Monthly Archives: May 2011

Mile Post

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The local library is the one mile marker on my run. The most direct route to home is one mile from the library. On Friday’s run, I put the VFFs on for the first 1.86 miles. At the library, I slipped them off to finish the run on warmed up bare feet.

I am still recovering from the tendonitis so the runs aren’t covered in Joker smiles but I’m running so that gives me a little smile.

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Stubborn Rhymns

I moved those bare feet a little further on down the road.  My last bare run was 0.4 miles. Today, I went 0.85 miles.  I wasted time donning the VFFs at the bridge limiting how far I could go in my 30 minute run.  Tally of 2.74 miles. 

Wait, didn’t I just promise the other day to start making my runs more fun and less concerned about distance?  Ahem…

Seriously, running in the VFFs was a lot of fun. 

Light on my feet

Running through the street

Listen’ to the beat

Oh, man, light on my feet

 

..which brings me back to the barefooting…strangely,  I felt labored and leaded during the bare portion.  Once I had my VFFs on I was all foot loose and fancy free.  (Pun totally intended)

This reflection upon my bare run brings me to a decision.  If I intend to spend my summer trying to have more fun with running, am I able to … do I want to struggle to go bare? 

How many times does stubbornness rule your day?  I’m beginning to realize that I am much more stubborn than I give myself credit for. 

I really want to get back to, no, I’ll be honest; I really want to brag about going barefoot. 

How to do that?

In a conversation at work, someone asked another co-worker how far he runs every day.  It was like 6 or 10 miles.  They asked what he does to warm up for those runs.  I looked at the co-worker, he looked at me.  We said simultaneously, “Run a mile or two”.   I, myself, have experienced when the later miles were better than the former miles.  I was training for my first half marathon.  I recall miles 1-5 had sucked but the next 2-3 miles were fantastic.

Perhaps it wasn’t the barefooting that caused me to drag in the beginning of my run.  Perhaps it was just the general warming up part.  So, I’ve decided to rearrange my running plans.  I will run bare through the last mile instead of the first mile. 

Yeah, I’m stubborn as a mule

I take carbs and protein as my fuel

I fight my brain in a duel

Using my feet as the tool

Conquer the mental game so I can rule.

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Trying to keep up Run Smiley Viral

I’m putting in a link to a great blog on running for fun.  My one reader can check it out and keep a good thing viral.  (My stats say I have about 5 readers but I’ve been here long enough to know not to trust stats.)

The Best Accessory

Changes in Attitudes, Changes in Latitudes (I can’t say change in attitude without singing the song)

Thanks to Barefoot Angie Bee for keeping it viral

I used F.U.N. as a running accessory last year.  I got to say, Kate is right.  My summer runs last year were really good runs.   How did I get there?  I think it did happened for me when I went minimalist/bare too.  Because my goals were no longer the hard and fast distance, speed, and miles.  They were soft and fluffy like a cloud or a pillow.  Who doesn’t like pillows?  Anyway, with a goal of transitioning to barefoot, I got really excited about just completing the run.  About doing something a lot of people thought was CRAZ-ZY.  I kept it up and just kept going.   I was feeling good about accomplishing a run rather than obsessing about the data that went with the run.  It was like falling in love all over again.

Thanks for the reminder, Kate.

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A Transition Period

Barefooting – I am very pleased with my progress in transitioning back to barefooting.  Last week, I went for a walk during my lunch in the park just up the hill from my work.  It’s about a 20 minute walk.  After reaching the turnaround point, I got brave enough to remove my shoes.   The path is mostly a rough asphalt.  It wasn’t horrible but it was clear that the winter treadmill runs did not toughen up my skin as much as I had hoped.   This morning I ran 0.4 miles in the bare before donning my VFFs.  I felt like I could have pushed my feet further but I am in a phase of my running where I will proceed extraordinarily carefully in my transitions.  Again at lunch, I climbed the hill for a barefoot walk through the park.  This time, I went bare both ways and already I see an improved tolerance for the rough areas. 

Tendonitis – I mentioned before that I purchased the Egoscue method for solving chronic pain.  The book and websites promise almost immediate relief in symptoms.  I certainly experienced reduced stiffness in my calf muscles but I continued to suffer from pain with it becoming nearly crippling during a day after running.  I read a blog on someone else who tried Egoscue and he reported that he did not get immediate relief either and that the expectation should be up to a year.  That is not exactly how the program is presented.  Back to me and my crippling ankles… a funny thing happened after the half marathon, as I mentioned in my report, I was able to ease a significant amount of pain and stiffness by using a couple of the Egoscue (common sense) exercises but I performed them endlessly for nearly an hour.

