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.