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Fitness/Health, Misc.

Ultrarunner Jumps a Rattlesnake and Hits a PR

Kyle Pietari, one of the ultrarunner’s that I sponsor was in the foothills logging the miles to prep  for Leadville 100 in a few weeks and came across this bad boy on the trail.

The rattle was going et. all. It got me to thinking of an article I wrote awhile back on the Denver Chiropractic Center site.  This is for all the trail runners and folks who like to wander off the well worn path.  Enjoy (and heed the advice)!

Excerpted from DenverBack.com/Stripling 
This weekend I had a chance to do some trail running at Green Mountain near Denver,  it is a beautiful area to run and close enough to the city for after work runs.  Started the run at 8:30AM and it was already a sweltering 87 degress.  About 2 miles in, a mountain biker passed me and asked if I saw the rattlesnake about 200 yards back.  It is important to note that my fear and discomfort around snakes rivals that of Indiana Jones. “I HATE SNAKES!”  I stopped running in my tracks and decided to head back up the trail to warn my running partner who was behind me.  I found the rattlesnake from a distance so it was with more curiosity than fear that I approached it.  This was my first rattlesnake I have ever seen outside of a zoo.  I studied it until my running partner caught up and then we ran on.  It was pretty cool.  No big deal. 

This experience got me thinking of some of the other inherent dangers to trail running.  Besides wild life which should always be treated with respect and given plenty of space ( I once saw a squirrel in Washington Park rip open a woman’s finger who was trying to feed it), these are wild animals for a reason (see the Siegfried and Roy disaster for a good example).   Weather is a factor that is much more likely to put you in danger,  always hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.  This means plenty of layers if you are running at higher elevations where the weather can change quickly (gloves and hats are a must when the wind really picks up).  Although if you are running/hiking for just an hour or two at mild elevations you can relax a bit.  Hydration/nutrition is another crucial element that you must be aware of.  The rough guideline is to take in some sort of calories if you are running for longer than an hour (GU gel or Cliff Blocks work well).  I run with a Nathan water bottle and strap on my hand anytime I run out of habit.  This holds about a pint of water, and if you hydrate properly beforehand this should be enough for most runs.  Also keep some food and water in the car for after the run, especially if you have a long drive ahead of you.   As my training milage increases on the trail I may invest in a Camelbak water system and the very least another Nathan water bottle.  Dehydration is a very real risk and for mountain runners, the combination of that and elevation sickness can be disasterous.

                The last thing I want to mention today is the trail terrain itself.  Trail running is excellent for strengthening muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the entire ankle joint because of the instability it presents.  Unfortuately this unstable footing also increases chances for many falls, sprained/rolled ankles, and other injuries (I have a friend who subluxated her jaw last week when she took a fall after taking her eyes off the trail for only a moment).  Be sure that you are lifting your foot high enough to clear the rocks, roots, and other debris.  It is also very important to run with light and nimble feet so that you can adjust your footing when needed.  Keep your weight over your center of gravity which will increase your stability, and you can use your arms to help balance you.  Trail running is almost like a dance, especially when you are barreling downhill.  Ankle strengthening and stability is something that should be done on a regular basis and is something that we can help you with in the office.  If you do happen to twist an ankle or otherwise injure yourself, come into the office and using Active Release Technique we can help decrease the pain and swelling and get you back on the trail!  Trail running is an excellent form of exercise and lets you enjoy the outdoors the way they were meant to be enjoyed.  Prepare well, be safe, and have fun!


Here is the workout Keri and I got in yesterday.  It’s been awhile since I’ve done some grinds (slow lifts focusing on muscular contraction), forgot how fun it is.  The inverted rows wrecked havoc on the lats today ( in a GOOD way).

Joint Mobility 10 min

Dynamic Warm-Up 5-10 min

Circuit (performed as an ‘I go, you go’ scheme with Keri.  Otherwise rest 45-60 sec between exercises if you are training solo.)

  • 32kg KB Press 5×3/arm
  • Inverted Row 5×5
  • Hanging Leg Raises 5×7
  • Mtn. Climbers 5×20/leg

Static Stretch/ Foam Roller


About Dr. Jeff Stripling

Hey everyone, I am a Rolla, Missouri-based Active Release Technique (ART) chiropractor who specialises in musculoskeletal injuries, sports injuries, and active physical rehabilitation. Some things that are near and dear to my life are family and friends, my relationship with God, cycling, kettlebells, hiking/climbing, and QUALITY food and drink.


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