Sunday, October 31, 2010
This blog is a collection of incoherent ramblings. I apologize in advance.
Part 1: Fast For an Old guy
For those of you that are not sports fans, we are in the middle of football season. I officiate high school football. As hard as this is to believe, officiating football requires running. There are parameters for the fitness level of football officials. An official has to be able to run a standing 40-yard dash in 8.5 seconds. There is also a flexibility requirement. An official has to be able to bend over at the waist and pick up a football.
Nobody takes these parameters very seriously, except me. I put myself to the test and found that I could run a standing 40-yard dash in 5.9 seconds! Bending down to pick-up a football was a piece of cake! When I told my crew about my 40-yard dash time, they thought I was crazy.
Running around the field during a football game suites me. I am really good at bursts of speed.
Part 2: Cure for Tendonitis
I was diagnosed a few months ago with acute tendonitis of my left hip. My hip really hurt. The doctor prescribed fairly large doses of Naproxen (Aleve). Aleve helped somewhat. But what really cured me was beer! I am still trying to figure that one out!
Part 3: Halloween 5K and Ex-Wife
After being divorced for 25 years, my first wife, Linda, I have become, much to my surprise, friends. What is more surprising is that my second and final wife, Annette, has become friends with Linda also. What does this have to do with running and fitness? Linda asked me how I lost so much weight and got back into shape. I told her about the Couch-to-5K ® Running Plan and sent her the URL:
My son Benny came over to my house yesterday so we could run together. He told me his mom was running her first 5K on Halloween. Benny told me she followed the Couch-to-5K program to the letter. Linda was never very athletic so I was pleased and surprised to hear she took the program seriously and was going to run a 5K race. I said to Benny, "Hey lets go down and do a race day registration and run the 5K with your mom,” Benny scowled, "Dad, this is a Halloween race. Everybody is going to be wearing weird costumes! I am not going to run in such a silly race!"
This really is not my kind of race either. I like trail races. I missed almost all of the mountain racing season because I was sick. A low elevation race at 5,280 feet might have been fun, costumes and all.
I was planning to run a race this summer along the Arkansas river. This photo shows part of the race course for the “Run the River 4 Mile Race”. You can see the trail on the other side of the river. These are fun races, rocks, tree roots and all. These mountain races tend to be a lot smaller than races in Denver. I just couldn't make this race.
Part 4: Fast 2 Miles
Benny wanted to run a fast short distance. We just ran down my road. The road is dirt and hilly. I really cannot keep up with my son. I tried anyway. We ran 2 miles in a touch under 13 minutes! I wish I could carry that kind of speed for 3.10685 miles (5k).
I ran faster than should trying to keep up with this guy
Part 5: Photo of Speed
My daughter keeps this photo on the top shelf of her closet with her ribbons and medals. This photo was taken during the 4 x 800M relay at the Colorado State Championships. She is the tall redhead in the lead. She is running the third leg of relay and is closing in on the handoff zone. Can she hang on? These three girls are flying and are among the fastest in the state. Perhaps you can see the pain. 800 Meters is a dang hard race. The rest of the pack is way behind these three speedsters. These girls have almost nothing left and are running on guts. They are running stride-for-stride with each other. I think this is a great photo. Who won? They all did!
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Wow, it has been a long time since I last blogged! I took a break from SparkPeople. At the beginning of Summer I came down with Giardia. About the time I got over Giardia some Iowa egg farmer gave me Salmonella food poisoning. How lucky can a guy get?
I am feeling much better now.
Anyway, I missed most of the mountain running season. Yes, in Colorado there is a mountain racing series. I managed to run only two mountain races. There are still regular races down on the flat that I could do. Even the "flat" races in Colorado can be hilly.
Of course, I am tremendously out of shape. I have also been remiss in recording what I eat. The good news is that I haven't gained any weight. I have not lost any weight either. I have started lifting weights again. I can barely muster about 1/2 of what I had been able to do before I got sick. I am trying to take it easy so I don't hurt myself, which is a new attitude for me.
All is not lost! I can still muster questionable judgement about running.
I went running yesterday for the first time in a month. My common sense told me to find some relatively flat place and take it easy. I did not listen to my common sense. I decided I needed to run in an interesting place. I found a set of trails that were cut into an extinct volcano. For the few of you that don't run up volcanoes, the best words to describe the experience are: steep, rocky, treacherous and fun.
