Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Runner v. Chiropractor 2012

As a runner one learns to push through pain.  Minor aches and pains are a part of the training game and are to be largely ignored in order to log the miles and speed to produce fitness.

As a chiropractor I understand pain and weakness are a sign of dysfunction not to be ignored or injury may occur.

I guess I'm a runner. 

After an inexplicably poor performance in Montana I opted to start bidding on priceline for cheap flights to New Mexico for the next weekend instead of taking some down time. 

The resulting race led me to the answer I was seeking as to why my race in Montana went so poorly.  It did not lead to a good race.  A mile into the Jemez Mountain half marathon, which I won in 2010, there was a steep short paved downhill.  I noticed some sharpness deep in my gluts.  It was minor at the time but a mile later pain began occurring with every step and with full extension of my right leg.  I kept moving but lost touch immediately to the two leaders.  I held onto 3rd place through the major 1700ft climb through the mid point of the race.  But the subsequent downhill was extremely painful with both foot strike opening up my stride.  Jason quickly passed me on the downhill (then got lost giving me 3rd place) as I slowed to a pace nearly 10 minutes slower than the last time I ran the course. 

The good news is I found the dysfunction.  (Positive spin time).  Possibly without my ridiculous back to back of racing and traveling I would linger through the next two months with my right glut being wrecked but still mediocrely getting through races by over working my hamstrings and piriformis.  As it stands now I haven't run more than 10 minutes since Saturday.  But I'm building back and and cross training and hopefully to be running miles instead of minutes by this weekend. 

Treatment has been fun.  I've trained Kadie and Ken (Marathon Chiropractic's massage therapist) to do ART on me.  I've trained my dad to adjust.  Stem, extension exercises, and stretching are helping.  Overall I I feel more day-to-day than I feel out indefinitely which is good because I can only take so much of the exercise bike.

Mountain Cup
The Mountain Cup has once again come to a disappointing end.  Even with being the high man through 4 races it appears I'm destined for 4th place after two poor attempts at getting points in a 5th race.  I could get lucky if Matt and Jared have a couple of bad races but that's my only hope.  Rob is going to be the champion.  He's got an untouchable lead and even still is planning on doing a 6th.  I'll go ahead and congratulate him.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hell in Helena

Hells Hills proved to be quite heavenly for me but my next Mtn Cup stop in Helena would finally bring hells suffering.  The Don't Fence Me In 30k was the ultimate Mtn Cup showdown with me, Matt Byrne, Jared Scott, and Rob Krar all toeing the line in the same race for the first and only time during the series.  With all the available bonus points combined with my 3 other cup victories I had the opportunity to put the series victory away with a win. 
Garmin of race
Nearly 19 miles and ~4100ft of ascending and descending stood in the way.  Normally such a long race will be quite in the early going but at the gun for this one Matt Byrne was no where to be seen and Jared spurted out 20 meters ahead of everyone.  I thought I'd be patient and let Jared's fast pace catch up with him later so I hung back waiting for Matt to work his way through the field as we tackled the first 1000 ft climb up Mt ascension.

Mt Ascension to the left
At the top Jared and Rob were only about 30 seconds ahead of me and Matt had finally caught up.  "Now's the time to work with Matt and make the miles fly by" I thought.  Then Matt went running past me.  That's about when the race ended.  3 miles into a 19 mile race I was off the leaders and would only see them again on a long road stretch way in the distance. 

Mt Helena
 The course was amazing though.  Challenging climbs and descents all along single trek trails.  The views were often long range and I got to enjoy them a little bit.  As I climbed Mt Helena in 5th place (after a lazily long bathroom break) I was still moving well but not at all fast enough to be involved.  The race finished with a 1200 ft descent over 2 miles which served as the final straw to break this camels back.  I slowly made my way down the technical descent with my hip flexors barely providing the strength to get my next step in front of me.  A runner zoomed past me early in the descent and beat me to the finish line by 3 minutes.  It was painful.

