Sunday, May 30, 2010

Elliott se divierte

Elliott enjoys his Pearl Street Mall animal sculpture inauguration.
Elliott took off his red pants and tried to put them on his head, so I helped him stretch the pants over his big noggin.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Pre Bolder Boulder 2010

The streets of Boulder are jammed with traffic with so many people in town to run the Bolder Boulder. Everywhere you turn there are also people jogging (I'm using the term accurately here because they mostly seem to be keeping loose.

Keeping loose has been the nature of my running this week as well with a couple of exceptions. Wednesday, I did a some track speedwork and yesterday I ran 4.5 miles at a minute over my anticipated 10K race pace with a mile downhill at race pace so that without undue exertion my legs recognize the turnover rate that they will need to execute on Monday. My goal is to beat my best BB time of the past 19 years. In 1991 I ran a 48:42 when I was in the 33 year old age group.

As accurately as I can determine, this will be my 20th running of the Bolder Boulder. I ran it for the first time in 1984 and continued for the following 11 years, with the best time being 46 something. I missed several races in the late 90's and a some in the early to mid 00's. My BB times are typically slow because I often don't start running much until May. I have deposited 1450 miles in the running log bank in the past 11 months so I expect some dividends.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sore Pads and Spine

I've been wanting to lengthen the distance of my Vibram FiveFinger runs. Today I ran 7.4 miles on trails, most of which was either uphill or downhill. For the last couple of miles it felt as if the bottoms of my feet were burning, like I was running on a hot surface. The balls of my feet looked as if they were going to have half dollar sized blister, but now the area seems tender but thicker. I speculate that the up and down running combined with sweaty feet caused some deep friction. I think I've read of people wearing toe socks in their VFFs. I think I'd need a size up if I were to do that.

Since the previously-mentioned basketball game I've had some tenderness where I had a herniated disc a few years back. The barefoot running seemed to have helped or at least didn't aggravate it. This evening I took Elliott out for a little spin in the running stroller with Asics on and I immediately felt the jarring at the spot in my back. I changed my stride to be more like unshod steps and I didn't feel the pain. The rib cage pain has lessened but sharply reminds me I still have issues there if I cough suddenly.

Since the Bolder Boulder is this coming Monday I am going to take it relatively easy. I want to do some speedwork around midweek to get my legs used to faster turnover. But with nice weather I suspect I'll do the Anton Krupicka taper. Not in the sense of dropping from 180 to 140 miles the week before a big event, but rather in the sense of dropping the mileage just a bit, let's say from 35 to 30.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Basketball with the Boys

I had intended to do some speedwork this week with the Bolder Boulder coming up in a few days but Wednesday I had to watch some kids who wanted to play basketball in the gym and I ended up joining them for a ninety minute half court game. I had to play in my L.L. Bean hiking boots because I had ridden the motorcycle to work. After about 20 minutes I looked like the 17 year old and they all looked like the 52 year olds. I was able to run and fast break at will and even though fresh legs joined the game as tired ones left none of them were able to keep up. I was able to break away for a lay up, miss it, get the rebound, miss the next shot, and finally put it in before they would get down to cover me.

I have to admit though, I am probably the only one still sore from the game. All the stopping and starting, spinning, twisting, and jumping put a strain on ligaments and muscles. I also took an accidental head-butt to the chest which, if it didn't bruise a rib, put stress on everything connected to them. Taking a deep breath causes me to gasp. I ran about five miles this afternoon and I felt it in the rib cage with every breath. I don't think it will hold me back but it does make it less enjoyable.

So keep running your miles, or walking around the block, or pedaling the bicycle; it pays off.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Road Race Footwear for the Unshod Sole

Sunday was to be a shod day. I went out for 10 miles and found it rather unpleasant. My legs felt a bit heavy; I was speculating that it was the contrast of having run ten miles the day before without shoes, but in hindsight I think it was the hill work from Saturday that left me a bit sluggish. I felt all the same pains that I complain about when I run shod such as toe joint pain and plantar faciitis. I went out for three more miles pushing Elliott around sunset and felt pretty good but not fast.

