Sunday, November 04, 2007

NYC Marathon Today

Overall 8112
Male 6715
3:48:39 chip time
0:24:50 5K
0:48:32 10K
1:13:26 15K
1:39:54 20K
1:45:44 1/2 Marathon
2:34:10 30K
3:03:33 35K
3:35:25 40K
8:43 pace
3:28:29 age graded
59.9 PLP

Thursday, November 01, 2007

iDon't run with iPod

Article in the New York Times today says,
USA Track & Field, the national governing body for running, this year banned the use of headphones and portable audio players like iPods at its official races. The new rule was created to ensure safety and to prevent runners from having a competitive edge....

Elite runners do not listen to music in races because they need to concentrate on their own bodies and hear their competitors, and some die-hard, old-school runners follow suit. Those runners — purists who prefer the sound of the crowd or their own breathing over, say, “Fergalicious” — cheered the headphone ban.

But for competitors who use music as a motivational tool while training and competing, the ban was frustrating, as if the race directors were forcing them to run barefoot.

Though I would not be against race directors forcing runners to run barefoot, I do choose not to wear headphones. I am not elite, so I guess I am a "die-hard old school" runner. Headphones and other electronics annoy me - I wind up playing too much with the music and the device, so I loose focus on the run. I prefer to focus on the run or on my own thoughts and perceptions.

The USATF has a history of making rules and supporting events that favor elite runners. This rule is part of USATF's tendency towards discouraging participation for more recreational runners. Unfortunately, monopolies can do that and still thrive. Fortunately, people who want to run wired can easily ignore the rule. Just pay your yearly USATF membership fee so you can play in the streets with the elites and everybody is happy. :)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Form Video

Good video showing proper running technique (even though shoes are worn).

Monday, October 15, 2007

Can't Freakin' Believe It

I had a rather disturbing run today: It was close to pain-free. I mean, my Achilles tendons and PF problems, which have been dogging me since mid-June, didn't bother me too much. And here is what I did differently: On a hunch, I put an old pair of OTC orthotics in an old pair of cheap KangaRoos racing shoes. This is diametrically opposed to everything I have learned running barefoot for the past three years.

The OTC orthotics pre-date my journey into running barefoot. When I wore them I was a heel striker, and I used them in expensive trainers. Today my feet correctly touched the pavement as a barefoot runner should: midfoot first, followed by non-weight-bearing heel-touch. So I am thinking maybe I can use these old aftermarket insoles as a bridge to recovery.

Another possibility is coincidence. I have been noticing that if I keep my blood level of ibuprofen up, I have less pain. I happened to have followed a consistent dosage yesterday and today. Add that to the minimal mileage I have been running, and maybe it is just time to feel the pain may be near ending.

Either way, I am really really hoping this is the home stretch for the pain, just in time for the NYC Marathon 20 days from today.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Chicago Marathon

I am stupid. I would not have stopped. After spending all that time in training and travel, and after spending the amount of money it costs these days to do a marathon, and after having the background I do as a runner, I would have been pissed off if I was forced to stop running the race.

But perhaps I think different. The people who had to stop were the (slap me if I am being politically incorrect) slower runners. I do not disrespect them. I understand that their race is as difficult and as important to them as the faster runners. I am even joining the ranks of the slower runners at this point in my life. The slower runners are still fitter and more courageous than 99.9% of the rest of the population of this planet.

And it is hard to imagine the real scene there. There is a great slideshow at the Chicago Tribune web site (thanks to them for the screen cap) that can make some impact for those of us that were not there.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

I Really Have aStore

Amazon.com has been so nice to add the aStore for affiliates. It gives us the abiliy to create and "publish" up to 100 customized online stores. I added it to a few sites - this being one of them. Are you really reading this? If so, check it out!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Jumping Back In

Ran 5 miles barefoot on the road yesterday in 45 minutes flat. It felt wonderful. I really need to remember that wearing training shoes hurts everything so much more. I am really amazed at how forefoot oriented I am now. It is impossible to wear training shoes and make my stride work properly. I slowed down in the last mile or so of the run yesterday, because I was catching some extra right Achilles pain. I have learned that I have to visualize totally relaxing my calf muscles and using my upper-leg muscles to pull myself forward. When I do that I don't stress my Achilles tendons. They store energy and return it to me gently. The trade off, especially right now, is that I run slower than I would wearing XC flats.

Monday, October 01, 2007

October Do or Die

OK, I essentially took the week off from running. I ran a 37-minute 5 miles on Thursday. Yesterday I tried running another five, but I cut it short. After 7 minutes I looped back, tired of my Nike Frees. I wanted to run barefoot. Why I didn't start that way, I will never figure out. For the last quarter mile I pulled them off and finished barefoot. I had a lot of pain before I removed the shoes, then less when barefoot. I am just fighting the ingrained wisdom, still, that shoes will protect my already injured heels. The truth is, they hurt them more. Flats or nothing. When will I get that through my stinkin' head.

