Archive 2017

5 Mile Trail Run

My running wife, the one I’m not married to, and I did a 5 mile trail run recently that was pretty technical back on Labor day.  She did a good job of putting up with my pace (don’t let her tell you otherwise) and not sprinting out ahead.

I ended up on all fours in the middle of the trail

There was a couple of stretches where we had to walk simply due to congestion on the trails which were single file in a few locations.

The end result was another distance where I finished with little pain from my ITBS area which again points to the physical therapy routines I’m doing actually helping.

Trail running is really just more enjoyable than road running but it can be more painful for sure.  On technical sections you really have to watch your footing, loose rocks, roots, deeper sand, gremlins or bad things can happen.

And those bad things happened to me twice.  I ended up on all fours in the middle of the trail and while under some circumstances that’s not a bad thing at all, in this case I left skin from two elbows, one forearm and two knees behind.  Rug burns but without the enjoyment of getting them.

The biggest problem I have is on the semi-smooth/easy stretches I let my guard down and start scanning the trail further down, not where my feet are landing.  As a result I tripped over a rock and a root.   The second one also wrenched the muscles in the right side of my back.

That’s not a complaint now, I’ve already been back on the trails and will be back again, and again.

It’s just a warning that trail running has dangers that are different than those of road running.  You’re more likely to take a fall, you’re even more likely to get lost, hopefully not to the point where they have to send in a rescue team but to the point you may end up running further than  you planned.

And it does require a bit more in terms of gear.  A hydration vest or pack IMO is preferable to hand helds for trail running so that your hands are free to catch yourself in a fall.  Of course if you never fall then go with whatever works.


DIY Energy Bars

DIY Energy Bars for Runners (And #NotRunners)

I’ve been having some decent luck with these fruit and nut bars that are pretty easy to make and freeze at home.  Nutritionally each bar will match your basic gel type energy source and also bring proteins and fats to the table.

  • 10 Dates
  • 10 dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup of dried cherries unsweetened (optional but good for anti-inflammatories)
  • 1 cup of walnuts
  • 1/2 cup of almonds
  • 1/3 cup of dried coconut (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons of honey (raw preferred) or 3 tablespoons of brown rice syrup
  • 3 tablespoons of cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt (more to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons of chia seeds.

Put your nuts into a food processor first by themselves and pulse a few times to get them mostly broken up.  Rough chop your dried fruits and then add them and the rest of the ingredients in with the nuts and pulse and scrape the sides several times to get a fairly rough but homogeneous mixture.

Line a 8×8 or 9×9 pan with foil or parchment paper and dump your mixture into it.  Wet your hands slightly and then press everything firmly down.  Put into the refridgerator for an hour or two until firmed up.  Remove from pan by lifting the foil/paper and slice into 24 pieces, a 6×4 grid works well, they will be small.

Each 1×2 inch (roughly) piece will be have somewhere in the neighborhood of 110-130 calories depending on the size of your dried fruits, have the salt, magnesium, potassium (critical electrolytes) you need and have a blend of quick and slow energy in the form of multiple sugars, fats and proteins.

They freeze well and unfreeze during the run without a problem.

Take 2-3 bars an hour depending on your effort, the heat and etc.


New 10K PR

Our training schedule today called for a 10K Race so at omfg early we headed out.  I was using the 10K PR workout I made for my last 10K race which has a slower 1 mile warm up, a faster 4.5 mile middle and then a faster yet .77 end.

We stuck to it fairly well till about 2/3rds of the way through and then we just kept going faster till the very end, ending up with all but 1 mile negative splits.  The 1 mile outlier was due to a water break but it was needed by yours truly.  My #runningwife not necessarily so much in spite of what she says but she likes to pretend she’s as bad as me at running so I don’t feel bad.  But I see what she does or doesn’t do.

As usual at a couple of points I hit that personal wall of “this is ridiculous” and as usual I pushed through it and kept going.  I’m not a saint, there are times the wall wins. But I can usually push through it.

In the end I cut almost 4 minutes off my last 10K Race and 2 and a half minutes off my PR from back in May.

As my #runningwife was quite quick to point out, it wasn’t her fastest 10K but it was her fastest 10K in the last several years. But since she insists on sticking to my pace my PR’s will be her PR’s until she decides to cut her boat anchor and move on.

