Two weeks ago was a ground breaking weekend – only my second time on my mtb this year and I rode a 50km mountain stage race with ~1800m of elevation gain, followed by a 25km trail run the very next day. What was this madness called you ask? A Half Donkey. I know – awesome – right? Rundle’s Revenge is a two day mountain stage race in the Canadian Rockies hosted out of the beautiful Canmore Nordic Centre. Participants have their choice of the stage race, split into its various donkey forms, or, entering just the ride, or the run. This event was well organized and first class with aid stations so full of good food and positive energy one couldn’t wait to reach one (one was also pretty exhausted too!).
My ride went very well – slow going albeit on the hills as I embarrassingly found myself walking many – but I could not have eked out anymore from my legs given the lack of mtb hill repeats I put them through this season focusing instead on commuter miles. Overall my ability to maneuver through most obstacles remains a strength though I do have some room for improvement when it comes to choosing my lines, riding straight through “the pain”, weighting my back tire more and speed. Speaking of pain – let’s talk about the 25km run. Finishing this beautiful trail in 3 hours and 22 minutes post grueling 50km ride the day prior was a success – I was quite happy to be honest. Then came the hurt. Followed by a week of denial. Then a confirmed stress fracture in my medial tib. And no impact activity for the next 4 to 6 weeks.
Reflecting on how this happened I am able to draw on a couple of educated conclusions and perhaps, offer a cautionary tale to my fellow over eager beavers out there. You see, last year I predominantly ran trails and my body flourished. I felt like Bambi’s girlfriend on steroids; that I could tackle any terrain. Until, that is, I went for a road run. It took a mere 15km using my then “tip-toeing through the tulips” running style to shred my shins and land me with severe peroneal tears and medial tibia stress syndrome.
6 weeks of physio and a new sustainable approach to road running and I was back on my feet by late November. With great success too mind you, as I met no injuries following three half marathons this year and have had no issues running pavement thus far. This confidence got the best of me though. When I prepared myself to run the 25km at Rundle’s Revenge I gave little thought to my running technique and pounded the trails with reckless abandon and a huge smile on my face. Little did I know that this would soon prove to be devastating to an already weakened shin. The end result? Not only did the race provide me with some great trails pics (see below) but I managed a few snazzy X-rays as well.
The good news, aside from finishing the race, was that I actually WON the race for my age group. The sole survivor of the open women’s half donkey.
I am also busy finding ways to keep training for my upcoming running races in September working with this injury. Training smart, not hard by way of zero-impact based activities. A stress fracture can only slow me down so much.Hence my bike race next weekend.
Until then, peace out.