Trail Running Challenge Blog (Ethan Banks)

The Week Of The Cruel Calendar & The Case Of The Pointless Chiropractor

This was one of those weeks where I felt like my calendar got the better of me. Some weeks are like that. Lots of meetings and recordings. Projects with due dates. Inbox overflowing with inane pitches from PR people. Music practice. On these weeks, I fight to get my training in. This was such a week.

Because I take everything so darn seriously, training included, I find it hard to relax. Training becomes yet another task I need to complete, because hey, I have goals. You don't arrive at your goals without taking the steps to get there. So training feels like additional homework on a day already loaded with tasks. Ironically, when I'm not stressed out, training is super fun and relaxing. I can't win.

I just looked back at my run log for the week, and every run happened later and later in the day. The Monday run I started around 2p. Tuesday? 3:30p. Wednesday was 4:30p. Thursday was 5:30p, and I didn't get the strength work done until about 10p. Too much going on. Too many meetings. Too many tasks to get done. Too many people wanting my attention.

Today (Friday) I did a little better. I've started blocking Fridays off on my calendars so I can have several consecutive hours to focus on projects and get work done. It also lets me get my training done midday more reliably, which is helpful in winter when I want to be outdoors. I caught a little sunshine on a 90 minute hill run on PrkrMtn after I did my strength work early afternoon.

Observations From The Week


If I'm going to get my strength work done, I really have to do it before the run. When I get back from a run, I'm soaked. I have to change. I'm tired. I need to hydrate. All I really want to do is get in the shower, roll out, and relax. Not do a strength workout.


While doing a treadmill run this week, I discovered that I've got something off with my gait. At least, I think I do. When staring at my feet, my observation is that my left foot goes straight ahead, while my right points inward a little bit. An asymmetric gait, if that is indeed what's going on, is interesting because I've been having trouble with my right side chain.

Over the last few weeks, I've had several minor issues I've been working around. A right hamstring strain that I think was the result of overly zealous dead lifts. Right IT band irritation--not just at the outside of the knee, but up in the hip as well. I also have more trouble with the right side when doing one-sided strength work-weaker & tougher to balance on work like one-armed dead lifts.

So what's going on with the right side? I don't know, but it's something I'd like to get sorted and behind me before the snow is gone in the mountains. That gives me about three months. Coach K has recommended Steady State Health as she's had very good experience with them. Working with folks like at Steady State who understand athletes and runners specifically has a lot of appeal.


I have been working with a chiropractor, but I don't think I'm getting any value from that relationship at this point. The chiropractor runs in and out in about ten minutes. He is obsessed with fixing my shoulder which has an impingement that's a minor inconvenience. I've told him it's pretty much fine as long as I do the stretching he's prescribed, but he's not hearing me. That would be due to the in and out in ten minutes or less routine.

I figured out the last time I was in there that the shoulder obsession is partly because he gets to bill my insurance for not one adjustment (my back) but two. The last few visits, I feel worse when I leave, not better, and nothing is improving in my right side chain. So...yeah. Done with the mindless insurance billing, plus my co-pay of course.


My cardio fitness continues to improve. My SO and I used to have pretty much identical HR performance when running and hiking trails together. Today, she and I did a short section of trail. I was clocking 118bpm, and her 137!

She's been training for a half marathon for I think 12 weeks, while I've been doing low HR training for endurance events for the last 8 weeks. I'd say the low HR training is starting to pay off for me. Don't get me wrong--she's a faster runner than me, but also has developed enough of a knee problem that she's going to take a week 100% off her feet. She's not even sure she's going to hike. So training for a half vs. endurance is all about those goals, I guess. While running 13.1 miles as fast as I can is a type of suffering I have no interest in, endurance running 30+ miles over mountain terrain is suffering I'm all about.

I was climbing the lower section of Gardner's Trail on PrkrMtn today, and it didn't register as steeply as it used to. I was able to run quite a bit more of it, and that was in snowshoes on sort of soft, lightly packed snow. Fat bikes had been on it, but it was warm outside. So I was losing a lot of energy into the trail surface, but still able to run segments of the climb without blowing up my HR.

Progress Is Real

When I got back from the 90 minute snowshoe run, I could have kept going with no issue. I was feeling really comfortable. Once I stopped, I could tell my right side was a little tight between my knee and hip, but no pain & plenty in the tank.

Tomorrow is a big snowstorm in the forecast, probably the biggest of the season. 8-14" predicted. The plan is to throw on a hardshell and head up the hill in breaking snowshoes for 2-3 hours depending on how miserable it is out there. I'll stay out longer if it's not too windy. We'll see. I'm supposed to get some moderate HR work in, and I don't want to do it on the treadmill. So I'm thinking breaking snowshoes in deep, accumulating snow on the steeper side of PrkrMtn might let me get the HR cranked least a little.