I would have loved to have hiked the 2 miles back up Mt Helena to snap a few pictures to show of the views but I could barely walk the one block to my hotel.  Instead of partaking in natures intoxicating beauty I partook in Blackfoot River Brewery's intoxicating IPA with the Mtn Cup gang.  I continued to partake until I got good and college drunk.  By the end of the evening a drunk dial to Kadie ended with a deep conversation about how I want babies.  Eek.

My actual babies
La Sportiva Mountain Cup
I have to do a 6th race after that stinker.  So removing that race from my total through 4 races here's how it looks between Rob, Jared and I:
Ryan Woods - 83 point
Jared Scott - 82 points
Rob Krar - 82 points
Matt has only down 3 races but he has 62 through 3 so if he get his average on his fourth he'd be at:
Matt Byrne - 83.67
The whole series is amazingly close with so little left to go.  Obviously everyone could control their own destiny but it may come down to who wins the race with the most bonus points or who is willing to do 6 (or 7!?!) races. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Welcome to Moe's!

The Plan 
Rendezvous with Devin for a low key 5k with and easy payday

The Catch
The race requires you to eat a Moe's wrecker burrito at mile 2

The Result
A very poor plan with a very big catch. 

The Lesson
It turns out if the prize purse is big enough then fast runners will show up no matter what torturous acts you throw their way.

The Contenders
Me - Winner of several awards for beauty and grace
Devin Swann - Sub 24 8k roads sub 30 10k roads etc
Ricky Flynn - 2:13 marathon (12th I heard at the trials)
Patrick Morgan - 4:01 mile
John Compton - fast but I don't know any of his pr's... often contending and beating Devin and I
Eric Ashton - South Carolina legend
And what appeared to be 8-10 other runners who were under 10 minutes at the two mile

How it all shook out
It was a very tense start line.  There were about 10 guys who all thought the exact same thing.  "Eating a burrito in the middle of a 5k is stupid.  No one will show up to this race and I'm going to make some easy cash."  There would be no easy cash.  The gun goes off and the field is out so fast you'd think this was the NCAA cross country championships.  4:30 pace didn't scare anybody as no less than two dozen runners blaze through the half mile in 2:15.  I know because I was in about two dozenth place.

The pace lags and I spurt to the front of the pack and take control of the race with Ricky Flynn by my side. We go through the mile on the garmin in 4:39 and start to get a small gap on the field.  I saw 4:44 pace late in the mile before the course took us to a left hand turn up a steep embankment leading to the two mile mark and the burrito station.  On the steep uphill I let Ricky get a few meters on me for the first time as I eased into the burrito station trying to not be too winded. 

What happens now is not something I'm proud of.  I grab a burrito, unwrap and take a bite.  It's like sand.  I grab a water and go Joey Chestnut on its ass.  Take a bite, sip of water, swallow, and repeat.  There was no chewing. 

The mannerless strategy worked.  I gulped my last bit and yelled "Welcome to Moe's!" to signify to the judges I was finished.  I was the first out of the burrito station.  I ran a few steps at normal race pace and looked back over my shoulder to see if anyone else had finished.  I can't describe the desire I had to look back and see no one.  In that moment it was a desire greater than any I had ever experienced.  Unfortunately I saw 3 people, running together a mere 20 meters behind me.  Complete disappointment.  Even now after having been fast to the burrito station and the fastest out, making up a good 8-10 seconds on Ricky Flynn, nothing had been settled. 

I didn't know what was going to happen now.  The prerace plan was to dominate to the burrito station, eat fast, and then cruise to the finish enjoying a huge lead.  4th place and no prize money was suddenly breathing down my neck. 

Begin system check.  I'm moving fast.  The garmin says 4:45.  I feel good.  I taste beans.  Spit.  I taste rice.  Spit.  Mouth is clear.  My new plan is to keep running fast until my stomach says "no more" in what I'm sure what be a violent scene.  I check the watch and I've covered .2 miles.  Then .3 and .4.  Still nothing coming up and still keeping 4:45 pace.  The finish is approaching and I'm confident that at this pace I won't be caught from behind.  I'm shocked at how fast I'm moving and how pain free my abdomen feels.

