Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Sunday, December 7, 2008
We can usually make it to the mountains every year or so and it usually ends up being in Colorado. There are so many options there and the child care / ski schools are first rate. Now that the kids can basically ski on their own we decided to go someplace different last year, we chose Whitefish, Montana. It is an incredible place to ski, and the town is awesome too. The whole area is still very much small townish and the prices reflect it too.
We are going to Colorado this winter as the best deals were found there, and now that Vail Associates basically owns Summit county the lift tickets can be used at A-Basin, Keystone, Breckenridge, Vail and Beaver Creek ..., so we shouldn't get bored.
Anyway I have been doing a little "cross training" myself, not to be compared to those performing over the top psyco type of training, hoping to build a little more quad and back strength for the ski season. I'm surprised at how just a few exercises every other day can add to the overall condition. I can tell when I walk up the stairs (sans sandbag) that I have more snap in my step. I also noticed that improperly performed exercises will be noticed quite quickly - man my joints suck.
I have been going pretty light on the running since running Surf the Murph, I guess just about 50 miles for all of November. The runs have been mostly good but I don't have a great feeling about increasing the mileage. I guess I won't know until I try but just reluctant to do so. I'm also considering some other options for the back issue but not till after the holidays.
I've talked with or communicated with a few of us "Northern Burb Dudes" about getting together for a few winter runs. I've run Elm Creek, Taylors Falls (Interstate), Wild River and some trails down on the river around Coon Rapids Dam. Hopefully I can find a few new places before the snow gets unmanageable. I guess this too will have to wait until next year - oh well.
I hope this finds everyone in good health and good spirits this season. If I don't post before I leave for CO I wish everyone a Merry Christmas.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
This would be my first attempt at real planning for 2009. The Bel Monte Endurance Run is on the route of the families spring break trip to NC, where we are headed for a couple graduations. There are a 50mile, 50K and 25K run. I would plan on the 50K and see how the winter goes. It would be a fun race to keep me focused through the winter. It looks like a tough race, with the record at 4:18 it is likely tougher than Superior. Here is the profile. BTW my wife found this run for me (XXOO).
It seems this is the time of year to contemplate what to do all winter, I'm in the same boat but have not had much time to sort things out. I think I will go back to some low HR training but would like to do some cross training and weight training as well. There is a conflict here which I will have to come to terms with. Whatever I do will have to take second place to the continued recovery of my back and associated problems. I have been able to drop about 10 lbs or so since the middle of the summer and would like to keep this off over the winter - don't think it will be a problem but sure would like the benefit of starting the race season on the lighter side.
I have not had time to post since I ran the "Surf the Murph" 25K on 11-1, I'm sure most have heard that it was a great day for a race. Doubt they will get that kind of day for a while. It was well attended and well supported. It was nice to see so many people racing and volunteering. It was also nice to have my family there. I did fairly well considering I had not yet hit the 400 mile mark for the year! I was happy with my place and my overall condition at the finish. I definatly had some tightness on my Rt side but was managable throughout the run.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
You can see you go from the bottom to the top and back again. Somewhere after the half way point the topography changes some. There are a few longer downhill sections which allow you to recuperate a bit. It was refreshing to hit a few of these sections. The closer you get to the horse trailer parking lot the more horse stuff you'll find - check your shoes before getting into your car! The down hills where the horses have been are the most treacherous as there are a lot of fist size loose rocks. Its no SHT but still stuff to watch for. The beginning of the race will be in the early morning light - or lack thereof - but the trail at beginning is wide and relatively free from obstacles, it would certainly be more challenging to run the other way in the am. Maybe it's best not to see some of the hills on the first lap?
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Looking forward running "Surf the Murph" on 11/1. I would love to do the 50K but I have to pull the plug at 25, it's just nuts to sabotage the recovery at this point. Anyway I am still really excited just to participate in an event.
