Sunday, April 20, 2014

Millard to Mt Wilson, 24

Today I started my run late in order to enjoy the morning fun with the kids and  their Easter baskets.  I started out from Millard at 9:30 and ran up the Sunset Trail, then took the Mt Lowe railway through to the Mueller Tunnel, and the Mt Wilson Road up to the summit of Wilson (11.9 miles, 2:32);  returning in a total time of 4:22 for 23.9 miles.

I felt OK although the air quality was not so good.  Toda's run was 15 minutes faster than I ran on the same course 4 weeks ago.  Achilles were OK.  The pattern that's developed:  Right achilles is a bit tender going up;  left achilles is a bit tender going down.

Today I ran in a new-ish pair of Inov-8 Trailroc 255 trail shoes.  These I picked up on-line as a clearance item;  they have 6mm drop heel-to-toe and my thinking was that this larger drop might mitigate achilles stress.  They are good shoes, a bit heavier and taller than I am used to;  the 6mm drop posed no problems and I am considering running in these at Leona Divide next week.  They are not as comfortable on my feet as Merrell Ascend Gloves and the Skecher GoBionic Trails and I wound up with a blister (rare for me); the stack height is a bit more than I am used to and I did turn an ankle today with no damage sustained.

Last week I found myself speeding up in my short workouts, which felt good, although speed is not a great idea with  marginal achilles.  Indeed the achilles were a bit sore by the end of the week although  I had begun the week pretty much pain-free after the 28 miler I did last Sunday.  I chalk that up to some ill-advised 7 minute miles run at lunchtime  on the Sawcut Wash Trail.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Mt Wilson loop, 28 miles, beautiful morning!

This morning I got up early, and after 3 double espressos to provide fortification, got out and hit the Sam Merrill Trail at 6am to do my benchmark Mt Wilson loop run:  Sam Merrill to Echo Mountain (2.6 miles walk as a warm up); then run to the Mt Lowe railway and on up through the Mueller tunnel to the Mt Wilson Road and on to the summit (12miles);  run down the Toll Road to the Idlehour trail (16.5miles), drop into Idlehour, and run/walk back up to the AC 100 Sam Merrill checkpoint (22 miles), run down the railway , traverse to Echo Mountain and take the lower Sam Merrill trail back to Cobb Estate (27.9 miles).  The total time this morning was 5:31--the achilles behaved and the time is better than what I doing a year ago on this course.

 It was cool with a marine layer blanketing the valleys, sunshine above 4500 ft:

On the Mt Lowe Railway heading up towards the old Alpine Lodge


The views this morning were spectacular:
View west towards Mt Luekens from the north side of Mt Lowe


 


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Verdugos 28 miles for a 60 mile week

Got up early to run my old training route in the Verdugos:  Park at La Tuna Canyon exit off the 210;  slog up Holfstater road (3.3 miles) lugging water to make a water stash;  run west to the trailhead out of Burbank (9.5 miles out); turn around and run back to the midpoint for a water stop, then run  east to the trailhead out of La Canada (?) turning around at 20.5 miles; run back to the midpoint and down, total 28.5 miles  in 5:31;  a bit ahead of my nominal 5 miles per hour pace.  Last year I did this run in 5:20, but with a variant making it about 0.75 miles longer, so I was faster last year;  however I feel fine today after the run and last year I pinged a calf on this run (this was before I had learned about foam rollers).

Today I did a lot of walking on the uphills so as to conserve  my achilles and I suppose to convince myself that liberal uphill walking still fits within the 5 mph pace...it does.    The achilles have been stable, while not 100%, and I don't want to over do it.    I ran in the Skechers GoBionic Trails.   These shoes have been my mainstay lately and they are about worn out.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sunset trail to Mt Wilson

Was up late last night completing a work project; my wife and kids are at Catalina Island and I just couldn't join them due to need to complete this project.  Alas;  however, having finished around midnight and sent the report off  to the boss for his Sunday am flight departure, I was able to sleep in (to 7am) and then take my leisure about getting out to the trail.

