With The Hill coming up in less than two weeks, I regret to announce that I will not be in attendance this year. This is the third year in a row that I have been on the road to Mt. Washington early on in the year and been sidelined with injuries. In 2008, I had just run a fantastic race at the Pittsfield Snowshoe Marathon when I felt a irritating pain in my left knee. I ran a leg of the Tuckerman's Inferno before switching to an ambitious regimen of x-training. I ended up getting surgery that summer (July) to remove a dislodged piece of cartilage. In 2009, I was running well with quite a bit of supplemental x-training when I started to add uphill treadmill tempo runs to my routine (7.6 miles at 12% 13.1 miles at 15% et cetera) when my knee problem returned (I had just added uphill treadmill work to my routine in 2008 when my initial problems began). When the 2009 race came around, I was coming off of a very bad May and June, I was forced to withdraw again. I ran a few races later in 2009 but with not much success. Late fall of 2009, I had another hiccup- this time with my left (non-surgery) knee but by the beginning of 2010, I was once again on the road to The Hill. I had decided to use a cycling-heavy build up with specific hill-rep preparation for The Hill. I had worked up my long-run to 2:45 and had just started hill reps back in March when I started feeling pain in my right (surgery) knee. This was completely different than previous problems. Before, there was a dull pain right in the middle of the knee joint; this time, there is a sharp pain front and lateral. I took a few weeks of cross-training before trying to run (and then limp around for two weeks). Another few weeks, another run, and another few weeks of limping. I launched into my riding with the idea that with even a month of specific (running) training to supplement my cycling strength and endurance, I could maybe run well enough to make my ninth national mountain running team. Now that it is early June (and my knee is not improving at all), I have come to the realization that I will not be racing at The Hill (or probably anywhere) this year.
After three second-place finishes (and a 3rd and a 4th), and after living in New England for eight years, winning Mount Washington had been the at the top of my list of goals since I first ran in 2002. Granted, there was no chance of that in 2010... ...but it still would have been nice to compete and to see the many, many friends that will be racing. This year, it's going to be great. It is the 50th running, the national championship, and the only national team trial race. It is going to be the mountain race on the US scene for 2010 and might be the most competitive domestic field in the history of US mountain running. Missing it will be very, very difficult for me. I would like to wish all of the racers good luck.