Saturday, August 29, 2009

Needing A New Tire

Last night I needed 6-8 easy and got 6 easy and 1 hard. The last mile was brutal as my right foot scuff re-emerged as a painful reminder it is not healed. I am considering putting off my long run until Monday giving myself one more day for god to re-tread my sole. am making slow progress but this is the kind of issue you run into when you pursue the barefoot scene. Ouch.

Matt Jenkins, that Marathon Maniac (see his blog Runningsocks) who runs in the Make it By Midnight marathon tells me he's dressing like Cinderella this year. What a hoot! Only a small group of folks compete in this grueling event. Just too cool IMO! Shev and I flew out of Chicago enroute to Boston this year with the guy in the middle of the picture below. He, like Matt was a Maniac. Matt J., do you know him? His name escapes me. Maniacs rock!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Countdown to Barefoot Huntsville ..... Week 1 of Many.

If any part of your run includes a description of the cab ride back to the car you can bet it was a bad run indeed. That's what happened to me last Sunday. I have to admit, the thought of ending this crazy barefoot experiment did cross my mind that day. If your wondering, it cost an ungodly 20 bucks with tip to get from the Shell station near Running Central to the tower! Hoping for redemption, I took Monday off completely and instead of showing up on the track Tuesday for the Peoria Track Clubs (PATFC) all comers meet, I met my bud Mike Krause at the Central high school pool for a 10 mile barefoot run. It was the second time at that parking lot that day. The first was to swim that morning for an hour. Shevs given me a handful of 45 and 60 minute swimming workouts. It was a good workout indeed but the evening proved challenging. I ended up scuffing the pigs up good. In retrospect it was the first time running barefoot with friends. The road was pretty gnarly and I may not have been paying as much attention as I normally do. As I get more experience I'll do better. Some of you got the picture in an email.

It was a run that got tougher near the end. Once you get a wound started on the foot, you seem to only make it worse as you pick your way home. Mike showed pity on me and escorted me all the way back at my slug like pace. I'm happy I completed this run but man it was painful. A good sign after was NOT getting blisters.

I am thinking my feet are conditioning themselves. All good Catholics can appreciate my tortured sole(sic). I was pretty sore. So I did about 30 minutes of biking and some core work. I decided it would be best to lay off the roads. On Thursday I arrived at the Cemetary at 4:30 and ran into Craig, Bill, Dave and Mike. Thats when I found out Craig had his Porsche unexpectedly customized. Somone rear ended/T-Boned him and removed the ass end of his drop dead georgous speedy machine. Ouch! I LOVE THAT CAR. It was much more serious than my foot. I know it hurt him even worse than it hurts me. My condolences.

I took if pretty easy because I wasn't sure how the feet would react. They were still pretty tender and my ankles were feeling kind of sore and tired. I looped through Springdale trying to avoid gravel roads but picked my way through the parts that were simple rough. I decided at the 2 mile mark to put my Tiger Paws on. They really seemed to help. If you haven't tried these and are experimenting with barefoot running you might give em a go. They amount to little more than a piece of nylon similar to pantyhose material with a leather pad sewn in to protect the foot pad. Here is a picure.

Ok. Maybe I can't bend like this dude but I'm guessing I could out run him! They are kind of expensive for what they are but they seem to be just the trick when you need a pad but still want that barefoot experience.

I hope to end the week with a sucessful 16 mile barefoot run. I'll even take it if they look like tuesdays hamburger. Better days are ahead.....Keep on truckn!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Every Kiss Begins With Kays

Last Sunday I tried to go way too far, way too soon, barefoot. I attempted back to back demanding workouts thinking I could do it because they were different sports and different muscle groups. My workout goals were fueled by pride and ego, two driving forces that have the ability to override common sense making the decision process anything but rational. The result was pain, suffering and damaged pride. Ouch! On Friday, I did a loop to the tower and then, feeling ok, I did the Bishop loop and headed back home. On Bishop, I saw Dr. Mike walking not one, but three dogs. Man that sounds like more work than running barefoot marathons. Again, I stayed on streets and off sidewalks as much as possible. I reached my BF capacity at Kellar School. Not being able to run any further on the chip seal, I stepped into the grass. It was all over. My pace fell WAY off and I jog walked my way home. My feet were shot. It felt like the soles were sunburned but I'd just taken so much surface down they were sore. Total mileage, 9.67.

