Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Forced To Stretch

Early this year I suffered from ITBS, iliotibial band syndrome, it kept me from running most of this year. It was completely preventable and all my fault. I didn't stretch, at all. In elementary school I can remember doing tests for stretching during PE, I was the kid who struggled to touch his toes with both hands while seated. I was a skinny kid and very athletic, I was just born un-flexible.

So you can see why I didn't stretch on a regular basis, it hurt and I didn't see any downside to not stretching. That is until this year. During a group run in Feb, I expierenced my first knee injury ever. I felt a sharp pain laterally just above the knee, I thought I was cramping. It was so painful I slowed to a walk, the pain left. After about five minutes of walking with no pain, I decide to run again. No good, pain immediately came back, same spot.

My thoughts were just give it a week of rest from running then see how it goes. After a week off, I hit the local trail for a casual run. The knee had felt fine all week, no pain aven on a few dog walks. Well, about five minutes into the run, same pain. Damnit. Ok, how about two weeks off, nope same scenario as before.

Now I begin to think something is seriously wrong. I hit the internet searching for sites about knee pain. I self diagnosed my pain as ITBS. Then I find this site What a difference it has made. I have been running pain free now for a couple of months. Stretching has become a nightly routine for me, I actually enjoy my stretching time so much that every now and then i'll throw in a morning session as well. As my running is starting to pick up in volume, stretching is becomming even more important part of my recovery, timing is key. I was forced into stretching due to injury, now I stretch to prevent injury(and enjoyment).

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Great Training and A New Schedule(I think)

Just found out about this trail running series, looks like fun. All these venues are less than a 30 minute drive from my house. It's trails that I regularly ride and run on, I'm stoked Here is the entire Fall schedule:
Fall 2008 Series

Register for any event by mail:
Registration Form

Lake Fayetteville - Two Turtles
Registration Online
11 Oct 2008, 9am
Fayetteville, AR
Address, Map, Directions

Slaughter Pen - Pen-demonium
Registration Online
08 Nov 2008, 9am
Bentonville, AR
Address, Map, Directions

Dennis Moore's - Water Works
Registration Online
22 Nov 2008, 9am
Farmington, AR
Address, Map, Directions

Devil's Den - Fossil Flats
Registration Online
13 Dec 2008, 9am
West Fork, AR
Address, Map, Directions

Hell yeah! Hats off to Darby for putting this together. My plan is to race in Fayetteville on Oct 11 and then the next weekend Oct 19 hit up the AMBCS race at Womble(mountain bike). This is one of the best trails in the state(nation) it is deemed an IMBA epic. This will cut out the Chile Pepper on the 18th, I'm ok with that. I'd much rather run these fantastic trail races/mtb race than run through a field in the Chile Pepper. Don't get me wrong, CP is still a great race that brings in super fast runners from multiple states. I, however, would rather run on trails and race my mountain bike.

I had a great weekend of training, thanks to Trevor for setting it up. I finished a swimming threshold test on Sat. as well as a mountain bike ride out at Hobbs state park. Today was a long run, including some time at race pace. I felt great, you know it's a great effort when you can out run your dog. I had to drop off Smuckers so I could get in a race pace effort. This was the last 12 minutes of the run and I felt as fresh as when I started the run. It was a great run with zero knee pain

Friday, September 26, 2008

Ghetto Track

I had a run test set for Thursday per coach. I had originally planned this run to take place a the Fayetteville High School track, which is a top-notch track. I got off work early yesterday, so I got my clothes and shoes and headed for the track. FHS track was a little busy, the football team was practicing as well as the track team. No problem, I'll head further down the hill to the new U of Arkansas track. Wrong. They were practicing as well. On to my third choice, Ghetto Track.

I knew no one would be here. I wonder why?

Had a decent run despite the track conditions, didn't quite turn in the time I wanted. Just leaves lots of room for improvement right? Today is rest. Tomorrow is the last of the tests, swimming. I think I am looking forward to this one the most. I swam on a highly competetive swim team year-round as a youth. I remember hours and hours spent in the pool after school doing all sorts of drills for technique and speed. I am hoping those hours will help me out in the near future.

Also in the plans for tomorrow is a longish mountain bike ride, I've decided to go to Hobb's State Park. It's a newish trail system, about 4 years old. Super buff, fast riding loops totaling 20 miles in all. Miles and miles of 16'' ribbon like trail through the trees, you can't ask for much more. Should have some pics up tomorrow or Sunday. It's Friday! Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Lovin' the Camera

I purchased my current camera about a year and a half ago. I basically traded a Salsa Juan Solo frame plus a red King headset for this camera, Pentax A20. I also bought dinner and a few pitchers for a couple friends and my sister with said trade. I think I came out on top. Here goes a few of my favorite pics:

