Wednesday, December 1, 2010

San Dimas Turkey Trot 2010 5K Race Report

Final Time: 23:46

Really didn't think I'd be staring at that time going into this thing. Turns out the course was about 87% more hilly than anywhere in South Georgia. As it turns out, I had a blast. It was great to run with family and get out for a date. My goal of sub-20 minutes seems to be slipping away with my age, but I'll keep attempting it. A couple of lessons learned:

I need to figure out how to eat before a race. I had some energy chews 30 minutes before start time and was literally crippled with a side ache for about 1/3 of the race.

Train on hills.

Live where hills exist.

Don't over-taper. Excessive holiday eating and stagnant-body atrophy don't amount to stellar racing conditions. My calves still hurt. Bad.

Run with family/friends-makes for motivation and enjoyment.

Here's the web page for the race

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pre-race pontifications

I figured I'd put down some brain chunks before I am biased by the results of the race on Saturday. Here is my philosophy going in:

-My shin splints were coming back, so I switched to mostly off road, then I cut back on miles and switched footwear. As much as I hate wearing more shoe, I felt like I needed to join the dark side to prevent further injury. This sentiment was articulated well in a recent post on RunBlogger. However, this race will be in FiveFingers.

-Start the race slow, work up and listen to mi cuerpo. As I work up, I won't let off the gas.

-Have some diabetes food and sips of water leading up to the race, a light breakfast.

-Take it supremely easy the week of the race. This is hard. There is a good place to run nearby.

That's it. We'll see how the competition effects me. I feel ready and it should be a fun run with family.

Friday, November 19, 2010

11/1-11/20 Georgia, Arizona, California

18.4 miles

I finished up my rural rotation and enjoyed my final runs out in the cotton fields. Now in California at a Long-Term Care Pharmacy learning about ol' folks. On the way here I did a run in the thriving metropolis of Yucca, AZ. The air was dry and it was cool and windy. My lips got chapped and I'm probably positive for coccidiomycosis now. The hills were a great reminder of how much I love running/living in the West. Now in Mira Loma, CA, where the air quality is hit-or-miss depending on the weather, but found a great mini-mountain range with miles of trails to enjoy. Next week is the race and I've tapered down significantly, to the point where I feel ready to book it next Saturday.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

10/18-10/30 Me and Ol' Blue

31.5 miles

Been averaging about 15 miles/week the last 3 weeks. All week I'm in highly rural Georgia running on dirt roads through cotton fields. My pacer for this cultural experience has been Ol' Blue, a Catahoula Hound owned by my host. I haven't felt incredibly fast, but I've racked up a lot of miles, resulting in my biggest month to date (55 miles). Usually I start running with the intention of doing a short, intense run. Unfortunately, my schedule undermines this goal and I end up running after work, feeling like a bag of lead, so I just do long slow runs. Ran one speedy run which put me on pace for my current 5k time. Need to shave 15 seconds off each mile to get under 20 minutes. I plan to lay off the long runs the next two weeks and let my pending shin splints subside, do some more speed work in the mornings, when I feel swift like. 1 week in California before the race will include some hill intensity runs. Then the week of the race not doing a whole lot at all, maybe doing an easy run on the course itself early in the week.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

10/4-10/16 Insert witty title here

19.6 miles

Ran Lake Mayer last week (my only run) and finished my first rotation for school, which included a lot of study at home.

This week I started my second rotation 2 hours away in Baxley, Georgia. My host has a sizeable chunk of land w/ lake and many runs in my near future. Got in a run there and 2 runs back here in Savannah. The shin splints are subsiding with some knee pain coming back. I think this is a form issue, it feels like I'm hyperextending my right knee. Ran 7 miles today and didn't have problems with it.

The 5K is quickly approaching and I'm feeling good, conditioned, and able to push hard when I want. Going to continue working on speed and do hill work when we get to California.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

9/27-10/2 A few more miles, fun new trail

10.6 miles

Monday-leg felt about the same, not 100% but I can get in 3+ miles on grass ok. Went out in the rain tonight and loved it until I got a monster sideache that slowed me to a crawl. I don't understand the physiology behind these things. All I can figure is it was the excessive BBQ for dinner or a lack of water. I drank a bunch of water during the run and it improved.

Thursday-2.8 miles. looks like I'm going to spend a significant amount of time on the soccer fields. Worked on speed, getting some longer distance with the fast pace spurts.

Saturday-4.3 miles. Wanted to mix it up a little today and since I ran in the morning, I went off the beaten path and found a great off-road trail around a "secret" lake here in town. It was sandy/muddy/grassy and my lower legs got an excellent workout. The weather finally cooled off some and made for a very fun run. This was also my first on-goal week for 2 months! No people anywhere, lots of holes and obstacles. This will be a daylight-only trail.

The shin splints are under control for now and I've successfully switched to a mostly off-pavement routine. Still need to build speed for next month's race.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

9/20-9/25 The return of the Jebediah

5.9 miles

Key to recovery-train off pavement more

Tuesday-Had to run a ways to the soccer fields, treading as lightly as possible. Once there, my fears were calmed, no extensive damage, and I ran fast for about 1/2 mile.

Saturday-Same run as tuesday + 1 lap, leg felt about 80% better.

Luckily, I didn't maim myself last week. I'll be doing less miles all together for a while, kissing my 2010 500 mile goal goodbye in the process. But I hope to not hurt my leg again and still be able to meet my sub-20 minute 5K goal in November.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

9/13-9/18 Shin Splints Strike Back

5.9 Miles

Tuesday-ran a faster 5K at the lake, just under 22 min.

Thursday-decided to do some speed work on pavement (bad idea). After pounding down the sidewalk at full speed and then putting a couple miles on top of that, my left shin spazzed. I iced it down well and hoped I didn't blow my training for the next two months.

Stay tuned next week. Will I ever run again? Did I suffer a stress fracture? Is this the end?!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

9/6-9/11 More time=less time

9.9 miles


Tuesday-7.5 miles to Lake Mayer and back. Started some good blisters. Still battling these fools.

Wed-Fri-life. Was going to run Fri, but I was so nauseated after doing an ambulance ride-along for my Emergency Care rotation that it just wasn't happening.

Saturday-made myself do an early, quick run. Had zero energy. The papaya I had for breakfast kicked in for the last half mile and I booked it pretty good.

Still trying to find a running groove. Would like to have 3 medium runs or two shorts and a long weekly to put me up close to 20 miles/week. Also work in some intervals and speed work for the upcoming 5K.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

8/30-9/4 Back to the beating Of Wolf and Man

6.7 Miles

Monday-Went to Isle of Hope w/ the fam to try out our new double jogging stroller. We really like Bob Strollers, but I didn't want to cash out my left kidney to get one, so the Mrs. did some research and settled on the Baby Trend Skylar. No big complaints, the front wheel is a little wobbly while locked in place, which I can probably fix. I've never run with a stroller and enjoyed it quite a bit, as did the chilluns. It was a different sensation, like I was trying to keep up with the stroller the whole time and I ended up pushing myself more than I would have without it.


