Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Back in the saddle (er treadmill that is)

After almost 3 weeks of healing (i.e. drinking bourbon, wine and eating copious amounts of doritos) I finally got back on that donkey. My back has been killing me. I'm guessing it's not from overuse (if it is I'm in real trouble). Went to see my favorite chiropractor, Dr. Church and he straightened me out but I am still tender. Mt my left foot still hurts a bit from Huntsville. I did the "fat burn" workout on my treadmill. Set it for 35 minutes, max grade 5%, max speed 8.0 mph. I'd call it a medium effort success. Looking forward to more tomorrow. I don't have a plan yet.

Dear Subway Please Stop Doing This

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

Rocket City Rocks

Huntsville AL
Rocket City Marathon

Even though it's number 2 for me in Rocket City. When I came to town it was for a very different kind of event. I was coming this year as a new kind of runner. A barefoot runner. Even though I sort of was familiar, I was so focused on breaking 3 hours last year I didn't pay any attention to roads from my new perspective. In fact, this being only my second running of a marathon barefoot, I am not exactly sure I would even know a good course if I saw it. There are not a lot of folks to ask about these matters. My assessment from Saturday now is that Huntsville is a very fast course if you wear shoes. Just looking at the faster than normal average times for my age group indicates that most who come to town, come to race fast. Unfortunately, for a guy with no shoes, the roads, especially in the neighborhoods, are quite rough. It was so chilly that morning I decided to wear socks for the first few miles. I ended up wearing them for more than half the run but I suspect I'd completely worn holes in them much earlier. They did seem to keep my feet warm at the beginning. By the halfway point my feet were hurting badly enough I had to step up on the sidewalk and slow considerably. I ran the first half in about 1:40. Two factors also contributed to my poor showing. I was not able to do any real tempo work on roads. My barefoot transition is still early and it and the miles of chip seal in Peoria prevented that. Secondly, it was quite chilly. I wore tights, something I've never done for a marathon. By mile 15 I was considering stepping off the course as I realized my feet would pay a steep price if I continued but being my last marathon of the season and not having ever completed a marathon without shoes I decided to press on to the finish. By mile 18 I was walking regularly and stepping off the roads into yards and sidewalks to minimize the pain. When I reached mile 20 it was all I could do to muster the will to finish. As I arrived at mile 25 I was heartened by the knowledge I would soon be done and I put on my best face and finished. One other barefoot runner, Matt Jenkins from Macon, GA was there and wrote similar comments about the rough roads. I don't know if I can learn to overcome this kind of surface but I might need to if I want to continue my barefoot running. Peoria, my home town is paved much the same making it very hard to do pace work barefoot. If you read this and have any barefoot tips I can use please comment. Overall, I'm happy with my run. When I finished and went inside it became evident how much skin I had taken off my feet. I hobbled up to my room and my wife filled a pillow case with ice and dumped it in the tub. I soaked my feet in ice water and noticed they began to bleed like two stuck pigs. After pulling them out of the water and tramping across the bathroom floor for a towel I looked down and noticed the mess I was making. I tried to wipe it up with toilet paper but being hobbled I mostly smeared the blood. I threw a hand towel on the ground to step on but my feet continued to bleed into it. When I finally got the feet wrapped and I got dressed the bathroom looked like a serial killers crime scene. Yuck! A week later my feet are much better but still not healed enough to run on.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Officially Faster Than Schroff*

Sometimes you feel like you really earned something and sometimes, well, it just kind of seems made up and not real. I'm still reeling from this. Could it be the shoes? Could it just be dumb luck? Could it be a major breakthrough on my part? Sometimes it's just too hard to say. As we move into the New Year, I think it is safe to say that I am officially faster than Schroff in the marathon. He beat me in every other distance we competed in for 2009 but at distances that really count I ran 2 marathons and both were better than any recorded time Schroff turned in. I could have used either, however, my Huntsville time of 3:49 was good enough. I must just be blessed with more slow twitch muscle fibers than the man I owe my reason to blog. Who really knows for sure? It may also be a miracle. I have been praying a LOT! Better luck next year David. For the record, Schroffy, all you would have had to do was show up ;-).

Monday, December 14, 2009

Why no shoes for Huntsville?

Running barefoot is a way of taking a chance at remaking myself if only a small part. Sometimes you need to shake things up to make yourself feel alive. Saturday, I decided to test my limits and in so doing became my best despite the fact my fastest marathon was more than 50 minutes faster than this day. Also, I didn't achieve all my goals. I wanted to run fast enough to qualify for Boston (3:20). I didn't. No matter either that a month earlier I ran a marathon almost completely barefoot at a faster pace. This day I went the whole distance. I like to put my goals out there; put the them far enough in front of you that they are obtainable if you stretch but are not a given. Then go for them with all you have. Sometimes you won't make it, but like Adam White once told me: "Rob, there are no failures only degrees of success". Saturday was a success. I remade myself.