What seemed rather quickly I recognize the final turn that leads to the home stretch.  My lead has shrunk but not by much.  I make the turn leading to the last quarter mile and start to push.  I check over my shoulder several times as I'm running down the home stretch.  The lead may have dwindled more but I'm getting close and begin to kick in earnest.  Once the kick has started I can taste victory.  And a bell pepper.  But that's what victory tastes like sometimes.

Eating and running is what I do!!!

15:56 was my final time.  The garmin had the course at 3.00 miles with a lot of 90 degree turns.  The garmin also had me at 4:43 for my last mile.  I'm shocked at how fast I just ran with a burrito in my stomach.  The garmin had me kicking the last 12 seconds at 4:04 pace.  Ricky Flynn takes second place about 5-8 seconds behind me.  He's followed closely by Patrick Morgan then Eric Ashton and John Compton.  Devin takes 32nd place.  Eating and running is not what he does.

Caitlin Chrisman won the women's race and had a few videos taken of the eating.  Here's a link:
Leaders eating. At 1:46 you can see me running and the chase pack
Caitlin finishing burrito while Devin still snacks on his

Big races are on the horizon.  In 3 weeks I'll be competing in Helena, MT to possibly finish the cup.  June takes me to Mt Washington for a chance at making the world mountain running team.  July takes me to Whistler, BC for the NACAC mountain running championships.  Hopefully my hot streak will continue for a few more months.  As it stands I've got an 8 race winning streak!

Closing Thoughts

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Lucky 7's

Last time I wrote it was regarding a mostly unlucky 7 month period.  Today I write regarding a 7 weekend/7 race win streak.  Not too shabby.  The 7 wins include two Mtn Cup victories, the title of Carolina Mtn Goat, and a butt whoopin to my old college teammate Devin Swann. 
No Devin at this finish line yet
This past weekend was a showdown royal for the Hell's Hills 25k in Smithville TX, the setting for "Hope Floats."  It may have stared Sandra Bullock and some dreamy heart throb.  Jared Scott (last years Mtn Cup champ) and Rob Krar (beat us both in Moab) showed up and so did the heat and humidity.  The high's were 86. 
Finishing photo courtesy Rick Kent - Enduro Photo
What a handsome sweaty fellow in his new La Sportiva get up!

The 7am start kept the temp in the low 70's and the 3 of us ran comfortably through blue bonnet fields on a rocky single track and rolling terrain.  Half way in Jared made is move in response to my move... a move to sit on a log and pop a squat.  For two miles I pushed to catch up with serious reservations about my abilities to ever see them again.  But I caught them both on the single track and got to settle back into their comfortable pace for about half a mile.  Then we hit an old logging road and Jared threw down again.  This time we were going 5:20 pace I hung tight though and it paid off when we got back on the single track.  I felt Jared and Rob slow on the single track around 12 miles in and decided to push.  I opened a gap that I held onto through the finish.  For a 15.5 mile race the ~20 seconds between first and 3rd was tight.  It was my third trail race in La Sportiva's Vertical K and I'm now 3 for 3.  Ryan likey.
24:49 for 8k

The big Mtn Cup showdown may occur May 12th in Helena, MT.  Jared, Rob, and Matt Bryne may all be showing up meaning my attendance would result in the ultimate Mtn Cup throwdown.  We'll see if that comes to be.
Carolina Mtn Goat

In the Meantime I'm going to keep the consecutive racing weekend streak going for two more weeks.  If I jinxed things then whoops but I can't contain the pleasure from the two mtn cup victories and the Devin Swann beat down.

Friday, March 16, 2012

7 month review

It's been awhile.  Since I last posted I...

Fell apart at the World Mountain Running Championships.