So I have 31 days to get the training in for the NYC Marathon. Not much time. The goal is simply to go sub-4-hours.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Ran a Half-Marathon PW Yesterday!


I ran a 1:39 PW yesterday at the Newport Liberty Half-Marathon! A PB or PR is a "personal best" or "personal record". My run yesterday was a "personal worst" - I ran 1:21 last year there. It is because of these Achilles tendons and this lingering plantar fasciitis. I knew it would be slow, but it is still difficult to let all those people be in front of me, especially when I wasn't even breathing hard. When I am finished my runs lately, it feels like I was beat up for an hour. This is not good - kind of like aversive conditioning. I am wondering if I should just take an entire week off and ride my bike and swim instead of running. Would that put me any farther behind in so-called training for the NYC Marathon that is 6 weeks away?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Newton Shoes

I have heard of these and Chris W. even has a pair. This is the first user review I have seen:
...So what has Newton (newtonrunning.com) done? The shoes feature rubber lugs -- called "actuators" -- that extend a quarter inch or so from the base of the forefoot region on the sole to mimic a barefoot running style, attempting to promote a more efficient and natural running technique. According to the company, the design minimizes detrimental heel-striking, promotes forefoot striking, increases speed, and prevents injury with some runners.

There's also a claim that the actuators rebound you into each new stride -- contracting on impact, absorbing energy, then springing you forward in a fit of, well, Newtonian physics.

In addition, the shoes are fairly lightweight -- the Gravity model I tested are about 11 ounces per foot -- and they have a mushy, dead-feeling heel, further egging you to strike on your forefoot.

Did I mention they cost $175 a pair?...
If they were about $100 less, I might try a pair.

Ben Underwood is Blind

But he is amazing - he can echo locate and uses all his other senses to "see" the world and perform as if sighted -
And I am pretty sure he walks barefoot -
Watch the vid


Best Video Of The Year - Click here for more free videos

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Registered for Newport Liberty

I just registered for the Newport Liberty Half-Marathon, which is Sunday, a week from today. I have done this race for about the past 10 years. The course has slightly changed, and the name has slightly changed, but it is essentially the same race. It is a cornerstone race in the USATF-NJ Grand Prix. It is a state championship for every age group USATF team, as well as worth 800 points for individuals - 100 points more than every other race, save one in December when runners can choose the point value of the last long race of the year.

My PF is still painful, especially when I run faster than about 8:30 per mile. Slower running is more tolerable. And every day that I run is a little different, pain-wise. Ice seems to help a lot, and the pain seems to respond to regular strength generic ibuprofen better than it does to Advil. Tylenol 8-Hour seems to give me the runs - ironically sometimes in the middle of a run.

I tried to run 13 miles on Saturday, but wound up running only 11, and the PF hurt for the second half of the run. This means the NLHM will be my longest run since the Escarpment Trail Run, back in July. Today I ran a double, 2 in the AM and 5 in the PM. I had pain in the morning and just a little in the afternoon. Morning run on road in trainers, and afternoon mostly on the towpath in XC shoes. I ran 42 miles the week ending September 9th. This past week I ran 46. I am hoping to continue to rehab and increase miles so I can run a comfortable NYC marathon. The half-marathon on Sunday will only be a long run.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Remembering

I was sitting on front desk duty with Mr. Little. It was first period, a little after 9 AM. A visitor entered the building and said, "Did you hear on the radio - I was just listening - a plane hit the World Trade Center."

Mr. Little and I envisioned a small plane, perhaps a single engine prop plane with a mechanical problem, flying accidentally into the WTC. It had happend before to the Empire State Building.

By the end of first period, 9:45 AM, the buzz was building, however. Televisions were on in some classrooms and people were watching the live action of the burning, and the second plane hitting the second tower. Then the endless repitition, the horrified reporters and observers, the unbelivable events were unfolding for everyone who had a working television feed or Internet connection.

We walked out the back side of the building that faces towards New York City and could see the smoke.

It was horrible and sad. It was hard to react. Many students, even though they were 14-19 years old, just went about their business and didn't fully understand. Actually, none of us fully understood. How could we. We all just watched and listened and hoped we could remain safe and untouched.

And I ran that day with my son on his bicycle next to me. I talked to him about what had happened in New York City on that day. He was only 7 years old, but he had heard about it and seen some on TV after my wife and I arrived home.

In retrospect that run was a turning point in his life more than mine. Because I knew the pre-9/11 world much better than he could know it. He has lived almost half of his life now in this world that continues to behave under the influence of 9/11. He is developing the major characteristics of his personality in this world.

