Preparing for the Post Oak Challenge

When I looked at the calendar in January and decided on Spring races, I’m not sure I really thought things through. I ran Trail Madness on March 1st, and now I have 2 races at the Post Oak Challenge this weekend, the 25K and the 1/4 marathon.

Post Oak Challenge 25K Race Dummy

Post Oak Challenge 25K Race Dummy

Coming up quickly after Post Oak is the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon on April 26th for which my training has already been derailed by my sprained ankle. To add insult to injury, I mildly sprained the same ankle again at Trail Madness this past Sunday.

I guess if everything had gone perfectly, if I hadn’t rolled my ankle that first time, this race schedule wouldn’t really be a problem, but unfortunately, I did roll the ankle not once, but twice.

The day after Trail Madness, I immediately started planning how to run the Post Oak 25K with a sprained ankle. After a bit of research, I decided to try 2 McDavid Lightweight Ankle Braces. Why 2 you ask? I don’t want to risk enduring a minor left/right imbalance for 16 miles potentially messing up my back. If I can keep my mechanics reasonably symmetric, my back should be safe.

McDavid Lightweight Ankle Brace

McDavid Lightweight Ankle Brace

I’m also adding gaiters to try to keep water away from the braces and just to protect my lower legs and feet in general. The trails at PostOak have a little more brush on them due to less use, and from my one training run there, I expect to see quite a bit of mud and water coming on the heels of a substantial amount of melted snow and ice.

On Wednesday night, I went for a test run in all of the new gear. My poor trail shoes are bursting at the seams, and the ankle braces are not terribly comfortable. However, I was able to run a fairly normal pace without any unusual lower leg pain, and it seemed like the braces would limit the kind of movement that has sprained the ankle recently.

My final concern, unfortunately, is just my own energy and ability to recover overnight to run another 10K on Sunday morning. I was wiped out after Trail Madness which is a bit strange considering it was only 10 miles, a distance I train relatively frequently. My training volume overall has also been way down with the snow and a bum ankle (yeah, clipless pedals…not with a low ankle sprain) keeping me off the bike. My hope is that it’s a fluke, that I was so tense because of running in the snow that I wore myself out more than I will at Post Oak.

Even if it was just a fluke, though, the hours immediately following the race will be very important, especially considering we lose an hour overnight Saturday to daylight savings time. As soon as I feel like I’m safely past my hypothermia risk window, I’ll start with ice. Normally I use 110% clutch tights, but I may actually use an ice bath as a kick-starter. I will also be hydrating aggressively and trying to get quality protein, carbs, and fat. Unfortunately, my temperamental system will limit what and how much I can eat heading into another race, but I’ll have to set some of that aside if I want to be ready to go on Sunday morning. Probably shouldn’t have used the word “go” in that sentence…

It should make for an interesting couple of days. My only goals are emerging Sunday afternoon uninjured and passing a bunch of walkers on the Hill from Hell.

Now I’m going to feel really silly if I’m the one walking the Hill from Hell…

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