Sunday, April 14, 2013

Weekly Update: 4/8 to 4/14

82.24 miles
17,782' gain
12 hrs 30 mins running
2 strength circuit classes (45 mins each)
3 therapy, massage, PT sessions at gym and home
1 Rest Day, 2 days with only 3 miles each

Really good with week with tons of quality running.  The snow is melting very quickly and the options are opening up daily for better routes.

Oh Lord...Stuck in a Low Dye Again!
I may have found the answer to my shin issues.  I was poking around Youtube looking for shin splint info, as usual.  I found a taping technique called Low Dye taping.  There are tons of videos and lots of different ways to do it, but they all seem pretty similar in effect.  I knew when I took my first step with the tape on that I was on to something.  I woke up with shin pain this morning on my left leg from my effort at Rapid River two days ago- typical.  I was debating whether to warm it up and try to go for a run, or just take another rest day.  When I put the tape on, my foot and posterior tibialis instantly felt normal.  I walked around without any discomfort.  When I started my run, the tape felt tight and rigid, but loosened up a bit as I warmed up.  I ran 10 miles in my normal Scott Trainer 2's, then came home and went out again for another 5 miles in Race Rockers- racing flats.  Both shoes felt fine, but the Rockers felt even better.

This tells me I have a problem with my left arch supporting my stride.  My posterior tibialis tendon and muscle pulls until it agitates the tibia.  I have a very high rigid arch and I have a distinct wear pattern on the outsides of my shoe soles.

This leaves me with many unanswered questions:

*Does the supported arch bringing me relief mean that I over-pronate?
*How can one pronate and supinate at the same time?  Impossible right?
*Is the wear on the outside forefoot of the sole from forefoot breaking (slowing down) while downhill running, then rapidly over-pronating?  This seems like it would tax the posterior tib and it is the downhilling that always worsens the pain.
*Does this mean anti-pronation orthotics would fix this issue?
*Can anyone recommend an extremely light and low volume orthotic that might work?  I have been using a Superfeet pink (lady's) insole.
*Why is this a consistent problem for me from December to June, but not July to November?

In the mean time I'm keeping the tape on and the miles piling up.  11 weeks until Statesmas.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Vert Test at Rapid River

27.5 miles, 10,000' gain/loss.  See those little jagged teeth on the first and last 7 miles of the run?  That is the beauty of Rapid River- constant, very steep ups and downs and poor footing. 

My #1 key to gaining fitness last summer was to be able to run ANY hill I encountered at a heart rate that was sustainable for 100 miles.  I keyed on hills with portions over 20% angle and from 6000' to 8500' elevation.  On my long runs, I stayed in granny gear- for me that meant 12-14 minute miles and heart rates 145-150.  For shorter runs and tempo efforts, that meant 9-12 min miles and heart rates around 165-170. No matter what, I never walked or rested on a single hill last year beyond May.  Before May 2012, I had to walk many of the steeper hills for lack of leg and cardio power.  Just part of the progression I guess.  Perhaps just expansion of the imagination.

I have had precious few chances to run on truly extended, steep uphills this winter.  McCall's mountains are still around 2 months from being runnable.  Thus, I make the 40 mile drive to Rapid River as often as I can with Brandi.  Not only is it warmer and sunnier, but it starts at only 2200' which means you get to run uphill forever.  The trails are melted out to around 6000' now, which makes for some great and gnarly climbs.  Once the window opens past 4000', several huge climbs materialize up to 1500' gain per mile.  Some of the steepest trails anywhere.

Yesterday, the plan was to climb up the East Fork of Rapid River about 7 miles to Wyant Camp, then try out my granny gear on the Wyant Creek and White Bird Ridge Trails until the snow line was reached.

Wyant Creek Trail 3200' to 6000', 3 miles.  I hit the snow line and downed trees at 6000'.
White Bird Ridge Trail 3100' to 5000', 3.5 miles.  I reached the Trailhead at the top- no snow.

I managed to run the whole way with minimal suffering at a sustainable effort of 10:30 average pace.  This, in spite of holding back on every flat and downhill section to avoid damage to the shins.  Very happy to feel like I am hitting my stride.

Coming down from Whitebird, I was a little bonky from the effort, but I was instantly refreshed by a can of ice cold cola and a nice campfire shared with me by awesome father/son antler shed hunters Joe and Ryan. Instead of the final 8 miles spent suffering, I cruised easily and found a nice tempo to the finish.  Thanks a million guys.  Trail magic!  I picked a lousy day to not carry the camera, as the views from White Bird were incredible.  That view of the Seven Devils could be mistaken for the Tetons!  Next time.  Brandi snapped a few good ones.

