Running on Dirt | Another chapter in rebuilding a mountain runner |

Running on Dirt | Another chapter in rebuilding a mountain runner

Courtesy Thomas ReissPeter Fain competes in the Tahoe Rim Trail 50-Mile Endurance Run on Saturday. Fain finished second in the run, about eight months after having knee surgery.

Itand#8217;s been a tough start to the 2012 season. I had this thought that I would be up and running in no time after Dr. Orr went in and repaired my knee. Turned out I had a lot more damage in there that slowed recovery.

I spent many hours training a the Sports Performance Training Center and getting advice from Chris Cloyd, which was helpful. I took some of their classes to stay interested and I discovered TRX training, probably the coolest cross training for a runner.

But when the green light came that I could hit the trails, I did. That was March 28. It was a slow start with the first week of running, which was limited to 10 miles. By the time I ran my first race of the season I was up to 15 miles in one run. Well, my first race was a 50K, and needless to say, I wasnand#8217;t ready.

The knee had only minor pain but major swelling. Dr. Orr drained 50 milliliters of fluid from my knee two days after the race (there should be only 5 milliliters).

Seven weeks after that and#8212; this past Saturday and#8212; and I was toeing the line at the Tahoe Rim Trail 50-Mile Endurance Run. I stood there confident that I would race strong the entire way. The race started, and I was off like I was running an 800.

I kept my projected pace all the way to Diamond Peak at mile 30. Then the climb back up begins. This relentless climb sucks the drive from the best of us. I got to the top and found that the 30 percent grade at points took any bit of speed I had to offer for the last 20 miles. But I kept telling myself that Iand#8217;d shake it off.

The journey continued, trekking along at a not-very-fast pace any longer as I reached the Hobart Mills aid station just above Marlette lake. This is when I knew I was in a bit of trouble. With 10 miles to go, I couldnand#8217;t get myself out of first gear. With that slow of a pace, I was bound to get caught and lose all the gains I built up at the beginning of the race.

And I was right. With 4 miles to go, I got passed. I tried to answer but the wheels just wouldnand#8217;t turn. I finished second.

I was pretty wrecked. I got helped to the medics tent where I was held for about an hour. I was very dehydrated and my electrolytes were completely out of whack. They fed me two liters of saline via IV and made me wait until I had an appetite. Finally, I ate.

With ultra races, you can put in many miles per week, but if you screw up the fueling it can all be for naught. You canand#8217;t push your body without water. I drank, not enough. You canand#8217;t push without food. I ate, not enough. Lesson learned, again.

In six weeks Iand#8217;ll try again but double the distance. Iand#8217;ll keep you posted.

and#8212; Truckeeand#8217;s Peter Fain is a trail runner who competes regularly in regional trail races and snowshoe runs in the winter. He may be contacted at

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