Monday, May 21, 2012

Shoes are faster, no doubt.

For the record, I never said barefoot running was faster and never thought that racing barefoot was a good idea.  But there are significant gains in going slower barefoot that this study doesn't consider, and that are a part of the cumulative training process that leads to racing faster.  I do agree that a little cushion is faster and that is how I race.

Monday, May 14, 2012

I love NJ drivers...

Crossing sidestreets during my run today, as I was striding off the sidewalk into crosswalks, twice I encountered vehicles that were blowing through stop signs fast enough to make me divert my trajectory, slow down, and get a nasty look at the driver.  Both were on hand-held cell phones.

It Isn't a Triathlon...

Eventual winner McDougal cools off during the Bear Mountain North Face Challenge 50 Miler.  My friend Mike Dixon is in 2nd place here.  After the race, Mike said he thought McDougal was hopping over some rocks in the stream, and when he looked up, he had disappeared, then he saw him emerging from the deep.

I think I have to find that spot and take a dip on a hot day soon!


Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Just Wow

The overwhelming feeling I can recall about running Saturday at the North Face Endurance Challenge at Bear Mountain/Harriman State Park is Wow This Is Fun, closely followed by This Is Unexpectedly Easy For Me.


I suppose I am half way decent at running long races on rocky trails.  Either that, or the field was weak.  I finished the rocky, mountainous course in 5:54:41, 34/252 runners, 2nd in 46-55 age group.

And I am looking at that and sitting back and saying Just Wow.  Just Wow because I am coming off an injury year (2011).  Just Wow because my longest run going into this was only about 18 miles.

So where did my performance come from?

First factor may be my years of running, since 1973.  Living my life running has stoked my innate ability to cover distance at an easy pace.  I guess my systems are efficient when in motion, and my heart, lungs, circulatory system, and muscles can work in good efficient harmony for many hours.

Second factor may be a pretty decent taper week.  I only ran about 15 miles in the 5 days leading up to this event.

Third factor may be focused training leading up to this event.  I did run a lot of trails, and tried to make most of my runs over 10 miles.

Fourth factor may be hydration and nutrition.  I ran with a Camelbak and drank at will.  I consumed 8 PowerBar Gels, a couple of quarter-cut PBJ's, Gatorade at the aid stations, and about 5 SaltStick electrolyte replacement tablets.

Actually, factor four is pretty damn important.  Last year when I was feeling injured I cycled over 4000 miles.  Many of those were long days in the saddle, and I would often be the guy in the group doing most of the pulls late in the ride.  I attribute that to using a Camelbak, gels, and electrolyte tabs.  My cycling buddies generally used water bottles and Gatorade.  I think I know how to keep the nutrition and hydration flowing better than a lot of others.  I don't eat things I am not used to when running a trail race.

Since finishing NFEC 50K, I have been pretty happy and confident about my current running fitness.  I sincerely didn't think I was anywhere near where I was a year to a year and a half ago.  This is my first official 50K race finish, actually.  I dropped out of Watchung Winter Ultra in 2009 when I tripped and broke a rib.  In 2010 I switched during the race to the marathon distance.  I didn't run any in 2011.  I have done the entire 34 miles on the D&R Towpath from Trenton to New Brunswick for RVRR's annual Towpath "Train"ing Run, but that isn't a 50K.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Running as Art

"Any time I get on an amazing trail up high in the mountains, I have a sense of pure bliss. That's when I feel, like OK, this is what I was meant to do.  Humans were meant to run." ~ Scott Jurek

Saturday, May 05, 2012

I call this post, "Anticipatory Hindsight"

"It's the hardest damn thing I've ever done, but I recommend it to everybody!"

(I'm running The North Face Endurance Challenge, Bear Mountain 50K Today!)

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

I'll Tell Ya Who

Merrell Road Glove Update

I wrote my Merrell Road Glove review on January 8th, and I meant every word I said.  The review is mostly positive, but I have to update some information that is fairly negative.  I still love the shoe, but the durability of its upper is questionable.  This is something I could not have predicted when I wrote the review in January.

Fact is, after only 226 miles, I have a split in the upper mesh material of the Road Glove.  If I had paid retail for the shoes, that is an expensive investment at about 50 cents per mile.  I think the middle plastic-like "stabilizer strip" on the outside of the upper is the problem, because the split occurred right along there.  (I will upload a photo later.)  The Trail Glove/Sonic Glove lacing and stability system does not have those strips, and is probably superior.  The Trail Glove design spreads out the load against that part of the shoe better.