Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The race that went south.

Black Canyon 100K- Feb. 14, 2015

Upon leading up to this race I was excited yet nervous. I had't raced since last November and had not had any type of heat training leading up to BC. I was concerned some by the heat, but mainly by the technicality of the trail. I was going into the race having a sore hamstring and recent flare up of my left IT band. Both niggles were fine running on the road and straight paths, but hadn't been tested on trails. Our trails in Omaha have been banned from trail runners and bikers due to ruts being formed from the thawing and refreezing of the trails. So, with only asphalt and concrete to run on I was hoping that my leg would hold up.

My plan for the race was to use this as a 'long training run' for the start of my season. I wanted to take it out conservative and then see what I had for the second half (which was a lot tougher than the first half). I found myself at the start line huddled by Caroline as we were shivering trying to stay warm in the wind and 40 degree temperature. I wanted to complain of the cold, but knew far better as it would be heating up quickly in the desert. I started out in the chase group of women including Ang Shartel, Gina Lucrezi, Katie DeSplinter, and Leslie Howlett. We had a fun time chatting as we formed into single file on the single-track trail.

At one of the aid stations Gina and I ended up breaking away from the pack and were running together. Those miles just ticked by so quickly. I really enjoyed our time getting to know one another. Ang caught back up to use and we ran with her into the next aid station. This is where they had crew and stopped and I ended up going on solo. I found myself running up a long hill that seemed like it didn't have an end. It soon popped out onto a beautiful single-track that combed the side of the canyon. The views were amazing. I started feeling a little twinge in the side of my left knee during this section and I started to worry. The farther I continued the worse it got.
                                                    Photo by Bret Sarnquist: www.longrunnutrition.com

I ended up running into Zac Marion, who had been battling a glute injury from earlier in the race. He and I ended up latching onto one another. At this point I was having severe sharp stabbing pains run across my knee and it was limiting me to walk/jogging. I started wondering if I should press on and continue and just force myself to keep going through the pain, or to do the dreaded DNF. Those decisions are very hard to decide by yourself. As Zac and I talked we evaluated each other and their condition. We both are experienced in physical therapy so we used that knowledge to treat each other as a "patient". We both determined that it would only cause more harm to continue and to cut our losses. We both had compensated our gait pattern to where other pains started to be noticed. Our egos were not going to win today. Zac's wife was at the Black Canyon Aid Station (37.5 miles) and that was were we decided we were going to call it a day. And that is just what we did...with teamwork!

To tell you that I am upset and mad at myself for DNFing would be a lie. I am so thankful for my knowledge of what my body can and cannot push through. I know if I would have slogged out the rest of the race, which I definitely could have, that I would have risked being injured for a long time. I would have missed out on months of quality training, which is not what you want to do at the start of the season. As crazy as this may sound, I thoroughly enjoyed the painful miles Zac and I had together. We truly made the situation as good as it could be by staying positive and making sure we were laughing, singing, and thinking positive about the future. Without Zac, I would not have walked away from this DNF happy...I would have beat myself up over and over wondering if I had made the right choice or not. Instead I am so thankful and grateful for this 'missed' opportunity. I believe God has other plans for me and that by following his path I will not be lead astray. My motto: Everything happens for a reason.
                                                    Inflammation to my foot from compensating

I want to thank everyone for all your encouragement and kind words. I am focused on recovery in order to be able to race again at Lake Sonoma. Thank you to my greatest friend and training partner Miguel, for everything training with me through the good days and bad. Thank you to my awesome coach, Jason Koop, who was very understanding and gave me 'kudos' for my DNF. Also, thank you Nike and all my teammates who were there Pat Werhane, Alicia Shay, Chris Vargo, Caroline Boller, and Ryan Ghelfi. To CarboPro for aiding me along the course with great hydration/nutrition. And to Jamil Coury with Aravaipa Running and all the race volunteers for having another outstanding event. And finally congratulations to Ford Smith, Dave Mackey, Caroline Boller, and Gina Lucrezi on your Western States spots! #seeyouinsquaw


  1. Awesome job Kaci, smart to pull out as you did! God has a plan! :)

  2. You played it smart...and sometimes that's really hard when ego wants to take over! You definitely deserve kudos for that! Here's to happier miles + successful races... :)