Since the half, I’ve modified my routine so that I no longer do the exercises exactly as prescribed.  Typically, upon waking, I lower myself to the floor and do the foot circles and flex/point, repeat the foot circles and flex/point then do the calf and hamstring stretch.  Then I go on to do whatever I have planned for a morning exercise.  Note: I have not gone 100% back to running.  I am travelling 2.46 miles with increased intervals of running.  At the end of exercising, I repeat the foot circles and flex/point then spend a great deal of time stretching my leg muscles.  The time I spend stretching is almost as long as I spend running or exercising.

Although things are infinitely better than before the half marathon, I still have constant tendon pain in my ankle and I want to increase my running distance, eventually.  So, I am searching further for advice on healing ankle tendonitis.  I came across a website called Tendonitis Expert.  I like a lot of his theories on the planter fasciitis and tendonitis.  Unfortunately, I’m not willing to spend the $39 for the book.  Well, not yet, anyway.  The Tendonitis Expert offers some free advice on icing.  Again, not exactly rocket science but still some good pointers on how to get some effective icing.  Last night, I took an ice cube to my ankle tendons in a manner similar to the Dixie cup method resulting in some instant relief. 

I plan to add the icing to my favorite Egoscue exercises and see where that takes me.  Maybe back to the tendonitis expert, maybe not.   You may be saying that 20 – 30 minutes is way longer than you have to exercise and stretch.  Well, honestly, I’m hoping that once the tendonitis is healed, I will be able to scale it back to a maintenance stretch time.    

** Note: I contacted the Egoscue website and asked some questions about my particular ankle pain.  I received no response.

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Why It’s Hard To Save the World

I enjoy playing the super hero, doing things to save the world… like carpooling. 

But, carpooling puts a little cramp into my style. 

See, my car pooling buddy goes to work earlier than I do(did).  So, I am now leaving the house an hour earlier.  Which means that if I want to run before work, I’m going to have to start getting up before 5 am.  Eeek!

Except this week because my car pooling buddy is on vacation.  I’m back to my foot-fancy gas guzzling ways for one week.  Which means, I totally killed a run this morning!!

Actually, I only went 2.46 miles with plenty of walking breaks because I’m trying to ease back into running after the half marathon so that MAYBE some of my tendonitis issues will actually heal and I won’t have to listen to a bunch of people tell me how my shoes are bad or running is bad or how I’m just asking for it. 

Still, I’m loving the freedom of my gas guzzling ways so that I can run, run, run till my car pooling buddy comes home.

Speaking of shoes…

New Balance Minimus Life

I’ve been wearing these babies for about a month now.  I really like them except 1. really, they are too narrow for my feet and 2. they are hot so they are getting a little stinky.  I’ve been looking for a “winter” /casual pair of minimalist shoes.  These fit the bill pretty well.  I wear them nearly every day.  The sole is thicker than VFFs so there is extra cushion and warmth.  I need a wider shoe but I don’t like the looks of the men’s shoe.  They promote it for walking/casual.  I’ve taking them for a 3 mile and a 2.46 mile run when I didn’t have my VFFs.   Both runs were great.  Disclaimer: I still run in my VFFs except for those two runs.  I plan to build back up to barefooting this summer.

I noticed with all my tendonitis issues that my feet were starting to hurt worse after wearing my Adidas all day in the lab.  I’m pretty confident that the inflexible sole was aggravating my tendons by not working with them.  These minimum life are very flexible and give me just what I need.  I even felt some relief one day when I switched out of the Adidas back into the Minimus life. 

Anyone ready for a shoe burning?  Meaning my Adidas not my VFFs or MLs

When in the New Balance store, I tried on the trail shoe and if the top hadn’t been so tight and narrow I would have gotten it.  I liked the sole better but couldn’t stand how tight they were.  This line of shoes is not for the wide foot.  They didn’t have the men’s shoe in my size.  I did not try on the running shoe because it looked too much like a regular shoe to me.  I also think New Balance needs to train their sales people to be prepared when  barefooter comes in looking for shoes.  My sales person was condescending and clueless on fitting a barefooter.  He’d be good for someone who’d never run in anything but conventional shoes.

Now I’m on the hunt for a minimalist sandal for casual wear.  I saw some at the New Balance store I want to check out. (Can’t find them on the website) Plus, I’m thinking about ordering some Merrel’s.

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Getting To Know You, Getting To Know All About You

Those nasty gas prices initiated a program that I have wanted to undertake for years.  Carpooling, it is the simplest of ideas yet so hard to implement.  Today, I finished my first week of carpooling.   Now I begin to tally the good and not so good things about carpooling…

Almost immediately it feels as though you are on a first date.  What if she doesn’t like me?  What if she thinks I’m a bad driver?  What if she thinks my car is dirty?

