November 29, 2008

Down Time

Haven't had much to say about running lately, so I haven't been keeping up with the blog. The last few weeks have been down time as far as running goes - only some short spurts (ie about 3 miles at a time) on the treadmill since Surf the Murph. The bursitis is improving, but still noticable. I also managed to catch a little bug that was going around, so I've been a slug lately.

Been busy watching the current space shuttle mission (STS-126), which is coming to a close after 2+ weeks. Never get sick of looking at the pictures of Earth from space. I could post lots of stuff about the mission, but...this is a trail running blog ;)

Photo courtesy of NASA

Also been loading up the Ipod with some tunes to get through running on the hamster wheel over the winter. Some of my recent additions:

Cities Sampler - Vol 20. Awesome 2 disc acoustic set that typically sells out within minutes the day it goes on sale.
Tom Morello aka The Nightwatchman - Fabled City. Rage Against the Machine guitarist who displays his more acoustic side as The Nightwatchman.
My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges.
The Verve - Forth. A Storm In Heaven is still my favorite disc of theirs, but this one is pretty good too.
Ray Lamontagne - Gossip In the Grain. I like his first disc Trouble the best, but this is also a great listen.
Amos Lee - Last Days at the Lodge.
Coldplay - Viva LaVida.
Joe Henry (yeah, he's Madonna's cousin) - Trampoline.

Hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving!

November 7, 2008

Toughest Kid in the World

I feel a little silly complaining about some minor bursitis when I think about Nick Nelson.

November 6, 2008

Off Season Plans

Now that the trail racing season has wrapped up, it's time to start thinking about next year. I have some preliminary races in my head that I want to do for sure: Chippewa, Superior, Afton, Moose Mountain, and Wild Duluth. I'm sure others will fill in, such as Runnin' in the Ruff, Chester Woods, and In Yan Teopa. Before that, however, I need to decide on my goals for the off season, and how they will play into next season's races.

So, from now until mid-January:

R & R - but just for a week or two.
It's been a long, wonderful trail running season and I hope to still get out for an occasional fat ass run. But right now my left heel is still sore (self diagnosis = retrocalcaneal bursitis), so I need to let that heal up. I think I'll also need some new trail shoes, as I suspect that may be most of the culprit for this particular issue. And I need a mental break, so active rest (basically just doing activities for FUN rather than a specific purpose) is on the menu for the next couple of weeks.

Lose 5-10 lbs of fat.
This is actually more vague than it should be: 5 lbs is more realistic, but since I'm not overweight (I just weigh more than I ever have - thank you perimenopause), I will still be at a healthy weight whether I lose 0, 5, or 10 lbs. I will accomplish this by:

a) limiting caloric intake to 1600 +/- 100 calories per day, 5 days per week.
b) engaging in more high intensity cardio intervals (anaerobic 1x/week as well as aerobic 1x/week) to increase exercise post oxygen consumption (EPOC).
c) maintaining strength training 2-3x per week. I may combine some of this with the anerobic intervals.
d) still doing some moderate intensity aerobic exercise including cross training (running, snow shoeing, rowing, biking, stair stepping) 2-3x/week.
e) dropping the bicep curls with Summit Extra Pale Ale from my routine.

Improve flexibility.
I am about as flexible as a redwood. As trees go, redwoods are pretty pliable, but.... I am not a tree. I will accomplish this by:

a) Self myofascial release using a biofoam roller. I have 2 of them, so I can do it in my living room every day if I choose to. No excuses!
b) Yoga sounds more interesting to me than static stretching, but I don't really want to drive to the gym in the evening to get into a class (and the class schedules change frequently). I see myself sticking to this more successfully if I do it in my living room in the evening as a relaxation thing immediately following the self myofascial release. In reality, it will probably be static stretching (or the PNF stretches that I can do myself without a partner) rather than yoga most of the time, but I've gotta start doing something. Preferrably most days of the week.

Correct muscle imbalances.
We've all got 'em and I am no exception. I'll accomlish this by:

a) doing a musculoskeletal assessment on myself to dial things in more precisely and monitor how what I've been doing has been working. Good thing I do this for a living, so I know exactly what I need to do.
b) Now I just have to do it more regularly ;)

Maintain a running base.
...even if it's minimal, so that I can jump in to my planned run training schedule beginning in mid-January in preparation for the Chippewa Moraine 50K in April. Up until then, most of my running will be at an easy pace and probably under 10 miles/run depending on how the heel and knees are feeling. I have a vague idea of what my Chippewa training schedule will be once we get to mid-Jan, but will not solidify it until assessments tell me what my strengths/weaknesses are at that time. Since I am historically weakest with strength endurance, I feel pretty confident that there will be lots of hills in my future.

Enjoy the offseason!

November 1, 2008

Surf the Murph 25K

What a perfect morning for a trail run! Crystal clear skies with stars twinkling, no wind, temps in the mid-30's, frost on the grass. Got up at 5 am to make it to the trailhead for the start - about 60+ people showed up for the first "official" Surf the Murph 25/50K races (there was a fat ass last year). Bonnie and Donny wheel measured and marked the course, and Donny mentioned that he planted some animals in the woods. We lined up in the dark with head lamps and flashlights for the 7 am start, then off we went into the woods for either 2 or 4 laps of the 8-ish mile course.

It was pitch black at the start of the race, so everyone was pretty laid back with their pace. The wide trails made it easy to pass or run side by side with another runner. The first 4 miles were pretty hilly - some were steep and had loose gravel, kinda like Afton. Then we got to the previously locked gates and finally got to sample the south end of the park. [As it turns out, hikers are apparently welcome on all of the trails and the closure signs are primarily to keep horses and 4 wheelers out of certain areas of the park. They still don't want folks trespassing during nesting season for the rare bird seems like the park staff could do a much better job of marking/explaining the trail closures, especially if they apply only to certain modes of travel (ie horse, bike, ATV, or feet)]. The south end was much gentler, although there were some sandy and/or rocky bits. Nice little piece of single track shortly after the 5.5 mile aid station - I think that was probably my favorite part of the course.

I ended up running a liesurely pace with Wayne for the entire 25K distance, then he continued on for another 2 laps. It's nice to have company during longish runs - makes the hours and miles fly by! We saw 2 white tail deer bound across the trail directly in front of us, then a pair of wild turkeys later in the day. Thanks for the animals Donny ;)

My finish time for the 25K was one of my slowest, but I really didn't care. I wasn't pushing at all - just enjoying a great morning in the woods. I'm glad I didn't continue with the 50K as my left heel was getting pretty sore. Not sure what that's about - perhaps it's time for some new shoes.

Thanks to RD Les & Cindy and all of the volunteers for a great event in a beautiful park! I hope to be back with my snow shoes in a couple of months!