Friday, October 3, 2008
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Been out for some decent runs lately and was encouraged enough to consider entering "Surf the Murph" run at Murphy - Hanrehan park. I know that last sentence is pretty non committal but I don't want to slog through a race just to say I did it - sooo
I went down to the park today with Dick to check it out - never seen so many mountain bikers in one place, not to mention a ton of horses as well. The trails we were on were the hiking trails or hiking/horse trails. They are wide trails that you could drive down, none narrower than an ATV trail. We ran a couple loops which covered the northern 2/3 rds of the park. The terrain is rolling, not long hills just a lot of little ones. The type that add up over the course of a day. The horse/hiking trails were full of loose sand and rocks but the footing was still good. The woods are still very green, I'm sure it will look quite different in November.
The run was very nice, I felt good throughout. I stopped a couple times to stretch out a bit but I think I could have "worked through it" - no sense in pushing it right now.
Started thinking about next year, considering:
Either Afton or Voyager
Superior 50 M
Feels weird to type this out as its been over a year since I ran a race.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
While not over joyed with my progress I have to admit it is going in the right direction. A couple weeks ago I went to Gear West to have a gait analysis performed. Wendy, the gal that does the analysis, is very good, she has the credentials and the experience to understand the intricacies of ones gait and the issues that various physiological or equipment malfunctions can create.
She zoned in on my major issues by watching me run barefoot back and forth along a "runway". I felt like a model and had lots of opportinities to work on my turns as I was back and forth on that thing proably 50 times or more. I joked with her that if she made me do any more I would log it as a run. I ended up it a small heel lift and a differnt style of shoe than I was used to wearing. She switched me from a "curved" type shoe to a "straight" one. I can't believe how the different styles change the way you run - I could really feel the difference.
The runs I've had so far have been promising, mind you I'm not looking for a miracle cure here but I have not had major tightness in a run yet. I have been keeping up with the runs in the KSO's and they are going good too - not sure how to increase mileage but I'm not going to push it, I'm glad for the times I can use them.
My back is doing pretty good, I've kept up the exercise regime and feel it's helping quite a bit. I also have been driving less which helps. I did remove about 1/2 acre of buckthorn from my back yard this weekend - chain saw, bobcat, brush cutter .... other than feeling a little achy I'm feeling good. I have really adopted some good posture, after having to think about my every move for a year it's nice to have it finally become instinctive. I am considering another cortisone injection in my back, it would be my fifth, its a slightly different location a hopefully it will give me the final bit I need in recovery.
I had a lot of fun reading everyone's race report from the Superior Trail races. My friend Dick B. placed 15th in the marathon after dislocating his knee in May and not being able to really train like he would have liked. He is a total animal once the gun is fired.
I know I would have had a good time at Lutsen and really would have liked to volunteered but my schedule would not allow it. Reading the reports makes me want to get back to the races even more. The "out of towners" reports also made me glad to be a Minnesotan and a part of a great bunch of people.
Considering one of the late races this year, just to get a t-shirt with 2008 on it. I'll keep ya posted.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
About workin all summer just to try an earn a dollar.
I’m sure I would get into too much mischief if I didn’t have to work but I sure would like to give it a try some day. Besides work the last month we’ve hosted a family reunion, including my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary, been to the cabin three times and to Duluth once. Guess my family is continuing to spend the economic stimulus dollars - we didn’t get.
Here’s what’s new on the running/recovery front:
Hopefully I can build from about 12 miles per week to 30 mpw which I can carefully maintain during the winter as a base for ’09. I have not run through any significant glute/back pain to get to the 12mpw and will not increase mileage if pain increases. I have to remind myself of this once in a while. Afton, RTA and Interstate Park are excluded from the previous statement.
I’ve put a little more than 30 miles on the Vibram KSO’s and they are working out wonderfully. I have built up to 5 miles and then my calves and feet are fatigued. I have little to no discomfort in my glute while running in them, what I have experienced is short lived. I would like to find a pair of shoes without the radical heel/toe height differential so I can get a break from them once in a while and possibly get in some longer runs. I am trying to modify a pair of Asics but haven’t quite finished yet. I measured the height difference at a little over a half inch – no wonder they make you heel strike. I have had a pain in my foot for 18 months, everyone attributed it to the sciatica. I figured I’d go see a podiatrist. X-ray looked fine and revealed I have a bunch of extra bones in my foot, guess I got a few more than the allotted 206 I already knew about. They are called accessory ossicles, interesting, but not an issue as far as my foot pain goes. He determined I have a tendon issue somewhere on my third metatarsal, or between the third and fourth. Anyway he gave me a cortisone injection and sent me on my way. Side note – I have also had a VERY tight calf muscle, all of this is on the same side. The next morning, and every day since, the foot pain has been reduced and the affected calf is indistinguishable from the other. I also noticed that I have not had to stop to stretch my hamstring since the injection. Could it be that simple?