Dropped out of a 50 mile trail race.  [Blisters led to shuffling led to falling on my face a lot].

Dropped out of the World's Toughest Mudder 24 hour challenge after 90 minutes [15 min of swimming in a shallow New Jersey pond in December is not a good idea].

Won a marathon and placed 3rd in a marathon [both in November and not in that order].

Become Active Release Technique certified [Lower, upper, and spinal].

Won 2 of 3 2012 Moutain Cup races I attended. 

Lost 1 of 3 2012 Mountain Cup races I attended.

Haven't used a snow shovel all winter.

Did a track workout.

Joined the Hammer Nutrition Team [Only gel I've ever had that didn't cause GI diahrea]

Joined the La Sportiva Team [New Vertical K is a super lightweight racer with some protection]

That's about it.  I'm hoping 2012 will include a few more Mountain Cup victoried, a spot earned at Mt Washington for the World Mountain Running team, a fast 5k or two, maybe even a track race or two. I'd like to share abit more about what I'm doing on here but we'll see how lazy I get.  I may get some pics of from the Moab 33k which tirned into a nice vacation.  I may get some pics up of the pets cause they're so pretty.  I may not. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

US Trail 10k National Championships

Recovery from the Springmaid Splash 10k went just as I had hoped.  With the race being more of a hard effort than a 100% dig down deep grind I was able to run the next day pain free.  And long.  Which was important because I would be giving 100% dig down deep grind effort the next Saturday at the Continental Divide 10k which served again as the USATF Trail National Championship.  The field would include familiar names from the Mountain Cup in Jared Scott (winner this year) and Jason Bryant (4th) as well as reigning champ and recent USATF road 8k Champ Bobby Mack and training partner Joe Moore.  It was a stacked field that went much deeper than those guys but I don't know everybody's resume so I'll cut off the list there.
Jason's sadistic idea of a course

Jason Bryant created this course out of pure hate for road runners.  It only 5.8 miles but it runs like 10 miles.  It's technical.  It's steep.  It's up, it's down, and then up and down and then you have to try and run fast on a flat section.  It's brutal.  It was my first trail race I ever did and I recognized the pain I was in from some of my patients... the ones in car accidents.  But I've had fairly decent success taking the runner-up spot the last two years.  This year I wanted badly to win but Jason had assembled the deepest field yet.  Nevertheless I created a strategy to win the race and beat Bobby and I enacted it.

Garmin Link
Early on during the initial long descent it was me out front with a heard of buffalo stampeding close behind.  As we neared the bottom and began to climb Jared made a move out front and was followed by Bobby and Joe.  I watched them pull away from me on the climb but I didn't let them get too far ahead.  Then on the descent around 2 miles I made my move.  I went screaming down the trail/embankment and quickly caught and went past Bobby and Joe who were gingerly making their way down the trail.  For a little while Jared and I ran away from those fast guys but I was feeling Jared let off of the gas and made a move past him as well.  By the time I reached the second big climb I was alone in the lead without another runner in sight.  It should be noted that looking back through the thick woods didn't lend to a long sight line.
Trailing early to a dude in his underwear

This climb was long.  Last year Bobby caught me on this section and gapped me pretty good.  Since I had a solid lead this year I wanted to stay in front or be with Bobby at the time.  Bobby and Joe caught me again this year but it was late in the climb.  I came out of the woods just behind them and immediately caught and surged past. 
Spurting past Bobby and Joe

I would empty the gas tank on this flat/downhill section.  I opened up a pretty good gap and kept it till late in the second to last climb.  It was Joe Moore that caught me as I neared the top.  My climbing legs were pretty shot but he didn't go immediately by me.  Instead he waited for the grass field before the last single track descent to get in front of me.  I wish I had fought to keep him back because once on the single track I was looking for any opening to get by his gingerly pace.  I made a move on a grassy elbow on the trail and found a two foot stump in the middle.  I banged my knee on the old soft stump and spun right into Joe.  I apologized and continued in front.  He kept pace though and we hit the ridiculous last 1/3rd of a mile climb to the finish.
What I mean by "on all fours"

