Showing posts from 2010

End of the Semester, Return to Running, and New Year Plans

Finally, the end of the 2010 school year has come. On Tuesday I partook in the last of 9 finals of the semester concluding the first part of the second year. I have 2 more academic semesters and 24 weeks of clinical affiliations to complete before I take my national board exam for physical therapy in summer of '12.  I cannot wait to experience that day. In the meantime I have some fun things in the works for the next 5 weeks.
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…

The Science of Running with Shoes vs Barefoot(esque)

I've come across this pretty interesting blog post that sites many research articles I have come across in my time in grad school.  It talks about research on running shoes and some barefoot running kinematics.  I would like to reiterate, just as this article does, that running barefoot in not a panacea to injuries.  There is a complex relationship that includes the knees, hips, pelvis, and the trunk therefore one aspect of the body (foot) does not necessarily resolve potential problems with the others. I will elaborate more on that in the next blog posts.  Also, research is always in a process of evolution so keep that in mind when reading.  I don't typically site other people's work but I thought it did a very good job of explaining the seemingly topic-du-jour in the running world and it included peer reviewed articles to back it up.  So click on this link and see if this makes sense to you.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome

As I mentioned in my race report, I have come down with IT Band Syndrome (ITBS) outside my right knee.  I had the exact same episode in March 2009 on my left side so it's an all too familiar feeling.  I haven't run in 7 days because of it causing a wave of running depression and realization of how important it is for my day-to-day living.  Since I am in grad school for PT I wanted to share some facts and experience with ITBS should you ever have the unpleasant experience of having to manage it.  Some anatomy for starters: the ITB is a thickening of the connective tissue surrounding your thigh.  All muscles are sheathed in usually thin connective tissue called fascia but in the leg is thickens quite dramatically on the lateral aspect of the thigh and the two main muscles that connect to it are the tensor fascia lata (TFL) and gluteus maximus (GM).  The TFL is located just lateral to your anterior superior iliac spine (ASIS) which are these bony prominences of the pelvis on your…


Now that I have recounted the story about my experience of the race in the previous post I think it's a good idea to look back on the lessons learned from this new experience.  I fully understand now that the longer the race the more magnified the small things are.  The main thing I come away with is staying on top hydration and diet.  I started the race holding myself accountable of how many gels I would consume per hour and water intake, but as the day wore on that seemed to be less of the case.  I'm not sure if I was just taking it for granted or because I lost track but lesson #1 is: stay on top of hydration/dietary/electrolytes. It can make a world of difference in how one feels mentally and physically.  Lesson #2: I need to start taking care of my body a bit more in terms of gaining and maintaining strength and flexibility.  Going out running is great but doing some strength and flexibility is going to be very important in maintaining longevity.  It will also indirectly …

Rock'n River 50

Some delirious night about a month and a half ago I decided I wanted to try to qualify for Western States 100 next June and I needed a 50 mile race that needed to be completed in less than 11 hours. I browsed and what I found was the Rock'n River 50: a 50 miler in Auburn, CA just outside of Sacramento which coincidentally is where the Western States finish line is. It's the reverse route of the classic American River 50 that is run in April.  My training since my Bulldog 50km in August had me running 28 days per month, including one longer trail run of 2.5-3hrs every week.  The day finally arrived and in all honesty I had been quite nervous about the race.  

 I have never walked, run, or hiked 50 miles in one day before and frankly I wasn't sure if I would be able to make it.  I am usually pretty wiped after a 50km race so how the hell was I going to finish 19 more miles?  Megan, who drove, and was my crew, said I was having these mini convulsions in the middle of my sleep …

School Obligations v. Backcountry Desires

As I drove to school today I did not want listen to any of the podcasts I downloaded on my ipod because I needed to be able to turn all my focus on the art of contemplation.  The night before I stayed up until midnight dabbling online about future adventures I could take and it left me in an impatient state of mind. Inspiration struck and I wanted to go on a trip right that moment with school having the potential of becoming a very distant memory. Fast forward three days later and I'm sitting here 1040pm Sunday night with an exam in morning wishing that I was done with school.  Listening to nostalgic Coldplay songs I think about the potential of the time that is currently occupied. Right at this moment I could be planning a backcountry trek through the Colorado Plateau in Utah via the Hayduke Trail.  Alas, that is not the case.  There is only this life; the odds of me sitting, breathing, thinking at this moment is beyond my understanding. So what the f*** am I doing here sitting i…