My run that day with my son was the balm that made me able to cope with the horror of September 11, 2001. My running is a comfort that unites my life every day. It is a constant that I can depend on. Each run forms a whole, like a string of pearls, that extends back to the "old world" of peace; of high school, through these events, into today, and into the future.

I am going to try to get my 13 year-old son to go for a run with me today and talk to him about that other run in September of 2001. I wonder if he would remember it. But he won't come with me, and I won't force him, because he will have some homework to do, some online games to play, some dinner to eat before his 6 PM soccer practice.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

They're Almost Getting It

Pedestrians Beware
Many athletic shoes now have too much cushion, gels or air soles that can weaken the foot muscles, especially when worn all day long for fashion as well as exercise, Stoxen said.

"A shoe needs to be supportive to allow for athletic performance, but it needs to allow the foot to move the way it was designed to move," he said. "The modern day 'foot binding' is the shoe. We have all kinds of shoes that alter the natural movement of the foot."

Stoxen cites interviews with African runners, who often practice barefoot and frequently perform exceedingly well in marathons. He recounts the story of Ethiopia's Abebe Bikila, who set a new world record and won the gold medal in the 1960 Olympic marathon while running barefoot over cobblestones in Rome. Bikila won gold again four years later in Tokyo, despite recovering from an appendectomy he underwent a little more than five weeks earlier.

The new "barefoot" shoe will strengthen rather than weaken the natural spring mechanism of the foot, said Dan Weiss, director of marketing and product planning for the Converse Performance Team in Japan.

"Basically the foot has all the parts needed to perform," Weiss said. "A barefoot athletic shoe will allow the foot to continue to strengthen this performance mechanism and thus improve the overall endurance and strength of the foot, which is where most movement begins. -- By aligning the foot correctly and giving the support only where needed, this shoe will allow the foot to strengthen those muscles and ligaments that support the arch and give you the spring to react. With this stronger framework and correctly functioning spring mechanism, players will have quicker reactions and be able to avoid those common roll-over sprains."

Thursday, September 06, 2007

High Heels and Pumps

I started a discussion thread at our running club Yahoo! Group (not the Barefoot Running Yahoo! Group). I linked this article. The article explains how the foot is designed to bear weight, and how the use of shoes and running shoes force a change in weight bearing because of faulty design (i.e. curved last, elevated heel & restrictive toe-box). It has a great discussion on how "normal" gait is defined as normal simply because of the faulty design of footwear. And that is why many people sustain injury from the foot on up to the back. It also is nice to read an informed article that says, "An orthotic may rebalance the foot, but that same rebalanced foot automatically becomes unbalanced when it is in the shoe."

The ensuing discussion focused on the difference between high-heels and pumps, rather than on running shoe design. Darn, I usually hate when things go off on unexpected tangents.... But not this time. Because of course the Internet had the answer!
American Heritage Dictionary - Cite This Source pump 2 (pŭmp) Pronunciation Key n. A woman's shoe that has medium or high heels and no fastenings.
and

Anwers.com, about High Heels - here is a snip (but visit the link for a great pic ;) ----->>>>

High-heeled shoes are shoes which raise the heel of the wearer's foot toes. When both the heel and the toes are raised equal amounts, as in a platform shoe , it is generally not considered to be a "high-heel." This tends to give the illusion of longer and more sleder legs. High-heels come in a wide variety of styles, and the heels are found in many different shapes, including stiletto, block, tapered, blade, and wedge. significantly higher than the

While high heels today are mostly associated with female shoe styles, and the term high heeled shoe is generally understood to mean styles of spike-heeled footwear almost exclusively worn by women, there are numerous shoe designs worn by both genders which have elevated heels, including cowboy boots and cuban heels. According to high fashion shoe websites like Jimmy Choo and Gucci, a "low heel" is considered less than 2.5", while 2.5" to 3.5" heels are considered "mid heels," and anything over 3.5" is considered a "high heel" [citation needed].

Friday, August 31, 2007

Trying to Get it Right

Starting this entry with a quote found in half the blogs on the 'net: "Haven't posted in a long time."

Been here, on the computer, out in the sun, on vacation and elsewhere. Suffering short training weeks since a painful Escarpment Trail Run in July.

So I have formulated my Fall training plan based on where I am now. I will be running the NYC marathon with less miles behind me than last year. The only hope I have is to train smarter, depend on my legacy fitness, and run the event more conservatively and with lower expectations than I did last year.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Doing It All Amazingly Wrong

My running has been both wrong and amazing these past two weeks.

The amazing wrongness began at President's Cup on June 18th. I wrote about the damage I did to myself there. Summary: 19:15 5K barefoot. Left Achilles tendon = hurtin'. So for the rest of the week, Tuesday - Saturday I did not run. Instead I did some swimming and cycling, some icing and some rope-stretching. People at work noticed I was limping and showed concern.