Saturday, my feet still feeling sensitive, I did the Escape from Alcatraz 18 mile bike course on Shev's Computrainer and finished the workout with a 20 minute tempo run in monkey feet. The bike course is really tough. It's an out and back in San Fran and the hills max at 15% incline. It was a big mistake in hindsite. I was physically shredded afterwards. On Sunday, I still felt crappy. I prepped the gatorade for the Keller hydration stop and headed to the tower. I didn't have a good day and I sensed it was going to go that way from the get go. Although I hoped to do 16 miles barefoot, I only managed to run 3 before my feet hurt so bad I put my monkey feet on. After that, I stupidly had designs on just doing a nice easy 18. By the time I got to Heading ave, I started to feel beaten and concerned about how to get home. I don't know exactly what went wrong but every now and then you have one of these workouts. It was hell. I walked back to Running Central and (YEP) caught a cab back home. I was totally defeated. I'm still dragging as I type this. Whew. I guess without the lows, you don't know what it means to be high. I'm trying to be as honest about this whole experiment as I can but today was one of those days when I couldn't hardly stand the thought of running barefoot and just wanted to toss the whole idea and put some shoes on. I'm committed however, so here you go. An ugly barefoot post.

My friend Matt sent me an email containing random thoughts. One in particular stands out in my mind....

Around Christmas we start seeing the commercials for that end with the jingle: Every Kiss Begins With Kays!

The national jewelry chain Kays would like us guys to think every kiss begins with them. In reality, the marketing message is get your woman jewelry and you'll get some action. I say, if you have to pay for it, you don't have a girlfiend, you have a call girl. Granted, you might have one loyal woman that likes you "in general" but your still payin for sex dude. Matt points out in reality far more kisses begin with Bud-Lite than with jewelry from Kays. It's cheaper and much more effective. Were my wife a whore (shes not), I'd be much more likely to get action out of her with a set of race wheels than from a necklace (she actually told me that herself). The problem with this strategy is that even were it to be effective, after she uses them shes gonna be way too pooped for me.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The running is less frequent than when we met

Last night the Danimal asked me to run with him. He's been doing all his runs by himself as of late. If you know the Danimal, you know it's killing him to run without a posse. He's about as social as a Labrador. When you suggest a run, man, he gets about as excited to run as one too. Since I've taken up barefoot running my feet have yet to reach the conditioning to run my old paces. I told him I'd try to meet him but that Shev was out running at the moment and I wasn't sure if she'd be back on time. She got back about 10 minutes after I called him back to say I'd better pass. I called him back but he'd already stepped. We passed one another at Junction City. I guess that will have to count as a run together. It's about as good as it gonna get for a while. On the up side, I ran the 6 mile loop from my house staying off the sidewalks. Mt. Hawley road and a few of the nearby streets have recently been chip sealed. Thought I'd take Barefoot Ted's advice and learn the surface.

Relaxing on this stuff is not easy. I think I had awareness of every hair on my body. Rather than trying to avoid the pain, I embraced the sensation. I enjoyed it like a hot spice on a favorite dish. Relaxing I slightly bent my knees and worked on my form. It wasn't fast or pretty but I did get through this rough patch. When I hit the sidewalk I still had a bunch of large cinders to navigate and from past experience, know they can hurt a lot when sandwiched between my forefoot and the sidewalk. Keeping my form I finally navigated through it. In the back of my mind I knew I'd still have to return on this road but for now I was able to open up my stride a bit. My feet had a not unpleasant warm feeling you from the rough surfaces.

I find I am landing a bit more flat footed on these surfaces because if I push off too much I'll do damage to the skin. When I returned from the run, I was pleased. I still need to get my mileage up but this was another breakthrough. 6 miles on a surface much rougher than I'd ever been on for that distance.

