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Shake down

It was time to stop the head fantasies and face reality.

Master competitor isn't ready for the Green Swamp 50K on February 7 and conditioning is in order.

So I did a 3-hour run on the San Felasco trails yesterday. I wasn't moving fast but three hours should get me somewhere near halfway in a tough 50K race - such as Green Swamp is portended to be.

I may have been at this game for a long time, but there are always new things to learn. I worked hard on my ChiRunning stance, working to keep my body erect, leaning slightly forward at the ankles, so that my footstrike hit exactly below my frame. This "structural integrity" allows the body to absorb each impact through its core and there is less torque on the knees and joints.

I also wore a pulse meter, an old Bike Nashbar model (I'd use my Suunto watch but didn't want to carry the 300-page owner's manual to operate it). Also used a new foot setup: wore a rather worn pair of Brooks Adrenaline ASR's, with wool Injinji toe socks and for the first time foot gators.

Must say my feet felt good as I am trying to avoid future blister problems. The the gators kept the dust and grit out. As ultra master Roy Heger once told me, "let those feet work (inside the shoes)." That's a good lesson, some of the worst foot damage has come from my feet being restricted in shoes via taping or thick socks. So, change is in order.

My bpm is sad...I'm jogging very slowly at around 110 and my max is about 135. Pulse meters make me face reality; the engine has lost its threshold for revving.

I wore my double bottle GoLite waist pack, as that is what I plan to use in the race. I dislike the feeling of things around my middle, but at this stage in my ultra career, it's about utility. A year or so ago I'd attack a 50K with my Ultimate Direction or Brooks Waterboy hand-held bottles, but that was then and this is now.

One new experience I had on the run was listening to the Rogues Gallery, one of the top music podcasts on the Internet. This weekly show is over three hours long and features progressive metal rock from around the world. I was listening to a band from Portugal and the rather dark beat started to bring out the warrior animal in master competitor. I started eating up the trail and feeling like my old self...totally engaged in the music and trail experience.


Check out the rogue tunes at


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You have to look closely (click and enlarge photo if needed), but when you do, check out the 5th metacarpal (bone furthest from thumb).

The diagonal break is symbolic of what happens when your mountain bike handlebars snap around 360 degrees, and those bars catch your hand against the bike frame during the rotation.

Well there you have it. I got up after my ride over the bars and knew something was wrong, but didn't want to admit it. Rode about three miles back to the car, then went a week with some ice and heat. Thought it was good, until I smacked the same bone on the bars during a road ride the following weekend.

Time to stop the charades and get to urgent care.

For the past three weeks, I have been in a formed splint that kept the pinkie and ring fingers immobilized in a hooked formation. Don't want those tendons to move across the bone. As the doc stated, it's a "forgiving" break, but nonetheless you don't want to give the bone any excuse to shift; that…