In order to achieve this goal I had to break myself down first. Think of the analogy of the clay vessel. Clay is molded to form a cup. It's the non-being utility of the clay the cup initially depends in order to become something of value. Therefore we must first turn such non-being (potential) to our advantage and get the most utility from it's powerful yet untapped potential. By re-thinking what it is we have always done, and then tying a slightly different approach, we just might surprise ourselves.

Sometimes its the reinvention that is the hardest thing to overcome. We get stuck in a metaphysical sense. What if we are already something but it's not what we really like? What if that something we are, is imperfect or of lesser value than what we know we can become? Isn't it better to be remade rather than remain intact but without fully realizing our potential? I say NO. Sometimes we need to be broken down and pounded back to the dust; only to be whetted and turned back to the clay. By being reborn through our destruction we are returned to our non-being (potential). Why? All because we can serve yet a greater purpose than the vessel we once were. It's a powerful idea. Never stop pressing yourself no matter how silly it seems.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Barefoot in the Moonlight

Last night was a beautiful evening for a run. I enjoyed the full moon and the view of it made of the Illinois river valley from Grandview drive. It was nothing short of breathtaking. The river was calm except for the churn of the current and the moon lit the scene with a warm glow. My run was about 12 miles and started from my house. I'm running much more comfortably without shoes.It no longer seems strange. I still have a rough time on Mt Hawley road but it's slowly getting easier. I was about a block from home when I realized I didn't have my Vibrams. I normally carry them on longer runs "just in case". It was a first to go that far without spare tires ;-). I was OK with that and didn't bother returning home for them. I've not had real problems with foot wounds in a while. When I finished I recorded 11.78 miles. Id have done 12 but nature was calling. I admit I did run cautiously. I didn't have spare shoes and was afraid of landing on something nasty. In the end it was all good. I've not done much barefoot running in the dark but now I am a bit more experienced. Some positive aspects of running barefoot in the dark are that it forces you to focus on sensory feedback and not rely so much on your vision. Relaxing more and trusting myself, I was feeling my feet landing on the ground instead of anticipating the pain of a sharp fact, looking down was pretty much pointless.

Peaceful Warrior Recommendation

Getting ready to race, you never feel 100 percent ready. No matter what training you’ve done. Some amount of self doubt is probably there and that’s natural. Dealing with this in a healthy way is important to achieving your goals (what ever they be) on race day. IMO, at the level you are all at, the marathon competition is mainly an internal battle. It’s less about out kicking the guy next to you as it is about staying focused and sticking to your plan but also keeping and regaining your ability to fight pain and fatigue. Sure you got to be fit. But also, it’s all about overcoming the struggle within your mind to maintain composure (and regain it when you lose it) to overcome the demons of doubt in your head. To help get your minds ready for the battle ahead I highly recommend the movie Peaceful Warrior. The importance of achieving a mental mindset is overlooked as a performance enhancing tool. Clearing the mind of all the unneeded trash on race day will make the difference between a good day and a great one. I hope you check it out, you won’t be disappointed (and your wife won’t be bored watching it either). There are no ordinary moments in this film. I believe it can be helpful.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Woodway Speedboard

This treadmill is a big deal. I don't see many new products coming to market for runners that have the potential to be game changers. This is. It is a non-motorized treadmill that reacts to your changes in pace. Also, the curved board prevents heel striking. Now if they could come up with a way to monitor your workout and to change the incline you'd really have something. The thing that's gonna keep it out of my living room is the $6000 price tag! Still it's pretty cool.

Watch this video for more:

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bacon and Beer!

Rich G. sent me this picture. Wow. Bacon and Beer what a way to enjoy the holidays!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Your a Homo. If You Recieve This From Me It Means I Hate You.

I admit I am immature. I came across this product the other day and just had to get it on Faster-Than-Schroff. I would guess their milk is flying off the shelf in certain cities. Do you know what homo tastes like? Drink this milk at your own risk. Do you think I can get the Nielson company to sponsor Schroffy? It would be great to see there "Tastes Like Homo" slogan on his singlet at the next 5k.

Tonight was another crappy wet night for a run. However, being totally out of shape somehow made for a double negative and turned the whole run into a positive. I ended up only going a few miles but barefoot through the Hawley Hills Hell Hole as I now refer to it. It's Peoria's sharpest chip sealed neighborhood. What a pleasure it is to run in. Almost like sticking your foot into the mouth of an angry pit bull with each and every step. Someday soon I hope to be able to actually run all the way around that block without stopping to wince in pain.

