East of home and visible from my office window, Logan Peak looms proudly in the background. Even more looming (in my mind at least) has been the Logan Peak Trail Run, a 28 mile, 7261 foot elevation, ultra-marathon. By ‘ultra’ standards this is about as short as they get, but still, for a non-runner, I have considered this endeavor untouchable since learning about it a few years ago. In late May of this year a friend texted me around midnight to let me know that he had signed up for the race and that a single spot remained. Until this point in my life paying someone to time me running sounded a lot like paying for a series of well-executed punches to the face (with aid stations of course). But it was late, and just like an infomercial, the deal seemed too good to be true and I committed. Eight weeks to train and very minimal running endurance in reserve. No problem, I’ll hop online, research “8 week marathon training plans”, then start running. It didn’t take long to realize that even Google didn’t want me to run. Not only was there a drought of eight-week plans available online, but there was even more criticism to be found for shortcutting rookies wanting to ramp up too quickly. Next step, print out a 16 week plan and delete every-other week. Brilliant. Everything was going great until a 17 mile trail run a few weeks deep in the plan. On the seventh mile of a technical downhill section I had the unmistakable feeling of being shot in the knee cap. I couldn’t recall any gunfire, which seemed odd, so I proceeded to run-it-off. This lasted for exactly three more steps. Those who have experienced Iliotibial Band Syndrome before, know what followed; hours of research online, conflicting information, people trying to sell e-books on the subject, foam rolling, chi-running technique, new shoes, stretching, rest, ice, etc. I won’t waste your time by rehashing any of this. It is all out there in abundant quantities of confusion. Three weeks until race day, I tried, but failed, to stay on schedule. One week before the race I made a last attempt at a six mile trail run to gauge my healing progress; defeat. Long term, I knew that to beat IT Band Syndrome I would need to strengthen my hips and glutes to balance out my quads. Short term, I needed a bandaid solution, and quick (Wonder if any kids at the skatepark sell performance enhancing drugs?). I had read mixed reviews on IT Band straps, but decided to take a chance on this one anyway: Protec IT Band Wrap. I am not going to go into how/why it works here, other than to say that the idea behind it makes sense. The instructions in the packaging were terrible, and online not much info was available either. I’ll help out with that below.
Race day arrived and I fully expected that somewhere between mile 6 and 17 I would be stranded in the woods. Miraculously 28 miles passed under my pain-free Iliotibial. Anecdotal evidence? Definitely. Do I care? No. Add to this two more months of healthy post-race running and I am a believer.
How to wear an IT Band strap: