I’ve taken a pretty long, and indirect journey back from last June’s knee surgery. While rehab went extremely well, it was slow and at times tested my patience, both mentally and physically. I decided fairly early on in the recovery process that I was not going to rush back into a heavy load of training and racing, half for fear of pushing too hard, too soon and half because I decided that I would take a short leave to partake in all of the other things I love to do.
After spending the fall racing on my mountain and cyclocross bikes and some early winter x.c. skiing my fitness had started to return and my knee was feeling strong, but I was definitely missing something. I was having a hard time motivating myself to head out the door and head to the trails to ski and an even harder time getting up the energy to start my interval sessions. I was essentially go through the motions.
The first week of January as Lindsey headed off to Anchorage for U.S. Nationals, I headed to Madison, Wisconsin for a week of trade-shows. I left my skis at home, deciding that I would pack my running shoes for the weeks training. After a week of running I realized exactly what I was missing, and so…it was time to get back to running. I’ve been running extremely hard for the past month and my body is responding incredibly well. I don’t think about my knee when I’m running anymore, and for those of you who have come back from an injury, it may be the biggest hurdle in the recovery process.
I’ve never had any trouble getting fired up or focusing heading into a season. Lose a season in which you expected big things out of yourself and the build up into the next season is almost unbearable. Motivation is high and every workout is welcomed. This past week was a decent volume training week and included a 7 mile barefoot session to work on my stride/foot strike and strengthen my feet for the upcoming season, which will include a few 50k’s, a 24 hour and one bad ass 100 miler, the Leadville 100.
On Friday afternoon I found out that there was a 15 mile (actually a 25k) snowshoe race being held in conjunction with the Noquemanon Ski Marathon. The race course covered the exact same course as the Half Noque. With the opportunity in front of me, I decided to enter my first running race since April. Things went well. Knee was strong. A new course record was set. Thats a good way to kick off a new season of running. When it was all said an done, I finished in 1:47:38, averaging sub 7′s in my first snowshoe race ever. I beat the previous course record, set in 2004 by Tom Sobal, by a little under 5 minutes. Course records are sweet, but the best part was the looks on the faces of racers in the freestyle 25k as I past them. Not just a few, 42 of them.
I just signed up for another snowshoe race next weekend. I’m focused, I’m having fun and most importantly, I’m BACK.
Fortitudine Vincimus…By endurance we conquer.