Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tips for Dealing with Achilles Tendonitis

While troubleshooting a resurgence of Achilles tendonitis, I seemed to remember a good Dreamchasers email from RD and Pearl Izumi runner, Lisa Smith-Batchen, which offered therapy tips by an MD who also happened to be one of her clients. A quick Google search brought up the post. Here it is for anyone who missed the original and needs to keep an Achilles at bay through the next big event.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Selected Tweets (July 2009)

I started the Run Junkie Twitter feed as a place to air some running-related observations and linkages that just didn't seem to rise to the level of a full blog post, and although I'm still mastering the form, I've really been enjoying the exercise of distilling life's moments into 140 characters.

Each tweet may not be worthy of a blog post on its own, but I thought I'd collapse some selected entries over the last few weeks to give my blog readers a taste of what's going on in the other wing of Run Junkie.
# # # #

Some photos from the run this morning with the Gang of Four in Sun Valley:
Off on dawn patrol for a few hours run with the gang of four.Early starters taking it out FAST - RT @iRunFar: Early starters at the White River 50 are underway. #wr50Really wanted to make it this year but couldn't. Has to go to Wardian, doesn't it? Even w/ Hal and Tony K on the line. We'll see. #WR5030 min to the start of White River 50. Was my first ultra. A great, great race. #WR50VentouxBack from an evening run up to Pioneer Cabin (elev 9400). Always good to get above 9k.RT @velonews: A look at last year's Tour top ten, and where they are this year"Seeking help for an injury at any price.". NY Times: from a good track workout. Tired.Elephant's Perch Backcountry Run 2009:

Our Scars Tell the Stories of Our Lives - - video by Kim Holak's pacer at Hardrock. You can feel the fatigue but see the relentless forward motion: wife's online to hoard '09 HRs. The word from @iRunFar: Pre-OR rumor - no more Montrail Hardrock going forward. Will confirm post haste.Vermont 100 this weekend. '07-'08 winner, AJW, not running. An open field. Follow with #vt100Legs a bit tired from the bounding drills Brad (Mitchell) made us do at the track last night.A Sun Valley classic tomorrow: The Elephant's Perch Backcountry Run (10 & 16.5 miles). Doing the 16. We'll see if I'm really recovered.I appreciate the struggle, but the evidence is clear: healthy weight beats overweight when it comes to health. NYT: a great 17 miler (2500 ft vert) around Adams Gulch (Sun Valley, ID). Really needed to exorcise a bad 18 miler last Friday.@joinGECKO Nice showing at Badwater! Hope those feet held together on the flight."Eat Less, Live More." From the Economist:, relaxed and funny. RT: @saddleblaze: This is hilarious: RT @PaulRaats Lance playing with Sporza....good fun be the reason for those "ghost" aid stations at 2am. "Is There a Link Between Caffeine and Hallucinations?: SciAm -

"On the Origin of Pacers" -- Conduct the Juices:
RJ Review of the Asics Gel-Trail Sensor 3: @johanbruyneel: Accept - then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Work with it, not against it'Energy Shots' article in the NY Times. Caffeine, nasty taste, and little else. Maybe just what you need:

5th for AJW just 2 weeks after Western. RT @hardrock100: Andy Jones-Wilkins in 28:10
Meltzer wins Hardrock in 24:38 (#hr100). Three for three this year. RT @hardrock100: Karl's finishing video: from today's run up to Pioneer Cabin. "The higher you get. The higher you get." obit on free-climber & legend, John Bachar, who fell to his death Sunday. NYT:

HRH-related story in NYT. RT @taraparkerpope: Woman has part of her brain removed and becomes an elite ultramarathoner.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Report: 2009 Elephant's Perch Backcountry Run and a Look Back at a Big Year

Shortly after passing through a sea of chest-high purple wildflowers near the fire-scorched crest of the Fox Creek climb of the 2009 Elephant's Perch Backcountry Run, I allowed myself a bit of reflection. Yes, I still had five miles to go on the sixteen mile race and was doing all I could to stay in contact with Montrail runner, Joelle Vaught, while also trying to stay ahead of the two runners who'd been nipping at my heals at the base of the final climb, but as I started down the short, buffed-out descent, I couldn't help but think back to last year's race.