Here's a great idea for an email you can send to the next jerk who forwards you one of those stupid chain emails. Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tuesday's Workout Treadmill 9 miles

I get SO bored. I start speeding the belt up just to get done and then I die because I'm NOT fit for the pace. Treadmill running is like running without a soul. VERY DISCOURAGING!

LA Times -- Tips on Barefoot Running

The following is from the LA Times. Click here for the link.

By Roy Wallack
October 5, 2009

Now, about that workshop: Why would there be a need to "learn" something as natural as barefoot running?

Barefoot-running guru -- and workshop leader -- Ken Saxton used to ask that same question. But over the years he's learned a few things, such as how to curl the toes up on the forefoot strike to avoid toe stubs and to lift the foot straight up off the ground rather than pulling the heel up first.

His basic rules of barefooting now include the following:

* Never heel-strike. Land on the forefoot, with an erect back on a bent leg.

* Quickly lower the heel so that the foot is flat on the ground.

* Strive for a rapid turnover. The less time your foot is on the ground, the faster you are and the less you get injured. Lift the foot straight up off the ground

* Run quietly. "You know you're a good barefoot runner when you scare people as you pass them -- because they can't hear you coming," says Barefoot Julian (more commonly known as Julian Romero, a Caltech doctoral student). "You're really good when you can scare a dog."

* Finally, don't have too much fun at first. "Avoid RBES -- the 'Running Barefoot Exuberance Syndrome,' " Saxton says. "People get so excited that they run too much too soon and get hurt, especially calves and Achilles. So build up slowly."

Katy Onstad, a 26-year-old information-technology specialist, knows all about RBES. A five-year runner who had completed 10 5K runs but then developed shin splints, she read "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall in two days, bought a pair of Five Fingers, found Saxton’s website and drove down from Lompoc for the recent clinic. At the end of that day's 4-mile barefoot run, her stubbed toes were bloody. A couple days later, she couldn't walk.

"My Achilles tendon was so swollen that I could barely get out of bed," she said. "But I know it's the right thing. So I'm going to take it slow, increase 10% a week until I'm running barefoot 100%."

But not everyone thinks that's such a good idea, she says. "The funniest thing was when I told my mom about it. She said, 'Oh, Katy, don't you already have enough problems with your feet?' "

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday's Long Run Workout

Ran 9 barefoot on the treadmill. I guess 9 is the new 18. I'm out of shape.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Hell be damned

Tonight I took on my petrified cottage cheese roads. The city of peoria SUCKS!!!! They've decided my neighborhood streets were in need of a resurface job despite the fact they were fine. They coated them with what I can only decribe as sharpened petrified cottage cheese. All summer while trying to master barefoot running I've had to dance my way out the door for the first 2 miles and hope my feet didn't turn to hamburger before I hit Prospect. Tonight, I read Ken-Bob's posts for courage and went forth to face my fears. I ran 6 miles on the absolutely most retched streets in town. My hood. I survived by relaxing relaxing relaxing. Some dits of a woman pulled up beside me in her minivan to say "Sir, are you ok?". I replied, "Of course I'm not ok bitch! But thank you for asking. Go back to your couch!" (ok I didn't) But Ouch!


Anthony Edwards Prepares for NYC Marathon

This really made me laugh.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Screaming Pumpkin Race Report

I thought you might like to see a clip from Friday evenings Screaming Pumpkin Marathon. The race start shown in the video was actually the 5k that accompanied the event. The marathon had a staggered start for teams and runners. It turned out to be a great evening. Unlike most marathons, this one was a prediction run where watches are not allowed. There was a LOT of partying going on around the start later that night. Let’s just say the Gatorade bottles of some spectators were holding some pretty unusual recovery drinks. The runner finishing closest to midnight was the winner. FYI, I am the one in the gorilla costume. I have a good story surrounding the race. We took Shev’s Murano to the Lower Glenn Oak Pavilion to drop off tables and chairs etc. It was getting late so we left to get ready. We planned on picking up the kids at school and heading home to change into costumes. Shev was planning to go as Gene Simmons of Kiss fame. On the way to school she was rear ended. Fortunately there was no damage to the car but the ensuing chaos meant we were late picking up the girls. I was behind schedule and needed to get to the park so I headed out without Shev. She was still putting on her makeup and had to get the girls costumes ready. I was at the race and swamped with entrants and an hour later I was really beginning to worry about where the heck she was. It was getting so close to start time. I had left my phone in my car. I finally got a relief assistant so I could go to the car and get it. I had 20 missed calls all from her. Turns out, I failed to pull our side door shut and our dog Daisy had escaped. She wandered over to the (yet to be introduced) new neighbors, the O’Brien’s and bit their dog so badly it needed medical attention. My dog has sensitive skin so I had previously taken her collar off. Animal control was called and they were in the midst of chasing her down the street when Shev noticed the ruckus. She managed to talk AC out of impounding the dog. Shev was in a panic and reluctant to go over to the Obrien’s house to find out what was happening because she had her Kiss makeup on. She figured figure it couldn’t possibly go over well looking like she did. Turns out they (fortunately) didn’t press any charges. Whew! We are definitely now the biggest rednecks of the hood. Look to the Fennells for car crashes, cops, dog fighting, and Kiss costumes.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Boulder's Naked Halloween Run


