Stomp of Approval!!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

LSHT, part 2

Well, this run SUCKED!!!!

We headed out at sun up this past Sunday on a new-to-us section of the LSHT with a goal of an out and back course that would give us 15 to 16 miles along with some pretty scenery. Unfortunately the night before there was a really bad windstorm, so the entire trail was littered with fallen trees crisscrossing the trails, along with a lot of sticks and roots and pine cones. This made the going slow and very rough.

On top of that, my legs were feeling a bit fatigued from a moderately hard effort 15 miler the morning before, AND this section of the trails was very rooty and muddy.

Did I mention the roots?

After about 3 miles I was reduced to lots of walking, so I told Jesse he should just go on without me and that I would see him back at my truck when we got there.

He took off and actually went to the turn around point we were intending on going to, being a shod runner the roots and such didnt bother him nearly as bad as they did with me.

I continued down the trail, walking much of it, running the sections that I could (which were very runnable!) Untill I got to a road that crossed over the trail. At that point I decided that I would just take the road back to the Trailhead (TH# 6) and just wait for Jesse there.

Big mistake.

The road started out as a reasonably worn down asphalt that was pretty nice to run on.

Then it went to some rougher asphalt.

Then chip seal.

Then really rough chip seal.

Then it got worse...

I ran on one of the worst surfaces Ive ever ran on for probablly 3 excruciatingly painfull miles untill it met up with a more traveled road that was old worn down smooth asphalt. The difference was night and day. I was on cloud 9 once my feet hit that asphalt.

Although the chip seal hurt like a bitch, I wasnt worried about snapping a toe off on a root like I was on the trail.

I made it back to the truck in about 10.5 miles total distance and laid back waiting on Jesse. Unfortunately he got lost somewhere on the way back and turned what should have been only 1.6 miles back to the truck into about a 6 mile detour. But he did set a new PR for distance ran!

I feel like this section would have been perfectly fine had there not been a storm the night before. When it starts drying up outside instead of raining every other day for the last month, I think this section of trail would be fine barefoot along with the rest of the trail that I have ran so far.

It is beautiful out there though! Between the 2 of us we captured some good pictures of the trail, both nice sections and not so nice sections.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Lone Star Hiking Trail, Part 1

Saturday morning Jesse and I went to try out running on parts of the Lone Star Hiking Trail (LSHT for short) and a one of the smaller trails within the LSHT system, the Little Lake Creek Loop Trail (LLCL for short

We wanted to get an early start on the day, so we parked Jesses car at trailhead #4, then he hopped in my truck and we drove on to trailhead #1. We were on the trails running by 6:05.

Its still quite dark at 6 in the morning, so we were using hand held flashlights and head lamps. I was also carrying my new Vapur Eclipse Anti-Bottle that I ordered as a solution to Endurance Buzz Adventure's (that's the people responsible for the Whispering Pines 50K) "No Cup Race" rules. In other words, the aid stations dont have cups of water. They have water, you provide your own cup.

All 3 of items of gear that I was carrying performed PERFECTLY! I will do a full writr up review of the Vapur Anti-Bottle after a little more usage, but I can already tell its going to be very satisfying!

From Trailhead #1, which is the Western end of the LSHT (which itself is something like 98 miles long, adding in the additional subsidiary trails and its around 130!!!), runs thru some "managed" areas of the forest where the trees have been harvested and your running thru knee to waist high ferns under a sparse canopy of pine trees.

After a mile and a half or so, you come to a split in the trail. Staying to the left will kep you on the LSHT, going right will bring you onto the LLCL.

Both areas stay in the nicely manager areas for several miles where the very well marked single trail meanders along side various ponds and creeks, with the occassional creek crossing. There are no bridges on the LLCL, creeks were crossed the way small creeks should be crossed. By running down the bank, thru the water, then back up the other bank. This was very enjoyable, and made for some interesting and rather technical sections. It was enjoyable.... the first dozen times.

After about 5 miles things got messy.

It had been raining for a few days on and off, but I dont think it made that much of a difference. The rest of the 7.5 miles of the LLCL were a soggy muddy mess that at times literally ran thru swamps where the mud was almost mid calf deep.

Since I was barefoot the mud and water wasnt too bothersome. Jesse, on the other hand, was running with water drenched shoes for the last 7 miles. There was no avoiding it.

At some point on this section of slogging thru swamp after swamp I managed to kick the shit out of a stump or root or something that I couldnt see due to the underbrush growing out over the trail. My toe was bleeding, but it actually wasnt as painfull as it should have been.

