Monday, November 29, 2010
I have still been running in the Vibrams. Usually about 2 times per week on my shorter runs. So far all has been well. I still feel a little pull in my calf but it does not seem to progress into anything more so I keep running. I have changed from 30 second stretches to 2 minute stretches. I read that the 2 minute stretches are better for you.
I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas!
Thursday, September 23, 2010
I've never run or hiked at night so I had to order one of the headlamps that they offered on the race entry website. You were not allowed to run without a head lamp; which is wise during night run.
The race started promptly at 8. I decided to start out about mid way in the pack of runners. I was not planning on running the race hard and did not want to delay any fast runners behind me. Unfortunately that allowed a bunch of slower runners in front of me.
We started off at the top of the main parking lot and ran past a shelter over the paved road and onto the Mountain Creek trail. We then took a quick left onto the Turtle Creek trail. That trail is very narrow and extremely hard to pass slower runners on. I decided to just go with the flow and tried my best to watch my footing so I did not wipe out. I did have one near fall but caught myself with my hands and kept going. After about a 1/2 mile or so we popped back out onto the paved road. I had not studied the route before hand so I had no idea how long we would be running on the road. Most of the paved road was uphill which helped spread out the flock of runners. I felt really good so far so I decided to pass as many people as I could while there was space. I am not sure where but eventually we turned back onto the Mountain Creek trail and started back towards the finish line.
During the run I was amazed at how much dust and debris I was sucking into my lungs. My bright running light illuminated all of the dust kicked into the air by the runners. There was also a lot of small moths flying around. I am sure I ate a few of those during the run.
The crowd had really spread out on the return trip on Mountain Creek so the running was much more fun. I picked up my pace quite a bit during the second half of the race. It was really neat running on those trails at night. I was starting to tire a little near the end as we emerged back onto the paved road for the final stretch. I did not realize how close the finish line was until it was too late. According to my Garmin the race was actually about 2.86 miles instead of 3.1. I usually like to sprint the last hundred yards but I did not get that chance, which is fine.
Thanks to Half Moon Outfitters we had lots of water to drink and food to eat at the finish line. Half Moon Outfitters and the race volunteers really did a great job. I appreciate all of the hard work they put in to make a successful event. Thanks again! The race was a blast.
Have a great day.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
I felt good the morning of the race and to "enhance" my performance I tried an ABB Ripped Force energy drink. I had tried one of those with good results on the Milliken Earth Run so I thought I would give it a try in this race.
We started off at the upper picnic shelter and ran down the road and through the parking lot to spread us out. My plan was to go at it hard until we hit the Mountain Creek trail to get in front of the slower runners. I believe I ran a little too fast. By the time I hit the Mountain Creek trail I was panting hard. I continued up the Mountain Creek and then took a left on the Sulphur Springs. By the time I crossed over the road I was beat. I looked at my Garmin and noticed my pulse was at 193. I have never seen it that high before. The morning was warm and humid and I think the high heat index coupled with the energy drink made my heart rate soar. I got a little nervous so I walked for about 2 minutes to catch my breath. I then continued on at a slower pace. By the time we climbed up the rocks by the dam I was approaching the 190 beats per minute again. Fortunately there is a good downhill after that climb. This gave me a small amount of time to recover.
The worse hill was still yet to come! Coming off the connector trail we hit the road and started the steep climb up the only portion of road that you actually run for a distance on. It is a very tough hill. Somehow I actually continued a jog up that hill without stopping. Knowing that I had some good down hill stretches ahead of me helped motivate me through this portion of the run.
Once I passed the Archery Range picnic shelter the trail is a steep and treacherous downhill. It is difficult when you are tired because I tend to not pick up my feet as high and catch them on the roots and rocks. I struggled through the remainder of the run just hoping the finish line would appear soon.
Approximately 1/8 mile from the end a friend of mine passed me up. That bummed me out because I did want to beat him in this race! As we turned onto the final trail for the finish I decided to suck it up and try to catch him. I actually got close enough to grab him if I wanted but we got into a jumbled group at the end so he actually ended up two people in front of me.
My finish time was 39:27. That put me at 57th place, which I suppose is good for me. The Vibrams felt great. Even though I was exhausted most of the race I never tripped or stumbled in them. No blisters either! My feet must be toughening up! I really like running the trail runs in the Vibrams. However, I believe I will skip the ABB Ripped Force next time. I suspect that may have caused my excessive heart rate.
My next post will be on the Moonshiner 5K. I did that run last night and it was a blast. I will describe it in the next post.
So conclusion is: the Vibrams are definitely great for running trails. I still don't run for extended periods of time on the road yet. As much as I am trying not to be, I am still somewhat of a heel striker. That is something you don't want to do in the Vibrams.
Have a great day!
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
I went out today (July 27th) to give it a try. I have to admit I ended up wimping out a little. I started off with a 2 mile warm up. I added some butt kicks and some high stepping into the run. After the run I stretched out a little to loosen up. I set my Garmin for 8 repetitions of 20 seconds with 10 second intervals. I then let loose with my first sprint. Well, since I have aged I don’t sprint too often unless someone or something is chasing me. A 20 second sprint is a looooonnnng time! Conversely a 10 second rest period is a short time. When the Garmin signaled the 20 seconds were over and I slowed down to a walking pace, the 10 second rest was done! After about 6 repetitions I had to take a 30 second break instead of a 10 second break. My last couple of sprints was more of a slow run. I think I need learn to take the pain and crash through my lactate threshold. I was not satisfied with my performance at all. Next time out I need to give my all for that brief 4 minutes.
Has anyone else out there tried any high intensity training? I like the idea and plan on incorporating it into my work out routine. I must say that I don’t necessarily look forward to it. Hopefully I can bump up my running ability some. I have been stuck at a little above 7 minute mile pace for a 5K for about two years now. I would really love to get below the 7 minute mile for the 5K and also break a 6 minute mile pace for 1 mile.