BOULDER, Colo. -- This city has always taken pride in its liberal-to-the-point-of-loony reputation. But this Halloween, one of its wackiest traditions is under siege: the Naked Pumpkin Run.

A pumpkin runner
The event is exactly what its name implies. Scores of men and women pour into downtown streets for a late-night jog, wearing not a stitch between the jack-o'-lanterns on their heads and the sneakers on their feet.

For nearly a decade, naked pumpkin runners did their thing unmolested, stampeding through the frigid dark past crowds of admirers who hooted, hollered and tossed candy. But last year the run attracted more than 150 participants, and Police Chief Mark Beckner fears things are getting out of hand. "It's a free-for-all," he says.

So he intends to stop it.

He will station more than 40 officers on the traditional four-block route tonight, with two SWAT teams patrolling nearby. All have orders to arrest gourd-topped streakers as sex offenders.

Runners and their fans are outraged.

Read the story in the Wall Street Journal

Thursday, October 29, 2009

High-School Running Champs Lose Crown Due to Illegal Undies

Used shamelessly without permission.
by Mark Hyman (Subscribe to Mark Hyman's posts) Oct 28th 2009 1:41PM

The Hereford High School Bulls lost their championship at the Baltimore County cross country races because one runner was wearing the wrong underwear. Credit: Algerina Perna, Baltimore Sun

Victory goes to the fleetest, right? Not this week. Not in Baltimore County, Md.

A boys' cross-country team sped to victory in a high school championship only to have the triumph overturned for a strange reason: Illegal shorts.

Race officials took the crown away from the Hereford High School Bulls because one of their runners ran the race wearing black compression shorts with visible white stitching under uniform pants. That broke Rule 9, Section 6, Article 1b of the National Federation of High Schools' rules which state: "Items displaying seams stitched on the outside of the garment in a visible contrasting color to the undergarment will be illegal beginning with the 2009-2010 school year."
Nobody seemed happy about a big meet being decided by a runner's flawed choice of undies.

"It's an unfortunate situation. We have the utmost respect for [Hereford]," the coach of another team in the meet said to the Baltimore Sun. "They can take the plaque away, but they can't take away the race," Hereford's co-coach Jason Bowman, told the Sun.

Small uniform glitches leading to big disappointments aren't as rare as one would think in youth sports. In March, a Chicago high school basketball team lost a hard-fought game due to uniforms with bad stripes.

Yes, folks, bad stripes.

North Lawndale College Prep showed up for a game with stripes that breached a rule mandating that basketball shirts be one color from the neck to the armhole to the bottom of the jersey. The penalty for donning the non-conforming shirts was a free throw awarded to North Lawndale's opponent (which it sank). Final score: Centennial 66, North Lawndale (with bad stripes) 65.

ParentDish sports reporter Mark Hyman is the author of Until It Hurts: America's Obsession With Youth Sports and How It Harms our Kids (Beacon Press). Have a suggestion for an article on youth sports? Contact Mark at


Way more daring than barefoot running!

Sports Videos, News, Blogs

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tonight's 15 Miler

Finished in about 8:40 pace. I am definitely not feeling fit after 3 days off. Had 15 on the schedule and ended up doing 13 completely barefoot and using the FF's for the last 2. I just didn't feel like runnig over the chip seal at Kellar School. I'll take it.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Weds Workout -- Whew!

Ok I'm whooped. I did 5x2 mile repeats at GMP-15. I recovered to a 120 bpm heart rate between sets. I wanted to quit on the last one but my wife egged me on. I did it but had to put my monkey feet on for #4 and #5. 12 miles total on treadmill. Zero incline at 6:29 pace. I would say it was and 8.5 to 9 degree of difficulty.

