Bulldog 25k Race Report

A good friend of mine always used to talk about “putting your hand in the fire” in reference to not being afraid to get in the mix and go to your limit in a race or training session. You see it all the time… athlete’s that are in good shape, talented, and have the ability, but are afraid or hesitant to get in the mix, put it all out there, hang on for dear life, and suffer on race day.

lyrics of one of my favorite rise against songs about the same thing, Satellite:

“You can’t feel the heat until you hold your hand over the flame
You have to cross the line just to remember where it lays
You won’t know your worth now, son, until you take a hit
And you won’t find the beat until you lose yourself in it

 

You can’t fill your cup until you empty all it has
You can’t understand what lays aheadIf you don’t understand the past
You’ll never learn to fly now
‘Til you’re standing at the cliff
And you can’t truly love until you’ve given up on it”

 


For me the that feeling is what it’s all about. It’s the reason I always get nervous on the start line. It’s not because I’m worried about how I’m going to do or how the race is going to go it’s because I know I’m about to willingly put myself in a lot of discomfort (putting my hand in the fire). Saturday I got a chance, after many months and another injury, to get back out there and get to that place and feel the “heat”.

Like i wrote about in my last post my training has been going really well with more of an overall balance. I was looking forward to racing to see just where I was race fitness-wise. The only hard running i have been doing has been uphill. That lets me work hard and minimize impact and overstriding. I don’t worry about pace. I just make sure I’m properly hurting on the climbs. I haven’t done any structured workouts either. I’ve just been trying to better my times on all my local climbs and chase some Strava CR’s. Maggie and I were talking on our run last tuesday about I probably hadn’t run a sub 7 mile since racing Oriflamme back in April. So Saturday was truly a test of how my new, sustainable method of training, would translate into racing. I didn’t rest at all going into the race. Monday through Friday leading up to the saturday race was just liked all the past weeks. 2 runs, 2 rides, and 2 hard strength sessions.

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The race went very well. There were quite a few quick dudes on the start line ready to rip. Straight away I was in a 5 man/1 woman pack. Some cross country kids (college & HS) were leading the charge and I was just sitting in. We went through the  first mile in 6:15 and it felt good, not hard at all, and it was by far the fastest mile I have run since racing oriflamme.

we hit the first little climb and 4 of the guys surged and got a little gap on me. i was thinking “shit they’re either going to smash me or crack”. I kept running my pace and a minute later they all came back to me and I took the lead. they were breathing really hard so I surged over the top and rolled the short descent opening up a gap. then it was on to the single track before the bulldog climb. i rolled it figuring my technical skills were better then theirs. by time i hit the start of the climb at 3 miles i couldn’t see anybody behind me.

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making my move

i ran steady up the climb and then had a solid lead. i unleashed it on the descent and was hitting sub 5 min pace at times (probably why my quads felt like they hand knives stuck in them for two days after the race). the race was pretty much over at that point. I ran steady/hard the rest of the way but didn’t kill myself.

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It was a really fun and good day. I’m always stoked to get a win but more than anything it was just good to feel everything (good and bad) that goes along with racing.

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Maggie was the first woman and 4th overall in the 50k and set a new course record. She worked hard for that one. I saw her come through the last aid station and she was suffering but she kept her head down and got the course record by 30 seconds!

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As we often do we celebrated that night at Priority Public House with some awesome beers and killer food.

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Up next is the Endure the Bear 30k on 9/6, and then the race I’m really looking forward to, the Noble Canyon 50k on 9/20. I’m going to keep doing what I’ve been doing as it seems to be working.

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morning miles with the wolfpack

 

Well Rounded

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I read this post by Dusty Nabor a while back and it got me thinking a bit.  For the most part I agree with what he has to say.  I mean to be the absolute best at a specific sport/skill you are better off focusing solely on that skill rather than trying to do many different things that have no positive influence on your goal…. that is if that is goal is to be the best (or best you can be) at a specific sport/skill/discipline… i think that makes sense.  I’m not saying that there is no place for some cross training because I definitely do… but at the end of the day you have to be focused on your sport whether it’s running, cycling, or hitting 90 mph fastballs. However, I also think that there are far too many people that think if you just randomly train, with no purpose, accumulate massive training hours (and massive fatigue), they will some how transform into some kind of super athlete. It doesn’t work that way.

Admittedly I am not good at just focusing on one sport because there is just too much I like to do.

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For me I definitely notice a crossover effect from sport to sport.  When I am running and riding I do feel better at both but I also know when I have focused on single sport (running or cycling) I have definitely gotten better at that sport… but that singular focus typically leads to me get bored, burned out, and injured. These days I don’t have a particular desire to be “my best” at specific sport and enjoy being “well rounded”. I want run some ultras, i want to race my mtb, i want to lift weights and be a strong man, i want to go to yoga with maggie, i want to surf, i want to paddle, I want to hike and jog with ruby… a lot of different things and that’s exactly what I’ve been doing for the past few months… and I’m feeling great.