Not fast but I'll take it!

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Official Digg on the Big Pig Gig

Pigman Splits: (19 out of 60 in age group)
Overall time -- 5:41:44
Swim -- 36:20
Bike -- 3:10:40
Run -- 1:49:04

Oink! Most things that start with the word half are lame by design. They denote something not even close to complete. Half done. Half Hearted. Half Eaten. Half Assed. All are less than complimentary terms for something that could have been so much more. So you would figure a half-ironman would be an easy event for a me to do on a whim. I mean, it's not like doing a whole one. You really don't even need to seriously train right? I figured maybe I'd just get lucky. Well, here's what I noticed about the whole "luck" concept. Luck played a much bigger part before and very early into the race. Luck, meant I got a great place in transition area. Luck got me cloud cover. Luck put me in the last wave. But as the day wore on, luck almost didn't exist at all, at least in the "good" form. A crash, a flat, a broken bone or a stroke were still un-lucky possibilities as the day wore on. Luckily, that didn't happen.

The big Pig Dig this year was marked by driving rain and winds at the start. This made the bike portion challenging for all. By about 11 am the weather improved and the rest of the afternoon was pretty good for racing.

Team Faster Than Schroff pulled off a big upset and destroyed Team Way Faster than Schroff. Shev came down from Wisconson having ridden 96 miles of the Ironman Wisconsin course to swim for team Way Faster Than Schroff. Being the good parents we are, we left the kids in the car during this part of the race (hey it was raining). They paid us back by completely de-pantsing our vehicle (all in a matter of about 30 minutes). A water bottle was filled with Germex. All the band-aids were used up. Crayons were smeared into the upolstery. Food wrappers were used to polish the dashboard and my phone battery was completely used up by my daughter calling her best freind who recently moved back to Britian. I can't wait to see the roaming charge for that call.

Back on the course, I was still in transition, shivering uncontrollably and waiting to get started when shev came up to wish me good luck. She had started and was out of the water so fast I think she must have cut the course. "Honey, you better get going your missing this!" was my first thought when I saw her. My official start was supposed to be 7:50, but at 8:15, I was still on the beach waiting. Being one of the few without a wet suit standing in the pelting rain and wind, I wasn't so much concerned about how much faster all the rubber guys in my age group might swim than I as I was envious of how warm they seemed. Purple lipped, I tried not to look too cold. As it turns out, Shev had already beaten me by plenty on the swim. Still, the whole race was really fun and cool. Once I got going, I was not cold again. The highlight of the day for me was actually spotting both teams on the run after a whole morning of racing. Helgeson and Krause were on thier way back home when I saw them. I was still going out to the turn around on the run. I was too tired and to high five em. I believe I saw Mike H at about mile 4 for me (8 for him) and Krause about a two miles later. The upset came in spite of Schroff's flat tire on his debut bike race. Which lead one to wonder; Can Shroff be Faster Than Schroff? The concept sounds zen.

Emily Dewalt, a local girl turned bad ass super hero tri-chick mananaged an impressive 2nd overall for the women beating me by almost an hour. Thoughts of me racing her in the Firecracker 5k two years ago come to mind. That was the first time I ever heard her name. She was having a terrible race, and I was having a pretty good one. Back then, I was able to stay in at least same solar system as her. Yesterday was an entirely different matter. Shev thought about putting her picture in her cubicle at work after she gouged out the eyes and wrote bad thoughts on it but then reconsidered. She's not convinced that even voodo hexing will do any good. She's WAY to fast for even the witches to fix this.