Risks of Death in Marathon are Still Relatively Low

Lately we've heard a lot of press surrounding the deaths of marathon runners. A study presented during the American College of Cardiology scientific session in Orlando, Fla., reported that the risk of sudden death during a marathon is 0.8 per 100,000 people. The risk is greater during triathlon events, which include running, swimming and cycling. In the triathlon, the risk of sudden death is 1.5 in 100,000, according to the report. The incidence of sudden cardiac death in young adults has been estimated at 0.9 and 2.3 per 100,000 for non-athletes and athletes, respectively.

By comparison, the risk of dying in childbirth is 13 per 100,000 births. The risk of dying from diabetes is 23 per 100,000 population. The risk of dying in a car accident is 1 in 6,700.

Buckle up. Your much more likely to die on your way to the marathon than in it!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Rethink Barefoot Approach With Transitional Footwear

Here is a different way to think about those transitional shoes.....

The transitional shoes are only part of the story. They can extend your mileage and get you that extra edge or they can hinder your progress. You have to use them correctly or you won't get good results.

My first go at barefoot running failed. I tried to transition using the five fingers and couldn’t make the leap until I went cold turkey. I was stuck in a “not quite barefoot” transitional state. I now think the shoes slowed my transition because of how I used them early on.

Prior to my change, I was using transitional footwear to strengthen my feet. I figured, strong feet were a necessary precursor to running barefoot. In a short amount of time, I was running almost as many miles in my Vibram Five Fingers as I could in my shoes. I was definitely runner farther and faster than I could have possibly run barefoot. In hind site, I had not changed my form to a more gentle technique – well, O.K. I may have been running more gently than I did in supportive footwear, but, I was not running as gently as I do currently in bare soles exposed to the ground. It’s a catch 22! This was the “reason” I was weaing VFF’s to begin with.

By bypassing, both the learning I was close but not quite there. My old running style was present to some degree; with the literal pounding out of more miles than my feet were ready to withstand. I was setting myself up for an injury.

Now don't get me wrong. I wear my VFF’s all the time. But instead of thinking of them as transitional footwear I think of them as spare tires. They are the shoe I put on when I’ve gone as far as I can barefoot first. I only start with them on a run that was preceded by a difficult barefoot run where my soles may have been injured. I just need to let the skin heal. When I wear them I try to concentrate on using my barefoot form. Not my old shod running form! I had to get the technique down first and that was frustrating because it meant a ton of really slow miles first.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

First Barefoot Marathon Attempt

Last week I traveled to Baltimore for work and to spend time with friends in Baltimore. I also traveled to make my debut attempt at a barefoot marathon. Because it was a working week I had more late evenings with less than ideal sleep and not quite the kind of diet I would have liked. I had little confidence as my barefoot running had progressed only to the point I could run about 10 miles on pavement with any regularity. I'd never ran the course and didn't really know what to expect. I landed a week early and decided to do my long run for the end of the week on the Annapolis trail that begins at the airport. I was delayed and by the time I ate and got to the trail it was late afternoon. I had a crappy run and my feet were worn down after only about 6 miles. I had to put on my ballet slippers and jog back home only completing 12 miles. My confidence was waning.

For the race I decided to walk to the start at Camden Yards as my place was about a mile from the start and I figured it just wasnt worth it getting the car out and trying to park it. It turned out to be a good decision. I had a nice leisurely walk to the start and recieved many comments about the Vibram Five Fingers I got from Adam at Running Central. I had also put mole skin on the balls of my feet. My plan was to take the shoes off just before the start and hopefully get 6-12 miles on the moleskin before it wore through. I hoped to pace at about 4 hours. From my training runs it seemed appropriate.

I carried the shoes and lined up in the starting corral. About 3500 other runners were competing. The weather was 68 degrees and cloudy. I wore a hat but no sunglasses as it wasn't expected to be very sunny. The mole skin didn't hold. About 100 yards past the start it started to work loose and withing a few steps it was left on the pavement. It didn't really phase me as I figured I'd just see how things went. I didn't expect much and planned on this as an opportunity to evaluate how my barefoot running was progressing.

I purposely left my garmin back at the apartment thinking I'd be more relaxed not worrying about pace. About a mile into it and I felt the 4 hour pack was a bit too easy (at the time) so I just ran like I felt. By the half I'd caught the 3:30 pack and was feeling pretty good. By this time I'd run on just about every kind of road surface and grade imaginable. My feet were tender but ok. I let the rush of the moment carry me along and although I had a few bad spots, they eventually went away. By mile 18 my feet were pretty tender. At 23 although I really wanted to finish barefoot I thought better of it and put on my Vibrams. I really slowed those last 3 miles in but I was elated and very happy to come across at 3:36.42. I ran about 40 minutes faster than I thought I was capable of and definitely went further on surfaces I'd never had successfully traversed before. I can't wait for Huntsville!