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I am not training specifically for any one race right now. I am going to race in the coming weeks/months and for the most part, pretty much just for fun (type 2 fun = suffering)…. that’s why I race in the first place. When I toe the line I will for sure go for it and give it everything I have. I know I’m getting pretty fit right right now with the combination of running, riding, strength work with Rob at NaKoa, and getting to yoga once a week is helping keep me loose and injury free. Going all in, doing specific workouts, and focusing just on racing doesn’t sound like fun right now. What sounds like fun is getting into the mountains and running with maggie, ripping single track on my mountain bike, and getting my ass kicked in the gym. At the end of the day, and on the starting line, this approach may bring some good race results but if they don’t….well…  they don’t. I’m not putting in any huge running or riding volume but a good mix is keeping me fresh and hopefully injury free.

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So I like being well rounded or what some people have called me on many occasions “jack of all trades and master of none”. I enjoy and take some pride in the fact that I’ve competed in so many different sports (running, road cycling, cyclocross, moutain bike, triathlon – xterra to ironman) and been able to win my fair share of races in each discipline. It’s been more fulfilling, to me (all that matters), than focusing solely on one sport year after year after year.

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So I hope to keep rolling along like am right and let the fitness come to me instead of chasing it like I did last fall and earlier this year. I’d like to think that I’ve finally figured out the approach that works for me but only time will tell.

This weekend Maggie and I are heading up to Malibu for the Bulldog races. Maggie is running the 50k in prep for the Stagecoach 100 miler at the end September and I’m jumping into the 25k. I haven’t done a running race since the Oriflamme 50k in early april so I’m definitely stoked to be pinning a number on and toeing the line again… healthy… and I’m hoping I remember how to suffer.

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more mountain miles

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a couple of weeks ago we took another trip up north to tahoe. the original purpose of this trip was for me to race the Tahoe Rim Trail 100 miler but another injury (shin – mid april, all of may, first 2 weeks of june with no running) kept me from toeing the line. since we already had the trip on our schedules we decided to still go up to hang out with our friends, make new ones, and get more time in the mountains.

every day was awesome and spent exploring places we’d never been before and every night was spent hanging out with friends and drinking good beer. it doesn’t get much better.

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we made a last minute decision to leave wednesday night, as opposed to thursday morning, in order to spend some time in mammoth on our way up south tahoe. maggie had never been to mammoth and I had only been in the winter to snowboard. we drove until about 10pm wednesday night and then were up and back on the road first thing in the morning on thursday.

thursday: Duck Pass Trail to Duck Lake

i asked my friends for recommendations on where to run in mammoth and Jon and Sean both recommended running the Duck pass trail up to Duck lake and back. so that’s what we did. the views and the trails were unreal. the run was rad and what made it even better was cooling off and cleaning up in an ice cold creek after and then grabbing a delicious IPA from Mammoth Brewing Company before hitting the road for Tahoe.

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Friday: Mt Tallac

On Friday we left our house in South lake Tahoe and made the 15 minute drive to the Mt Tallac Trailhead.  we really didn’t know what we were getting into. i had done a bit of research online and knew it was one of the highest peaks in tahoe and that it was a fairly popular hike. the first mile or so was pretty runnable but then it was a steep, technical uphill grind to the summit. the views from the summit were definitely worth the hands-on-knees grinding though.

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Saturday: Tahoe Rim Trail

Originally I had planned on racing the Tahoe Trail 100k mountain bike race but decided to bag it. I didn’t really check out the logistics of the race or how close it was to where we were staying until Friday morning. the race was at Northstar and was an hour drive from the house. I would have had to check in on Friday afternoon and then head back super early Saturday morning for the 7am start.  That’s 4 hours in the truck to race a race I was just going to do for fun. so it was an easy call for me to bag it. instead maggie and I headed for the Van Sickle trail saturday morning which was only a quick 5 minute drive.

Maggie ran and I was on the bike.  We climbed the 3+ miles until the Van Sickle trail intersected the Tahoe Rim Trail. we split up there and both headed north. I ended up getting almost to Spooner Summit and finished the day with over 4 hours on the bike on some the best trails i’ve ever been on. Maggie ran up to Castle Rock before heading back the way she came. killer day.

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another good reason for not doing the race was being back in time to watch our friends finish the TRT 50 miler.  Cam killed it with a huge PR.