I feel a dilemma approaching as to how I should run the Bolder Boulder. I feel like I am losing my shod running conditioning but I don't want to do that much more of it, although I do plan to do some shod speed work the next couple of weeks. It seems that I should be able to find a shoe that would allow me to use the barefoot type of foot strike but allowing me to power along a little better. A wide racing flat could be the solution, but I am told that such a shoe isn't made. I can run kind of fast in the VFFs but I don't think I can keep up a 7:30 pace for 10 kilometers on pavement in them.

A co-worker who is coaching his daughter for the Olympic marathon, as a result of a conversation about people who have been misguided in running shoe choice at Alan Culpepper's store suggested that I have Mark Plaatjes help me at his running shoe store. I've already been buying my shoes there for at least the past ten years and I've always had injuries with them. Maybe it is the because of the choices of shoes they have to offer or maybe putting people in running shoes is where they're going wrong.

If I can get to the point where I can sustain 7:30 pace in the Vibrams I will try those for the Bolder Boulder, otherwise I may spring for the Mizuno Alchemy which supposedly has a small forefoot to heel height difference and comes in a wide.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

10 Mile Vibram Day

It has been a rainy and snowy week in Colorado. Aside from seven miles last Sunday, I only did some track work during the week. Thursday, at lunch I changed into shorts and a T-shirt, went out one door and came in another. It was 38 degrees. On Tuesday I ran two miles in the VFF at about 8:50 pace. I felt fast but really wasn't. Yesterday I ran three one mile repeats and one half mile. The times were 8:39, 7:45, 7:17, and 3:11. I was wearing traditional running shoes.

This morning I pushed Elliott 3.7 miles in the running stroller on pavement wearing the VFFs and in the afternoon I went out with Alex and we did 6.3 miles on trails that included several hills. He ended up quite a ways behind me at a couple of points and declared that he was out of his comfort zone...although he did leave me behind on the first three or four hill pushes. He hasn't been running that much, and has been doing shorter distances.

The Vibrams certainly seem more appropriate for off road. I speculate that prolonged running on pavement could end up causing some of the same overuse injuries that occur with running shoes. Being off road provides for an infinite variety of foot falls and adjustments; each step is different. I just read a brief blurb in Runner's World answering a reader's question that stated that modern day running shoes do not need breaking in. I agree, but I think that the feet need breaking in every time one begins to wear a new running shoe. The foot fall will be different and if the runner is on an even surface, he or she will be making repetitive new steps, stressing the foot in a new way.

My crossover to all minimalist running seems to have accelerated; my miles were down this week but 19.0 were in VFFs (similar to last week) and 3.5 (much less than last week's 20)were in Asics Evolutions. The plantar faciitis persists (10 months and counting) but has been tolerable and seems to be abating somewhat although my foot is in an ice bath as I edit. Aside from the PF I feel as if I didn't run today.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Elliott and Valerie in the Backyard

Elliott with his big sister

Another barefoot runner in the making

Perfect First Eight Days of May

I'm going to make pancakes as soon as everyone is up but in the meantime I will post an update on the running for the week.

I've started to work in a little speed work on my shorter days so that I am comfortable with running faster for the Bolder Boulder 10K on Memorial Day. I mentioned in a previous blog about a possible race against four of my students who would tag-team against me for 16 laps. That didn't materialize; I've never seen four kids who are always hanging around after school be so scarce.

My longest run this week was yesterday; I ran ten miles while Ruth was shopping at the mall. I worked my way from the heart of consumerism central on wide winding concrete sidewalks. The first two plus miles were uphill with an elevation gain in there of about 250 feet in a one mile section. The climb actually continued at a much more gradual incline as I headed west toward the windmills at the site of the old Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant. The open terrain in that area is eerily open compared to the dense development of the Flatirons Mall and Interlocken Technology Environment business park.

I ran every day of the week for a total of 40.3 miles with 19.3 of those miles being in the Vibram FiveFingers. I had planned to increase the mileage in them a little more gradually but my feet are feeling better running in the VFFs than in the Asics although yesterday in the Asics felt pretty good on the concrete and asphalt.

Today will be the ninth day in a row that I run, a perfect May so far. Well, Ruth is up sipping her coffee and Valerie just brought Elliott downstairs so the day has officially begun. Place your orders for Mother's Day buckwheat oatmeal pancakes.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Child's Play

I'm rather please that although I ran 25 miles this weekend I am having no difficulty continuing to add some miles each day. Monday I ran a usual four mile loop from work at lunch, yesterday I did three one mile track runs with each one subsequently faster, the last at 6:52.