I was registered for the Pine Beack 5K on Sunday June 24th. It was the USATF-NJ masters championship, so I wanted to run for the team's sake. I knew I had less pain in my Achilles when I was warmed up, but it was difficult to get to the warmed-up state by running. So I brought my bike to the event, warmed up on the bike, and ran the race wearing road race shoes. Initially I didn't have much pain during the race, but I did not want to push too hard. I ran 19:41, finishing just ahead of a member of my club who is a mother of two and still lactating.

The next day I swam again. Continuing my amazing wrong running program, I proceeded to run a cross-country 5K on Tuesday June 26th. I ran 19:53, finishing behind a 13 year old, but ahead of a bunch of 16 year-olds. Some pain there, but tolerable. So I continued last week with more alternative training Wednesday - Saturday: swimming and cycling, icing and stretching. .

Charlie emailed yesterday suggesting a long hilly trail run at Round Valley today. Of course that would be an amazingly wrong thing to do, considering my condition. But, true to form, I went and did 20 hilly rocky miles in 3:12 this morning with him and Jen. It was a beautiful run, and I am amazed I was able to do it. My Achilles did not bother me until the last few miles. I am psyched that I might even be able to run a decent Escarpment Trail on July 29th, despite this nagging Achilles pain.

So I am looking forward to another week of alternative training because I am not registered for another race until July 10th, another XC 5K. Maybe I should sign-up for a triathlon?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

My Left Foot

My right foot runs so much better than my left foot. Barefoot running has taught me that. My right foot does not have any problems. My left foot gets blisters from running fast or far on pavement. My left heel has tendonitis that's a little too far back to be plantar fasciitis. The middle of my left heel often feels painful when it steps too hard on a pebble or stick, and I can trace that back to a hard landing off a ski jump in the terrain park at Belleayre. So my conclusion about the other heel pain that is a little too far back is that it is Achilles tendonitis. It is really hard to tell where the plantar fascia ends and Achilles tendon begins. I am also sure that pain is a symptom of a greater muscle chain of tightness that begins in my hamstring, continues through my calf and into that tendon. This problem bothered me to a limited extent last year, and it appeared this spring as I have been increasing mileage too fast, as is my post-ski-season habit. The pain was manageable up until Monday night, and of course in retrospect I should have been icing and stretching. For the last couple of weeks, once warmed up, I had no trouble with the tendon. And it warmed up fast, with just some 20 steps of easy running. But Monday night, running the President's Cup Night Race 5K, I really pushed it over its limit. This was the first road race I started without shoes, wearing socks with some duct tape on the bottom. I ran the race fairly hard, though I am not in the same shape I was in last year. I knew I was doing damage during the race, but I kept up the pace and sprinted the last 50 yards just to hang with Roger. I limped around after the race and through yesterday, enough for people to notice and comment. I am still limping today and have resorted to wearing cushioned training shoes with an elevated heel. It hurts when I step forward as my ankle begins to bend, and increases as my weight is transferred to that leg . If I walk on that foot exaggeratedly weighting on the outside or inside, the pain is significantly reduced. Yesterday I swam 550 yards instead of running. I will continue cross-training rehab for the rest of the week, because I have the Pine Beach 5K this Sunday.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Shoe Review - Reebok Circa Waffle

The Reebok Circa Waffle is a shoe designed for cross-country racing. I still wear shoes for about half my mileage, and this is my current shoe of choice. I started using it by chance when I received a free pair from Reebok as my compensation for a shoe test. Since my first pair, I have bought two more online. I use this shoe on the road and off the road. I have used it for rocky technical trail runs, cross-country training and racing.

The advantage of this shoe as a barefooter's running shoe is the sole is fairly thin, and there is no difference between the sole thickness at the forefoot and under the heel. They have no support structures and allow your feet to function in their full range of motion. They have good "road feel", yet provide enough protection over Appalachian rocky trails.

My first pair was size 9, and I ripped out the insoles because they felt a little short at the toes. Especially for my bigger right foot. I still ran in them until they were almost dead, including in the 2006 NYC marathon. Since they partially blackened my right big toe, I figured it was time to size up. I jumped to size 9 1/2 for my second pair. They still seemed a little too snug, however. My son, a 7th grader that suddenly wears the same shoes I do, ran track this spring for the first time, so I gave them to him. I now have a size 10, and they are great! I should order a few pairs and stockpile them before Reebok decides to "improve" or discontinue them!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

A 26.2 Mile Saturday

To my amazement, because I did not know I was in this kind of shape, on only three hours of sleep, I ran a 3:46 for 26.2 miles yesterday. It wasn't exactly a marathon and I didn't exactly do it barefoot (more on that later). It was The Towpath Train'ing Run, a non-competitive event that follows the 34-mile length of the Delaware-Raritan Towpath from Trenton to New Brunswick, NJ. The event is supported and is intended to be done at regulated paces to keep runners together. Runners can run the "freight train" at 9:30 per mile, the "local train" at 8:30 per mile, or pick up the "express train" at 7:30 per mile. Runners may start at any of the "refueling stations", which are the towpath's road crossings, many of which are served by buses supplied by the event.

