Sunday, May 22, 2011


Have I ever told you about the meaty crunch? It's what Bubba and I call that awful sound when, say, a wide receiver gets crushed by an over excited defender as he's going up for a big pass and what results is a compound fracture to the femur.

Or like when you're hauling balls down a hill and you suddenly and completely roll your ankle.

The sound of muscle fibers and tendons ripping free of their charted course - that's the meaty crunch.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Yesterday, I ran the Horseshoe Lake Trail Run at the beautiful and scenic Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve.

To say that I hadn't trained in any specific way for the event would be mostly accurate. I mean, sure, I did have a rip roaring good run last weekend at Sanborn Park, home to The First Trail Race and the place where I turned all mountain lion and found the fun in running, but aside from that I didn't do much.

I didn't even look directly at the elevation chart for the race which you know to be a poor way to prepare for any race. Not analyzing the amount of pain I'd have to endure because of hills? WHO AM I?

Yeah. I was in denial I think. Because seriously, all trail runs have hills. There just aren't any flat and fast trail courses because a flat and fast trail is called a road and roads are paved and those races have things like balloon arches, thousands of people, strollers, timing chips and aid stations even for the shortest distances.

This race had none of those things. This race was what you might call "Low Key".

For example, our "starting gun" was a dude standing on a step ladder yelling "3,2,1 GO!" into a mostly functioning bullhorn while waving a polka dotted ribbon in the air.

This was after he told us that, "Hey, by the way, the water and aid booth for your distance (5 miles) is, um, at the finish line, so, like you should maybe carry some water with you."

Yeah. Glad I read about that in the pre-race instructions. Wore my Camelbak and everything so that I wouldn't have to get all annoyed at having a dry throat as I crested the hill at 2.5 miles.

Yay for the Camelbak. Boo for thunder thighs.

Which was a good plan - wearing the Camelbak and all - because it was a tad dusty out there and I had a few sips as I went up those rotten hills which are, incidentally, not nearly as evil as those at Sanborn, but whatever, that wasn't the surprise.

The surprise came when I, for the first time in my slow ass running career, was actually in physical need of an aid station on the course.

Why? I'll tell you WHY - because I decided to pass a chick skinnier than me AND a 70 year old dude trucking along at an admirable and consistent pace and the running gods decided that was a no-no.

See, we were about 1.5 miles into our 5 mile course, trotting along on the most beautiful little single track you could want through wildflowers above a gorgeous coastal fog filled forest canyon when I got the wild idea to pass a few people.

Up until that time, all the passing had been done by other people as they swiftly overtook me going up the first big hill.

But, I didn't feel right about On Your Left-ing on a narrow single track perched along the edge of a hill that dropped off into the never-never, so I waited until we were in the trees and following a wider trail to On Your Left those two finely moving folks I mentioned earlier.

And, for a few minutes, it was truly divine.

The air beneath the tree canopy was that bright sharp cold brought in with coastal fog, the trail was devoid of jutting rocks and snarls of tree roots and I wasn't heaving with exhaustion from overtaking a 70 year old dude.

It was a good time.

Until my enthusiasm picked up the pace toward the bottom of the downhill (after which I could see I had nothing to look forward to but hundreds of feet of elevation gain) and as I neared the bottom of the hill...


I rolled my god damned ankle.

Like all the way rolled it.

Like, rolled it so suddenly and completely that I did that hopHOPhopHOP with the rolled ankle foot in the air thing to the side of the trail that you do when you know putting any weight on your rolly ankle will make you either shit yourself or cry out every bad word in your repertoire.

Thankfully, I have a very full repertoire.

FUCK FUCK FUCK shit damn it crap.

(OK. So the repertoire's not so much BIG as it is well-used.)

And as I teetered on the side of the trail, balanced against the trail marker, cradling my MAD ankle, I looked uphill for the obviously huge and clandestine pot hole which ate my foot, to watch Mr. I'm 70 and Awesome buzz by with a, "Ooh! That looked bad!" to which I quickly said, "No worries! It's fine!"

Which was totally a lie.

It didn't feel fine. In fact, it felt like it needed an ice pack and a cocktail STAT.

But no - there weren't any aid stations on the weeny 5 mile route so I was shit outta luck. Fun.

But, and one quick glance down at the Garmin confirmed this, I was too far from the start to go back and not at all in the mood to scratch, so I stood there feeling sorry for myself for a minute to exercise my bad words and let a few more people pass me before I pulled my shit together and tried hobbling.

I hobbled for a few steps and it wasn't the worst, so then I tried hiking at a tender pace which then wasn't the worst either and then went back to running and wincing and hiking and wincing and then I just decided I needed to stop being a puss and finished strong.

Strong in the sense that I finished the big hill with a combination of hiking and running and then tried my very scampering best to descend the hill back to the finish line without re-enraging my ankle OR WORSE rolling it again.

I heard that meaty crunch running on a loop in my head the whole time. EW.

So, first time for rolling an ankle on a trail run. Which - handy - since it was also during a race and that race doesn't believe in aid stations for 5 milers. Hooray.

Also more first time fun - my shoe came untied somewhere around mile 4 and I had to stop to retie it, therefore letting one person who I'd managed to re-overtake after my ankle incident get forever ahead of me.


I did however somehow make it to the finish line without having the dude and the skinny chick catch me. Small miracles. They were moving pretty good.

I'm very excited to have rolled my ankle. HOORAY ME. Idiot.

So yeah. Now I have a semi-swollen ankle and a prescription for prone cocktails.

Look. I have skinny ankles. The one without protruding veins and bird bones - that's the swollen one.

Which may also have something to do with the fact that I came home from the race and then spent the rest of the day wandering Maker Faire with my sister because I don't know when to say die.

I suppose I should learn that.


  1. Oh boo. But I'm glad you had a bad word repetoire because I'm not sure what would have happened to you then.

  2. Oh man it hurts when you do that! WTG making it to the end. I might have sat down and cried.

  3. Damn, woman, way to stick it out with the angry ankle. And with a totally respectable time, too! You are my new hero.

  4. OW. But of course you finished strong(ish)--because you are a stud. We all knew that.

  5. No good! I know the sound of the meaty crunch well. When I messed up my ankle, I did it so thoroughly that I almost rolled my other one when I immediately jumped to it to relieve the pain of the first side. I cried and cursed. Then my siblings had to carry me inside. 5 minutes after I did it, it was doubled in size. I'm so glad you were able to finish the race on yours. Way to be a bad ass!

  6. Ow, girl!!!!!! It is never good to hear a meaty crunch.

    Good finish!

  7. ouch ouch ouch. but holy shit. FIN! Way to rock the finish all the way. So super proud of you! (How was maker faire? Post coming on that?)

  8. Oh man...I just read sorry about the ankle. Glad you are tough and take in stride!!


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