Saturday, September 30, 2006

Racing 101

Here's some instructions that should make you look like an experienced racer and ease you into the racing scene:
Get there early and well hydrated.
Check in ASAP. Use the porta-pottie ASAP.
Warm up by running the last mile of the course backwards from the finish line, then turn around and come back. (I mean you run the course in the opposite direction, not actually running backwards...) It always pays to know what the end looks like, when you are hoping for the finish line to hurry up and appear!
Make sure you wear the race shirt they give you and pin the number on your back making sure to pin that big hole on the tear off section.
Line up right on the front line with all the fast guys.
Go out at 5:20 pace for the first half mile or so, then realize you are over your head, and slow down.
Whenever anyone passes you, compliment them on how good they are lookin' - tell them to go get that guy that just passed you a couple of seconds prior.
When the first female passes you, try to hang onto her to protect your ego. Plus watching her butt makes the running a little easier.
Let her go when you realize 5:40 pace is still over your head.
When you get to a water stop, cut over in front of somebody running faster than you without warning, and spill the water all over the volunteer. Stop suddenly and walk while you drink. Throw the cup on somebody's front lawn.
Throw up on yourself.
Walk for a few minutes. Try to remember where you can cut a few blocks off the course. Decide not to.
Start to run easy again, hopefully downhill.
Pick it up a little. See mile marker for 3 miles. Check your watch and swear it is inaccurately long.
Pick it up some more. Recognize that last mile you ran for warm-up. Pick it up some more.
Sprint when you are about 100 yards from the finish line! Don't believe the time on that clock, it must be wrong. Pass as many people as possible in the finishing chute, simply because of the momentum generated in your sprint, then stop dead in the finish chute, hands on your knees and breathe for a minute. Wonder why the volunteers are pushing you along and tugging hard at the number on your back.
Proceed to the refreshment table immediately - you don't need a cool down - and take 5 or six of everything. Stuff your face and bring the rest home with you.

Good luck~!

Monday, September 25, 2006

My Best Barefoot Race!

The USATF-NJ 8K XC Championship was yesterday. I ran it barefoot. I ran 32:49, was 2nd in my age group, and was 4th man on the winning open team and 3rd man on the winning masters 40's team!

Washington Crossing State Park was a new venue for this event. In previous years it was at Deer Path Park. Last year at Deer path, I ran the last couple of miles barefoot, after whipping off my spikes on the side of the course. I needed shoes there for the first few miles because of some gravel sections of the course that would have slowed me down too much without shoes. I ran almost a minute faster on that course last year, however my time this year may speak to the difficulty of the course, because a bunch of people that were in front of me last year were behind me this year. This new course is a three-lap course, with a decent amount of hill running each lap.

I am so glad I decided to go barefoot. I wasn't going to at first when I began my warmup and course checkout. I ran one lap and didn't feel that I could maintain race pace through one wooded section, full of roots and pine cones. The rest of the course was pretty much grassy trails, which was perfect. After my first lap warm up, I ran into a friend who wanted me to run another lap with him. I did - this time faster than the first lap, and I had no problem maintaining comfortable faster running throughout the section I was initially worried about. So my decision to go barefoot was easy.

And here is an interesting observation about the Achilles issue that has been bothering me on my left side. I am feeling very little pain from it today. The issue was one where the pain would migrate around my Achilles and under my foot to feel more like plantar faciitis. It changes day-to-day and even during the course of a single run. Over time, it has begun to feel more like classic PF. One would think that the day after a barefoot race that it would hurt a lot. As I said before, today it hurts less than it has for a while. I am thinking that wearing shoes is what actually aggravates it. Perhaps because I tend to run faster in shoes and I put more strain on the tendons? Or perhaps any heel elevation - no matter how slight - causes my calf and Achilles to stretch less each time my foot lands, and also contributes to my tightness in my hamstring?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Ten BF Yesterday after racing on Sunday!

Today I have DOMS = Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. I've got nothing to complain about. I haven't raced since early August. I jumped into the Joel P. Spector 10K with nothing but easy distance running, and ran 38:29. I am glad certain people were behind me that I worry about for the USATF-NJ Grand Prix. I wore my Saucony Killkenny XC flats for a road race. They worked great. I had little to no Achilles pain during the race, but had some during a 5 mile cool down.

Then yesterday was a perfect barefoot day. And for some reason I felt very good, so I ran 10 barefoot miles at Greenbrook Park. The grass was long and cool, and ground is finally saturated with moisture.

Can you see why I have DOMS today? It is because I should have forced a shorter run yesterday. But with an 8K XC championship race this coming Sunday, I need to maintain distance for the NYC Marathon by getting in lots of distance from Monday through Thursday. Hopefully, I will recover in time for the XC race!

Monday, September 04, 2006

BarefootSoles asked: "Anyone ever step on a nail?"

No, but I have nailed on a step...
...Here's one outa left field - but first go out to your car, remove one of the floor mats, turn it over, and press your hand against the bottom side... ...Ok, so you're back?.... Read on:
On Sunday I was running at the New Jersey shore after we were hit with what was left of tropical storm Ernesto. Our condo was on the bay side, so to get to the beach I had to do about 1.5 miles on the sidewalks and over a drawbridge. Probably from the storm, there was a car's floor mat at the beginning of the drawbridge, where it started to incline. The floor mat was clear plastic, and it was UPSIDE DOWN with thousands of small nail-like pointy things sticking up. I figured they wouldn't be cool to step on, so I ran around it and continued on to my out-and-back mostly beach 10 miler with no problem. But, on my way back, maybe a little fatigued, and running down the bridge, after going around a family on bikes in the narrow walkway, my left foot landed squarely on the upside down floor mat - and it wasn't anything like laying on a bed of nails, as I was hoping, where the pressure is so spread out over each individual point it becomes negligible - it hurt like hell (for a second). My loud "OUCH" scattered a few seagulls...

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Running During Tropical Storm Ernesto

It was still raining and blowing fairly hard this morning in Ventnor, where we are visiting. I went for a run fairly late, about 10:15 AM, on the Ventnor boardwalk into Atlantic City. This was an out-and-back run, first half going north. I was running into the wind. Sometimes the wind was about 50 MPH. It was more concentrated around the bigger buildings. It slowed my running down and I felt like a kite ready to take off. The wind drove the raindrops and sometimes sand hard enough to hurt.

I ran a few blocks on the beach itself. The ocean was wild and rough. The surf was big breakers from far out. Foam blew across the beach from the waves.

One great thing about this run was I could run right down the middle of the boardwalk in AC. Normally I would have to be running around people and avoiding ones walking towards me at this time. It was also cool to see the few runners besides me who were gutting out the conditions. And some of the people on the boardwalk were surprised to see me run by.

It took me about 43 minutes to get to the Taj boardwalk overpass. Then after the turnaround with the wind at my back I was able to run much faster. It was effortless flying for a while! Amazingly, after some of the heaviest rain intervals, the wind stopped as if Someone flicked an off switch. For the final 20 minutes or so, the weather turned calm. Still, it took me only 36 minutes to get back.

This was a good workout for my head. It is days like this that make me think I am getting ahead of others who might skip a workout.