TOWPATH TRAIN'ING RUN BOARDING SCHEDULE
I was one of five runners who started at 6 AM in Trenton on the 8:30/mile local train. Two runners, Peihan and Bill, started an hour earlier on the 9:30/mile freight train. As the day progressed, runners joined the train at the stations, and the group got larger throughout the day. The event is arranged so that all three trains eventually converge for the final quarter mile, honoring the person(s) that run the entire distance by having them finish first. Three of the women that started in Trenton ran the entire 34 miles - Peihan from the freight train and Jen & Lauren from our local. Lauren & Peihan took some extra time and unfortunately missed the convergence at the end. This is the first year of the event that no men completed 34 miles.

After the event there was a big bar-b-cue picnic and beer-drinking celebration for all the runners and their families. The event director told some interesting, funny or personal stories about each runner that completes 20 miles or more as he awarded them their commemorative picture frames. The total mileage from all the runners combined from this day is computed into a 75 cent per mile donation to the Cancer Institute of New Jersey. It was a beautiful day and an amazing event.

I have done this event since its inception, and I believe there are a few important factors that make this a event a great experience. Nobody comes away exhausted or disappointed with their time. Even though some people run the longest run in their lives at this event, everyone seems energized at the picnic after the event. Perhaps this is because of the cooperative spirit of the event, the excellent support, the two minute breaks at the refueling stations, the flatness and forgiveness of the towpath, or just the good karma generated by the spirit of the event. For my running club, The Raritan Valley Road Runners, it is a key event that more people take part in as participants or volunteers than any other event throughout the year.

So about my own 26.2 for the day: I did it in two parts. I started in Trenton at 6 AM. Just before starting, the event director, Ray Petit, said to me, "We need to get going, you better get your shoes on..." I picked up my foot and showed that I had duct tape on the bottom of my socks. He was flabbergasted that I was about to run the towpath in socks and duct tape, and took a photo commemorating the event. I had to wear socks & duct tape because there is just too much gravel in too many spots for me to keep the pace with this group totally barefoot. I didn't know how far I was going to go in the socks, and had one of our support vehicles carry a pair of XC shoes for when I might need them. As our run to the first refueling station progressed, I was disappointed that my socks got wet and were slipping forward trying to remove themselves from my feet. This became annoying. Being cheap, I had used some older socks that were perhaps a bit stretched out. I should have opted for some newer ones, they may have gone farther than that first 8.4 miles. Next year...

After switching to my Reebok Circa Waffle XC shoes, I completed the rest of the first 20.7 miles of the run. I then helped at the next two refueling stations and got some recovery time. I re-boarded the train with 5.5 miles to the finish. I was able to start and finish with Jen Davis, one of the women that ran the entire distance. We arrived at the end at 11:01 AM, just one minute off the 8:30/mile schedule!

I should run more marathons at 8:30, because today I feel no soreness! I mowed my lawn barefoot this morning, and this afternoon I ran around my daughter's soccer game field barefoot during half-time for about 3/4 of a mile.


At the beginning of the Towpath Train'ing Run in Trenton. L to R: Leslie, me, Bob, Lauren & Jen

Monday, May 28, 2007

Natirar Cross-Country Course

Ran at Natirar, a new park that opened May 1, 2007. It has the potential of being one of the best cross-country courses in the state. It was a 100% grass and gravel surface, with hills that would satisfy any hard-core XC runner! A great place to run barefoot, but the second loop gets too rocky for the last half mile. However, many other multiple loops would keep me happy for hours.
(View the map below as hybrid to see the terrain.)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Sleep Deprivation

It did not take much research to confirm that my "Unexplained Exhaustion" is from accumulated sleep deprivation. Of the 32 symptoms listed at Wikipedia, I have 20:

Aching muscles
ADHD-like
symptoms
Blurred
vision
Clinical depression
Daytime naps
Decreased mental activity
Decreased
concentration
Dizziness
Dark circles under the eyes
Headache
Impatience
Irritability
Memory lapses /
memory loss
Nausea
Pale skin tone
(looking pasty)
Slowed reaction time
Slurred
speech
Weight loss / Anorexia
Weight
gain

Yawning

Luckily, I am not exhibiting the worst symptoms (yet?), which include hand tremors, fainting, decreased immune function, hallucinations and psychosis.

