Well, we're inside 30 days till Highlands Sky. It actually seems hard to believe. Wasn't it just yesterday I began training for this thing?
I had to tweak my training schedule last weekend (May 12 - 13) because the family got together in Pittsburgh to help celebrate Hillary's graduation from Pitt Law.
So, my schedule called for a 31 miler on Saturday and I obviously couldn't fit it in that day, so I took a vacation day and planned on the 31 for Monday. Monday morning was dawning wet with a forecast of continued rain throughout the day. At 0500 as I sat drinking a cup of coffee and getting ready to walk our two Golden Retrievers, I had thoughts of bailing out, but Highlands being only a month away, I just had to get my head right and hit the road. The night before, I measured 15.5 miles and set up my personal aid station which consisted of a recycled 2 liter Coke bottle filled with water. I carried all my nourishment.
My long weekend runs are supposed to be on trails, but the water was high, and creek crossings were going to be a potential problem, so I opted to run on a Forest Service road. It was 95% unpaved and several miles of it were very rugged (almost technical), so it closely mimicked trail running except for the width. It was so rugged my Ford Escape bottomed out while I was measuring the distance to my turnaround.
I started my run in a steady rain, which continued for 3 or so miles. Then much of the rest of the morning was a mixture of light drizzle or just being overcast. I quickly got into the groove and was enjoying myself. I saw a Scarlet Tanager (the first I had seen in probably 10 years) plus 4 Wild Turkeys and a big hawk. It was very cool. I hit my turnaround in good time (for me), refilled my water bottles, took a long drink and began the return run. I was feeling pretty good and strong. I guess I stopped paying attention to the road, which was very rough at this point, and the next thing I knew, I was on the ground looking up. I got back up, checked myself out (hands were OK, arms were OK, left knee was bloody and dirty, so I sacrificed part of a water bottle (ever cognizant of dehydration) to try and irrigate it and clean it up some and resumed my run. I ran probably 12 miles back to my car. My split was only a few minutes off my turn around split (even with the fall) so I felt good about that. I really felt pretty good (much of the last 10 miles was up hill), but I was majorly upset with myself for having fallen. Stupid. Not paying attention. Yada yada. When I got to the car, I finally looked at my wound and it was pretty ugly. Blood all the way from my knee down to my shoe.
I got home and stretched out, then hit the shower. I washed my wound with soap and water and other than a little stinging, had no pain. I dried off and was ready to dress the wound and get on with things. When I pulled back the flap of skin, all I could see besides blood was rotten leaves and gravel. I knew I needed professional debridement, so Hillary and I headed to our ER. The timing was great because they weren't very busy and we did not have a long wait. Dr. Susan Bobes took care of me. Ironically, she sutured my other knee about 10 years ago after I tried to rock hop across the "infamous Otter Creek" and hit a patch of ice on a rock. That resulted in total immersion in the creek in February and the ensuing trip to the ER. Hillary went with me on that trip too. Anyway, Dr. Bobes cleaned the wound out and put about 6 stitches in it. Anti-biotics and I was out the door. The following is a graphic representation of what my knee looked like, so those of you with squeamish stomachs, you may want to skip this.
Following a couple of courses of IV anti-biotics and tweaking my dressings, I've been cleared to resume running (only missed 2 days). I kind of cheated, because one of the docs who saw me (John Logar) is an Ultra runner too, and I knew he'd tell me it was OK to run. :-) On a side note, John rode his mountain bike to work yesterday. He lives about 40 miles away, so it's not just riding up the street. He saw a sow with two cubs about the size of 10 lb. bags of flour (or sugar too for that matter). I haven't seen a bear while running since one I saw about 30 years or so ago, although I did follow a bear track in the snow earlier this spring.
I think the moral to this story is that we need to be ever vigilant. Carelessness puts us on the ground. So after only one fall in 8 days of running trails, I wipe out on a stupid road. Go figure!