The fact that the cooler temps shows that I have actually improved somewhat over the summer in spite of my summer race and training times is somewhat heartening.  I was starting to wonder if I’d hit the ‘this is as fast as I can be’ point.  Obviously there is a moment in everyone’s running where, that’s it, that’s all I can do with what I have to work with.

But maybe I’m not quite there yet after all.

Dual Running Wives

My actual real wife has started a couch to 5K as of last week and has made every training day and a few not training days as well.  I think she’ll end doing far better than she thinks she can.

We’re going to turn the Route 66 5K together in November so that will be a fun race for me.  Unless she ends up like my running wife and a faster better runner than I am.  Which is quite possible as that’s what women tend to do to me, show me up. 🙂

My running wife has, in spite of her denial, gotten better than me.  It would be surprising if she didn’t, she’s 15 years my junior and 100# lighter.   That’s hard to compete with.   Not to mention she’s been pretty athletic most of her life.

But she swears she’s just in it for the health benefits and will stick it out with me.  So who am I the tortoise to argue with the hare?

Altra Escalantes – Final Thoughts

Last post on the 2017 Altra Escalantes.   To wit, still love them after 200 miles.  For me about 200 miles is pushing it.  The insoles are pretty much flat where the front balls of my feet hit the ground. But do understand I’m a super heavy #notarunner even at my current 253# at the time of this posting.

I added a pair of Super Feet orange insoles I had laying around to them but the difference in thickness is just enough to throw off the fit for me.  I’ll keep these around for shorter runs but I’m going to swap in my back up pair of Escalantes for long runs.

I’ll pick up another pair or two to get through this year and then next year when they go on sale due to the 2018’s dropping I’ll very likely pick up 10 pair or more to get me through 2018 and 2019, and possibly 2020.

Final thoughts?  Try them, buy them, love them.  But at least try them.


ITBS getting better results with…

Life and #notrunning have gotten in the way of making inane posts on this blog lately.  But I do have some news that I feel is worth sharing.

Nothing says kink more than buying some ankle cuffs and restraints and doing some physical therapy with them.

It’s about ITBS or Iliotibial Band Syndrome aka the outside of my knee hurts when I run.   I’ve been having issues with this all summer long starting back around May.

I’m happy to say that I’m finally seeing some progress in being able to run pain free both during and after.   The thing that seemed to finally make an appreciable difference is buying some resistance bands and some ankle manacles.

Here’s some links to what I’m using (no affiliation) with my notes on them –

Resistance Bands   –  These so far are doing okay.  I had some longer not looped straps that broke pretty easily.  I combine the medium and the heavy bands.

Ankle Cuffs – These work pretty well.  I used a couple of carabiners to connect the loops on them together and put the band in the carabiners but got tired of the rattling so now I put the cuffs through the resistance bands instead.

Nothing says kink more than buying some ankle cuffs and restraints and doing some physical therapy with them.  Just be careful, if you break a band it can sting like a well something that stings a lot.  Now if you’re into that then great.  If you’re not then it’s not so great.

After adding the cuffs and resistance bands I started seeing more improvement.

My current routine:

  • 2 or 3 times a week is to do 2-3 sets of 20 reps of sidesteps each direction
  • 2-3 sets of 15-20 reps of front kicks and back kicks
  • 3-4 planks of between 1 and 2 minutes each
  • 2 sets of 15-20 curls with 35# kettlebells, holding both at the same time
  • 2 sets of 15-20 squats while holding 2 x 35# kettlebells
  • 2 sets of ‘until my ass can’t take it anymore’ of bridges.

The biggest thing that seems to have helped, although it’s correlation not necessarily causation, is adding the resistence band’ed side steps and front and back kicks.   I dropped clamshells and… something else in favor of those.

But finally as of this last labor day I was able to do a 5 mile trail race at about an 11:15 pace and not experience any significant pain (other than falling twice, once on each knee, stupid rocks) from my ITB area.

Altra Escalantes

So as part of my first week back after a 2 week break to deal with ITBS (not 100% successfully) we made a road trip to another town to try the Altra Escalantes.   The two of us who went to look ended up buying them and frankly we both like them.