We will see what happens. I plan on doing the Tabata twice a week.
PS: Another thing about sprinting is it is hard on your body. I was amazed at how my legs, knees, and ankles were sore. If you have not sprinted in a while you might want to start out slowly.
Have a great day!
Friday, July 23, 2010
After arriving on site I noticed that I did not bring a course map so I decided to start off at the park entrance and run the 6K course from memory. After the brief ½ mile run on pavement I turned right onto Mountain Creek Trail. The beginning of the trail is full of rocks so I had to be careful but then it quickly turns into dirt and the going was easy. After about a mile or so you turn left onto Sulphur Springs trail, you then cross the paved road and start up the trail to the right near the picnic shelter. This section of trail as you head towards the dam probably gave me the most difficulty. It is full of roots so I had to really concentrate on my foot placement.
I continued on Sulphur Springs and unknowingly took a short cut. The last time I ran the Paris Mountain Run it was a 6K and we turned up at this small shelter before the dam. However, now the run is a 7K and you go to the dam. Nevertheless, I continued on down towards the paved road then took a left on the paved road and headed up hill. For me this is probably the toughest part of the run because it is a steep grade. I have seen many people just walk up that road and I have to admit it is exhausting. But I managed to continue a slow pace up the hill and turned right onto Archery Range trail, and then connected back into the Sulphur Springs trail.
At that point I believe you are about ½ done with the run but most of the remaining part of the trail is downhill so that makes you feel a little better.
About 1/8 mile past the connection to Sulphur Springs trail I got stung on the leg by a yellow jacket or some other sort of wasp. I did not see what it was but it put a good sized welt on me. Of course that helped me to quicken my pace a little!
Sulphur Springs connects back into Mountain Creek trail and I finished off the run at the Ranger Station Pavilion.
Due to the fact that I cut a corner my run only came out to 4.13 miles instead of the 4.35 miles. Total time was about 36 minutes which is an okay time I suppose.
Conclusions: The 7K trail run is tough on your ankles and feet, however, with the Vibrams on I must admit my feet where feeling a little more beat up then usual. I did not do any ankle twist but I did step on a couple of painful roots and rocks. All and all I was satisfied with the run and plan on going out there for another test run this Sunday. The Vibrams are starting to look a little worn and have developed a foul odor. I have been washing them thoroughly after runs to help reduce the smell. Some of the stitching is coming loose too. I am not sure how many miles I have in them but I did expect them to hold up a little better.
Have a great day,
Friday, July 9, 2010
Scott Murr is in the story and he is the coauthor of the book Run Less Run Faster. He has been doing some barefoot running along with shod running. He believes that the barefoot running helps to strengthen your feet. I liked the story and it all is very positive towards running barefoot. Check it out if you get a chance!
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
At this point in my bare footing career I can't tell whether I prefer barefoot or shod. Due to my rash of recent heart troubles, my running frequency has dropped. I did have a decent running week at the Outer Banks.
During my family Outer Banks visit we stayed on Roanoke Island in a little resort village named Pirates Cove. They have condos and houses for rent. We rented a little cottage on the canal. It was a great week of relaxing. On Sunday I did a quick 3 miler with my Nikes near the cottage we stayed in. The weather was very humid so I was sweating profusely at the end.
Tuesday I drove down to Nags Heads Woods and did a 4 mile trail run with the Vibrams. This turned out to be more of a complete aerobic work out involving all muscle groups because of the deer fly harassment. I forgot to bring bug spray and was literally attacked for the duration of the run. I call these little buggers deer flies, some people call them yellow flies. Whatever they are, they have a very painful bite! They tend to fly around your head and enjoy actually bumping into your head. Of course when they bump into your head you tend to smack yourself while trying to hit them. I am sure I looked a little crazy running through the trail dodging and weaving and hitting myself in the head. Because of the frenzied running I missed my turn and actually ended up on a dirt road for about 2 miles, I doubled back and completed my run. As far as the Vibrams went, I had a good run. The trail was very sandy in some areas and was difficult to run through. My pace was a little quicker than I had anticipated because of the attacking deer flies.
Thursday I went for a "dock" run. The Pirates Cove village is cool because they have canals all throughout the village. On each side of the canal there is a continuous dock. I actually did a 4 mile run mostly on the docks. The views are beautiful and the run was fun. The joke about taking a long run on a short dock doesn't work there.
I had planned to do a beach run one day but I just ran out of time. I have not run on the beach in years. We returned home from our vacation on July 3rd.
On the 4th I went out for a long run to see if I could still do it. I have not gone over 4 miles for about 3 months! I decided to try it. I made it about 7 miles before I pooped out. My pace was 9 minute miles and I ran that with my Nikes.
To get back into the barefoot grove I have been taking easy 1 mile runs with my daughter. She has taken an interest in running and I really enjoy jogging around our neighborhood with her. She is doing great and progressing well. I have been wearing my Vibrams during these runs.
Well I better stop writing now. I have some more interesting heart stuff to talk about but I need to learn more from my doctor about it. I will be wearing a heart monitor for a while starting next week. More on that later.
Have a great day and God bless you.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Well, I went to the internet and started researching stents. They have drug infused stents and bare metal stents. The bare metal stents tend to block back up, sometimes very quickly. There are three main ways that they can block up. (1) The trauma at the site may cause blot clotting. (2) Plaque buildup at the site of the stent. (3) Your artery wall may grow around the stent too much and reduce the blood flow through it. The drug infused stents can still block up from blood clotting and plaque buildup but they do reduce the growth of the artery walls around the stent, at least for a while. Because of the first two reasons you must take blood thinning medication, aspirin, and cholesterol lowing drugs for the rest of your life.