Friday, October 2, 2009

Thursday Night's Run Was Good

I have to admit I was curious how my feet would react to the wet and colder road. I had a mid-week long run to do. I went 14 miles barefoot with no problems. I was pleasantly surprised to complete the run with only a bit of soreness in the feet. My hips were still not functioning like I want them. I took an ice bath followed by a warm shower, dressed and headed out to a great party with the PATFC F.A.S.T. runners at Olivers in the Heights.

14 Miles 10:09 avg pace.

Why Is It That We Run? -- Brad Henz

Why is it that we run? For some of us, it is for the sheer enjoyment of being out in nature with nothing standing in our way except ourselves.
For some, it is a resurrection of self, a reminder of who we are. It is a test of the mind, the body, and the soul. Each of us has a different reason. Some of us want to stay thin. Some of us want to get thin.
Some of us want to be fast. Some of us just love being out there.

I run because I enjoy it. I enjoy the camaraderie, the friendships, and the sharing of something greater than any one of us individually. I will be honest, there are days I don't feel like going out there on the roads. But I do. When I get moving, there is nothing better than feeling the wind on my face, the burn in my muscles, and seeing the ground fly by underneath my feet. The hardest part can be just opening the door and walking outside.

I also love coaching.

Synergy, the movement of many of us in the same direction with the same goals, is one of the reasons I enjoy coaching. Did you know that when Kristi and Angela ran their 800s together on Tuesday, they ran 5-7 seconds faster each time, than when they were on their own? Seems pretty magical, but it is the synergy of team work. The movement in a direction together.

It is no surprise to me that many of you are improving. Why? Because by being consistent and putting in the work, you will REAP what you SOW. Running is all about consistency and staying with it. In 4 weeks, FAST will be over, but I highly recommend that everyone continue on. We will be starting a winter FAST program in December, once a week, to teach the benefits of base building and how to do it. You will still get your 12-16 weeks of tailored programs, but we are looking to have more clinics to help teach you as an athlete. I hope to see many of you out there! Even if you do not partake in the winter FAST base building session, continue on with your running. You will surprise yourself. Why start over when the weather gets nice again in the spring? Build upon the previous training and the winter building! Each year compounds itself on top of one another to help you become a stronger, smarter, and faster athlete! Think about it!!!

I have been honored and blessed to be surrounded by such a GREAT group of people for this inaugural FAST program!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Could Bearsharktopus Threathen Screaming Pumpkin?

Shev did Ironman Wisconsin in Madison a month ago and had I known it I would have never let her in the water. I found out the night after her race they found a dead body floating!!!! Yuck!!!!! It's true. She was pretty nervous and didn't know why. She's kind of psychic and I didn't just want to write it off to pre-race nerves. Well, today we found out why. They have a really nasty beast in that lake. It's called Bearsharktopus and it's really scary! Here is a picture of it.

Whew! It's my understanding that peeing in the water can attract this beast. Be careful Shev! Ironman can be dangerous. As for you pumpkin heads. Be afraid. Be VERY afraid. Wisconsin and Illinois are separated by only an unguarded border with little more than a toll booth attendant to stop him. Could Bearsharktopus exist in Springdale cemetary? God help us if it does.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Monday, September 28, 2009

Honda's High-Tech Unicycle that Drives Sideways

Ok. This is pretty cool. A unicycle designed by Honda that can not only balance using robot technology but is capable of traveling sideways. I do think it needs to be taller though. I'd like to be about 20 feet off the ground!

Rich Giebelhausen's Auckland 1/2 Marathon Race Report

Well, that was an interesting race. Pretty much makes the IVS Half Marathon look like a flat course!!
It was very challenging and what really added to the fun was for over half the course we had to run on sidewalks. They wouldn't let us run in the streets because they were real busy. The problem was the sidewalks were right next to the streets. Most of them were concrete and you had to deal with all the curb and driveway elevation changes. It seemed like your feet never had a level or even surface to land on. I am not real (actually, I am awful) good on uneven surfaces so it added to the fun: an interesting twist to the race since I don't wear my glasses when I run. The side walks were narrow so passing was a challenge in spots.
I am not trying to sound like I am complaining but it wasn't easy - as my time shows it. I think we are a little spoiled with how big races are run in this country. It was well run but not being able to use the streets; well that was different.
Here is a link from my Garmin:
If you click on the elevation tab, you will see what the course was like - over 2,900 feet of elevation gain! The first couple of climbs were manageable but starting at the 8K mark the fun really began. It just didn't let up until about the 12K mark. Some of the switchbacks were very tight so doing the inside line would just add to the misery. In theory, you would think the downhill would help but the legs were trash by that point.

