Monday, June 27, 2011

Warrior Dash

Or: How I Spent My Sunday In Mud

I knew that the Warrior Dash was going to be pretty crazy, after all it bills itself as the "Craziest frickin' day of your life", so I was expecting it. It did not disappoint.

We arrived at the shuttle area with plenty of time before our 11AM wave and was greeted by this:

One big-ass line
Don't worry, we made it to the start eventually.  Then I began to wonder whose bright idea this was.
Um, okay then?

But we are warriors dammit!  Right?  Whose with me?! Anyone?  Okay, time to get into the corral for our start.  Looking around I noticed one interesting fact: (two actually, the first being that people will look for any opportunity to dress up crazily, but that is irrelevant to my story) I was the only one in the group wearing trail shoes.  You know, shoes that are designed to be worn while running over dirt and grass and mud.  Pretty much the exact conditions we were to be facing.  Interesting fact, let's see how it plays out.  One thing I will give the race credit for though, is that they have a recycling program for old shoes.  Wear your shoes during the race and instead of bringing home a souvenir pair of mud sculptures you just throw away the shoes. So this may explain the shoe wearing.
Apparently it is a popular option.

Enough of that, race time!  The gun, er, the shooting flamethrowers go off signaling the beginning of our wave and with a warrior yell we start to run!  And then everyone starts to walk.  The start of the race goes right up the side of a moderate hill for about 120 yards. Here I am thinking how much easier this is than Mt Washington and  yet everyone around me is walking.  Only one thing to do, pour on the speed.  I rapidly left many of them behind and powered my way up the hill into the Forest Of Doom™ (I made that name up) where I leapt like a stag picking my way through the downhill slope.  It was here that I realized that the race wasn't just going to involve running through mud, it was running through mud the entire way.

I continued to pass people.  I ran through muddy puddles.  I slipped, and slided, and generally had a fun time.  I also began to notice that  I was pretty much the only one still running. At the half way point I was still cracking jokes and I was still being ignored by everyone around me.  No accounting for taste I guess.

Finally we began to get to some good obstacles.  The first real one (I omitted the one called "Arachnaphobia" because it was really just a cord stretched between some trees) was a series of walls which were about 3.5-4 feet tall.  You jump over them then scurry under the next one.  Easy.  I attacked it with vigor and leapt over the first wall.  My right foot landed in some mud and I expected the same of my left but instead it managed to find the one piece of solid ground anywhere on the course.  It crunched down hard and hurt.  Visions of a swollen and bruised ankle danced through my head, and marathon training began the next day!  No!  I'd have to deal with that later, onwards through the mud!

More obstacles appeared; the balance planks, the tall wall to climb, the slow walkers (the actual people, not a real obstacle).  I approached and conquered them all.  Truth be told, I was really just jogging the course and having a good time.  The weather was great and the mud wasn't too bad once you figured out how to run through it.  As I rounded a corner I then came face to face with the most intimidating obstacle of the race, the Warrior Roast. Two lines of burning logs stood between me and the free-flowing beer at the end of the race.  I put my head down, quickened my pace, and soared over the flaming debris to freedom!  Actually the logs were only about a foot high so all I needed to do was lift my feet slightly higher than normal.  That was kind of a let down to tell the truth.

Finally I reached the top of the last hill.  Scrambled over the rope wall and slid my way down the steep mud slide; making sure to perform a flawless 360 degree turn on the way down.  There I was presented with a surprise final obstacle, a rope walk, which I rapidly defeated by running over along the support beams.
Jen's technique works too
And then the finish.  Huzzah!  I was covered in mud but had a fun time all around. Next up, turkey legs and beer!
Warrior food

I actually ended up placing 76 overall and 17th AG with a time of 34:05.  Next time I think that I'll actually try instead of just jogging it.

Some pics for your enjoyment.
The "before" picture

And after

Happy to be done
Me and my warrior

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Mount Washington Road Race

Twice now I have competed in what is perhaps the dumbest race anyone could ever think of; the Mount Washington Road Race. Why anyone would want to run up a mountain is still a complete mystery to me, even though I have completed it twice now. I think it may be one of those cases of "Because it's there". There really is no other reason for this race to exist. The best quote I heard when telling people that I was doing this race came from Zac when he replied "Why would I want to do that? I already know how to run slow." And run slow I did.