Through all of my research I came to the conclusion that stents are not reliable. The only other options are to have a bypass around the blockages or use drugs to keep your blood thin and try to reduce the buildup in your arteries. Neither of those options seemed like a good idea. So for the 5 days I had to wait for my heart catheter I was really stressed. Those days were filled with a lot of praying to God! The doctors are very set on using these stents and just seem to pop them in at will. I really began to dread the idea of getting stents put in. I figured that would be it for my running.
I finally had the heart catheter and much to my relief the doctor could not find any blockages! I do not know what happened during the chemical stress test to show blockages but the heart catheter did not show any blockages. I was very, very happy about that. I thanked God profusely.
The doctor still made me have an echocardiogram on June 25th. The echo is mainly to evaluate the action of your heart valves. I hope the results of that go ok. It seems like every other test shows some abnormality. I won’t find out the results of the echo until next week. In the mean time I have decided to start jogging again.
On June 26th my family and I have gone on our vacation to the Outer Banks. We are staying on Roanoke Island. I will be doing a couple of runs while on vacation. I am very much relieved that I can relax on this vacation with these potential heart problems behind me.
Have a great day.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
I am about 90% recovered from the calf strain I got last March. I have built myself back up to 4 miles with the Vibrams. About every mile or 2 I needed to stop and stretch out my calves because they fell close to getting another strain. They just feel sort of tight. I have continued with the stretching and the exercising of my calves. I was fully willing (not necessarily ready) to run the 15 K trail run. My plan was to start out with the Vibrams and bring my Nikes in a back pack and change into them if I felt any trouble with my feet. I felt as though I could make it at least 4-5 miles before having any soreness.
However, on Mother’s day I decided to take a nap late in the afternoon. As I lay down I noticed my heart felt like it was beating very hard. I just figured it was something I ate and put up with it. I actually had some tightness of the chest and pain in my chest. But I did not feel bad enough to go to the doctor. I had just had a physical a week before and all seemed good. My EKG was good and my blood pressure was 102/68. My cholesterol was up a little but the doctor felt that I could work on that to lower it. So off and on all week I felt like something was going on with my heart. I had to go out of town for work a couple of days. One of those days I decided to test my heart out with a jog. I put on the Vibrams and jogged 4 miles at a park close by the hotel. I felt ok but it seemed like my heart rate was higher than normal for a slow pace. I got back in town late Thursday and could not get a doctor appointment before the weekend. So I went into the MD360 close by my house. She took an EKG and noticed a “non-specific” abnormality, whatever that is! So they made an appointment for me at a cardiologist. The MD 360 doctor said I was not having a heart attack.
The next week I decided to go to my family doctor. He ran another EKG and said it also showed the non-specific abnormality. That is when the doctor told me to skip the Paris Mountain 15K! Since I was still having tightness in the chest and some pain I decided he was right. I did not run in the race.
I went to the cardiologist and he took another EKG. He said the EKG was okay and it did show some slight difference then normal but he said runners sometimes get that. He actually called it runner’s heart. He told me that I should take a chemical stress test and an echocardiogram. I took the chemical stress test on June 8th. It was very interesting. I thought I would be running on the treadmill. However for this test they put some Thallium in your blood so they can put you on some sort of machine to see your blood flow through your heart. Instead of running on the treadmill they shoot you up with some sort of substance to expand your blood vessels. It made me feel very strange and my pulse shot up from 58 to 99 in about 30 seconds. My blood pressure dropped from 114 to 102 at the same time. They had me wired up to the EKG and said my heart responded correctly. I will not hear the full results for a few more days.
I have not exercised for about 2 straight weeks now. I am getting stir crazy. Most of my heart pains and chest tightness are now gone. I still feel like my heart beats hard when I go up stairs at work. Maybe it always did that and now I notice it more. Once you think something is wrong with your heart you start zoning in on every little thing.
So that is the story. The cardiologist did not tell me not to jog so I went for a 3 mile slow jog last Sunday. I also played racquetball today. I feel almost normal so I figured it must not be a heart attack. Someone mentioned that you can get a mild infection in your heart or even a virus can affect your heart. Maybe that is what happened. When I get the results of my stress test back I will update my blog. I expect it will be normal though.
Have a great day!
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
I was a little tired out on Sunday but I went ahead and ran 5 miles in the morning. I ran with the Nikes and at a nice slow pace. My calf gave a few “twinges” but it did not hurt. Later in the day I played some racquetball with a friend. I also did some bouncing on the trampoline for about an hour with my daughter. Needless to say I was very tired by the end of the day.
I managed to go out Tuesday for a run in the Vibrams. The run felt great and invigorating. Maybe the sun shining and the breeze blowing helped out. I ran about 2 miles then stretched the calves some and ran 2 more. I felt really good and no pain. I still had energy near the end of the run and pushed it a little hard. I ran the last mile in under 8 minute miles, maybe around 7:30 with no problems. The fact that it was downhill most of the way helped too! Later in the day I could feel the calf tightening up from overuse. I stretched it some and it feels ok again. I better tone it down on Thursday. Plus I want to try some of the High Intensity Training next time out. I don’t want to re-injure my calf but I hate not being able to train for 1-1/2 months! I need to get back into the groove.
I have noticed that my foot turnover rate is consistently higher with the Vibrams. I believe I naturally take shorter strides to reduce the impact on my feet but I also speed up my cadence. I tend to run about 75 cadence with my Nikes and 81 with my Vibrams. I also tend to run a little faster in the Vibrams. I ran about 2/3 of the time in the grass. I have to really concentrate while running in the grass to miss all the land mines the friendly dog walkers leave behind.
