injuries

Plot Twist

Savoring a fried egg sandwich at my bakery post race.

Savoring a fried egg sandwich at my bakery post race.

I've been throughly enjoying my off season. I've been basking in the down time, the lack of structure and enjoyed running when I feel good and taking extra days off when I don't. After a few weeks, I started to have the itch to sign up for more races. But I wasn't sure what to put on my schedule after such an epic win. Winning Leadville felt like the final chapter on a very epic comeback story. Cue the music, roll the credits.

But alas, it was not the end of my comeback story. PLOT TWIST!!!!

Discussing the prognosis with Scott at  Psoas . 

Discussing the prognosis with Scott at Psoas

As I mentioned in my Leadville race report, I throughly expected my foot to hurt during the race. But it didn't. But it has been hurting since about one week before Comrades. After I was diagnosed with having broken my tarsal coalition back in March the day I left for Birdstrike, I was told to expect some arthritis pain where the break was. And so, for the past 7 months, I have dealt with pain. Mostly dull during runs (except when I step on a root!) and very tight making me hobble after the runs. Before Leadville I decided I would check back in with my doctors and see what was up.

Two weeks ago, I went back to Stanford and saw a foot and ankle specialist. He had reviewed my MRI from March and we got a new xray done on my foot. The doctor came in and gave me the biggest plot twist I could imagine: I had been misdiagnosed back in March. I didn't break my tarsal coalition, it is still there and even more crazy, I have a huge fracture in the anterior process of my calcaneus. So I have been training and racing on a massively broken foot. And some people say I am too sensitive (ha!). I thought the pain in my foot was just pain, not injury and I proceeded according to my doctor's advice back in March. Ultimately, I am happy this happened because I wouldn't have had the year I have had they correctly diagnosed me back then.

Having fun with Kara Goucher and the Akron Marathon race team!

Having fun with Kara Goucher and the Akron Marathon race team!

However, now I have to deal with the consequences and have to take steps to keep my foot healthy in the long run. Continuing to run on it indefinitely is not sustainable and would likely result in my running coming to a complete stop at some time in the future. And I don't want that. So instead, I know must have surgery to remove the coalition and fix the fracture.  I am going to be having surgery in mid October and will likely be back on my feet by Christmas, although I know I will ultimately have to be as patient as I need to be in order to heal right. Until surgery, I will be running and binge racing as much as I can to get my kicks. I look forward to finally running pain free again soon and writing another great chapter in my comeback story.

Racing the Akron Half Marathon. Race all the things!!!

Racing the Akron Half Marathon. Race all the things!!!

Bend or Break, free

Embracing failure without acknowledging the real hurt and fear that it can cause, or the complex journey that underlies rising strong, is gold-plating grit. To strip failure of its real emotional consequences is to scrub the concepts of grit and resilience of the very qualities that make them both so important — toughness, doggedness, and perseverance.
— Brene Brown

Another day, another Brene Brown quote. While in the middle of being face down in the arena, reckoning, rumbling like I currently am, there is not a day that passes that I don't read and re-read passages from Brown's book Rising Strong. I can't say that March has gotten much better in the last few weeks, in fact, arguably it has just continued its slow descent towards my limits, like a boulder rolling down hill. There have been many moments in which I have faced yet another situation or thing and pondered, is this the thing that will finally break me? Is this the thing that will find my limits? Is thing the thing that I will not be able to bear? But time and time again, I've survived, found that I can bend and stretch and be elastic far beyond what I thought I could be. I've held on to the tiniest sliver of belief in my own resilience and whispered, "Just hold on. Don't lose yourself. Not to this thing, not to this person, not to this situation".

It may sound ugly, or dark, but I am not saying it to provoke, I am saying it to be real. When Brown talks about gold-plating grit, she says, "Rarely do we see wounds that are in the process of healing. I'm not sure if it's because we feel too much shame to let anyone see a process as intimate as overcoming hurt, or if its because even when we muster the courage to share our still-incomplete healing, people reflexively look away". We like the survival tales after the battle is done, we show off our scars like badges of honor, our brains get giddy with the completion of the story. But the middle? The middle is messy and uncomfortable. Vulnerability- real vulnerability- and human failing and being a crappy version of ourself is scary and ugly.

