Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Umstead Ankle Sprain Run: 1/8

My first run in Umstead with Old Bob (my Garmin) didn't go like I had planned, as you can tell from the title of this post.  I had been looking forward to this run for a long time, but I kept having to delay running in Umstead either because of races or bad weather.  So, when the day finally arrived that I could take Old Bob out to Umstead, I was really excited.  It was pretty cold and snow flurries were falling as I started down the trail.  I deiced to run out to the bridge and then go around the loop once, and then walk back from there.  I didn't think that I would be able to do the whole trail, so I started down the trail at a running pace after doing my stretching rather than walking to the bridge like I do most of the time.  I really wanted to be able to get accurate distances for the course for the first time, but  made a pretty good effort to ignore my Old Bob other than to look at my mile pace when I heard the beep for each mile.  I knew that I needed to concentrate on the trail or I would be eating dirt quickly.

The first mile went well.  There were a lot of people on the trail heading back to their cars because of the snow, but I wasn't worried about it because I had heard the weather report and knew that it wasn't going to last.  I ran the first mile in 11:13.31, which I thought was pretty good considering the difficulty of this part of the trail.

The second mile of the trail has a larger up hill portion than the first mile, but there is also one of the longest flat parts and the trail is much less difficult because there are far few rocks and root to negotiate in this portion.  Also there were only a few people on this part of the trail because most families out for a stroll in the woods stop at the bridge and head back to their cars.  The snow had stopped by the time I finished the second mile.  I did this mile at a slightly slower pace than the first.  11:19.06

The third mile was is a little more of the up hill then you cross the Horse road and start a bit of a down hill.  This portion of the trial is tight in places but is probably the portion of the trial with the fewest rocks and roots other than the last part of the trail.  It is good place to recover a bit from the climb in the second mile of the trial.  I was struggling before I crossed the house road, but I was able to recover some after I crossed the road and was feeling good by the end of this mile, which took 11:20.46  There are some narrow portions and moderate rises, but this is a fun portion of the trail.  There are a few spots where you and pick up speed and really open up you stride because the trail is in pretty good shape even though it is really narrow.  I enjoy this portion of the trail more than any other part of the run.

The fourth mile is both the most difficult because of roots and rock, steep up hills, and steep stairs.  It is  portion of trail is always where I fear falling the most and risk running out of gas.  I went through this portion of the trail much slower despite one good spot for speed.  This is the part of the trail that I like least.  I did it in 12:26.19

The last .85 mile is the least difficult portion of the trial.  There are only two trouble spots .  The first is where the trail narrows really tight in one spot.  It is a good place for speed as long as you don't meet up with another person on the trail, which is what happened to me.  The other portion is right at the end there are some large rocks that form an obstacle in the trail that you need to negotiate.  I made it through the first trouble spot despite meeting up with a guy who was walking in the opposite direction and not really doing much to move off of the trail when he saw me coming towards him.  He basically took one step to the side and stopped walking.  This forced me to over to the side more than the trail will really allow you to do and put me really off balance.  I made it past him and around the next little bend but was getting more and more off balance until I took a bad step and rolled my left ankle.  I could ear the tendon crunching as the ankle rolled, and though for a second that I was going to fall, but my right leg planted extremely well my next few steps on the left side became more hops than steps.  The pain was kind of bad, and I could tell that this was more than a twist, but I also knew that it was not a high ankle sprain either.  I have had many, and they have never allowed me to bear any weight.  I figured that at this point the best thing that I could do was keep going at least until the bridge where there would be more people if I needed help.  I ran the last portion of the trail at a 10:25 minute mile pace, which was faster than any other portion of the trail.  This portion is the fast part of the trail, and had I not sprained my ankle I am sure I would have been around an 9 min. mile pace on it.

Once I got to the bridge I was able to walk back to the parking lot.  Once I got home I ice the ankle, but it had swollen up a good bit, luckily not too bad and there was no bruising or discoloration.  So, I think that I got pretty lucky as far as sprains go.  Especially considering my race in Hawaii was only two weeks a way.

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