Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Return to Idlehour, 26 miles; then Mt Wilson, 20 miles

Last Sunday, 51 weeks after my fall at Idlehour, I returned running the same counter-clockwise course I'd run last when I broke my hip socket.  Starting out of Eaton Canyon to Mt Wilson, down the Mt Lowe fire road to Inspiration Point, returning via Idlehour to the Mt Wilson Toll Road and back down.  It was beautiful and the stream was running with beautiful cold water which I filtered and drank.

I love this place and was glad to finally return to it.  I'd started into upper Eaton Canyon with some trepidation.  I did carry a satellite messenger as a safety measure having no wish to repeat last years rather long walk out on a fracture.  The run was fabulous and as always I was struck by the raw grandeur of upper Eaton Canyon.

I paid close attention in the canyon to try to find the location where I fell last year.  Oddly enough, I just couldn't find it.  The place seemed smaller that my memory made it out to be and I just couldn't identify where I fell, like it was blanked out of my memory.

On Monday (holiday)  I did my walk-up, run down routine on Mt Wilson, 20 miles in 4:15 or thereabouts.

A great weekend.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Capping a 74 mile week with Mt Wilson again

I capped off my week with 20 miles this morning, Mt Wilson  via the Toll Road from Eaton Canyon-   walk up (2:40) run down (4:11 total) - the second half of a back-to-back.

I felt great.  As was the case yesterday it was cold at the top so I bundled up.  Knee and achilles were solid and I feel great afterwords.

This is progress since the last Mt Wilson double header two weeks ago which left me quite stiff and sore.  The point to the back to back workouts is to build survivability and the workouts are paying off.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

More on cadence; Mt Wilson

This morning I headed up the Sam Merrill Trail to Mt. Wilson's summit via the Mt Lowe railway;  24 miles round trip in 4:25.  Rather slow, but the run was pain free both up and down.  It was very chilly up at the summit,  where I donned a windbreaker and gloves; and I've had a head cold this week -- this may have impacted my speed.

On the other hand I ran some fairly fast times last week despite my cold.  I continued to experiment with cadence through the week, running on the Sawpit wash trail in Monrovia.  What I find is that I am comfortable with a 180 step/min cadence on flat ground, but this cadence is uncomfortably high running uphills, and uncomfortably slow running downhills. I had picked up a cheap metronome for cadence checks and just found that its no good except on relatively flat ground.

The main take-away from my cadence work this last week is that, while its OK for my cadence to drop running uphill (as my speed drops), I feel better if I split the difference between cadence and stride length by pushing the cadence a bit and shorten my stride to stay reasonably comfortable.  Similarly, my cadence picks up on downhills, and thats good-  better than stretching out the stride while maintaining a constant 180 step/min cadence. Yesterday I ran 5.3 miles this way in 40 minutes and felt comfortable the whole way, knees and achilles solid.  Bottom line, the 180 step/min number is an indicator, but it seems silly that this cadence should be optimal for all grades and speeds.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Cadence and form drills

Last week I took a planned low mileage week.  My achilles have been a bit sore since the Leona Divide 50 miler, last month, not hurting on runs but a bit sore in the morning, and my right knee, which took some damage in the  accident that fractured my hip socket last year, had also been bugging me a bit.

Given this  I spent a bit of time reading about running injuries this weekend.  I basically  tripped over Ian Torrance's article at irunfar on running injuries ( -  That article emphasized  that cadence, the number of steps per minute, is optimally 180/min;  anything less tends to be associated with over striding, larger impact forces, and form errors.   I believed my cadence to be about 180;  Torrances' article motivated me to check it again as it had been a couple of years.  Checking my cadence with a timer on my run yesterday I found I was running at ~ 170 steps/minute.  So I started working on increasing my cadence.  To pull the turnover rate up to 180 steps/minute I had to consciously shorten my felt awkward as though I was running  with handcuffs on my legs.   On today's run I ran easy, again focussing on the timer to achieve  180 steps/min, and to my surprise I clocked 5.3 miles on the Sawpit wash in a respectable 41 minutes and felt great despite the awkwardness.

I've ordered a clip-on metronome to continue focussing on cadence as counting to 30 repeatedly while running is getting old;  Over the last couple weeks I've also gotten myself back into hamstring/glute drills that I'd learned from my PT last fall.  These are:  Single-leg glute bridges (3x 15 each side); form drills on stairs (basically slow motion step ups, like slow motion sprint starts), single leg RDLs or hip-hinges.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

...And Again, Mt. Wilson

Completing the weekend double-header:  I did the Mt Wilson 20 miler again.  The  time was a lot slower than yesterday:  2:50 up; 4:22 total round trip time.  The route was 20.0 miles,  1/2 mile longer than yesterday as I took the toll road down from the summit rather than the 0.7 mile single track from the south.  I just wasn't feeling like rock hopping.  Overall I was stiff and sore from the rather fast downhill yesterday, so this was a great workout for me.

The focus of my training now, going into the AC100 summer training, is resilience, not speed.   This Mt Wilson workout is good for that, especially as I have still felt a little flat since the Leona Divide 50.   Next week I will back the mileage off as I have some commitments next weekend that will prevent me from taking long runs.  Then I will ramp up again for the first high mileage training cycle of the summer.

Today I ran in my Inov-8 trail roc 255's -  bought last year.  These shoes felt pretty good;  I remember them feeling uncomfortably narrow when I bought them, but this was not an issue today- I guess they are broken in now.  I like the aggressive lugs on these Inov-8s and wanted to try them out again on steep gravel.  I had run several short runs in them in the week after Leona as my right foot had a bit of a bruise on the outside of the foot, and I found them pretty comfortable.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Mt. Wilson

I did the Mt.Wilson power-walk up/ run down course this morning; 19.5 miles round-trip from Eaton Canyon Nature Center.  My times were 2:40 up, 3:55 total.  I ran in the Trail Glove 3s, and it was great comfortable workout.