Wednesday-4 miles at Forsyth Park. If I don't make a specific effort to run while its cool, I always end up running at 1:00 PM, the hottest time of the day. That is what happened today. You know little man syndrome? For years, I've been fascinated with the repeated confirmation of its reality. I passed a fairly short gentleman on this run, when several hundred yards later he blows by me in a mad dash, only to stop shortly ahead.

Thurs-Sat: got caught up in the to-dos and football preceding my rotations.

Learned that taking 2 weeks off was enough to completely lose my calf strength. My calves were trashed after these 2 runs. My cardio ability didn't suffer as much.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Fall 5K Change of Plans

Originally I had planned to run the Santa Monica Gobble Wobble 5K the Saturday after Thanksgiving, as did family members. This plan is no more. We will run the same day, same time, different spot. The San Dimas Turkey Trot 5K is now the race. This worked out because of location and cost, it also looks like it will be a prettier run and the website claims there is actually some dirt. Still shooting for under 20 minutes on this one and I've got to figure out how to shave a few minutes off my current times to accomplish that goal.

New Balance Minimus/Merrell/Vibram Hearsay & Conjecture

I'm looking forward to the upcoming release of these shoes

As I've mentioned, the FiveFingers Sprints aren't doing it for me. I like them, but I know very well after several hundred miles in them what I don't like about them. Would like to try some Bikilas some day, which are apparently a significant improvement on the other models.

However, my next shoe purchase will most likely be of the non-toe segregationist type. Merrell should be releasing their line around the same time as the New Balance Minimus line (spring 2011) and the choice will probably be between those two and the New Balance MT101

Monday, August 30, 2010

8/16-8/28 Two weeks off

Considering the development of what felt like impending shin splints and finals looming over my head, I took a break to focus on finishing my coursework strong and letting my legs heal after pounding around so much. I'm completely done with tests, classes, etc. and will be starting rotations soon. This should mean a more predictable and open schedule for leisure activities. But most likely it won't and I'll still be busy and have to make time to run.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

8/9-8/14 Don't run with habaneros in your pie hole

8.7 Miles

Monday-5.5 miles @ under 9 minute mile pace. Went on this run without much of a plan, just wanted some miles. Got to the lake and took the shoes of for a bit. Found some extra gas in the tank on the way back and had some fast streaks. This was a boost to the morale as I've been pretty tired at the end of recent runs.

Thursday-Shin is skraight buggin' Had a good quick start to this run, developing a fast, sustainable pace. Then the habaneros I had for dinner reminded me not to only eat them on rest days. I'm going to take a mini run vacation to let this shin chiz-nill out so I don't ruin my running for the next few months.

Fearing shin splints and fearing the GPA reaper, I cut it short this week and won't pick up until late next week.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

8/2-8/7 Stop wishing and start doing: My advice to humandom

13.3 Miles

Monday-calves still tight, breaktime

Tuesday-7+ miles. This was my attempt at intervals. I ran out to Lake Mayer with periodic speed spurts which tended to correspond to crossing intersections, short straight-aways, etc. It felt good to push it and feel the dormant speed within that I'm hesitant to tap into, as it tends to bring with it significant pain & suffering. My hope is that I will get more comfortable pushing it and that my regular pace will creep up in the process. We'll see how it goes. I ran past an older man on this run while I was doing a barefoot hemi-lap around the lake and he said: "awesome! barefoot! I wish I could do that." I tend to not be incredibly articulate in these situations, so I just said: "it feels good" Indeed. He replied: "your heels don't touch the ground?" I had nothing profound to say here either: "nope, it hurts too much. You have to run on your toes." Alas, the limitations of impromptu spoken word. I hope that I can do a better job encouraging others to give it a try in the future. I guess it really does just boil down to "it feels good" and anyone can do it. For me, I just had to get over that mental barricade and give it a shot.

Friday-Short & Fast in the deadly rain.

Saturday-had 30 minutes before the Mrs. needed to make a trip to the grocery store, so I planned a route in my head and ran out the door. Had the trusty watch with me to keep me aware of when I needed to be home. Ended up home in 28:20 and finished 3.6 miles. My shin started acting up. I think the impact on concrete after 2 consecutive runs is just too much for my legs. I don't know if they'll ever be strong enough to deal with it, so I'll have to adjust my training around that presumed fact.

Overall, a good week catching up on miles. Need to work on maintaining form w/ speed. My knees acted up after the sprints.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

7/26-7/31 Recovery & Reality

Monday-Thursday: Had some serious blisters (one on each foot) from the long run Saturday. I was limping through Wednesday. Both blisters were about the same size, one I took care of well, the other, not well. I ended up doing a lot of studying this week, though.

Friday: Got a running watch at Wally World and timed my 5k at Lake Mayer. 22:23. This was unpleasant from the start. It was hot, and I had a lot of food in my stomach, so I don't think this reflects where I could be under more ideal circumstances. So, there's work to do on my speed.

Saturday: No rest day, but wanted some more miles so I took a long easy run and tried to throw in some cross training type foolishness in to boot. I did some sprints, which nearly killed me. I think these will be the key to speeding up my 5k time.

Gradually working up to higher mileage with another 50+ month. That looks to be the most reasonable range for my school schedule. When I go out on rotations it may free up some more time to push into the 60 or more range.

Lessons this month:

  1. Don't run a long run with shoes you haven't worn for year(s).
  2. Speed takes work.
  3. Rest is really, really important.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

7/19-7/24 Return to the Crab Nebula

22.3 Miles

Monday-experimenting with carbs, ran 2.4 mile loops around the neighborhood making pit stops on the front porch to drink and chow. Felt like I put a little too much in the tank. Could only get to a certain pace (a little over 8 min) before I felt the side ache coming on.

Thursday-to Lake Meyer, around once barefoot, and home. Reminded again that barefoot is barefoot, and anything else is not the same. I plan to run barefoot at least once a week to keep the form programmed.

Saturday-Old Tybee railroad trail. Ran the whole length of it and back, racking up 12 miles and my longest run this year. I decided to do this run in...GASP...RUNNING SHOES! After doing 6 miles on this trail in FiveFingers , it became apparent that I needed more protection for my feet if I was going to do the whole thing. So I busted out the old NB trail shoes, which have a big clunky heel. It took a concerted effort not to plod along heavily in the shoes. I stayed off my heels the whole run and as of this writing feel about the same as I do after long runs in VFFs. I did get unique blisters, I think because these are wide shoes and my feet were dancing around inside the toe box for the entire run. I also have some big toe toenail pain, another first. When I wear out these shoes, I'll most certainly be downgrading the excessive features, but still find something that will keep me from feeling like rocks are going to impale my foot. Something like the NB 101s, due out this fall. I knew it was going to be hot today, so I got on Weather Underground to find out what time the ol' sun was coming up. Turns out they have "nautical twilight" listed on there too. So, because I like boats and vampires, I shot for the 5:30 am time to start. Turns out it's still really dark at nautical twilight and trails become terrifying nightmares filled with non-existant man-eating beasts at that hour. The first half hour was essentially in the dark and every web I ran through and flop in the trees made me nearly wet myself. Luckily, the sun does actually come up daily and the ghouls and alligators magically disappeared and my masculinity returned. I'm finding more success in getting carbs in my system without feeling sick. I had fig newtons, a gel, and some energy chews. I took the camelbak along for the last half of the run and stayed juiced. I felt remarkably good and energized for about 10 miles, but still had enough gas to push through the last 2 miles, which weren't too enjoyable. I was reminded of the social nature of running-about 10 miles in I started seeing other runners (who apparently weren't interested in sea-faring vamps like me). Everytime I saw someone I got a little shot of adrenaline. Up to that point my only companions were the specters in the trees and the droves of crabs that I tried in vain not to squash.