This month has thrown so much at me and I have bent and bent and bent. Sometimes I feel like gumby, as I snap back and find grace and poise and badassery to handle something when the day before I could barely make it through the day. At a certain point, you just stop counting the minutes you've been barely keeping your head above water and resolve that there is no limit to how long you will continue to furiously paddle to stay afloat. There is a certain point when you stop trying to fix it; fix yourself, fix your feelings, fix your situation and just lean into uncertainty, the grief or the darkness. You bend, because there is absolutely no other choice.

But the reality is. Things break. And this month, I did. Literally. In the on going saga of my foot injury over the last 6 months, there has been a great deal of ambiguity, pain, set backs and disappointments. After Caumsett 50km, I felt exceptionally good physically. I felt like I was getting to a place of durability again and physical resilience. My initial two runs after Caumsett felt great, but I woke up the Thursday morning that I left for Bird Strike/ The Speed Project and while making my early morning coffee something popped in my foot. Snapped actually. It was unlike any pain I'd experienced in my months of injury, but hoped/begged the universe that it was just some "old" lady creaking and it was nothing. I went for my run with my friend Maddy anyways. And it was terrible. Everything hurt. I couldn't even figure out what hurt. But I got on my flight and headed to LA anyways. Hoping for a hail mary from some cosmic force that would render me perfectly capable for the 60+ miles I had in front of me. I even saw a very good PT in LA, who assured me, "well its not a muscle! Your muscles feel amazing". And off we went into the desert, taped up 110 different ways and doped up on ibuprofen. Naturally, that was not a long lasting strategy. 

10 days later, after I finally had regained my strength from epically bad food poisoning and not eating for 5 days, I finally was able to venture out on a little run. I had gone to the doctor the day before because even after all the rest, I was still not able to run or even walk normally. They ordered an MRI and mentioned that it also seemed like there might be some plantar fasciitis going on. So I started mobilizing my foot and viola, running!

Back in November, I had seen the same orthopedist and the team at Stanford had discovered that I have something called a tarsal coalition. Basically, my calcaneus and my navicular bone have a bridge between them. It could be genetic, could have developed over time, could be made of bone, cartilage or strong fibrous tissue. Either way, it was fine as long as my foot was compensating for it, but in the fall, when I overstressed my foot/ankle with too much vertical, the compensation pattern was blown. The ortho said I would continually suffer from issues until I had it surgically removed. So naturally, I got 150 more opinions and didn't get the surgery. Especially a surgery such as this that doesn't seem to have the greatest surgical outcomes, I was not keen to go that route. And through diligent and slow rehab, things got better and I was up and running and racing! Take that tarsal coalition!

I wanted the issue in my foot to be some straight forward plantar fasciitis. Seemed like it would be nice for a change to have a problem with a name instead of the vague and nebulous injury I had been recovering from. And my foot seemed be, mostly, responding to treatment for such. I got the MRI anyways to make sure my "new" foot didn't have a stress fracture or arthritis or some other terrible thing going on. Just in case.  

By the time I heard from my doctor on Friday, I had run a good 40 miles, mostly pain free, through the week, although it was "weird" feeling- aka sometimes weak feeling, sometimes just different feeling. I don't really know what I was expecting, ok maybe I was expecting the worst given my rough month wearing me down, but I wasn't expecting what she said. My tarsal coalition was gone. It had broken/dissolved. That morning, the day I left for Bird Strike, that intense pain was my tarsal coalition snapping. And apparently, this was good news. No more threat of surgery, no need to immobilize my foot (after all, we don't want it to heal). It meant the coalition was likely fibrous instead of bone and I was cleared to run. The only caveat is that I now possessed a new foot- two separate bones instead of one and thus, everything in my foot is different: proceed with caution, let pain be your guide. I broke and it set me free. But at the same time, the way forward is so unclear. One day I am busting out 21 miles without pain and a few days later, I am not even a quarter mile into a run when bone pain comes on so swift and intensely it makes me want to vomit in the bushes. There is also no real precedent for me to base expectations on, this is uncommon enough that I have not had a single doctor, practitioner or body worker who has seen it before. I'm sure it has happened, but perhaps not to someone who is about to go race a 56km and a marathon (albeit not at peak capacity) in 2 weeks. 