Unexplained Exhaustion

I cut my lawn barefoot last night, after dinner, after going to my son's track meet barefoot, after driving him to soccer practice. I did not run yesterday, barefoot or otherwise. Yet, after mowing, after picking up my son from soccer practice, I was exhausted. It was about 8:30 PM. I laid down on my bed and conked-out. I woke up about 2 AM, went to the bathroom, removed my running shorts, and slept until almost 7 AM.

I was exhausted last week too. I missed a few days of running. I took some naps. I ran almost 12 on Saturday, but in general, my running mileage has been low. I am about 40 miles behind the yearly total that I was at at this point last year. I do not know exactly what is up. All kids of scenarios are in my head, including mono, Lyme disease, anemia, clinical depression, thyroid problems and cancer. Even after that long sleep last night, I am still feeling a little draggy. My muscles feel a bit weak. I had some diarrhea yesterday. Colleagues have noticed that my mood is bit down, and that I look tired.

I want to believe that I have just been sleep-deprived for too long a period of time. It is hard for me to really come to terms with this. Perhaps sleep deprivation is the best explanation. I think I have gotten an average of about 6 hours of sleep per night for a couple of months now. I should do some research on the effects of this kind of sleep deprivation. Maybe I should go to a doctor?

More to come.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Shin-Thing Continued

Let me tell you what caused the shin-thing: wearing training shoes. And after lots of diagnosis I figured out what it is - or what it was - because it is almost over. And the reason it is almost over is I ran barefoot yesterday. And the ice probably helped too.

So it is or was a posterior compartment syndrome at the origin of my soleus and gastrocnemius muscles. This article helped me, because it explains the swelling, and it also explains the numbness I experienced in my toes during the workout on the very day that I noticed the swelling. This article really zeroed-in on the specific type of compartment syndrome. It was last Wednesday, at a club run, when I ran 8 miles fairly hard on what was so far the hottest day this year. The numbness happened on the hills during the last 2 miles. It was painfully numb, especially in the outside of my left foot. And on that day I was wearing Mizuno Precision shoes.

I took Thursday off and iced the swelling several times. The ice seemed to bring it down a little. Thinking I needed to protect my lower leg muscles and bones, I ran 4 miles on Friday and 8 miles on Saturday wearing the same shoes. On both days I felt a heaviness in my shin, as if I was carrying extra fluid around in there. I continued to ice. Then on Sunday I ran 8 miles barefoot. Barefoot, my shin felt normal the entire run, and in the evening, as I sat watching the passing of Christopher on The Sopranos and icing, I noticed the swelling was almost gone.

This incident made me remember that when I was in high school, circa 1976, I had compartment syndrome in both legs. It was so painful I was prescribed some steroid-based med and it ruined my cross-country season during my junior year.

A few other images that helped my figure this out:


(OK, the one above didn't really help me figure it out, I just liked the photo....)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

A Shin-Thing Going On

I am having a shin-thing going on and was wondering how serious it might be. It has not stopped me from running. I just noticed it last Friday during a 7 mile run, where the last 5 were barefoot on grass. Left leg only, and felt like classic shin splints. Bothered me a little for 4 on Saturday barefoot on grass, 8 on Sunday shod. Took Monday almost off, running only about a mile at my son's track meet. Then it didn't bother me for 9 on Tuesday barefoot grass/pavement/track. Then 8 yesterday shod bothered me a little. Poking around with my fingers in the area I noticed swelling up against my shin bone, on the inside, high up. Feels like soft tissue swelling, so I self-massaged and iced. I am starting to get worried that it may be something more severe than shin splints. It is the swelling that has me worried. It isn't visible swelling, but I can feel it right up against the bone. Is this normal for shin splints? Some of the information I Googled mentions swelling in relation to shin splints, but also in relation with stress fractures and bone cancer. Self-diagnosis can be creepy sometimes. It has me wondering if I should go to the doctor, or just continue to ice. Guess I will have to make that decision after ricing it for a couple of days.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Astrology of Running Barefoot

Today my horoscope reflects running barefoot, especially when faced with those "shoe police" that fear for you for not wearing shoes - it says
Cancer (June 22-July 22). Your life is a labyrinth with many choices and unknowns. Not all of them are as fearsome as your imagination paints them to be.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Great Run Today

Just felt good. Ran in shoes, one of my long-time 8 mile loops, Greenbrook Road to Middlesex and back.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Boston Marathon Update #1

It is almost two hours into the Versus Network coverage of Boston. The frequency of commercials has increased about fourfold. Deena Kastor is having another bad day. That's sad. With her disappointing performance at the 2006 NYC Marathon and now this Boston Marathon, it makes two in a row where there were high hopes for her and USA marathoning in general.

I am tracking several friends from my running club:
Here are the first wave guys.
Here are the people who started in wave #2.

