Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Running in the Dark

Didn't get out until after the sunset, but early enough to watch the moon rise in the east as I cruised around the Meadow View loop.

Time: 1:09
Distance: 7.14 miles
Effort: Easy
Body: Good
Weather: Cool and dark

A conspiracy of multiple origins led to me not getting out until around 6 p.m., well after the sun had set. So, with one headlamp on my head and another in my right hand, I dashed around Elk Meadow's Meadow View loop in the dark.

Running in the dark is a hit-or-miss thing for me.  Sometimes I really enjoy it, others...not so much.  Last night was one of the good night runs. Time seemed to stand still.  All the hills seemed to have flattened. I just loved the feeling of movement as my forward progress broke the never-ending clouds of moisture emanating from my lungs in the cold night air.

First time this year I broke out the running pants.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Eve, Eve, Eve,...Run & Celebration

Took part in a long-standing Evergreen holiday celebration Sunday morning by joining a large group of runners on an outing in Elk Meadow followed by food and drink at Mimi and Gil's house.

Time:  1:45
Distance: 10.06 miles
Effort:  Moderate
Body:  Astoundingly poor
Weather: Sunny and cool

For the last twelve years, Andrew A. has hosted a pre-Christmas weekend morning run and party.  These gatherings, famous in song and story, involve equal doses of tough decision-making (shorts or tights? Meadow View loop or Bergen Peak?), running and noshing.

By 8:30 a.m., a good-sized group had arrived at Andrew's parents place tucked away off a dirt road on the hillsides far above Bear Creek. After a round of introductions and a group picture in front of a PowerBar emblazoned company car, we were off jogging downhill towards a neighborhood access trail that leads into the dog park part of Elk Meadow Open Space.

Preparing to depart.

Our group of 20 or so runners quickly separated into pace and distance groups with six of us off the front and heading up the southern flank of Bergen Peak. The six of us held together pretty well up until the second overlook on the Bergen Peak trail.  As we hit the steeps here, I watched Andrew, Travis Macy and another guy disappear ahead.

For the first time in years, I was reduced to speed hiking twice on this ascent.  I simply had no pep, no energy...no nothin'.  Presumably, all the time off of late had something to do with it. I hit the Summit Trail intersection in about 52 minutes.  I decided I'd had enough.  I waited a few minutes for the two runners behind me to catch up.  After letting them know I was heading down, I continued onto the Too Long Trail and jogged it back with my tail between my legs.

I felt a little bit better once I got onto the Meadow View Trail. I picked up the pace through here a bit en route back to Mimi and Gil's house.

Back at the party HQ, a full buffet of breakfast foods, treats and beverages was awaiting. After a plateful of chow and some good conversation, I was off to meet up with the family for some more weekend fun.

Many thanks for Andrew, Chris, Gil and Mimi for hosting this wonderful gathering.  It was really great to connect with such a solid group of Evergreen-area runners. 

Time to start training for next year.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Elk Meadow - Meadow View - Easy

Easy late afternoon lap around the Meadow View loop.

Time:  39 minutes
Distance: 4:56 miles
Effort: Easy
Body: Good
Weather: Sunny and cool

Not even going to try to make up something remotely interesting about this run.  Standard loop. Nothing memorable. Just out to be out.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Routine Jog...Finally!

Got out for a late-morning jog around the Meadow View Loop at Elk Meadow Open Space.  Foot felt normal.  Progress.

Time:  47 minutes
Distance: 5.07 miles
Effort: Easy
Body: Good
Weather: Sunny and cool

Ran easy around the home loop with Steve F. Pretty routine, except that I've been out of the routine so long it didn't feel routine at all. I love self-propulsion.  

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Little of This...A Little of That..

A 5-mile run on the home trails, a sweet 11-mile loop in Boulder and an informative and seemingly helpful visit with a new PT.

After 18 days off, I finally got out for a run last weekend - a whopping five mile cruise around the Meadow View loop at Elk Meadow Open Space. The run was fine. Felt great just to be moving again.

I've been nursing two nagging injuries (really?...haven't you told us this 50,231 times?), my left heel and a likely muscle tear of some sort in one of my right lower abs.

Post-run, things generally felt OK. Foot ached some, but not nearly as bad as it has. Lower ab was fine.

On Monday, I went and saw another Boulder-based PT. Great guy that was recommended by Aaron K. He worked on me using a combination of Active Release Therapy and Graston Technique, neither of which I knew anything about before Monday. Now, I'll readily admit that I'm a bit of a skeptic and far from up-to-speed on the latest bodywork fads and science. Whether it's chiropractic, acupuncture or Rolfing, I'm the first to roll his eyes, yet, incongruently, willing to try anything to get back into the miles.

