any specific info. on when she got into Rohn but based on most of the info. out there it seems like it should have been 20 or more hours ago. The info. in and out of Rohn is very limited and it's certainly possible that there was some confusion about her time either in or out of there but I'm worried that she may not have slept enough up to that point. To those following her race online it may appear that she was getting a few hours of sleep here and there, but according to the checkers I talked to at Yentna, Skwentna, and Finger Lake she hadn't slept at any of those places. That would have made Puntilla her first possible sleep which was 38 hours after the race started!

I'm hoping to get some info. on her status as soon as possible because I want to fly up to McGrath to see her finish. Problem is there's only one flight a day to McGrath and I don't want to spend the $450 to get up there and have her already waiting there to fly back on the same plane I just flew in on.


Doug said...

Great effort Geoff! Thanks for taking us along for the journey. Can't wait to see how you do next year! :)

Anonymous said...

Geoff~ Everyone is proud of the effort you made out there! Unfortunately, unforeseen injuries can crop up at any time and for no particular reason. In the end, you had great experience and that's all that counts. Looking forward to seeing a video along with more details of your incredible journey.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the update and for being so candid. Its great to hear it from your perspective and learn about 'life on the trail'. Dont know if Shawn told you but because of you and all of this I went running (jogging really) for the first time in forever the other night. You are THE MAN and from telling others about you you now have a fan base here in Charlotte, NC!

Dave said...

Fuckin' joints, man.

Nice effort, and massive respect for being as philosophical about it. Especially now. I've been substantially less calm after investing a lot less time and energy.


Matt Hart said...

recover well geoff.

Anonymous said...

Geoff - you are amazing - we knew that you would be able to run a fantastic race with all the training and determination - it was just cut a little short due to an injury - you are still tops on our list. We are anxiously waiting to hear any news on Jill - please keep us posted. Love, Mom & Dad

Unknown said...

You can't help or foresee an injury. You've got so many races in your future. You made the wise choice. I'm sure making it sucked, but I'm sure you know it was the right one.

Vito said...

I echo Doug's sentiments. Way to go!
Big bummer about the injury and I hope it heals well. So many things you cannot foresee out on the trail. You have to find peace in your mind that you gave it your best shot and made the right move to drop. There is no shame there. I continue to hope and pray for Jill as you do. I know that she will fare well.
Congrats on your effort Geoff. Next year man. Next year.

Nigity - "Always keep a smile in your heart."

Joe Danaher said...

great report and congrats on the effort. impressive doesn't seem to cover it. hope the injuries don't keep you off the trails for too long. cant wait to see the video and pics, just amazing.

Fonk said...

I know it's gotta be disappointing to drop out, but congrats on a solid effort just the same. 130 miles in 27 hours is still pretty damn amazing in my book.

It's interesting that your muscles aren't sore at all compared to your Susitna effort last year? What do you attribute the difference to? Just better training, different conditions, or a combination of both.

I look forward to reading about your Iditarod race next year. :)

brittany said...

man, that's too bad Geoff, but I'll echo the sentiments of everyone else... always next year and it is best to make sure you get yourself healed! looking forward to the videos! What an adventure and you are such an inspiration.

FixieDave said...

130 is wwwaaaayyyyyy farther then you well ever see me do on foot!! Way to go! I've learned so much more from my failed events then from when I've finished!

Go Jill!!!

ExtrmTao said...

DA NA NA NUN, DA NA NA NUN That's my sportcenter music because this stuff is waaaaaaaaay more impressive than any sport they cover!!

Being forced to make the (quitting) decision hurts the soul but it always fuels another fire!!

Your an inspiration to a LOT of people, keep it up.


Anonymous said...

McGrath, Alaska! Just GO GO GO!

Karen Travels said...

Geoff, I have to second the comment about Charlotte, NC fans - I too have been following along from here! I have been a long time reader of Jill's blog, she has inspired me to try to move to Alaska! You guys are awesome with your biking and running!!