This month has broken me but only literally. But mostly just bent me, wounded me. Pushed me and stretched my elasticity. For my foot, my heart and for my head, there is no perfect and clear way forward. There will be days of extraordinary pain, there will be doubts, there will be joy, there will be tears. All of it. There will be all of it. In running, we celebrate the middle miles, the hard sloggy miles, we scream "get ugly". We celebrate the ugly in running. Why not the ugly in life? Where is our cheer squad for that? I'm not going to gold plate grit anymore, I'm not going to only wait for the story to be perfect. I'm going to scream and cheer my brains out for anyone and everyone who is knee deep in it. Bending, breaking, rising, and just MF-ing surviving, that to me is true strength.

First Pancake- Caumsett 50km National Road Championship

"Beyond the mountains there are more mountains"- Haitian proverb

"Beyond the mountains there are more mountains"- Haitian proverb

I've written a lot of blog post beginnings over the last 3 months time since my last post. But they have never really resonated with me enough, or my feelings have changed the next moment, or my perspective has shifted. 5 months of my life has past with this still never diagnosed definitively, hard to understand, persistent foot/ankle injury. I spent 10 weeks not running and then the remaining trying to rebuild. But even in that rebuild, things were never straight forward, it was never easy. I had to wake up every day and figure out "what am I capable of today". For every three steps forward there were 17 steps back, left, right like some sort of sadistic samba that I was perpetually out of beat to. It was like a game of whack-a-mole that just would not end. The highs and lows and spaces in between meant, eventually, that I had to really focus on my perspective. I had to relinquish the "return to run" idea for the "return to health and able-bodied functioning". I had to let goal of races and goals and plans and be humbled. I had to face my own running mortality. That may sound to some very somber to some, but I see it instead as a very positive mental shift. I stopped seeing my injury as some plot point on a heroes journey that would inevitably bring me to some triumphant return and be wrapped up in a neat little perfect package. I started seeing my injury as simply the obstacle that I was currently tasked with working through. Sure it hurts and sucks, but life is indeed a series of obstacles, large and small. Obstacles are not only to be expected but embraced.

"The things that hurt-instruct"- Benjamin Franklin

"The things that hurt-instruct"- Benjamin Franklin

I had to change my perspective and my thinking. I had to turn around my injury and find some benefit, turn it into fuel. I had to stop giving lip service to honoring where you are, and really BE, in the moment, in whatever capacity I was capable of. I had to stop thinking about what I wasn't capable of and start finding out different ways of moving forward. Mostly, I had to stop beating myself up over what I wasn't capable of and start celebrating and executing the things I was capable of. Instead of being paralyzed by sadness every time I had a setback, I had to find a way to feel the grief all while "working the problem". I focused on my mental game and owning my own power and control over the situation. Over time, I felt like even though the samba didn't stop, I was starting to learn the steps and tricks to keep time. 

There was never a distinct moment in time when I went from injured to not injured. Even now, I classify myself as "returning from injury" and every day I wake up I have to make an assessment of how I feel. It wasn't until the last week in January that I even felt like I was on a very loose "return to run plan" and that plan included running flat mileage, with minimal climbing, no trails, no speed or workouts. Plus about 950 PT exercises every day, group fitness classes at Fuelhouse in Seattle and grinding hours on the stairclimber. Even as the mileage accumulated, I still felt like I was returning to health, not returning to running. I didn't see the obstacle as overcome and behind me, and so I carefully and methodically, just did what I could. And celebrated each step back.

First long run since October and an icy dip in Lake Washington to boot. With Cathleen.

First long run since October and an icy dip in Lake Washington to boot. With Cathleen.

In all of this, I had races and adventures looming, big goals that I hadn't wiped from my slate but that I was able to also hold lightly, knowing I was not in charge of this process. During the second week of February, I did my first real long run of substance since October. I ran 17 miles with my #birdstrike teammate Cathleen, as we tried to build our mileage for this week's Speed Project 3.0. I felt great, I had no pain. The next week we ran 20 miles pain free, even after having a few bad days in between with pain. Over the course of February, I had to change my perspective on what it meant to feel fit, to tell myself I was fit. I again stopped looking at what I wasn't doing and instead focused on what I was doing: miles, strength, yoga, mobility, PT, radical self-care, nutrition, sleep. I was on point, building myself back up without a whole lot of glamour or big sparkly wins. I was just grinding, working. And I found joy in that. I saw progress in that. 