Reid Hansen had a great day as well taking 3rd in his age group. I tried to bow down before him in the parking lot after the race but was afraid I might not be able to get up. Anothere notable local was Anna Breaux who placed 4th in her age group. Mike Gudat thumped me soundly by about 20 minutes. He had an epic swim and bike. Way to go Mike! Larry Grenvik had a great race placing in the top 20 of his bracket. Other locals of note, Beth Haynes placed 6th in her age group and Carlton Admas placed 10th. Way to represent Peoria. Go Tri-P! I was pleased with my debut at the half ironman distance. I know now, that I can do this distance and I have a relative feeling of how much it hurts. Another first for me was doing a half marathon run barefoot. I have much more confidence about being able to hoof the longer distances and my ability to run pre-barefoot paces is getting a lot better. My feet were sore but not too beat up. The worst injury came 1/2 mile from the finish. I was running in the grass and mud. I nicked my foot pad on something sharp embedded in the mud. It really isn't too bad. It just hurt at the time. I managed an 8:20 something pace and finished with a decent 1:49. Now, that's much slower than my best 1/2 marathon but given the 4 hours of racing prior to the run, I don't know that I'd have been much faster had I worn shoes. My feet didn't hold me back nearly as much as my legs.

Overall, a great day and I can't wait till next year!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Pigman Preparations

Sunday is Pigman. I just checked the weather and I have to say it's promising (maybe)!?! shows a 40% chance of T-Storms. I can live with 40%! It doesn’t sound likely IMO. Granted, electrons from heaven are generally bad when your swimming, but if they don’t appear, then we may get cloud cover. That is be VERY good for keeping cool. Winds might be a slight factor... says 11 mph. Overall, not bad I’d say….

It's gonna be a blast (hopefully not from above)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Last Night's Brick

First let me announce that Schroffy bought himself a pair of monkey feet (Vibram FF's)!

Welcome to the MFM David!

Last nights workout was from Chillicothe. Good conditions and I might add that town is heaven for barefeet! The roads are so smooth and free of debris. I experienced pig pleasure running in Chill-ville. I rode a loop out of town from Benedict street past train tracks out north of town and did a loop that came back out at Blue Ridge road. You need to take it easy in some spots because you get some loose gravel at the bottoms of some of the steep hills. I also was chased by a dog. I was able to escape. I staged the car at Pierce and transitioned and did a run for 20 minutes at 7 min pace. That was a bit hard on the pigs. I'm not quite there with barefeet and faster running but I needed tempo pace for the workout. Overall a good time!


Unrelated, here's a great water slide you might try....

Make it by Midnight Marathon

An interesting marathon I came across the other day is in Macon Georgia. It's called Make it By Midnight. Unlike most marathons, this one is a prediction run with the goal being to finish as close as possible to Midnight without going over.

How cool is that?!!!?

Matt Jenkins, a Marathon Maniac dude who prefers to run in socks writes in his blog this is one of the most challenging marathons he's ever done:

"I love this race because of the people, but the course is brutal. Set in the middle of July in the South, it's an 6-Loop course run at night with at least 2 steep hills (so 12 steep hills)."

It's held at the end of July each year if your interested check out the web site:

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Email from Brad Henz -- Drink the Kool-Aid


Every run is a test with your mind. Remember the lessons, log your journey, and never forget your destination.
--Brad Henz

Here is an article I want you take a look at...

This is not a complete article...there are sections I have taken out to discuss at a later time :)

Great job last night!!!


Running on the Shoulders of Giants
Training lessons from 15 years of close contact with elites
By Scott Douglas
As featured in the JanFeb 2009 issue of Running Times Magazine

Since the early '90s, I've been privileged to regularly be around elite distance runners. Actually, not just around, but with -- as in run with, dine with, and talk at length with -- thanks to a combination of professional assignments, natural curiosity, and a willingness to place myself in potentially disastrous situations. ("A hilly 44-miler with ultra legend Ann Trason? I'll be fine!" I wasn't.)

What follows is some of what I've observed as commonalities among the many elites I've invited myself to tag along with. Some are approaches to running, some are things done while not running, some are habits of mind. All are things that non-elites, yours truly included, regularly do otherwise, to the detriment of our running. If you're looking for a New Year's running resolution or two, you could do worse than adopting some of these ways.

Work the Recovery

We've all heard that between workouts is when our bodies make the gains in fitness that training spurs. But how many of us keep paying attention to our running during that time so that our recovery is maximized? Conversely, how many of us slip out of runner mode a few minutes after finishing and do not resume our athletic identity until soon before the next run?

