Monday, December 17, 2012

American Canyon 50K Training Week One, a Woodside Ramble Aid Station and Morton's Neuroma

Dirt! My mantra for the winter is dirt (or mud). Pavement only when necessary for convenience. Gotta get ready for two trail 50K's. Aches come and go, as if they were tides drawn by cosmic bean-counters. Rest aggravates some areas, and working out causes niggles to speak up. Most of my workouts end in darkness these short fall days, and I'm using more clothes when I run. Bring it on, Old Man Winter! AC50K training week one:

Monday: 45 minutes @ 9:00 pace

Tuesday: 60 minutes @ 9:30 effort on a hilly course (see details below)

Wednesday: 60 minutes @ 9:30 pace

Thursday: 45 minutes @ 9:00 pace

Saturday: 90 minutes @ 9:00 effort

Totals: 30.51 miles, 2907'/3150', avg HR 137

The first half of the week was spent shaking out the residue of the CIM effort. My recovery went well once the ankle swelling was under control, but I had to skip 60 on Sunday due to a new niggle in my left foot! Thursday's run went exceptionally well, as my normal effort had me cruising 8:45 with ease. Having my Garmin tell me to slow down is one of my favorite things.

Bear Gulch aid station, Kristy, me, Mrs. CK and Twirly
After feeling so good on Thursday, I hit the trail for 90 minutes on Saturday with intention. Twirly and I volunteered at the Inside Trail Racing Woodside Ramble 50K, assisting at the Bear Gulch aid station with new friends Kristy and Mrs. CK. The race course did a 15K out and back lollipop with ~1500' of vertical from our aid station, and it would make a good practice run for the start/finish of American Canyon. So, once we had the station set up with holiday swag and in full swing, I trotted down into Bear Gulch. Cedars and redwoods created a tall canopy and the trail wound down some switchbacks to a gravel loop before returning to the aid station near Skyline Boulevard. I passed a couple dozen racers, chuckling to myself how two weeks ago I was cursing the relay marathon runners at CIM, racing past on their fresh legs. I ran the entire four mile, 1500' climb out of the gulch, while the racers, who had done 11 miles more than I with 11 more to go after the aid station, were mostly walking the grade. I couldn't help but think that this hill would make a great repeat training section, it was really runnable. We had a blast at the aid station, and all of the runners were gracious and thankful. It was cool to spend some more time with Mrs. CK, whom we had met at Bizz Johnson but not had a lot of time to hang out.

The niggle in my foot slowly increased over the rest of the day, and by the time Twirly and I went into San Francisco to go dancing, the niggle was making enough noise for me to complain, a little. Saturday night in the city was quite the spectacle. The 2012 Santacon/Santarchy was in full swing; everywhere, and I mean everywhere you looked there were dozens of Santa Claus' reveling. In the streets, in the bars, at the Parov Stelar concert we went to, it was like a drunken Santa coup.

Santarchy 2012
Parov helped me forget the pain for the evening, but dancing probably did not help:

Sunday morning, my new niggle was forcing me to change my gait while walking, so I talked myself out of the 60 minutes on the schedule. I was really hoping to get back to completing a whole planned week, but like a good Lebowski, I must abide my body. Coach Tim suggested I research Morton's Toe, which led me to self-diagnose Morton's Neuroma as my newest ailment. My lower left leg has been such a weak spot for me that I feel like I am just shifting the strain from one area of the chain to the next. It seems I have it cornered in my toes now! I'm hopeful that it will resolve itself without a trip to the doctor, but it appears that there are numerous remedies, such as cortisone injections and sclerifying the offending nerve, so I'll be making an appointment if the pain persists.
The details from my hilly run on Tuesday and Bear Gulch on Saturday:

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