Rich and I were talking last night at the Tri-P social at Old Chicago. In addition to the World Championships and the 1/2 he decided to do a bit of bungee jumping. Here are a few shots. Would I do it. No! Not just no. Hell NO!!!

Screaming Pumpkin News

We ironed out many issues at our meeting of pumkin heads on Sunday. David, our race director is really doing a great job of keeping us on track. This event is going to be awesome. The Striders are pitching in and Mike Lewellen is going to map out his famous 5k route. The band is a definite as well. We were given a look at the beanies as well. They are going to be really nice for winter runs. The orange color adds to the pumpkin theme. I need to order the finishers awards and we still have a bunch of work. Overall it turned out to be a very helpful meeting. Collin Krause makes a mean Latte. If you are interested in registering either as an individual or as a team go here:

Friday, September 25, 2009

Barefoot Running Hurts So Good

Barefoot running makes me happy. It's not because it's more comfortable than shoes. In many respects its not. Like most things in life there is both pain and pleasure to be had here. There is an upside to pain and suffering; feeling alive. By making myself uncomfortable I appreciate the pleasure on a deeper level than I ever could without knowing these two sides of the coin. By getting out of my comfort zones I make new personal breakthroughs. To really know a thing means to also know it's opposite.

When I go too far with my barefoot experiments I experience pain. It starts out small like mild sunburn and over time gradually increases. If I go too far beyond what I've done prior and before I am ready, I develop sores on the bottoms of my feet. It's a fine line. As I practice being barefoot by running more and more miles, I push back the time until injury occurs. Like pressing a knife, you have to know how far you can go. Although frustrating, I enjoy the challenge. You have to try and sometimes fail if you hope to get better at anything. On a normal run, without a new limit to be found, I enjoy the warmth of road worn soles in the same way someone might enjoy hot peppers. It's pleasure of a much more natural feeling than running in shoes. I get a lot of feedback from various surfaces; texture, temperature, moisture, etc. My feet grip and release and I get all kinds of sensation. You might be surprised how good running without shoes makes you feel.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Barefoot Workouts of Late

Sunday -- 14 miles w/in foot paws.
Monday biked for 30 minutes low intensity
Tuesday -- 8 1/2 with Ron (ankles were extemely sore at start and got better later in run)
Wed -- bailed. My right ankle was swollen so I didn't chance it. Came back home and played basketball easy w/ my kids. I did see Neltner and Bill Evans running. They looked like they were feeling great!

What's Bugging You?

If you've spent any time at all outside running the last few weeks you've no doubt noticed you are covered in thousands of little specs. On close examination, you realize they are little bugs but they are not gnats. Not only is this totally gross, sadly, it may also have been introduced on purpose. You are experiencing the latest alien invasion in Central Illinois. The Asian aphid. Is it random or is it the USDA's way of making farm life better? If you know the answer give me a shout.

"As the soybean dries out they're moving out of soybean and trying to find buckthorn, which is their winter host," said Whitman. "So they're flying around looking for buckthorn. They're going to be doing that until the cold weather knocks them out."

The aphids will continue to bug us for a while. But Whitman says they won't be as bad next year.

Not it's not clear from what I have read whether these pests were brought here intentionally or by accident but who ever made the call on these if it was deserves a boot up their A##!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Man Zone Bed!

Magniflex’s Lamborghini bed features auto maker’s logo: the closest thing to that race-car bed he had at six. Built-in coolant: Mattress includes technology to minimize trapped body heat.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Local Couple Completes St. Louis To Chicago Spectathalon

Some local runners have been trying their hand at Ironman triathlons but two IVS members have stepped up to tackle something much more extreme. Michael and Dawn Helgeson competed this weekend in a 500 mile 2 day Spectathalon. The course involved a a 140km drive from Peoria to St. Louis, a 30 minute hot tub at the local La Quinta Inn, a 3 hour Cardinal Baseball game, another 30 minute hot tub, 8 adult beverages, one late night inebriated phone call to Chris Friedman (with singing), a brutal 10 mile run along the banks of the Mississippi River totally hung over, breakfast, a 220km drive to Soldier Field, 2 hours and 5 beers later a walk to The Hilton Palmer House and a morning drive home with VERY dark shades.

Well Done Team Helgeson!!!!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Great Halloween Costume!