Great week. Resting at least a day between runs worked out perfectly. I think I found the formula to start racking up more miles (if I can find the time). I'm convinced that not all shoes are evil, they can be a tool, but shouldn't be a crutch. Biggest week of the year, probably my biggest week ever.

Friday, July 23, 2010

New Balance M895SB Review

I hate these shoes. These are probably the worst running shoes I will ever own. I was going to give them to goodwill, but I feel bad doing so, knowing that some down-on-his-luck simple man will buy them and torture his knees until he throws them in the trash. I should burn them and then bury the ashes hundreds of miles from civilization in an air-tight ammo box. I hate these shoes. It amazes me that New Balance can make these and one of my favorite pairs of shoes-the M870OR (review coming). It's like Matisyahu's albums. Or a box of chocolates. You really just don't know what you're going to get.

I bought these at the New Balance Warehouse in Ontario, CA when I made a resolve to run a marathon a few years back. They were "irregular" and on sale. I said, "hey, I need a new pair of shoes to start training with if I'm really going to do this marathon." I was a fool. What followed were the darkest days of my running career (unpaid career that is). Excruciating pain and heelstriking, "'cause I've got a big old heel to soften the impact!" Never again my friends. I. Hate. These shoes.

"Well maybe you shouldn't have got the irregular ones."

Fair enough. But there's one problem. I can't find anything cosmetically wrong with them. They are even, flawlessly stitched. Unless there's some ingenious device implanted in the Frankenstein-boot sole, these shoes are just inherently bad.

After I scrapped them for running and made the switch to Vibrams, I figured I'd cut my losses and use them for work. I work in a pharmacy and am on my feet for extended periods of time. Nope. Still garbage. They hurt my knees so bad I took the insoles out to make them less cushy. Still nothing. I resorted to removing them and working in my socks because they aggravated my knees so much. Never again.

I almost gave up running altogether because of how I felt when I ran in these. There is a serious problem with how shoes have been made for the past few decades. Do yourself a favor-if your current running shoes look anything like these, go for a run with no shoes and note the difference. I did, and my running experiences have been enjoyable ever since.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

It Begins...

From my FiveFingers Sprint Review:
"Overall, they are an excellent step in the right direction (pun intended). Understandably, there is widespread fanaticism associated with them at sites such as We're excited to have an option that maintains the barefoot experience. However, this obsession often borders on religiosity heralding the infallibility of all things Vibram. There is still room for improvement. I'm dreading 10-20 years from now when annoying purists will be singing the praises of "the good ol days" when original FiveFingers came out and selling vintage pairs to each other online."

I hate to say I told you so, but I got it pretty close on this one. Just one big problem with my prediction-it has only taken a matter of months! See the following first impressions from Barefoot Chronicles on pictures of Vibram's new 2011 line.

In all fairness, these folks are entitled to their opinions. They love certain models of FiveFingers. Great. I just find the panic that is surfacing over innovative products a little puzzling. I'm really looking forward to new products from Vibram and other companies because I, for one, am not satisfied with my FiveFingers. Like I said, I feel like they are a step in the right direction, but far from the ultimate minimalist running shoe on Earth. I'm not even saying I like the new Vibrams. I haven't made up my mind yet. But even if they are complete garbage, that's not necessarily a bad thing. Ultimately, feedback like this is what will drive Vibram to develop a refined product.

Now for my next prediction/rant. The next step in the barefoot community will come about like so: Barefoot running will gain widespread acceptance. Products will abound. Disney will have kid's shows about barefoot running. It will become common-place.

Then, the "OGs" will surface-those who started barefoot running when the concept was in it's infancy. They will make sure to tell everyone how long they have been barefooting, emphasizing that they were among the founders of the movement. They'll tell you how hard it was to find minimalist footwear. They'll tell tales of how they did "mods" to standard running shoes. They'll talk your ear off about how they were persecuted by robotic Ivan Drago-esque high-tech shoe proponents. They may even share a sad tale about how they weren't allowed to enter a race without footwear. They will pontificate about how hard they worked to gain acceptance in the running community. Mark. My. Words.

Does this scenario sound familiar? I've seen it take place in two areas specifically during my short lifetime: skateboarding and punk rock. Apparently this has occurred since the dawn of time among new fads. People like to be a part of small movements, then complain about the movement when it becomes more popular and tell everyone else they're doing it wrong, or at least that they best respect the original gangster's credibility.

It used to bother me when I'd see skateboarding on TV or Nike making skateboarding shoes. But, being the capitalist that I am, there is one great thing about a movement like that getting big-cheap products. Skateboards and their corresponding paraphernalia are cheap and abundant. Tiny towns, including my own hometown, have very nice skate parks. So I don't care how big it gets. It just means more opportunities for me. I like skateboarding and I don't care how many other people like it, I'll continue to skate regardless.

Now, does cheap mean good? Obviously not. Wal-Mart skateboards are awful. But there are more quality products at a lower prices elsewhere. And so I envision the minimalist footwear movement to unfold. Wal-Mart will probably have some horrible "minimalist footwear" someday. But that also means that TJ Maxx will have some great out-of-season minimalist footwear for peanuts.

And with that, I end my diatribe. It may seem far-fetched, even delusional.

Just don't say I didn't warn you...

Monday, July 19, 2010

7/12-7/17 Rainy week, Reconnoitering

7 miles

Monday-Rain run-short, fast.

Tuesday-Light Rain Run-long, slow

My left shin started to tighten up during the longer run Tuesday. I was disheartened by this. Still seems like I have a glass ceiling as far as miles go. This happened after 18 miles in 6 days. I think I just need more time to recover. When I do back to back days is when problems tend to arise. For now, I will space out my runs and hopefully not sacrifice too many miles in the process.

I have a theory that this shin issue has something to do with hacking myself with a hatchet in the exact spot of the pain back in 2004 while camping. It was a deep cut, assuredly the scar tissue in the area has some effect on running?

So, I've had 5 days off to develop a new approach to this problem and that's all I've got. Oh and ice.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

My Name Is...

I won't lie to you. I shaved my legs. Knee down.


It's hot. Really hot here in the South.

Stop judging me. I don't need to defend my actions.

