Adventures In Running

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I have not forgotten

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. So many lives were lost and so many have been changed forever as a result of the terrorist attacks of that day.

I remember being a student at Weber State University and sitting in my car waiting to head to class when the reports of the first plane crashing into one of the Twin Towers was broadcast. And the sadness that hit at that moment, not even fully realizing that it was not just a horrible accident.

Then, sitting in my class, browsing the Internet and seeing another plane crash and then the collapse of the towers and the other incredibly sad and poignant events of that day.

Going home and watching the events occur over and over again on the television. Feeling pain at so many lives lost. Wondering how I could explain this to my children. Crying with my children over the horrors of the day.

While I did not personally lose a loved one in the attacks that day, there was an incredible feeling of sorrow at the cruelty of these attacks. I cannot say why it is more horrific to have man-made attacks take lives than cruel acts of nature, to me the events of this day hit home and changed my life forever.

Ten years down the road I look at how my life has changed. I never envisioned one of my children joining the military and I never envisioned them becoming a military spouse. Yet my daughter fell in love with an Army sargeant and I have since learned how being in the military affects not only the person but also their spouse, children, parents, brothers and sisters, and even in-laws.

My son-in-law sacrificed many years of custody of his children and time with them in order to serve his country. He and my daughter will both have to deal with loneliness and challenges when he is on deployments. How many of us do not even appreciate what these men, women and their families deal with in order to protect our country?

As I led the closing song in church today (America the Beautiful), I had tears streaming down my cheeks thinking of how proud I am to be an American and also how proud I am to understand better the sacrifices that are made for this great land.

Thank you to all the men and women serving in the Armed Forces and to their families for the sacrifices and service they make. Thank you also to the members of the Police and Fire Departments throughout this land who put their lives on the line every day for people they have never met.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Suncrest Half Marathon 2011

I saw signs advertising "Conquer the Mountain" and Suncrest Half Marathon last weekend while running the Porter Rockwell Trail. I decided to check this race out and signed up this week.

Right from the moment I checked out their site, I knew that this would not be a half marathon that I raced. It was going to be a matter of survival and a training run (or walk or crawl) more than anything.

The elevation profile for the race says it all - it was going to take my breath away.

Since I have never been in the Suncrest area before this race, I will be taking a lot of the course descriptions from the PDF document.

The race started at 7 a.m. with the half marathoners heading down Suncrest Drive to some trails and a fire road that lead to the Richmond Homes Development. At this point there were only a couple of other competitors behind me - so I figured I could just sit back and "enjoy" the race. The mile markers were totally off for the race, so I relied on my Garmin. Mile marker 1 occurred at 1.5 miles and mile marker 2 was at 2.4 miles - I was worried it would be a long course. Near the end they were occurring every .75 miles or so and it actually ended up being a little bit short of 13.1 miles (not that I cared).

After a couple of miles on trail we headed up the road again (there seemed to be a lot of "heading up" in this race) through a subdivision and then onto another jeep road and some single track. This portion of the race had some nice views of Utah county to enjoy. I probably should have stopped and taken some picture - but I was too busy struggling to breathe.

The uphills continued for a few miles until we passed the Deer Ridge Drive Bridge. This aid station actually had gummy bears and M&M's and I loaded my pockets with fuel.

We ran on the roads in the subdivisions for a few more miles - this time with some pretty views of the Salt Lake Valley. You really couldn't enjoy the downhills too much - because they meant that there would be more uphills ahead of you. On this side of the mountain there was a really enjoyable stretch of singletrack that I was able to cruise down and made the entire race worthwhile.

Unfortunately, the end of the trail meant a long climb back up Traverse Ridge Road to the start of the race and another looping section. After a few miles of road we were sent on the Suncrest Trail back up to just above the gummy bear aid station and the final section of road to the finish.

It was a nice race - small and well organized. The aid stations were well stocked, there were only a few turns where you had to wonder if you were going in the right direction (usually on roads) and they had lots of volunteers.

