On Friday morning I ran an easy 30 minutes before picking up a 12 passenger van the team would be taking on a trek to Charlotte, North Carolina. I intended to take Friday off, but I am glad I ran since I had no noticeable injury issues...and no pain. The van ride was filled with tomfoolery and we arrived at our hotel circa 8 hours after departing DC.
We left the hotel at 10am the next morning and made the short trip to McAlpine Park. The course looked fast albeit one hill. There was no undulating terrain and instead the trail was marked with crushed limestone. I was itching to race. Eventually I stopped shaking and got ready to watch a solid GRC team take to the course. The team got out well and ran very tough in a race that is meant to humble you. Wiggy and Hanson seemed to have the races of the day, but 3 of our top 5 all ran better than what they did at flat/fast/PR-friendly Vet's Day just a month earlier. I got in 10 for the day, but it was broken up over the course of a team warm-up, sprinting between mile markers to cheer and a cool-down. The team finished 14 (out of 45), off our goal of top 10, but we really couldn't have run much better out there. The competition is steep and the team ran so well. Last year we were 19 (out of 40), so we're improving each year. It was very tough for me personally not to be out there pounding dirt, but my day will come. Later we had celebratory brews and giant pizza pies before heading out to the post-race party. Here, I foolishly jumped on the back of a mechanical bull doing my best to get "8-seconds". I was thrown off once, then twice then a third time. Immediately after I stumbled from the "arena" I could feel my injury area. Within moments I was limping. Damn it. I hadn't even thought this might mess me up. I told myself I'd be fine but the limping never subsided. The next morning I woke up to run with the team from the hotel but I made it just shy of two city blocks. Damn it. I limped home cursing at my own stupidity.
I felt better on Monday but took the day off to be cautious. I awoke Tuesday not knowing what to expect, but soon found myself bounding down the snowy sidewalks. Thank God. I got in 9 miles, mostly with Luffington, Predator, Jimmy and Matt, and I ended the run feeling as normal as I've been feeling.