The River picking up steam as the mountains above melt out.    
Brandi's self portrait.
Ponderosa Pine.  I love how the vanilla scent of the Pondos grows intense as the temperature rises.  Mix that scent with that of dry, granite dust and it reminds me of Yosemite Valley.

Finishing up and showing teeth.  Not because I'm hurting...but because I was really psyched up to be running hard  after  all that tough climbing.
Orange and Robie wait for us to arrive home.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Cardio Test on the Weiser River Trail

Key Workout Stats: 
20 miles @ 150-155HR, 2:10 (6:30/mi average), <1000' gain.
3 miles @ 10 min pace.
65 deg F, 18 oz water, 4 VFuels (2 Peach dissolved in water, 2 Vanilla from packets), 1 VESPA Ultra Concentrate

B and I went down to the Weiser River Trail to run the canyon section north of Council and south of New Meadows.  This is approximately 10 miles north of the section of trail where the Weiser River Trail 50K is held. (Race Report from 2011).  The plan was to do a long tempo run of the uphill canyon part- about 1000' vertical until the terrain flattens out on top by the Tamarack Sawmill, then work on a faster "quad seasoning" effort on the downhill.  I had hoped for a tempo/marathon paced effort on the climb, then get what I could on the down.  With everything right, I would extend the effort out to a full marathon.

Everything started out well, with a comfy 7 min pace for the first mile.  I picked it up and the shin was a bit off, so I kept the heartrate at 150 beats, my comfortable all day race pace.  I climbed under good control and the first 10 miles passed with an overall pace of 6:50 and a heartrate no higher than 155.  A few spikes occurred towards the top because the terrain steepened briefly and it was a fierce headwind basically the whole way.  I turned around when I hit a wall of wind at about 4200' altitude just past the sawmill.

I eased into the downhill with concern- as I have not pushed a downhill yet this year for fear of shin injury.  Slowly my splits dropped to 6:30, 6:15, 6:00 and the final three miles were 5:45-5:55 on very gentle downhill at that point- almost flat.  I never went above 150 beats the entire return trip.  Towards the end, my hip flexors were tightening and my shin was weakening, but the power was still flowing.  I opted to stop the workout at the truck to avoid any injury.  I then had some food and jogged 3 more miles to meet Brandi and finish her run with her.

I would rate this effort as very promising- especially on the cardio front.  The miles are coming easier and at lower heartrates.  The engine is ready to rip, but the structure still lags far behind.  As the buildup of intensity continues, I hope to solidify the shins and other tissues to allow the full cardio effort to happen.  Patience!

Scenic Weiser River- flow is picking up from big melting in the past 2 weeks.

Lower section of Canyon- smooth and fast.

B finishing up.

Cool green stuff.  Haven't seen anything green in a while.  Just white mostly. Skunk Cabbage?    I call this stuff the TP plant.
Sharly watches over Payette Lake.  Pretty much the same species as the Loch Ness Monster.  Bred for her skills in magic.   Hundreds of "documented" sightings.

Our marriage spot on the semi-frozen lake.  The Crestline looms above as the backbone of the IMTUF 100.

B stares down Ellie while cranking on the mill.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Weekly update: 4/1 to 4/7

78 Miles, 16K' gain.  3 strength sessions, 3 stretching/therapy sessions.  120 miles in the past 10 days.

Monster week of intensity flowing straight from my race last Friday.  Nearly every hill I climbed was uptempo and aggressive.  This is usually a key indicator for me- climbing hard and the shins allowing it.  A few pretty hot long runs, including a Rapid River run that must have been 75F.  Things are happening that I have waited all winter for.  It all seems to be driven by power.  Once the power is up, the legs seem to be more resilient.  Resiliency encourages 2 a days which mean volume is good and around and around we go.  20 days until Leona 50K.

8 years old, runnin' with a dime in my hand
To the bus stop to pick up a paper for my Old Man
Sat on his lap, big old Buick, Id steer as we rolled through town
Tassle my hair, say son take a good look around
This is your Hometown.  Your Hometown.

West Fork Rapid River above the McCrea Cabin.  Just missed a PR from last fall to the cabin...and I was not trying to run hard at all...very good sign.

SCOTT Trainer 2.  Why have I not ran in these yet?  Easily SCOTT's most comfortable shoe for my foot.  Lots of beef and plush upper encourages long runs.  Love the colorway.  9.5 oz.

Dreary hill repeats.  This quasi-private property hill has all the amenities I need- dirt, a quarter mile and 200' elevation change- for building power and nastiness.  Nothing hurts like running 2 minutes as hard as you can!  That is why I still remember my last 800m race in 7th grade as the hardest thing I've ever done.

Brundage...still packin'.

New Meadows from Last Chance Ridge (Forest Road 273).

New AK pack.  Like it a lot- and I don't care for packs.