Elites overwhelmingly fall into the first camp. Of course, most of us can't take daily naps or get massages twice a week. And frequent ice baths, while no doubt effective, can test the dedication of even the most hardcore racer. But one of the most important ways elites enhance their recovery is practical for everyone: They consistently get in fluids and calories, especially carbohydrates, soon after finishing a run.

Research has shown that carbs taken in the first half hour after exercise are absorbed by muscles at a rate three times greater than normal. Although the rate of conversion into glycogen slows after that, the recovery window when your body is most receptive to refueling stays open for about another 90 minutes. Regularly neglecting to take advantage of the opportunity for enhanced recovery results in that feeling of dragging through a lot of runs, never feeling as fresh as you think you should.

I've known about the recovery window for years, and have tried to force down calories soon after long runs and hard workouts, despite the gripes of my wimpy gastrointestinal system. But I hadn't realized how much better of a job I could do until Meb Keflezighi came to town for the 2007 Beach to Beacon 10K.

The day before the race, Meb and I ran the second half of the course. Almost immediately after finishing some striders on the grass, Meb had a banana and some sport drink. We ran together the three days after the race, and he did some version of the above each time.

Meb would have probably run the same time in the race if he had forgone a banana after jogging a few miles. What observing him over a few days really impressed on me was the habit he made of post-run nutrition – to Meb, it was simply part of the day's training, as integral as tying his shoes correctly. I've seen the same approach with James Carney, Joe LeMay, Anne Marie Lauck, Boaz Cheboiywo, Andrew Leatherby, Chris Solinsky, and on and on and on. (Solinsky and Carney are fans of chocolate milk.)

Drill, Baby, Drill

An increasing number of elite distance runners do as sprinters have long done, and regularly perform form drills and dynamic range-of-motion exercises. While most of my workouts with elites 10 or 15 years ago were simply runs, more recently drills show up on the program if I stick around for more than a day. Sometimes they're after an easy run, sometimes before a hard workout, sometimes after a tempo run. I even saw Shalane Flanagan doing drills within an hour of winning the Olympic trials 10,000m.

Every run I did in Kenya with locals was followed by at least 10 minutes of skipping, butt kicks, bounding and the like. Americans I've run with recently -- Carney, Solinsky, Tegenkamp, Keflezighi, Jonathan Riley, Anthony Famiglietti -- don't do them every day, but definitely often enough that they're an integral part of their training.

The reasoning is straightforward: The exercises fine-tune running form, increase range of motion and foot speed, help correct muscle imbalances, and strengthen many of the core stabilizing muscles, such as the hip rotators. The result is a stronger athlete less susceptible to injury and more capable of maintaining good running mechanics in the second half of a race.

Be a Reality-Based Optimist

Elites are born with great physical gifts that become obvious once they start training hard. But they really reach their potential by having a mindset that all of us, regardless of our genetics, can adopt.

How many times have you had a good string of training going, but then have a bad workout, and suddenly freak out about what kind of shape you're in? How often has one sub-par race come to be taken as the new norm of your fitness?

The elites who consistently achieve excellence think otherwise. I've talked with scores of national- and world-class runners whose outlook I've come to think of as "reality-based optimism." That is, they have confidence that great things will happen if they do the right work. They see a fabulous workout or race as a hint of what they can achieve, not a unique occurrence.

In contrast, a couple of bad workouts, or a worse-than-expected race, are taken as aberrations. They are indications that something is amiss, and are opportunities for analysis: Am I not sleeping enough? Did I run like an idiot? Were my expectations in line with my current fitness? Am I on the verge of being sick? And so on. (See "Dealing With Disappointment" here for how two Olympians conducted this sort of post-mortem after unsatisfactory races in Beijing.)


Contributing editor Scott Douglas formerly served as editor-in-chief of Running Times.

Last Nights PATFC All Comers Track Meet

What a night. Conditions were about as good as you get. The turnout was good and the meet was a blast. I highly recommend you come try it out. It's pretty inexpensive and fun for the whole family.

Without Adam and Marie's support this would never happen. It was a great meet for the community. I highly recommend more Striders come out! You will have a blast!

