Sunday, November 29, 2009

Haile Gebrselassie

Haile Gebrselassie is a forefoot striker.  Watch some vids at Youtube.  His feet move fast, so it is a little difficult to see his forefoot strike.  He ran 10K 2X per day to school and back, barefoot, for 10 years.  Kinda explains things.  In this vid, he places his arm around a young Ethiopian boy and says, "He could be my double, except he has the shoes. I had no shoes."

I jokingly propose that One World Running, an organization that brings donations and running shoes to Africa, is a plan by the USOC to slow down future African runners!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

An Uninformed Stupid Comment

A reader commented on my post entitled, "My adidas Spam Today".  In that post, I commented on an adidas model called "Ambition Power Bounce".  It is $130 of marketing and design bullcrap.  Check them out yourself if you don't believe me.  The adidas web site copy actually says, "So every time you head out for a run you have the chance to redefine who you are as a runner."  Um, yea, shoes can do that.  Not!  A PERSON can do that, not the shoes.

I have some running shoes that even I would defend mightily: Saucony Kilkenny, Reebok Circa and VFF.  So I guess I can appreciate a person that goes to bat for a shoe.  At the same time, I am kinda happy that A.) someone would actually read my post and comment on it, and B.) that there are still people out there that are hostile to running barefoot even after the Born To Run bonanza.

Anyway, I figured I can answer some of HyperHorse's questions in the comment directly here, even though I really think we should all just go out for a run, shod or not, and that it is all good.

HH. How the hell are your feet & ankles holding up, now that you're running barefoot???
TM. Well, it has been a relatively rough year.  I broke two toes this year, but they were both really stupid moves, off road, in the midst of awesome runs.  I must say they healed surprisingly quickly, and gave me an opportunity to enjoy my many bicycles to the max.  My goal for each break was to come out of the injuries more fit than I went into them.  I reached that goal for both of them.  Besides those two toes, the rest of my feet are completely healthy and happy.  They are strong and look great.  My ankles are golden.  That is why I got into running barefoot in 2004, to stop twisting ankles.

HH. And if you weren't such a lazy dumbass, since you don't apparently need shoes anymore, why don't you unsubscribe from the Adidas mailing list???
TM. OK, I will admit that I am lazy, and even a dumbass at times.  Frequently perhaps.  Aren't we all?  But I still need shoes sometimes!  I am not one of those really crazy 100% barefooters.  I run about half my yearly mileage barefoot.  What if adidas comes out with a wonderful minimal shoe at some point that I might want to buy?  Or I might want some of their cool clothes.  I need that mailing list.  If not for the possibility of a bargain, then just for the occasional comic relief.

HH. I've actually tried these on and I'm very impressed with the feel and cushioning of these shoes...  So maybe try them on before making an uninformed stupid comment?
TM. That is great and I am glad you like them.  I would not be inclined to try them on because there is simply too much shoe there and I don't think I have ever spent over about $80 for a running shoe even when I was into their alleged advancements in technology for our protection.  To me, that impressive cushioning would be painful.  Every step would force a heel strike: ouch.  I am going to choose to remain uninformed and stupid because I am an American, and that is what we like.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Philadelphia Marathon Photos Turn Up Everywhere

Here is a "Before" shot, around the starting line at 7 AM or so, from Joel S. via his Facebook album.  Left to right it are Christine, Jonn D., Joel S., Me, Steve R.

The next two are from Nick P., via his Facebook album.  The amazing observation to me is that even though these were taken around mile 20, when I was in extreme discomfort, I am smiling and aparently having great fun.  As Nick said, ain't runnin' wonderful?

Proving again that it is indeed a small small world, this is one photo from a set that a friend discovered, from her running club, MCRR out of Maryland:

Here is a screen cap from the official race photographer site:

Monday, November 23, 2009

Philadelphia Marathon

The race time prediction calculators were all wrong.  I went out way to fast, toasted my quads by mile 14.  I was at the half at 1:35:13.  Even pace would have put me at 3:10:26.  But I ran an 11 minute POSITIVE split, to end up at 3:21:31.  And it wasn't fun, hurting all the way out to Manayunk and back.  I couldn't decide if it hurt less to run slower or faster.  I was living for the next Gatoraid and just thinking the only way to get this done is to get it done...

I was definitely fooled by the rest, by the taper effect, for the first half of the run.  I was throwing the dice out there that all the bike riding - the bulk of my training in the last four weeks since I broke my toe - would somehow let me really stick to my 3:10 goal, which I had formed when everything was humming along swimmingly up until that fateful 8K XC race one month ago.

