April “news”

Our “Why” ~By Christian Martin

I recently unpacked yet another box from moving almost a year ago. Apparently, the stuff in that box stuffed away with all my other stuff I don’t use regularly needed some air.  Anyway, I found an interesting item I created many moons ago in that box, which I forgot I still had, a personal mission statement.

It’s a simple statement on how I wanted to live my life at a time of great flux while changing careers and taking on huge responsibilities both personal and professional. At the time, I thought of how a mission statement guides businesses and organizations and figured why not do the same for my own personal life to help guide me through the transition of growth.  It made me think of our club today.

Today, as our club grows and evolves—from new board members to a new educational series that just kicked off—the board thought it an important aspect for us to revisit our mission statement and update it. It reflects what our passions and values are as a club.  Here it is…

San Juan Mountain Runners is a nonprofit organization that encourages runners of all ages and abilities to gather for motivation, competition, and socialization.

Encouraging and motivating new runners (both new to the sport and runners new to the area) were at the top of the pile of ideas during our brainstorming sessions. There’s a lot of passion in our club to help anyone who wants to get out and start moving, no matter if it’s a slow jog, or a walk, or those training for an event.  Even the educational series to provide great information on exercise and healthy living was birthed out of these sessions. Pretty exciting stuff!

Thank you to our board of directors who worked hard on this. Thank you to all of you who are a part of this great club.

Oh, as far as my old mission statement? I dusted it off. Placed it on my bookcase in the living room that I frequent so I can see it most days of the week. It might be time for an update on that too.      ~Cheers


Copyright John T. Unger

(used by permission of author)

Stretch with the knee bent.

Now that our hiking trails are drying out and have few and small snowdrifts, it’s time to head uphill again.  The calf muscles of every hiker and trail runner are being called on to perform, often after a winter of different physical activity or, worse, inactivity. The sharp twang of a micro tear in a suddenly strained calf muscle often can be prevented by the use of some early season awareness and proactive efforts.

Your calf is built in two layers. The outer layer of muscles begins above the knee and ends at the heel bone via your Achilles tendon. The inner layer of muscle begins below the knee, instead, and also joins the heel by means of the Achilles tendon.  All of the calf muscles are at some risk of straining (any tearing of muscle cells and fibers) if they gradually have become shortened and then are forced to lengthen before they are ready.

After our extended winter and a cold spring, many active people have calves that are now adapted to downhill skiing, cycling, elliptical trainer and treadmill use. Making the transition to hiking or trail running uphill will require gradual lengthening of calf and Achilles tendon and some retraining of muscle and nerve firing patterns to activate these muscles more smoothly.

Want to hike or run uphill? To make it happen, your calf muscles must contract to propel you up the slope a step at a time. They also are stabilizing your trunk and the weight of the water bottle in your day-pack, while redistributing the force of impact of your foot with the ground. We are built this way to allow no single group of tissues to get overloaded, whether arch, knee or hip. Now let’s help this amazing mechanism to work at its best so you can get yourself up to those high mountain lakes.

Take a rubber band and put it in your refrigerator for 10 minutes. Then take it out and stretch it. Maybe it will lengthen, but probably not as far as if it were warmed up. Maybe that cold rubber band instead will snap in tow. Now imagine that rubber band to be one of thousands of muscle fibers in your right calf.  Stretching a muscle that has not been adequately warmed up may raise the risk of injury. Instead, begin with a slow hike from the trailhead for the first 10 minutes. Now you are allowing your muscles to rhythmically contract and generate heat among the tissues, further lubricating and lengthening their fibers.  The less your calf fibers behave as if they are a rubber band from the refrigerator, the better your hiking day (and summer) will be.  After that slow first half-mile hike or mile run, your lower legs can more readily benefit from a stretch.

Stretch with the knee straight.

​Face a rock wall or a tree, place your forearms flat on it, put one leg in front of the other, and keep the back heel on the ground. Then slowly push your belly button toward the wall or tree, until you feel a distinct draw on the rear leg’s calf. Take this opportunity to breathe in and out slowly half a dozen times while you relax the leg being stretched.

When you have the rear leg locked at the knee, you are benefiting the outer layer of muscles, which is good and may prevent a strain. By repeating this stretch with the knee partially bent, you can stretch the deeper muscle layer, which often gets neglected.  That preventive health step is highly effective, low risk and does not cost a cent.  Choose a tree on a spectacular mountain trail and enjoy the view while lessening any chance of calf injury — because there is another trail on the neighboring mountain that is calling your name this summer, too.

John Unger is a Diplomate of the American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians with 30+ years of experience in keeping athletes and families healthy and active. For more information:  www.sportsdocunger.com.

SJMR inaugural Educational Series a huge success!