Here is the summary from my Garmin:
Maximum grade: 48% (First 1/2 mile - I am not kidding - that what it is)
Maximum Elevation: 6,080 ft
Distance: 3.6 miles
Average Pace: 12:30 min/mile
A 12:30 pace is not fast. The terrain was very difficult. I guess a 12:30 is not that bad. The 48% grade may have cost me some time. I could not run all the way up that bad boy. I had to walk about 1/2 of it. I had to dodge a lot of rocks too.
I think I can find a place to run that is not so insane. But I am not sure I want to. At least I didn't fall this time
Monday, August 02, 2010
I have not been active on SparkPeople for over a month. Somewhere along the line, my friends nominated me as a motivator. I am humbled to be named as a motivator. I could really use some motivation now!
Six weeks ago I came down with Giardia infection. Recovery takes 6 to 8 weeks. I went through two rounds of powerful antibiotics. I still felt terrible. My doctor told me the antibiotics had likely killed off the beneficial flora in my digestive tract. He recommended acidophilus. I am now feel good enough to start running again.
My vacation from running allowed me to heal from a variety of injuries. Unfortunately, my left hip still hurts like a red hot spike. The pain is actually is above my hip and doesn't feel like Iliotibial Band syndrome. I have had IT issues before. This pain is a whole lot worse. I think I may have ripped the tensor fascia latae ("TFL") muscle. The pain is at the top of my pelvis where the TFL muscle connects. When I press on the muscle it really hurts. I guess six weeks was not long enough to heal the hip.
I am running anyway! I can stand being hurt. I just can't stand not running. Besides, the pain doesn't seem to be getting any worse when I run. I can live with that. I am doing some stretches that seem to help.
Last week I was in Atlanta on business. I knew my fitness level had declined. I figured I would get back to running while I was in Atlanta. The 1,000' elevation in Georgia is a lot lower than 8,500' of Bailey, Colorado. I was hoping that more air would be a good thing. I found a nice place to run near the hotel called the "Big Creek Greenway Trail"
The Big Creek Greenway looked like a jungle to me. As far as I know, Colorado does not have any jungles. Here is a shot of Handcart Gulch trail in Colorado. (Trailhead Elevation: 9,019 feet - Top Elevation: 12,081 feet)
This is what seems normal to me.
I really liked the change of scenery in Georgia. I put on my running stuff, did some stretching and took off down the Big Creek trail. After a mile I was soaked with sweat. Oh my - it was HOT! I found out later it was 96.8 °F and 97% humidity! For comparison, today in Bailey it was 63.7 °F and 44% humidity.
I did not run very well in Georgia. The best I could do was 28:59 for 5K. I have a lot of work to do to become Speedy again. But I am on my way back.
Friday, June 18, 2010
I need a few days off from running or exercise. I clobbered myself on Monday while running on a steep and rocky trail. I hiked the same trail on Tuesday so I could snap a few photos for my “Ouch” blog. Wednesday I did cardio on my elliptical and lifted weights. Today, Thursday, I went for a run at noon near Boulder, Colorado. Boulder is at a "low" elevation of 5,500 feet.
I ran up a rutted and uneven trail. The temperature was a blazing 90 degree F. I forgot what I was doing and lost my concentration. I tripped over a rock and did additional damage to my hands and left knee. This tumble was on top of the face plant I did on Monday on the Ben Tyler trail.
Damage inventory, includes:
Multiple cuts and scrapes on left hand
Bruised and swollen right hand
Cuts on left knee
Bruised right calf (This happened when I fell down on Monday - how it happened is a mystery!)
Sprained right ankle
Bruised left elbow
IT Band Friction Syndrome
I don't know how much more of this I can take! I think I may be over-training. Even though my clumsiness is a family legend, I am taking a lot more of a beating than usual. I may need to heal before I go running again.
I think I am a good runner, albeit a clumsy one.
I am a good skier also. I can ski bumps, steep and deep - you name it. Over the years I have had a few skiing injuries. I broke my right wrist. I took out my right anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). I destroyed my left posterior cruciate ligament (PCL).
