Sunday, September 29, 2013

Mt Wilson loop

I hit the trail this morning at 6:30 and trudged up the Sam Merrill trail to Echo Mtn as the warm-up phase of  the 27 mile Mt Wilson loop.  I felt great.  Once at Echo Mnt (2.6 miles) the grade lessens so I ran from there.  The achilles were golden until Mt Wilson summit (12 miles) where I began to notice my left achilles.

 I started this run in my AscendGloves without socks;  by mile 15 or so I had to stop to put on socks as the right foot had developed a blister.  Later I stopped again and greased it.

The stream crossings within Eaton Canyon were completely dry-  I had anticipated this and had  lugged a lot of water from Wilson summit.  But it was a hot trudge up out of Idelhour.  I did the run in something like 6:15 today, far off the peak training 5:29 for the 29 mile version of this course.

The right achilles was solid the whole run;  the left was decidedly painful coming down the 5 mile Sam Merrill trail descent from Inspiration Point to the Cobb Estate.  I am icing it now and I expect it will be fine.

It was a sparklingly clear, dry day, and great to be out there.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Barefoot again, and the official AC100 race report

Had a nice afternoon run barefoot around the neighborhood before no pain in the achilles running barefoot.   The pads of my feet are a bit sore though! the run was a bit over an hour.  My eldest son accompanied me on his bike, it was really nice.  Tommorrow I will be doing the Mt Wilson loop; I had intended to to that this morning but my youngest son spiked a 103F fever so our Saturday plans were derailed.

Uncle Hal put up the 2013 AC100 race report recently - I read it today and was delighted to have been characterized in the report by this great man as "the likable"  Pete Sercel.  Thats a great way to be remembered.   Here is the race report:

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Starting to make sense...

Monday I ran barefoot again, this time up the trail in Sawcut Wash.   Achilles felt fine although within 2 1/2 miles I was done running on the gravel trail and so donned my shoes again.  The fact that barefoot running does not aggravate my achilles got me thinking.  Yesterday I took my pocket knife along with me over my lunchtime run.  I started my warm-up walk in my Ascend Gloves and noticed discomfort in the achilles.  So I stopped, took off my socks and shoes, and walked a bit as a test (an experimental "control")-  no pain.  So I cut the shoes vertically at the heel, deeper than I had cut them last week, put them and set off, et viola there was no pain:    

With the heels cut so deep - all the way down to the molded rubber base-- the shoes still stay on just fine but feel a good bit looser at the heel.   The run today felt great.

This calls to mind that it had occurred to me while training this summer that perhaps the heel pain I had been experiencing was associated with too tight a heel, especially as it was worst while walking/running uphill at which time my feet tend to be pushed back towards the rear of the shoe.  Its not that the shoes are too small:  my big toe has a good 1 cm of room upfront;  conversely I can put one finger at the rear of my shoe behind my heel..  But I think the heel strapping is just a bit too tight / non resilient in these shoes at least in my present condition-  namely, sporting a tender achilles.  Its also recently dawned on me that wearing socks in the "barefoot" Merrells shoes may not be great - the liner is designed for skin, not socks; wearing socks,  my feet tend to slip within the shoe so that the heel slides back into the rear heel cup.  Running in the Ascend Gloves without socks is preferable in that my sockless feet do not slip -- resulting in less pressure on my achilles from being pushed against the heel cup.

As a sidenote I lost my left big-toe nail today...putting on my socks prior to run it peeled back.  It looked spectacularly painful but wasn't.  That caps the AC100 season I think.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Mt Wilson and some barefoot running

This morning I again did the meat-and-potatoes work out at Mt Wilson:  10 miles powerwalk up; reload at the summit and run down.  It was a beautiful morning, with a marine layer covering Pasadena, and a crisp bite in the air heralding the coming of fall. Absolutely spectacular:


I ran in the Skechers Gobionic Trail with inserted 1/4 inch Dr Sholl's heel lifts.  I have started doing this, as I had found 10 years ago that this helped me get through an achilles injury.  Today my right achilles was pain free but the left side (which was OK last week) was a bit painful both on the walk up and the run down.  It was a slowish workout:  2:45 up;  4:17 total.

