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Run with Scott Jurek!

Scott running (photo from his blog)

Ever dreamed of meeting or even running with ultramarathon legend Scott Jurek?

Here's your chance! 

Jurek is in town as part of his tour to promote his new book Eat and Run. The Nature Conservancy and Pacers running store are co-hosting a run with Scott on June 8, right here in the DC area.

If you've never heard of Scott Jurek, he first stunned the ultrarunning world when he won the Western States 100 miler in 1999 as a relative unknown. He won Western States seven years in a row, then went on to win the grueling 135-mile Badwater Ultramarathon twice.

Scott Jurek
(photo from his blog)
Rumor has it he waits at the finish line of every ultra he competes in until the very last runner finishes so that he can congratulate everyone. He's also a vegan, and though I'm not, I'm definitely curious about how he fuels for ultras.

If you want to run with Scott, the run starts at 6:30 p.m. at The Nature Conservancy headquarters at 4245 N. Fairfax Blvd, Arlington, Virginia.  It's across the street from the Ballston Metro Station. The run will be 3-5 miles from TNC to the Pacers store in Clarendon. Jurek will do a reading, sign books and answer questions. Pacers says there will be "loads of treats." The run/event is open any and all.

Jurek will head to Africa with a team of Nature Conservancy staff and supporters to run the Safaricom Marathon/Half Marathon on
June 30th. 

Run with Scott Jurek! <~~ The details on Pacers website

Team Nature's fundraising page on Crowdrise (they're working hard to raise $100K for conservation and community development work in northern Kenya) 


My new haircut. It hasn't been this short since 8th grade.

Wordless Wednesday: MMT100

This weekend is the Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 Mile race, put on by the VHTRC (my trail running club). I'm doing my part by volunteering at an aid station.

It's quite the social event. All my friends will be there, running, volunteering, crewing or pacing someone. Runners have 36 hours to finish this tough, rocky ultramarathon with 16,200 feet of ascent over 100 miles.

If you're running, I'll see you at Veach Gap. Good luck out there!

Looks like a fun way to spend a weekend, right?

Helping a runner change shoes late in the race. Photo by Bobby Gill
Of course I'll have to get some apple cider donuts from the Apple House
Jen Jacobs will be running her 4th MMT100
Dame's Rocket (Hesperis matronalis)
Spring came early. Which wildflowers will be in bloom in the mountains this year?
Hubz helps Keith Knipling at an aid station. He finished 4th in 2009.

Part of the MMT100 trail at Gap Creek.

Crews and volunteers at Gap Creek aid station. Note the rocks on the trail. That's typical at MMT.

The irrepressible Gary Knipling will be running his 15th MMT100!
Will he carry the mango bikini bottoms again?
MMT100 always brings back memories of Mike Broderick. We miss you, friend.

It's the Ligament, Stupid

Red = damage. Image from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gray355.png

My podiatrist, Dr. Pribut, is a trip. He's also extremely knowledgeable, understands runners and he's Metro accessible. It didn't take long for him to diagnose my problem as a ligament that had gotten overstretched (so much for my tendon theory).

Apparently, I turned my right ankle at some point during Bull Run Run 50 Miler (maybe it happened when I face-planted, twice). The strange thing is that it didn't hurt at the time or even during any of my recovery runs until nearly a week later. It doesn't hurt to walk, and I don't have any noticeable swelling. I always get odd injuries that seem to come out of nowhere. 

He did say the forces that caused my injury could have resulted in a fracture, so I consider myself lucky. I'm also frankly ecstatic that I am not in a boot or on crutches.

He prescribed rest, for 7 days. No running, biking, hiking, swimming or pool running (what!? I thought you could pool run with any injury!) or anything that stresses the ankle for a week. That means about half of the 26 Bikram yoga postures are out since they require serious plantarflexion or dorsiflexion of the ankle. 

Image from http://twofeetstuckoutside.blogspot.com/2010/07/to-plantarflex-to-dorsiflex.html

He also ordered me to begin rehabilitation exercises, twice a day on the Wobble Board

My new best friend

This week, I am only allowed to do Front to Back.

Front to Back on the Wobble Board

Next week, if things go well I can add Side to Side.

Side to Side on the Wobble Board

And finally, in Week 3 I will graduate to Round and Round!

The Pinnacle of Ankle Rehab, rotational Wobbling!
Starting Friday, I can run again: 2 miles every other day, as long as that is well below my pain threshold.