I had run two miles and thought if I could find a student willing to run with me I might go faster. Some were hanging out nearby so I ask if anyone was interested in running four laps with me. One student asked if I would buy him lunch for the week if he beat me. I agreed. We started out and he hung with me, actually making small talk. He mentioned that he played soccer and ran a lot. He was hanging just behind me and I had a touch of concern. We finished the first lap in 1:40; on the second lap he didn't speak as much and I felt he was fading so I slowed a bit to keep him with me. We finished the second lap at 3:05 and he suddenly stopped. I continued and finished the mile in 6:52 as mentioned above. He later mentioned to another teacher that he thought he would be able to beat me because I had just run eight laps. Silly boy. They were amazed that I just keep going. They don't know the sad part of it; when I run any road race out there I finish somewhere in the middle of the pack for my age. I may seem spectacular if you compare me to a couch potato, but compared to anyone else my age that runs I'm just average.

He and his friends challenged me to a relay for the following day, which was today. Four of them would take turns running a lap while I ran all my own laps for 16 laps. Each would get to rest for three laps waiting their turns. None of them were to be found at the agreed upon time. We have rescheduled for tomorrow. Stay tuned. I think they should be able to win.

After work I went out for a Vibram Five Finger run and it is difficult to describe the pleasure it is to run effectively barefoot. I think I have mentioned before that when I feel like I'm in the groove it is like pedaling a bicycle and the gear is set just one too easy.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Running the Vibram Alter Ego

After yesterday's running I found myself hobbling around the house. I didn't know how my run would feel today, but I actually seemed to recover quite well. Today was a Vibram Five Finger day and I ran as if I hadn't even run the day before, never mind that it was over 17 miles. My muscles seemed fresh and I didn't experience any plantar faciitis or big toes pain. The pace came in a little slow according to the iphone but I climbed over several fences, stopped to enjoy a couple of vistas and walked the steeper parts of a couple of inclines. I analyzed a little data and discovered that I have done 35% of my running over the past nine weeks in some minimalist fashion or another. My plan is to increase that by ten percent every week. So this week I intend to run 38.5% minimally and so on. I also plan to increase my overall mileage but I'll have to see how that goes. I've been averaging about 32 for a year now. It's probably just as well; if I had run 35 on just this weekend I probably would have ended up like my sister...too bonked to blog.

Yesterday and today were evidence that the running season for the general public begins May 1st around here. All winter and spring I was convinced that I was about the only person running in Boulder County. There were people running everywhere this weekend. I know Anton Krupicka has been running the more topographically interesting parts of Boulder County from his blog and it paid off; he won the Miwok 100k yesterday by 18 minutes. One hundred thousand feet of elevation gain per month is impressive and so is 2200 miles for the first four months.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

17.3 Miles and no Baby Pictures

Today was a perfect day for running and I was coming off of three days rest and very little mileage early in the week so it was time to get out. I started with a late morning 3.2 mile run in Vibram Five Fingers pushing Elliott in the Baby Jogger that we spent $175 for used about fourteen years ago for Valerie. We had a $50 tag on it at a garage sale two years ago; it didn't sell and the following month we found out Ruth was pregnant. It is the original model.

I came back to the house, hung out a little, and prepared for a longer outing. I decided to go for two hours. The temperature was in the mid fifties with mostly sunny skies; I could have run all day...well my body tells me different now. I did run for 2 hours and 22 minutes ending up with 12.8 miles. I took along 1/2 liter of water mixed with lime juice concentrate, chia seeds, and blue agave nectar. It was thirst quenching, but I think it was missing electrolytes but two and a half hours on not a hot day wasn't pushing the demand for them.

I ran in Asics Evolutions and found myself a bit uncertain of how to run. Running in the VFFs earlier predisposed me to wanting to run with a mid-foot strike, not to mention that I was having to endure some heel pain, and heel striking was exacerbating the issue.

I tallied my mileage in minimalist shoes/barefoot and traditional running shoes since March 1st and I have run 35% minimalist and 65% traditional. I am going to make an effort to slowly increase the minimalist percentage.

I finished the day with another brief outing with Elliott in the running stroller to bring the day's total to 17.3 miles.