Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Trail Running, Screwed Shoes, Chili, and 100-Milers

I haven't posted for a while, so I'm sorry if this post is on the long-ish side.

Lately, I've been busy with work, family stuff, and holiday preparations. With all of that, I've also found time to train, put on a running event, do future trail events planning, and do a lot of web site modifications to our trailrunning site.

It's almost a "done-deal" that our 2007 trail series will be sponsored by Vasque shoes. We have a lot of nice trail races in the region, and they want to get their name out there. We already have a relationship with a local Vasque vendor who has helped sponsor our 50K for two years, so it's a good fit. I also prefer to run in the Vasque "Blur" trail shoe, since they made their appearance a year ago, when Montrail cancelled my favorite shoe model, the Leona Divide. I actually like the Blur model better, but I think I wear them out about 50 miles sooner than the Montrails. I get about 350-400 miles out of a pair, (and then my 24-y.o. son wears them for about 100 miles).

Two Sundays ago, we had quite a few runners show up to run on the trails out at WyCo Park for our 4th annual "Alternate Chili Run." It's not a race but a run with 3 pace groups. It's held at the same time as the annual Chili 6.5-mile Run that another club puts on every year on the paved roads around the lake at WyCo. We choose to run on the trails and put in 10.35 miles, instead.

Everybody got a taste of what the 'Psycho WyCo Run Toto Run' course will be like...quite a few hills and some nice scenery. Our run had 41 starters, (which was about as many as the regular paved run). That's pretty cool, because we only had 8 starters one year ago! The trails were icy that day, so we ran with "screwed" shoes. Everybody had a good time, and most of the finishers stuck around for homemade chili, after the run. Dick Ross took some fun photos of the run.

Running across the bottom of the dam.


Rick & Gabe


Good Ben, leading his group.

Keep in mind that we train on this course on most Sundays during the Winter. We usually run two (and sometimes three loops), and alternate directions on each loop. On some days, some of us run one loop, depending upon how we're feeling. We tend to have a lot of fun at this park.

This past weekend, we had a fun little group run on Saturday at Kill Creek Park. A couple of newbie trailrunners had a blast on their first-ever trail run. I got to try out a new pair of shoes made by Keen. Kill Creek is a good "test-bed" park for new shoes, because it has 2 water crossings, slick rocks, mud, loose gravel, and just about everything in just one 6.7-mile loop. By the way, the shoes were okay in the mud and dirt, but were slick on the wet rocks. They are very warm, also. I will put screws in them and use them to replace my old ice/snow runners that are 7 winters old. They will probably last just as long. (I only run in my screwed shoes about 10 times per winter).

This last Sunday morning, we had a "lucky 13" runners show up to run at Wyandotte County Lake Park. Eight runners stuck around to do a 2nd loop, and during the run, we ran into Shane Jones and his dog, to make an even 14-1/2 runners. Rick Mayo and Gabe Bevan decided to do a 3rd loop.

About 5 miles into my (20.7-mile) run on Sunday, I was running at hyper-speed down a steep set of switchbacks that we call the "Sonic the Hedgehog" section. I turned my right ankle as I was trying to hit a fast right-turning switchback. I ended up being catapulted into a very stout tree, because of it. I biffed my left knee and felt like I had broken my right forearm. I found myself upside-down on the other side of the tree. I was actually okay, and "walked it off" for about 10 yards before I started running fast again. The pain in my ankle eventually went away, and was replaced with a "warming feeling." The knee, arm, and ankle are okay, just bruised and swollen. It didn't stop me from running a fast 8-miles last night, (but I did take Monday off from running, though).

I'm trying to keep my weekly mileage at about 50 miles, for now. I don't want to be overtrained or unhealthy for my upcoming 100-miler at the Rocky Raccoon 100 in February. It will be the 5th year in a row that I've run that race, and I'd like to earn my 500-mile finisher's jacket. Last year, I had a course PR of 22:04:42.

Staying healthy is the big challenge, this time of year. It seems that everybody and their brother is sick with something. On Sunday, I felt like I should have done three 10-mile loops at WyCo, but I was feeling like I was on the verge of getting some illness. So I stopped at two loops, went home, took a hot bath, and took my vitamins and ate well. I think I "dodged the bullet" and will stay healthy. On the other hand, if I overtrain and don't listen to my body, I will end up getting really sick right before the race. I find that it is better to be slightly undertrained prior to a 100-miler, than being overtrained.

Happy trails & happy holidays,
Bad Ben


Dirt Runner said...

FYI, the park is running on the fast side. Just ask this guy.

Happy Holidays! See you at Rocky.

Lora said...

I'm always afraid of falling on ice. Now that I've passed thru my first pair of trail shoes (montrail hurricane), I'll "screw em".

I'm getting into all the healthy eating "stuff", would love any info you can pass along...websites etc. (I just got my first juicer!!)

Good Luck at Rocky. I'm hoping to be there in 2008. Looking forward to your report.

angie's pink fuzzy said...

woo hoo, so cool! love the pics, yay for vasque, good luck for Rocky!

olga said...

Hey, Ben, great that your local races get Vasque sponsorship! Nice pictures of you guys running there.
And best of luck getting to the start line of RR healthy - then there is to finishing it!
Happy Holidays:)

Caleb said...

The best part about winter running screwing your shoes, it's the simple things in life. Have a Happy Holiday!!!!!!!!!!

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