Boston Marathon

I am watching the Boston Marathon on the Versus TV Network (AKA "VS", formerly OLN). Al Trautwig is the head talking head, unfortunately. It looks brutal out there. Even though us runners have to put up with Trautwig's condescending chatter for people who only know about the "sports" of fishing, golf and whatever major league sports the big networks cover, the pre-recorded shorts have been fairly informative and tailored to runners. They are also showing the marathon they ran in Iraq to mirror Boston, and the one in space. I just discoverd that you can track up to five individuals at the Boston Marathon web site.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Run Easy

Toe is getting along OK. Has not even affected my running. It is probably almost healed. Big rains today. Nor'easter. Soccer games canceled. Belleayre's web site is saying that they will get 30" of snow out of this. Staying open through next weekend. If so, I will be there. Boston is tomorrow and it is going to be interesting. All I wanna do is run easy!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Broken Toe

I broke my little right toe yesterday. I was getting out of my car and I just did something weird. I turned to help my daughter out of the back seat. It is a small Ford Focus ZX3 two door, so I was letting the back seat up. I somehow caught my little toe on the map pocket in the door and it hurt like hell. I noticed ten minutes later that it was looking purpleish and swelling a little. I put ice on it. Last night it was fine through some table-tennis playing and usual around-the-house activities. It was fine this morning too, until I had to put shoes on for work. Now it hurts and I am working in my socks. I hope I can run later. The last time I broke a little toe I had to spend a few weeks cycling instead.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Teenage 'Tude

I ran a 4.5 mile barefoot run yesterday. I needed a barefoot run. It felt so good. Most of it was on the muddy grass of Greenbrook Park. Even though the weather was warm, about 65 degrees, the wet grass puddles were very cold. I came home with a lot of mud on my feet. I brought my son to soccer indoor practice after the run, still shoeless. On the way home I was asking him something that I can't remember, probably about practice, and he said, "I can't take you seriously because you don't have shoes on."

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

As a matter of fact, she's very fond of cricket

I ran 10 miles yesterday wearing training shoes. But it was warm enough and daylight enough to run barefoot. I am participating in a top secret wear test for Reebok, so I felt obligated to get the minimum mileage on the shoes for the week before running barefoot mileage. I really miss getting barefoot mileage right now - reasons for that is a topic for another post. What I am really posting about is how this early change to Daylight Saving Time is making people crazy in a positive way.

A nod's as good as a wink to a blind bat

During my run yesterday, which included about 40 minutes on the Delaware-Raritan Towpath, I saw more people than usual outside walking, running, and doing other things. And it was some very cool other things, I must say. And the other things I am referring to have to do with photography, nudge nudge wink wink say no more. On the towpath there was a unique spot where the setting sun shone through the trees, across the canal, and illuminated a dock-like structure that is in Colonial Park. I was on the towpath, of course, on this out-and-back portion of my run. There were three women with a camera on a tripod across the canal on the dock-like structure. One wore jeans and a pink hoodie. One had a long white gown of flowing light, soft fabric; she may have been barefoot. The third had a short dress, bare legs, and boots with high heels. On the way out the third woman was looking through the camera that was pointed away from the canal, so her back was facing me. Now, many people lament that the Towpath is a great running surface, yet the sameness of the available scenery is sometimes its drawback. Given that perspective, this wildlife sighting was quite a welcome distraction. Yet I am a runner on a run with limited head rotation abilities, and sacrilege it would be to stop running while out on a training run, so this distraction could only be savored for about 20 seconds....

Party time! Excellent!

Farther down the Towpath I spotted a 12-pack of Yuengling bottles in the water just at the edge of the canal to my left. They belonged to two guys off the towpath to my right, down by the river. Two Milltown 30-something holdover heavy metal wannabe types: one dark long haired and baseball capped, the other light long haired, capless. They were, respectively, cluelessly, the embodiment of Wayne and Garth, fishing out of season, using Yuengling for bait. If they only had a clue about other things going on just a few minutes' walk down the Towpath, they would have been o so Schwing....

She's been around a bit, been around?

I turned around at Amwell Road for my run's return trip. Again I spied the three woman, and they must have gotten their light metered right, because the woman with the jeans was behind the cam and the woman in the short dress had her arms crossed and was grabbing it low and beginning to pull it over her head. But the third woman saw me - I must have appeared suddenly as I was attempting negative splits - and said something. There was a burst of laughter and the rising dress STOPPED at her thighs....

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Deer Mr. Moose, is there even such a word?....

I need to tell this story before I forget. It happened last Friday evening, as I was turning into Greenbrook Park off of Clinton Avenue. It was dusk. There were about eight deer grazing next to the Green Brook. They simultaniously raised their heads and looked at me as if to say, "What the heck is a human doing running through here?" One of the does started jogging towards me. It was kinda creepy. I thought she was going to charge me or something, as I was running parallel to the brook, passing the staring animals. I was looking to see if there were any horns, thinking a buck would be more apt to be aggressive, I reasoned.