Continuing the majority of the exercises listed previously but exchanging a few for some more advanced methods. I believe the inversion table has helped considerably to the healing process. I don’t know why the establishment is so dead set against spinal decompression when so many people apparently benefit from it. I know it has its issues but it shouldn’t be shunned. Upper hamstring tendonitis. Wasn’t sure if I had it but as everything else is subsiding it sure seems like this is/was a player in the game. I have added those exercises back into the mix.
Got to admit it is tough to read about everyone getting ready for and competing in the various races. On one hand it is fun to keep in touch with the scene but on the other is hard to see so much time go by without being able to participate. I will start to look at the late fall and spring schedules to see what may pique my interest. Maybe I'll do a little more volunteering as well.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
I think I've discovered a new color pattern for the new Vibram FiveFingers, either that or I've discovered what everyone else already knew.
I was pretty excited to try out the fivefingers as I've been running barefoot in the park for about a month now and was really wondering how I could hit the trails without wearing shoes.
Keith has a great description of the "shoe" on his blog so I wont go into it here, besides, they GAVE him his so it's his duty to go into great detail.
I was still a bit stiff from the Afton night run on Fri/Sat but it did not get any worse over the 3.5 miles I ran. I did have a little glute pain but I have had that on and off all day so I'm not too worried about it, had PT today and I'm always a bit tender afterwards. Actually loosened up over the length of the run so thats cool.
The bottom of the shoes are quite smooth but the traction is really pretty good. You can dig your toes in on the loose stuff for extra push. I think the coolest part is it looks like Sasquatch has been running the trails. Some of the trails were really overgrown and grass/flowers tended to get caught between my toes. I was trying to devise some kind of bumper guard while I was running but I'm sure that would go against the minimalist philosophy of the product itself. Hope the fabric is tough, it takes a beating in the grass. Guess we'll see.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Superior Sawtooth 100 mile race this fall and was looking to get in a significant run. Since the wife and kids decided to call the cabin home for another day I decided to give it a go.
While generally quite good at math I grossly miscalculated what time I might meet the group, I wrongly assumed that Matt had answered an email from work/home about 4:00 and figured he would be starting a bit late. I arrived at the park about 10:45 if I remember correctly, and didn't start running until 12:30. Meanwhile Pete A. and I talked about stuff, attempted to take pictures of the moon with our digital cameras - complete failure - and watched the lost horse riders find their way home.
Matt came flying into the parking lot a couple minutes in front the pack (Jim W., Zach P. and maybe one more, having finished two loops (50K). About 15 minutes rest and we were ready to take off when another van pulled up, Helen Lavin, Kami and Eric pulled in, quickly readied themselves and we were off.
The first couple miles were a bit of a comedy fest with Matt and the forerunners joking about whatever, debating the various subjects the beverage world would have us ponder. After a couple miles, Helen et.al. took off at a quicker pace. This was fine with me as it gave me a chance to enjoy the night.
The only trail running I've done at night was on the SHT, this was different in that you didn't have to work so hard to see where you were going (full moon helped here). The temp was cooler than during the day but the dew point was very high, fortunately there was a water stop at the campground or I would have been in trouble. We probably ran for an hour or so with Pete, Jim, Matt and I just mixing it up, running together for a while then on our own. Matt was adjusting his pace a fair bit to accommodate the effects of the first two loops - he was doing great though. Just when I thought I might slow down to wait for a minute or two he would be right on our heels.
With about 5 miles left on loop three Matt pulled the plug. Jim had already headed in and neither Pete nor I pushed him to continue. Matt had accomplished one of his goals without reaching the 100K mark - that was enough for the night, I've no doubt it was the right decision. He was talking about doing this again in a few weeks right there and continuing may have jeopardized another great training run.