When we finally made it to Jesses car at Trailhead #4 12.5 miles in, I switched out to my second Vapur Anti-Bottle (more on that on my review post) and grabbed some packs of trail mix and set back out to make the return trip to my truck.

There is a 1.25 mile long tail connecting the LLCL back to the LSHT called the Pole Creek Trail (we will just call it the Pole Creek Trail since the name PCT is already taken...). This trail was quite nice!  Gently rolling terrain, single track with a pine straw bed. Not very technical or rooty from what I can recall.

Once I joined back up with the LSHT I realized why people hike it rather than the LLCL. It was amazing! Very easy to follow, no swamps, fewer creek crossings and even a few bridges over the occassional swampy areas!

It was in need of some maintenence in a few sections. There were several downed trees that were laying across the trail. At first I would just leap up onto it and keep going. No real hindrance. But after 17 miles of running thru mucky swamps, steep creek embankments and lots of slippery and slick muddy sections of trail, I was fading and climbing over fallen trees became a bit of a nuscance.

There was one section that felt like a straight shot for about 3 miles, the entire time was spent either doing a gradual climb on slick mud, or doing a step descent on muddy slopes coverd in hidden roots.

The final 3 or 4 miles was back in the maintained area following along the side of a little creek, occasionally crossing thru it to the other side. This area was awesome! It was a bit on the rooty side, but very baefootable. The fact that I was running quite tired legs at this point probably made the roots a little more of a challenge than they actually were.

I made it back to my truck at 21.4 miles in just a hair under 5 hours. There was a lot of walking involved. This was my first run back in almost 2 weeks, so my conditioning wasn't where it should have been. It was still a great run that left me very sore. My feet actually took quite a beating. The soles are bruised in several areas with a few scraps. The tops are quite cut up from all the undergrowth that had grown over the LLCL in the wilderness section.

I tried to take a few pictures, but my phone was in a zip lock baggie, so the pictures aren't that great and so therefore I only took a few. Maybe my next trip out there will be a little dryer and I can snap some quality pictures!

I'm deffinately looking forward to my next adventure on the Lone Star Hiking Trail!

Monday, April 6, 2015

MAF tests.

I performed my version of my MAF test about 3 weeks ago. I have been putting off posting anything about it because I have been trying to build a graph in Excel to actually plot out my progress and results.

This is my 5th MAF test, and I think its probablly almpst as bad as my first or 2nd one as far as my pace is concerned. My aerobic system isnt on very good condition lately.

I have been running by HR on my last few runs, but after being out for a week and a half due to my knee, and eating like a junk food addict for the same amount of time, I am going to have a lot of ground to make up!

I really need to find a cheap bicycle trainer that I can sit on at the house and ride under my HR cap while I'm not running. That would give my heart and aerobic system a bunch of good quality training that will transfer over to better running effeciency.

Time to go shoppin at the local Goodwill!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Damaged LCL...

The LCL is your Lateral Collateral Ligament. It runs on the outside of your knee and connects your Fibula and Femur. It parallels your MCL (Medial Collateral Ligament), which is on the inside of your knee, and together they provide support and stability to the knee.

Last Wednesday at work I tweaked my LCL in my left leg while trying to push some heavy material down a conveyor.

It felt funny, but I have tweaked it before in my younger days as a Soccer player, so I didnt think much about it.

I even ran 4 miles Thursday afternoon without it bothering me. Afterwards it felt a little tight, but no biggie.

Even during and after my 15 mile long run on Sunday it felt fine!

The. I attempted to play Disc Golf Sunday afternoon. My first throw I twisted my left leg just right to send a shock of pain running thru my leg. I was forced to limp the remainder of the game.

So I made a Dr appointment for Tuesday afternoon with a local Dr in Montgomery. I was leary of this because the last time I saw a Dr he berated me for running barefoot and it just didnt go well...

Luckily Dr McWilliams (thats his real name, I'm not making it up) was actually SUPPORTIVE of running unshod and asked lots of questions about it!

I told him what happened, and what I thought the problem was and after he did an examination of my leg he agreed and prescribed me some Naxoprene and said to take a week or 2 off with plenty of rest and ice on the knee.

While a week or 2 off REALLY sucks... It could be far worse. I will gladly give it ample time to heal up real good before resuming my long runs.

Luckily its already feeling much better today. The Naxoprene must have already started reducing some of the inflamation.

Just figures that I would get a non-running related injury right as my training for a race starts really ramping up!