June 27, 2011

William O'Brien 10 Mile

I was really on the fence about even going to this race given the sore foot and hip thing that I've had going the last couple of weeks. Haven't been sleeping well either, which can also be a contributing factor for getting trigger points. I actually turned my alarm off, deciding that it would be foolish to run/hike 10 miles feeling miserable. Pity party of one, your table is ready.

Decided at the last possible minute that I'd go check this race out, since it's a new trail/park that I haven't run yet, and Wayne sent me a last minute message the night before that he would be there too. (By the way, we are all anxiously awaiting your race report from your first 100 mile finish at Kettle a few weeks ago. No pressure).

Got to the park and saw lots of unfamiliar faces along with a handful of very fast friends (Wynn won, Lisa took 4'th female, and Marise had a fast time too). About 70 degrees, very humid, but breezy with clouds peeking in and out. RD Jeff sent us down a gravel path that ran parallel to the beautiful St. Croix river for about a half mile before turning toward the interior of the park. There would be about an 8 mile loop before we would return to the start/finish the same way we came. Wayne and I were both taking it easy since I was feeling gimpy and he's still recovering from Kettle, so the wide and non-technical trail made it convenient to run/walk and chat. We ran through hardwood forest, past a pond full of very loud croaking frogs (reminded me of the reverb from a 1970's P.A. system), then into open fields full of yellow and purple wild flowers, back into the forest again - all with gently rolling hills. My hip and foot did pretty well most of the way, though I was feeling some twinges towards the end. Probably had just as much to do with deconditioning as anything else. We finally got to the finish as they were wrapping up the awards ceremony - and somehow, as slow as we were, we weren't dead last!

Thanks to RD Jeff and his crew for putting on a fun race! It turned out to be a great day - nice to find a new trail relatively close to home! I'll definately be heading out to this place more often to get some training runs in. Glad I didn't stay home feeling sorry for myself - got to catch up with a few friends and spend another day in the beautiful North Woods!

June 23, 2011

Sore Heel

Been having some strange heel/foot pain lately, which has indirectly gotten my hip jacked up too, so I haven't been getting as much running in as I'd like. At first I thought it was my Achilles tendon getting riled up, then thought it was more likely the retrocalcaneal bursa, but the pain was intermittent. Started wondering about a bone spur, though they typically cause bottom of the heel pain, not back of the heel pain. Finally started wondering if it was referred pain, so I dug out the Travell and Simons Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual; Vol. 2., The Lower Extremities and low and behold, soleus TrP1 refers pain to the heel and was very, very tender.

Needless to say, I've been spending lots of time doing self myofascial release on my hips and legs, and there has been some noticeable improvement! Not completely resolved, but I think I'm on the right track. Perhaps these trigger points are also major contributors to my cramping problem during runs since all the tweaking I've done with hydration and electrolytes hasn't really provided any relief.

Here is a website that offers more basic info about referred pain and trigger points, and another decent book written more for laypeople rather than medical professionals is The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief, Second Edition. It's also about 90% cheaper than the Travell and Simons manuals ;)

Hoping to feel well enough to run the William O'Brien 10 mile this weekend!

June 5, 2011

Chester Woods 10 Mile 2011

Finally got off my back side and jumped into a fun little 10 mile race down near Rochester that I've done a couple of times before: the Chester Woods 10 Mile. My training has been very haphazard for the last year and a half for a variety of reasons, and being out of shape and feeling like I'm starting at the very beginning has been frustrating. But, there's only one way to fix that - get back in the game!

This year, the race was held on the second day of summer. Meaning, we've had a cooler than usual spring, and the day before the race was our first day of 90+ degree weather with high humidity. Woke up on race day to cooler temps, but still sticky dew points (not my forte, even when well trained). Got to the race with plenty of time to spare and met up with a few running buddies that I haven't seen since last year (another good reason to get back out on the trails).

There were some minor course changes to the 10 mile race this year - mostly backing up the start line and having a different route to the finish. There seemed to be a little more asphalt than I remembered in previous years - glad I chose to wear shoes instead of going barefoot, which I was seriously considering. The prairie sections were brutally hot even early in the day, especially considering nobody has had a chance to get acclimated to heat and humidity yet. Pretty course, I was able to catch a glimpse of Lynn and Sara out on the trail as they were running the inaugural 50K (just added a few weeks ago). Kept leap frogging with Chris, who was running her first trail race! I would pass her on the downs and she would pass me on the ups. Eventually, she pulled away at the Big Dam Hill and finished about a minute ahead of me. Always fun to meet new friends out in the woods - the people are one of the best things about trail races. I ended up finishing with my slowest ever 10 mile trail time, which is to be expected when SOME one takes an 18 month vacation from regular training ;) Still had plenty of fun none the less!

Hung out afterwards and waited to see how some of my buddies running the 50K were faring with a new course in hot and humid conditions. There were some logistical problems with volunteers giving incorrect instructions out in the field, but the first time running a new race is bound to have a few bugs that will need to be worked out in the future. Congrats to Bill P. for pulling out a 50K PR!

Thanks to RD Jim and the Rochester Track Club crew for putting on another fun event! The dirty magazines, burma shave mile marker signs, and dill pickles at the finish line are unique to this race and make it a fun atmosphere. It's also getting to be a not so little race - I recommend putting it on your calendar and coming to the party next year!