Lining up for the 5000 meter race

The 5000 meter leaders at the start.

A good one of Staley. She's planting over the hips.

Staley has a great plant and stride here.

The FAST women battle for position.

Old habits die hard. Am I heel striking?!? That's gonna hurt on pavement!

Hard to tell from this angle.

Pick it up dad. You think I got all day?

As you can see. It was a beautiful evening for a meet.

These kids have great running form! Could lower the arms a bit but they are leaning forward and pushing off the toe. Great job!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Last EPIC workouts before Pigman

Ken Beckler rode with me yesterday. He knows some awesome routes! I appreciated him fixing my aero-bars too. Shev warned me they were slipping so Ken put some shims in that should stop this. I rode for about 3 hours and ran 12 miles afterwards. I kept the intensity down to reduce the amount of tissue damage. It was a tough run for me. Miraculously, Shev shows up with the girls at the 5 mile mark in the nick of time. It was HOT! 92 degrees. It was 10:30 am when I started my run. My feet were frying themselves and I didn't quite know what I was going to do. I was making my way up Central ave. and the pavement was starting to really cook my pigs. Had she not shown up with the vibrams I'd have had a very long day with much foot damage. As it turns out I completed the run but had to wear shoes for the last 8. Oh well, it's better to run in the Vibrams than to not run at all. Hopefully I'll have more luck at Pigman with the pavement. They jammed a bunch of ice cubes in my pockets that really helped too. Also a godsend was the water left out by Lynn. She's awsome and came out to say hi when I came by. The week was a good solid one with almost 40 miles of running and about 13 hours of exercise to include swimming and biking. I'll be ok (I think) at Pigman.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Somethings Different Now

I first noticed it last Tuesday at Brad's FAST workout. I was still slugging it out at a pre-barefoot slog. I run so slowly without the shoes. Sometimes my pace is 10:00 per mile. But that night, I noticed something was different. Sure my feet still hurt when I stepped on a sharp rock but the skin seemed to be holding up much better. This enabled me to stop obsessing over every chip on the road and focus on my form. I still had to stop to break at about 5 miles but it was because my feet were so tired. THAT IS DIFFERENT.

Barefoot Julian asked me a month ago how strong were my feet. I nonchalantly replied that it wasn't a problem. I've been running in minimal footwear to include the vibram FF's for years. My feet were strong. WRONG. That night I entered a new phase of my barefoot running. The phase where I start focusing on strengthening the feet. That night my feet hurt but I didn't have any noticeable trauma to the soft tissue of the sole.

Now I get it, Julian! I'm gonna need a lot more mileage before I get to Huntsville. But I am excited. Now I'm developing the muscle structure to give proper support to the bone. On Wed I walked around in Vibrams at Six Flags for 10 hours hardly sitting. That was probably one of the best things I could do for the feet.

Thursday, I completed the ENTIRE group C FAST workout with the exception I wasn't correctly hitting the tempo pace parts. That's an improvment though over Tuesday where I couldn't finish it. And Friday I did a 75 minute bike workout followed by a 6 mile run. Today I swim and tomorrow I do my last EPIC brick workout. 3 hour bike and 12 mile run.

The feet are getting stronger. The legs are not there for sure. But now I have the platform to build on. Hopefully this will result in fewer injury. The foot is a remarkabe double arched structure. Here's a video of the biomechanics. It was produced to show patentients needing surgery how the biomechanics of the foot function but It's really good. I'm energized!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Pigman Bio's

So as I prep for the Pigman 1/2 ironman and almost certain annihilation. Mike Krause, who's lined up a couple of relays for the race sends team members an email asking for bio material. Apparently the announcers, Dennis Green and Jon Weih are looking for material when you come across the finish line to give some color to the race. Sounds like a fun tradition; to give a tidbit or two about athletes backgrounds and/or racing experiences. They then can share them with the spectators during the race. Here's Mikes Suggestion:

Sawyer Krause -regularly trains with Aqua Man on Saturday Mornings at 7AM on CBS

David "Don't Hassle the Hoff" Schroff - changed his name to be more like his heart throb: "Baywatch" hero, Mitch Buchannon (played by david hasslefhoff). David was briefly jailed in 1999 for stalking, but he's okay now...