Pete and I continued on to finish the loop (mostly), and discovering along the way that we grew up in the same podunk corner of the state. There are a ton of people we both new. Such a small world.
I felt really good up to about 11 miles, after that I started to tighten up on my Rt side. I took it pretty easy the rest of the way in, kinda bummed me out to finish this way but I had a good idea things would creep up. Arrived at the parking lot about 4:00.
Had a good visit with all after we got back, a cup of coffee and a PBJ and I was ready to head home. A few people showed up to start a loop, I think 5 people were heading out as I pulled out of the lot.
Looking forward to a repeat.
Monday, July 14, 2008
I had a course of therapy to strengthen my back, this did relieve one of my symptoms but the glute pain remains. The current course of action is to strengthen my transverse abdominis (TA) and corresponding back muscle, the multifidus. The TA is a little deeper than the overlaying abdominal muscle groups and gets “shut down” in individuals with back injury – worsening the effects.
The most specific exercise is abdominal bracing, like a crunch without the crunch – not curling your head toward your chest but just lifting it upward, something like this, another way of describing it is bracing as if someone was going to hit you in the gut. Other exercises are rowing and “lat” type pulldowns. While these are not specific to the TA you can contract and release throughout the exercise to work the muscle and “train” it to fire when you are using your core. I really have to concentrate to get the TA to contract – this is typical of one with back injury.
Eccentric and concentric hamstring exercises shown in this article are supposed to deal with the high hamstring tendiopathy which I may or may not have, some good exercises though. The ubiquitous hamstring stretch goes here as well.
Since the glute and hip are causing me issues they threw in a few exercises to strengthen that as well. The Clam is done laying on your side, back to the wall, soles of feet to the wall, knees together with about a 90degree bend. Lift the upper leg up, hold for a bit, return and repeat. Also a hip extension and figure 4 hip stretch to try to loosen up a really tight hip flexor.
To build and maintain my back strength and I still use the Roman chair and do some squat exercises with neutral back posture. Press up’s are done to relieve pressure on my low back.
I’m sure I’ve missed some things but that’s about it. I do about half the exercises every day, the others every other. I have a friend who is going to lend me an inversion table so it will be nice to get some prolonged back extension/pressure release. Hopefully it will get some blood to the problem (my head?).
On another note I have been running barefoot for a portion of my runs lately. I started with ¼ mile and have worked up to 2 miles. If I run more than 2 miles on the road prior to my barefoot session I can feel tension building in my Rt glut/hip/hamstring. Sometimes I can run through it or stretch it out but other times I cant. When I remove my shoes and start running in the grass the discomfort is gone within 10 strides – no shit. It has remained pain free for the duration of the barefooted portion – up to 2 miles at this point. My unshod running loop is .25 miles with half on a bike path and half on the grass. It feels great to have shoes which weigh 0.00 grams – cuts about 20 seconds off the splits.
I can’t figure out how to interpret the instant relief I get, it’s hard to believe that the back is the sole source of my discomfort if it is alleviated this quickly. I am thinking of going to a podiatrist but all they have done in the past is fit me with orthotics. Also considering gait analysis but lack a good source right now – any suggestions? Keep in mind that running is not the activity which causes me the greatest discomfort – that is still sitting.
Meanwhile, I am running about 10 miles a week (have missed logging a number in RunningAhead). Still trying to keep up the cadio workouts with biking and chasing 3 kids. I remain optimistic but really need to make some headway soon – just to keep my sanity.
EDIT: Wednesday, July 16
Therapist added the "bird dog" exersize today, another one for the core, forgot to ask her what I was supposed to take out of the routine.
Got my hands on an inversion table, guess I'll add that to the mix as well. Already used the line "just hang'n round" once.
Tried on a pair of Vibram 5 Fingers today, no one has my size right now but I still wanted to see how they felt. I think I'll try ordering them since I have a pretty good idea what size I need.
Monday, June 30, 2008
Well a week in Rocky Mountain National Park and I'm like a new man - until I got to work, but lets not go there.