Fox Creek flowers (photo: Laurie Wertich)

Twelve months ago, I'd used the the Backcountry Run as a final tune-up ahead the White River 50, my first ever ultra, which would then set me out on a journey through other undiscovered countries over the next year: my first DNF, an inglorious drop at mile 45 of the Grand Teton 50, which folks still enjoy reminding of; my first winter of big mileage running in the high mountains (with only a single indoor workout); my first 100k and first run through the night, both at the staggered-start Coyote Two Moon in March; and finally, starting (and actually finishing) my first 100 miler at Bighorn in June.

It's really been an amazing year and for the briefest of moments all the feelings that marked all that training and racing came rushing forward--excitement, joy, fatigue, a bit of melancholy, a bit of boredom, and lots and lots of hunger (for food, miles, and experiences). And for about a 100 meter section of that descent, it was as if each foot strike was stamping into my psyche a reminder of the physical, emotional, and nutritional barriers I'd broken through to get to this point--a gift from the trail to take with me as I tackle other adventures in the coming months and years.

...Which brings me back to the 2009 Backcountry Run.

Coming off the descent, it was clear the runners behind me had faded on the final climb, so I could relax a bit and really just focus on a good hard rhythm on the slightly downhill four mile run-in to the finish and see if I could keep Joelle in sight and possibly even gain some ground. On the first mile, running at what seemed like 6:30 pace, she built an even greater lead, but after that, I started slowly (and I mean slowly) gaining. With about one and half miles to go, she and I came together right as we passed another runner, and as one would expect from a podium finisher at Way Too Cool, she sounded quite chipper when we exchanged a few words--a worrying sign for someone whose legs were beginning to feel pretty heavy. I tried to spout a few light hearted words myself to mask how tired I was starting to feel, then took the lead and just tried to keep up some momentum on the mile-long paved section to the finish. We came in about 30 seconds apart, and she grabbed the well-deserved women's crown in 2:12:15.

For me, I came in seventh overall and nabbed a PR by close to three minutes (2:11:45)--my fourth in a row since my first Backcountry Run in 2005. Just as important, I got a sense that I'm just about recovered from Bighorn and ready to start working on another big year with a go at the Wasatch Front 100, now just seven weeks nigh.

Backcountry Run full results

Related Run Junkie race reports

Video: 2009 Hardrock 100 - A Pacer's View

I don't recall exactly how I came across this video the other day, but after the first viewing I knew I had to post a link on my Twitter feed. After a couple more viewings, it entranced me, so I had to get it up on Run Junkie proper as well.

As I said on Twitter:

"Nice video by Kim Holak's pacer at Hardrock. You can feel the fatigue but see the relentless forward motion."

Saturday, July 11, 2009

RJ Review: Asics Gel-Trail Sensor 3 WR

I have strayed many times, looking for something sleeker, racier, and more colorful. Yet I always return, chastened, to my tried and true Asics Gel-Trail Sensors. There are a number of better looking, lighter, and more responsive shoes out there, but when it comes to the total package that can go for miles and miles over all types of terrain, I've yet to find a shoe that works better than the Sensor, and in its third incarnation (Gel-Trail Sensor 3; retail $110.00), it's better than ever.

In many ways, everything I said in my review of the original Sensor still stands, captured in this excerpt:

"Though it's a bit beefier than some might like, and it certainly won't win any fashion awards, you'll likely be singing its praises at hour three on your five hour run when the shoe's solid stance and mid foot rock protection keep you feeling nimble on even the craggiest of trails."

In the Sensor 3, they've improved the looks a bit, but not enough to keep you from looking longingly at others' hip Inov-8's and Cascadia 4's (my review). And although it's still a beefy shoe, Asics has progressively made it more and more comfortable, with the 3's feeling about as good as any road shoe you'd wear. But, don't let the nice feel fool you, they still eat up the trail and spit it out like each of its predecessors, from technical descents to rock-strewn plateaus to buffed out singletrack.

Though shoes are a very personal preference, if you need to bang out 80 mile weeks and feel confident toeing the line at your next 50 or 100 mile race, it'd be hard to beat the Asics Gel-Trail Sensor 3.

More shoe reviews on Run Junkie (shoe reviews).

Friday, July 10, 2009

Sun Valley Runs: The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get

In honor of those making their way through the Hardrock 100 this weekend, I had to post this photo from my run today up to Pioneer Cabin in the Sun Valley, ID area. "The higher you get, the higher you get."

Video: Start of the 2009 Hardrock 100

Off the line in Silverton, CO for the 2009 Hardrock Hundred. Courtesy of the live results page.