Michael Helgeson - Boasts one of the largest beanie baby collections in the Midwest. He's particularly fond of the 57 varieties of pigs in the collection

(Mike H re-writes bio:)
10 years of competitive running. First team triathlon. Would only be able to perform a triathlon on own if water were shallow enough to run in.

Rob Fennell -- Entered on dare by athletically gifted wife and relying on power of positive thinking over training. Isn't 1/2 ironman really all about luck anyway? On a whim, decides not to wear shoes. Wife agrees its a double good idea.

Shevaun Fennell -- is married to that guy running with no shoes. What else is there to say?

So, please reply to this email and tell us a little about yourself. First race? We'd like to know! Racing with a training partner? Tell us about them? What's your training beverage of choice? The wilder the better!

Reply deadline is August 12.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Robotics -- Running Technique Much Improved

Ok. For the momement we are safe from Robots when it comes to the marathon plus I am more flexible (basically) but this is really amazing. Toyota has a humanoid robot that can run at about 4 miles per hour. I noticed the've done a better job engineering the feet to move more naturally. The design of the hip is still incomplete. It's missing a pivot needed to make a natural stride. The feet still don't have the correct arched structure. I would re-engineer it with some spring steel like they use in competitive prostetics to gain the natural spring the foot has. Pretty cool don't you think (until they try to kill you)?

Wakonda Camp Trail - Crushed Rock Sucks - Thoughts on How to Transition

A couple of thoughts I had about transitioning to barefoot running....

In many ways barefoot running as a change or commitment is just like any other resolution such as eating less, quitting drinking or lifting weights and stretching.

The first thing you need to do is publicly proclaim your commitment to what ever it is you are attempting. Staying "in the closet" makes it easy to back away. It puts you on the record. Your reputation is now at stake. Don't worry about failing. We all fail. In fact most successful people fail more than non-successful folks. They just try more things. Being able to laugh at your life's antics is healthy and good for your personal development. At the least, it'll make a great stories for your funeral.

Next you need a goal, say completing a 1/2 marathon barefoot. This gives you something concrete to measure your success upon. Actually pick out a race in the near future and peg everything around it. It makes the abstract idea into a monument that can be obtained. It's all about giving you a motivating deadline and making it real.

Finally, set up a plan than includes mini-milestones such this date I wan't to be totally sans shoes; ...On this date, I'll run the Washington 5k barefoot. When you finally make the leap and set the dates, the progress comes much more quickly.

Forgive yourself along the way. Don't get upset by setbacks. They will happen. Keep at it. Set new goals if you miss a deadline, or just roll with it. I've been experimenting with this for about 2 years. I often would jump back into shoes after a barefoot run. I think being half assed made ultimately for more pain not less.

My recent injury training for Boston provided me the opportunity to step back and give barefooting a chance.

After last weeks trail run in my five fingers I was determined to run this week at Camp Wakonda sans shoes. I knew it would be tough but it helped me mentally not having anyone waiting around on me. No matter how slow, I figured I could pick my way through. I didn't even bother carrying shoes like I do on my long runs. I just knew I could do it. The terrain is great for working the stabilizers and barefoot running on uneven terrain is really the way to go. If you aren't up to this much intensity, I suggest trails using your vibrams. San's shoes, you don't worry about twisting an ankle. It just won't happen. There's no grabbing associated with a trail shoe. It's easier to judge your footing and to navigate difficult terrain. It's the surfaces we evolved to run on. Considerably much more natural than pavement but in some ways more challenging too. Having said this, I will say I am definitely a NOVICE trail barefooter. It took me much longer than had I wore shoes. The really tough parts of the trail would have been the easiest in shoes. The parts where they "improved" the trail with crushed rock were the hardest on my pigs. I was a bit miffed that these long straight sections posed such a problem for me. I wish they hadn't done that. I mean, the improvments aren't exactly natural. Man just can't resist the urge to add to nature. The crushed rock does not appear naturally. I supose it helps keep a trail clearly defined, but the rest of the path thats just dirt seems to be just fine. Perhaps I'll eventually able to run quickly on these surfaces. Regardless, I took away a new level of confidence from the experience. My feet were sore but not shredded. The gravel kept me from being able to run the whole thing. But, I'll be fine tonight for the FAST workout. I ended up running about 4 1/2 miles on the trail. Here's a video showing a similar terrain trail run. The feeling on the feet? Awesome!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Sunday's Workouts - Whew!

