Monday, March 30, 2009

Workouts: March 23 - 29, 2009

Three weeks to Boston and this past week of workouts were not that great. All my runs felt draggy.  I was generally tired all week.  Guess I need to sleep more.  The stupid cat wakes me up every morning at 4:30.  That has to stop.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

I Thought I Ran Longer Today

I only ran 13.3 miles today.  It took 2 hours.  I was dragging myself through the first 40 minutes of it.  I felt bloated and tired.  I wanted to get a two hour run in - and I accomplished that.  But I did practically the same distance last Saturday in 1:45.  Last week I followed up with an PM bike ride.  No ride today - had important stuff to do today 9 AM - 3 PM.  I wish Boston was more than 23 days away!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

This Was My Response to The Best Email (now below)

Dear Ogg,

It is good that you are a cave-person - because we are talking about running like a primitive human - the way we were designed to run before marketing took over the activity called "running".

we have to talk - lots of ideas here.
several questions and all that...

Anyway, here is some general advice: Follow the 10% rule.  If you are running 3.5 miles per week now, in trainers, then add no more than 10% barefoot.  So that means about a third of a mile barefoot to your total 3.5.  The next week, increase total (shod+barefoot) distance 10% = 3.75 miles.  The next week, add 10% more barefoot, so run about 2/3 miles barefoot.  etc.  Alternate between weeks - one week add 10% more barefoot miles to the previous week's total, the next week upping your total mileage 10% more.

I have no trouble switching from barefoot to flats and back.  But, there are a lot of people in the barefoot community that say that is not good because it retains your bad habits from running shod.  They say simply go into it 100% from the start, but forget about doing the total mileage you are used to.

It is a good idea to start on grass.  Find a nice soccer field to run circles around.  Run there, or warm up in shoes first.  Run the field loops shod first and look for anything that you can step on that might hurt and throw it far away or remember to avoid it.  Then take them off and run for 5 minutes around the soccer field.  Do that a couple times per week.  Begin to increase your 5 minutes barefoot by a minute or two per session.  Before you know it you will be doing quite a lot of minutes of running barefoot.  (BTW, that is how I measure BF running, by minutes, not miles.  As a barefoot beginner, you should not try to train as fast as you are used to while barefoot, so don't court injury - don't worry about how far you are going - add up the minutes instead.

Orthotics - ween yourself off of them.  Wear them a couple of times per week, don't wear them a couple times per week.  Increase the latter and decrease the former.  To support the transition, go barefoot at all times, except when you are absolutely forced to wear shoes!  Push the limits.  Carry flip flops and put them on when the store manager asks you to - but make sure you tell him it isn't illegal anywhere and that you could bring him to court for discrimination if you were not such a nice person.

Read these links:

One of The Best Emails I Have Ever Received

This is the email -->>

81,001 BC: Ogg discover fire
9,845 BC: Ogg invent wheel
1829 AD: Ogg invent shoe
1830 AD: Ogg discover 'runner's knee'
*all dates are approximate
Happy Wednesday!
I've been getting back into running so slowly I can't remember what it feels like to actually train for something. I have been reading a bit online about runner's knee and, with what I learned in physical therapy coupled with yoga, I think I am finally on the right track. I've also been reading about barefoot running and have read a bit of 'evidence' supporting the benefits for people who have had runner's knee and for runners with high arches (me!).
I've only been running 1 day a week (3.5 miles) and walking 2 other days (a little over an hour each day), and I wore a light knee brace for the 8k on Saturday because I hadn't run more than 3.5 since Belmar in July. My knee felt good, a little soreness at the end of the day, but a HUGE improvement from 8 months ago when 2 miles set my ITB on fire.
I have resolved to not train for anything in the near future, just run and be content with mediocrity, so I was thinking about easing into barefooting since I'm not doing anything noteable for the next year or so. I have a pair of flats, but no insoles because I ripped them out to make room for my orthotics.
This leads me to my first question- do I leave my orthotics in when I start in flats? It could be possible that I would need more strengthening and no knee pain before I start this whole plan, but in the grand scheme of trainers-->flats-->feet, do you think there is a 'smart' time or way to ease out of these? I've worn them (only when running/walking/hiking) for the last 9 years.
Also, I have my heart set on the Philly Marathon 2010. It's a long time away, I know :) I already have a play list building in iTunes... Anyway, I am not going to be running a full marathon barefoot- at least not my first one. My body can't go too long without having some sort of injury, so I'm going to coax my body back into masochism slowly. While it's entirely possible I would run the marathon in flats, this brought me to my other question- in general, how do you find alternating between barefoot and shoe running? For example, if you come back from running in trainers all winter, do you find trouble barefooting again?
No hurry, I'm running in trainers for the time being and I am switching to flats for walking anyway because the thick heel cushion on my Asics irk my shins after about 30 minutes of walking. Also, definitely sign up for Shamrock next year- tons of fun and beautiful course with lots of fan support. Not to mention, the beer tent on the sand adds a little something extra :)
Hope your rib has fully healed! How has life as a former president been going for you?
Thanks for any input you have on this topic!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Short Dunellen Loop Today

