This was a pretty productive weekend:
On Saturday, I went to the Athletic Performance Lab for a Runner's Clinic.  It was free and actually pretty useful.  The first hour was mainly Q&A on injury, running form, training, etc.  I didn't learn too much other than apparently many people suffer from plantar fascitis and they all wear big fat cushiony shoes instead of something more minimal!  The second half was better:
1. Core/stability exercises:
a. Planks
Doing a plank and raising one leg, raising one arm, then raising the opposite leg and arm at the same time- much harder and requires a much more stable core
b. Single Leg squats
I never knew how to progress with single leg squats but they showed us by using different height boxes, you can eventually work to get a single leg squat that goes below parallel.  I only got to the 18" box but even that was progress for me!

2. Running drills
A couple of different running drills to improve form, learning to keep mostly upright with just a slight tilt forward, raising the knee up and then down and sliding the foot back and repeating.  Drills! Drills are important, I'd probably be a better runner with better form if I did my drills.  This theme keeps repeating in many different areas of my life, if I did my biking drills, if I did my multivariate modeling drills, if I practice the bass guitar drills, so many drills so little time.

3. Trigger Point/stretching AKA using a tennis ball torture yourself
They showed us how to use a foam roller- I didn't know I could roll my shins but this should help prevent shin splints.  And I learned that you don't just roll in one direction, for example, rolling on my quads, I should turn from side to side to really get the full effect.  And it turned out the sides of my quad hurt more than just the frontal area and that is where I should be foam rolling!
I then used a tennis ball to roll out around my shoulder blades and found the spots that were knotted, and rolling with the tennis ball was painful but necessary to get better.

Overall, for 2 hours, this was a pretty good clinic and I am glad I got to go.

After lunch, I went for a mountain bike ride on the 286 singletrack trails.  This was not so fun, my quads burned.  They burned for the first 7 miles and then it got better and I was able to enjoy the second half of the trail.  I was not feeling like all the training I was doing was working though but it's just one bad day.

On Sunday, I went for a run at Company Mill @ Umstead with Lisa and Barbara and Kurt.  The most aggravating thing was seeing Kurt running easily after just yesterday finishing the Umstead Marathon and I was just huffing and puffing trying to keep up with them today and THEY WERE TAKING IT EASY!  Oh well, at least I kept them in my sights.  It took about 80 minutes to do the 6 miles. And the last mile, some random guy joined us because he needed the company to finish and then he ended up pushing me to finish strong and with his yelling encouragement, I managed to stay with the group and not end up walking the last half mile.

After lunch, I drove to San Lee park and did the singletrack over there. It was amazing, it was great!  The trailbuilders have been working overtime and there was a lot of new stuff out there.  I did much better than yesterday, my quads only hurt for the first 3 miles and then I started to feel better.  We did the whole trail ~ 9 miles I think (minus Free Fall) in about 2 hours.  I can't say it enough, it was so gratifying to be able to do most of this trail (yeah, yeah, I still can't do Free Fall and didn't even attempt it this time),but I did most of the Gauntlet, tried some of the rock drops and was more successful on the tight upward switchbacks and cleared all the berms.  San Lee didn't kick my ass, I felt like I actually held my own today. I'm hoping this is one step in my progress and it will keep getting better and better. 


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