Utah is dry in the winter and the summer. Swimming amplifies my dryness of both my hair and skin. Daily lotion smearing is necessary if you don’t want flaky white skin. I bought some Dove lotion at the grocery store and have been religiously applying for the last week. It was a little difficult to rub in all the way, which I assumed was a good thing. It took a few days to get used to the smell, but it has grown on me, and I enjoy the pistachio flower scent now. This morning, as I was diligently applying the lotion I glanced at the bottle. I stopped rubbing and picked the bottle up bringing it closer to my face as if this was going to help me understand the words that were now completely baffling me. Body Wash? What? You’ve got to be kidding me. I’ve been lathering up with body wash every morning. Yep. Epic failure.
After running Ragnar relay, I have an interesting soreness pattern. My outer right quad is sore, and my inner left quad is sore. Whenever I do my training runs, I alternate from the left side to the right side of the road because the roads surrounding my house have an angle to them allowing the water to run into the gutter. This effectively creates a leg length discrepancy for runners, which can cause a host of problems if you always run the same direction on the same side of the street. I was not able to alternate direction or sides of the road for the relay. Therefore, I am having this lopsided soreness. Other than that, I felt great and was back out yesterday completing an easy eight-mile run.
My next race is the Spudman Triathlon. I’ll admit I’m a little nervous about the swim. I know I can do the distance in a pool in my own lane without waves and hundreds of feet and arms twirling around me, but you throw all that extra crap in and my heart beats a little faster. I am hoping to get out and complete an open water swim with a wetsuit on with some friends who are also registered for Spudman. I do not want race day to be the first day I pull on a wetsuit and step into open water.
After Spudman, my relay team is running Epic Relay Cache to Teton, which is 206 miles in total through some brutal mountains. I sent out an encouraging/threatening email to my team Sunday about Epic and the need to focus on hill training. Monday I received an email from Runnersworld about “How to learn to love hills.” Can we say perfect timing! I posted it to my facebook and sent it out to all my runners. You can read it here if you are interested.
Hill running is speed work in disguise. During Ragnar, a couple of my team members were asking me about form suggestions and hill running suggestions. Here is my two cents on form, I don’t think major changes to form all at once are a good thing because it can cause injuries. When you change your running form, you begin to rely on muscles that are not usually used. To have better running from imagine there is a string (make it some flashy sparkling color) attached to the center of your sternum, which extends out and attaches to the moon or sun if you are running in the daylight. Imagine that you are being pulled along by this string. This will keep your shoulders back, head up, and your legs landing beneath you rather than in front of you. It also tends to adjust your foot placement to a mid-foot or forefoot strike rather than a heel strike as well which is a good thing. Altra has some excellent videos and description of this technique that you can find here.
As for form on hills both up and down, you want to keep your steps small and quick. Over striding on the downhill results in pulled groin muscles and hip flexors. You want to land on your forefoot going up without connecting your heel to the ground, so you don’t pull the Achilles. You also want to land on your mid to forefoot going downhill to prevent you from slipping out on steep descents. You do not want to dump your hips forward or back make sure you have a straight line from your shoulders to your hips and lean into the hill a bit.