Have a great day.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
I had to travel last week so my running was off. I tried to use the tread mills at the hotels with poor results. I ran the first night for about 1 mile and felt like my right calf was pulling (not the one that was hurt). I decided to take it easy and quit for that night. Two days later I tried it again. Maybe it is just me or the speed was off on the tread mill but a 10 minute mile felt like a 9 minute mile, 9 felt like 8, and 8 felt like 7. I started off at 10 minutes per mile, sped up to 9, after about 1 mile I sped up to 8. The last mile I tried a seven minute mile and it really beat me down. I suppose I have not run much in the last month but do you lose that much ability so quickly! I finished 3 miles with no calf pain. The next night I did another 3 miles again with no calf pain. My calf feels tight and tingly sometimes but no pain. I have been stretching and exercising both calves. Running on tread mills takes some getting used to. I ran all times in my Nikes.
I ran on Sunday on the road in my Nikes and made it 4 miles with no calf problems. I went relatively slowly and I am just trying to build up my mileage again. I need to get back to 8-10 miles on my longer runs.
I have added a new exercise to my routine. I bought a trampoline for my daughter and we get out there about every other day or so. Bouncing on that thing is a blast and seems to be a good work out. Due to the fact that I am 46 and probably break easier now than I did when I was in my teens I don’t get too wild. I have been trying some flips but with some apprehension. I hope bouncing like that doesn’t hurt my calf again. Meanwhile my daughter is doing flips and front hand springs.
I went for a run Tuesday (April 27th) with the Vibrams. I ran mostly in the grass with some excursions on the street. I felt great until about 2-3/4 miles then all of a sudden I felt like my left calf was going to tear again. I was maintaining an 8:30 minute mile so I was not going too fast, although I was heading up a slight hill. All of sudden it felt like a cramp was getting ready to kick in. I immediately stopped and walked back. There is no pain whatsoever right now. I am just not sure what is going on. I will give it another try on Thursday. I can’t hurt it now because I have the mud run coming up on Saturday. I don’t want to let my team down.
Have a great day!
Thursday, April 15, 2010
I went out Sunday to attempt a 3 mile jog in my Nikes. As mentioned above I jogged on the downhill and level stretches and walked on the uphill stretches. I did make it 3 miles with a slight amount of pain. I just don’t want to aggravate my calf again so I am being extra cautious.
I went out Tuesday to attempt a 4 mile jog in my Vibrams. The first two miles felt great. After mile one I stopped and stretched my calves. I then continued on. The first two miles of the run are mostly down hill. On the way back I could feel my calf pulling. By mile 2.75 I was started to feel pain. I stopped jogging and walked back the remainder. It felt like my calf was on the edge of tearing again.
I have continued doing seated and standing calf raises as well as stretches. I just hope this problem goes away soon! I am going to do another test jog again Thursday.
On another item, I am thinking of adding the Tabata training to my normal routine. I have been reading about it and it is very interesting and sounds fun. I cut and pasted this from the following site: www.trailrunnermag.com in the section named “The Fabulous 4 (Minutes)”.
“Tabata training is downright simple. As previously mentioned, you perform eight 20-second interval sets, with 10 seconds of rest in between each set.
What's an interval? It a short burst of intense activity, in our case, a sprint. Warm up for five to 10 minutes at an easy pace. Then, hold on tight, because the next four minutes will be brutal.
Take off in a full-blown sprint, like someone is chasing you, for 20 seconds. Then rest for 10 seconds, then sprint again for 20 seconds. Do eight sets. Perform the routine over relatively flat terrain, or even a treadmill, because the key is speed.”
There is more to the article. Go to the website and read up on it. I like the idea. I have heard from many sources that adding some intense training into your running regimen helps to improve your performance dramatically. Has anyone out there tried the Tabata? I believe they also have a similar idea named HIIT (high intensity interval training). You can apply the method to running, rowing, weight lifting, swimming, etc. You don’t just have to do running. So getting some high intensity cross training may help.
Please comments with ideas on the Tabata or HIIT training. I would like to hear what others are doing.
Have a great day,
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
I went out Tuesday for a trial jog. I went about 1-1/2 miles doing both walking and running. The pain is there but not severe. I will try again Thursday. I need to get back in shape by May 1st as some friends and I are doing the St. Frances Mud Run. I have never tried it before and it looks fun. Also I need to continue my training for the Paris Mountain 15K. That run is only a month and ½ away. This calf injury is hindering my training!
Have a great day.
Monday, March 29, 2010
I started researching calf strains/tears and how to heal them quickly. Most advice says the standard: Rest-Ice-Compression-Elevation. Some websites say to massage it other say not to massage it. Some people say to stretch others say not to stretch. One of the consistent suggestions is to start exercising it as soon as the pain is gone. They suggest calf raises, with the knees bent and the knees extended.
The strange thing with these calf strains that I get is that doing calf raises does not hurt (or barely causes any pain). I can do both seated and standing raises and all feels well. However, after running about 3 steps the pain in the calf is extreme. So I wonder if the exercising I am doing is actually getting to that part of the muscle. Does only running exercise that part of the calf? Does stretching really help or not? I can do a full stretch of the calf with no pain now, but again, when I run it hurts. When it comes down to it, I don't believe that anyone really knows how to stop calf tears and what the best actions are to heal them.
For me the best results have been to start running as soon as possible. I run (slowly) for a brief amount of time, then walk, run then walk. If the pain level elevates I stop. I keep doing this every other day or so until the pain just magically goes away one day. As suddenly as it appears it goes away too. Strange!