Can you blame me for being slow?
The first time I ran this race in 2009 I fell apart real early and ended up only making it about a mile and a half before I started to walk. It was a source of embarrassment being passed by everyone as we made our way up the hill. I just couldn't hold it together and felt like I walked more than I ran.
My final time was 1:49:57 and I was none too happy about that. 2009 was a big year for me running-wise and going into the race I thought I was ready to rock and show that mountain who was boss! Then it bitch slapped me hard and I learned a valuable lesson; confidence is good but you better have the skills to back it up. Apparently I did not have those skills. My goal this year was far more humble; run as far as I can without walking and then do my best.

As we waited in the field for the start it began to rain, nay, it began to pour. Maybe I should put on a long sleeve, it could be cold up there. Oh yeah, I sent all my gear to the summit. Total dumbass move. Luckily it stopped raining about ten minutes before the start. We made our way to the start and settled in about half way into the crowd where I promptly turned to Mel B and mentioned that I was a bit unnerved being so far back from the start. This proved to be very prescient of me as I thought that since they were using the B-Tag system it wouldn't matter where I started but little did I know that it only recorded the finish time, there was no start line mat. Tricia's kids were there at the start to cheer us on and then the cannon went off to herald us up the mountain.

I had decided on a conservative approach this time so I tucked in behind Mel and Tricia and let them set the pace. Since I had recently received my new Garmin 610 one of the goals on the day was to test out the heart rate monitor. I switched over to the hear rate screen so that I wouldn't keep looking at my pace and instead I just ran by feel. The hill got steep real quick but I managed to keep shuffling along until I found myself moving past the girls around the first mile mark. So far so good.

By mile two I was still making my way up the hill. It was certainly no fun but my legs were holding up well. Apparently around this time a girl managed to fall of the mountain. Tricia and Mel were right there when it happened and saw her tumble down the steep road side and possibly break some bones. Tricia sprang into action and asked if she needed CPR but then realized that she did not and continued on with the race. There are no guardrails at all on the road and one wrong step can easily result in this type of tumble. I had thought of this exact scenario as I was running since most of my first few miles were run right up against the side of the pavement.
Nothing here but sky
Half way arrived and I was still chugging along. It was getting harder but my spirits were high. If I could make it 3.8 miles I could make it 4. And if I could make it 4 I could make it 5, etc. Mile four arrived and the legs were starting to feel it. 4.3 and it was getting real steep. At mile 4.4 the road turned to dirt and the legs were really feeling it now. Finally I made the decision to take a break, 4.5 miles I began to walk for the first time. I was happy that I had made it so far, but it still felt like the worst was yet to come.

The last three miles were a series of walk and runs. At first I would walk for no more than 90 seconds and then run for however long I felt I could. Eventually I abandoned any plan and just went with how I felt. Surprisingly I found that my walking time was getting shorter and even thought the time running wasn't really long, in total I was running much more than walking. Once we broke through the tree line there was a cool breeze to help me along and some spectacular views. Unfortunately I could not see large portions of the road where before I could only see about a quarter mile at best. It was a bit demoralizing looking up and just seeing the road stretch on for a couple miles. But at the same time I could look up and plan what sections to run and walk.

Towards the top the road flattens out a bit into long stretches. It was easy to walk the small steep parts and then run the longer bits. I found that I would walk for about 30-60 seconds and then I could run for almost a half mile. The only limiting factor now was the elevation, I was starting to feel it in my lungs. The lingering cold I had was causing me to wheeze and it was clear that it was getting harder to suck in enough oxygen. Passing the 6000 foot marker I knew that the end was near. A couple of young girls were dancing on some rocks cheering us on, they had drawn encouraging slogans in chalk on the road. The observatory was looming overhead at this point.

The last half mile and I was determined to run it all the way in. It wasn't bad, some of the flattest parts of the race, right up until you hit "The Wall". A 22% grade slope which is the last test before the finish. It is short, maybe 30-40 feet long but it hits you like a truck. Even though I was ready for it as soon as I began to climb up it my head got dizzy, I slowed down to nearly nothing, and I wanted ever so badly to throw up. But I kept those feet moving, inspired on by the cheering crowd and as I made the final turn to the finish I saw the clock flashing out a 1:37 and knew that I was going to beat my old time by over ten minutes.

