Saturday V.VI miles Running with Horses

laugh it up buddy

laugh it up buddy

With subtle rises and downhills, fenced horse ranch properties, and long, quiet country lanes, I enjoyed this first mid-range (for me) run on my new Altra Torins. I was looking for any unusual feedback from feet, ankles, knees, and back with the new shoes. Turns out the only feedback I get is from one of the horses I run by in these parts.

When I ran alongside two beautiful brown horses, one trotted alongside, and I am almost sure this horse was on the edge of laughing at me. I’ve heard whinnying and that wasn’t what this horse was doing. And that smile, the one that says, “how can anything go that slow and sound like it’s running?”

I said, “Well, of course. You’re a big beautiful horse, built for running. You must think my pace is a hoot.” At that point, I was glad that this was not Mr. Ed.

Once out of view of the horses, I finished my run with dignity, working on a more efficient form. I had put a full water bladder on my back initially planning to run much longer, and that threw me off a bit.

I am planning to put in a sprint interval next time I run by that fence with those two smart ass horses.

Part I Externals: Changing plans and unexpected injury outcomes

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Chicago Lakes Trail

Had originally planned a 10 mile trail race in Oregon in November with plans of moving to that beautiful state. Alas, negotiations and logistics did not align. I’d lined up training trail runs here in the Rockies as preparation. On one of those the other day, I injured my foot in a strange way I’ll talk about more.

The upshot of these developments: I am searching out a new race that seems right.

The injury to my foot the other day was soft tissue, but I’m beginning to believe that it *may* have an unexpected benefit. What happened? I was running-hiking a section of trail that was sandy and gravelly. My Merrell Barefoots are great on rocks, but on gritty granite slough, they slid. I was going down hard, then caught myself by instinctively jamming my shoe down at the ball of the foot, I was able to slow myself when it caught a sharp rock. I went down in slow-mo, with my toes bending so radically back I thought they would break off.

At the same time, the ball of my foot got the sharp end of the rock. Slow down I did, but felt a wet feeling inside my foot. I thought I may be bleeding. I checked my shoe for a puncture hole, but it held. I looked at my foot. Red and puffy. I put the shoe back on and continued on the theory that more circulation in and out would be a good thing.

Bruising, pain, and increased swelling did come. Yet something else did too.

The way my foot bent over, it felt like it actually opened up the tight joints of my toes and foot where I had a previous neuroma (nerve cyst) from too-tight boots long ago. The bones had rubbed on the nerves, irritating them and causing sharp foot pain Well, the wide toe-boxed barefoot shoes had been helping correct that, together with lots of foot stretching and exercise. But a sense of impingement had remained. After the injury, it feels gone. After it heals, if it scars inside, it may get worse. Or better. Perhaps tendons and ligaments were stretched out in beneficial ways. Here’s hoping.

Next, in Part 2 of this topic I want to talk about another unintended injury outcome.

7-mile hike and run on Chicago Lakes Trail

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This hike started out with running intervals. On one of those I lost footing on a gravelly down slope. I nailed my barefoot running shoe on a sharp, fixed rock trying to catch myself. It bruised my foot good. I’m grateful that is all it did.

For our magenta flower lovers.

For our magenta flower lovers.

IMG_7935IMG_7961I started at 10,600 feet at Echo Lake. I turned around at mile 3.5 to make a 7 mile run-hike. Below is my foot:

it was already ugly.

it was already ugly.

Offering a Book Discount in Honor of my Fellow Wordpressers

Feel free to check it out! Use the link below:

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

Now Available at Lulu.com: Farm Your Training Day: An American Dream of Sustainable Personal Fitness

It’s official. Click on the book cover icon at the upper right side of this screen, and you can go there. The E-book will be available in about one week. For now, it is print on demand, with some extra cost of production. I tried to set as reasonable a print price as possible considering all factors. You can also click here:

Farm Your Training Day: An American Dream of Sustainable Personal Fitness

Farm Your Training Day: An American Dream of Sustainable Personal Fitness

What Is Adaptive Fitness Training?

Sticky note for the peak register at Mount Parnassus, CO. A favorite photo because someone dedicates the summit hike “to Kristen who has never hiked above tree line.”

Soon it will be time to release the title, cover, and the book on adaptive training principles and dimensions.

Once the book is released, please feel free to share the book with your friends, family, and anyone you believe may benefit.

Adaptive training principles and dimensions can help anyone create their own best foundations and pathways to new levels of training consistency and fitness.