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Sunday: Marlette Lake Trail – Flume Trail – Tahoe Rim Trail

sunday, our last day in tahoe, we were up kinda early to knock out one more day on the trails. we headed back to the TRT start and finish area at spooner lake.  from there we took the marlette lake trail up to marlette lake, headed north, and connected it to the flume trail. i hadn’t been on the flume trail since my last xterra nationals race in 2008. it was just as awesome as I remembered. we ran the entire flume trail and then headed up to the TRT again. we hit marlette peak and then bombed back down to the marlettle lake trail and then back to spooner. it was an epic run. it’s so beautiful out there.

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Sunday night we all headed out for food and drinks. right as we got to the bar a gnarly thunderstorm rolled in that ended up knocking out power for hours.  Kevin got a killer shot of lightning from the deck of the bar.

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so another awesome trip with maggie and more incredible times on the trails… we have some more trips planned for later this summer and the fall…

missing the mountains

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so it’s been just over a week since we got back from an epic trip up north and a lot longer since I’ve posted anything on here. tahoe remains one my favorite places on the planet. being up in the mountains solidified something maggie and I have been loosely planning since last summer… and that’s to move to the mountains… more specifically colorado.

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something just feels right about being up in the mountains and and being blow away by the peaks, trails, and mountain air.  i’ve lived at the beach my entire life and maybe i’m jaded but it’s not doing it for me any more.  don’t get me wrong I still believe encinitas, and the entire north county of san diego, is one of the best places on earth, but we’re just ready for something different.  The plan is to suffer through one more harsh winter here in paradise and then pack the bare essentials and head to colorado.  that is if we can wait that long.

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the reason for our trip was for maggie to race western states.  in the days leading up I think I was more excited than she was… I’m sure that’s not the case but she’s got a good game face.  i watched her train hard and smart this year and I knew she was ready, rested, and ready to let it rip.  Unfortunately her race didn’t go as planned but i watched her battle as hard as she could until mile 78.  it was a mix of some nutrition stuff and taking a digger at mile 12.  she was rightfully pretty bummed but maggie is a fighter and rather than sit around and dwell on what could of been she wants some redemption.  So a plan is in the works which means another fun adventure for us in a couple of months.

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while we were in squaw valley I got to do a bunch of fun running… and relaxing.  luckily my shin healed a couple weeks prior and I had been slowly getting back in the swing of things.  the trails right out of squaw were rad.  tons of epic single track.  it’s the kind of running where i don’t ever think pace or my effort.  I’m just in exploring mode and the only goal is to run up a mountain. that is, hands down, my favorite type of running.

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tahoe will always be one my favorite places and it’s the reason I wanted to do either Western States or the Tahoe Rim Trail 100 as my first 100…. and that’s still the case. Watching the race at WS definitely fueled the fire. i love being on the sidelines and watching everybody going for it and suffering… and I can’t wait to get out there myself.  I just gotta find a way to stay healthy, get to the starting line, and of course find a way to get in.

we’re heading back up to tahoe in about a week.  the trip was originally for me to race TRT but that’s not happening.  At first we were going to bag the trip but since we already had the days off of work and we’re staying with a bunch of friends we decided to charge it. I also found a mountain bike race to do on 7/19.  The Tahoe Trail 100k is on the same saturday as TRT so I’m going to go smash myself in that and the head back over to hangout at the 100 miler.

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Why I Race

the weeks continue to fly by and as I sit down to start this post (monday morning) it’s been over 3 weeks since I last ran.  kind of hard to believe.  the good news that i’ve zero pain in my shin for a couple of weeks now.  even when i went in for the bone scan early last week i wasn’t having any pain.  i’m pretty sure my shin is healed now but will keep playing is safe and really hope I can get back to regular running very soon.

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with the lack of running my cycling fitness has been steadily progressing and with that being the case, and the fact I got a new mountain bike, I decided to jump into some races.  i didn’t really feel like i was ready to race and compete on my mountain bike because the racing is so much different than I’ve been doing the past couple of years but I wasn’t going to let that stop me though.

Over the past couple of months i’ve really thought about why I love racing so much.  i’ve spent years racing all different kinds of sports and they all require a different kinds of fitness and different sets of skills.  the one thing they have in common is that if you want to race near the front and get the most out of yourself you are going to have to dig deep and suffer.  so whether I’m racing on my feet or riding my bike i can get to that painful place…. a place I can’t get to in training no matter how hard i try. for me it’s a mental thing and a switch I can’t seem flip unless there is a starting and finishing line.

i like the feeling of being on the rivet and not being able to give up. I mean you can always give up but I’m not really wired that way.  once i commit I’m all in. that’s why in running races i like to race at or near the front and i’m not afraid to take the lead.  It’s not arrogance, but i maybe some stupididy, but i like the pressure. the pressure keeps me honest and i like the thrill of running scared.  it’s the same adrenalin rush i got as a kid playing hide and seek and probably the closet i’ll ever get to knowing what it’s like to rob a bank (i may have watched point break a couple hundred too many times). it’s not always the best strategy but regardless of how i finish the race I know I will be satisfied with my effort and that feeling is why i race.