I crossed the finish line gasping for breath. This was the second time I had made it all the way to the summit but this time it was different. In 2009 I was utterly defeated by the hill, there was virtually nothing about that race that was positive (except the weather). This time I ran the race with respect for the course and it made all the difference. I didn't defeat the mountain, but it didn't beat me either. Overall the day was a success; good weather, good pace, the legs held up, and I had redeemed myself from the last time.

As I looked out over the valley from the highest peak in New England I smiled and enjoyed having finished another great run. And then I smiled some more as I realized that I had packed some great beer for the ride down.

And there was much rejoicing

Monday, June 13, 2011

NE Relay race report

27 hours, 21 minutes, 46 seconds.
223.1 (official) miles
6 guys
1 van

An epic struggle of Man against asphalt across all six New England states concluded at 1:02 PM Sunday afternoon on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean in Kittery Maine.  And the result of that battle was a resounding win for Man.  The Deadly Viper Assassination Squad (or Divas, as everyone was calling us) dominated the race as the team to reckon with.

9:30AM on Saturday Cisco began our journey as our first runner.  Because of the tornado damage in the area legs 4 and 5 were cancelled and instead those two ran leg 2 and 3 with the other assigned runners.  It was kind of a messed up solution to the problem and I'm still not entirely convinced it was the best solution.

Although I can see their concern
By round two I had enough of the warmup and decided that I was just going to hammer each leg.  Screw saving some for later; I figured that it'd be better to push every leg and eventually succumb to fatigue towards the end than to save some energy and find myself with a lot more to give.  This was a challenge of attrition not a contest to see who feels better at the finish.  I started my second leg with UMass Amherst as my destination and with Zac's final words as he approached the transition area ringing in my head:

"There was a bear in the road"

Great.  I'm going to be eaten by a bear.  That thought never left my mind for the next 150 miles.

Leg three and I got the honor of crossing from Vermont to New Hampshire.  It is exactly as exciting as it sounds.  Round the rotary, down the hill, over the bridge, and pass off the baton in the parking lot of a liquor store.  Welcome to New Hampshire.

As we milled about in the third major exchange area (the area where the significantly less-abled runners would meet their other van full of sub-par runners and hand off the running duty to so that they could sleep and sip champagne instead of running) we began to hear rumors that the DVAS were so hardcore that we had managed to pass all of the other teams and were now leading the race.  The only other team ahead of us was another Ultra that had started 4 hours before us.  This instantly did two things to me psychologically.  First it instilled a "Fuck yeah, we rock" attitude in me.  Good for moral.  But secondly it also planted an idea in my head that I would be damned if I was going to let anyone pass me.  It seemed inevitable that a 12 person team had to eventually catch up to us but there was no way that I was going to be the one to let them by.  And I wasn't.  Although someone did get pretty close on my fifth leg.

But back to leg four.  It was a lot of downhills. A lot of downhills.  But there were also plenty of uphills too; especially at mile 8.7 when I was nearly reduced to a walk because the hill was so steep (I did not walk!).  Luckily the team with the cute girls on it kept stopping along the route to cheer me on.  Probably because I rocked that course so hard that they were drawn to my awesomeness.  But they also could have been cheering on a teammate that was running behind me.  I'm pretty sure it was my awesomeness.

Look at that freakin' hill at the end

Leg five began at 4:15 in the morning.  It was dark and the parking lot of the school we were at was completely empty.  We were alone at the front of the race.  That meant there were no lines for the porta-let.  Finally!  I took off into the darkness instantly stepping into a huge puddle but happy to be starting the last of my long legs.  Soon enough the sun was coming up and for the first time since the rednecks in Vermont stumbled out of the bars and into the streets there was some traffic on the roads.  Signs of life were starting to appear around me as I made my way down the road on my run towards Manchester.  It was getting harder to keep up a fast pace and the fatigue was setting in earlier than it had over the previous four legs but I still managed to hold a good pace. Soon enough I crossed the bridge and was in Manchester itself.  Being that it was not even 5AM yet I took every opportunity to run right down the middle of the road.  Take that largest city in New Hampshire!  