Tuesday I did 8 miles at 8:05 pace which represented a new best. I think I'm getting this finally. Last night I attempted 15 at get-er-done pace but I bailed at 12 mainly because I didn't start till after 5:30 and as slow as I move sans shoes it was getting too late to keep moving. Tonight I am thinking I might want to bike instead. We'll see. I'm definitely not in premiere marathon condition. As we get closer to the Screaming Pumpkin, I started searching for Costume ideas. Heres a great one! Bumble!!!!!! Watch how this guy actually changes back into a Camaro; too cool!


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Shev's Ironman Update

Shevaun finished 11th out of 118 in her division yesterday in the Ford Ironman Wisconsin. Way to go Shevaun!




























2.4 mi. (1:11:48)





40 mi. (2:14:36)

17.83 mph


83 mi. (2:26:01)

17.67 mph


112 mi. (1:43:36)

16.80 mph


112 mi. (6:24:13)

17.49 mph




6.35 mi. (53:15)



13 mi. (1:00:18)



19.23 mi. (1:10:38)



26.2 mi. (1:11:26)



26.2 mi. (4:15:37)










Friday, Sept 11

God bless America.....let us never forget what happened.

My running went well this morning. I went 18 miles barefoot. A new barefoot distance best. It gives me much confidence to complete this with no major nicks and absolutely no blisters. The time to complete was very slow at 3 hours 17 minutes. I definitely took my time to ensure I didn't come unglued. Still much work to do but I am happy.

Now it's off to watch my wife compete in Ironman Wisconsin.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thursdy Pool Run, No Party Tonight

Did 5 1/2 miles from the pool easy. Constrained by the clock as Shev's out of town partying before her ironman and yet she still expects me take care of the kids. Did some core work as well when I got back. Mac and Cheese for the little turkeys tonight! Prepped by mom but I did all the work in turning on the oven to reheat!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


We know a thing by its opposite. We know happiness because we know what sadness is. Hot means nothing without cold. Mozart is enhanced by Michael Jackson. Learning to run naturally without pain is learned by knowing pain. By embracing our failures we can taste success. Life is a process. Knowing an opposite enables us to get a "boost" of mood to appreciate more profoundly what we experience. Trying something new and uncomfortable enriches us in ways we can't predict from the comfort of our easy chairs. Set a goal and make it one that's not certain to be achieved. Try something new.

6 Miles on the Treadmill last night with 40 mins of core/stability before. Did one of the miles at 6:44 pace. Had to slow down because my technique was falling apart. The treadmill really abrades the soles so I have to be conservative. I don't know if it's the moving surface or the texture of the belt. Maybe it's a combo of both. I believe it can be helpful at getting me back up to pace though I must be cautious. It's not quite barefoot running.

I'm going up to Madison to watch Shev compete in her first Ironman tomorrow. I'm hoping she has a good day. I'm looking forward to it! She's ready.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Better; Better Yet

Monday, 23 mile bike at moderate effort -- Better
Tuesday, 8 1/2 miles barefoot -- Better yet!

I opened up tremendously the last mile (in those gay dancer footies) but I felt I really had the proper technique. I looked down and was doing 7:15 which in the good ol days of shoes would not have been worth the keyboard time but I was surprised to be back in these speed ranges. Now if I can only figure out how to get there with regularity.

Monday, September 7, 2009

A bit of confidence

Sunday was raining but not unpleasantly cold. We stepped from Running Central and the Whites opened up early for a promotion. It was great to get out of the rain. I was having trepidations because I've been unable to get over this 12 mile barrier. Sometimes you need a crutch to help you overcome what seems very difficult. Anyway, i found some modern dance "shoes" that you put your toes through like gloves. They are made for dancing on hardwood floors and provide a little suede cushion on the ball of the foot to prevent blisters. They only go up to mid arch. So no heel support or straps. Very minimal. I am in the learning phase and I wanted something that wouldn't allow for me to revert to my form in shoes. They took it for the team. By the end of the run they had big holes in the soles. This might be an indication I'm scuffing a bit. Regardless, now my feet are in pretty good shape for the next, albeit shorter, barefoot run. I believe the dance paw still promote a barefoot stride. It's not the same as being barefoot mind you, but it can be effective at getting you through an injury on the ball of the foot or to a new unattempted distance. I am happy I completed 16 miles. It's a new first. Now I need to do this distance without them.

After the run, I went up to visit my bud Ty and enjoyed roast pig and beer in Downers Grove. It turned out to be a great afternoon and my kids enjoyed all the kids that were there as much as I did. It's Labor day so I get another day from work. Very nice.