Have a great day.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
I started off at probably an 8 minute pace and all felt good. I was running in the grass (@ .6 miles out) and I felt a small very minimal pain in my left calf. I have never had any problem with my left calf so I thought nothing of it. The only tears I have ever had have always been my right calf. As I continued running the pain actually went away, possibly because I started on a mild down hill. However, as soon as I started going up hill I transitioned to the road and within five steps I had a vise grip type pain in my left calf. These tears are very frustrating because they give no warning. I was running perfectly fine one second and literally the next second I can’t run. Needless to say, I stopped immediately. I tried to stretch it some because it actually felt like a cramp (unfortunately I read later that trying to stretch the calf after a tear is a bad idea). I walked back to work. While walking I can barely feel the tear. It just feels a little tight with not much pain. Running is out of the question though.
The obvious question is did the Vibrams cause it? I say no. I had no problems after the Milliken 5K. I ran the 10 miles and did racquetball in my standard running shoes. After my last calf tear I was very diligent in doing seated and standing calf raises, and also doing straight and bent leg calf stretches. I had backed off some in the past few weeks because everything had been feeling good. I am just going to have to get back into the habit of really working on my calves again. They seem to be my weakest link lately. In the past two years I have had 3 tears. I am icing it now in hopes that I stopped running in time to reduce the severity of the tear. It is good timing because I am going on vacation next week and maybe I need to spend more time with the family then running. Sometimes on vacation I am tempted to do some long runs.
Biking here I come!
Thursday, March 18, 2010
The first mile was a 7:10 pace. That is my quickest pace so far with the Vibram Five Fingers. My average cadence was 88. I felt good through the first mile. I ran the first mile on the pavement with no foot problems.
I then ran 1.76 miles at a 7:57 pace. My average cadence was 83. I definitely slowed up some on the cadence. Trying to maintain 85 or above takes some thought while you run. As I mentioned in a previous post, it seems that as I tire I tend to take longer strides and slow my cadence. Running in the Vibrams with a higher cadence and shorter strides seems to be gentler on my feet than running at the same pace but with a lower cadence and longer strides. I ran on both grass and pavement for this portion of the run.
I then ran a fast ¼ mile on the track. My time was 1:18 which is a 5:12 pace when averaged over one mile. That is also a personal record for me. My average cadence was 85. I have always read that you have to run fast in order to run fast. I believe that is true. I am going to incorporate more speed training into my work outs. I have found out that I really can’t sprint now. I am 46 years old and have never really been that quick of a sprinter. However, I definitely was faster back in my twenties than I am now. I need to also add some sprinting to my work out. I just want to make sure I don’t wipe out a hamstring. Typically the faster I run the more things hurt.
I was pooped out after my one time around the track, (that is pathetic when I think about it). So I did a slow jog back to work. The run was about .86 miles and I averaged a 9:15 pace and 77 cadence.
1. I believe that increasing my cadence will help me to increase my running speed.
2. Running at the higher cadence at the 7:10 pace seemed easier than running at the slower cadence at the same pace but with longer strides. This thought still needs some testing.
3. Higher cadence and shorter strides is easier on my feet when running in the Vibrams.
4. The Vibrams feel good to run in now that I am used to them. I believe my feet are toughening up. I hope the good trends continue!
So far my transition to the Vibrams has gone well. Let’s see how my race in them on Saturday goes. I would like to set a PR for that 5K. I ran it in a little over 23 minutes last year. I would like to be less than 22 minutes this year. I hope I don’t break something!
Have a great day!
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
On a positive note I did receive my foot cadence pod from Garmin. That is a neat little device. You can use it for running in doors when you can’t receive a GPS signal, the foot pod will estimate your running distance as well as giving you your cadence. You can also use it out doors just for the cadence and still use the more accurate GPS signal on your watch.
I made it out once last week in the Vibrams with foot pod. I went three miles straight with a brief stop to stretch and hit the track for a quick quarter mile. The highest cadence I got was 85 (per foot or 170 for both). During a normal jog it drops to about 70 or so. I am feeling better and better in the Vibrams. I am doing about ½ pavement and ½ grass running. I feel good and my heel tenderness has not hindered me, as a matter of fact the tenderness seems to be subsiding. The only issue that tends to be there in the background is my IT band on my left leg. To be honest my entire left leg is my down fall. My left foot tends to angle outward about 5 degrees or so and that leg has much less flexibility than my right leg. I probably have some sciatic nerve problems because that leg tends to ache from my back to my ankle. Especially when I have to drive for more than a few minutes my entire left leg just starts aching. Man I feel like a geriatric sometimes! Isn’t that what old people do? Talk about their ailments! By the time I hit 80 I will have so many things to complain about my grand kids will probably shoot me to put me out of my misery!
Back to running. I ran 9 miles Sunday in my Nike’s. Those are probably the best shoes I have had in a while. I can’t remember the names of them at the moment but they feel good. I felt great through 8 of the miles but on mile 9 I really slowed down. The last mile was mostly uphill against the wind. I know what you are thinking but I am not copping out, it really is mostly uphill. I am continuing to add to my long runs once per week. I want to start increasing my speed more too. I have been reading about doing more intensive training. I was reading today in a magazine about doing high intensity runs for 30 seconds, then cooling down for a minute or so and doing another high intensity run and repeat at least six times. I am going to incorporate those high intensity runs into my workout once per week.
My training goal is to do one long run, one tempo run, and one speed workout per week. On my off days I play racquetball. I know that playing racquetball is not the ideal way to “rest” my legs. I love playing racquetball but it really wears me out. My friends and I usually play for about an hour, either singles or cut throat, maybe even some doubles. By the end of that hour I can barely move. I am sure that racquetball adds to my increasing list of injuries. The funny thing about racquetball is it is so intense that you don’t realize you hurt something until later in the day.