Don't know why, I just like this photo

It's Smuckers waiting for me to do something

Pic of a stream south of Fayetteville

During a group ride to Eureka Springs

Self photo mid-way through a run while visiting Steamboat

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Just a Test

No trail clean up for me today, instead my new coach wanted me to do a test on the mountain bike to see where I am aerobically. I set out for a time trial up a local gravel/jeep trail that usually takes about 20-25 minutes to climb. Seems easy enough, just climb the hill at race pace and record your avg HR. The problem is I just haven't raced my mountain bike in a while. I have forgotten how much it hurts to push yourself for extended periods. One of my problems is I get stuck doing mostly the same routes on the road bike putting only enough effort to finish the ride, never really getting out of my comfort zone. I guess you could say my riding plateaued. That is all about to change. Straight off the bike I was scheduled for an easy 30 min run. The run actually went pretty smooth, legs felt suprisingly light and quick. I ran down to Wilson park for a couple laps, lots of people out running, walking dogs, and just plain enjoying the beautiful weather. Here is a pic of Wilson Park from early spring

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Mt Kessler: Another Reason To Shave Your Legs

Rode the mountain bike out to the trails on top of Mt. Kessler this morning to see how much damage was done after Ike blew through last weekend. The mistake I made was not bringing the bow saw to clear the small trees, there were a lot of limbs down. All of what I saw can be taken care of with a bow saw. This was a sloooow ride as I had to stop every so often to clear limbs and hike around the fallen trees. After one loop, I met up with a few friends who were also out to asses the damage. We talked for a bit and then fininshed up the trail. Ok, now to the "another reason for shaving" Close to the end we stopped to regroup and Chris noticed seed ticks on his shoe. We all checked ourselves and sure enough everyone was carrying a few extra passengers. If you haven't dealt with seed ticks, let me tell you they are a pain in the ass. They can't be pulled off with your fingers, you must have duct tape. This is where shaved legs definetly pay off. Especially after the ride, just rinse your legs off and start pressing the duct tape to your legs, the ticks come right off. There you go, another legit reason. So if someone asks why you shave, just reply "seed ticks"

Here's my new workout. All those trees need to be cleared from Mt. Kessler and I need a good trail run on Tuesday. So, I decided why not combine the two activities. I can break this up into two seven mile loops, I'll tackle one on Tue and the other on Thurs. Why haven't I thought of this before? Run the trail stopping and clearing the brush as quickly as possible, continue. I'm sure people do this all the time. I know what you might be thinking, isn't it dangerous to run with sharp objects? Probably so, however, all I will carry is a band saw which will be in my pack. The saw also has a thick guard covering the entire blade. I should be ok.

Speaking of packs, my Osprey Talon 22 is simply the best pack I have ever owned. For me, the fit is spot on. I have used this pack daily now for about a year, mostly commuting to work. However, I do use it for mountain biking and off road bricks. I love the fact that I can carry a bladder and running shoes and the pack never feels bulky. It has many compartments, making it great for adventure racing. The "Air Scape" feature is also nice on hot days, the pack has a semi-rigid webbing so it doesn't sit directly on your back allowing for air flow. It's light, stylish, what else can I say? If you need a new pack, check it out.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Most of my training this week has been of the running variety. The only cycling I have done has been commuting to and from work. Thursday was a solid 40 minute trail run on My Sequoia. Today I hit up the pool at work for about a mile swim followed up with cycling around town doing errands. Didn't bring the camera, wish I had as I saw multiple people out cycling around town. It was a beautiful day here in Northwest Arkansas, high of 74 with a slight North breeze. After the errands, I got some food and watched my Razorbacks go down hard against alabama. (Ugh, it was ugly, gonna be a loooong season) Now it was time for another run on Mt. Sequoia. The trail was super, total length was 50 min. Feeling better about the run, over a month of running and no pain from the IT band. That stretching stuff really works. Here are a few pics of Smuckers from early this year up on the trail.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Chile Pepper 10k

My next race is the Chile Pepper 10k Oct. 18. I've been off running for a while now due to an IT band problem. This injury has kept me away from racing Xterra's all year. I have been running consistently now for the last month and it feels great. Averaging about two runs a week, about an hour and a half total. I want to do more but I am afraid to push it to hard, just ease into running. I won't be fast for this race by any means, that's not the point of this race. The speed will be there next year. However, I do want to be competitive. I'm looking for a sub 40 min finish. Judging by last year's results this won't get me on the podium in my age group, but at this point I will feel great with a 40 minute time.

This evening I went on a 30 minute run through the neighborhood. I kept the pace slow trying to run mostly on grass. I felt great, it was one of those runs I didn't want to end. I felt like I could of gone on for another hour, no pain. I decided this is a good sign and not to stress my body so I bagged the run at 30 minutes. I can't wait till long runs are the norm.

This is probably the best news of all. Trevor Glavin will be my coach for the remainder of this year and next. I am super stoked about this. TG is an outstanding athelete that has reached racing milestones I hope to achieve. I also like his training philosphy. We are just getting started, more on coaching as it develops.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Heavy Sleeper

I must be a heavy sleeper. I knew Fayetteville was going to get some heavy rain from Hurricane Ike, But I had no idea all this damage happened last night. All these photos were taken just up Mt. Sequoia, less than a quarter mile from my house. I slept right through it all.

