Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Local Runs, Muscle Fatigue And Exhaustion, Twitter, Transvulcania

Local Runs, Muscle Fatigue and Exhaustion, Twitter, Transvulcania

Been trapped to the local hills lately, and with a couple big plans this summer I've been trying to get in some solid vert. and miles. My local mountain is Lookout Mountain, which if you approach from Chimney Gulch can give you 2,000' of vert in one go, and if you approach from Apex is about the same. The other day I did a Double Lookout, which involved going up Apex and then on to the top of Lookout before dropping down Chimney Gulch to the highway. I then turned around and reversed the route, getting in 18 miles and 5,000' of climbing in 2:46. It was a mellow day, and I only ran into a few other people out on the trails, which was really nice as I imagined I had the whole mountain to myself. Today, with the new snow I did 4 laps on Apex for 16 miles and 4,200' of climbing in 2:31. I was wearing the new La Sportiva Bushido's today, which I got a demo pair to try out. They felt pretty good. They were really light and nimble, but also felt like they had a lot of stability and the extra rubber on the toe just bumps off any rocks you may hit. I'll be putting them through some solid miles before giving a final verdict and review.

In between I tried to do a track session to see if my times had increased at all. Sunday morning was the day the blizzard rolled in, so I was out trying to push through 400s and 800s with sleet, snow, and freezing wind/rain. Needless to say, my times were about the same, which given the conditions I will take as a sign of improvement. If it had been nice with no wind, I think my times would have reflected a bit of an improvement. Hopefully next Sunday will be good.

I joined Twitter a week or so ago, and have really enjoyed it so far. I've already had a cool conversation or two with several Olympic medalists and some other runners, as well as a couple climbers and people in the biz. However, one of the more recent interesting conversations that I have just watched has been between a couple sports scientists over interpretation of data and results concerning muscle fatigue and exhaustion. The article that started it off, and has now been edited, is here. On Twitter Samuele Marcora really took Ross Tucker to task, and the back and forth between the two was great to watch and learn from. A couple interesting articles were posted (here and here). Needless to say, the research concerning whether muscle fatigue actually causes muscle exhaustion is very interesting, and from what I can gather, Samuele Marcora and colleagues work demonstrates that muscle fatigue does NOT cause muscle exhaustion. This is big in terms of endurance sports, and points to other things going on then just muscle fatigue and lack of energy. For example, is there a Central Governor, and can you defeat it? Apparently yes, there is one and yes it is possible to bypass it. How and whether you can at will is still up for debate. My degree is in psychology, and I certainly have had experience and know others who have been able to harness their mind to push beyond fatigue situations. There have also been times, however, when that has not been possible - the level of exhaustion was too great to overcome. The question is, how do we distinguish between these two situations and use that knowledge to our advantage.

Transvulcania was an amazing race, as always. A good video on some behind the scenes stuff with KJ and others here. There is also a nice interview with Sage Canaday from a Spanish website here (interview in English). My biggest question is how does KJ handle the downhills? Skimo is almost equivalent to speed hiking/running up hills, so I can understand how he does so well on the climbs, but skimo does nothing for the downhills and your quads. Does he just have a really soft touch? Can he just suffer better then anyone else? I would imagine his quads would blow up, especially on the 8,000' downhill near the end, but they didn't. Simply amazing.

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