We passed the first date test and are in the get to know you stages.  Radio stations?  Windows up or down?  Dunkin Donuts coffee or McDonalds coffee?  Do you sit and wait for the other person to be ready to go home or do you hover like a vulture?  Is ok to talk shop?  Can I talk on the phone on the way into work?  Do I have to offer to drive you to lunch every time I drive to work?

I tend to believe in my car, my ways but I’ve only used a quarter of tank of gas this week so I’m pretty geeked about the situation.   I might bust out some new flexability

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Run For The Health Of It 2011

It’s not a very good idea to be standing in line for the port-a-potty when you hear the National Anthem play.  I was the good little Cub Scout Leader by being quite, respectful, with my hand over my heart, but I had a little trouble stopping the pee-pee dance.  The worst part was that there were still about 10 people in line in front of me.   Mrs. PG and I, we met in line, she’s pregnant with #2, had a decision to make.  Do we stay in line and start late or hope we become dehydrated before we pee our pants?   Yeah, I guess good competitors never die.  We totally went for dehydration and sprinted down to the starting… er… crowd.   I didn’t make it to a bathroom until about 3 hours after the race was done. 

Five minutes after the the gun went off, we began to move forward.  Mini-steps lead to shuffling lead to walking lead to a desperate attempt to start running.  I tried to stay with Mrs. PG at the starting line but I felt good and wanted to go faster.  I guess it’s hard to develop loyalties after only 10 minutes in the port-a-potty line. 

With all my tendonitis issues, I wanted to “sit” back and take in a delightful run through Kalamazoo.  The problem was that I was running faster than everyone around me.  I tried to slow down but I still kept weaving in and around people.  A pacer was near-by me.  I must not have been thinking very clearly because it took me a good 10 minutes to realize that I was near the 2:45 pacer.  Eeek!  From that point on I had my sights on the 2:00 pacer, yet, I would never find him/her. 

The best section was clearly the down hill in the second mile.  I must have easily passed 100 people.  The last time I did this race, I ran that mile in about 7 minutes.  I missed the 3 mile marker so I don’t know how fast I was running but I was fast.  It’s something I’ve learned by going minimalist.  I hated running down hills because my back would tense up so bad I’d have to stop and walk on a down hill.  How embarassing.  With minimalist, I let gravity take me down.  By landing on the forefront of my foot, I don’t get that back jarring impact I used to get.  It’s like running like a kid all over again.  I’m sprinting down the hill but I’m not using any more energy than when I’m going flat.  It was fun and for a few minutes I was really, really, really fast. 

The worst part is hard to choose but I guess the bridge was a little worse than the hills.  With so many of us running on the bridge, it was bouncing enough that I could not get my footing right.  I’d step down but the bridge wasn’t where I was expecting it to be.  You know the effect, but imagine being about 10 miles tired and trying to run as fast as you can still manage.  I think that bridge sucked a lot of energy out of me. 

I wish I had known the course better.  I do much better when I can mentally/visually check off a list of landmarks.  When I did the Chicago half years ago, I stopped to walk at mile 10, even though I knew there were 3 more miles, because the course did not turn the way I was expecting it to.  The last time I did the Kalamazoo half, I PR’d because I was able to see myself pass the list of landmarks in my head.  The course was different this year so I struggled, again, with keeping my head in the game the last few miles.

I’m very glad that during training, I had established that I wanted to finish strong.  That I was willing to sacrice my time to finish strong.  Fortunately, I’ve realized and cemented the “natural pace” belief in my head.  While this may not be a good theory in the end for getting a PR, it does help you kick  yourself in the butt when you want to walk.  Everytime I wanted to walk, I said to myself, “Your feet are going to hurt whether you walk or run. Your legs aren’t going to be any different. Your lungs are fine. So, pick up the pace.”  It wasn’t too long ago on the treadmil when I recalled that it IS actually easier to run faster than slower.  When I’m below my natural pace, I feel like lead and I want to stop.  When I push my pace up, I begin to feel lighter and better.  It’s the pace that I should be at insted of restricting my energies by trying to go ‘conservative’. 

As I came into the last mile, I was running next to Tatoo Sleeves.  She and I had been going back and forth for some time so I was using her as a pacer.  I asked myself if I was still strong enough to pull away in the last mile.  Since I wanted to finish strong, I pushed up to that natural pace and pulled away from Tatoo Sleeves.  Once I rounded the corner for the last 0.1 mile, I pushed the turbo speed.  I grunted a lot but I sprinted that last section and crossed over at 2:10:49.  It was not my best time, it was not my worst time, it may have been my strongest time.   

I saw Mrs. PG cross the finish line about 5 minutes behind me and ran into her on the shuttle bus with Kid #1 in tow.  It’s that strange feeling you have when you recognize someone on a plane that had been on the same parking shuttle bus as you an hour earlier.  I think we both did pretty good as neither one of us stopped for the port-a-potty.

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