In her disdain toward the zombie-like appearance of my ghostly, greenly veined, scarred, Northern European/Scandinavian lower extremities, the Mrs. has sealed a new moniker:

Saturday, July 10, 2010

7/5-7/10 Virginia woods and summer rain run

15 miles

Monday-late morning run (hot) in the woods around Danville, VA. Not too humid, but still hot. This place had hills all over, too, which filled me with delight. Ran by a creek and saw a burned out fire pit on a sandbar, checked it out and noticed an axe stuck in a tree on the way out. Got a "Deliverance" vibe and booked it post-haste.

Tuesday-Study for Oncology

Wednesday-Study more for Oncology

Thursday-Ran what has become my home course run around to lake meyer around and back. Felt good at the start and put it in a higher gear that will most likely be my 5K speed. Really booked it for about 2.5 miles until I got a drink. Then ran some more at a significantly slower pace. It was dang hot tonight.


Saturday-Had plans to get up early and do the 12 miler I've had in the back of my brain. After work Friday I looked at the clock and knew I wouldn't get much sleep, so I figured I'd run on the beach instead. We got to the beach and it was just plain hot, so I put it off again. One nice thing about these sweltering southern summers is that after it gets hot enough, it almost always rains, as was the case today. I'm glad I waited-when we got home it started to rain hard, so I threw on some shorts and my VFFs and shot out the door. I had a large calzone and some pizza burrowing away in my guts, which led to a minor side ache followed by a boon of energy. It rained hard and it was cool, it was a joyous run and the 5+ miles were a breeze.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

6/28-7/3 Frolicking in the rain and ocean

2.7 miles


Tuesday-rest & study

Wednesday-had a big thunder/rain storm move in right after I got done with my tests. I ran out the door and immediately had some intense thunder get me juiced on adrenaline. Rain was coming down hard and made for a fun run

Thursday-Got caught up in errands and work

Friday-Went to the beach, planned to run, but it was so windy and the waves were so big, I stayed in the water and got some good cardio. No miles though.

Saturday-drove all day to Virginia.

Turned out to be a pitiful week for miles, but I'm not too concerned about it. I think my shin needed it and I still ended up with my biggest month this year-51.5 miles in June.

Monday, June 28, 2010

10 mile jaunt follow-up

Just a few notes post-Saturday run:

  • Left shin started aching Saturday night-iced it, going to hold off until Wednesday to not aggravate it further
  • Left knee was sore on the lateral side briefly
  • Hips were sore through today (Monday) I think that's a first
  • Most of the soreness was on the left side, leading me to believe that I'm favoring one side. Something to work on
  • Other than that, I feel great and I'm surprised how well my knees took this run. Feel ready to run more, but I'll hold off rather than risk another month-long hiatus due to splints.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

6/21-6/26 Form, Sasquatching in the Woods

17 miles

Monday-easy pace run 4.5 miles. Felt good this go around. Seems like it takes me about 3 miles to actually get into the right running mechanics. At the start I'm too rigid/contrived and I can't let my body relax and get into a good rhythm. Because of this, the end of my run was significantly faster than the beginning and I felt great right up to the end of the run. This is a phenomenon that I have been aware of for some time, but don't know what to make of it. Maybe if I keep my runs longer, I can become better acquainted with the hard-earned form I attain sporadically.

Tuesday-barefoot 2 miles. Picked up where I left off last night with the form fresh in my mind. Also read some running form advice on Barefoot Ken Bob's Website to see if I could identify what I experienced last night. I realized that reading about running form is pretty useless unless I get out and do some trial and error. If I don't have some experience under my belt, it just sounds like an obsessive-compulsive rant on intricacies of form. But I read something that I experienced, but couldn't quite put into words from the good run I had: "Push the hips forward and down." After running a few miles, my hips tend to slouch forward and down, which seems to maximize the springiness of my legs and bounces me forward with very little effort. I think I'm still in the old paradigm of leaning forward, even though I thought I wasn't. My hips are still relatively behind my feet. So I'll experiment with letting my hips relax forward and down and see how it goes. I've also noticed that it's easy to waste energy when I get tired (ironically). My form gets lax, I get more clumsy and tend to flail, which is a total waste of forward force. I'm on the cusp of finding a sustainable form that is faster than my current style-to be continued...

Wednesday-break. dug into a blister that I shouldn't have. foot hurt. I'm dumb.

Thursday-studying for Pharmacoeconomics

Friday-worked, pooped. Saved energy for early morning run.

Saturday-Long, radical run. Parked on Hutchinson Island (in the middle of the Savannah River) and ran over the Talmadge Bridge and back ~4 miles. Moon was setting and sun was rising. I was looking forward to this not only because of the incredible view, but because I've been running on flat ground for the past 2 years! It wasn't as difficult as I remembered Y mountain in Provo being, the slope was pretty gradual, but it got my heart pumping. After a pit stop at my car, I ran the length of Hutchinson Island and back 6+ miles. The main part of the island is developed with a large hotel and industrial park. After that, there are sandy dirt roads. Greatly enjoyed this run! The trails ended but there was more island, so I pressed on through the brush, a nightmare. First, there were Banana Spiders EVERYWHERE with copious webs. I got a long stick and cleared the way so I didn't get entirely covered with terrifying webs. Another super neat feature of this backwoods jaunt was unnamed thorny vines that shredded my bare legs to a bloody mess. After encountering a hobo campsite, I aborted my ill-fated mission and returned to more developed regions of the island, nursing my wounds briefly before running back. During my labored last 3 miles, horseflies literally chased me, which was motivation enough to pick up the pace and punch/swat at them to prevent vampire action on my cuerpo. I was pooped at the end of the run, my legs were pushed to fatigue. I feel good about how I hydrated and carbed it up on this run. I had good energy and short transient side aches only early in the run. Felt a little nauseated from the Powerbar chews I ate for breakfast.

Great week, had fun and felt healthy. Saturday's escapade was my longest run this year, probably my longest run since my 2005 half marathon.

Monday, June 21, 2010

6/14-6/19 Sweaty Faceplants in the Dark

10 miles

Monday-no run

Tuesday-ran a loop around the block-2+ miles. It's been insanely hot, therefore I run when the sun is down. Usually I'm too lazy too run in the morning, so I run at night in the the darky dark. Plus it's been exceedingly humid, which means wearing glasses is even more of a pain. I hate contacts, therefore I run blind in the dark. I suffered the consequences tonight when I tripped over a root in the ground and skidded across the pavement. Of course, the only time there are other people outside during the run is when this occurs. "Are you alright, buddy?" My poingnant and feeble reply, "...Yeah." The fall supplied me with a fresh squirt of adrenaline and I decided to do another loop instead of evaluate the damage. Fortunately, it wasn't major and having suffered my share of more severe bike and skateboard wrecks at high speeds, this was OK.


Thursday-Long run. Felt like a log for about half of the run. I feel in shape and I can find bursts of energy almost at will, but this wasn't a very fun run, so it was hard to dig for the motivation. It's been pretty dang hot, to boot. Ran at sunset, while there was still light and didn't eat dirt this time.



Felt crappy the last two days and decided to hold off rather than force another less-than-blissful run. Also, I've been on an "extreme hot sauce" kick for the last few weeks, which translates into interesting runs (double meaning). Time to tone that down on certified running days as far as the Blair's Ultra Death Sauce 20th Anniversary Edition is concerned. Kept on goal for my weekly mileage and look forward to getting out this next week and breaking the 200 mile mark for the year.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

6/7-6/12 Weekly Report

12.3 Miles

Monday-Didn't run. Drove to St. Augustine and roasted in the sun w/ tourists.

Tuesday-Woke up early and ran 6+ miles barefoot on St. Augustine Beach with sunrise. Looks like I'm around 8 min/mile at my moderate pace barefoot. This was an extremely pleasant run. I'll have to do this on Tybee more often, the beach must be utilized.


Thurs-3 miles barefoot. Stubbed toe. It hurt. Continued to hurt into the next day when flexed very far.


Sat-sprints, lunges, fast pace run. This run felt incredible. I felt like I was flying. I'd like to time myself at this pace to see where I stand for the upcoming 5K and I hope I feel this well on race day. Kept my heart rate really high for this race. Don't know where the extra energy came from, possibly a large pasta dinner hours before?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Music and Running


Why do we feel compelled to constantly assault our brains with pop sensations?

  • In the car
  • Walking to the car
  • Walking down the street
  • At home
  • By the pool
  • Running?!
Music is not inherently bad. Constantly listening to music can, in my opinion, be distracting, and inherently bad music is always bad. Did I mention bad? Pluck out the earbuds, rip off that ridiculous pPod from your arm and just run! You can THINK.

"But the beat gets me pumpt up, y'all"

!? Stop the madness! No one should participate in any activity that is synchronized to Linkin Park.

Do what you want. I'm just letting you know, there exists an alternative: NO MUSIC

Saturday, June 5, 2010

5/31-6/5 Weekly Report-Sick

Monday-Short barefoot run.

Tuesday-Worked all day and then felt like poo when I got home, developed a fever.

Wednesday-Sick all day. On my day off from work. Neat.

Thursday-Still less than well in the AM, worked at night, so me no run.

Friday-7 miles in the hot sun. Turns out Lake Mayer has a drinking fountain. With cold water. I ran there and did two laps, stopping for the sauce each lap. I would have been slain by the heat were it not for the water. Chafage-free w/ compression shorts and strategically placed lube stick. Feet were like hamburger, didn't wear socks for some ridiculous reason.

Saturday-pretty sore still from yesterday, ran a short 2+ mile run to stretch my legs and put me on goal with milage. Drained a large blood blister and ran with minimal sole pain.

Not what I had envisioned my break-from-school week to be like, but still managed to salvage some miles despite illness.

Monday, May 31, 2010

5/24-5/29 Weekly Report-Finals ie, not running

5 miles

Monday-Played laser tag for about 30 min. Realized that being in shape to run is not the same as being in shape for running and jumping around like a savage. My legs are sore and I am officially old. No official run for today.

Tuesday-5 miles in the AM after the sun came up, so it was still too hot. Had a banana and a glass of water for breakfast. No side ache and energy for most of the run.

Wednesday-Took a physical exam final

Thursday-Studied my buns off, physically unable to run. I studied with my feet propped up on a chair, in extreme relaxation mode. This night I developed significant pain in my right knee when extended. All I can figure is that I hyperextended my knee by how I was sitting. The pain lasted for about 24 hours and freaked me out pretty good.

Friday-Took my last final and collapsed into a pile of meat

Saturday-took a personal religious holiday to the Columbia, SC temple.

Felt really good this week when I wasn't in zombie study mode. Now that it's a new week, I feel fresh and ready to go. Running during finals just wasn't happening this time.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

5/17-5/22 Weekly Report-Trotskyism

14.7 miles

Monday-break CNS test

Tuesday-break still studying for CNS test

Wednesday-finally took CNS test and ran afterward in the scorching sun with a newly shorn scalp.

Thursday-Ran 4.6 easy pace miles in the morning while it was nice and cool. Welcome back runner's trots, it's been a long time. Let's just say I had some extra incentive to hurry home. Not sure if the 3 spoonfuls of honey pre-run are to blame or if this is an isolated incident. Proceeding w/ extreme caution.

Friday-barefoot 2 miles

Saturday-good long morning run

This ended up being my second longest week this year, despite studying for that dang test. Feeling ready to push into the 20's if time permits.

Monday, May 17, 2010

5/10-5/15 Weekly Report

7.6 miles


Tuesday-fast pace short run. I officially feel like I'm in shape. When I get fatigued on my runs, I am able to push through it and keep my pace rather than slow down. I haven't felt this way for some time. I even had an endorphin rush after doing some core exercises immediately following the run. I actually forgot about runner's high it's been so long.

Wednesday-rest. another endocrine test

Thursday-barefoot run. maxed out after 2 miles again and my feet started getting pretty raw.


Saturday-planned to run the old tybee trail again, but needed to study and ran close to home. felt like I was getting a monster blister an cut the run short for a small deficit this week.

Could be some shallow mileage the next few weeks with finals and finishing up the quarter. Looking forward to my 2 week break so I can log some hearty miles.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Energy Gel$

Earlier this year, I started experimenting with energy gels on my longer runs. The first experience was with an expired Gu "Lemon Sublime" packet on a 9 mile run without any water. I'm learning. Miraculously, I didn't get crippling diarrhea and I didn't perish from thirst. I can't say it gave me all that much energy either. I wasn't in great shape at this point, early into more serious training.

I purchased some Powerbar gels because they were cheap and started taking them with a fair amount of water, which made them more palatable, but equally non-efficacious.

I've also tried Clif Shot gel. Still nothing.

As I mentioned in last week's report I had a successful experience on an empty stomach morning run after plodding along for 3 miles. I felt the burst of energy and really picked up the pace to end my run well.

So it seems a few things are required to feel the effects of energy gels:

  1. Low blood sugar
  2. A good level of baseline fitness
  3. Water
I'm excited about this new arrow in my quiver. I'm thinking about races where I have felt heavy and how energy gel would have potentially helped significantly. Not excited about paying mucho lettuce for gross sugar, though.

I can make gross sugar for free, thank you very much. I will experiment with homemade gel consisting of:

  • Honey
  • Molasses
  • Sea Salt
The results will follow...

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mommy makes it possible.

Being Mother's Day, I must take an opportunity to praise my wife, Deanna, for her active support in the goals related to this blog. She acts as the sole babysitter of our two young children during my meanderings through the dark and desires acheivement of my goals.

We have plans to become a running family, which realistically necessitates a 2-seat running stroller at this point in our lives. As you may be aware, they are not cheap, at least those that will weather the storm, as it were. Thus, we scour the Internet for deals. So far, an unfruitful pursuit.

On this day of days, thanks be to my beloved Vos for rearing beautiful babies and facilitating this long-term endeavour.

5/3-5/8 Weekly Report-The (2) Gallon Challenge and Crab Invasion

13.8 miles

Monday-break (studying for Endocrinology exam)

Tuesday-Rain run! After I got out of class I took advantage of the downpour and had a glorious 3.2 mile rain run. Lots of big puddles, steady rain, perfect. Ran along a canal through tall weeds that got caught in between the toes of my FiveFingers, causing a very unpleasant sensation.

Wednesday-Barefoot around business park. My feet were pretty soft and I got some sweet blisters. I realized that I need to incorporate more actual barefoot running into my schedule. As close as Vibrams are to barefoot, the experience still differs markedly. The form comes more naturally barefoot and I am forced to be lighter on my feet to prevent pain. Hopefully, by barefooting more often, I can permanently train myself into a good gait, even with shoes on.

Thursday-(2) Gallon Challenge. Last week Deanna bought 25 boxes of cereal because they were on sale. Unfortunately, we only had a gallon and a half of milk to match them. That milk supply dried up in a matter of days and starvation followed soon after. My grocery run tonight necessitated the purchase of milk. 2 Gallons minimum. In case you were wondering, running a mile with 2 gallons of milk is significantly harder than running a mile without 2 gallons of milk. I was really hoping not to encounter any law enforcement on this late night hard-to-explain run. My hope was in vain. Fortunately as I ran past a parked police car with gallons in hand, I was not stopped, although I could feel the quizzical stare rays burning into my sweat-drenched back. Overall a great cardio workout that I can see duplicating in the future especially with the pile of cereal in the kitchen showing no signs of shrinkage. I plan to do more high-intensity cardio now that my heart has caught up with my legs.

Friday-break (working for the man)

Saturday-6 mile trail run on old tybee railroad trail aka mcqueen's island historic trail. Got up early and arrived just as the sun was coming up. Trail was loose gravel, some spots pretty coarse, making me tread very lightly at times. It was a good way to keep me from plodding along too haphazardly. Saw some wild beasts, including swarms of crabs and terrifying horseflies. I ran on an empty stomach and felt like I was made of lead, but for the first time I could tell a marked difference when I consumed a gel. Ran with my Camelbak, which was too loose and bounced all over. Payed more attention to my heartbeat and breathing, tried to keep both up and got a good pace on the last 3 miles.

A few lessons learned this week: more barefoot training and high intensity cardio, if running w/ Camelbak, make sure it's TIGHT. My legs let me know that it's time for a mini break, so I'll be off until Tuesday.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Runner's World Barefoot Running Forum

When I think of Runner's World, I think of mechanical, pretty boy, painful, expensive, contrived running. The covers alone make me cringe, showing airbrushed beefcakes/beefcakesses mid-stride in the ugliest heel strike landing I could possible fathom.

Needless to say, I was surprised to learn that the Runner's World website is home to an extremely helpful and comprehensive barefoot running forum.

Enjoy. Just try not to look at the pictures at the top or sides of the page.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


I'm pretty comfortable with blisters. They are always present to some degree and prevention of monster blisters is my main focus now. Small blisters share a thin line with good calluses. I have a few nuggets of wisdom to share on the subject that I've obtained through trial and error:

Run with dry feet-if I slap on my Vibrams immediately after wearing suffocating, sweaty shoes all day, I'm guaranteed to get mega blisters. Same with running barefoot-giving my feet time to dry out after wearing shoes for the man makes all the difference.

Wear socks-long runs always remind me where my feet rub the insides of my FiveFingers. For this reason, Injinji socks are usually necessary for me above the 5K range.

Separate toes-my toes used to rub together, causing blisters inbetween toes and on my toe joints. This is not an issue with barefoot running, Vibrams, and with Injinji socks in any shoe, I imagine.

Don't mess with blisters-Don't cut open blisters. Don't cut them off. Just leave them alone. It's worse if you filet them.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

4/26-5/1 Weekly Report: Krystal bad, barefoot beach run good

14.4 miles

Monday was Dan's birthday, so I shelved the running for the evening and "treated" the birthday boy to a heavenly evening at Krystal, the Southern equivalent of White Castle. While this was a clear violation of my running philosophy, it simply had to be done. The minuscule Krystal burgers instantly precipitated GI pain and the quivering "meat," which I discovered is not actually poured onto the grill in liquid form, haunts my quiet moments still.

Tuesday I ran a short 2.4-mile route at my fast pace. Don't really know what that pace is and I plan to take a trip to a measured track one of these days with a stopwatch to see where I stand. I estimate on the low end of 7 minute miles, hopefully I'm not too far off.

Wednesday was a stunning full moon run that included sprints, lunges, and other embarrassing maneuvers at the nearby soccer complex. I can't remember doing sprints in recent memory. The sensation, I was reminded, is entirely different than distance running. It was exhilarating to feel like my feet were going to outrun my body, possibly resulting in a less-than-graceful fall/trip/face plant/severe injury.

Thursday I did a grocery run and some core exercises. Let me explain the grocery run. "Could you run and get some _____ at the store?" The answer is yes as long as it's not 3 gallons of milk. We live close enough to several grocery stores where I can multi-task and "run" errands while logging miles. This was the case Thursday. Food Lion is closest, but didn't have the needed item, thus a expected 1.5 mile run became a 5k with an unexpected trip to Kroger.

Friday the sprints and lunges caught up with me at the clockwork 36-hour-post-leg-workout-peak-of-pain-and-suffering. Decided to take a break and get ready for:

Saturday, when I did a long (5 mile) barefoot run at the beach. This was one of the most enjoyable barefoot experiences I have had to date

Slowly chipping away at my mileage deficit that I accrued during the shin splint holiday. Had some knee pain early in the week, felt inflamed but not the kneecap-pulling-to-the-side type of pain luckily. Overall a good week, feeling ready to do a long trail run next week.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Thoughts on Stretching (Skretching)

I've always been told to stretch before workouts or running. I started questioning this practice when I began running with more experienced runners who would stretch after getting loosened up running a few miles. Now, I question the benefit of the practice at all.

When my knees started giving me problems, I noticed that I could instantly precipitate knee pain by doing the following: stretching. Me being the curious fellow that I am, I stopped stretching all together just to see would happen. Oddly enough, I didn't crumple up into fetal position and perish like I had been led to believe as a gullible PE student. Overall, my pain decreased, as a matter of fact.

Now I'm not going to make outlandish claims and say that stretching is worthless and no one should ever do it. I might even stretch some now and again. But I think we seriously need to question the "stretching prevents injuries" paradigm that we are all familiar with, especially in light of studies like this, which are not a few. In short, don't fear the reaper when it comes to running without stretching.

Monday, April 26, 2010

4/19-4/24 Weekly Report

11.8 miles

Had a little rain on Tuesday that made for an enjoyable run.

Started having tightness again in the right shin and held back what could have been 5-6 additional miles for the week. I still feel like I need to strengthen my legs more before I push it to longer distances on a regular basis (not to mention have blessed time and not be overburdened with ridiculous tests/school/work). I plan to incorporate a long run weekly once my legs give me the thumbs up.

No near-muggings this week, but did terrorize more philty phelines.

Got a minor side ache on one run. These have largely disappeared since I quit bouncing around so much. Not sure what precipitated this one.

