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!

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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!