Now that I have my Garmin foot pod I have been checking my running cadence. Last week due to the rain I had to hit the treadmill. I wore my Nike’s with the foot pod. I could maintain 85 foot strikes per minute on an 8 minute per mile pace. As I increased the speed I stayed at 85 until I got to a 7 minute mile. As I tired my cadence dropped off. I am imagining that as I tire my stride length increases to compensate for my reduction in cadence. Interesting enough I maintained the 85 cadence through most of the run through variations of speed from a 9 minute mile to a 6 minute mile. Just near the end of the run my cadence dropped off to about 78-80. I am also going to incorporate increasing my cadence into my routine.
If anyone is reading this out there please let me know your running cadence. Does it vary with speed or do you maintain 85 or so throughout the run? I can’t imagine running a 95 cadence.
March 20th is the Milliken Earth Run 5K. It will be my first race in the Vibrams. It is a cross country and I am really looking forward to it. I ran it in 23:08 last year. I would like to beat that this year. That may show me if these Vibrams are helping me out. Anyone else running the Milliken?
Have a great week!
Sunday, March 7, 2010
I awoke about 6:45 AM. I rolled out of bed and ambled to the kitchen and ate an orange. Between 7:30 and 8:00 I downed one bottle of Gatorade. I left for the race a little before 8 to make sure I got there with enough time to warm up before the 9 am gun time. At approximately 8:20 I ate a banana. About 20 minutes before the race I drank a bottle of ABB Ripped Force Ephedra free Energy Formula. I finished the bottle at about 8:50. I decided on that because I have consumed them before after racquetball and never had a problem with them as far as digestion goes. I also brought a GU Roctane for later in the run.
The weather was beautiful for the run on Saturday. Main Street downtown was filled with runners and by standers. After visiting the always exciting port-a-johns a couple of times I was ready to do the run. I did not feel jittery from the ABB Ripped Force however I had an enhanced feeling of well being. I did not want to overdo it today so I set my watch for 8:15 miles. Last year I started out too quick and was dead tired by mile 4. I just wanted to have a good fun run today.
Mile one went by very quickly. I was spot on the 8:15 per mile pace. By mile two I had sped up slightly but I was still near the 8:15 per mile pace. I felt very good and was not losing my wind so I sped up some more. I missed the markers for miles 3 and 4. I am not sure if I was day dreaming or something. I had my Garmin set on the workouts screen so the actual miles run setting was not on the screen. According to my watch I was .12 miles ahead of pace. I switched the watch screen to distance and noticed I was at 4.3 miles which surprised me greatly. I thought at best I was just passing 3 miles or so.
I felt very good at 4.3 miles and decided to suck down the GU Roctane that I brought along. This one has some caffeine in it. It took about 3 tenths of a mile to actually eat it all. I have a lot of hayfever and my nose is never very clear so I am a mouth breather. Trying to eat a gelatinous substance like the GU
Roctane and breath through your mouth at the same time is very difficult.
When I got to the McDaniel Hill I still felt good. I actually powered up the hill and it seemed like nothing today. I got to the turn off and still felt great so I sped up some more. I was a little apprehensive when I saw the final hill on East Broad Street before the finish line. I almost walked that hill last year. Again, I had great energy and powered up that hill at a good pace. As I rounded the corner I could see the finish line. I noticed the clock was just past 49 minutes. I really wanted to beat the 50 minute mark so I sprinted in the last bit through the finish. I had a gun time of 49:53.
I felt really good at the end. I only beat my time last year by 15 seconds. However, last year I was completely wasted at the end of the race, this year I felt full of energy. So the question is: am I in better shape this year or did those energy drinks and gel help out? Whether it was all in my brain or not I believe the supplements do improve my performance. Will I take them at each race, no. The energy supplements scare me a little. I don’t want my heart to freak out and quit on me! Using the ABB Ripped Force never made me feel nervous or jittery. I also did not fell overly energized. But I did have a very good run.
Another interesting side item is I met a runner using the Vibrams 5 Fingers! He said he loves them and will never run in anything else. He is probably in his mid 50s and looked in good physical shape. That gives me more incentive to run in them now!
Have a great day!
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
At this time I am using the Vibrams as a training aid. My plan is to run the short distances in the Vibrams and run the long distances in my running shoes. Depending on how things go this may change as time and experience build.
My results so far have been good. The short runs have been getting better and better. I feel more comfortable running on both the road and the grass in the Vibrams. My Patellar tendon has felt much better lately. At this point I am not sure whether to attribute the reduction in pain to the barefoot running or not. I have not changed my other exercise routines. I did a run of 8 miles on Sunday and never even felt a twinge of pain from the patellar tendon. The only pain I have had lately is a slight tenderness in my right foot at the heel area. It is a non-distinct pain that does not feel like it is progressing to something more serious. My right foot has given me trouble for my entire running career so that is nothing new.
I have been reading more on increasing speed by increasing my cadence. At this point I am not sure what my normal cadence is. I cut and pasted this information concerning running cadence from http://www.rungearrun.com/resources/cadence.php.
“Running cadence is the measure of how many foot strikes either the right or left foot makes in one minute, and it's one of two factors involved in your overall speed. There are only two ways to get faster on the run: take longer steps and/or take more of them. Interestingly enough, however, observational research has shown that a runner's cadence is the least variable of these and most elite runners maintain a cadence of 85-95 regardless of pace or distance of the event. What happens is that runners adjust stride length to gander speed, and the same quick turnover with a slightly longer stride results in a faster race.”
I have reviewed many running websites that discuss increasing running speed by increasing running cadence. That seems to be a common theme among those websites. This is good because according to the barefoot running websites I have researched, successful barefoot running is also associated with a higher running cadence. Apparently when you run with a high cadence you reduce the heel strikes and actually land more flat footed or actually on the balls of your feet. This allows your foot’s natural shock absorption system to activate. Or at least that is the theory!
