I knew I was undertrained for Chuckanut and that my hip and right glute had been bothering me for some time, but I figured I could run slow and still muddle through. And in hindsight, I probably could have stuck it out and finished. I simply wasn't having fun and wimped out.
The run started out on a bad note - we were two cars from pulling into the parking lot when we were turned away. The lot was full. With four runners in a single vehicle, the was particularly disappointing. With the extra poplularity of Chuckanut, I would like to see some parking priority given to those who do make the effort to carpool. On a positive note, it was typical Chuckanut with old friends at every turn. I need half a day just to say hello to everyone and catch up with their lives.
The run started okay with Mark Hartinger and I pledging to run slow and easily together. We both commented on how this year the enthusiasm for running just wasn't there. The first 10K was longer than ever, but went okay. Our group of runners joked and chatted while we kept moving along. I felt okay, if a bit tired as we started up Cleator Road. The road had more mud on it than any previous year that I can remember. It is commonly wet, but hadn't been muddy before that I can recall.
It was on Cleator Road where the wheels started to come off. Mark hung with me and was tremendously encouraging and supportive; I simply had no gas in the tank. Normally, I am able to pass people along the ridge trail. The technical conditions suit me and I can bop along pretty well. Not this year. My calves started cramping pretty early on the ridge, in spite of drinking and taking some electrolyte capsules. By the time we reached the back side mud fest, I was dragging. My hip and butt were sore and I was not having fun anymore. I finally convinced Mark to go ahead and continued to walk. After being passed inumerable times, I finally made it over the crest near Lost Lake and tried to run the downhill. The mud made it slippery and every step was uncomfortable. Not a sharp pain, just a large discomfort. When I reached the gate at the bottom, I went straight through instead of turning right and heading up to Little Chinscraper. From this point, I hiked down to the last aid station and begged a ride to the finish.
I had plenty of time, reaching the gate about 3:40 into the run. Why didn't I go ahead and finish? Bottom line - I just didn't want to enough. I wasn't having fun. I was battling some discomfort that my lack of enthusiasm used as an excuse to bail. As a result, my first DNF in the 9 years of ultra-running that I have done.
I have started some follow up on the hip and glute pain. X-rays show nothing abnormal. An MRI is up next. Most likely, the issue is related to a back condition (spondylolithesis) that I was first diagnosed with in high school. I guess we'll see what the docs say.
Hopefully, I can find my lost enthusiasm and get back on my horse soon. I need to be in good shape by the end of June to be able to keep up with tc at Western States. It would be bad form for a pacer to not be able to keep up with his runner. - KRK