That night I come home shower and get in the bed. It feels so good to lay down and the day's events keep replaying in my head. I am aching all over but fall asleep. Throughout the night I am only dozing because every move is heavy and hurts and awakens me. I do not sleep well. At 2:30am, I am wide awake, and I am starving. It is a hunger I have not known in awhile. My stomach is a burning pit. I am now remembering the cheeseburger that Willy offered me twice after the race and now I'm wishing it was here for me to eat! I am also remembering the can of beer that Tyler was trying to get me to drink, and I left behind. I end up getting a small snack and returning to bed.
The next day, I am dozing on and off throughout the day. I am exhausted. I can only get up for short periods and do a few things and then I am needing to rest. I am drinking as much fluid as I can and I am also eating frequently every few hours because I am starving. My family is so proud of me and Mitchell is so sweet as throughout the day he is trying to help me. He often says, "Mommy, don't get up, I'll do it, you just ran 38 miles!" I do end up making myself go outside for a walk with our friend Russell. He is laughing at my pace and stride. I am making painful noises up and down the rolling hills in front of my house. I also end up walking a good bit on Sunday and Monday. Everyday I am feeling better. Then on Tuesday, I run a slow 5 miles. I was surprised that I even got through it. I was determined to stay on my marathon schedule.
I continue running and I am feeling surprisingly well everyday for the next 10 days except for a sharp pain in the front of my left calf along my shin and muscle. This is a new pain for me that I started to feel on my last 3 runs and it's getting progressively worse. My ITB on my left hip is worsened. My sciatica on my left leg is acting up and my plantar fascitis is even feeling worse. I can now hear the crepitus in my knees that I could only feel before. I am really over my entire left leg and joked to myself that I would be better off with 2 right legs! I know what I can run through and also know what I can't or shouldn't run through. It is late January and as I think back it's been a good 9 to 10 months since I've had a break. I know that if I keep running on my left leg that I am going to be out of running later in the season when it's warmer and that's when I really pick up my running. I love to run in the spring and summer! So, I decide to take some time off to heal. Better to heal now while it's crappy weather than to be out longer in the months ahead when I really want to run.
Paul and I are emailing pretty regularly. I am really down about my leg and my "little pain". I ran 150 miles in January and that was with taking the last week off. It was my highest mileage in a month to date. I really appreciated Paul's support and encouragement during this time. It was so hard NOT to run, but I knew that if I didn't let it heal properly I would have been out alot longer. For the first time in my solo running world, I am understanding and appreciating the value of a training partner. I am also enjoying having someone to talk to about an upcoming race in April. The Jewel 50k. This will be a first 50k race for both Paul and I. Paul and I both are on the same page about this race. It is supposed to be an easier course or at least easier than DRT and Hostelity but we both agree that 31 miles is 31 miles no matter how you slice it, and it will be hard. We already know we will train for it and not take it for granted. Afterall, this is ultra-running and if it were easy than everyone would do it!
I start running again in 12 days. I do an easy run and it still hurts but maybe it's a little better? I think this is wishful thinking. Paul and I have planned a trail run for the next week and we want to go about 20 miles if we are feeling good. Paul is concerned if I'll be able to go or not as I've only run once in 18 days, but I tell him I'm good. I am still exercising and walking a good bit. It is getting slowly better, and I'm still icing it nearly everyday and motrin is my best friend. I really want to get back into running!
I meet Paul on a very cold Saturday morning Feb 11th, and we starting running around 7:15am. Not only is it cold, but it's snowing in the mountains. It's also very windy with wind gusts up to 35 miles per hour. The wind is really howling up in the trees, and I wonder if I'll be taken out by a flying branch...lol I wear 3 layers of clothes and a ski mask, and I am warm as long as I don't stop. Our plan is try to make it to Three Forks, but we aren't dead set on it. We run all the way to Springer Mountain before we see the first hiker. There are not many people out today like there was on New Year's Day! The snow is really beautiful and I stop and open the oven door to journal in the log book. It is really too cold to stop and quickly we get cold. I eat my PB&J quickly and my camelbak tubing is frozen, but I am able to get a little bit of water from it.
We run past Springer Mountain and are surprised how rocky it is for the next mile almost. Not only is it rocky but it's covered in snow and slick. We pretty much have to walk quickly over it. We get down to the parking lot and there are vehichles parked and people getting out to start their hikes. We are confused as to where we go next. We see a tree in the distance with a "white blaze" but are not sure if we follow those are look for the blue blazes. Paul and I read some of the info. posted on the trail bilboards but then decide to ask some hikers and they inform us to follow the white blazes. The white blazes are the start of the AT. Oh duh, now I remember reading about that!
Paul and I wonder back onto the main course, but because we are both directionally challenged we are unsure of which way to go. If we go down to the right and follow that blaze it's downhill but we just came downhill and look to our left and it's uphill, so we figure that is the way back. My tubing is frozen and we are 10-11 miles out, so we decide it's best in this weather just to turn back now and head back. We will make it to Three Forks another day. We are seeing hikers that we passed earlier on Springer so we know we are headed in the right direction.
We make it back to Springer Mountain and there is another trail runner, and he is writing in the journal. He is Asian and Paul strikes up a conversation with him. There are also 2 brothers on Springer and I am talking to them. We all decide to take pictures of each other on our cameras. The brothers tell me that they found a shortcut from the internet with very good direcctions to Springer Mountain and they only hiked one mile in. I give him my email address, and he emails me the directions in the days to come. I want to bring Lee and the kids up here with me sometime soon to see this! We actually can see the views this time!
On the way back my tubing has completly frozen. I have to take my camelback off at least twice to open it up and drink from the bladder. Paul has either ran out of water or his tubing is frozen so I share my water. We keep running. and eventually make it back.
Including our few little pit stops it takes us 7 hours and about 21 or so miles. It was a slow run although we worked so hard. We just had so many obstacles to overcome that day and had to take it slower over the snowy rocks. My leg still hurt but not as bad and not nearly as bad as it does when I run the roads.
This was by far the worst cold weather windy snowy day I have ever ran in my entire life, but I am so glad I did it.