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The Big Toe Wins...this time

Posted Sep 22 2008 11:03am
It's been a quiet blogging week with not much else happening in NE Ohio except for rain, miles, more rain, and more miles. This past week was supposed to be my biggest mileage week ever. However, a well planned "plan" doesn't always come to fruition as we all hope it would. Originally, I drafted this blog entry on Friday afternoon and I made reference to the 32 mile trail run I was doing on Saturday morning at 4am. I still hit the trails at Pine Lane at 4:05am with the intent of doing the reverse BT 50K course. OK, step back two days first: I did a muddy, thunderous, rainy 11 miles with the VR group on Thursday night. It was my one two-a-day of the week and I felt great. 17 miles that day. When I got home that night, the top left of my right foot's big toe was red, sore to the touch, and slightly swollen. Kinda felt like an ingrown toenail. Friday was a scheduled day off but it was still sore. Saturday night, I popped 800mg of ibuprofen hoping to mask the "discomfort" for early Saturday morning. By the time I got to the Boston Store Saturday morning, the big toe was highly upset! I really think all the sloshing around lately in the mud on 300+ mile trail shoes was the culprit. So now what? I planned for and was out here for a quality trail run. Instead, I'm really ticked off at the situation and I'm only 4.1 miles in. It's 4:45am and I know the VR group is meeting at 7am at Lock 29 so I decide to exit the trail and hit the roads. I figured I could control the discomfort on asphalt and just run until it was time to meet up at 7. Unfortunately, I was covered in mud and had mud-water soaked trail shoes on. I headed up Stine Rd. (ya know, that never-ending uphill?), to Major Rd., to Oak Hill. By this time, I'm running "with" traffic so as to put my right foot on the camber of the road to relieve pressure from my right foot. It really wasn't working. As I ran, I was trying to figure out where to go to fill in the time before 7 and I thought heading to the Covered Bridge and doing some of the BR100 course would be good, but by the time I got halfway down Oak Hill, I decided to just suck up the pride, and head in the direction of my car at Pine Lane. I jumped in at the Oak Hill trail head and took the trail to Riverview. Amazingly, the Oak Hill trail was incredibly dry. What a contrast to the Buckeye Trail which has been overused lately and its conditions show it. Equal amounts of rain but worlds apart in condition. Once I got to Riverview, I felt 30 miles into a run when in reality, my Garmin read just over 11. I passed some early-starters from VR. All people I knew, so of course I was tempted to join them, but the little voice inside said "Get your tail back to the car!!!!"....so I obeyed and continued on. Back at the car, Mr. Garmin read a miserable 14 miles and Mr. Big Toe had a few choice words to say....not so appropriate for my "family friendly" blog! As soon as I pulled away from Pine Lane, the heavy rains started yet again. The rest of the day, Marjie and I took a day to ourselves and traveled south to Amish country. It turned out to be a relaxing, yet tiresome, day. We wrapped it up at the movies to see " Get Smart" with Steve Carell. If you like "The Office" and need a good laugh, go see this movie! Sunday morning, the toe felt no better and for the first time in a long time, I took a Sunday off. I love Sunday morning runs around home but common sense prevailed.

Now it is Monday morning just before 5am. The toe feels much better today, although still a bit red. All other systems are a go! I'm going to put on my heavy-cushioned Brooks Glycerin's and go for an easy run this morning and see how it goes. I'm staying off the trails this week with the intent of giving my legs a break from the sloshing around of mud running. I'll hit them again for the BR100 training run this Saturday night. We're starting at 9pm and running from mile 70 to the finish....in the dark. This should be a great training run. PLEASE, no more rain!!!! Let the trails recover!!!

With all the miles, I thought I'd take a break to sum up my fueling and equally important, my recovery strategy.

1. On training runs, my electrolyte of choice and also the electrolyte used in the BR100 and BT 50K, is Hammer's Heed. Heed provides steady, consistent energy, buffers lactic acid, and helps prevent cramping. Yea, some folks don't care for it's bland taste, but that's because it lacks all the junk ( ie: high fructose corn syrup) that would sweeten it. ( ie: Gatorade, Powerade, etc.)

2. To compliment Heed in one hand-held bottle, the other hand carries Hammer's Perpetuem. Perpetuem has a unique formula of complex carbs, soy protein, healthy fats, and a variety of key auxiliary nutrients that helps preserve muscle tissue, maximize fat utilization, and also helps buffer lactic acid. This is most commonly used in multi-hour endurance events.

3. To help prevent the cramping I often get under my ribs on my right side and to help hydration, I take 2-3 Endurolyte salt tabs (by Hammer) per hour. These, I've learned, have got to be kept dry inside a baggy. Without preservatives (as no Hammer product has), things won't hold up to moisture. During the Green Jewel 100K, I didn't know this and they all disintegrated in my back shorts pocket. What a mess! These also provide a dose of electrolytes.

4. Outside of an actual event, the only solid food I take is Pure Fuel. Flavor-of-choice on-the-run is Blue Blaze. It seems to hold up the best in moisture and heat. I eat 1/2 a bar once per hour. During an event, I'll partake of aid station goodies such as PB&J, salted nuts, etc.

5. Recovery: I really don't think many runners focus on post-run recovery. It's a proven fact that your body is screaming for the right nutrients immediately following exercise. The first 15 minutes are huge and that continues for the next hour. After that, your body's ability to utilize and put to use "good stuff" greatly diminishes. It is crucial with high mileage that in order to recover well for your next run and rebuild damaged muscle tissue that you "feed" your body with what it needs. I'm no scientist but I do read a lot about this. Hammer (again!) has done the research and their products fill the role. In this case, I use Recoverite. Recoverite supplies the proper 3:1 ratio of complex carbs and the highest quality whey protein isolate, along with L- glutamine, antioxidants, and more electrolytes. Muscle tissue is rebuilt, muscle glycogen is restored and post-run soreness is minimized. Case-in-point: my day-after runs after a really long run are much easier and enjoyable as compared to before when I took nothing. I mix this with water or even better, fresh orange juice.

6. Daily Diet: as many of you have read (see January 1st blog entry), my diet consists of a lot of Kashi products (all contain the 7 Whole Grains, no high fructose corn syrup ( HFCS ), etc.), whole wheat products, between 1/2 to 3/4 gallon of water per day, minimal caffeine, at least 3 pieces of fruit per day, and some other good stuff. One thing I've grown fond of is low-fat cottage cheese with Bush's Dark Red kidney beans. Yea, it sounds gross but it's really good and a great source of protein. Plus, those red beans contain lots of good stuff. Trust me! Give it a try! Outside of that, I basically stay away from enriched products and things that contain HFCS. Of course, an occasional night out breaks these rules!

With all that said, let me say that I have NFI (no financial interest) in Hammer whatsoever. I simply believe in their products and their quality. You can find all of it at Vertical Runner in Hudson....also NFI!!!

A few other tidbits:

a. The Olympic Trials for Track & Field have begun in "Track Town USA"...aka Eugene, OR, at Hayward Field. A lot of the broadcast coverage happens while many of us sleep so it's time to set the DVR to not miss any of the action. Will Prefontaine's record be broken??? PRE LIVES!!!! Full broadcast schedule here. Also, on my t0-do list is the Eugene Marathon. Held the first weekend each May, it has been highly rated and runs on many of the trails that Pre trained on.

b. Thanks to Chef Bill for taking his camera in the rain on Thursday night's MUDDY trail run. Lightning, thunderstorm warnings, and a very muddy trail didn't keep 12 runners from showing up! Call us crazy! Check out Chef Bill's blog here for the pics.

Happy Trails, everyone!
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