I bought the Garmin foot pod this week to use in my cadence training. The foot pod is really for running on the treadmill or inside where you do not get the GPS signal. It sends the information to my Garmin 305. The foot pod is similar to a pedometer and estimates your actual mileage and pace by your stride length. However, I will be using the pod for the cadence function. I am really interested in determining my average cadence for a complete run. Hopefully by my next run the pod will be here (I ordered it from Amazon). I am going to compare my cadence in the Vibrams and my Nikes.
Final thoughts. I did a three mile run today in the snow. I did not wear the Vibrams; however, I did try to increase my speed some. During my “fast” slow run I thought of the perfect description of my running style “lumbering oaf”. Smooth graceful efficient fast running is not my style!
Have a great day!
Friday, February 26, 2010
I really want to improve my pace. The problem has been the more I run the more I hurt. That is why I decided to try the VFFs. About twice a year I get this strange calf tear. It happens randomly and even at times when I am just putting along. One minute I feel perfectly fine and the next minute I can barely walk. I have been really stretching my calves and also exercising them. One thing I learned is to both exercise and stretch my calves in the straight leg position and the bent leg position. The most recent calf tear I had was last July. Recovery time for me after a calf tear is about 4-6 weeks. Hopefully those are now in the past.
Back to my run. I rested for a minute or so after my subsonic 1/4 mile run. I then ran back to the office. Fortunately the showers are still open for business. I believe I mentioned this in another post about the showers being closed to employees at my office. Due to the recession we have lost a lot of people. To reduce cost we are shifting all employees to one side of the building to save money on the lease. Unfortunately the side of the building with the showers will not be leased by my employer and will be closed. I have decided not to mention using the showers to anyone and just sneak over to them and shower after my runs. Maybe I can keep using them.
After race summary: I felt great in the VFFs. I believe I could easily run a 5 K in them. I am going to sign up for the Milliken 5K cross country run and give them a shot. I have noticed some slight pain in my right foot but nothing serious. My patella tendons are still feeling great. So far no other pains or problems.
Have a great day.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
I had believed that humans evolved from simple organisms the first 33 years of my life. I watched the series Life on Earth and believed every bit of it concerning how all creatures evolved from simple life forms. One day a friend of mine challenged my beliefs. He gave a simple example. Suppose you are walking through the woods and you found a watch on the ground. You pick up the watch and listen to it and realize it is still ticking and operating perfectly. The time of day is correct. Now, ask this question, did someone design and build that watch or did it just evolve from the natural elements in the ground? You would not even question that for a second. You would say that someone designed and built that watch. Now, compared to a human is a watch more complex or less complex? Obviously humans are infinitely more complex than a watch. So, did humans just evolve from the elements or were we designed. From the moment my friend challenged my beliefs I decided to do some research into the “fact” of evolution.
I am a design engineer. Since I was a child I have enjoyed taking things apart to see how they were designed and assembled. When I look at the human body all I can do is marvel at the intricate design. I do not see a random mindlessly evolved life form. I see a well designed being. Look at your hand. How did that evolve? Start to question what you see. In the book Born to Run the author discusses how wonderfully evolved the human foot is. The bone structure that makes up the arch in your foot is perfect for absorbing the shock load when we walk and run. Our ankles can swivel and bend as necessary to keep you stable on rough terrain. And when you think about it just being able to walk on two legs is a miracle. I say the foot is designed not evolved.
So I ask you to do this next time you are running. Look at what you are doing. Look at the birds flying by held up by air that we can’t even see. Listen to the dogs barking at you as you go by. You are hearing vibrations in the air and your brain is taking the signals from your ears and interpreting them to let you know a dog is barking. A mysterious force named gravity is holding you to the ground. What is gravity? Has anyone really given an adequate explanation for gravity? It all seems a little too perfect doesn’t it? I believe this world was created. And whether you believe it or not, there are a lot of other people out there (including biologist and scientist) that believe evolution is a farce.
So again, I ask, think about it. Really think about it! Were you carefully and lovingly designed or did some mindless process called evolution make you? Even if you don’t believe in God I still challenge you. Did someone design us? Who was this designer?
Thank about it! Don’t just write it off. Your life may depend on it.
Have a great day.
PS: I apologize for the diversion from running.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
I jogged over two miles today in the Vibrams. I ran on both asphalt and concrete the entire time. I took one small break in the middle of the run to relax my feet. I ran a 10 minute per mile pace and tried to soften my ground strikes. To be honest it really felt great. My patellar tendonitis did not bother me at all. I believe doing the Milliken 5K in the Vibrams should be easy. Another big advantage is the Vibrams are very light and make you feel like you can bound along easily, especially in the grass. When I run in the grass in my Nikes I feel weighted down and slow. Running in the Vibrams (in the grass) gives you a springy feeling.
Now the bad news (for me at least). They are closing the showers where I work. Doing these slower runs does not cause me to sweat much and I could potentially just dry off and go back to work without being to odorous. However, come spring and summer that will be impossible. After a hard run it takes a good 10 minutes just to stop sweating. I will need to come up with some other location to shower. I am bummed as it was really convenient having the showers at work. That is going to throw a wrench in my training routine. I might have to get up early and jog before work.
Have a great day.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
I ran the Green Valley 10 Miler this morning. The weather and the views were fantastic. I love running through the country side. I also saw a lot of traffic jams and angry drivers waiting for us to pass through the intersections. I have not run over 6 miles since the Spinx ½ marathon so I decided to take it easy. I know this is an incorrect thought but I always believed if I complete a race without stopping and/or walking I have been successful. I have a few friends that actually do marathons where they run for a while and walk for a while. For some reason I feel like I need to run the entire race. Does anyone else think that?
The course is very hilly but there are not any of those “endless” hills where you feel like you are going to croak before you get to the top. I did not set any records on this run. I believe I finished in about 1 hour and 27 minutes. I held an 8:45 pace through most of the race, about mile 7 I started slowing down a bit. According to my Garmin I fell behind the 8:45 pace by about 300 feet. At mile 9 I decided to suck it up and speed up to get back under the 8:45 pace. I felt really good when I hit the finish line.