Updated: The Independent Athlete (with its very own independent moving deadline)

Book in Progress, BY OLD CALENDAR EASTERN ORTHODOX CHRISTMAS or BUST!

That’s JANUARY 7, 2013.

Discussions on Agent and Amazon on the business side before self-publishing.

Editing phase ongoing.

Citadel or Snoopy

Citadel climbed in September 2006. Motivation to return after book finished. Like when will that be?

From Competitor.com: Footstrike 101: How Should Your Foot Hit The Ground?

http://running.competitor.com/2012/12/injuries/footstrike-101-how-should-your-foot-hit-the-ground_63548

Photo: Scott Draper/Competitor

Just received Competitor.com’s email newsletter “The RunDown,” linking to this topic on many minds:  Footstrike 101: How Should Your Foot Hit The Ground?

The article speaks for itself and I hope you’ll read it if you haven’t already.

Some preliminary observations of my own subjective experience on this topic:

1. Based on the article’s takeaways, maybe terminology should change from “Footstrike” to “Foot Roll” or “Foot Fall” with the sense of the contact staying under the main body mass.

2. I’ve found myself paying attention to what my feet do in different running situations. I want to see what my body does to adapt while running on different terrains, inclines, declines, surfaces and at different speeds etc.. I also want to know what I have made into habit, whether good or bad. Are such habits lacking in one type of running versus another? This might help figure out how to break a bad habit by recruiting insights from another situation.

3. Variety is the spice of life, and there are a variety of running purposes that the body’s design equips us for carrying out. What do those purposes require of our bodies, and, are we all hitting all of the purposes for running with our running? Are we diversifying?

Knees, Ankles, Metatarsals and Toes…

One versatile training aid I like is the balance disc. For me, it provides fluid, varied and continuous opportunities for warming, limbering and strengthening the lower legs, core balance muscles and stabilizing connectors.

Here are some general training options for the balance disc and similar training items. And here are some balance training journal articles you may wish to add to your library. A balance disc is not the only product for balance, of course, but one I focus on here because I’ve used balance discs to advantage.

PHOTO EXAMPLE: The FitBALL balance disc

MY SAFETY REMINDERS:

READ AND UNDERSTAND INSTRUCTIONS FOR USAGE OF ANY PIECE OF EQUIPMENT. STAY WITHIN THEM AND DON’T USE THE EQUIPMENT OUTSIDE OF ITS RECOMMENDED USE. IF YOU HAVE DIZZINESS OR BALANCE ISSUES, CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR AND / OR TRAINER FAMILIAR WITH YOUR CONDITION AND CAPABILITIES ABOUT THE ADVISABILITY OF USING ANY PRODUCT THAT CHALLENGES BALANCE AND STABILITY MUSCLES AND STRUCTURES. EXERCISE CAUTION AND COMMON SENSE. HAVE A SAFE BACKUP METHOD, SPOTTER OR PHYSICAL SAFETY AID TO RECOVER FROM LOSS OF BALANCE.

See Also: ALL MANUFACTURER’S and / or SELLER’S disclaimers, instructions, recommendations and warnings for inflation, use and maintenance.

Some ideas and Guidelines:

The way I work on the balance disc depends on my sense of feel in the moment but generally begins with a need to loosen, warm up and strengthen the muscles, stabilizers and connective tissues surrounding my knees, ankles and my feet. It can come before and after other training. It can be a focused form of training all in itself, not just a warm up or after training stretch.

I start by standing on the disc for intervals of time. I use it on one foot, both feet, and or one knee or both knees. Some will use it in chairs to improve circulation and core muscles while sitting. I try to increase the amount of time I stay on the disc, whether still and in control, or wobbling, adjusting, shaking or losing my stance and stepping off. I go for symmetry in time training both sides.

This functional training device may not be for everyone, but I have personally found it helps to gradually work and loosen lower body muscles and connectors that can become tight, inflexible and glued-up throughout the lower body.

Behold the Shoe That Made my Feet Happy

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Guess the make and model…[Altra Instinct]

This is a simple credit where credit is due. This shoe took away impingement problems I’d suffered wearing everything from Brooks to Vasque.

Only the Merrell Barefoot did the same except that for road running longer distances it simply didn’t provide the cushion my feet need. I use the Barefoots on rocky trails and there is nothing that glues to the rock like they do in my experience. Others may have a different perspective.

The socks are some of my favorites too, wooly and warm for winter from our local running store.

No paid endorsements here, just a desire to share what has worked for me in shoes: wider toe boxes, best feel, no impingement, freer and longer running.

All the best!