Vibrams started giving me some blisterage toward the end of the week, which caused me to go bare on my last two runs. I only have one pair of Injinji socks ($). Blisters aren't a problem when I wear them, but I can't wear them every day unless I do laundry every day and that's just absurd.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Vibram FiveFingers Sprint Review

Running barefoot is problematic for the following reasons:

1-sometimes it's too cold
2-sometimes it's too dangerous
3-it takes time to develop calluses adequately thick to run long distances

For the above reasons, I looked to the most readily available source of minimalist footwear, Vibram for solutions. At the time, the only other minimalist shoe was Feelmax, not easily found. Vibram essentially has a monopoly of the US market for truly barefoot-style shoes. I went to Half Moon Outfitters and tried on a few sprints, classics, and KSOs to see what I liked and what non-conventional size fit me right. The classics felt the best, so I went to the Internet to find a better price. I settled on a mismatched pair on eBay for a slight discount. I loved them, and still mostly love them, but I have some reservations.

FiveFingers are problematic for the following reasons:

1-They are excruciatingly ugly. Why does this matter? Normally it wouldn't and in fact, as I mentioned before,  looking ridiculous is an integral part of my running philosophy. But these are beyond ugly. Ugly to the point that it's not fun or entertaining. It's shameful. It would be a suitable punishment to force thieves to wear these in public.

2-They smell like excrement after wearing them a few times. It's bad enough to necessitate keeping them outside. Injinji socks alleviate this problem somewhat. I hear washing them in the laundry helps. It's a bit of a pain to stay on top of the funk, though.

3-They are expensive. $80 or more for shoes? Come on. I'll pay for a valuable product, but I'm still going to complain about it.

4-They dig into the heel. Probably varies on the person, but mine dig in pretty deep. They seem to have stretched some.

5-They cause blisters of their own. On extended runs (5K+) socks are a necessity to prevent this.

6-The strap rips the top of my foot up. This won't be an issue with any model other than Sprint. Again, socks solve this one easily.

7-One major issue with FiveFingers is that I feel like I have to be a sales rep for Vibram whenever I wear them. If I'm not answering an onslaught of questions about them, I'm fearing for my well-being, as was the case at a truck stop in Alabama. I've never liked being the center of attention and for people like me, this is a significant issue.

That being said, I still love them! FiveFingers are great for the following reasons:

1-They separate the toes. After 27 years, it feels good to reverse the effects of foot binding.

2-They allow you to feel the ground. As close to barefoot as you'll currently find.

3-They protect your feet. Somethings I don't want to feel.

4-They are light. They don't weigh you down. Still feel springy as a gazelle.

5-They are durable. Sole is tough as nails. I anticipate wearing out the upper first.

Overall, they are an excellent step in the right direction (pun intended). Understandably, there is widespread fanaticism associated with them at sites such as We're excited to have an option that maintains the barefoot experience. However, this obsession often borders on religiosity heralding the infallibility of all things Vibram. There is still room for improvement. I'm dreading 10-20 years from now when annoying purists will be singing the praises of "the good ol days" when original FiveFingers came out and selling vintage pairs to each other online.

The good news is that more companies will inevitably push into the market and improve on the FiveFingers' weaknesses. Terra Plana's Evo is already on the market, and while ludicrously overpriced, appears promising. Skora Footwear is scheduled to launch this year. I'm excited for capitalism to do what it does best-stimulate production of better products for less money.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Silent, but deadly

Treading lightly is a necessity in my quest to avoid continual injury. At times I forget how quiet running lightly is and I accidentally sneak up on folks. Usually this is humorous and benign. When I see cats in my path pawing at some festering bag of hamburger trash, I'll silently approach and stomp directly behind the feline, disrupting it's feast. The result would make an instant youtube viral video.

Unfortunately, Savannah's residents don't always share my jovial outlook on this ocurrence. Take the other night-it's after 11:00 PM and I'm running down the street briskly and silently, thinking about the complexities of existence, not considering the man that I am fast approaching from behind. Judging by his attire, he might have been accustomed to people running up quickly behind him late at night for reasons other than jogging. As I realized the peril of this situation, it was too late to prevent an unsavory encounter. All I could do was swing out to his left slightly. As I did so, his fist pulled back like an archer ready to fire and he exclaimed "OH SH...." Indeed. I chose the flight option in my sympathetic response and hastened my pace.

I plan to start running in the morning once it gets too hot to run at night.

Monday, April 19, 2010

4/12-4/17 week report

11.1 miles

Ran 3 nights this week, once w/ Dan and twice as a lone wolv. All asphalt. I don't mind asphalt since the switch away from cushy shoes. In fact, I feel more springy on hard surfaces. Did some lunges and "crazy walkin" on 3rd run. Some soreness and knee pain from that. Would have run 1 or 2 additional days, but started feeling some tightness in my right shin, therefore I backed off to prevent diabolical shin splints.

Occasionally, I get this wacky ligament and/or tendon "clicking" in the arch of my foot. It is usually not bothersome, but this week it was distracting enough to slow me down and make me look to see if my foot was going to dismantle or not. It comes and goes.

On one of my solo runs down a dark residential street, I felt something on my neck. I reached up and cupped my hand around something about the size of a walnut and spiky. Naturally, I freaked out and swatted it away, unsure of what evil beast had landed and possibly sucked on my tender, delicious neck. At that point, I squirted a little adrenalin (nothing else, I swear) and enjoyed a mini second wind.

During recent runs, including this week, I'll run on top of a narrow curb tight-rope style as long as I can. My balance has improved because of this and I hope to develop more foot strength as well. The mall close by has a curb about a quarter-mile long that I ran down faster than I have at any time previously without falling off.

End transmission.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Runner's Knee and the Sports Medicine Dr.

Early in my running, I ran as hard as my lungs and legs would let me. Other than being tired, I had no injuries. I figured that it would always be that way. When my knee pain began after my first half-marathon in 2005, I was pretty freaked out. It hurt when I wasn't running and I was convinced that I had irreversibly damaged my right knee specifically. I decided to see a sports medicine specialist to assess the damage. First they asked me some questions. My favorite dummy moment of the day was when the Dr. asked if I had any inflammation, I brilliantly responded, "no, but it does get warm and it feels like blood is rushing to my knee." Next they took x-rays of my knees and did a physical exam. The Dr. twisted my legs in a variety of awkward directions, asking if it hurt. Lots of "no's" until he pushed down on the top of my patella with both thumbs and asked me to bend my knee. I literally yelped, the diagnosis: runner's knee (go figure). The problem (patella-femoral syndrome) was described to me thusly: "your outer thigh is stronger than your inner thigh which pulls your kneecap laterally into your femur, causing pain." So my legs, or at least half of my legs, were weak. The good news: there didn't appear to be any permanent damage. They gave me a list of exercises that I could do to strengthen my chicken thighs and a prescription for naproxen to cover the "inflammation." I scheduled a follow-up visit and went on my merry way.