Short Dunellen 4 miler today @ 7 minute miles (below).  Was a little recover run after yesterday's 41 bike miles in 2:30.  It was windy and I ran out of water at mile 29.  I'm considering an early AM run tomorrow because I have a trip to the dermatologist tomorrow afternoon.  There is a thing on my right temple I want gone.  Been running and working in the sun for too long to fool with anything looking like it is on the fast track to skin cancer.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Training: March 16 - 22, 2009

Now this week was more like a training week, not just a bunch of "workouts".  I said to a lot of people on Saturday morning, "I'm cramming for Boston."  Now, I wouldn't recommend this technique.  It isn't "the ten percent rule", it is about the 40 percent rule.  But I have been able to get away with it for the past bunch of years with minimal damage...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Longish Run This Morning and Recovery Spin in the PM

Ran 13 miles mostly on the Towpath this morning, mostly alone, even though it was the RVRR Saturday Morning Run.  Thirty people were there, but the people that went long started earlier.  It was a beautiful morning, and I am glad I can do 13 @ 1:45 = 8:07/mile at this point in time.  Went to Somerset Diner to meet the people who had gone for breakfast after the run, and most were practically on their way out.  Since the money was in for the bill already, they seemed to have bought me my bagel and coffee.  Thanks guys!

Added a 15 mile spin at 3:30 PM on my Quintana Roo Superform, which I retro-fitted to road bike styling.  Kinda hard to get the saddle position right with the forward positioning angles on that TT frame.  Makes it hard to get the same power from my hamstrings.  So far, even my single speed feels faster than the QRoo set up like that.  On the positives side, I was hating all the bars and cables for the TT set up - it was ruining the clean beauty of the bicycle.  So glad I am not presently a triathlete anymore!  But gotta thank the bike for fixing so many of my running problems last year.  Thanks bikes!

Run route and bike route in the two maps below, from

Friday, March 20, 2009

Born To Run (not Springsteen...)'s Editorial Review
Full of incredible characters, amazing athletic achievements, cutting-edge science, and, most of all, pure inspiration, Born to Run is an epic adventure that began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt? In search of an answer, Christopher McDougall sets off to find a tribe of the world’s greatest distance runners and learn their secrets, and in the process shows us that everything we thought we knew about running is wrong.

Isolated by the most savage terrain in North America, the reclusive Tarahumara Indians of Mexico’s deadly Copper Canyons are custodians of a lost art. For centuries they have practiced techniques that allow them to run hundreds of miles without rest and chase down anything from a deer to an Olympic marathoner while enjoying every mile of it. Their superhuman talent is matched by uncanny health and serenity, leaving the Tarahumara immune to the diseases and strife that plague modern existence. With the help of Caballo Blanco, a mysterious loner who lives among the tribe, the author was able not only to uncover the secrets of the Tarahumara but also to find his own inner ultra-athlete, as he trained for the challenge of a lifetime: a fifty-mile race through the heart of Tarahumara country pitting the tribe against an odd band of Americans, including a star ultramarathoner, a beautiful young surfer, and a barefoot wonder.

With a sharp wit and wild exuberance, McDougall takes us from the high-tech science labs at Harvard to the sun-baked valleys and freezing peaks across North America, where ever-growing numbers of ultrarunners are pushing their bodies to the limit, and, finally, to the climactic race in the Copper Canyons. 
Born to Run is that rare book that will not only engage your mind but inspire your body when you realize that the secret to happiness is right at your feet, and that you, indeed all of us, were born to run.

About the Author

Christopher McDougall is a former war correspondent for the Associated Press and is now a contributing editor for Men’s Health. A three-time National Magazine Award finalist, he has written for EsquireThe New York Times MagazineOutsideMen’s Journal, and New York. He does his own running among the Amish farms around his home in rural Pennsylvania.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Two Weeks of Workouts: March 2 - 15, 2009

Sixteen workouts in 14 days is an improvement - but I need to run more for Boston Marathon training!