The leg ended with another gigantic hill that lasted about half a mile.  I struggled and pushed and ran my way up that thing and as I got close to the transition area I could see our van but Jake was nowhere in sight.  WTF was going on?  There was no way in hell that I was waiting to pass off this baton.  Suddenly he appeared, running out of the porta-let, ripping off his shirt and grabbed the baton just as I arrived.  Perfect timing.  Apparently the sequence of events went like this: they arrived at the transition area and he badly needed a toilet but there was none to be found.  The truck with the porta-let arrived to deliver it and as the base of it touched the ground he was in there taking care of business.  While this was going on I was making my way up that final hill.  The choreography of it all was sublime.

As we approached transition area 29 we were told that there was going to be a one hour hold until we could proceed because our current pace would bring us to the finish before the park it was in would even open.  Further proof that we were both kicking ass and, when the mood struck us, taking names.  But trouble was brewing, the team stacked with Brown college track runners was starting to catch up to us.  With the delay we would be starting the next leg together and it turns out that they had started the race at the same time as us.  This had suddenly become an actual race.  Exciting but short lived; she kicked Ollie's ass over that 11.6 mile leg.  C'est la vie.

Leg six and we were back on top.  Cisco and Zac had managed to beat out the Brown team and I had no intention of letting them back on top.  This was my shortest leg and I planned to give it everything I had left so when Zac handed off the bracelet I took off flying.  Mile two I came upon a trooper who had pulled over a car and in the process managed to block both the gigantic shoulder of the bridge we were on but also half of the travel lane.  As I ran towards them he was approaching the car he had stopped and for some reason he turned his back to me.  Noting the hand on the gun I made sure to loudly yell out "Behind you" as I approached.  Always a good idea to avoid startling anyone with a loaded weapon.  My last leg went down as my fastest and while it felt good I was glad to be done.

Three legs later we were done.  After downing our lobster rolls (but no beer, you bastards) we stood on the finish line to watch the Brown team cross before us and then to welcome Ollie back as he finished our run off a few minutes later.  It was done, nothing left but the drive home.

The finish.  At least it stopped raining.

My stats (via my GPS): 
TL;DR. We ran an Ultra relay this weekend.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Let six is done. Apparently I had a bit left in the tank as I managed to cover the 3.9 miles in 23:27, a 6:34 pace. My best of the race.  All told I covered 39.9 miles (officially) with an average pace of around 6:55 over 4 hours and 37 minutes. Not too bad considering it dogged the first 4.4 miles.  Zac and I both managed sub 7 pace for the whole race.

Two legs left until the finish and we find out if we took the Ultra division and how we fared overall. I'm really thinking we are top five. We will see.


That's what the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad has been doing. Around the major exchange at the end of the third leg we began to hear rumors that we were the first team. Not the first Ultra team, the first team overall. Now it was still a bit early,  there's no prizes for being the leader halfway, but this was a great place to be.

We were the ones that everyone was whispering. That Ultra team that was passing everyone. We had no decoration on the van and no identifying markers so we cruises on incognito. 

My last transition there was literally no one.  I took off without a team in sight.  We passed the final Ultra team at exchange 25. They had started 4 hours before us.

We have dominated so hard that the race director has ordered a one hour hold something that we don't arrive at the finish before the park opens.

Yeah, we're that good.

Two more

Four and five are in the books. And man, leg four was a bitch. Zac handed off to me after a brutal 8 miles straight up hill. My legs looked to be all downhill but I quickly found out that it wasn't. The severe, arm flailing downhills were matched by equally fun uphills. Wisely the race director decided to put a hill so steep right at mile 8.7 that I could almost touch the pavement as I ran. That sucked.

One time warp of a nap later and apparently it was time to get ready again. Let 5 was a gentle 8.1 which took me through Manchester.  The bad part. And once again there was a half mile hill to climb at the end where I found Jake frantically running out of the porta-let to start his leg. Good times. 

One more state to go.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Three down

Three to go.

Quick note: after one leg Zac came into the transition area saying that there was a bear in the road. I kid you not.

First of the long runs for me. 8.1 miles which kept going and going,  probably because it was actually 8.8 miles.  My bad. I pushed it hard,  maybe too hard. Finished off at 60 minutes 15 seconds for a 6:49 pace. Yipes. Let's see what that does to me later.

Hoping to catch some sleep soon beforemy longest run of the race, 9.6 miles. Long,  but it's all downhill.  Should be fine as long as my stomach holds out.  Starting to get duvet in there. 

Think of us tonight as you hoist another brew.

