Thursday, February 28, 2008

cure for a common cold - no

Another wrench in the schedule this week. My last run on Saturday, in the aftermath of the ice storm, was a good day to catch a cold. Apparently when I stopped to talk to someone I knew on the trail for about 15 minutes, I quit sweating & got chilled before starting again & then finished the run never really getting warmed back up – especially with wet socks & shoes. I can usually pinpoint the cause of my colds as I always feel the first effects (sore throat) about 1 ½ days to 2 days afterwards. A deep chill, high stress w/no rest or coming in contact with someone sick are the culprits for me. But, following some advice that has seemed to work the last few years -- at the first sign of catching a cold (the sore throat is a guaranteed sign for me) I take a “megadose” of vitamin C for the 1st couple days and add in some mandatory bed rest. This has lessened the usual 7 – 10 days for the cold to run its full course down to less than 5 days – in addition to greatly lessening the severity. So, right now I feel I’m ready to get in another run tomorrow and hopefully the remnants of my cold will be gone in the morning.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

ice storm #2

It’s been a tough week for finding decent running conditions on the trails around here with another big ice storm causing most of the headaches. A good thing LLTH was run on the 16th & not yesterday – much of the course was solid ice (no snow) with trees bent over into the trail throughout. The Yaktrax proved their worth yesterday. I believe they’re best on ice and I couldn’t have done without them. The thing is, it’s unlikely I’ll ever see conditions anything like what I came across yesterday. I didn't give the Yaktrax a very good grade for their performance in the race, but to be fair, I bought the large size as the store didn’t have the mediums recommended for my shoes -- I didn’t think it would make much difference at the time, but apparently it does -- big time.

A little tenderness in the arch/heal areas, but the legs are recovering well. Planning a couple good works in this week before tapering for the 50 miler at Land Between the Lakes on the 8th. I don’t know what it is about LBL, but have never felt good or gotten into a groove on the course. The last 2 years I overheated & dropped down in distance or walked the last lap.

Below are pictures in Tom Wallace park yesterday, these are sections that were run in the LLTH race. The park has been closed since the storm Thursday with downed powerlines still on the road:

Sunday, February 17, 2008

LLTH 2008

2008 Louisville’s Lovin’ the Hills is history! A big surprise this year was the good turnout as early signup numbers were low & I’m sure every runner knew the conditions were going to be much less than ideal.

I think that first time LLTH race directors Cynthia & Todd Heady pulled off a great job & should be commended. I’m so happy that they kept the event alive this year. In trying to play a more active role in helping out this year, I’ve truly realized just how much time & effort & organization is required to direct an event of this size.

I tried to update the LLTH blog with an eye on the forecast, but the weathermen kept their record intact as they missed the weather & temps for about 5 of the last 7 days. Had their predictions held true thru the week, the course would have been frozen solid with a lot more snow on the course. Instead, the course had sections with no snow and the snow that was there was not solid, but an icy/powdery type snow with a thin crust that was hard to get good traction on. The course also thawed out quick & became muddier as the day went on.

With the temp at an unexpected “warm” 30 degrees approaching the start, I decided to go without tights & keep with the plan to use the Yaktrax Pros for the 1st time. I felt the decision on the tights ended up the right one as it warmed up quite a bit thru the day. The Yaktrax though, were troublesome all day as I had a constant problem with keeping them positioned correctly on the shoes, and if I ignored them at that point, they started to come off. I felt they were most helpful in getting traction on the snow, but not so helpful on the roads or mud or especially when I got tired of bending over to fix them.

