Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Off-Piste Night Run

Yesterday I drove up to the Bedford Reservation after work and met Bob and Jim at the Egbert Picnic Area around 6pm. The plan was to get in about 2 1/2 hours of trail running, hill climbing, and off-piste bush bashing before meeting Lloyd back at the picnic area around 8:30 for another couple hours of fun.

Tonight's run turned out to be very epic. The temperature was in the mid 50's but there was still enough snow off-trail to slide around and make things enjoyable. With this recent warmup there was lots of standing water and the stream crossings were ice cold. The streams were flowing so fast in a few areas that we had to find a fallen tree to keep our weight against so that our feet weren't taken out from underneath us. After getting out of the water it felt like your feet were numb but the warm air temperature quickly helped bring them back to normal.

We were having a great time and started heading back to our cars to meet Lloyd when all of a sudden I scraped my right eye by brushing against a small branch. I stopped for a moment and realized that I still had vision but it was a little cloudy. I thought, man.... I even had safety glasses with me but they were no good to wear since they kept getting foggy. Next time I need to put on that anti-fog stuff they have for glasses. I put a little water in my eye and continued back to our cars. At this point I told Bob and Jim that I wasn't sure if I felt like continuing on but decided to anyways since it didn't seem too bad.

During the 2nd half of our run we went up some incredibly steep hills, grabbing onto tree roots and digging into the muddy, leaf covered ground with our hands. A couple sections were almost as vertical as you can get without going straight up. My energy was really low now since I didn't eat much during tonight's run and I had to force myself to keep going to get the top of these hills. Eventually we decided to head back and ended up finishing our run with approx. 12.5 miles in over 4 1/2 hours. We all agreed that this was one of our best and toughest night runs to date.

When I got home I could still feel the irritation in my eye but I just figured that I could sleep on it and it would be fine in the morning. Well.... when I woke up my eye was really burning now and it almost felt like I had something in it, like sand or dirt. I tried to wait it out as long as possible but then finally decided to make an appointment with a local eye doctor. Thankfully they were able to see me only 40 minutes after I made the call. When the doctor looked at my eye through his instrument he said, "Man you must be pretty tough. Most people would be crawling in here." I told him that I did have a hard time keeping my eyes open in order to drive over to his office. He then told me that I took a good chunk off of my epithelium which is the outer protective layer above your cornea. The good thing is this layer easily very quick. For more info on this, click here. He then placed a contact-like lens on my eye and said that this will help protect the abrasion and speed up the healing process. After giving me a couple eye drop solutions he said to come back tomorrow and he would take the contact off.

So, that's where I stand now. The good thing is the doc said not to worry about any change in my vision. I just need to make sure I'm more careful on future night runs. Looking back on last night reminds me of a good quote by T.S. Eliot - "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go."

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