We had a great drive to and from and fabulous weather while there. We went on numerous hikes, up, down and around the lakes, saw wildlife galore - elk, marmot, mule deer and the ubiquitous chipmunks. Never saw any mountain goats, seemed to just miss them.
I was a bit concerned about the driving as this always causes me a fair bit of discomfort in my back and legs but it was not too bad. Later in the week I went for a run with Dick. We started low 8500' and ran just over 3000' up to 10,900. Man is the air thin up there. We had an awesome time, as you can see from my Garmin data either my watch got messed up or we scaled some vertical faces (not).
I have no idea how one acclimates to the elevation for something like hardrock. We were there almost a week before the run and you could still feel the difference, I guess one never really completely adjusts to the elevation eh. Felt good after the run, I'm slowly increasing my mileage but need to watch the intensity.
Congratulations to those who ran Grandmas, sounds like it was nice weather - finally.
Happy taper for those running at Afton this weekend. Could be a scorcher. Wish I was there.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Hopefully I’ll get a chance to do some running, last winter when we planned the trip I was hoping for some 6-8 hour runs in the mountains. I think I can get a couple 1-2 hr runs in but that will probably do it for me. Thankfully I’ve gained a little confidence after the RTA gig last week.
Hope all went well for the folks at Grandmas. I’ve never run an official marathon, maybe have to do that sometime – they seem so fast.
Had a couple of 3-4 mile runs this week, went ok but still a lot of tightness, ran a quarter mile barefoot, oddly - no pain. I have a slew of new exercises to do from the therapist. I’ll list them out later. A few really show the lack of balance between my L and R side. Hopefully they will make some difference.
Back in a week or so.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
So Saturday I drove down to Eden Prairie to be led around Adams Superior 100 training ground. Steve, Bryan, Zach, Pete and myself ran up and down hills for well over an hour, covering a little over 4 miles, don't have the exact figures right now. To the uninitiated this sounds ridiculous but once you experience it you'd understand.
I needed the mental jumpstart, there were a couple times during the run I could have been anywhere, Scotland, NorthShore, MT, CO .... When you’re in the woods your there. I needed to feel this as it’s been a long time since I've run without thinking about my injuries.
Counter to all logic this was a great run for me physically as well. I have a tiny bit of quad soreness but no back/glute/hammy pain at all. I got a 1 hour massage for Fathers Day and man did that feel great. I feel a renewed energy from this one run to commit to whatever it takes to get back to racing. Lord help me now.
Special thanks to Adam for dubbing this a "race".
Friday, June 6, 2008
I was hoping to get back into training sooner than I have, but have yet to run more than 3 miles at a crack in 6 weeks, and that only a handful of times.
I do not have any intention of making this blog a place for me to whine, but want to make you aware of where I'm starting from.
I injured myself at the Superior Trail 50K race '07. I had some slight twinges prior to this but the race is when it settled in and stayed for good. I went through the typical stuff, Ibuprofen, ice, rest, PT..... I ended up getting an MRI which revealed a disc herniation, something which about 25% if individuals my age have. Went through more PT, Yoga, 4 injections..... Still at the same place. The pain I have is in the glute/hamstring/calf, not constant pain, mostly a dull pain in the ass and major tightness in the hammy and calf. I looked into all the other stuff, SI joint, pirifomis, blah blah blah. Had another MRI this week, disc is worse and no hip issues to speak of other than a little tendinopathy. Soooooooooooooooo.
What the heck to do.
I am going to start running regularly, a dozen or so miles a week and ramp up slowly, like all summer to get to 30/week kinda slow. I'm hoping that Yoga, eccentric hamstring exercises and some glute/core strengthening together will do the trick. I have about 50 different exercises given to me my 8 different "experts". I also have a roman chair used to strengthen specific back muscles, this seems to help quite a bit.
My Doc said “ever thought of trying a different sport”. Now I have to admit he has tried about everything to get this to subside but I can’t even imagine not running. I know that some cross training is in order but I could not leave the camaraderie of this sport. I will continue to volunteer when I can but my goal is to get back to racing.
So here goes nothing. Going to the cabin to run in the woods.