Submitted by Rush 6/14/2022 0 Comments
Folks, don't ever play high school football. My senior year, the fall of '84, late in the season at practice, I was tackled from behind in such a way that it drove my left knee hard into the sod. I immediately felt a burning sting around the inside of of the knee, just under the kneecap. I hobbled back to the huddle and coach Tolley asked if I was ok. Told him my knee was burning like I'd never felt it do. That night my knee swelled up like a balloon. I went to a sports clinic in Asheville where they drew fluid off and through a series of painful manipulations, diagnosed me with a torn medial meniscus. I had no idea what that meant. I recall spending maybe a week in a knee brace, maybe some time on crutches. I'm pretty sure I played again before the season ended.
Fast forward 20 odd years and I started running the year I turned 40, progressing through 5k, 10K, half-marathon, marathon, and then into ultra distances. The knee almost never bothers me other than two instances that share some common characteristics.
In June, 2014, my friend Ken asked if I wanted to run the Rhododendron 10K in Bakersville. I put him off as I was focusing on my first 50K in the fall. A few days before the race, Ken pinged me again offering to pick me up and do the driving. I agreed and I ended up winning our age group in what was the NC Track Club road 10K championship. The race ended down a short steep drive, with a hard left turn and a 50 yard sprint to the finish. Rain had fallen during the race, the asphalt was just a little slick and I felt me knee open up pivoting in that left turn. That race was on June 21. In my running log on 7/9/2014, there is a note, "I think I hurt my knee at the Rhodo 10K." By early August, my notes say the knee is feeling much better.
Fast forward to late April, 2022. I haven't done an event in 2 years due to COVID, but the numbers are looking better so I morning-of register for our local spring 5K. I've been doing 25-40 mpw for 2 years but no specific 5k training. Likewise I've transitioned all my running off of hard surfaces. I made myself lay back until the last 3/4 of a mile which finished on a long gradual uphill then a sharp left hand turn to the finish. I noticed my knee throbbing after the race and it's been bothering me ever since.
Now, at age 55, its definitely slower to heal and for the first time I've had moments where my knee felt like it was locking up. I don't know if I have some floating debris or what but it's annoying. Some of my hip & core exercises seem to aggravate it, too. So I should probably stay off of it for a couple of weeks and see if it will heal up. Irritating as my recent stint of PT really helped my hip and I've been having some good runs. I'm asking myself, "would you rather run 100 miles or 100 years?"
Submitted by Rush 6/12/2022 0 Comments
Sleep has been rough lately. I slept right through an early alarm yesterday so I put off my "long" run until this morning. Still didn't get on the trail until 9:20 am, so I missed what cool temps there were for the morning. I ran the Mountains to Sea trail from Buck Creek Gap to the Black Mountain Campground and back. I knew the temps were going to get up into the low 80's so I took the out leg easy. I immediately could tell I had no pop at all. My legs felt heavy and my joints stiff. I hoped that as I warmed up I would start to feel better. I crossed Neals Creek in 1:45 and trotted in the Campground trailhead parking area in 2:17 feeling so-so ok. I spoke with a man who was taking his young daughter on a short hike to the water fall trail and two older ladies from Florida.
Feeling the day warming up I headed back up the climb and fatigue and soreness fell on me like an Acme safe from an old Road Runner cartoon. I had to hike almost all the uphills. My legs hurt like hell. I don't know if it's my diet lately or poor sleep or the temps getting above 80 degrees or what. I just know I felt like dog meat and it was going to be a long back leg. The trail is very remote and I often do the whole thing without seeing another soul. Today was different as I encountered a couple of other younger trail runners who must have left BMC shortly after I did. They had a more elaborate route planned. Nice to see some other runners out. I ran what I could and actually took 2 sit down rest breaks on the way back. Unusual for me, but there is no bailing out on this out and back. As I was nearing the overlook where my car was parked a motorcycle pulled in blaring AudioSlave, "..go on and save yourself, take it out on me!!" Indeed. I did the back leg in 2:28. This run is predominantly downhill on the out and uphill on the back. Not the day I wanted, but I still managed to move my body 15.2 miles and climbed 2000+ feet of vert.
Submitted by Rush 5/29/2022 0 Comments
Got up at 5:00 am this morning and was on the trail at Spivey Gap at 6:30. The birds a chorus in the trees. Temps in the low 50's, no wind, a sunny morning that became overcast. My plan was to run about 8-9 minutes past Temple Hill Gap, and back, for a 15 mile day. I've done this stretch many times. The streams were running full as we had heavy rain several times this week. This meant all the rocks and roots were particularly slick. This is very technical trail so I was very conscious of my footing. A steep climb from the trailhead gives way to nearly 4 miles of gradual downhill with a bump right before No Business shelter at mile 5. The shelter was full of through hikers having breakfast and I was greeted by a chorus of, "Hey hey trail runner!". Very cool. I made the shelter in 1:23 then THG at 1:58 and turned around at 2:05. I'm guessing this out is 70% downhill. I moved well through the mostly uphill back leg. My hip stayed solid (thank you S.E.P.T!!) as I've continued my hip and core work 3x/wk. I even split this run; 2:05 and change in both directions. Not the fastest I've run it but to hit the 7.5 mostly uphill miles in the 2nd half as fast as I ran out felt pretty encouraging. One step at a time.
Submitted by Rush 5/24/2022 0 Comments
Friday night my partner and I hiked up Bowlens creek about a mile and camped out just off the trail. Around 7:30 the next morning we started to hear the first of the Quest for the Crest 50K runners coming down the trail. We greeted and spoke with several runners catching a few on their way down and then again as they were climbing back up toward the Black Mountain Crest Trail Full results of this year's run here.
Sunday I got up early and ran the A.T. from Sam's Gap north to Big Bald and back. I could just about do this run with my eyes closed but there is nothing boring about this 13 mile, 3200' of climbing, round trip. Steep grinds, runnable stretches, and fantastic 360 degree views from the bald. Spoke with one older through hiker, making his way from Georgia to Maine. He said it was the first time in his life he'd gone eight days without a bath or shower. Gotta love it! My run felt good. Six weeks of PT have done wonders for my hip, though my left knee is still a little tight from the road 5K I jumped into a few weeks back. Note to self: stay off the hard stuff and forget about trying to run fast.
This video about Sage Canaday's recovery from Pulmonary emboli is worth a watch.
Run with humility, gratitude, and joy.
Submitted by Rush 5/16/2022 0 Comments
It's been 3 years now since I've run an event, but I'm still running. I've been averaging between 20-40 miles a week depending on the week. Caution around COVID kept me from signing up for events until 2 weeks ago when I ran a local 5k, with zero training other than my ongoing "maintenance mileage". One issue I've had to deal with is that during COVID, I stopped doing my supplemental core, hip, and glute strength work and ended up with a BAD case of tendonitis in my right hip; re-aggravating an old injury from 2011.
My employer offers free PT so I'm ending a six week series of visits that has definitely helped. I'm back in a routine of doing strength work and completely convinced that I cannot run more than 20 miles a week without the additional strength training. I'm very busy with a couple of home remodel projects in addition to my regular 9-5 job so I haven't put any events on my calendar. I did a steep 8 miles on the Buncombe Horse Trail yesterday and it felt good to be in the woods and to have everything in working order when I got done. About to go out and do an easy 3 at lunchtime. My running is still important but it has transitioned into a more laid back part of my routine vs the hyper focused, 110% total dedication when training for an event. I'm happy to be still running.
run the mile you're in