Running continued as before. The naproxen worked well and I did the exercises with roughly 80% compliance rate. I noticed about 50% improvement, which is exactly how I described it to the Dr. at my follow-up visit about 2 weeks later. This statement was unsatisfactory for him and he referred me to a physical therapist to assure that I was doing my exercises correctly and completely. I was disturbed that the Dr. expected 100% improvement after such a short period of time, specifically with an injury developed over a relatively long period of time. Unable to shell out more lettuce for regular PT visits, I left feeling dejected, hopeless, and skeptical of the care I received.

My battle with runner's knee continued with zero improvement until recently when I ditched the cushy moon boot running shoes for thin soles or no soles at all. I noticed improvement about a month into regular barefoot and minimalist running. While there may still be many chapters I write on this subject, my runner's knee is currently resolved.

Recent research incriminates the shoe as a potential cause of leg injury.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The rest of the story

Not long after the minor victory at Rex Lee 2008, I was accepted to school in Savannah, Georgia, where I currently reside. My running continued only occasionally and with the previously mentioned pain.

It was in this apathetic limbo that my brother Jon told me about a book, Born to Run, and his experiments with barefoot running. Barefoot running was at that point little more than an eccentric subculture of running to me that deserved little attention. I put it somewhere on par with swimming at the North Pole, cool yes, but practical or necessary?

After hearing Jon's enthusiasm, my inherent reservations about barefoot running dissipated and I decided to try it for a few months to see if it would help out my 90 year-old knees. Nothing miraculous happened immediately with regard to pain, but I was floored by how much I liked it. I felt excited to wake up early so I could go out and do it again each morning. That was exactly what had been missing for several years.

So excited was I that I ran as often as possible for longer distances than I had ever trained for previously. I purchased Vibram FiveFingers to keep my feet from turning into hamburger. Feeling frisky, I signed up for The Tybee Island half-marathon. A couple of weeks before that race, I developed shin splints for the first time in my life. I rested my legs, laying off the running altogether until the race. 3 miles into the race, they came back with a vengeance, preventing me from finishing.

The fad seemed to have failed me. All the claims I heard about no more injuries didn't ring true. But there was one issue I couldn't resolve-I completely loved running barefoot and/or with VFFs.

Which is where I am now. I love running this way and even if I can't achieve any racing goals, I'll keep running barefoot/minimalist. My shin splints are resolved for the time being and I am back to regular running. I have new goals and enough experience now to feel more confident that I can work through the inevitable problems that will arise. My knee pain has gradually diminished after months of putting the new style to the test. More manageable pain (aside from the shin splints) has taken its place.

The End. Which is to say, the beginning. While I will post more detail about my shod-to-barefoot change over, individual races, etc., the rest of this blog will be about my path to Boston and beyond. Enjoy.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

How I started running

As mentioned before, I started running at the age of 20. I was living in the Dominican Republic at the time as a missionary and a fellow missionary introduced me to running. I took to it quickly, being skinny and fairly light on my feet. Interestingly, it took a social situation, running with a good friend, such as this missionary, to lead me to the conclusion that running could be an enjoyable experience. Up until that point, running seemed like something that was only to be done when thoroughly coerced, as was the case in gym class or running from John Law. Each morning we would get up early and run several miles before starting our day. I did so in "short" shorts and was mocked mercilessly by locals. I found it humorous, and to this day feel a necessity to reduce the seriousness of my runs in some way.

Upon returning to The United States and college, running continued to start or end many of my days, usually running by myself at this point. I religiously ran the same course on Y-mountain in Provo, UT, which was almost exactly the length of a 5K. I still love that trail and wistfully remember running in the dark during snowstorms, scaring up deer, and in turn scaring the heck out of myself. I ran it as hard as I could every time I went, believing that each time I went out I needed to make it hurt. These runs built my speed and hill abilities to a point I haven't yet returned to.

After running this course for some time, I decided to try my hand at a local 5K, The Rex Lee Run in 2005 (I'll post a more detailed race report later). I did fairly well coming in under 21 minutes and felt inspired to take on longer races. I ran a 10K shortly thereafter at almost the exact same pace, a half-marathon later that summer, and a marathon relay with friends that fall.

A lack of long-distance training left me woefully unprepared for the half-marathon and nearly limping across the finish line. At that point I began to have knee pain and almost instantly lost interest in running.

In fact, I didn't run much at all over the next 2 years. Between getting out of shape and dealing with discouraging knee pain, I didn't feel motivated and I didn't feel hopeful that I could ever run and like it again. At times I would run for short spurts, but confronted the same pain again and again. I prepared for The Rex Lee Run 2007, but got violently ill right before the race. Defeated, I considered swimming, biking, and other knee-friendly substitutes, none of which ever came to fruition.

Determined to feel like I had felt before, I forced myself to run through the pain and prepared to run in The Rex Lee Run 2008. I ran the race completely unprepared and while underwhelmed with my performance, I felt that this was a small turning point for me.

This post is now too dang long. I'll leave the story there for now and bring it to the current time in another post.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

My running philosophy, currently.

Let's get something out on the table from the start: I am an exceedingly average runner. This blog will consistently bore those looking for X-games-type thrills and pomposity. My philosophy on running is based on my desire to enjoy running as much as possible and only secondarily on surpassing old milestones. Even the namesake goal of this blog is not going to interfere with the main purpose of my running: PHUN. After all, what good is a hobby/pastime if you can't enjoy it? It may not be complete ecstasy 100% of the time, but if you don't come out with a net amount of joy, then the time has come to look elsewhere for diversion.

Second, running may be the focus of this blog, and while it affects how I approach many situations, it is not the main focus of my life, thus my high amateur status as a runner. Therefore, the posts will be replete with daily life sprinkles on my running stories.

Now for a few of my beliefs:

  • running should be fun
  • don't overdress for the occasion, i.e. run with as little footwear as possible
  • don't run on Sunday
  • running is primarily cooperative, secondarily competitive
  • look ridiculous when you run
  • eat food that doesn't make you feel like garbage
  • never pass up opportunities to run in the rain
  • don't overdo it, and don't underdo it either
  • treadmills are immoral
  • don't bounce-glide
  • lots of little steps are better than a few big 'ol steps
  • mix up your runs

Understand that this is an evolving list. Look at upcoming posts tagged under "Background" to see how this process has changed over time for me.

Monday, April 12, 2010

What it is, what it is

I have a goal to run in The Boston Marathon. For some this may be a readily achievable goal, for others it may not be possible. I consider myself somewhere in between those two extremes. I was not a runner until the age of 20, at which point I ran and enjoyed it (my definition of "a runner"). For the past 8 years, I have run with varying degrees of success and failure/injury. The goal of simply A marathon has continually been on my to-do list for most of that time; but now, I'm setting my sights higher and beginning more diligent progress-tracking towards each subgoal. It may be that I am actually among those who can not physically run in the race. Right now, I feel confident that I can and intend to do everything in my power to do so. At any rate, it should make for an interesting story, as strange/funny things tend to happen on my runs. I will enjoy this jibber-jabber; if you like it too, then that's just icing on the sweaty cake.