Instead of downing some Gatorade or other sports drink before the race I decided to go natural. I consumed a large cup of OJ, a banana, some peanut butter, and I poured a little honey down my throat. I also brought a banana along on the race. I will admit that eating a banana during a run is almost as difficult as trying to suck down some energy gel. I ate about ½ the banana about mile 5, another portion at mile 6 and finished it at mile 8. I think it helped give me the burst of energy at the end of the run. Actually now that I am thinking about it maybe I did not finish the banana. I think it is still shoved in the pocket of my running jacket. I better get that before it funks out and my wife finds it when she is doing the laundry.
One good thing about running is it gives me hope that life is still good in your 50s and 60s and later. I saw many older people as they passed me on the run. Besides being passed by a guy with one leg and the guy with the stroller in previous races, being passed by a person in their 60s also makes one feel somewhat inadequate. I also just remembered being smoked by a 10 year old in the Furman 5K last year too. I was planning on being in the senior Olympics when I am old enough but my dream seems to be fading.
Have a good day.
Friday, February 19, 2010
I am doing the Green Valley 10 miler Saturday and I do not want to take any chances of injuring myself. I will definitely be doing the Green Valley run in my Nikes not the Vibrams!
I added a few websites to my blog. They have interesting information on barefoot running and running in general. The Running Barefoot site mentioned that the Discovery Channel is doing a segment on barefoot running. I would like to see that. I believe they are filming it in March.
I also briefly read through the huge amount of instructions on how to run barefoot on the Running Barefoot site. Sheesh, it seems complicated! I think the writer got a little carried away with his explanation.
Hopefully I will see some friends at the Green Valley run on Saturday. The weather is supposed to be good.
Have a great day.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
I have set a goal to train and run the 15K Paris Mountain Trail Run in the Vibram 5-Fingers. This blog will chronicle my training and experience with barefoot running.
First a few words about me. I am an ordinary average guy my friends are all boring and so am I, every Saturday I work in the yard and pick up the dog do and hope that it is hard (borrowed from Joe Walsh’s song Ordinary Average Guy). During my best 5K I ran about 7:30 minutes per mile, however, I am more of an 8 minute per mile guy at best in the 5K. I did manage to run the Spinx ½ marathon where I averaged about 8:35 minutes per mile. In my mind I feel as though I should be running like a Cheetah going down the road at 6 minutes per mile. Unfortunately the reality of the situation is I am more like some strange deformed creature that crawled out of the swamp. My left foot swings out at a 30 degree angle, one leg appears shorter than the other, my head bobs up and down and my arms flail out like I am trying to fly instead of run. My wife happened to be following me one time in the car and yelled out the window that I have terrible running form. I thanked her for the comments and ambled along.
To add insult to injury, at the BWM 2-miler last year a guy pushing a baby carriage zoomed by me and beat me. I was running all out at that time! I believe all baby carriage runners should not be allowed to run in these races. These people do not realize how much it crushes one’s spirit to be passed by someone pushing a baby carriage (with the added weight of the baby in it of course).
Well enough of the crying. I am excited about trying these shoes. My first try with them on a run was Tuesday, February 16th. I did a walk/run of about 3 miles. I ran some on the street and some on the grass. I went slowly at first. I probably ran 10 minute miles. About every ¼ mile I would walk for about ¼ mile. As I became more comfortable I ran a little faster. Running in the grass felt great and natural. Running on the road was a little scary. Information on running barefoot suggest running on the balls of your feet. I am more of a heel striker so it is very awkward trying to run on the balls of my feet. I probably ended up landing flat footed. I also tried to shorten my stride and quicken my leg turnover. I have heard that the faster runners have a higher cadence than us slow guys. To speed up I tend to lengthen my stride which apparently is not a good idea. I completed the 3 mile walk/run in 34 minutes. My feet did not hurt and my knees actually did not hurt. I usually wear a knee strap on each knee to help reduce the pain of the patellar tendonitis. I did not wear the straps and virtually had no pain. At times I did have a pain in the arch of my left foot while walking. While running I did not have this pain.
So I put Day 1 of the barefoot experience as a success. My next day out is Thursday. I plan to do the walk/run again and take it slow.
Have a great day!
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
I am now 46 and have been running for the past few years. During that time I have slowly been "falling apart". I have blamed it on getting older, my gait, my shoes, my genes, the running surface, etc. So far I currently have or have had the following injuries:
1. Patellar tendonitus
2. Plantar fasciitis
3. IT band pain
4. Sciatic nerve pain
5. Heel pain
6. Back pain
7. Calf tears-those are very disabling
8. Torn hamstring
In attempt to reduce my injuries I have been trying different ideas. I have tried better shoes, different brands of shoes, cutting my shoes, stretching, othopaedic shoe inserts (expensive ones), glucosamine-chondrotin, running on the grass, exercising with weights, reading running books, visiting specialist, rehab clinics, and probably many other ideas that I have forgotten. After all that I still have most of the listed injuries.
I then heard of barefoot running. Many people claim that running barefoot strengthens your feet, improves your gait, and actually reduces your injuries. I went on Barefoot Ted's website and read through some of his suggestions. I also read the book "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall. In his book there is a tribe named the Tamahurara that can run for days in simple sandals. I thoroughly enjoyed that book except for the portion on evolution (more on that later). If you love running you need to read "Born to Run". Just reading the book made me want to go out and run 50 miles!
I have now purchased the Vibram 5-Finger minimal shoes. These shoes are supposed to be as close to running barefoot as possible without actually running barefoot. Today, Tuesday, February 16th, was my first attempt to jog in them.
God bless you and have a wonderful day.