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Those feelings of suffering are why I decided to jump into last wednesday’s quick and dirty race and Saturday’s 6 hours of Temecula “coming off the couch”.  I hadn’t had a solid dose of suffering since the Oriflamme 50k on 4/5 and I was need of some time in the pain cave… and not really having the fitness to race like I would want to would provide even more suffering.

The quick and dirty races are a super fun weeknight mountain bike race series that I’ve wanted to jump into since they started a year or so a go.  I rolled up Wednesday night last week and was blown away by how many people were there to race on a weeknight.  awesome.  before the race I got  in a couple of warm laps on the 2.5 mile loop and toed the line ready to go.  I’m a cat 1 for mountain biking (or at least I was) so I singed up for expert (the highest class they have out there).  The main reason is because I wanted to have to ride 6 laps and have people to chase.

The race quickly got away from me as I was behind a crash in the first corner and I’ve just never been a good starter in bike races.  I spent the 6 laps chasing, being chased, blowing up, recovering, and just having fun.  It was fun having Maggie and Gordon out there heckling me every lap. Unfortunately I only got one beer hand up the whole race.  Thanks Andrew… but we need to work on your consistency.  I finished some where mid pack, totally blown, and super stoked.  I had forgotten how bad going anaerobic for 60 minutes hurts.

And if that wasn’t enough suffering I signed up for the 6 hour of Temecula on Saturday.  I had done the 12 hours of Temecula a few times over the years on teams (4, 3, and 2 man).  The 2 man team I did with trevor back in 2007 may be one of the hardest things i’ve ever done!

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My plan for the day was to just do my own thing and try not to get caught up in the race.  I had only done one 4 hour and one 5 hour ride since getting back into riding a few of months ago so trying to “race” for 6 hours wasn’t going to happen.  The race started well and on the first, shorter, lap I got into a good position but didn’t push the pace to catch the leaders.  after a couple of laps It’s hard to really know who you are racing out there with all the team and solo 12 hour racers all starting at the same time.

On the second lap i moved up a bunch of places on the climb and was feeling good.  Maggie was crewing and cheering for me.  I would see her on various parts of the course with Ruby and then back at the pit where I would refill on skatch labs drink mix and Rise Bars…it was rad.  she kept me motivated. I just rode steady all day and never cared, and didn’t want to know, what place I was in.  I really only one rough lap (lap4) but a caffeinated gel and turning on my ipod turned that around.

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busted. i was pretty smashed after the race… so much that it took about 45 minutes before i could even contemplate drinking a beer.

I completed 8 laps (68.1 miles and 8,123 ft of climbing) in 5 hours and 30 minutes.  The laps were taking me ~45 minutes so I didn’t have time for another. I checked the results after the race and was kind of shocked to see I finished the race in 3rd Place on the 6 hour open.

It was super fun day and after racing my mountain bike twice last week it definitely leaves me wanting to mix it up some more over the summer and fall.

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trusting my gut…

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the last couple of weeks have been pretty full on.  i spent spent 6 days in the Bay area, then maggie and I went straight to auburn for the western states training camp, then it was home for 2.5 days before heading to St. Louis to visit Maggie’s family.  A lot of fun was had in those 2 weeks but I’m very happy to be home.

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the trip up north was rad.  I was in SF for Cisco Live and took my bike.  I was able to get in some killer riding with Brad and Todd in Marin.  Later in the week Brad and I did a killer ride out or Redwood City. On Friday I picked up Maggie from the oakland airport and we drove up to aubrun.

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the weekend in auburn was killer.  unfortunately i wan’t able to join maggie and run the training camp.  i was pretty frustrated about the whole situation with my shin and not being able to run when we got to forest hill on Saturday morning.  All the runners were checking and getting ready to board the buses to be taken the start of the run.  I really wanted to be on one of those buses with Maggie.

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However, being bummed would be short lived.  there is some killer riding in that part of the state and i did some research and had planned a ride from forest hill.  About 5 minutes into my ride I caught up with a group of 4 descending Mosquito Ridge Rd.  I followed them down the 10 mile descent until we reached a bridge crossing where they stopped to regroup.  I asked about the riding around there and they told me that there was no water or food any where out there.  they were riding a 75+ mile loop and had a friend driving SAG for them… and told me i was more than welcome to join them.  Awesome guys and a girl.

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i need friends like this that are willing to set up full on aid stations on my rides!

I joined them for what ended up being one of the best road rides I’ve ever done.  I had to split off with 35 miles to go in order to get back to pick up Maggie.

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I think I saw maybe 10 cars all day and only 2 in the final 35 miles.  Just an epic day on the bike.