I’ve put 9 miles on the, 3 outside the store and another 5+ yesterday.   As a big boy runner the cushioning isn’t such that I’d want to run super long distances in them right now. A lighter runner, someone more average will probably be fine in them and a large number of people who are average in size who’ve run in them seem to validate that guess on my part.

The shoe is very light, both in weight and in feel.  It also runs long for Altras.  Which means it runs about true to size.   I had to get a size 14 in paradigm’s as my toes were hitting the ends of the 13’s.

In the Escalante I have a full thumbs width between my toes and the end of the shoe, tons of room for swelling.

The reason I wanted to try the Escalantes is the moderate cushioning on top of the 0 drop (negative really) will help me with changing my gait/stride from heel to mid/fore foot.   And it does.  Pain is a great tool for teaching.  Not a ‘good’ one but it is up there on effectiveness.

Landing on my heel in Escalantes is not what you’d call enjoyable so the body not liking pain strives to not do the thing causing the pain and thus it reinforces my desire to land mid/fore foot.

The shoes are seemingly well made, no obvious defects in my pair.   I like the color in the grey, the only option I had, it could work as a casual every day shoe without any problem at all.

General comfort level was high, even better than my Lone Peaks.  Better mostly due to the fact that my foot fits the Escalantes better yet.   After running in the Escalantes and then putting my LP’s back on, what had seemed like a super comfortable shoe kind of paled in contrast.

The shoe has an even number of eyelets and a heel lock hole.  This is important to me as I prefer parallel lacing and typically like the way the heel lock works for my feet. Parallel lacing doesn’t work as well with an odd hole count.

Running on them has been mostly a good time.  As much a good time as it’s possible for me to have while pushing my body at speeds and distances it doesn’t like in the least.

I say mostly with the reservation that I’m in the middle of changing gait so that adds more than big of stress to my runs.  Trying to remember how to land and take off, how to hold my posture etc. makes it more difficult to just enjoy

It’s a very flexible shoe, if you’re used to overlays and heel cups you won’t find them here and you may not like the shoe for that reason or you may find it doesn’t work for you for that reason.

But at the end of the day, if you can work with a 0 drop shoe, the Altra Escalantes are definitely worth trying out.

Not Running Equals Free Time

So since I’m now at the end of week 1 of my for real #notrunning I find myself with free time.  Normally I’d of gone for a 2+ hour run this morning, add in travel time, shower time afterwards and since I didn’t go on a run I had an extra 3 hours to my day.

that it’s like doing it for the first time all over again”

Sadly I spent it spending money, getting weed and feed and grass seed for the lawn, some PVC fittings to make a set of push up / dip bars out of some 1.5″ PVC I have laying around from one of my many projects.

Saturday I spent my not running time cutting down a bunch of overgrowth in the yard.   So there’s definately value in not running.

But I’ve spent the last 11 months of my life running 3 days a week or more and now it feels strange to be doing that.

My running partner is still doing great, putting in all the miles I’m missing out on.  She ran 10 miles this morning.  Since she was wearing my Fenix 3HR it’s almost like I ran it in a weird way so that’s something I guess.

My replacement pair of Paradigm 2.0’s have been sitting staring at me waiting for me to try them.  I had to go a full size up to a ridiculous 14 since they don’t make 13.5’s.   The 13’s were just too short for me after 3 miles.  I have black toenails on both feet from the size 13’s and my toes hitting the end of the shoes.   The 14’s are too long by a bit but the rest seems to fit so why not.

I reset my Stryd back to a calibration factor of 1.0.  I’d dropped it down to 99.5 for the half marathon and it was off by about .2 miles over the 13.2 miles. Setting it back to 1.0 and I’ll walk it back down again and see where it’s the most accurate.

I need to work on my stride/gait.   Do the ‘altra run’ following their recommendations.  It’s just so abnormal to me that it’s like doing it for the first time all over again.   But that’s what it felt like when I started 11 months ago so I guess I can do it again.

I’ve been doing my PT daily, a combination of side steps with resistance, clamshells, bridges, planks, curls, shrugs, crunches, sideways leg lifts.   My knee definitely feels better after the last week of #notrunning or possibly the PT.  Or a combination.   Regardless I’m not running till 6/6.   Then I’m going to restart my full marathon training based on the Stryd plan.

