Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Rolling in LSD


All my training now is on roller skis as I recover from my achilles injury. I'm not exactly sure what the injury is now that the pain is confined to a small point on the back of the heel - could be insertional achilles tendonosis or it could be retrocalcaneal bursitis. I don't really care as its not worth spending tax dollars to scan my foot 1000 ways to ultimately tell me to rest, etc.

And because of my syncope episode on snow skis last week, all of my training is long slow distance. The heart thing motivated me to replace my HRM to insure that I'm not stressing my heart too much. I'm not - even my fast rolls are at an average HR of 129 with a max in the upper 140s, which is about 85% MHR. I'm eager to do some tempo rolls and get the HR a little higher and my training more in line for racing. But the cardiologist discouraged that - he's concerned about my long QT interval. Looking into the literature, I should be concerned too. Except that I have no family history of this and it's really a genetic long QT interval that seems to be the concern. Still waiting for a stress test, which is next week...

My HR has jumped because of a few near-fall episodes. The first was last week when I was paying more attention to a car behind me than the road ahead of me and my right pole went into a storm drain. Deep into it. I nearly did a front flip. I had to run with my roller skis to keep from falling and somehow I managed to stay upright. I looked a bit like the picture above but on roller skis. And in shorts.

Then yesterday I had my left ski buckle (roll) at the ankle thrice, twice while I was rolling fast downhill (the other time will climbing a steep hill). I've been working on my balance and trying to actively skate these fast downhills instead of just rolling and I think if the ski is angled just a little to far sideways the friction on the tires is greater than my brain expects and I get the buckle (ankle roll). But why the same phenomenon on the uphill? And why only the left leg? I thought maybe that the first event weakened my boot since this had never happened to me and once it happened yesterday it happened twice more. But my left boot doesn't appear to be any weaker when I just roll my ankles in. Anyway, I didn't fall on any of these but if it keeps happening I'm in for a nasty wipeout.

Weekly training since stopping running (all LSD)
3 weeks ago - 53.7 miles - over the last 4 days (last run was on Tues)
2 weeks ago - 20 miles (roller ski + ski) - took time off to let achilles recover from long roll previous week
1 week ago - 77.1 miles - achilles not aggravated even on the long rolls

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Elite marathoners have wheels

So my EKG was normal (or actually I have a borderline long QT interval for what its worth and I have clinical bradycardia but he gave me a pass since I do the running/skiing thing). I was given the greenlight to train lightly until my full cardio workup next tuesday. I did a sweet 15 mile roller ski today in 90 minutes, so that's averaging 5:54/mile, which is about 15 s/mile faster than my faster skis. It was a pretty ez ski although I wish that I'd had a HR monitor to compare with running. I've been working on really leaning forward at the ankles and getting my hips forward and maybe this increased my speed some or maybe I just was excited by the beautiful weather. I definitely had to remind myself to slow down on the short climbs and I got a little perky on the trip back downhill to the car. Still, today just seemed fast. 5:54/mile.

This got me thinking about comparing running paces. 5:54 is about my 8K/5M race pace but it certainly seemed faster than I could run. This led me to think about elite marathoners who are cranking out 4:45 miles. Holy shit. I did one mile under 5 minutes (4:57.67) and it was downhill and I was on wheels! I think those guys must be on wheels too.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Postscript to passing out

I had written this as a postscript to my description of passing out but thought I'd give it its own post as a public service announcement:

Postscript - I had pretty much figured out the physiology of passing out after stopping after climbing the hill but I did some google scholaring to fill in a few blanks and quickly discovered that it is imperative that I go see the doctor to take a battery of tests to rule out a long laundry list of (mostly heart) issues. It is very, very likely to be entirely benign. 

so I passed out skiing sugarloaf today

At the top of the climb at mile 3 in the pic above. Seriously! I reached the top, which is the intersection just past mile 3 on the map, and Mike (Pratico) and I stopped and I asked if we were going to go up trail 50 or down trail 29. I then commented that I was feeling dizzy (the same feeling you get when you stand too quickly) and the next thing I know I hear "Jeff, Jeff, are you ok?" and I woke up, still standing but with my head resting on my poles. I had actually been dreaming! For a few seconds after waking I was pretty confused where I was. I felt as if I had awakened from a pretty good sleep but Mike thought the whole thing lasted less than a minute and he was only really worried and calling me for about 10s. I can't remember putting my head down on my poles so I assume after I got the dizzy feeling I put my head down and just simultaneously passed out. Totally weird.

We resumed skiing and our next time up the same climb we took it easier and even continued up trail 50 to the top. This climb made the first climb look puny. It was a great day, other than passing out and all.