After a fall and winter of having races on the calendars and then missing them, it was with some trepidation that I kept Caumsett 50km, the USATF road national championship, on my calendar. As it loomed closer, I made an important decision: I was going to run it. I felt that despite the fact that my training was not yet what I wanted, hell I didn't even do my first workout until the week of Caumsett and my longest long run was a week before the race (as well as 11 miles shorter than the race itself), that it was important for me to get back on a start line. I didn't want to make my transition back to racing a huge pressure situation or an A goal race, I wanted it to be something for me, a symbolic moment of transition, of liberation from this obstacle. A week before Caumsett, I said to a friend about her own race, "you have nothing to lose and nothing to prove" and as I journeyed to New York to race, I realized that this was not just true for her, but for me as well. Win, lose, fast, slow, it didn't matter- I had made it to a race and for that I was just grateful and filled with joy. I was free of expectations because I was able to be real about my fitness and speed (or lack there of). I suffered no nerves and instead just lined up curious to what the day would reveal.

First pancakes are still delicious.

First pancakes are still delicious.

Before the race, I started calling this my first pancake race. I feel like I want to refrain from explaining this because if you don't understand it, you just need to make more pancakes. The gist: you gotta start somewhere. And a lot can happen. So I showed up in New York and let it shake out.

Post-race glow plus a side of freezing my ass off.

Post-race glow plus a side of freezing my ass off.

Caumsett was indeed a tasty pancake. We were treated to an unexpected cold burst, with temperatures in the mid-teens BEFORE accounting for the wind, when it had been 60 degrees the week before. I nearly didn't pack any cold weather clothes at all since when I had looked at the weather report the week before the low was going to be about 40. Running in that kind of cold was actually a benefit to me since it further encouraged me not to run outside of myself since that kind of brutal cold affects performance by a good 3-5% (according to the internet). I bundled up, got on the line and bang, off we went. The course is a 5km loop, repeated 10 times. I was quickly left in the dust by last year's winner Caroline Boller and this year's eventual winner, as I got moving around 7 min pace. I just wanted to find a pace that felt good and maintainable. I wanted to see where the end of my endurance was at a quick but not suicidal pace.

It was very cold, but I settled in to a rhythm and cranked along in 3rd place, happy to be feeling good and pain free. And like I had been for the past few months, I just kept grinding. Loops passed, my body held. Around lap 4 or 5, my mind tried some games on me, but for the first time, instead of indulging the thoughts or getting emotional, I just said, no thanks, reframed and kept myself in control. I choose positive or neutral. I said, yep, these middle loops are boring but we are not going to occupy this space with problems that don't exist. Let's just stay present and keep chopping, keep working. I practiced some of the mindfulness techniques that I've been utilizing while using the Headspace app over the last many months, but instead of counting breathes, I counted laps and they dwindled and dwindled. I simply was able to fly free. With two laps to go, I was informed that unfortunately Caroline had to drop and I had moved into second place. While in other circumstances, I might have been enticed to try and chase down first (who I had no idea how far ahead she was), I took it as an opportunity to just keep grinding, or like Dori in Finding Nemo, "just keep swimming, swimming, swimming". My pace stayed strong, my energy held despite taking only 4 gels in the whole race and I allowed the experience of each step to fill me with pride. I split the marathon in 3:10 and didn't back down from there, despite the fact that the wind had intensified. I ran my 10th lap with joy, with gratitude. I ran that 10th lap for myself and everything that I overcame to get there. I crossed the line as the clock dared to touch 3:46 (3:45:56 or some such business). 2nd place in the national championship. My first pancake showed me that yes, I am going in the right direction. Yes, I am healing. Yes, I can run without pain. No, I will not return to where I was, I will in fact arrive somewhere else as someone else completely. 

This race was not a perfect ending to my injury story. It didn't neatly tie it all up and cue the music and credits. It was a step, it was progress. It was moving the line. It was a celebration. If there is any great take away that I have from this injury and this part of my life's journey, it is this: be deeply connected to the process, not the prize. As Ryan Holiday says in the "Obstacle is the Way:: "Process is about doing the right things, right now. Not worrying about what might happen later, or the results, or the whole picture."

Comeback or move forward

Second run back, marking the Firetrails 50 course
Photo by Brett Rivers

Six weeks ago I was in the best shape of my life. Workouts were going great. I was coming off a good training run at Kauai marathon feeling hungry to go after a PR in the low 2:30s at Chicago. Fit as a fiddle and ready to roll. 