So checkout my crazy splits, especially my erratic 18-26, that I took on my Timex Ironman Triathlon watch:
Miles 1-11 @ 1:19:32 = 7:14
12 @ 7:15
13 & 14 @ 14:56 = 7:28
15 @ 7:28
16 @ 7:50
17 @ 7:51
18 @ 7:44
19 @ 8:10
20 @ 7:57
21 & 22 @ 16:05 = 8:03
23 @ 9:01
24 @ 8:33
25 @ 8:42
26.2 @ 10:24 = 8:40

So I can tell you unequivically, that you can not train for a marathon by riding a bike a lot and running a little.  I was so glad when that one was over.  I was only a minute and a half slower than my personal conservative prediction from way before the race.  See, I know a lot more than those stupid calculators.  It would have been much less painful if I just ran splits for a 3:20 from the start.  Going out too fast led to my most embarrassing moment: getting passed by the guy in the tutu. (Thanks Liane P. via her Facebook album for the photo, right and below)

Other Philadelpha Marathon snippits:
  • Drove down to Philly on Saturday afternoon with Joel S., Steve R., Kyle S. and John D. after a morning of two soccer games for my daughter.  We saw NJ state troopers with shotguns trained on some vehicle they pulled over, with the entire northbound side closed.  Not a word about it in the Internet newspapers.  
  • The expo was OK, the tech shirt is cool and the goody bag itself is mesh instead of plastic, and contained a nice pair of tech fabric gloves.  
  • Fourteen of us RVRR and related people had a great family style dinner at some restaurant that seated us by walking us through the kitchen.
  • It was indeed a beautiful day.  Compare this day to last year's 25 degree weather!  The sun was out and it was in the lower to mid 50's with a bit of a breeze.  Wore a singlet, shorts and gloves.
  • Ran the first few miles with Bill Bosmann.  He was running in a jacket just to carry a cell phone, despite the beautiful weather.  He joked that it was no big deal, because he "was running so slowly anyway."  I couldn't keep up with him - at 59, he won the 55-59 age group at 2:54:30!
  • It was so great to have the support of other RVRR friends.  A group was in downtown Philly, another group was just after the Philly Zoo, others were along the Manayunk out & back, and at the finish.  Seeing them, high-fiving and the hugs were the best part of the event.
  • It was cool to see John D. when he was on his way out to the Manayunk turn around while I was on the way back, and for him to say, "I'm coming to get you!"  And he did.  He ran a great race, finishing in 3:15:05, negative splitting by 5 minutes.  That is how to run a marathon!
  • Afterwards, we spent some time drinking some beer and eating, when we could find some service, at a Philly Irish pub, Tir Na Nog, that was not ready for the crowd.

    Friday, November 20, 2009

    Philadelphia Marathon Prediction Calculators

    My plan for the Philly Marathon this Sunday is to run conservatively, especially in light of breaking my toe a scant month ago.  I had wanted to run around 3:10 before the stupid move of breaking my piggy.  I felt I was on target to do it.  My training was going well.  So I tempered my ambition to run something more like a 3:20 this Sunday.  I feel that is pretty within my reach even though I lack long runs, and running mileage in general.  I filled the void with good cycling mileage.  I am aerobically an animal ready for big things, but lack the training specificity.

    Enter the Race Prediction Calculator.  There are a ton of them on this here interwebs.  Based on the 5K I ran last weekend @ 19:20, most of them predict I can run 3:10 or better.  Nothing like getting my hopes up and messing up my mental plan.
    Running Times predicts a 3:09:09 @ 7:12 pace
    McMillan Running predicts a 3:08:29 also @ 7:12 pace  (what?)
    Marathon Guide predicts a 3:08:03
    Running for Fitness predicts a 3:05:13  !!
    This little applet predicts a 3:04:49  !!!

    Wow - should I abridge my plans?  Whom should I listen to?  Perhaps my own body in the first few miles...  Feel good: attempt 7:12.  Feel not so good: attempt 7:37's for a 3:20 as planned.  We shall see.

    Monday, November 02, 2009

    6.5 Miles Eight Days Out from Breaking Toe

    I ran 6.5 miles today on the Columbia Trail.  When I tested my toe with runs this past weekend, it seemed like it was not ready to run yet.  But those tests were after cycling.  Today's run was fresh, and I figured out that I should tape the toe, with support under the curved part of it.  I used a cotton ball, legthened out, and curved into a U shape under the toe and around the sides.  I then taped around my big toe and third toe.  Put the whole thing into a sock and stuck it into new Brooks Cascadia 3 trail shoes.  Sorry, I didn't spare you the photos this time!  Here is my awesome tape job.