At this point I was ready for Joe to go by and claim his victory.  But he mirrored my every move while remaining behind me.  If I walked, he walked.  If I got on all fours to scramble up the rocks he did too.  When I ran, he ran.  It was going to come down to a 100meter gradual up hill kick as we exited the single track.  Here's where I lost the race.
Exiting the final climb

As I was nearing the exit of the trail I recognized where we were.  I thought "a quick spurt here would open up a gap and get me running on flat land before he could respond."  This would have been a winning move.  Instead I waited.  I hurt too bad.  As the terrain leveled off I kept pace and let him run by.  No fight at all and for the third year in a row I took the bridesmaid spot.  I was over 30 seconds faster than the prior year which was great news coming off the calf injury and leading into the world mountain running championships in two weeks.  It was great to beat Bobby.  He's been killing it the last two years so having my name listed before his is a great accomplishment.  Hopefully he doesn't get angry and start focusing on trail running.

Bobby, his dad, Joe, and I celebrated with a dogfishead 90 min IPA after the race.  We were on a rock with a great view and great wind.  By the end of the brew we were freezing and my lips were purple. 

Up Next
World Mountain Running Championships in Albania on 9/11.  The course profile is similar to Cranmore, the qualifying race, but the terrain is entirely different.  It's very dry yet hot and humid.  The dirt is lose and soft in spots and hard packed and jagged in others.  There's rebar, chickens, cows, and even a homeless man sleeping on the course.  The race will be at high noon so it'll be a challenge without the world's best mountain runners showing up.  Should be fun.  I'm looking to finish well enough to give our team a shot at the podium.  That's all for now.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Back in action

Today I headed to Spruce Pine to run the Springmaid Splash 10k.  It's my first attempt at real racing since my calf injury at Beat the Heat on July 17th.  After two weeks on the exercise bike (and a ridiculously poor attempt at a Mtn Cup race) I gradually transitioned back into running.  Initially I started running in a shuffling stride staying off of my toes which did not aggravate the calf. 

Over the next few weeks I increased my mileage, left the exercise bike behind, and began running more on my toes which is my natural running stride.  Two weeks ago I attempted my first workout.  A fartlek run of 3x5min with 1 min recovery.  8x5min with 1 min recovery is a staple of mine so I decided to attempt it but cut in half.  I felt pretty good throughout it and even added on the 5th interval.  The next day the calf wouldn't let me run comfortably but that was the only noticeable bad event in the calf up until as I type right now. 

Springmaid Splash 10k
If I was going to compete well at the USATF Trail 10k championships next weekend I needed a tune-up and a test.  Springmaid Splash offered just that.  I lost this race last year by a minute but was 4 minutes ahead of 3rd place.  I was hoping that no one would show up this year and I could turn it into a hard effort.  I got my wish.
Springmaid Splash Garmin
It took me half a mile to pass the last hard charger at the start line and from that point on I was running solo.  There was 4 river crossings, mud, ruts, and the middle 4 miles had some major ups and downs.  I wanted to be conservative, to make sure the calf didn't get reinjured.  In the end though I was 5 seconds faster than the time I put up last year.  I couldn't be happier with that and feel much better about Continental Divide trail championships next weekend.

One big difference from last year to this year was shoe choice.  Last year I ran in La Sportiva's Crosslite which are heavy duty shoes good for the mud and rocks but they didn't drain the water from the river crossings well.  This year I ran in Inov-8's X-Talon 212's, a lighter shoe with equally good grip and a thinner lining which drained water very quickly.  It was a good choice in shoe wear this year.

Next up
USATF Trail 10k championship next weekend in Laurel Springs.  Two weeks later on 9/11 I'll be racing for the US in Albania for the mountain running world championships.  I got my USA gear this week and I'm psyched.  I'm equally psyched to be healthy.  Well, healthier.  There's still some rehab to do.