Wednesday, April 30, 2008

My Uncommon Feet

I finally saw an orthopedic foot specialist this week. Some of the information was not surprising due to my lengthy internet research. After lots of x-rays, gait analyis, and discussion, it turns out I've got "skewed, uncommon feet." I have high arches, along with pronation issues due to my abnormal "turn-out" from ballet. Both of these together create a beautiful picture for a dancer, but they don't do a runner much good. Because of this, I end up putting a lot of pressure on the outside metatarsals and heel. My usual choice of stability shoes have increased this pressure, hence the problems. I'm just lucky I haven't developed stress fractures yet. I was given some exercises and a list of shoes more fitting of my foot/gait type. Lucky for me, the Brooks Cascadias were at the top of the list, since I just bought them. My final thought - although my years of ballet/dance were incredible and I miss it dearly, it sure has become obvious the toll it takes on the body. Sigh...

Monday, April 28, 2008

5 1/2 Lone Pines

On Saturday, Danni was running Lone Pines, an approximate 3.3 miles of climbing and descent each trip. She started at 5:30 am for a total of 30 miles. I joined her at 8:00 for the last 18 miles. Although I initially thought the same route again and again would get boring, it was a great workout. It was obvious I need more work on power hiking the steep sections as my shins started to cramp the last trip up, exactly what happened during Swan Crest last September. I probably could have used more water and calories. My goal is to start getting in a long run each weekend to practice fueling.

The best news? I LOVE the new Brooks Cascadias! I've been obsessed with finding a good trail shoe that fits my ballet/toe shoe deformed feet. 18 miles with lots of up and downhill portions and not a single hot spot. The irritating heel bursitis that usually sneaks up on me never appeared once. I felt one twinge of pain on my right foot which quickly disappeared. Absolutely no foot pain the next day.
Sunday, Steve and I explored Herron Park and the Foys to Blacktail trails. For all you mountain bikers, get out there - the singletrack is dry except for a few patches. For those who want to support the Foys to Blacktail Trail development, check out the Herron Hustle , a 5.5 mile trail race scheduled for June 21st. The above mentioned Danni (see her picture below running the 3rd of 9 Lone Pines) is the race director, and it should be a great time for all fitness levels!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Missoula Trip

One of the perks of my job is the occasional trip to Missoula or Helena. These are great places to explore, especially for someone seeking new trails. This week, most of my office spent three days in Missoula for the annual CAN conference. Other than attending the conference, my goals included 1) a trip to REI and Sports Authority and 2) find one new trail to run. To be clear - my office mates are NOT trail running people. So, it was a little tricky negotiating schedules and access to the car.

I briefly considered using the treadmill, until I kicked myself and repeated the learned mantra - "If I wait around for someone to join me, I may never get where I want to go." I hit the road at 6:30 am with directions to Rattlesnake Recreation Area. I stuck primarily to the main trail, but sidetracked for awhile on a trail to Spring Gulch. It was a little eerie (see picture below) - and beautiful - to be there early and completely alone in a new place. The weather was warm and sunny when I started, but turned to rain and snow on my return. After being with a large number of people in the car, at meals, at the conference, etc., it was good to have some quiet time to myself in a place I would love to explore more.
Thursday morning, I agreed to meet Gretchen, a co-worker and road runner training for the Governor's Cup, early for a 5 miler before the conference. We met a the hotel and sprinted for 35 minutes. At least that's how I felt. She kicked my butt. It was humbling to be left in the dust for part of the run. It was also a reminder that my body (and mind) is capable of much more than I usually think. I may need to get a heart rate monitor - just to get out of "lazy" mode every once in awhile.

My excitement for the week is that I'm getting a Garmin for my birthday courtesy of my parents and Steve. I've been looking at the 305 for some time, and tried it out in REI. While I love the features, I'm worried about my tiny wrist carrying it. The 405, to be released in May looks like it might be a bit smaller, but also much more expensive. For the Garmin fans, how's the fit? Any feedback would be appreciated!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Too Cute

My niece and her dad preparing for the next Ironman.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

It's finally here!

Spring that is. This weekend was a break from the almost daily mixture of clouds, rain, sun, snow, hail, etc. Two beautiful, sunny days to play outside. On Saturday, Steve and I joined many others exploring the park from the Going to the Sun Road. It is now plowed past Avalanche campground, but not yet open to traffic. Sunday, after a 90 minute run with Callie and Sharon on mostly dry trails, Steve and I took the bikes back to the park and rode 14 miles. My legs aren't used to the bike yet, so I struggled with the uphills. Overall, a great weekend!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

De-germing the fun way

This weekend, Danni planned a 30 mile training run for Western States. She's been doing several of these back to back training weekends (20-30 miles on Saturday with a shorter run on Sunday). After she described getting used to being out there "all the live long day," I decided to join in the fun to keep her company and break up the day a little bit. I had to work in the morning, so by the time I met up with Danni at noon, she'd already completed 11 miles. I really wasn't sure what I could do after enduring the worst case of strep throat I've ever experienced earlier in the week. But, as my dad used to tell me and my sister after any bout of sickness, "Bundle up, get outside and get the stink off you!" So I did.

Danni and I explored a messy network of trails not far from town. Messy as in a complete maze and covered in ice, snow (the jagged frozen kind where you fall through and cut yourself), and unexpected large puddles of water. I'd heard people describe trails out in this area that can take you all the way to a lake. I think these are tall tales, because we kept coming back to the same area time after time. We finally got on what seemed to be a logging road and were cruising along when a) we came across an old refrigerator used for target practice and b) gun shots. I'm now thinking they were from a small rifle or even a BB gun, but the sound was quite fierce when close by and in rapid succession. We quickly back tracked to the parking area. I'm not sure how I would have explained missing work due to a gunshot wound - especially after practically contaminating the place last week with strep.

I ended up doing 12-13 miles. It took us awhile because of the trail conditions, and because we were busy exploring, deciding on routes, and taking pictures. It would have been fun to finish it out, but I didn't want to get my immune system crazed again. Here are some pictures from the day. Check out Danni's blog if you want to see the dead refrigerator.

Overlooking where we'd previously run

Danni discovering how to eat Spaghettio's with a can opener

Still smiling after a few hours running

This is why it took us so long - learning to use the camera timer!