Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Trail running as a contact sport

Ah, to be slightly injured. Most endurance athletes develop nagging muscle pains or tendon issues that slowly build into an overuse injury. I actually haven't had one of those in a while. But minor blunt force trauma, that's something I know all to well. I'm appalled by all of the scars I've accumulated since I moved to California — both elbows, both knees, upper right leg, left forearm. A woman in her thirties with no involvement in contact sports should not be wracking up this many scars. I was out of commission for several weeks last year after a mountain bike crash ripped open my right elbow, but most of the rest are from running crashes, simple tripping and falling. Just so horribly clumsy. I know what I'm doing wrong but still make mistakes, and sometimes these falls happen for no apparent reason at all. It's funny, and yet, I'm getting to the point where I'm not laughing about it anymore. My clumsiness wasn't nearly as visible when I lived in the land of moss and snow; everything was slow and soft. Year-round dirt is apparently a hazard for someone like me.

Leg bruising. I couldn't include
the bruise on my hip in a photo
without venturing outside
of PG-rated territory.
The day after the Coyote Ridge 50K, I had to miss out on a fun bike ride with friends, and I somehow woke up even more sore the next day. My right leg is bruised but the main concentration of pain was in my right pinkie finger and wrist, and my right hip. The specific pain is in the part of my pelvis that juts out. There's a cut that maybe I ignored after Neosporin application number one, that got infected. There's a bruise, and below that, pain that feels like it's in the bone somehow. It's not severe pain, but noticeable. Beat and I have another long run planned on Saturday, so today I set out on a trail run to test out the pain threshold. The uphill section didn't feel that bad, so I continued for four miles, but the subsequent four miles downhill were grating. Ah, injuries. The hand is feeling better, so that's encouraging.

I've received some great feedback about Half Past Done this week, and I appreciate everyone who weighed in. I've been working on fleshing out the site with more content so new readers have a sense of what it's all about, and then I'll delve deeper into the structure. There are also a couple of writers who have expressed interest in contributing, which is exciting. Here's the articles up since I posted here last:

Enduring gear: A column about the unique origins and lasting usefulness of our favorite pieces of gear. 

A look at some of the gear Eric Larsen is taking to Antarctica.

Going for broke: A spotlight on Nolan's 14 and the three mountain runners who conquered this Colorado mountain challenge this year, the first "finishes" in a decade. Nolan's 14 could be described as Hardrock on steroids, certainly the toughest established 100-mile run in the Rockies.

Again, feedback and suggestions are appreciated. For "Jill Outside," I've been working on some year-in-review stuff. Then, later this month, Beat and I have cold and dark trip to Fairbanks, Alaska, scheduled for Christmas break that should generate some funny frosty face pictures. Just in case you were worried I'm slowly abandoning this site with whining about bruises and link-backs to my other blog. Thanks for reading.


  1. Hey Jill,

    I like the new site; like the idea and the content. If I had one criticism, and granted, this is just really personal opinion/preference, it'd be the design. I think this looks like so many other endurance websites; be them cycling, running, etc.; in that it falls into the trap of looking so basic, so austere. That look & feel seems to be so pervasive among endurance websites that I wonder if it's some sort of unwritten rule in the endurance community or something... :)

    Anyway, my recommendation is to just warm it up a bit, give it a little bit of color. Make it feel different.

    Anyway, that's my two cents, if it's even worth that much. Regardless, I like what you've started, and wish you much success with it.


  2. Darn, I have really liked this site. What I've liked are the personal observations and insights. I will miss those on the new site.

  3. My dad once told me that boys wouldn't like me if I had too many scars.

    Luckily, I'm finding that not to be true. :)

  4. Fonk, thanks for the feedback. I agree with you, and would love to incorporate a more dynamic design. Right now I'm using a standard Wordpress theme with a few minor tweaks, which is about all I'm capable of doing on my own. With the help of a Web designer, I'm sure I could develop something more compelling. Hopefully someday. I will say though, as someone with a newspaper background, I tend to prefer a clean, basic look to something with so many buttons and graphics zooming around the page that it becomes virtually unreadable. Of course, there's a happy medium.

    Mary — I didn't say I was going to stop posting at Arcticglass. It's my only outlet for journal entires and most of my photos (and I do enjoy taking photos for the sake of taking photos, but not as fun if you have nowhere to publish them. I guess I could join Flickr) I actually don't see much about this blog changing as I work on a new site, except for a slight redesign that I'm working on. I'm still working on my books, too, although this past week I've definitely cut well into the time I normally spend working on them. I'll find a balance, soon.

    Eszter, that's really funny. Thanks. :)

  5. Oh, definitely don't go flashy; I didn't mean to suggest that. Like you said, too distracting. Honestly, I think all it would take is a banner pic with a little color that runs the width of the page, or maybe warm up the bg color just a bit; something simple like that.

    Anyway, good site regardless. I look forward for the content to come, so I can read and think, "those people are nuts." :)

  6. Good looking bruise you got there. I don't bruise much but crash enough while biking that I recently started wearing elbow and knee pads for mountain biking and found a set that works well but is pretty minimal. It is basically arm and knee warmers so I tend to wear it more than my beefier pads and it's made by G-Form ( The only thing is that on sunny days, the black gets a bit warm and I wish the knee pads were a little higher so they can tuck under my the bottom of my bike short hem like regular knee warmers. Other than that I wear them instead of having pads sitting in my garage. It might be worthwhile to check out the elbow pads for you while running. I am in no way affiliated with them.

    I like Half Past Done website since I'm getting into more endurance events and it has been tough finding information about it. The aspect I like the most is the adventure part and how there are like-minded people out there. Seeing your Nolan post, it was funny that I used to rock climb with Jared over 10 years ago in SLC. Small world.

    I'm glad you are going to keep this blog going since I love looking at your pictures and reading your stories.

  7. I am scandalized by your sexy bruised thigh photo.

  8. "The purpose of life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave with a well-preserved body, but rather to Slide in Sideways, completely used up, yelling and screaming, what a ride!" — Author Unknown

    You're well on your way!


  9. Jill
    I just wanted to let you know I downloaded Be Brave Be Strong to my Kindle a few weeks ago. I loved it. You are a very gifted writer

    Mary from FL (used to be Mary from NC)


Feedback is always appreciated!