Do you have tendonitis? Well, it’s probably because you have weak glutes like me. Do you suffer from knee pain? Again, it’s likely due to weak glutes. Shin splints? You guessed it…it’s your weak-ass glutes.
Planter fasciitis? Glutes
Stress fracture? Glutes
Tenis elbow? Glutes
Head ache? Glutes.
Ingrown fingernail? Glutes
Hard of hearing? Glutes
Low IQ? Glutes
Small penis? Glutes
Weak glutes? Glutes
With my last blog post, I left off with the depressing news that I had Achilles bursitis. I went back into Boulder Center for Sports Medicine and they downgraded me to just some minor tendonitis in the connective ligaments that attach the Achilles tendon to the heel bone.
The cause of this was from too much running of course, but the reason that too much running resulted in this injury was partially because my glutes are weak. Like I said above, if you have weak glutes, you’ve probably got some body part that’s injured or working improperly because of it. Cycling, like running actually, is a one-dimensional exercise and the smaller muscles in my general gluteal region that stabilize the pelvis and legs weren’t and most likely still aren’t strong enough. This caused my knees to buckle in when I ran, which put too much stress on my calves and Achilles, which pulled too hard on those connective ligaments attached to my heel. Or so the story goes.
As with just about any injury, time off always helps and the two weeks off that I took were needed, as they did the trick to reduce the swelling and repair those tendons. Something else seems to have helped the injury from reoccurring since I started running and hiking again. The glute exercises that the trainers at BCSM are likely a big part of it. I’ve been doing them twice a day now for about three weeks, as well as thinking about activating my glutes while I’m running. I may not have been a believer to begin with about the whole “Your glutes are weak and therefore you have an injury way the hell down in your heal,” but now I’m coming around. I guess you could say I’m like an evangelist. I don’t know what’s true so I keep my beliefs vague and go to church (glute exercises) just in case.
Aside from BCSM, there are a few others who have helped me get over the still-somewhat-present injury. I saw Brent Apgar of Synch Chiropractic immediately and had him dry needle the hell out of my legs and ankles. He put me on a treadmill right afterwards and, to my near disbelief, I noticed an instant reduction in pain when I ran. The guy is a god damn miracle worker. Seriously, it was weird how much of an improvement there was after just 90 minutes of therapy.
To speed my recovery and reduce the shock to my feet, pro triathlete Erich Wegscheider (a former roommate of mine) sent me a pair of Hoka Ones, which are extra-supportive running shoes. They weigh nothing and offer padding like none other. Thanks for being such a great ambassador for your sponsors Erich, and thanks for the shoes!
Paired with some Recofit compression calf sleeves to reduce muscle oscillation, my legs have never felt better or been adorned with quite as much steez. I’m lucky to have all this great gear at my disposal and so many people to offer support and motivation.
Dang, look at all that sponsor-shouting I just did! Good job Kennett!
Speaking of providing motivation, Adelaide just DEMOLISHED her first triathlon of the season, winning her age group and finishing 3rd overall in the women’s field of 150 starters. It was a lot of fun watching and yelling at her in the transition zones to “speed the hell up you’re in 2nd right now!!” The Harvest Moon half-ironman was her ‘practice’ race for the full iron-distance event this November in Las Vegas. This was her 2nd triathlon ever (the first was like five years ago on a Surly Long Haul Trucker so it hardly counts) and she’s been training for just two months. She’s a bit of a genetic freak for sure. A future Kona competitor? I think so.
She collapsed at the finish line with excruciating pain from the recent onslaught of tendonitis in her foot. The cause? You guessed it: weak glutes! The booty-crazed pirates at BCSM certainly think so anyways. She’s been doing physical therapy with them and has been prescribed many of the same glute exercises as me. Her tendonitis, aside from the last five miles of the race anyways, has been slowly dissipating, so the glute hypothesis continues to gain traction.
Now for a quick recap of my longest run yet. Maybellene, my running companion, is laying here beside me on the couch in a stupor, so drained that earlier she was too tired to eat her post-run dog bone treat. I, on the other hand, still had an appetite as per usual. I will neither confirm nor deny how that dog bone disappeared. Anyways…
I woke to rain this morning. The sky was a dreary gray, the streets saturated and so too the trails of Chataqua. Mud was on our forecast. Thick and slippery.
After breakfast, Maybellene and I walked over to Amante to catch the last few kilometers of the Vuelta, drink coffee, and lick crumbs off the floor. We returned home and got ready for the run. Maybellene worriedly paced back and forth through the apartment with me as I collected gear and chugged a liter of green tea, her most likely hoping that she wasn’t getting left behind. Yesterday, out of boredom, she destroyed the bed in her crate while I was at work. Since Adelaide is at Interbike this week, Maybellene has had to spend more time crated. I planned on making her too tired to care for the next few days.
The ride to the trailhead was wet and chilly. Maybellene was shivering in the Burly trailer by the time we pulled up to the bike rack at Chataqua.
Photo taken on a much warmer, sunnier day.