~article submitted by Mary Plumb~

Thanks to Jill Burchmore, certified ChiRunning coach, a mixed crowd of 22 were ‘running in their bikinis’ in the parking lot at the Montrose Rec Center Thursday evening April 5th. That was just one of the visuals Jill gave us to think about while trying to run a mindful, effortless and efficient way. Chi Running is all about keeping centered and initiating movement from an engaged core…a basic concept for all aspects of life, right?  Thus the name “Chi”, which is defined as the body’s vital force or energy.  Other key components to ChiRunning are:

  • A slight forward lean from the ankles
  • 90’ bend in the elbows as they go behind the body
  • Maintaining a cadence of 180 at all times
  • Midfoot strike – just behind the ball of the foot
  • Look ahead to a focal point in the distance to keep your head and body lifted

If you are interested in learning more about ChiRunning contact Jill at http://www.telluriderun.com, purchase the book by Danny Dreyer, or check out a video on YouTube.  Alternatively, join us at any of our social runs and get some tips from one who participated…but don’t forget your bikini!

Stay tuned for our next workshop, coming up around July 1. If you have any resources or requests for subjects please contact Mary Plumb atscaryplumb@mac.com.  A big thank you to all that attended, brought a friend, or spread the word!


*submitted by Scott Gleason*

With eight runners and a handful of devoted cheerleaders, SJMR was well-represented at this year’s Canyonlands Half Marathon and 5 Mile race in Moab.  The Moab surroundings and downtown vibe make this a kind of “local destination race” and some of our crew didn’t pass up the opportunity to carb up the night before with great Italian food from Pasta Jay’s.

The race course itself, running along the Colorado River canyon, is nothing less than spectacular; and getting bathed in sunshine as the sun rises above the canyon walls is a welcome change in the middle miles of the race.​

Post-race festivities included . . . wait for it . . . ICE CREAM SANDWICHES(!!) . . . as well as some excellent brews from Moab Brewery.  Follow this up with a soak in the hot tub at the Gonzo Inn or your choice of Airbnb accommodation, and you’ve got yourself an excellent weekend getaway.

So . . . mark your calendars for next year and let your January and February race training be penance for your Christmas and New Years excesses.   If you’re still on the fence about next year, here’s a link to YouTube video that might do the trick:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKy6X-JBnUg

Sherry Heinel, Ammon Leggett, Jesse Long, Barb Latham, Scott Gleason, Jan Peart, Julie Osborne​


The Black Canyon Ascent Run and Challenge Walk is scheduled for May 19th at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.  This event features a tough, scenic 6-mile course starting at an elevation of 6500′ and climbing almost 2,000′ to the rim of the Black Canyon National Park. For over 40 years, beautiful vistas and scenic surroundings have inspired people to challenge themselves and the competition in this classic Western Colorado event.  Registration fee is $35 until April 19th and youngsters (13 and under) are FREE with paid adult.  SJMR members also get a $10 discount (so if you haven’t renewed your membership yet, now is a good time to do it).  Club members can contact Jan Peart at jbridgway@msn.com for the discount code.  To register online click here

Mark Your Calendars!  The 3rd Annual Girls on the Run 5K will be held this May 12th.  This 5K is the culmination of the spring Girls on the Run program that runs in many of the local schools.  Girls learn a variety of topics including health, wellness, self-esteem, etc.  And they run… building up to running their first 5K.  And we need volunteers!  This is a fun event to volunteer at… options include: set up, tear down, registration, course marshals, course sweepers, course fairies, bicycles to lead the course, water / aid station, finish line helpers…  contact Julie Osborne at julieosborne@alpinebank.com or 970-433-8271.

As part of the Freedom Festival organized as a fundraiser for Welcome Home Alliance for Veterans, there will be a 5K fun run and walk on June 9th.  More info on specifics as we get closer to that date will be posted.

The Trail Town 5 & 10 mile races are scheduled for June 30th this year in conjunction with the Ridgway RiverFest.  This event takes place in Ridgway, Colorado nestled in a valley surrounded by the majestic San Juan Mountains. The race features stunning views of mountain peaks and velvety green pastures.  The course is on a runner-friendly gravel road and gently climbs to the east towards the foot of the Cimarron Range. The gentle downhill is the reward heading to the finish. Post-race awards and refreshments await the finishers.  Online as well as day-of-event registration will be available.

For those of you who use Facebook there are several pages to find information on upcoming races and club news:

Montrose & Delta Runners:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/191387481046485/

Black Canyon Ascent:  https://www.facebook.com/events/172864443313645/

Trail Town 5 & 10:  https://www.facebook.com/events/337984243345478/

San Juan Mountain Runners:  https://www.facebook.com/San-Juan-Mountain-Runners-301751839944392/

If you haven’t already done so, you can now pay for your 2018 membership online at our website using PayPal:   http://www.sjmr.club/merchandise/

FUN RUNS:  We meet every Saturday morning all year ’round at Looney Bean in Montrose (3480 Wolverine Dr – near JCPenney and Target).  We are currently meeting at 8:30 AM (this changes seasonally).  All abilities, all ages, walkers, joggers, runners all welcome.

We meet on Tuesday evenings April through October at 6 PM at the West Main Trail Head (corner of W. Main & Chipeta) for a 5K (or more – your choice).   This is a marked course which is a flat and easy 5K on the paved trail along the beautiful Uncompahgre River through Baldwin Park.  Hope to see you there!

You were born to run.  Maybe not that fast, maybe not that far, maybe not as efficiently as others.  But to get up and move, to fire up that entire energy-producing, oxygen-delivering, bone-strengthening process we call running. ~ Florence Griffith Joyner

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