Saturday, February 10, 2007

Hill run

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?


Anonymous said...

Hi Lisa, Nice trail run report. Say hi to Gunhild for me - see if she remembers me from WS. If you guys decide to do Mad City 100k I am already signed up to volunteer and will be doing the 2pm-6pm stint but you know me; I'll likely be there before and after that time slot. Cheers Ian

Lisa B said...

Hi Ian. I'm sure she'll remember you from our pre-race party. I'll tell her you said hello. David and I will likely see you in Mad Town.

Bob Gentile said...

Nice report and Pics... such neat views, u don't see that stuff her in FL :-) Good news on knowing you have to build up your right quad to help your hip flexor.

I am learning so much Lisa from that trigger point self-help book, I had 3 points in my left QUAD, that totally was the reason for my knee ache.

Worked on them for the past 3-4 days now, geesh got very sore at first but now feelin great-ALL KNEE Ache is gone now...

I love SELF-HELP recovery stuff, (I got myself into this mess, I will get out of it is my thinking--haha) and now I can for the most part..

I ordered the THERA CANE yesterday too....need the tools, right!!

My LEFT Calve is bigger then my right and both quads I know need more muscle. Maybe that was the reason my knee ache in left started..umm not sure... maybe one leg is longer then the other is what Lisa SB said could be the reason too, but just keep on working the that you know were they are.



D said...

Great run and great photos.

Where did you have your gait analysis done? I need to do that.

Triteacher said...

Hi, I just started following your blog & had to say hi because a) ultra-runners impress me, b) we have a weim too (is Steely yours?), and c)I really like your profile statement.

Sounds to me like your future awaits you in Madison. Enjoy!

Lisa B said...

Kudos on the self-help therapy, Bob!

Everybody has a dominant leg like a dominant arm. That could be the reason that the one calf is larger...unless you're skipping when you run. :) My quad was visibly wasted away when I came out of the cast last year.

Unless there's a reason, it's probably just normal. Do some repetitive calf raises on each side and see.

Lisa B said...

Hi d,

I had the running gait analysis done by a physical therapist near me who has been working with runners for many years. I have found that a lot of PT's do it but few are actually good. This guy happened to be excellent.

I also recently had one done by an exercise physiologist. He used a program called DartFish. It took a long time to get the results because he had to send away the tape to the DartFish company. While it was good, I felt it was not as practical as the one done by the PT. The PT did a detailed exam, which was spot on (and I'm a hard person to impress when it comes to this stuff!) and then videotaped me on a TM after which we looked at it together. The other one (DartFish) would cost too much (I am looking for someone good to send my patients to).

In the past, I had one done by Scott Jurek in Seattle and that was helpful too.

So, ask around for a good PT that has spent many years treating runners.

Lisa B said...

Hi tri-t,

Yes, the Weim is mine. I checked out your blog and Piper is a charm! They're the sweetest dogs, aren't they? And boy, can they ever run!

You are right about Mad Town USA - we just signed up for the 100k.

Good luck in your own training.

olga said...

Yeah, I am late - that's what happens with no blog access at home. MadCity 100k is a great idea! Barkley will wait, and besides, you can't risk ankles before badwater! That would be very dumb, and you are not nearely that (unlike myself).
:) Great trail run!

Anna Boldon said...

Hi Lisa,

I'm happy to see you chose the Mad City 100K! I'm on the organizing committee, so will likely be out there all day. It will be good to see you out there running.

-Anna (BW webcaster)

Lisa B said...

Hi Anna! Cool you're on the organizing committe. It'll be great to see you again. We're so looking forward to the MadTown 100 km party...