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I got in a couple more killer rides up there while maggie pounded out 72 miles over 3 days.  There’s no doubt she’s ready for western states.  On monday after the final run we bolted for the airport and barely made our flight.

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my shin…. the week before my trip to SF my shin was getting considerably better.  due to the MRI not showing anything I got some more ART and went to see Moxey for some PT.  the last time I ran was the sunday before heading to SF.  Like i wrote about in my last post after that run my shin was pretty sore.  I wasn’t convinced it was something soft tissue related even though that’s what everybody (doctors/PT/etc) was telling me.  So I decided not to run until I could get bone scan.

On monday I finally got that bone scan and got the results on Tuesday.

CONCLUSION:
1. There is a tiny abnormal focus of increased scintigraphic activity of the distal medial right
tibia which is consistent with stress fracture.

bonescanSo i guess I should have trusted my gut feeling weeks ago when I thought it was something more than soft tissue.  the good news is that after talking with my doctor is that what they found is very small which means it’s most likely almost healed… i sure as hell hope so.  I wish I would have gotten the bone scan done initially so I wouldn’t tried to run on it… but nothing i can do about that now.  All I can do now is not run and hope to be back jogging soon.

After I got the news I emailed the RD for TRT100 and withdrew from the race.  So now I’m 0 for 2 in trying to train for and run a 100 miler.  Pretty lame.  Last year I was just a complete idiot with my training and then got hit by a car and this I thought I was being smart but it too just ended up being too much running for my body to handle.  So for the time being… and for the foreseeable future I am putting any thoughts of running 100 miles out my mind.  I’ve been dealing some kind of pain or injury for the past year and a half.  Most of that has to do with my bike crash (and the imbalances are likely what caused this latest injury) but I’m just over it.

So going forward I don’t see myself going all in on running again… it’s just not working.  The positive side of this injury is that I’ve really gotten the stoke back to ride…. and race my bike which probably wouldn’t have happened if I wasn’t forced to not run.  I’m still pretty timid when it comes to descending which was more than evident when I rode with Brad and Todd in Marin.  These days it’s not really the fear of getting hit again but more just that I know what it’s like to hit the asphalt at 45 mph and that’s not something I ever want to do again.

So hopefully in a few of weeks I can start getting in some jogging.  Until then I have some fun stuff lined up on the mountain bike.

cutting it close

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my view of the fire driving home

so I started this post last week before all the fires broke out.  what was happening around the county was pretty serious and it makes anything that has to with running or training pretty trivial. the poinesettia started less than a half mile from my office and by noon on wednesday we were evacuated.  the fire was burning about 4-5 miles from home but thankfully, due to the incredible work of the firefighters , it never made it any closer. the work they do is amazing and I’m grateful they are out looking out for our safety.

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my work campus with the first just behind. gnarly

now by the time i post this it will have been about 4 weeks since I had to stop running to let my shin heal/recover.  it sucks but things could always be worse… way worse.  after 2 weeks of no running my shin was progressing steadily but not ready to run.  i started to get a bit worried that it may be something more that just a shin splint.  so i took my doctor up on his offer and got an MRI last thursday on both shins.  i was hoping they would find something that would maybe shed some light on why shin pain is something i’ve dealt with for years.

unfortunately that was not the case.  my MRI’s came back perfect.  I got the report friday morning and spoke to the radiologist who read my MRI.  there was NO soft tissue tears or inflammation and NO stress reaction or stress fracture.  he told me that there was nothing, based on the MRI, that should keep me from running.  then why the hell does my shin hurt only when I run?

after i got that news i sent a barrage of text messages back and forth with maggie.  at first i was thinking what the hell… I’ll go ahead and race pct 50 (the race was 5/10).  then 30 minutes later I thought better of it.  it’s not that i didn’t think I could do pct50 it’s that I hadn’t run in 2+ weeks and if I did run it would surely smash me and that would mean more time not running.  I was thinking I’d rather ease back into running this week rather than destroy myself on the pct50 course.

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So instead I just headed out to support maggie, which in all honesty, is just about as much fun as racing myself.  I took my mountain bike out there and also brought some running gear.  my plan was to ride around to the aid stations to crew for and support maggie.  I did this by getting in a pretty killer ride.  I rode from the start up kitchen creek road to see her at 3.5 miles and then kept climbing to the 6 mile aid station. then it was more awesome climbing on the car-less kitchen creek climb.  I got to sunrise highway and then ripped the trails over to penny pines to see maggie at 22 & 27 miles.

while hanging out for a while at the aid station i found out the racers could have pacers.  i asked maggie if she wanted me to pace her the bit of the course and she said yes.  so i bolted down back to the truck the same way i went out and got on my running clothes.  my plan was to run backwards on the course unitl I saw her.  I was actually feeling pretty good running.  i could feel my shin a bit but nowhere near the way I did 2.5 weeks earlier.

