Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Back to Back Beer Runs and a Bad Back

The theme of the weekend: beer near, photo courtesy of Makie Ohler
Following the Rock n Roll Half in San Jose, my lower back began giving me problems. Before I started running back pain was something I struggled with, occasionally requiring multiple visits to a chiropractor and daily yoga to alleviate the painful muscle spasms. Fortunately, the pain disappeared when I started running regularly, and I have been pain-free for over four years now. Imagine my concern when Monday morning's mild ache became Wednesday's reason to skip a workout. I went back to the chiropractor on Thursday morning, which enabled continued training over the weekend.

The first hash checkpoint, photo courtesy of Makie Ohler
I was bummed about Wednesday's missed workout (3 x 8:00 hill repeats at 5k effort), but I would have been downright melancholy about missing the weekend's planned activities: run a hilly 20 miles on Saturday immediately followed by the tenth Cougar Hash House Harriers run, and the inaugural Great Prospector Beer Run on Sunday.

The hare lays out the plan, photo courtesy of Makie Ohler

On On! The language of the hash, photo courtesy of Makie Ohler
For the first 10k on Saturday, I had to firm up my core muscles to prevent my lower back from collapsing when my left foot struck the ground. Once I was sufficiently warmed up, I felt relatively normal again and rounded out my run with a trip up Banner Mountain. Twirly was actually manning an aid station for a road bike event, and I availed her of a banana before trucking back down the mountain to hook up with the Cougar Hash at Jernigan's Tap House. Deschutes Brewery was sponsoring the run, and I wanted to get in on free beer and a pint glass.
I made it in the nick of time, and enjoyed even more elevation as we ran up and down the hills of Nevada City. I got a down-down for running the furthest, although Mark Ericson, co-owner of Trkac, was planning to run 15 more later that day in preparation for The North Face 50k, which will be his first ultra (outside of pacing for 30+ miles).

Pinky Sorbet won an honorable mention and finally added some bling to the medal rack!
Speaking of firsts, the Great Prospector Beer Run took place for the first time on Sunday, and Twirly and I made sure we were part of the festivities at Ol Republic Brewery. I had her at "there's a costume contest", and they me at "free beer". Win-win. I was feeling pretty stiff from Saturday's effort, so we walk/ran the 2.9 mile course. The event was casual; no bibs or prizes outside of the costume contest. Ol Republic's beer is worth any amount of driving or running. If Budweiser tasted like their Helles, I could save an awful lot of money... We ran into Mark, who was volunteering, and he recounted his misery after the Hash, running 15 hilly trail miles from Foresthill to Rucky Chucky and back with a few beers in his belly.

 Video courtesy of Ol Republic Brewery

Here are the garmin details from the Beer Run:

Over a week later, and my back is still giving me problems, especially in the mornings. I'm used to niggles speaking the loudest when my feet hit the cabin sole in the morning, but I never expected my back to become another niggle. Tomorrow, I try out a new massage therapist, Andrew Ezer. He was the team masseur for Artemis Racing during the America's Cup, so he's got the chops. One more trip to the chiro next week before Stinson Beach will hopefully have me race-ready. 

Nevada City's fall colors coming out during the Hash, photo courtesy of Makie Ohler

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