I raced the Big Pine 50k Aravaipa Trail race on June 13th 2015 and I will NEVER forget it.
I had been just about 2 weeks out from North Face Endurance Challenge Costa Rica 50k
And felt pretty refreshed and ready to run another 50k. I ALSO had raced Leona Divide 50 miler to train for Costa Rica a good month plus some change beforehand
so I had the fever for the flavor of some Big Pine 50k. Bad news was camping was not good. No sleep night before and after my 1st friggn lap I gotta say my legs were burning up w lactic acid. I kinda liked the pain but then thought crap…I have 3 more loops to run. What the F is going on here. Have u run too much????
Rain n thunder set in on my 3rd lap and I did something I’ve never done in my 22 Ultra races to date this being my 23rd. I retreated to my tent not only to change clothes but to contemplate the unthinkable. I wanted to DNF. Im telling ya the letters make me wanna hurl. I don’t believe in it I have never done it and I’d have to be pretty f’d up to really go there. So I sat in my tent as it rained for 20 minutes just re training my brain I guess. My Body said Mel u have run enough…stop!!! Ur good girl. U have succeeded beyond belief. Chillax. Yeah right!!!!
I put on a lame rain poncho and said 1 more lap God…Let’s do this and I did. It actually felt pretty good and I beat the 2nd thunderstorm rolling in so I was stoked to have taken 6th I believe. Ditched the oversized rain poncho in the first three minutes by the way but had to roll it in a big ass ball and put it in my Camelbak gave it to a station . Miraculously I was feeling a bit more vibrant:)
As Ultra Runners we have so many goals and want to run so many races …are we suppose to just settle and b happy to finish them smoke n barrel or slow n stale yet still finish? I want to feel like I’ve accomplished my goals and put my very best version of Melissa Branta out on that trail EVERY DANG RACE!
After the race I was sore in my quads and aside from my 3rd lap having to stop and re tie my shoelace on my dominant left foot ; i thought to myself ok I will feel these sore quads for days when usually I’m out mtn biking the next day post my previous 50’s or 100k. Seriously yoga even hurt me that week after my race. No chair pose for this girl!!!
Had to teach a spin class sunday post race day at 8am fun fun and remembered gimping into the room a bit.
Next day couldn’t walk well at all. Pain in left shin and moreso ankle region. Foot had elephantitus look going on. All week long I’d walk into the Village at DC Ranch where I train clients and teach group x and I was getting worse n worse . Then it dawned on me…STRESS FRACTURE??? THE 2 WORST WORDS an Ultra runner can hear. I waited a full week and then had an Xray. Doc said xray was clean but he thought I had one so next I have to have an MRI. Check! Had it the following day and sure enough Tibial Stress Reaction / small fracture building up to be full blown if I dare to run on it anymore.
I have been a good girl for 2 months plus some change and no trail running or hiking of any kind. I have lived In my pool doing every kinda Aquatic movement one can think of.
Going to physical therapy 2 days a week for 6 weeks 90 min -2hrs a pop and to preseny still going. I’ve been at the bottom working my way back up. I’ve been patient and kind to myself allowing God to heal me and rest me at least that’s what I tell myself daily. I honestly remind myself just how lucky I have been for 2 years plus and 23 ultras and amazing accomplishments so NOW I have bottomed out..im sidelined but just this weekend got to go Run a mtn in Steamboat CO. I hadn’t run 11 miles for 2.5 months so u could imagine how high I felt on life on recovery on rebirth of my proclamation to ME in my glory as an Ultra athlete.
I leave u with this …I’m so grateful to my Team Aravaipa for instilling in me Courage , Compassion and Conviction when I race or run. I’m shooting for a Grand Canyon R-r-R monster the last weekend of sept then onto Cave Creek Thriller where I’ve won it overall female the last 2 years. Maybe a 3rd is in my future fitness forecast. From the bottom there is only one way UP up UP!