I replaced my cycling shoes with running shoes, we split an old banana nut muffin from Amante, and were off.
We took it easy up Mesa trail, just getting into the groove of things. I can’t go nearly as fast as my cardio system wants since my joints are still sickly weak compared to a real runner’s. As the trail narrowed down I saw two women coming towards us; they quickly leashed a large bernese mountain dog as we approached. Trouble.
Maybellene was behind me, out of my footsteps where she always runs, when the dog lunged forward, easily yanking the leash clean out of the woman’s hands. It growled savagely and went for Maybellene. I got in the way and kicked him in the ribs. He turned back to his owner and I got tangled in the leashes, tripped and came down for a split second. I got up fast and grabbed the dog’s collar, which was a pinch collar, and forced his head down to the ground. I pinned him with my knee, continuing to force his head to the ground with one hand as I raised the other in a fist to deliver the finishing blows to the head, which likely would have broken my hand since dogs’ skulls are like 7-inches thick.
The dog whimpered, the woman frantically yelled, “I’ve got the leash he’s under control, he’s under control!” and I let him go. I grabbed up Maybellene’s leash, cursed, and ran off thinking that I’d take a dog fight over a car-buzz any day.
The dog and I were equal on weight but I had a lot more anger on my side. Bernese mountain dogs are usually pretty tame and friendly. I’m sure if it had been a rottweiler, things would have turned out differently.
We ran on through the dripping forest, continuing south on the Mesa trail for an hour or so until we got to the base of Shadow Canyon, a real brute of a climb. I unleashed Maybellene for it since it’s very steep and you need your hands to scramble. Because of her age, Maybellene doesn’t own one of those coveted Green Dog Tags that allows her to be off leash for certain trails. I did make one but she tore it off and ate it. So I only unleash her on the steep stuff and hope the ranger who sees us can’t run more than 4.5 miles an hour.
There are those who make the rules, those who break them, and the sheep that blindly follow. Practice civil disobedience. #FreeTheBarrelDog
This past week or so I’ve been hiking the steep climbs and running everything else, to save my Achilles. In fact, I’ve really only done three runs since coming back from the injury. The other stuff has just been hikes. Anyways, Shadow Canyon is so steep that hiking is almost just as fast as running, at least at my pace. It climbs up a boulder-strewn creek bed and at times you’re basically scrambling up it, full red zone.
During one of the steeper sections, I paused at the top of a big boulder to scout for the trail. It’s difficult to know exactly where to go at points if your head is down and you don’t know the trail that well, especially if you’re well within threshold and concentrating hard about gluteal activation. As I stood on the boulder for just that extra half second, Maybellene jumped up behind me and ended up tangled between my legs (in her defense she was in the red too). I jumped to the right and Maybellene tumbled backwards off the boulder and landed on her back, sandwiched between two large rocks.
She rolled over and scrambled to catch up to me, limping slightly with her front right paw. I gave it a quick rub and told her it was fine, then we continued on at an equally relentless pace. Maybellene needs to learn that we keep going when we’re hurt and that around here we give our own compliments.
We ran through the blackened burn zone at the top, passed just under the rocky summit of Bear Mountain at 8,100 ft, picked our way down the steep, barren west side populated by jagged rocks, and upped the pace along the smooth ridge trail heading towards Green Mountain. The clouds had turned to white mist, blowing by quickly and equal to us in altitude. They momentarily revealed the city to the east, way down below, before we passed behind the next ridge. Wild flowers brushed our legs and stained us yellow and green with pollen. The trees thickened as the burn thinned. The sun beat down and I continued sweating, already drenched from the effort up Shadow Canyon. It was a good day to be out in nature. A very good day.
A little over two hours in and we stopped for a minute to eat some Cliff Bloks. Maybellene had one square, I had two. We would save the second serving for later. We were both thirsty but the single bottle of Osmo I’d been carrying was nearing its end. I didn’t give Maybellene any. She could lap up her fill at a creek if she wanted…though we never stopped so not really.
We summited Flagstaff, turned back and summited Green Mountain, carefully picked our way down Saddle, and made a left onto Ranger. The trees continued to thicken and grow tall around us as we lost elevation. From Ranger we headed down Gregory Canyon, took a wrong turn at the base and went part way up Amphitheater, backtracked, did a loop around Bluebell with aching knees, ankles, hips, feet, Achilles (whoops I was supposed to stop running when that happened), and finally limped down Chataqua trail to the parking lot. 18.2 miles, +5,000 ft of climbing, 3 hours, 50 minutes. It felt a lot longer than that.
The first thing Maybellene did when we slowed to a walk in the parking lot was pee, right on the cement with a large puddle forming under her feet. I didn’t care at all. I bent over and put my hands on my knees, not out of breath, I was just out of working skeletal support. My lower back was gone, actually everything lower than mid torso was ready for the grave. The ride home, pulling 75 pounds of trailer and dog, would likely be very slow.
But once I was on the bike I felt great. Fresh as a daisy. Go figure.