Anchor Down 6 Hour Run - Bristol, Rhode Island
August 17, 2018 - This was a heartbreaking race for me, as I write these memories three months after. My health was on the upswing with a full plate of challenging events to keep me entertained through the fall. After energy and knee issues caused me to miss some summer fun I had regrouped and was in my way back to fit racing.
I was excited to race in the Little State for the first time, even after a long five-hour drive through ugly rush-hour traffic on I-95 to get there. Given the heat of the summer, even in Rhode Island, the race would not begin until six in the evening after a day that exceeded ninety degrees.
Arriving while it was still hot, I was greeted by cool breezes off the Sound as I prepped before the event. It would be a 2.45-mile loop course through Colt State Park, mostly along the shore, but partly through the woods. Humidity was high, especially in the shelter of the woods, but reprieve was to be found each lap as we emerged back along the shoreline.
I began at a quick tempo, confident I was prepared to run perhaps 32 miles in 6 hours, which would place me well in the field. Through lap five until after dark I was averaging around 6 mph and only mildly slowing as I started my sixth lap. Right about three hours or half way into the race at 16 plus miles I caught a root with my right foot and went down hard. The woods trail was very rooty and I had been doing well and didn't slow much despite having to lift my feet more. My foot must have wedged under the root and stopped my forward progress immediately, with my momentum tearing at my right heal as I went down. Very excruciating pain let me know I really hurt myself. I could barely take another step when I got up.
My race was over. Without any choice, I struggled to hobble out of the woods to the aid station on the back side of the course, and found a kind volunteer that could take me back to the start in a golf cart. I was miserable, both physically and mentally. I really wanted a good showing here. Was not to be.
After no running for several weeks and a gentle return over the past months I have stuck to flat roads and rail trails largely to allow time to mend my injury. My best guess as to a diagnosis is that I broke my heel bone (os calcaneous) and really tore up the connective tissues on all sides. My heel is still sore after three months and continues to get a lot of TLC and Epsom salt baths. I'm gradually reintroducing rocky terrain and trails and am optimistic that I can once again be pain free.
After not toeing the line for five races that I was really looking forward to, I have plunked down the entry fee for seven more events in the months ahead, hoping to actualize my return in a heroic way. Maybe I'll go back to Anchor Down. Aside from getting hurt, I really did enjoy the event and people, and may want to ultimately see it through without getting hurt!