I ended up making it to the last aid station 6 mile from the finish.  On the way i crossed paths with Mike on his way to the win.  I’m super stoked for Mike.  He was patient and raced smart all day and ended up crushing everybody.  I hung out at the aid station with Ramon, Dave, and Sonja, had a beer while waiting for maggie.  soon enough she was there and I ran the 6 miles back to the finish line with there.  that last descent is so brutal.  it was taking it’s toll on me and I could’t even imagine running it with 47 miles in your legs. maggie charged it and got the win and finished 5th overall.

It was a rad day for me too.  41 miles on the mountain bike and 12 miles of running and my shin felt good.  It felt good the rest of the night but when I woke up sunday morning it was sore.  Nothing crazy but more sore than it had been towards the end of the week before.  damn.

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sunday

on tuesday i had an appointment to go over the MRI results and figure out what I should next.  my doctor got another radiologist (the guy he uses to read all of his college athlete’s MRI’s) to read my MRI just to make sure.  He also didn’t find anything out of the ordinary.  just to make sure Dr. D used the tuning fork all up and down my shin to rule out anything bone related.  that testing also came up negative.  next up was an ultrasound to look at the soft tissue which again didn’t show anything indicative of my shin pain.  a bit frustrating.  i left there with a plan for some more ART and to so see Steve Moxey (a PT recommended by Cam).

tuesday night i had a gnarly ART session with Asher.  he really got into my shin and calf and it had me squirming, sweating, and clutching the table… but i left there feeling much better.  each day after that it felt better and better.  thursday i headed out for a 30 minute jog on the coast and my shin pain was almost nonexistent. stoked.  after paddling with kurt on friday morning I did another 30 min jog around the hood and again the shin was all good.  it was still a little achey but didn’t hurt with the impact like it had in the weeks prior.

friday morning i met with Steve.  he practices “functional manual physical therapy”. he watched me run and immediately had some ideas.  he could tell how twisted up my body was.  since my crash i have not had any chiropractic work just your standard physical therapy.  after more testing it was pretty obvious how locked up my left shoulder (side of broken clavicle and plate and all 5 broken ribs) and right hip which was causing a bunch of tension all down my right leg along with a nice little heel whip.  all that was/is creating a lot of torque along my entire right side.  he did a bunch of adjustments, stretches, and some graston like stuff on the back of my right hip that had me about ready to tap out.

he kept doing stuff then watching me jog, based on what he saw he would do more.  after the final adjustments he had me jog down the street and i had ZERO pain in my shin.  my mind was pretty blown but only time will tell.  i left there feeling pretty good about my situation. he’s a good guy and I’m stoked Cam told me about him.  hopefully he’s on the right track to helping get this sorted.

Saturday I rode long and sunday I ran.  i did 6+ easy miles with Ruby and then another 6+ solo.  I felt pretty good and kept the effort really mellow.  I didn’t have any shin pain during the run but it was a little sore when i finished.  after my run maggie dropped me off at the airport so i could head to san francisco for Cisco Live.

I walked around the city a bit sunday afternoon and then met with brad for dinner at Hopwater Distribution…. a killer spot.  Later sunday night my shin was aching like crazy, but didn’t hurt to walk or anything.  so weird.  I woke up monday morning and it was still a but achy and more sore than the day before.  I’m over it.

chasingbrad

chasing brad up one of the many awesome climbs in marin county

TRT100 is just about 8 weeks away so it’s creeping up. At this point toeing the line isn’t looking to be possible as of today.  I need to figure out what’s going on and forcing it and running through pain doesn’t sound fun to me… and fun is the number one reason I do all this stuff.  not being able to race bums me out a little but what bums me out more is that I am supposed to run the western states training camp with maggie this weekend.  i was actually looking forward to those 3 days of running more than TRT.

postride

post ride breakfast in sausalito with brad, todd, and gordon.

In the meantime I am going to keep up what I have been doing.  More ART, mobility work, riding, surfing, and paddling…. no running. I am also going to get a bone scan.  I know the MRI didn’t show anything but maybe the missed something?  At this point it just doesn’t seem like a soft tissue thing.

i gotta be honest… I am getting a bit over “trying” to run ultras.  It’s just not working for me.  I’ve been trying to train smart, i do all the little things to stay healthy, but my body just can’t seem to take it.  Maybe I just need to refine my approach.. again.  I’m not sure but I do know I really love toeing the line and letting it rip on race day.

conquering demons

goodmorning

lets start of with an update on my shin situation.  it’s still jacked.  after taking a week off of running it is way better.  it seems most of the inflammation in my lower leg has gone a way but there’s still some pain there with any kind of running motion.  so I’m talking another week off.  I’m not the kind of person that feels the need to test it our running every other day.  I’d rather just commit to weeks at a time of not running.  I’m just going to keep up with the mobility work, ART/Massage, and if it’s still not feeling 100% on thursday I’ll take another week off.  not awesome, but I’m not going to rush it.

