This morning I met Dennis and Gunhild at the club as usual. David had already been out running for an hour on the mountain with the boy. (The rest of us are just lazier and don't get started until 8 am in the winter.) The plan was to run up the mountain and meet David around 9 am at the 1st tower. Going up the mountain was a little slow as the three of us have been running only the roads for many months now. We inched are way up through some snow but mostly just mud and guck and at times slick ice. Going up, the clouds were thick and visibility was limited to about 50 feet. Once out of the low-hanging clouds, the sky opened up and the sun shone down. We were about half way up the switchbacks when we heard Steely barking for us from above. Just a second later, he came charging down the switchbacks to meet and greet us.
We continued on up, now with David and the boy. We ran the trails - but walked quite a bit too in order to protect our gimpy ankles and prevent falls. At the top, we looked down at the thick white clouds and starting talking about all sorts of goofy things we could do with a picture of the clouds and a photo editor program. We even suggested putting a picture of DK up there in the middle of the clouds and saying he was the first person ever to set a record by running across the clouds. :)
We took some pictures (thanks, David for always having your camera!) since this was the first time in a long time all of us were together on the mountain. In fact, it was my first time in nearly two years this far up into the trails!
After running around up there we came to a trail that descended down the mountain but David had already tried to go that way earlier in the morning and found it pretty gnarly due to the snow and ice. We therefore headed toward the road and started running down. Just a few steps onto the road and we were slipping and sliding and yelling out all sorts of startling noises. The road was covered with thick ice and we could not even stand on it, never mind run down it. We had to descend on the banked shoulder in the snow for a couple of miles. Soon though, the ice gave way to road and we were running again.
David took a fork that lead back to his car, and Dennis, Gunhild and I continued down and around and weaved in and out of the country roads, adding out and back hills to our course to make up for our earlier slog up the mountain. We ran the ups and raced the downs and pushed a little hard today.
My hip flexor started whining again from all the uphill running. Thing is, now I know what the problem is. I had a video-taped running gait analysis done yesterday and I was so surprised to see how much less muscular my right quad was compared to my left. You couldn't even see any muscle at mid stance. The difference was quite dramatic. This is left over muscular atrophy from when I was in the cast for 6 weeks after surgery and, due to being non-weight bearing, I had lost a lot of muscle bulk. I remember, when I was finally able, I started back with knee extensions at just 10 pounds on the right! Apparently, I stopped my rehab far short of full strength and bulk. I just never noticed it because I haven't been running longer distances. The rectus femoris is the only quadriceps muscle that crosses 2 joints - the knee (extends the knee) and the hip (flexes the hip). Given the weakness of this muscle, it has been getting overused with the uphill running. And that's my problem. So, the excellent news is: that is EASY to fix! Yep, all I've got to do it strengthen the quad. I will start today!
We totaled 15 miles today and, other than that little hip tweak, I felt fine. I am happy with the recovery from the marathon last weekend. I had a nice massage this afternoon and didn't notice any muscle soreness at all. The only thing I feel now is a little "fullness" in the ankle. It's not swollen, but I'm glad we weren't up on the mountain trails for longer than we were.
I'm trying to decide about the Barkley. It's March 31st. I can't really justify taking off so many work days only to bushwack 20 +/- miles. I also am finding it hard to justify risking my ankle. My big race this year is Badwater and the Barkley is the polar opposite of that. There are also 2 100k's the following weekend that I could consider doing. The first one is right here at WSU. It's really a relay but you can run it solo. I think less than 10 people will run the solo. The other race is the MadCity 100k National Championship. All our Midwest friends will be there and David is wanting to make that our destination. I can't take that much time off work, so it's got to be one or the other. I think we're leaning towards the MadCity 100k. But then I can't do the Barkley. I'll be called a wimp for not starting. I don't really care; I've been called worse! :)
What do you think?
Locusts: Part Two
4 weeks ago