I was excited and motivated to keep pushing. But then I fell and then I was injured. A month ago, I was still hoping to be able to run on our wedding day. Instead, I had to watch from the sidelines (and shed some tears) about not being able to join my friends for some wedding weekend running. I had to withdraw from Chicago, cancel my trip and miss out on seeing my sister PR in the windy city on her birthday. The last six weeks have been filled with the best of times (getting married!!!) as well as some very rough times (it is not in fact just me that is injured, Nathan has a stress fracture in his foot). 

With an injury like mine, there comes a point when you feel like you are no longer just trying to bridge the healthy running with intense cross training and instead are struggling to hold on to your goals. You come to a point where no matter how hard you workout in the pool or on the bike or on the elliptical, that you just don't feel fit anymore. It took me four weeks to get back to running and naturally, I went out of the gate pretty hard with it. The first week it felt blissful to just be back out on the trails again. I felt nervous and tentative about pushing my foot/ankle too far. But that blissful caution wore off pretty quickly with the reality of my upcoming goals. I am slated to do NYC marathon in less than two weeks. Last week I pushed myself like a crazy person and took risks that I might not have if I was simply focused on my healthy return. I was focused on the comeback, not moving forward. 

The funny thing about the idea of a comeback is that it is not very forward thinking. It is a focus on getting back to a place of something, in this case fitness. Moving forward means letting go of where you were and focusing on creating something new; better, strong, faster. Because I have a race rapidly approaching, I have had a comeback mentality which ultimately a very short sighted approach. I could ready myself enough to run NYC in two weeks, but I wonder if it is worth it. I struggled really hard to let go of Chicago and am now faced with making the same choice again. I wonder if I will be fit enough to deserve to stand on the line with the elite women. I wonder if I will get dropped quickly and be bringing up the rear of the elite women's start. I wonder if I will wheezy and lumber myself through an embarrassing performance. I wonder if my ankle will flare up or if it will hold steady. I don't know the answers, but I know that I would make different choices if I had no races on the immediate schedule. It is a complex thing to decide whether to come back or move forward.

I want to make the right decision for my health, for my running, for my racing. Ultimately, I simply love to run and I love that my body has allowed me for so long to push it this way. I want to respect it and take care of it so I can do it for a long time.

Lucky few

Injuries are part of the reality of running. We put an extraordinary amount of hurt on ourselves through hard training and it is very hard over time to get it right all of the time and stay healthy. A lot of the runners I know have laundry lists of various injuries, niggles and problems that they have faced over the year. Back when I was a basketball player, I seemed to be constantly battling something- three stress fractures then a debilitating back injury that ultimately forced me to quit playing all together. As a runner, one might assume that I would face similar issues and struggles.

But injuries have not been a big part of my reality over the past 7 years since I ran my first marathon. In the past 5 years, since I started ultrarunning, I have only had one injury that was of real concern and I was back on my feet and running in less than 10 days. I am one of the lucky few.

I am in fact injured right now. I have been diagnosed with retrocalcaneal bursitis, possibly triggered by my epic trail crash two weeks ago that landed me in the ER with stitches in my arm. I may have thrown off my left side and gotten everything out of whack. For the past week, I have been unable to run, unable really even to walk without severe pain and a "hiccup in my giddyup" as someone so cleverly put it.

I have not sat back and done nothing to fix this. I have charged at it with a team of doctors, PT and massage therapists to rid myself of this as quickly and permanently possible. Medicine, ice, rest, taping, massage, ART, graston, stim, ultrasound. If I can't run, I will use that time to heal. Yes it is frustrating, yes I have cried and been a crazy person (sanity was not easy to come by while on the steroids my doctor prescribed). I have been killing myself in workouts in the pool (doing pool running) and dripping with sweat in the garage on my bike trainer. I feel like I am doing everything I can to get better.

I am a bit disappointed that I will likely not be able to run worry free on our wedding day in just 9 days. It is becoming decreasingly likely that I will toe the line in Chicago and go after the low 2:30 I was ready for. And still I feel lucky. This is not old hat for me, this is a new situation for me to be in. I have no idea how long this injury will take to clear up and I am still learning how best to handle it, but I am thankful that I have gone this long without anything quite so serious. 

I look forward to when I can run pain free again and really understand how vital running healthy is to my entire life. For now, I will do my little pool running laps with my floaty and dream about the day I am free again to run for miles and miles and miles.

