I first want to mention that I made a successful return to running on November 23 after my ITB injury. I have to credit swimming with playing a major role in keeping me sane and probably helping with any residual inflammation at the lateral aspect of the knee. As much as it felt terrible a lot of the time not to be able to run, or at least hike, it has invited me to explore different forms of activity. I already mentioned swimming; some of the benefits I noticed included the ability for the body to dynamically stretch and move within a larger range of motion many of the joints plainly just don't move in with running. Think about the dynamic motions the arms, torso, neck have to experience to successfully perform the act of swimming. I also came away with the added benefit of breath control. I noticed that I could breath deeper with minimal resistance; meaning that breathing against a form of resistance (ie water) enhances our bodies ability to increase its tidal volume upon inhalation. Tidal volume is simply the volume of air exhaled and inhaled during each breath. Typically in a normal adult it's 500mL but with respiratory resistance activities that can increase to 700mL per breath with the same amount of effort. We can imagine how that translates to running, especially on steeper ascending trails where you're constantly in some type of oxygen debt. I've also started performing yoga 1-2x week at Power Yoga for flexibility/strength, breath control, and focus. It allows me to experience movement and breath in a different way with the added benefit of wellness and prevention.
Also to note, I've moved away from heel-lifted shoes when walking and running. For walking I stumbled upon invisibleshoe.com where I bought myself a make-it-yourself huaraches kit ($20) that I now use everyday for walking and such. It's 4mm vibram and nylon rope. Way better than Five Finger shoes because I feel the ground much more and my toes aren't enclosed in anything. Perfect trail sandals for sure too. For running I have transitioned to spikeless cross-country shoes where there is no heel-to-toe height difference and excess material making it paltry 8oz (Size 11.5; compare that to 14oz for my LaSportiva Firebaldes). I believe this has made a difference in my stride, how I carry my feet, and how I land. The draw back is that there is pretty much no support and I have had to be more aware on rocky trails and relatively no cushion you can feel the rocks underneath especially if you land wrong. We'll see how it works in the long run or when running a long distance. (PS: This morning I did a 15 mile trail run (6K feet change) at Malibu Creek State Park where the conditions were rain, mud, wind, and cold. Shoes were perfect. I can say that they are my permanent trail running shoes.)
In my spare time I've written a list of trail runs I would like to compete in with the culmination a 100 miler in early summer. After not getting into Western States and Miwok via lotteries this is what I have come up with:
-Calico Trail Run 50km (1/16/10)
-PCTR Montana D'Oro 50km (2/13/11)
-PCTR Malibu Creek 50km (3/6/11)or Old Goat 50 mile (3/26/11)
-PCTR Sycamore Canyon 50km (4/23/11)
-Pacific Crest Trail 50 mile (5/14/11) or Bishop High Sierra 100k/50 mile (5/21/11)
-San Diego 100mile (6/11/11) or Tahoe Rim 100mile (7/16/11)
-Bulldog 50km (8/22/11)
|Adidas X-Country Shoes|
To welcome in the new year of 2011 my friend Just Paul and I will be celebrating in the Grand Canyon for 5 days December 28-Jan1. We plan on setting up a base camp at Phantom Ranch and going out everyday for off-trail day hikes that include the attempted circumnavigation of Zoraester Temple and scaling Cheops Pyramid. We'll see what happens as plans have the ability to change rapidly in the backcountry, depending on conditions.