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 ( 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


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, 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].