Second round

Second run done. 5.1 miles in 34:26,  6:44 pace. A bit quick but there were some good downhills for the assist. Next leg will show us if we have been going out too fast or not.

So far both runs have been solid but the next three are all near or over 9 miles long, so the real work begins then.  9.5 down, 30.1 left to go.

One down

At exchange 6 waiting for Ollie to get here. That will mean we have each run once. Only 5 more legs for each. So far everyone is running well and nothing has gone "sproing" yet.

Rain is on and off and it is cool out.  Should be interesting this evening as signage on the course has not been stellar.

The non–ultra teams seem to have so much energy.  Meanwhile we spend most of the time sitting. Bastards, we'll show them.

Race time

<p>The day of the New England Relay is upon me and as the rain falls down on the windscreen our van as we head to the start all I can think of is,&nbsp; this can is going to reek by tomorrow. Six guys,&nbsp; running, rain, and one can. Yipes. </p>
<p>So much I ready?&nbsp; I guess I'll find out soon. My training has been much better than ever.&nbsp; I've hit every key workout and my recent performance at the Corporate Challenge leads me to believ that I am. But then again,&nbsp; it's 40 miles over 24 hours. The fatigue will be a huge factor. </p>
<p>There is only one thing I am disappointed in myself with: I never did reach my goal weight. I got close,&nbsp; within one pound, but close isn't good enough. A 3:11 isn't a 3:10. One gets you into Boston the other gets you does calves. Something to work on. </p>
<p>Finally, the only thing that has me worried is my heel. It has been an issue since April and while it had leveled off into a predictable injury it still has the potential to be a huge problem. Time and miles will tell.</p>
<p>Off to the start now,  more later. </p>

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


"[T]here are known knowns; there are things we know we know.
We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don't know we don't know."

—Former United States Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
Such as in war, so as in racing.  We spend months, sometimes years training and preparing for certain races and in the end there will always be aspects that are completely out of our control.

Some of these things are obvious and known to all, for instance, the course.  Being that it is usually proper form to lay out the course before race day, we can easily look at the route and study it.  The more studious amongst us will also try to train on the actual course in order to become familiar with it.  For races like a relay the organizers send out a course packet with each leg's map and elevation chart so that we can review what we will be running.

The known unknowns would include uncontrollable aspects of race day such as the weather.  With the relay this weekend it looks like we have gotten really lucky.  Tomorrow it is going to be over 90 degrees, some reports top it out at over 100, and humid but that weather pattern will clear out by Friday leaving us with temps from the 50's to the low 70's.  The difference of 48 hours is looking to be the difference between excellent running weather and an absolute weekend of hell and misery (think: being stuck in an elevator with Carrot Top for two days).

Another important known unknown for many runners when racing is who else will be racing that day.  While this may only be a factor for those runners trying for a win (overall or AG) it is definitely a huge part of racing.  After all, you way run the race of your life but if you are up against an Olympic qualifier then chances are you're not going to win.

Now as for unknown unknowns, well, these are the things that we either don't even realize that they can effect us or we just fail to even think about them during race planning.  For instance, the tornadoes that hit western Mass last week have forced some of the legs of the relay to be changed.  Who could have seen that event coming?

There are countless things that could be considered unknown unknowns and I tend to categorize anything that I ignore in that category.  Unfortunately one of those things hit me last night at 1AM.  I woke up and had trouble getting back to sleep because I was having trouble breathing right.  My throat was sore, I was choking, and yup, my glands were swollen.  Damn, I was getting a cold four days before the relay.  I categorize this as an unknown unknowns just because there is nothing that can be done about it.  I can't plan to not be sick and even if I do have a cold there is nothing more that I can do about it then what I am doing on a normal taper.  It's a fact of life and it sucks balls.

Ultimately, one has to just ignore the unknown unknowns and learn not to stress out about them.  There is nothing that you can do to try and mitigate problems when you don't even know what they may be.  Focus on what you know and can control, or at least plan for those things that you can't control but may be able to mitigate.  Much of the anxiety for some in the lead up to a big race is the fear of the unknown.  This is counter-productive.  It is good to have a plan.  It is good to be nervous and excited and to triple check your gear and food and drink and etc.  Channel your energy into that and stop worrying about what you can't control.  At the end of the day we're just racing ourselves, everything else is just background noise.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Corporate Challenge results

When I last left you yesterday I was worried about whether I would be running the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge due to a new pain in the leg.  After donning my GNRC singlet (gotta represent!) I went out for a warm up run and the leg seemed fine during it so I decided that the race was on.  As it turns out the leg soreness was a complete non-issue during the race.

