Sunday, May 30, 2010

Vacation running

Just a brief write-up of the two runs that I managed to get in over the 16 days that I spent in Hawaii.

I was reunited with my good friend Chris in Hawaii so we had to get out for a run or two. The first run was 5.8 miles (according to and probably took a little under an hour. We kept an easy pace and enjoyed the scenery of the gold coast. We ran from the mega-house we were staying at down the resort streets past the golf courses. We continued out to the beach and into a residential area. We turned around and followed the coast the whole way back to the private beach that the mega-house overlooks. The views were spectacular but the sections of sand that we had to cross weren't much fun with shoes on. Great run in a great place with the guy that convinced me to start running marathons.

The second run was just a short 3 mile out-and-back on the roads of the resort. Chris and I stopped at one of the golf courses on the way back and took our shoes off to run down one of the fairways and back before lacing up again and finishing off the run. It was early enough in the morning that no one hassled us about running on the fairway.

It was good to finally try out barefoot running in a serious way. I'm sure I've run many miles barefoot when I was a kid but I hadn't tried it with any intent or agenda behind it. It felt okay and my legs were never sore. Granted we probably only ran 400 - 500 meters out of caution. Good enough to try again.

I wish I would have been able to get in a few more runs in Hawaii but honestly I was too busy:

Enjoying the beaches
Having fun with family and friends that I don't get to see often
Building sandcastles with my kids
Exploring volcanoes
Scuba diving
Eating Shaved Ice

Running didn't rank that high when surrounded with all that Hawaii had to offer.

We stayed at a resort that was right off of the 'Queen K' highway where the bike and run courses of the Kona Ironman championships are held. Sadly the race was another 5 months away.

So what's that, 9 measly miles? I'll take it!

Thursday, May 13, 2010


I've been really busy lately with work and preparing for a much-needed vacation to Hawaii (I'm writing this on the plane) so I haven't been blogging lately. I haven't been running much lately either as I still have knee pain. I want to rest my knee for a while before I decide to train for another race. The 50K was great but I would have liked to finish stronger. It's only 6 miles longer than a marathon yet I started to fall apart just after 26 miles.

So, my knee... I'm worried that it's another physical problem like a meniscus tear and I'll have to consider surgery again. I hope that it's something that can be fixed with physical therapy and improving my running form. I have an appointment with my family practice doctor when I get back from Hawaii. I hope that they'll cover an MRI to get a better look.

I'm reading Born To Run (who isn't, right?) and I'm trying to take the story with a big grain of salt. I want to believe that running shoes are the problem and that running barefoot or with minimal shoes will solve everything but at my height and weight, I don't think I can get to that point. I think that it's more realistic for smaller / lighter guys who have pretty good running form already. The book presents it as a simple fix-it for all running pain (along with not stretching) but I just can't buy it wholesale.

I do plan to find a grass field near work and incorporate some barefoot running into my training and see if I notice any difference in my form or foot stability. I'm already trying to work on my running form during my regular runs. I do 1/4 mile form drills on the treadmill and outdoors where I run upright with a very straight back and work on taking shorter steps while landing mid to forefoot. It's hard to keep up for any length of time. I don't notice any differences yet.

So the running...

I've gone for two runs in the last week. One was last Sunday around home, and the other was 2 miles on the treadmill at the gym on Wednesday.

Sunday's run was the one store loop. The weather was great, high 60s and sunny. I wanted to test out the Icebreaker shirt that I got free from I Run Far. It's a black shirt which I thought would make it pretty warm but that wasn't the case. The wicking material did it's job and I didn't feet sweaty during the run. There are panels of more minimal fabric under the arms and in the middle of the back. It has flat-lock stitching which I couldn't even feel rubbing against my skin. (a good thing) I forgot to try out the key / gel pocket. The sizing runs quite large. Mine is size medium and it comes down half way over my shorts. Normally I have to get large or even XL shirts so that they're long enough but this makes me look like I'm wearing a tent flapping in the wind due to the extra width. I like the long meduim sizing. The shirt is a little stretchy as well. I wonder how a size small would fit? I barely noticed the shirt during the run which is exactly what I hoped for. I would definitely recommend Icebreaker tech running shirts.