Well, the doe didn't charge, but she took my line and jogged behind me at about 30 yards or so, and the other deer, all does I think, followed in a line. They followed me for about another 100 yards, then veered off to head towards the park road.

I remembered to tell this story because some people were talking about deer hunting after the run at Doll's tonight. I was saying that I killed two deer with my motor vehicles. Then I told them about the deer following me, and John E. said he was charged by a deer on the towpath. He claims deer can be mean. Deer mean creatures? Hmm. Then he was asking if I ever encountered a moose, meaning with my car. No, I said, but I have when hiking in New Hampshire. I was trying to get close to take a picture while the moose was laying down, chewing cud. When I got within 10 yards, the 8 foot moose stood. That was it - I backed away slowly.

"And if you ever watched Rocky and Bullwinkle, you believe moose are dumb," said I. "It is like reverse anthropomorphism."

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Two Things: Blisters & The WSJ Article

Thing 1: A post at the Yahoo! Barefoot Running group was discussing that perhaps faster runners actually do have a problem with getting blisters while running barefoot. The discussion was brought up by this slanted Wall Street Journal article that claims barefoot runners suffer from blisters and a host of other maladies. I coincidentally got my first barefoot running blister yesterday. And it was on a day where my feet were sometimes damp (did the soften my soles?) and running what was for me a fairly fast-for-barefoot 5 miles @ 39:24 = 7:53/mile. It is a blood blister about 1/2 inch in diameter on my left forefoot behind my big toe. I also have a tender spot, that feels like a deep blister but I can't see it, on the tip of my left 4th toe. I didn't feel them develop, perhaps because the pavement was cold. I did begin to feel the blood blister during the second part of my run when I added 3.75 miles with XC flats on. (Shoes added due to darkness and falling temps.)

Thing 2: This blog, Netsweat.com, has a post that downs barefoot running based on the slanted WSJ article, where it says, in part:
"There is a price to pay for adjusting to life without shoes, particularly blisters and cuts. Less talked about is the potential for muscle, ligament and bone injuries. The human body was never designed to run on concrete, asphalt or whatever is littered on the roads."
I commented:
"The WSJ article on barefoot running was possibly the worst barefoot running article ever written in mainstream media. The writer took facts and quotes out of context, and shaped them to his own opinion. And he could not have been more wrong. He even consulted with people from the Yahoo! Barefoot Running Group and ignored or manipulated their input. You can read the thread concerning this issue here. Running barefoot is the best thing I have ever done to improve my running. Yes, you can't change your training overnight, as is the case with any training change. However, the pain and drawbacks are much less than portrayed in the WSJ article. Here is a better article, from Men's Journal. See runningbarefoot.org for the ultimate reference."

Monday, January 08, 2007

The Warm Dampness

The warm dampness I am talking about is this past Saturday, and today. The jet stream needs some discipline. It needs to get itself in line and behave the way it is supposed to. It needs to get some cold air down here into the northeast USA. An inch of rain, at least, overnight could have been a half foot of snow. Added to another few we could have gotten on Saturday. Instead, I ran wearing T-shirt and shorts again on Saturday, splashing through muddy puddles in the fields of Greenbrook Park. I didn't sweat enough because it takes two weeks to fully acclimate to warm weather physical response. Feeling the warmth of the sun in early January feels good, but it just doesn't feel right. I ran 40.5 miles in the first week of 2007; 66% barefoot. I think that is a masters-age distance record for the first week of January for me, as well as a barefoot record for January since I have learned to do this. Here is a view of my 2007 Excel running log for this past week.


My pace has been a little sluggy, because my December 2006 mileage was quite low and random, and I think I gained a couple pounds. The positive side to this wacky weather is that it is a good start for 2007 training.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Full Moon, Frozen Toes & Painful Pebbles

Last night I attempted the club run barefoot. It was a full moon and I figured this would be a good night to try it because I could see where I was landing my soles. Even though the unseasonably warm temperatures continue during the day, last night my feet were too cold too quickly. I also learned that South 2nd Avenue in Highland Park is quite rough. After about 1/4 mile, I turned around and went back to put shoes on.

Today I got out while it was still daylight. Ran about 6 miles barefoot, mostly on pavement. Did about a mile on grass, but it was very damp and froze my toes, so I went back onto pavement. By the last couple of miles it had gotten dark. It was hard to see the road debris. I stepped on a couple of painful pebbles.

Monday, January 01, 2007

First Barefoot Run ~ New Years Day 2007

Drove home from the holiday ski trip this morning. Even in the Catskills it was in the mid-40's, and I wore flip-flops. At home it was about 53 degrees, drizzle falling on and off. Shorts and a T-shirt, I ran for an hour barefoot. Half the run was in the mud and puddles of Greenbrook Park. Half was on the road.