BHS 100K

Here is some video and pictures from the 2013 Bishop Ultramarathon. I completed the 100K in 14 hours 22 minutes.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Bootleg Canyon, Trails and Running Upright Running

Bootleg Canyon (expect lots of rocks and tight, winding single track trails with lots of climbing)

      The surrounding mountains and deserts of Las Vegas are ripe with trails for runners and mountain bike riders.  Bootleg Canyon located in Henderson (south-east  of Las Vegas valley) has some popular and challenging single track trails.  The Saturday Morning Ultra Team (SMUT)  meets out there for a group run most Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings.  See there web site for more info.

Here is a look at some of the trails.
The trails are well maintained but not well marked so don't feel bad if you get a little lost out there.  However, it is not too hard to find your way back as it is easy to keep landmarks like the city, the highway or the lake in view.  I would rate the trails as Las Vegas' most challenging trail as they are rocky, tight, twisting with lots of uphill and downhill.  Here is a look at a 10 miler I ran last Saturday morning where 10 miles produced 1400 feet of climbing.

 I was very happy during this run to make a personal running discovery.  I have been running primarily trails since last January when I increased my total mileage and  numbers of hours training as I am progressed to running ultras.  Running trails is easy on the body and mind as the trails are softer surfaces than roads and being out in natural surroundings for long periods of time is more enjoyable than running on roads.  The trade-off is trail running is more challenging in the sense that you have to pay more attention to your footing and depending on the difficulty of the trail your running pace will be on average 50% slower.   I had developed a fairly decent running posture while running on the roads and a fairly efficient and quick stride rate.  Good running posture entails running upright with your pelvis directly over your knees and your torso and shoulders above your pelvis.  Meb Keflezighi says he envisions a cable extending from the sky that is attached to his head and pulling him upright.  All elite runners also maintain a stride rate of 180 steps per minute or faster.  It's just more efficient to run this way.  However, the increased difficulty of running trails make running with good posture more difficult.  I find myself constantly leaning forward looking down at the trail trying to avoid the next obstacle.

My running discovery was that running with good posture on trails instantly and radically decreases leg fatigue.  I have been struggling with quads that are slow to recover over the last few months.  I had been attributing this to all the hills and mountains I had been including in my training, but I know that much of it has to do with poor running posture.  The bending forward puts increase strain on my quads. Every time I would become conscious of my running posture and get back into an upright stance the fatigue in my quads would go away.  Before I knew it, my legs were happily spinning under my body and I was bouncing down the trail again.  Whenever, I would lose focus and start leaning forward my quads would start to get sore again - pretty cool.

Anton Krupicka has one of the best examples of excellent running posture and stride.  Here is some video to watch for yourself

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