So, the whole ART thing I get...now that I've experienced it. Here's what the ART Web site says about the technique:

ART is a patented, state of the art soft tissue system/movement based massage technique that treats problems with muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and nerves. Headaches, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, shin splints, shoulder pain, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, knee problems, and tennis elbow are just a few of the many conditions that can be resolved quickly and permanently with ART. These conditions all have one important thing in common: they are often a result of overused muscles.

Every ART session is actually a combination of examination and treatment. The ART provider uses his or her hands to evaluate the texture, tightness and movement of muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments and nerves. Abnormal tissues are treated by combining precisely directed tension with very specific patient movements.

These treatment protocols - over 500 specific moves - are unique to ART. They allow providers to identify and correct the specific problems that are affecting each individual patient. ART is not a cookie-cutter approach.

The Graston Technique is a whole other ball of wax. This from the
Graston Technique Web site:

The Graston Technique® incorporates a patented form of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization that enables clinicians to effectively detect and treat scar tissue and restrictions that affect normal function.
  • Separates and breaks down collagen cross-links, and splays and stretches connective tissue and muscle fibers
  • Increases skin temperature
  • Facilitates reflex changes in the chronic muscle holding pattern
  • Alters spinal reflux activity (facilitated segment)
  • Increases the rate and amount of blood flow to and from the area
  • Increases cellular activity in the region, including fibroblasts and mast cells
  • Increases histamine response secondary to mast cell activity
The "instrument" referenced above, at least in my case, was an interesting stainless steel tool that looked like a cross between a butter knife from my grandma's silverware set and the steel boomerang the "Feral Kid" in the Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome movie wielded (only the Graston tool was smaller and a bit less menacing).

So, I'm still learning about all this stuff.  And, ultimately, the true measure is whether the patient (me!) improves.  For now, the short of it is that I was very impressed with this PT. He spent a good two hours listening to me, working on my problem areas and explaining the physiological rationale for everything he did.  I walked out of there feeling like he'd done some good, and I had a passel of recommended exercises and home therapies to apply, including a way to tape up my foot that might help.

I took a day off, post PT visit, to let things settle in.  On Wednesday, with 60-degree weather mocking me, I decided it was time to get out for some miles.  I used my new Rock Tape to tape up my heel and set off in the late afternoon from the Flatiron Vista Trailhead off Highway 93. Man, was I psyched to be out running. 

My foot felt surprisingly good.  Solid.  Like I didn't need to think about it.  I ran up the Prairie View Trail, down Dowdy Draw to the Spring Brook Loop.  Headed south, picked up Goshawk and ran that to Spring Brook North and returned to Flatiron Vista.  11.3 miles of trail bliss in about 1:39.  (This is a really, really great and fast loop.  Highly recommend it...).

No problems with the foot.  Lower ab tightened up a lot. Hard to know if that was a result of the Graston work on Monday, or the result of the exertion.  Time will tell.  A day later, the foot still feels good...far better than it has post-run in a month. Was it the ART...the Graston...the taping...a combination of the three?  Hard to know.  

Still, I'm encouraged and plan to return to the PT for some follow-ups.  More to come as I gain more experience with these approaches.

Definitely lamenting that I won't be up in FoCo on Saturday running the Chubby Cheeks 50K.

Lastly, I've started labeling posts like this: "injury whining." I'm not used to being on the injured-reserve list, and certainly not much used to writing about it. Please feel free to offer poignant counsel on whether posts like this are overly indulgent, boring and best left as unpublished drafts.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Congratulations and Still Laid Up

I'm still laying up, resting the plantar and lower ab.  16 days...but, who's counting? I'm going to get out tomorrow for a few miles.  Been inspired by a local guy's performance back East.

Patrick Garcia ran a hell of a race in this weekend's Hellgate 100K.  Even came in ahead of Mr. Pony Express, Karl Meltzer.  Eager to hear all the details.  Congrats, Patrick!  The CO boys are making a damn good showing in the hills of Virginia.  Remember this guy's performance at the MMTR?

Here's the top 10:

2010 Hellgate Finishers
December 11, 2010
1Jeremy Ramsey, 3411:24:20M
2Chris Reed, 38, PA11:48:50M
3Patrick Garcia, 25, CO12:05:18M
4Jason Lantz, 29, PA12:16:14M
5Ryan O'Dell, 25, NY12:19:17M
6Keith Knipling, 3412:22:25M
7Frank Gonzales, 3412:27:46M
8Darryl Smith, 3912:44:28M
9Karl Meltzer, 43, VT12:47:38M
10Jordan Chang, 2312:51:38M