Skip to main content

"Those are for people looking for help"

A long time ago I drove for hours upon hours, deep into the heart of upper Ontario from my home in Wisconsin.

I found my way down gravel roads and finally came upon a campfire with a few stooped bodies soaking up the heat.

I'd found race headquarters for the 50K I noted in UltraRunning magazine; it was time to gear up for the event.

Rolly Portelonce, a very tough coal miner and 100-mile runner, was RD. He introduced himself, and I blurted out my immediate concern: Did anyone have any PowerBars? I'd left home without them and was concerned for my energy needs while on the course.

"Those are for people looking for help," said Portelonce in a monotone yet serious voice.

I never forgot that comment and have used it on many occasions since. Now, as I'm dealing with a degenerating right knee, it may be appropriate yet again. I AM NOT advocating that knee braces and other support mechanisms are to be avoided. Yet, for me, I have wondered about the healing powers of the body - when we encourage it to heal, versus placating our own regenerative powers.

I've done the knee brace thing on and off for over two years, and have not seen improvement within that period. However, when I started to increase mileage without the brace, while using a gentle stride and chirunning tactics, I found improvement. I believe that I prompted my body to adapt to a more forgiving stride, within a more biomechanical position.

Maybe chi did flow, and the renewed power healed. Or maybe my fitness and training made me more adaptable. While in rehab for my bad disc/back and leg trouble, I was told my left leg was slightly shorter, and to use a heel lift in my shoe. I chose not to. I'd rather work on adaptability than correction, to teach my body to find a natural fix, rather than a synthetic cure.

So it goes. The Green Swamp 50K looms ahead tomorrow morning and I'll pull out of the garage for the two hour drive down at 3:30 am. It's a typical ultra day.

Let's rock and roll and run and have fun.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Scott Jurek ate vegan, won ultras...then got divorced

(Disclaimer:  I am a Brooks-supported athlete; as part of that relationship, I was provided a complimentary copy of "Eat & Run")

I was recently on a few flights making my way home to Wisconsin and en route was able to plow through Scott Jurek's new book "Eat & Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness."

It's a fast, enjoyable read. I've been around the ultra scene for a long time and have known some of the greats, i.e. ultra champ Eric Clifton. So it's always interesting to see how the world looks from another icon's point of view.

My thoughts in no particular order:

1) I've been vegetarian/borderline vegan for 12 years and have always been concerned with protein intake.  Jurek advocates for the protein he naturally induces through his plant-based diet.  Maybe that is enough. Maybe it's not necessary to bang down 100+ grams of protein supplement every day. Good info and good advice.

2) I'm buying on big time to Scot…

Build your low cost gravel and commuter bike

It's the saga of Craigslist. You have a great perfect condition road bicycle to market. You ask a fair price. A few calls come in, most often the caller throws out a low ball offer, maybe 50% of asking price.

You don't need to give the bike away. You may not need the cash.

Consider re-purposing. You already own an excellent commuter and gravel bike. Think your bike is too low end, not good for the purpose?

Wrong. In most cases less expensive bikes are build with heavier parts, which means they are stronger. Heavier wheels = better ability to absorb commuter bumps and gravel roads.

A few simple modifications and you'll be rolling for transportation or logging road expeditions.

Here's my 2011 model Specialized Roubaix. I rode it for several seasons as a serious piece of road equipment. A few buyers offered up a few hundred dollars, so I went in another direction.

1) Added 700 x 28 Continental Gatorskin tires. Gatorskin tires wear like iron and you can trust them in off …

Now this is better...

Hey, I don't want to dole out too many epic photos in one day...but after that fatty shot from the New York City Marathon, I had to dig a bit deeper, and found this:

Check out that attractive specimen (second from right) circa 1986...only a year earlier and Tommy Terrific was looking pretty ripped.

I'll tell you this triathlon training camp was one of the high points of my master competitor career. On the left is Mark Hinson, the best triathlete in the southeast in the mid 19890's...and far right is Frank Kohlenstein, a soccer coach from South Carolina and the dude who got me into ultrarunning...that's tanned and toned Tommy next to David Bailey, one of the greatest men who ever threw a leg over two wheels with an engine.

So, right around the time of this camp, I crewed for Frank at the Western States 100 mile endurance run in California. Hinson ran with Frank through a very tough 20 mile desert section and when he made it to the next check, he pulled me aside and told…