It's amazing that after all the races I have done I still get anxious beforehand.  As I was pinning my number on my shirt I was surprised that I was getting increasingly nervous with anticipation.  All those old pre-race feelings came rushing back just like it was my first race.  I was looking forward to really getting out there and proving to myself that all of the training over the past few months was paying off so I was extra jittery and nervous.

At this point I should mention that I am not a fan of the start of this race.  You stand around waiting for them to let you on to Charles St. and when they finally do you have to fight your way to the front where you stand around for another 15 minutes while they drone on about how great their sponsors are while slow runners start making their way in front of you.  I started two rows of people back but by the time the horn went off I was more like 6 rows back.  As a nice little change this year though, when they went to play the National Anthem there was a technical problem and nothing played.  So instead we all just started singing.  It was really great and a good lift to the spirits to get the race started.

The horn goes off and exactly like every other year, I spend the first half mile fighting the crowd, weaving and dodging, trying to set a good pace.  Finally I had enough room to settle in and I quickly realized that a 6 minute pace was feeling real comfortable.  It was decided right there then, it was going to be a 6 minute or better pace the whole way.  Mile one comes up at 6:10, a bit slow due to the crowds but right on target.

As I approached Kenmore Sq. I could see the leaders flying by and I was surprised that they weren't that far ahead (the winner finished in 16:48 so it is somewhat relative).  The turnaround in Kenmore and I was feeling great.  Mile two went by at 12:08; I had picked up the pace and was running under 6 minute pace now.

The great straightaway was ahead as we made our way back down Comm Ave.  This is where people start falling apart, they go out quick surrounded by fast runners and then die on the long run back.  This is also where I started picking them off.  Two thoughts kept going through my head, keep that 6 minute pace and if there was any doubt, trust in my training (good advice from Mary there). I clung to that pace but was rather shocked that I didn't really have to work at it, the run still felt strong and fluid.  It took an effort but it wasn't exactly hard, I wasn't struggling with form or breathing.

Which meant only one thing; as we took the first turn around the Public Garden it was time to speed things up.  Everyone around me was hurting.  The number 8 woman was just in front of me.  I still had gas in the tank.  I pushed the pace down to a 5:35 and tore up the final stretch, passing a few more people.  As I approached the finish line the time on the clock was getting close to 21 minutes.  A last burst of speed guaranteed me a sub-21 minute time.

I was psyched (I still am).  The race went better than I had planned.  It was faster, stronger, and easier than any race of that distance I had ever done.  In the end my official time was a 20:53 or an average pace of 5:58, my first ever sub-6 minute race.  Even though this was 3.5 miles long, that's 5 seconds/mile faster than my best 5K pace which was set on a course with a net-downhill elevation change of almost 100 feet.  Out of over 11,000 runners I ended up 120th overall, 113th male.

The only regret I have was not being able to follow the race plan exactly as Mary laid it out.  I was instructed to "run hard enough that you have to puke".  I did not puke, and for that I am ashamed.  I will try harder next time.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Corporate Challenge

Today is the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge here in Boston.  I've been looking forward to it as a chance to finally just cut loose and see how fast I can go.  The NE Relay is less than two weeks to go so this was to be the last test before that.  I haven't done any racing since the Hyannis Marathon way back in February and I was excited to get out there and tear down Comm Ave.

And then I woke up today with the muscle behind my knee swollen and a bit painful.  There is no reason for it to be like this, yesterday's run was an easy 4.5 miles with no indication of any problems so I am at a loss as to what caused this.  My personal theory is that it is my body trying to sabotage me and keep me from having any fun.  It does that you know.  It lets me train month after month and then when I am just about to have some fun, it yells "No race for you!" and goes and breaks something out of spite.  Stupid body.

So here it is, 5 hours before the race and I haven't made a decision on what to do.  Clearly something is amiss with my leg but I don't know how bad.  It could just be sore and everything will be fine.  Or it could go into a full meltdown if I race on it today.  There's really no way of knowing until it does.  Aack, the pressure.