Monday, January 22, 2007

Back to the present

OK, finally finished all my vacation blogging. Now it's time to get caught up to the present and plans for the future. Well, my plans for serious training hit a few snags upon my return.

First, I decided to do a nice easy run the morning after my return. Well, there was nothing easy about running after about 16 hours of flying. My legs were so stiff I felt like I was running with splints on. Normally, my legs loosen up after about 2 miles, but this just wasn't happening. Stupidly, I persisted on until my knees started to hurt from my tight muscles and ligaments. I stopped to stretch a few times, but stupidly insisted on finishing my run. Later that day, I realized what a bad mistake that was as my achy knees repeatedly buckled whenever my legs straightened out. I took a day off then did another short run. My knees felt fine after a short warm-up, but then stiffened throughout the day. I took another couple of days off before my next test run. Same thing, fine after warm-up, stiff the rest of the day. Well, somewhere in my stubborn brain I continually convinced myself that I could run since it didn't hurt while I was running. However, in retrospect, it is pretty obvious that the continued problems throughout the day where my knee would either lock-up or buckle were anything but the process of heeling. Finally, I realized that it was January and my plans for the year would start to be threatened if I didn't deal with this so I took weeks off.

Finally, last week I was able to walk around with out any incidents of lock-knee or pain. I felt good so tried a couple of test runs this weekend. I did 6 miles around my neighborhood on Saturday including close to a mile of barefoot running in the park. The barefoot run at the end of some road miles actually felt great! It made me focus on my foot-strike and running form and I'm convinced it even helped loosen up my muscles. I will definitely integrate this into future training. On Sunday, I got in 9 miles of trail running over at Chabot. A beautiful day on some beautiful trails. I didn't feel perfect as I am also fighting a little cold, but there were no major knee issues. I also purchased some rehab tools with a Big5 gift card that someone bought me. The most important piece of equipment I have learned is the foam roller. After just one night of painfully rolling out my ITB, Thighs , shins and hip flexors/abductors, I cannot recommend this enough to anyone that runs. Despite the pain while doing it, my legs felt great afterwards and this morning seem much more secure than they have in weeks! The one I purchased was fro GoFit and came with a DVD by Core Performance author Mark Verstege. I will continue to use it and report on how it goes, but based on first impressions, I think every runner should have one of these as an essential tool!

At this point, my near term plans are simply to get back into ultra shape by the end of February. I only have one major race on my radar which is the Miwok 100K that I have already signed up for. If all goes well I will probably pick a 50K or two before and maybe a 50M as well (perhaps even AR50). Other than that I don't have any major goals beyond 100K for the year. Of course, with that said, I only had the goal of the Ohlone 50K last year and ended up doing 2 more 50Ks and a 50-miler so, who knows...

1 comment:

miki said...

Wow. Looks like we had the same idea this year as we did last year. We're parallel runners across the bay. Except for the ankle thing. I am definitely going to live vicariously through you this year. Take care of your legs Steve, I'll be cheering for you!