I got out on the mountain bike for a few miles on gravel. I went out to the road that leads to the singletrack on Kessler. First climb up the hill I had to stop several times to clear debris. I stopped short of the top because I started running into lots of mud and water was still draining down the hill. So I decided to stick to the gravel road climb. This section is just shy of a mile long, starts off really tame and then steepest section coming at the very end. Climbed it six times before heading out to find something else to ride. I just cruised around looking for any roads that weren't paved.

I liked this photo, you can see that this limb was struck by lightning and burned for a while. Crazy!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Blown Away

I needed some new mountain bike tires so on Thursday afternoon I went surfing the internet for a deal. I have been running Maxxis Larsen TT's for the last year and a half. I'll say this, when the conditions are just right, these tires rock. They roll fast and are predictable. However, Larsen's aren't so good when wet and/or muddy. Also, I have been running the UST versions with tubes. This setup is heavy but I hardly ever flatted. I was ready for a change, sort of. I found a set of Continental Explorer 2.1 with the protection for a reasonable $35 each. Not a super steal but I'm pleased. I have used these tires before, they really worked well for me. Ok, here is the kicker, this is why I am "blown away" I ordered these tires from Competetive Cyclist Thursday about 4p. When I came home from work Friday, my tires had arrived! WTF? I had them sent regular, ground UPS. They arrived in less than 24 hrs. Hats off CC. I will be back.

No Devils Den race for me this weekend. I have been feeling a little bit under the weather and I really don't want to put to much stress on the body. Plus Hurricane Ike was likely to rain all over this event. I think they got all the classes off before the rain started. It's raining currently as I type and will continue all night. Rain should stop sometime early afternoon on Sunday. Planning on a gravel grinder in preperations for this.

Should have some news for next years season soon. I'm getting excited already.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

I Get the Hint

Coming home from work this Friday, I decided to stop by the beer store for a few well deserved(I thought) refreshments. My pack was already full with clothes and a pair of shoes, so I had to carry the 12er in my left hand and steer with the right. All fine and good till I get to my driveway, a few bumps at speed and the handle rips off and beer falls to the pavement. I guess someone's telling me to drink fewer beers. I'll take that suggestion, at least till next Saturday. Here's the carnage:Was a good week of training considering Gustav rained on NWA for about three days. Wednesday Smuckers and I got in a solid road/offroad run in the pouring rain. It was a lot of fun splashing through the puddles getting strange looks from the locals driving by in their comfy autos. Thursday I got out on the road bike for a 35 mile loop. The weather was cloudy and cool, I actually saw a rider with a jacket, that's strange for early September in this area. Friday was just a commute and a dog walk. Saturday found me hanging around the house with the dogs watching/listening to college football. I love some college football. Today was my weekly brick. Headed out for a 30 mile road bike ride at 18mph. Then straight into a 4 mile run. The whole workout lasted just about 2 hrs. Felt great on the bike, not so much on the run. I couldn't get the heart rate to go below 164 and most of the time it was about 168-170, ouch! I hope the HR will drop as I get better trained with these bricks.

Next week is the mountain bike race at Devil's Den. I feel good about my fitness level, should be good times. I just hope the rain stays away.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


It has rained here pretty much all day and looks like tonight and tomorrow will be rainy as well. My commute to work this morning was dry, the trip home however was a bit soggy. I did get a swim session in this morning at work. My swim workout consisted of 60 laps, alternating between breaststroke and free. Impressed? Don't be, the pool is only 20 yds in length. It's the only place I can afford right now. It sucks, but better than no swimming.

Tomorrow is a road bike ride if the rain ceases, or a rain soaked run with Smuckers. Looks like the safe bet is on a run.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Four Day Weekend

I somehow managed to talk my boss into letting me have Friday off, with Monday being Labor Day I got four days off. Let me tell you, it was great. Here's how my weekend went:

Friday- I headed on the mountain bike for a longish ride out to Dennis Moore's trail. About a quarter way there the clouds really darkened up, wind starting blowing up dust, it just didn't look right so I turned around and went home. It's good thing I did because some really nasty thunderstorms passed through.

I sat around the house waiting for the storms to pass, no worries I'm on vacation. The storms passed and I decided to hit up a loop or two at Lake Fayetteville. I hardly ever go to LF because it is just to crowded, but I figured at this time of day it shouldn't be to bad. First I stopped by the pool for a few laps, got in about 1000 meters and then it was off to the trail. Great workout, about 2.5 hours all together.

Saturday and Sunday- Not to much training these two days. A long walk with Smuckers in the morning. Later that evening it was time for the Razorbacks season opener. My sister(Larissa) and I walked down to the game and sat on the "grassy knoll" to watch the game on the big screen. Sunday consisted of 1hr spin around town and a movie(Tropic Thunder).

Today was the good stuff. Took off on the mountain bike(I will be on my MB more often) headed for Dennis Moore's trail. I went the scenic route, about 14 miles of pavement one way. DMT is my favorite trail in Northwest Ark., the only downside is you must climb a nasty, loose gravel hill in order to get to the singletrack. You are rewarded once you've reached the top, but damn that is one tough climb. It shredded me today, I had to take a break at the top and considered bagging the ride. I eventually continued on and was feeling ok shortly after. Got in about 3.5 hours and just shy of 40 miles. It was a great ride.