[see postscript below]

My achilles felt awesome after the ski, as if the ski were some kind of therapy. Weird. This was especially surprising because I had aggravated my achilles snowboarding Saddleback the day before. Cacky and did our first downhill day in 3 years - it was gorgeous spring skiing. The snow was excellent. I was in a thin summerweight smartwool top with Bradbury white out T and no gloves (never even took them out of my pockets). My boot rubbed my achilles from the start but didn't really aggravate it. On what became my 2nd to last run, I tried a deep front-side carve (not generally my style of riding, I'm more like a small wave ripper than old school carver) and this stretched my achilles a bit. On my next run, which became my last, every single front side turn torched my achilles. Again surprisingly I seemed no worse once I got my boots off and walked around.

Postscript - I had pretty much figured out the physiology of passing out after stopping after climbing the hill but I did some google scholaring to fill in a few blanks and quickly discovered that it is imperative that I go see the doctor to take a battery of tests to rule out a long laundry list of (mostly heart) issues. It is very, very likely to be entirely benign. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

armchair racer

Super busy week and weekend being an armchair racer following the USSA junior nationals xc ski races in Utah, the NCAA championship ski races in Montana, the J2 festival ski races at Black Mountain, the Granite State snowshoe championships at Great Glen, the World snowshoe championships in Canada, the Bretton Woods ski marathon in NH, the Kerryman 5K in Saco, the midcoast 1/2 marathon in Lincolnville, and the Gate River Run (USATF 15K championship) in Jacksonville FL, which I considered running until the plane tickets got too expensive (I could have visited my sister). I did none of these because I have achilles tendonopathy. I did get in an epic (for me) 21 mile roller ski yesterday. It felt great. But my achilles was very sore after and still a little sore this morning.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Snowshoe racers like a big dump

hanging on to Ian's tail (I think I was closer than this picture shows)

Luckiest snowshoe series in New England? Or do Ryan and Ian have a direct line with the snow gods?

Regardless, we got dumped with snow Thursday and the snow survived Saturday's rain allowing us to race  in snowshoes at the final Bradbury Winter series race, the Bradbury Blizzard.

I had not been planning on running this race all winter as it conflicted with my annual Rangeley Loppet weekend but as race-week progressed I was more in the mood to snowshoe race than ski so I registered online last minute. I ski-raced 25K yesterday having dropped down from the 50K because my 12 mile classic ski on Friday left me feeling very un-fresh going into a double-race weekend. After the race I felt great and wished that I had stayed with the 50K but I'm sure this would have changed 180 degrees by about 1 mile into lap 2. Anyway, I left Rangeley this morning and made it to the Bradbury parking lot 10 minutes before race start! My warm-up consisted of running to the registration desk to get my bib.

The course was again moved to the east side of Bradbury to avoid the icy trails. My only real goal - and this was a huge longshot - was to beat Ian by a minute so I could come in 2nd in the Badass standings. The gun went off and as usual, everyone shot off like HS boys and I was out of breath by 1/4 mile in. A gap was opening between the Ian+Scott+Andy pace group and the rest of us so I passed David and Jamie so I could keep Ian in sight. I was in full wounded gnu breathing mode at this point but Ian slowed and I caught them without much effort and we actually ran the middle 2.5 miles at a fairly modest pace. The course used lots of the twisty-turny singletrack and this was even harder to run in snowshoes than in the summer as it required efficient foot placement and agility. We had a tight train with me following Scott following Andy following Ian. Somewhere around mile 2.5 a very small (like 10-15ft) gap opened between Andy and Ian and I really didn't want to lose Ian so I accelerated past Scott and Andy to make insure that I stayed right on Ian's tail. At some point I noticed that Andy had indeed been dropped. We continued at what I thought was a pretty modest pace and I started to get itchy with about 1.5 miles to go. I aborted a couple of moves around Ian with 1.25 to go and finally found my chance at mile 4. I had to pump up the pace and attempt to drop Ian if I was going to beat him by a minute. I was now back in full-on wounded gnu breathing mode and I thought I saw Ian fall back a little but that was short lived (if indeed it happened at all). We did manage to drop Scott though. We finally came out onto the link trail and Ian effortlessly passed me and encouraged me to stay on him. Yeh right. I did manage to stay within about 10s of him for 3rd place in the race and 3rd place overall (thanks Jeremy for having some other commitment today!).

Scott came in not too far behind me and not too far behind Scott were Jamie (sweet race Jamie!) and Andy and Peter K. and David and Zak. As always, the race was followed by good food, conversation, fire, and awards. And the Atayne badass shirts are pretty sweet too.


Jamie letting me by so I can close the gap with Scott, Andy, and Ian

Only 3 racers to go (I'm not counting Judson)