Another Day, Another Mountain

Despite some serious soreness in my quadriceps from Saturday’s 31K trail race, I headed back out on Sunday for a shakeout run, hoping to loosen up my legs from the inflammation and lactic acid of a hard effort in the low-lying mountain foothills.

Those who know me are aware that I rarely feel soreness or lingering effects of a race – even after a marathon. It’s so rare that I’ve wondered if there’s something wrong with me that I don’t feel sore.

Over the course of 15 marathons, only once have I felt sore enough that walking or climbing stairs was difficult in the following days. I’ve always attributed it to spending some time walking after each race, perhaps a couple miles in the the hours after an event. Which leads me to my best guess to why I felt so sore Sunday: I spent little time walking and a whole bunch of time riding in a vehicle exploring the Valley of the Sun after Saturday’s race. I expected some soreness, particularly since I bombed the downhill sections of the course, but nothing like what I felt

Still, on Sunday, I thought a shakeout run would help me bounce back more quickly. My brother and I drove up to Pinnacle Peak Park in Scottsdale, and as he began the hike up the trail, I set off in the other direction – spending a good portion of the first mile running up hill. After turning around and running back to our parking spot, I headed up the nearly 2-mile trail in an attempt to catch him on the hike.

It was a deceiving climb. My guess was that it was a bunch of switchbacks that eventually flattened out. Instead, it was constant ups and downs – over 2 significant climbs – that further punished my quads.

My thoughts turned to friends who were in Arizona to run the P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘N’ Roll marathon and half marathon. Most were finishing about the time I was coming down Pinnacle Peak, where the views made the climb worth the effort.

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