After Canton on Saturday I wasn't sure how well I'd hold up. My plan was to run 12 miles barefoot and then head over to Ken Becklers place to meet up with him. Shev had a 6 hour century ride and was going to swing by and pick us up at the 3 hour mark. The day was textbook gorgeous. About 65 degrees and no wind in the morning with it slowly warming to about 85. My pigs were a bit tender but I decided to try them out. I knew right away it was going to be painful but decided to just take it easy and go till I couldn't anymore then switch to the Vibram ff's. Again Bootz street is the worst part of the run. The road is so gnarley. I try to jump up on the sidewalk but it's usually not a lot better than the road. Lots of broken glass and uneven concrete. I made it to the tower and worked the sidewalk along Prospect toward the turn around at Junction City. I kept it up till the 9.5 mile mark and decided to put the monkey feet on. I still had a lot to do. I ended up finishing the 12 miles and headed over to One World for a waffle! That definitely help make me feel better then it was off to Ken's. Ken was getting his bike set up. We had about 25 minutes to kill so I got my junk ready and got an espresso. The ride went really well. Thankfully Shev had enough fight out of her I was able to hang in there. I headed over to Mom and Dads to pick up the kids and grab some lunch. Man, I was beat but overall a good day of fitness. I slept really well.

Canton Tri

My official time was 1:08:24. I was 6th in my age group and 32nd overall. #5 out of the water 7:55, #7 on the bike (I suck), but a shocking #2 on the run barefoot.

Ok. I finally got my Tri in. Got this great email from Rich G. For the record, Rich is being kind and modest. Had this been a Tri of any distance other than sprint, his skill and experience would have meant a certain ass kicking for me....

From: Rich Giebelhausen

Sent: Saturday, August 01, 2009 8:32 PM
To: Rob Fennell
Subject: Welcome to the Dark Side

Congratulations not only on completing your first triathlon today but kicking serious butt (including mine) at the same time.

I wanted to be the first to welcome you over to the Dark Side. The dark side of being an obsessive compulsive attention deficit disordered athlete - AKA triathlete.

Obsessive compulsive in the sense you now increased the number of things you need to think about when training or racing geometrically and that just leads to obsessing.

Attention deficit disordered athlete in the sense you no longer can just focus on a single endeavor, now you must "attempt" focus on multiple endeavors. I think I will swim for awhile, no, I think I will bike for a while, no, I think I will run for awhile, should I wear this pair of goggles, if I eat this on the bike will it come back to haunt me on the run, do I wear these shoes on the run (or sorry, I forgot you don't wear shoes).

Rob, you are the perfect person to become a triathlete with your minimalist approach. You already seemed to have obsessed about about the weight of your running shoes: now look at all the others things you can apply your "minimalist" approach to just to name a few:

  • Does the Specialized carbon frame weigh less than Shev's P3?
  • Should I get the FSA carbon aerobars versus Visiontech bars?
  • What do I need to do to knock the last 500 grams off the weight of my bike?
  • Will the increase in speed buying the Zipp 1080s more than offset the 236 gram increase in weight over the Zipp 808s?
  • Will the titanium rails on my saddle really improve my ride?
  • Will the aero effect of the aero helmet more than offset the increased weight?

None of this even begins to address the marital issues:

  • Is my tribike newer than Shev's?
  • Why does Shev have my race wheels on her bike?
  • Shev, have you seen my bike computer.......what the heck is it doing on your bike?

Seriously though, great job today. Too bad we didn't have some good beer to celebrate the occasion with.