so with that being said… I have continued to get in some fun riding and surfing.  I can slowly feel some riding fitness returning.  For me, at least in the past, the more I ride the better my running has been.  However, the opposite is not true.  I really need to start logging some miles on the bike to start feeling good.  In the past month, since I got my new road bike, I have definitely started to feel a bit of bike fitness creeping in and it feels good.  I’ve also feel like I’ve unloaded a bit of fatigue that accumulated since getting back to full on training in January.  Just 7 days of zero running and I was feeling super rested.  It’s another good reminder for me that balance of the physical load I put on my body with a variety of sports always makes me feel better.

finalbend

since i’ve been back riding I’ve mainly stuck to the coast, the 56 bike path, and double peak.  i’ve been really hesitant to head out east since it’s where I got hit, but it’s also where the best riding in north county is as well. on saturday that changed.  i met up with trevor for a long ride and decided it was time head east again.  we got in just over 4.5 hours riding hitting wohlford, woods canyon, lilac, circle R, san juis rey, and then back to the coast.  i won’t pretend i wasn’t nervous heading out but by the time we climbed wohlford i was feeling really good and pretty comfortable.  i’ve been riding with trevor for years so it was nice to get back out there with him.  i still look over my shoulder all the time like if i saw car coming at me from behind again I’d actually be able to put my self in the ditch instead of having the car do it.  hopefully with more riding that fear will go away but i’m not so sure.

trevwohlford

getting hit from behind was just reminder of something that I already knew… that we are pretty much sitting ducks riding and there’s not much we can do about the drivers out there. being more conscious of that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  i will just be more aware of the situations i put myself in.

blueribbon

our favorite place in Encinitas. Blue Ribbon

 

Beer: Pliny the Elder

pliny

 

playing it safe

doublepeaknew

If for any reason you follow me on Strava you will have noticed that I have been riding a lot and have taken the past week off of running… and if you don’t follow me I guess you know now (not that you should really care).  Ever since I was in high school and college playing baseball I’ve dealt with “shin splints” or MTSS (medial tibial stress syndrome).  In my baseball days they would always flare up in the spring when we were transitioning into outdoor practice (east coast) and finally getting our cleats on.  I spent many hours in the training room icing, getting massages, and doing strengthening exercises for my lower legs.  When I stopped playing baseball and just surfed, skated, and snowboarded all the time through most of my 20′s they were much better but I actually had one or two flare up after skating a lot.

When I took up endurance sports and started training for the Carlsbad Half Marathon at the end of 2005 I dealt with them again.  Then while I was focusing on triathlon they weren’t too much of a problem.  My running volume was definitely lower because I was splitting my training time up between 3 sports, but I also think it’s because of all the swimming I was doing.  Swimming and kicking in the pool was great for my lower legs and ankle flexibility.  I think that did a lot to keep my legs happy.  I’ve tried every kind of shoe possible… minimalist, maximalist, support , neutral, wearing insoles… and none of it has really helped.  The only thing I’ve never tried is getting some orthotics.  Maggie always says I need to work on running “quiet” which pretty much means i could use some work on my form.  I don’t disagree.

These days focusing primarily on running and still riding a bit I definitely have to work to keep them at bay.  I ice my shins after probably 75% of my runs, wear Pro Compression socks to work every day after running or ridding, do tons of mobility & PT exercises and stretches for my lower legs, use a lacrosse ball along my shins and bottom of my feet, and perform graston technique on my shins regularly (we have a gnarly FAKTR tool for inflicting pain).  It’s a lot of work but it works… usually.

If you haven’t checked out Mobility WOD I highly suggest it. Every athlete needs to work on their mobility and the Mobility WOD is the gold mine.  Here is a good article from competitor that had a bunch of good stuff too: The 10 Best Mobility Exercises for Runners.  It features Kelly Starrett the guy behind Mobility WOD.

I still get minor flare ups but with all the above methods I can usually get them to go away in a couple of days and don’t have to stop running.  However, in the past I’ll some times get one that flares up a bit more than the others.  I know by now that if it doesn’t go away in a a week or so it’s time to stop running.  It’s the only way I can get a bad one to go away.

maggiepct

So that’s the exact scenario happened roughly 10 days a go.  Maggie and I did a killer run on PCT 50 course on saturday 4/19 and then backed it up with an easy 90 minutes on the coast on Sunday.  I could feel a minor “shin splint” coming on on sunday so I gave it some extra attention.  Icing, graston, compression, etc.  I had a really good run on Tuesday morning out a La Cosat before work and my shin felt ok.  On Wednesday night I did an easy run with maggie and it was pretty flared up so I decided to pull the trigger.  I decided to take a week off of running and not run the Leona Divide 50k.  Not running Leona Divide was tough because the trails the Keira put together for that race are killer…. but it was the smart thing to do.  Last year I wasn’t so smart and that’s what lead to me suffering a femur stress fracture.  I felt the discomfort in my quad but I kept running and racing.  If I would have just stopped running when it started to hurt I’m sure I would stopped it before it turned into a stress fracture.  I don’t want that to happen again.