And to catch you up on everything else.... pictures from all of the madness from the past month!
Our new rental in San Anslemo!

Fun training run at Crystal Springs 20 miler.

Getting licensed to wed.
MHBB coffee purveyor tastings

Breakfast deliciousness in Hopland for Brett & LP's wedding!

The beautiful bride getting ready!

Awww we are so cute

My sister helping with the move by entertaining us.

Leaving the way it came in.

Weirdo.


Our entire lives in a truck

Run ferry run commute

Golden gate in golden light.


Practicing fancy wedding makeup

Kauai for a marathon, 5 days after moving-ugh!

Kalua pork hash with sweet potatoes.

I could stay here forever


Prerace meal

Round two of sweet potatoes!

2nd place x2. Jorge and I after the race (we both were 2nd)

Winner Brett Ely and I receiving our awards

All things consider. Moving, travel debacle, no energy, no taper-
I am really pleased with 2nd place & a 2:49 on a course with 2,000 feet of ascent!



Post-race rewards


Our new favorite past time- BBQ!

Epic trail crash.



All stitched up. Thanks Healdsburg Hospital!

Sarah's bachelorette party!

Therapeutic shoes for my ankle injury

Nathan's epic trail crash one week after mine.

Getting stitched up in the KP San Rafael ER.

His and Hers suture removal kits!

Limits

Doing 16x400 on the Treadmill in Seattle
Photo by Jonathan (clearly)

It feels like only yesterday that I was sprinting the finish at Napa Valley Marathon securing the win and breaking a 20 year old course record by a mere 7 seconds. Since then I have been both exploring and knowing my limits.

I have been reading the book Run: The Mind-Body Method of Running by Feel by Matt Fitzgerald and not only is it a fantastic read, but it is also helping me have the confidence to believe I know myself and to listen to my body. Over the last year, I have worked incredibly hard with my coach and in my running to really develop a method and rhythm that works for me. I have come to realize that I tolerate high mileage well and that I adapt to intense training pretty quickly (Fitzgerald talks about this in his book). I have also found that shorter training cycles work for me and prevent me from burning out. Looking back on the last year of training, I can also see that after a race, whether A race or otherwise, I usually need about a week to really get my head straight and my mojo going again. This is why having a digit running log is great, you can map the peaks and valleys quite clearly.

Napa Valley Marathon was suppose to be a controlled effort used as a precursor to the upcoming Two Oceans race in South Africa. It was a great race and the perfect boost in my training. Despite it being "training" or qualifying it that way in my head, I wasn't ready to plunge immediately back into hard training. It took me a week. I ran lightly and only as far as felt excited to do. I took naps. I skipped my long run when I really, really wasn't into it. And for once, I cut myself some slack about it. I figured it was best to know my limits and not push through and have a bad run. Taking that extra day off really refreshed me and by Monday morning, March 12th, I was ready to drop some serious intensity and serious mileage. 

Last week I hammered. I ran in crappy, nasty rainy weather. I went to Seattle to cheer on my friends at Chuckanut 50k and I ran on a treadmill to do my intervals because the weather wouldn't stay calm enough for me to do them outside. I ran as hard as I could for as long as I could on the Alter-G. I pushed my limits and just when I thought I was at my limit, I pushed a bit more just to make sure. I ran 119 miles last week and got in some high quality tempo and interval work. I had a decent long run and was satisfied with how the week went.

By the end of the week, I was definitely walking a fine line of being at or over my limit. Running on the Alter-G at faster than my 400 meter speed for a few miles at a time had my hamstrings tight and sore. A lingering sore spot in my foot (from Napa) became more and more painful. I walked on the edge of that limit and took a risk of it being too much. Thankfully, it wasn't.

Monday I took a much needed rest day and Tuesday I only did one run in the afternoon after having my massage therapist Scott go to town on my legs. The run felt good and I enthusiastically hammered out a very tough 8x800 in 2:36-2:40 pace on Wednesday. Thursday I hit the Alter-G again for a progression run and was flying along at 5 minute pace after 45 minutes of sub 5:30. It was awesome. 

Next week taper begins for Two Oceans and I feel like I have done all that I can do this training cycle to prepare myself. I have pushed my limits and I have also respected my limits. I have learned a bit more about myself and started to actually recognize patterns in my own training. I look forward to continuing to chase and push my limits and see what can be uncovered.