So my mileage this month will be very low. I hope to spend most of my time in Hawaii near or in the water with the family but I'll still get out for a run or two. I'm sure there will be trails around nearby.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, May 1, 2010

change in the routine

Instead of going out for yet another lunchtime run to the Bridle Trails and back on Friday, I got to work a little early and went straight to the gym to go run the full loop of the Bridle Trails before work instead.  I figured that I could get it done in about an hour and be at my desk by 9:25. It was in the high 40s - low 50s at the start of the run and I was a little chilly in a pair of running shorts and a L/S tech shirt. I warmed up about 2 miles into it and other than my hands I never thought about the cold. There was no one out on the trails save a couple of people walking near their un-leashed dogs. I'm still a little tense around dogs who aren't on a leash after getting bitten last year. I just shook my head and gave them both a wide berth.

The trails weren't too muddy which means that there were little bits of dirt around the trail-wide mud puddles that I could step on to avoid them. My legs were still spattered with mud by the end but at least my shoes weren't soaked and covered in mud and horse flop. My knee was hurting a little starting about half way through the run. I was running a little bit faster than usual as I was feeling good so I gutted out the pain and kept running now that the clock was ticking and I didn't want to be too late for work.

I Caught up on a few Fresh Air podcast segments that I'd been saving and then changed to my "On The Run" playlist while I ran. One of the songs on the playlist is Eminem's "Lose Yourself" which is a catchy tune and clocks in at 182 beats/min. Every time I hear it while I'm running I match my tempo to the beat for the whole song. It's a bit of a challenge on the trails when I'm zig-zagging back and forth avoiding mud puddles but running with the beat of the song feels great on the trails. Try it.

My knee pain lightened up a little on the way back to the gym along the corridor trail. There are two short steep hills on this section of trail and lately I've been working on running up them using my hamstrings and glutes more. I'm also generally trying to adjust my stride to be a little more mid-foot than heel striking. I need to get out to the local soft track and start slowly experimenting with barefoot running to see if that helps my form at all.

I looked at my watch with a mile to go and saw that I had been out for almost 53 minutes. I had a chance of breaking an hour if I picked it up. I pushed the best I could to stay under 7:00/mi pace and reeled in a couple of joggers about 1/4 mile ahead of me. I reached the parking lot in 59:28. Nice! I should probably try to worry less about time and focus more on warming up for the first mile and cooling down the last mile of my runs. I'm just so competitive with myself that I struggle with this.

Time: 59:28
Dist: 7.72
Avg: 7:42/mi
Alt: 800? (Why even bother trying to BS me with your 2300' number Garmin?)

On a side note, I have to give a huge THANKS out to Bryon at, which is a pretty good blog about running. They review running gear on a regular basis and every so often they give away the old stuff that they've reviewed, some of it new and some used.

About a week and a half ago they had a trail gear Reuse-A-Palooza giveaway. They posted the stuff that they were giving away on the blog and left it to readers to ask for what they honestly needed. (ie: don't get greedy and say "I WANT IT ALL!!"). I dropped a comment asking about a hat or tech shirt.  A few days later they posted a list of winners for the gear. I noticed that I didn't win anything, no big deal, they probably had more entrants than gear to give away.

It didn't bother me until I read the bottom of the post where it said that there were still more used tech shirts to give away. I was puzzled by this and emailed asking if my entry didn't make it or something. Bryon replied quickly that I didn't specify a used or new tech shirt so he assumed that I was only interested in the new shirts which went fast. Fair assumption on his part. No harm, no foul and I'll be specific next time. I thought it was nice of him to respond and explain.

Two days later Bryon emails me and asks for my address so that he can send me a brand new Icebreaker tech tee shirt. Ummm sure! and Thanks! Initially I didn't think anything more about not winning a free shirt, better luck next time. When I got an offer from him to send me a free tech shirt, I thought that it was a really nice gesture on his part. I got the shirt in the mail today and it's a really nice shirt. It's Merino wool and lycra and medium weight which would be good for temps between 50 - 70. It has flat-lock stitching and a small side pocket for keys, a small iPod, or even a gel or two.  I look forward to trying it out on a run soon. Chapeau Bryon, you went above and beyond!