I iced the achilles after the run and went about my day with the kids.  I took a midafternoon break-  which started out as a short walk around the block to loosen up and so I left the house barefoot.  It felt good so I started running.  I ended up going 4 miles, barefoot, and neither achilles hurt at all.  Go figure!   I am left wondering if the added heel support I ran in today was a move in the wrong direction, that perhaps I should go in the opposite direction and get the most stable platform (such as:  Concrete) under my feet.  Whatever the explanation the fact was clear, the barefoot run around the neighborhood on concrete sidewalks and asphalt felt great;  the run at Mt Wilson with foam heel lifts did not feel great.  I will try this again this week and see how it goes.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Mt Wilson

I did the Mt Wilson workout again today:  2:38 up;  4:08 total.  Significantly faster than last week.  The right achilles was nearly trouble free;  the left achilles had some discomfort on the run down but this eased up after about half way down the mountain.  The achilles feel good after the run but I iced them anyways just to be on the safe side.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

More on the achilles...what I am doing to heal achilles tendonitis

I have been running each day this week (on Tuesday I walked) and the achilles, while not 100%, are both feeling progressively better.  Here is a run down on what I am doing for them:

  1. I've been icing the achilles on both legs in the morning and evening.  I cannot always ice them after a run (I run at lunch at least half the days during the work week) but do so when I am able.  This makes the achilles feel better for hours afterwords.
  2.   I put on warm socks at night when I sleep.  I do this on the notion that it may improve circulation and therefore healing.
  3. I sleep typically on my stomach;  when I do so I leave my feet hanging over the edge of the bed so that the achilles is not compressed.
  4. I have increased my consumption of yogurt;  and I have been adding a packet of gelatine powder to my morning shakes.  
  5.  I had been using a race walking gait but lately am back into running.  Lately also I have been running in my Skechers Gobionic Trails in 4mm drop mode;  have been putting 1/4 inch heel inserts for running on flat ground to ease up on the achilles.
  6. Friction massage:  I have been doing this lately followed by icing:  and  This is something to be done rarely, never more than one every few days.  My experience is that its very easy to irritate the tendon (or paratendon) so the key for me is to resist the temptation to overdo this.  (Note added later:  I've stopped doing this as I have found that while it brings immediate relief, it promotes achilles soreness).
  7. I have cut verticle slits in the heels of some of my older running shoes (and street shoes) to take all pressure off the achilles area while walking around and while running.
  8. Hamstring stretching helps.

I am looking forward to another 20 miler this weekend at Mt Wilson:  Walk up, run down.  I was a bit surprised how sore the legs were after last Saturday's Mt Wilson workout..  but there it is.  I get in shape quickly but out of shape just as quickly.   I am planning to do a Grand Canyon double crossing in October, time to get the mileage back up.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Achilles OK...

After the 20 miler at Mt Wilson  yesterday, my achilles felt quite a lot better.   Today I got up early to go climbing up at Horseflats with a friend.  My achilles were fine upon waking, hiking in, and climbing all day;  evidently, once again,  the Mt Wilson workout...powerwalk up 10 miles, run down... has served to bust up a lingering injury.  I will keep an update on how this progresses this week.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Running again...Mt Wilson, easy

This week I have been more consistent about my mileage after having laid low since the AC100 to rest my achilles tendons.  After the race the achilles on both legs were quite tender-  understandable considering the 100 mile beating I gave them;  but worrisome in that after 2-3 weeks I was still seeing little improvement while the muscle and foot soreness was long gone.   I decided to back off and take some rest last week and through last weekend.  I've been icing both sides and a couple weeks ago I did use a 3 inch diameter roller on them-  very carefully! -- this week I've been walking and race walking rather than full on running,  to keep the stress off the achilles.  With a smooth race walking gait, which places minimal stress on the joints and achilles, I can easily manage 10 minute miles on flat ground, so its satisfying.

Its seems to be paying off.  I did my usual walk up/run down at Mt Wilson, 19.8 miles from outside the Eaton Canyon  Nature Center.  It was slow, around 2:50 up and 4:30 total.  But the right achilles didn't bother me a bit;  the left made itself known but didn't really hurt.  Today I ran in the Skecher Gobionic Trails.  The big toe box and 4mm drop seemed a good idea with my achilles soreness; also the portion of the upper that contacts the achilles area is nice and loose and doesn't irritate the achilles.  Last week I took an old pair of Merrel TrailGloves and slit the heels-  the Merrell's uppers fabric around the heel has no stretch and little of the usual foam  padding found in "traditional" running shoes;  in this case   I think that the fabric in contact w/ my heel may be irritating my sore achilles.  It did feel better with the heels slit to relieve presssure on the achilles.

I am icing both sides as I write this having gotten home and showered off.

Postscript Saturday evening:  The achilles on the left side has no pain.  The right side feels good as well, but is a little sore on the lateral side.