leonadividemtb

My one and only racing goal for this year is to get to the starting line of the Tahoe Rim Trail 100 and FINISH.  That’s it.  Of course it’s fun to get out and let it rip at other races but I am not going to put running TRT in jeopardy.  The good news is my shin doesn’t give me any issues riding or surfing.  So I’ve spent the last week logging some miles on the roads and trails on my bikes.  The highlight was probably riding around the Leona Divide course to meet Maggie at the aid stations.  She got the win (finishing 5th overall) and I got to ride some incredible trails I had never been on or seen before.

leonadividefinish

So my plan is still to run PCT50 on 5/10 if my shin is good to go… if not I’ll just hang out and drink some beers while Maggie rips it up.  I’m not to worried about it.  Of course it would be a good training day for TRT but being 100% healthy is my number on concern.  All of this makes me question how I’m training a bit and if there’s a better way.  My body responds really well to the combination of riding and running.  I think I just need to find the right balance.  Josh just posted about how he structures his plan and Dom just posted about his gnarly “Full Blarney” which completely blows my mind.  It’s pretty awesome to be able to that pull off… both mentally and physically.   I really wish my body could take miles like but it just can’t.  My body feels best when I’m balanced.

coffeestop

So hopefully I’ve got this under control and will be back to ripping in a week or so.

Beer: Easy Jack Summer Session IPA from Firestone Walker

easyjackthis is such a good beer.  Like i’ve mentioned before I am loving the trend of all these session IPA’s coming out.  This one is right near the top of the list.  I need to post ranking my favorite ones.  This one isn’t has hoppy and bitter and Stone’s Go to IPA but to me it’s a little better overall.

 

Balanced

agressive

ever since i crossed that at the Orifllamme 50k a couple of weeks ago I can’t stop thinking about racing again.  The next race that I really want to do well at is the PCT50 Miler on 5/10.  It’s a short 3.5 weeks away.  There should be some good competition out there and the course will definitely not be easy.  Rod Bien set a new course record there last year in 6:37 and I’d like to chase that.  It may be far fetched but it serves as good motivation when I’m out suffering through some hard intervals. we’re heading out there this weekend to run some of the course.  it’s an out and back with a bit over 7500 ft of climbing… and all on the PCT.

pct50

my recovery from Oriflamme was pretty quick.  the first couple of days i was pretty sore but by thursday all the soreness was gone and I felt great.  that’s probably the fastest I have bounced back from running a hard 50k.  I did race 50k’s on back to back weekends in 2012 but I didn’t feel as good after as I did last week.  I attribute that to the smarter training I am doing this year.  The running, the strength work, and definitely my bike.  getting back on my bike is serving me well and it doesn’t really feel like training.  it’s just bicycle riding.

insidetp

in the next block of training I am actually going to ride more and bring the running miles down.    I plan on keeping the miles in the ~65 mile range, no higher, and riding at least 3 days a week.  My body was been responding well to hitting about 65-75 miles a week and instead of increasing that as i get ready for a 50 and 100 miler I am going to add the miles on the bike.  It’s kind of an experiment but i’m pretty sure it will pay off.  It will help steer me clear of injury for sure and I actually feel better running, especially climbing, when I’m riding a lot.

dp

First time up Double Peak in a long time. I love my new bike.

we did add another race to the schedule.  next weekend (4/26) we are going to run the the Leona Divide 50k.  We had a long run on the schedule that day so we decided to venture up north run some trails we have never seen before and hopefully hit Golden Road brewery in LA after.  I’ve always been a firm believer that racing is the best training, especially in my bike racing days.  the only difference when it comes to running is that you really have be aware of your effort in the lower priority races as to not smash yourself.  I plan on training right through Leona and I am going to try to really dial it back out there.  I just want to enjoy a long, supported day on new trails.  I’m still figuring out how to approach it and the best way for me to hold back.  I am thinking about starting really conservatively and then seeing if I can dial it up the last 10-15 miles.  I just really need to avoid trying to race off the front which I enjoy so much.

Beer:

This isn’t about a particular beer.  It’s about the selection of beer at Petco park.  Last Saturday we headed downtown to the watch the Padres take on the the Tigers.  Petco already had a great beer selection in years past but what’s available now is unreal.  You can get a beer from what seems like every single brewery in San Diego.  So rad.

padsgame

Green Flash 30th st Pale Ale