Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Cuevas–Back in the Hills

The training plan I’ve set up for Leadville grants a day off from running each week, which I usually schedule for Sunday.  Sunday is a day when Nataly typically isn’t working and we often find ourselves splashing in the water at the bottom of the first waterfall at Cuevas.  That gets followed by a couple hour drive in the car and relaxation at home.

This week however I stayed in Cuevas to help Hugo cut down a couple of trees which will become some new benches for the park.   That meant Saturday was a more convenient day off and I went running Sunday evening after Nataly and folks headed home.

My run was just a hard, quick effort from the gate at Cuevas up to the first high point on the road to Bella Vista – total relief 650 feet.  That doesn’t seem like much, but there are a number of small climbs and descents along the way which get pretty steep.  Here's the GPS.

Today (Monday), I’m feeling the effects of 8 weeks off from running in the hills.  Soreness in the hamstrings and quads, and a touch of gimpiness in my left knee.  The run yesterday was my first real running effort in the new Brooks Pure Grit shoe which I bought back in October after injuring my foot, as well. 

I’m not entirely sure what to think of them.  They’re much more shoe than I’ve run in in quite some time.  All of my training for the Blues Cruise was done in Vibram 5 Fingers or NB Minimus Trail.  The Grit represents a step up in terms of cushioning and protection from my last year of running, while still maintaining the offset of the Minimus. 

The Good: I ran with greater confidence on the descents yesterday because I wasn’t afraid of small rocks on the road.  The Bad: That also meant I was landing more heavily on my heels – and I noticed my feet slipping forward and back in the shoe somewhat and possible hotspots developing under my heels.

In my two Imogene Pass Runs, I’ve developed giant blisters on both of my heels.  I ran those races in Brooks Cascadias.  Those blisters made for interesting races the following weeks as well.  My first marathon – the Boulder Marathon 2009 – was colored by the giant blisters on my feet, and I lost 10-20 places when both of my blisters blew on the final descent to the ski resort in the Steamboat 50 in 2010.  I chose to walk it in rather than arrive at the finish a bloody mess unable to appreciate the RD and all of his volunteers. 

One problem I have with all running shoes is that a size 13.5 is impossible to find.  I either have to wear a shoe which is half a size too big or a shoe a half a size too small. 

My sense from my initial trials of the Grit is that it is perhaps slightly longer than the Cascadia at the same size.  Maybe, then, a size 13 will fit me.  I suppose the other thing I could do is to cut a hole in the toe of the shoe like Ed McCaffery used to in his football cleats, but I’ve never been a huge fan of “modding” my shoes…

I wonder if I shouldn’t make my own pair of huaraches.  It would seem to be one of the best solutions for me.  A correctly sized sandal would provide protection from the hazards of the trail, and ignore the idiosyncrasies of my own special brand of foot.  It seems silly I haven’t tried them yet – that’s for sure.

Thanks for reading, and yes, after my run on Sunday I did jump in that pool...

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