This is my 4th running of Skyline 50K, the longest running trail 50K races in the US! It’s also my first ultra, 5 months after ankle surgery. If I can summarize this race report, it would be this: Holy s$@!. I can run, I can run, I can run, I can run! I think that pretty much sums up how I felt during and after the race. Here’s my Strava activity:
Without intending, I think I timed my age + medical advances pretty well. 10 years ago, for the same Broström procedure, I would’ve been put in a cast for 6 weeks resulting in muscle atrophy and a long rehab. With the two screws and the internal brace to augment the ankle ligament, I was on cast for 1 week, a boot for a couple of days and I could slowly start to walk. Week 6 after surgery, I walked 10 miles to work (slowly) and since then been building the miles – track, road, trails, treadmill. Though, this is the furthest I’ve traversed on foot in a while!
There was a fair bit of muscle memory coming back – managing heat, taking gels regularly, salt and calorie watch, dousing with water to keep cool. Dang, I’ve missed all of this. The morning mist kept things pretty cool until mile 16 at Skyline Gate, right around the turnaround point. No cramps, no GI issues, just tired. I still have an eversion issue with my right ankle (rolling inwards) which acts up on technical downhills. Had to mostly walk the root-y sections of French Trail. But fine otherwise. Kept telling myself, this is the longest I’ve run in 9 months, since Headlands 50M, last September!
The last 4 miles got pretty warm and after the rounding-the-corner a million times around the lake without seeing the finish line arch, pulled in at 6:06. But hey, who’s counting time. Post-race, sitting in the shade, and nibbling on the vegan burger, I just felt deeply content. That I was back, tackling these stupid distances all over again, exploring trails without worrying (too much) about ankle pain.
Thanks to all the friendly faces and the hi-fives welcoming me back to the trails – Mark Tenaka, Kristen Dymmel, Kiran, Jack Hseuh, William Dai, Alex Voytov. Great to see you guys out there!