Trail Running Thoughts

I wanted to put into words my feelings and thoughts on trail running since I am in the middle of training for my first 50 mile trail race in the Rock'n River 50miler on October 16 in Auburn, CA after completing my third 50km (~31mi) run in the Bulldog 50K in a personal best time.  The main reason I started trail running was, simply, to keep in shape for wilderness backpacking, which is my passion.  Physically, backpacking is not easy if you're looking to hike a relatively high number of miles per day, under certain challenging conditions (i.e. elevation, weather, minimal food, etc.), consistently over a period of time.  So, staying in shape keeps me ready for backpacking at whatever time of year.  Fortunately, for me, this provides a whole host of other physical and cognitive benefits that range from having a good cardiovascular system, low body fat levels, higher energy levels, and glad-to-be-alive feelings. I never ran in high school or college but after my first long-distan…

Part III of "Pacific Coast Bike Tour": Santa Monica, CA to US/Mexico Border

Considering I knew this was my last legitimate chance at taking more than 2 days off until the end of the school semester I decided to continue piecing the Pacific Coast of the continental U.S. by bicycle with my girlfriend, Megan. We have already biked Santa Monica to San Francisco north so we wanted to attempt a non-headwind direction: south!We started in Santa Monica, Friday morning, under the overcast layer of fog that has plagued Southern California most of the summer.  We passed through Manhattan, Hermosa, Redondo, and Newport before stopping to wolf down some excellent greek food in Long Beach.  The rest of our day had us going through the surprisingly nice community of Huntington Beach and uppity Laguna Beach to finally arrive at Capistrano Beach ~80 miles later. The entire day felt like a pleasant afternoon bike ride which is a remarkably different situation with 30-40 mph headwinds.   After spending a night in the terribly reviewed but relatively cheap Seaside Inn, we contin…

Eastern Grand Canyon (May 16-22, 2010)

Two days after my first year of grad school was complete I drove to the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park to meet my friend JustPaul ('03 PCT) who happened to have a prized backcountry permit for the next 6 days.  He was also leading a group of five people on a day hike that would have us hiking from South Rim to North Rim. The 23-mile 10,650ft elevation trek commenced at the Bright Angel Trailhead (TH) passing through Indian Gardens, Phantom Ranch, Cottonwood Camp, and finally the North Kaibab TH.  After spending the next day at the North Rim, Paul and I continued our trek east along the North Rim via the Ken Patrick Trail.  The GC had a late spring snow pack and it looked like we were the first people through because of the amount of snow, the amount of blow-down, and brush. And yes, Ed Abbey was right, everything pokes and stings.  We were able to get through Imperial Point and finally to the deserted Nankoweap Trailhead around 3pm.

     In the distance I could spot t…

Summer 2010 Recap

As summer of 2010 is coming to a close I reflect back and make a determination of whether it was a "successful" one.  Probably since my elementary school days, I continue to have a deep belief that summers should be for play outside.  As a kid it meant playing outdoors from sunup to sundown and living in the moment, but we probably never ventured any further than several blocks.  Now as a grown-up kid those feelings have never disappeared, but now my playground is basically anywhere of my choosing.  As far as this past summer is concerned I would give it a resounding yes as to whether I consider it a successful summer.  All the trips I lined up went without a hitch even with the limited days in between trips.  I had most things planned since February and everything was contingent upon whether I was able to get the early 6 week slot (May 24-July 2) for my grad school summer affiliation.  Fortunately, everything worked out in that department allowing the trips I had planned co…

First Post

I am starting this blog to basically keep myself accountable to write about my experiences whether in school, backpacking, or running.  I don't honestly know if this will do the trick but I do enjoy going back into my private (written) journal and re-reading entries and reflecting on my evolution.  I attend California State University, Northridge for a Masters Degree in Physical Therapy and I backpack. I also run, mostly trails, to keep in shape for backpacking.  This should be a fun little blog.