Since Groundhog Day is one of my favourite all time movies, it seems fitting that I begin 2015 the same way as last year - injured and missing Two Bays.
Stupid how it happened really. I was starting to get a bit more confident about my chances of having a good race, having recently set PR's at the Arthurs Seat Triple (42k), my 15k road/trail loop, and my standard 20k trail. The groin injury seemed like it was finally starting to settle down a bit (although by no means gone), and I'd put together a strong run of 100 mile weeks without feeling the least bit run down.
I was 14k through my 20k trail loop on Xmas Eve and on track for a good run, and hit the bottom of the Moorooduc Quarry stairs flying. Since I was going so well, I decided to have a crack at the Strava CR up the stairs, and had nearly reached the top, when I felt a slight pain in my upper right glute. It didn't slow me down too much and I still ran the rest of the loop home, although I did miss the CR by 8 seconds :-(.
It was a bit sore when I cooled down, but at the most I thought 2 or 3 days, and I'd be fine. Weirdly though, it just never got better at all and I haven't been able to run for 16 days, which is the longest I can remember going without a run since forever. It seems confined to one small muscle, and there is obviously some sort of tear.
I'm fairly philosophical about it though. I train hard and on the edge, and occasionally these things are going to happen and I'll miss races. On the upside, it will finally give the groin a chance to heal properly and hopefully permanently. I'm seeing a sports physician at Olympic Park next week to get their take on the injury and hopefully I'll get some good news about prospects for a complete recovery sans surgery.
As per last year, I'll head down to the race on Sunday and follow the leaders around the course. Andy Turner isn't running either, so I'll have some company for the drive around. I've been really looking forward to the women's race for a while, as there are four very evenly matched runners in Kirstin Bull, Kirra Balmanno, Kellie Emmerson and Natasha Fraser, but until today the men's race looked like a fairly comfortable win for Sam Maffett. However, some wild weather due in the high country has forced the cancellation of Bogong to Hotham, which had attracted the cream of the men's talent, so some late entries are likely to spice up the competition.
When I look back on 2014, I have some very fond memories. My back to back runs at Maroondah Dam and Roller Coaster in March were incredibly satisfying, with the latter being probably the best I have felt on a course ever. My first 100k race at TNF in May will always stand out as a day when not a lot went right, but I was able to really find out what I was made of, with the second half of the race being a total sufferfest. However the fun I had with the boys I travelled up with made it all worth while.
Obviously the second half of the year was a complete washout, with a withdrawal from You Yangs in July, a DNF at Surf Coast Century in September, and no other races run. I've learned my lesson there though, and this year I'll be taking a complete 2 week rest following TNF, before a steady build up into Surf Coast Century. I do plan to race a little more this year, and include a number of shorter trail races. I will probably do the Rapid Ascent Salomon series leading into SCC, and maybe a few road races as well.
However I'm not sure I will be able to replicate my early 2014 performances this year, with my life to be changing quite a bit in the near future. After 5 years of freelance consulting in the I.T. sector, I'm currently finalising negotiations to take on a full time role as a software Business Analyst. Working for myself has provided great flexibility, particularly while my kids were little, but with my youngest starting school next year, it's time to get some income certainty for my family. So I'll be going from working in a serviced office 5 minutes from home, to an hour commute each way, which will obviously take a big chunk out of my day. I'd like to think I'll still be banging out 150k weeks, but I'll just have to see how tired I get.
Although I don't really post this blog anywhere, and it's really just something for me or my kids to look back on in the future, if you do happen to follow it - well thanks for reading and I hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful 2015. Have fun on the trails and remember - don't try and bag Strava Crowns 3 weeks out from a target race!