Anyway that’s where I am, didn’t want two weeks to go by without some signs of life.

Dumb is as dumb does

So I ran my last half marathon of the season on Saturday last.   I wasn’t feeling it to be honest going into it.  I knew I was going to have some knee issues based on ITBS issues I’m having.

With my knee roofied into compliance

Around mile 3 my left knee said “Eff this fecal matter, I’m going home.”   I persuaded it with some ibuprofin to keep going a little longer.

At this point I was fairly ahead of the pace group I’d targeted to try to at least match so I kept trying to keep my pace up to keep ahead of them.

At mile 6 my left knee said, “No seriously dude, I’m packing up and going home.”   I distracted it as my pace group finally caught up to me and it was a fairly scenic view as they moved ahead of me.  I don’t really understand it but I appreciate that there’s usually a 2-1 or 3-1 females to males in races.   While it was distracted I slipped in half a Percocet (a prescription acetaminophen and oxycodone) to shut my knee up.

With my knee roofied into compliance I made it to around mile 9-10trailing my pace group and then my running partner called to chat me up on the run and at the same time my knee woke up and was very not happy at having been drugged so between the two of them they convinced me to walk a bit which let my pace group get out of sight.

I started running again, my running partner hung up to go watch her kids do ballet and in digging out a salt tab I found the other half of my percocet which I’d thought I’d left at home.  But my subconscious was looking out for me.

With my knee muted to a dull roar again I picked up the pace and managed to finish the race.  I cut almost 2 minutes off my last (first) half marathon 3 weeks ago in spite of my knee, in spite of having to walk a bit.  So go me.

But I’m seriously paying for it.  Around 2:00 a.m. Sunday morning my knee threw off the shackles of the drugs and hit me like a hammer.  It probably took me 5 minutes to cover the 12 feet to my bathroom using the foot board of the bed and the wall for assistance.

Even with the oxy Sunday through to Monday was rough.  Really rough.

Was it worth it?  Debatable.  Should I have, knowing my knee was iffy, dropped down to the 5K?  Debatable.

Would I do it again?  Debatable.   Barring Mr. Peabody showing up, we’ll never know.

I’m taking the next two weeks off all running and will be doing ITB strength training focused excercises along with some other more general strength training.   That’s a lot of clamshells, resistance band side steps, weighted squats and bridges.

ITBS aka Son of a bitch my knee hurts

So I’ve developed a classic case of ITBS or IT Band Syndrome aka the Illiotibial Band.

involves “buns of steel” and “hips don’t lie”

All the classic symptons are there.  It didn’t hurt for short distances and then started hurting and then over longer distances eased up.   Sprinting, full blown balls to the wall maximal effort, makes it not hurt for a time.

So there’s a lot of bad information or rather invalid information out there about ITBS.  And some good information.  It can take time to dig through both kinds and come to a conclusion.

I’d been doing the bad information for awhile without seeing any results, no relief and the issue keeps getting worse.   That told me that maybe the information I was being given may not be actually accurate.

The bad information involves “Friction” “rubbing” “rolling”, “Icing”, “Stretching”.

The good information involves “buns of steel” and “hips don’t lie”.

The bad information is based on guesswork.  The good information based on science.

I prefer to think science is my bitch as opposed to guesswork.  Although educated guessing is in part how I do my job so I can’t downplay it too much.

So as it turns out, per the science, ITBS, has significant links to a weak ass and outer hips and acerbated by strong inner thighs (no I don’t own a Thigh Master (R)) and a cross over gait.   I have all of those things going against me.

I’m not going to post links here, just google IT Band Syndrome Repair and you’ll come back with links like this (okay so I’m posting one link) –

Excercises to treat ITBS

But there are several others and if you go through all of them you’ll walk away with a decent understanding of what the issue is, what causes it and the best options to fix it.

So for me, after my Half this weekend I’m going to take a week or two off and just focus on strength training in general and very much specific to ITBS.    Then I’ll do some shorter runs for a week or two, probably at 5k race pace, and see how things are progressing.

I’ll also be trying to retrain my gait to be a little wider which will help.   All of these things should see me running without as much pain or even pain free which is my biggest problem right now.  10 miles isn’t a big deal, 10 miles when you’re in pain for 9 miles of it not so easy to deal with.