I thought I'd take the Sam Merrill up to Mt Wilson but the parking at North Lake Ave was a zoo.  So off to Millard where the the forest service pass requirement  keeps the parking lot mostly empty.  (and the trails largely free of trash...go figure)..  Hit the Sunset trail at 9:30 ish;  trudged up to the Mt Lowe railway mostly walking, then ran from there to Eaton Saddle, through the tunnel, and on up to Mt Wilson (11.9 miles).  As the gate was locked I snuck through the fence to the left of the gate in order to top off my water bottles.  Then ran on down;  total time 4:37 for 23.7 miles, right on the target 5mph average pace I train at for the 100.  The achilles felt OK;  left side was a bit "there" on the run up but has felt stable these last few weeks.  Right side is solid.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Inspiration point; Merrell Ascend Glove Goretex in wet trail running conditions

I had a nice run up the Sam Merrill Trail this morning with a 6:30am start on the trail up to Echo Mountain, to the Mt Lowe railbed trail on to  Inspiration Point and return, for 12 miles.  It's been raining hard the last couple of days in southern California- and so  I ran in my Merrell Ascend Glove-Goretex trail shoes.  I had bought these shoes last summer as an experiment to see whether the Goretex liner would keep trail dust out.  They did, but for summer running they were just too hot -  no surprise,  and I had been warned that this would likely be the case.  So I tucked them away for winter running.  Winter conditions at last showed up and so, I was looking forward to running in these shoes under the conditions for which there were designed.  It was cold and rainy yesterday and the Goretex Ascend Gloves kept my feet warm and dry while running in the neighborhood, even splashing through puddles.  The traction was terrific and kept me from slipping even on slimy moss covered sidewalks.  Today's run was on very rough trail and vertical terrain;  while it was not raining, everything was soaked and there was a good wet fog on the mountain for much of the run.  The shoes were perfect for these conditions and my feet were snug and dry.

I crossed paths with Larry Gassan and a couple of his AC100 buddies running up as I was coming down towards Echo Mountain.  It was nice to see these guys and great to see Larry running.

My achilles behaved;  I took it easy today, power walking up and then running down in a smooth easy gait, no rush.  By the bottom of the mountain both achilles were letting me know they were present, but they were fine afterwords and feel great now.  My plan is to keep building slowly and taking it easy to  adapt back into running after my 3 month lay-off.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Achilles update Jan 12

I have moved all the posts on the achilles rehab program I am following to one page to clean up the blog a bit.

Here is the progress so far on the heel drop regimen (3 sets of heel drops on each leg, straight leg, bent leg, done twice daily).



  • Week 1:  Week ending  Nov  10th-     No weight, high reps (sets of 30), done fast.  Not correct, achilles irritated.
  • Week 2  Week ending   Nov 17th:  No weight, slowed down the reps to 2-3 seconds per, and stuck to sets of 15
  • Week 3:  Week ending Nov 24th  Added 25 pounds in backpack. 
  • Week 4:  Week ending  Dec 1:   50 pounds.  Mostly done on flat surface (heel drop to horizontal).
  • Week 5:  Week ending Dec 8:  67 pounds.  Ditto.
  • Week 6:  Week ending Dec 15:  77 pounds.  Ditto.
  • Week 7:  Week ending Dec 22:  89 pounds.  Ditto.
  • Week 8:  Week ending Dec 29: 100 pounds.  Ditto.
  • Week 9:  Week ending Jan 5:   110pounds.  Started emphasizing heel drops on step edge rather than flat surface.  Experienced morning-after soreness -  took 2 rest days.
  • Week 10 :  Week ending Jan 12:  reduced the weight to 85 pounds


  • In much of the rehab work between weeks 4 and 9, the heel drops I was doing were done on a flat surface so that the heel could not drop below horizontal.  This was primarily due to inclement weather;  cold, and late work hours; -  I did the exercises indoors where I have a 1-step rise (for the lift leg).  I started doing the full heel drops on a stair case outside more frequently during week 9 and started experiencing morning-after soreness in the achilles.    Uh-oh. Reflecting on this I see that the weight progression done was mostly with the heel drops to horizontal and when I switched to the hanging heel drops the muscles and tendon were not adapted to it.  So I've backed off on the weight.  I have also started regular 4 mile walks.  Both achilles are a bit irritated but particularly the right.  They do not hurt walking (or running) but are tender when pinched, more so on the lateral side of each tendon.