It’s been awhile since I’ve updated, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy. In fact, since my last post – I’ve run two big races (and some smaller races):
- The USATF 50k Championship in Caumsett Park, in (on?) Long Island, 1st place, 3:23.29
- Lake Sonoma 50 mile, 14th place, 8:48
Lake Sonoma was my first long, super-ambitious, trail race. I will not lie – it was HARD (made more so by the fact that I managed to run probably a total of 5 hills all winter).
I was running along in 6th (or 7th?) place behind some pretty amazing runners – including Kaci Lickteig, Stephanie Howe, Cassie Scallon, Ashley Erba… when almost exactly at mile 43 , I took a step and experienced a sharp, blinding pain behind my left knee. As far as I recall, there was nothing notable about this step – I didn’t step unevenly, roll on a rock, or anything! – I just took a step and some muscle (what I have decided was/is my gastrocnemius) was fed up with the race and screamed to stop. It was done.
I did stop for a few moments. Then I did what I usually do when I’m running and something hurts: I try to continue running, but nope – my leg just wasn’t having it. I attempted to stretch (but that only made things worse). So after some huffing and puffing in place, I reluctantly decided I had to walk. Except, at first, I couldn’t. Walking was just as painful. So, then I did the next most reasonable thing: I tried walking backward – nope, that wouldn’t work either. Then eventually, I discovered that if I pointed my toe and walked on the ball of my foot, I could hobble along without pain. Hurrah!
In the end, I did finish Lake Sonoma (there was really no other option – as I discovered when I got to the aid station at mile 45 and they informed me that the only way out was by boat…at 8pm) and I learned a lot from the race. I lost a lot of time – and about 7 places in the last 7 miles of the race. But there were a lot of experienced runners in this race and running parts of it with them gave me some insight into how to better run and race a long trail course.
So, I’m happy (and obviously, humbled).
(Also, side note: this race is gorgeous! Not a bad place to spend 50 miles/8+hours exploring)
To celebrate the joy of running, trying new things, making mistakes (and learning from them) AND no longer being injured, Altra has generously offered to host a giveaway for a new pair of the Torin 2.
Since I’ve started wearing Altras, I’ve had a lot of people ask about them. I don’t really care much about specs when it comes to running shoes (but if YOU do – please read this interview with Golden Harper, co-founder of Altra). Really, I just want to run in something that is comfortable and race in something that is both comfortable and speedy. If I wear a shoe that fits those qualifications, I’m thinking about the race (or the run) – I’m not thinking about my shoes – and that’s important.
I truly love Altra shoes (not just a particular pair – but all the ones I’ve run in: One2, Olympus, Lone Peak, Superior, and the Torin 1.5). I love the wide toe box – my feet feel free while still having support. And for all my road runner friends out there – Altras are not just trail shoes! I can wear them on the track for a short speed workout and on a 50 mile trail run. I wore the One2 for all my indoor track workouts and the 50k championship this winter, and for JFK which covers both rugged trail, packed dirt, and road – and my feet and legs felt great. For Lake Sonoma, I wore the Superiors and was very happy with my choice!
I’m excited to have this opportunity to share a free pair of Altras! Whether you already run in them and are psyched to try the new Torin 2.0 – or if you’re one of those folks I’ve talked to recently who are thinking about trying them for the first time – here’s your chance to get a pair delivered straight to your door – for free!
You can enter the contest by posting a comment on my blog (ideas below) between today and next Wednesday (5/27), 5pm EST. I’ll also be running this contest on twitter (@SarahjBard) and you can gain an additional entry by retweeting the contest there!
As for the comments – here are some things I’d be interested to learn more about:
-Have you worn Altras? If so, what pair and what sort of run do you prefer them for (long runs, trail runs, speed-work)…
-Do you have any ultra race recommendations for me? Ones you’ve done and loved? Why was it such a great race (good course, amazing volunteers, good post-race provisions?)
-What’s the most beautiful place you’ve run – favorite place, loop, trail, etc… (please give me some run-destination ideas).
Good luck! I wish I could give everyone a pair of Altras!