This means my beloved Capon Valley 50K is off the race schedule. Bummer. All my friends will be running it, and I'll be the only one not getting my feet wet.

I haven't made a final decision on Laurel Highlands 70 Miler, but I'm leaning strongly toward dropping down to the 50K race. I'd rather not run 70 miles under-trained and with the increased risk of tweaking my ligament again, or worse. It seems like the smart decision.

After all, my ultimate goal is to keep on running for a long time.

Tendon Trouble

During Bull Run Run 50 Miler, my calves and anterior tibialis were cramping and quivering late in the race -- most noticeably on the downhill sections. This is pretty common in my experience (and completely expected given my low training volume). I had no pain during or after the race. In fact I was pleasantly surprised at how little soreness I had afterward. 

I didn't notice any issues until a leisurely hike/run with friends last weekend, cruising on a long downhill section. Suddenly, the front of my ankle felt sore, as if I'd bruised the front of my ankle area. At first I thought I'd tied my shoes too tightly, but it soon became obvious something else was going on.  

Where it hurts. Image from http://home.comcast.net/~wnor/ankle.htm

My first guess was anterior tibialis tendonitis, but that pain tends to diminish as it warms up on a run, whereas mine definitely hurts more the longer I run. Now, I'm leaning toward Lower Extremity Tenosynovitis.
Lower extremity tenosynovitis is a condition affecting the tendons of a lower limb. It also affects the lining of the sheath around the tendon. Tendons are cords of tissue that connect muscles to the bones. With lower extremity tenosynovitis, the sheath and the synovium of the flexor muscles become inflamed. The tendons may become thickened and have a hard time moving through the swollen covering. This can cause pain and tenderness when moving the affected foot, especially the ankle and heel areas. Lower extremity tenosynovitis usually affects athletes, ballet dancers, and people of middle age or older.
Symptoms include redness, swelling, or pain in the affected leg or foot. The pain or tenderness usually occurs when you move or bend the affected part, such as while running or walking. Over time, the pain may become worse and may be present even at rest. You may also have:
  •     Clicking, locking, or snapping of ankles. YEP. But my left ankle clicks too. Hmm.
  •     Develop a flatfoot. Not yet.
  •     Grating sound or feeling when the leg or foot is touched or rubbed. Mmm-Hmm.
  •     Nodule may be present or toes may look like sausages. Nope, thank goodness!
  •     Stiffening of the leg, ankle, or foot. No noticeable stiffness.
  •     Weakness and limited movement of the affected part. So far, none of that.

Since I only have a couple of symptoms, it's in the very early stages, or I'm an incompetent doctor (obviously). The treatment is to minimize movement of the affected area. That means no running, biking or even much walking. I'm hoping I won't need an air cast or other immobilizing contraption, but that's probably overly optimistic, considering that I have to walk some in my job (and also to get there).

I'm hopeful that I'll only have to rest it a week or two. Right now it doesn't hurt at all unless I'm running.

What I'll be doing a lot of. image from http://www.eatrunread.com/2010/04/mollie-rant-pools.html
I really don't want to run my next two races under-trained, and the steep and plentiful climbs and descents on both courses will cause problems if this isn't completely healed. Everything I've read about this condition indicates that training through the pain will aggravate the area and may cause it to become chronic.

Looks like it's rest, Bikram yoga and pool running for me!

And if you've had tendon issue before and have any advice, I'd love to hear it.

P.S. I just got an appointment with my podiatrist for this afternoon -- check back next week to guffaw at my misdiagnosis.

Mary's Rock

You can see all of Shenandoah National Park from atop Mary's Rock
View from the top of Mary's Rock, just 2.8 miles round trip from Meadow Spring parking.
We lured my brother and sister-in-law for a visit by promising them the Virginia Wine Tour. A week of eating, wine-tasting, sightseeing and scenic hikes went by far too quickly.

It's the perfect time to hike Mary's Rock in Shenandoah National Park. You can start at Buck Hollow for 9 miles round-trip, or park at Meadow Spring for a mere 2.8 miles. Don't forget your camera.

scrambling around Mary's Rock
Looking up at the summit

A stone chimney next to the trail is all that remains of a 1930s PATC cabin
Drinking wine at Philip Carter Winery
Reward yourself with a taste of Virginia wine after your hike