My biggest skiing crash was at Breckenridge. I smacked the ground really hard. I got a quadruple concussion; tore my neck muscles and ligaments; broke three ribs; and had internal bleeding. I did three more runs before I started hurting too much to ski. I got to ride in ambulance. Ambulances are loud. I learned some medical terms including, anaphylactic shock and intubation. I also found out what happens when an EMT calls for paddles! I spent 10 days in the hospital on a morphine drip. I was in rehab for 6 months. I am much better now.
I may live a bit too close to the edge. Tripping over a few rocks while running seems like small potatoes.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
I need to find a race to run. I have been holding off registering for a race because of a slightly sprained ankle and a hurt Iliotibial band. I read someplace that inadequate warm-up and hill running can cause Iliotibial band injuries. Inadequate warm-up and excessive hill running pretty much describes my training strategy!
I want to find a nice little out-in-the-boonies race with excessive hill running. I know this may sound crazy. I am just very good at running hilly courses.
I went for a run Monday, June 14th, on the Ben Tyler trail near my house in Colorado. This trail is not an easy run. Just to prove I am not making this stuff up - here is a description of the trail from the Mountain Travel Guide:
"Ben Tyler Trail #606
Rated Most Difficult, the 11.4 mile Ben Tyler Trail begins at an elevation of 8,260' and reaches its highest point at 11,650'.
Beginning at the North Ben Tyler Trailhead, Ben Tyler Trail climbs steeply via a series of switchbacks. The trail becomes less steep after the switchbacks up to a crossing of Ben Tyler Creek, after which the trail gradient increases and the valley tightens."
Another review calls the trail, "extremely rocky and rough"
I didn't run 11.4 miles up the trail. In fact I only ran 1.6 miles up the trail to Ben Tyler Creek. My total distance was 3.2 miles. I was not happy with my time for the 3.2 miles. Here are the specifics:
Total Distance: 3.2 miles
Maximum Grade: 46% (That is what the Mountain Travel Guide means by "climbs steeply")
Average Grade: 25%
Average Pace on Ascent: 13:46 min/mile (I know that is slow but this trail is really steep!)
Average Pace on Descent: 9:58 min/mile (I know this is slow but I was trying to dodge rocks, roots and fallen trees so I wouldn't do a face plant! I was not entirely successful!)
Starting Elevation: 8,260 feet
Highest Elevation: 9,575 feet
Total Time: 37:24
Average Pace: 11:41 min/mile
I started running up the trail at 5:00pm. The temperature was 47 degrees F. This trail climbs up through a series of really nasty switchbacks. The Forest Service put in some nice guardrails made of native trees so you won't tumble off the trail and hurt somebody below you.
This trail is rocky steep and treacherous. I had a blast!
I stopped to hydrate at Ben Tyler Creek. The water is pure and crystal clear. I turned around at the creek. I was going down the steep trail skillfully dancing over rocks and tree roots. I was completely please with my grace and skill. I kept going faster and faster. According to my Garmin I was blazing down the trail at a 7:24 min/mile pace. I slipped on some loose gravel, caught my foot on a tree root and did a spectacular face plant! As I was falling down, I thought, "Oh no - not again!" and "How am I going to stop!" I banged my left knee really hard! Yes, my left side has the bad IT band. My sprained ankle was caught on the tree root. I got some gravel in my left hand. I got scraped-up quite a bit.
I didn’t fall while I was running in Iowa last week. I really am not that clumsy.
Here is what I am thinking – I might as well run a few races even though I am not 100%. A race course is likely to be less hazardous that some of these trail. I may be able to find a good mountain race on July 4th. For training, I am planning on running Burning Bear trail and Slaughter House trail.
Not much of a sign on the highway. Very easy to miss.
Here is the trail head. Doesn't this look inviting!
Lots of information on this sign.
This is really steep. The surface is rough. I did not find this easy to run.
Some trail sections have very loose gravel - very slippery.
I really think that a 13:46 pace up this trail at 9,000 feet elevation is not all that bad.
Here is Ben Tyler Creek The water is cold and pure. Please note the high-tech bridge.
This would be a bad place to trip. The trail is narrow and cut into the side of a hill. A tumble off the side would really hurt.
My left hand is taking a beating. I had already dug the rocks out of my hand when I took this photo. I think only one face plant on this trail was doing pretty good.
There is my car! I am almost done. A total time 37:24 for 3.2 miles is not spectacular. I did survive and hardly lost any blood.
Hmmm - was I wilderness wise? I will let you be the judge.
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