Will I do it again? Probably not. It was enjoyable to see new trails, but it is the hardest half marathon I have ever entered and not one I can even run half of. Still, all in all, I'm glad I took a chance on it.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Guardsman Pass and Sheepdog Trials

I was thrilled when Leslie Petersen called me yesterday and suggested a running adventure for Labor Day. I've been feeling sorry for myself because it seems like I have very few friends and am too often alone - so having someone to hang with on a holiday cheered me up.

I drove over to Leslie and Harold's house at 7 a.m. and we loaded up their SUV. Harold drove us up to the top of Guardsman Pass and Leslie and I started the run down. I worried the first half mile because it was pretty steep and I was having to use the quads fairly heavy to 'brake' myself, but then the downhills eased up.

We were able to run most of the time - I think we started throwing in occasional walk breaks around mile 5 or 6. I'm sure our quads will complain tomorrow, but it was great downhill training for Leslie for St. George. We had planned to run between 9-13 miles, but Leslie decided she wanted to get to the second part of our adventure while it was still overcast, so at 8.65 miles we called it quits. We had just reached Midway at that point in our run.

Part 2 involved the Grand Championships of the Soldier Hollow Sheepdog Competition. These dogs and their handlers are pretty amazing. The dog is totally controlled by whistling commands and a few verbal commands. They had 24 minutes to gather 2 different herds of 8 sheep each, put them through various gates and other maneuverings. A very tough workout. The last two teams we watched ended up taking gold and bronze in the competition - so we got to see some of the best.

I'm going to hold off taping my foot again until Friday when I run part of the Wasatch 100 course to cheer on runners. Some skin came off with the tape today - so my skin definitely needs a break.

All in all - it has been a great weekend.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Building up mileage

Since I have decided to do a 50K in November, it is time to build up my long run distance again. I have to admit that it is actually easier to consistently run longer distances than it is to build up. I think the body adapts to the longer distances and you get less inflamation and soreness as a result.

I was too lazy to get up and run early in the morning, but it is cooling down a little earlier at night, so around 5 p.m. I packed up my running gear and headed to Draper. The plan was to run two loops of a 7 mile route on the Draper Canal Trail and the Porter Rockwell Trail and then run around the Draper City Park for the last mile as a cooldown.

First loop I went out on the Draper Canal Trail to the big bridge and then back on the Porter Rockwell Trail. Draper Canal Trail this way is a very gradual uphill and the Porter Rockwell Trail is rollers that eventually work their way downhill. Lots of hills on the Porter Rockwell Trail.

Second loop I went out on the Porter Rockwell Trail and then back on Draper Canal Trail to give myself the gradual downhill when I would be most tired. I did remember to grab a flashlight for this loop so I wouldn't have to focus on not running into the trail gates.

The body and legs felt good. Since my endurance is not where I want it to be, I ran 3 minutes followed by a 2 minute walking break. I was tired at the end - but not too tired, so I hadn't pushed too hard. I didn't tape my foot for the run and it felt fine.

Thanks to my daughter for calling and talking me in the last mile.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Posterior Tibialis Tendonitis

I first went to see Dr. Royall (a podiatrist) about 10 days ago and he did a lot of checking on my feet. He said that my feet are very strong (guess all the running paid off) and that it appeared that my right foot pronates just a tiny bit. Based upon my mileage (and that nasty thing called AGE), the pronating was causing my poterior tibialis tendon in the right foot to be inflamed.

His remedy was to do a taping technique on the foot and ankle called "Modified Low-Dye Strapping". You do a basket weave of tape around the foot and ankle to support the foot and then follow up with three strips of a stretchy support type tape under the arch of the foot. I was supposed to use this technique until he saw me again and not do any icing, ibuprofen or other treatments to see if the strapping worked.

The great thing is, I was able to run again. The tendon on the outside of the right ankle has been a bit painful (nothing serious) because the strapping was focused on supporting the inside of the ankle - but within a day or so I had no pain when running on the formerly inflamed tendon.

I saw Dr. Royall again today and we decided that the strapping proved I needed some orthotics, so was casted for and ordered a pair of them. He also did an ultrasound of the tendons and showed me the inflamation that still exists around them. It will take a while to fully heal - but I am on the mend!