Noting my time at early checkpoints in the race, I knew I was running slower than the 6 ½ hour pace of last year and that my goal of finishing in less than 7 hours this year was not going to happen either. Although I was only running 15 minutes slower than last year by the end of the 2nd loop, the course conditions were changing & I knew all that extra effort to get traction in the early miles was going to catch up with me. However, upon reaching the 1st junction on the Purple Heart Trail, I came across a change in the course I was totally unaware of – the biggest part of the trail was being bypassed and the Purple Heart “shortcut” trail was being used. So I stood there pondering at the junction -- I knew the course should have gone to the right, but the big yellow arrow & flagging indicated a left turn. So down the left side of the trail I went. This change would save at least 10 minutes at my pace on the outbound & 10 minutes on the inbound – so less than 7 hours was now a distinct possibility.

I was feeling OK at the turnaround point & still felt I had a good energy reserve to finish well. But, things changed soon after as I was heading up the 1st big hill back. Trying to get out of the way of a runner coming quickly down the hill, I took a big step up the side of the hill & when I did, the left leg locked up stiff & became extremely painful. After a few minutes writhing in pain, it finally subsided. I found I could continue, very slowly at first, but with a much shortened stride. All stepping over logs & up steps was now with the right leg first & very cautiously bringing up the left. Near the end, I felt I had something left, but held back as the leg was still tender & felt if I strained the leg it would lock up again. Officially, I finished in less than 7 hours, but knew if the full course had been run as expected I would not have reached that goal.

Overall, I’m happy with my performance considering the condition I was in & am very hopeful that Cherokee Road Runners will continue this great event next year. I enjoyed getting back together with all the fellow trail runners I’ve gotten to know over the years & am really glad to have started these blogs as it really intensified the experience.

Friday, February 15, 2008

llth eve

As of now I've decided to wear the Yaktrax for the race, but still undecided about the tights as the forecast for tomorrow morning keeps changing -- earlier it was 22 degrees, now it's 27. After trying out the Yaktrax today, it seems the added 3 oz is not that noticeable, especially when compared to a wet sock & shoe. With the slushy snow today, there seemed to be just a little less slippage with each step. What it will be like tomorrow is unknown – the snow will freeze hard at 22 degrees, but if it just reaches 27 at 7 in the morning, it seems unlikely the slushy snow will freeze at all. Looking forward to the race regardless.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

more days of rest

The snow & ice early this week threw a wrench into the training plans. No running at all this week! Guess I should be happy that the power & cable/phone/internet service was restored. Right now, just trying not to pull a muscle slipping on the ice around the house. Looks like the trails are going to be snowy/slippery race morning -- I finally got out and invested in a set of Yaktrax Pros today. Not sure I’ll use them as I hate the idea of adding weights to my feet, but will have them handy after the 1st loop if I change my mind.

Been receiving positive feedback on the LLTH blogsite and it continues to be a fun thing to do. Still a lot to learn & figure out though -- like a couple of people have said they’ve been unable to post comments on the blog even though the blog is set for posting by anyone.

Photos I took on the Blue Trail Tuesday morning 2-12-08 can be found at his link:


Saturday, February 9, 2008

day of rest

Took today off after spending most of the time yesterday trekking along Orange, Yellow & Blue Trails (about 14 miles) & measuring with a wheel while enjoying the scenery -- you can always notice more around you when you're not having to concentrate on your footing while running. Wasn't planning to go so far but the weather was just great. It became taxing on the legs though with all the hills & having just done a tempo run the day before. Met Cynthia on the Orange Trail & discussed a course change for the race. Also took some pictures of some downed trees to be reported to Forest Management. Planning to do some trail marking for the race the next few days (walking only) --legs are sore so won't be doing too much running before the race Saturday.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

tempo run

After waiting & waiting for the leg to fully recover, I finally got out today and did the tempo run I was planning to do a couple weeks ago. The day didn’t start out good with the injury from last year flaring up – lower back, but had no pain at all in the left leg & it felt strong to my relief. Cool temps in the 30’s all day were nice. Ran the last half of the 50K course in 3:35, about 15 minutes slower than the same run this time last year before the race – so looks like I’ll be hard pressed to break 7 hours this year for the 50K at LLTH.