Archive September 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.