Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Kicked Out Of Disney

If you get kicked out of Disney for drinking, don't ask, “Then who’s gonna watch my kids?” Security takes that shit seriously.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Julian Romero Runs Chicago....without shoes.

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcchicago.com/video.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Study: Abstaining from Alcohol Significantly Shortens Life

Study: Abstaining from alcohol significantly shortens life

New research shows that those who imbibe are less likely to die than those who stay dry.

Surprised? The tightly controlled study, which looked at individuals between ages 55 and 65, spanned a 20-year period and accounted for variables ranging from socioeconomic status to level of physical activity. Led by psychologist Charles Holahan of the University of Texas at Austin, it found that mortality rates were highest for those who had never had a sip, lower for heavy drinkers, and lowest for moderate drinkers who enjoyed one to three drinks per day. I am thinking I may just live forever.  So far so good.
Publish Post

Deep Fried Beer -- Thanks Rich!

Texas Chef Successfully Deep-Fries...Beer!
I sincerely hope the committee that hands out Nobel Prizes in the science fields have taken notice of one Texas chef who recently achieved a gastronomical breakthrough: deep-fried beer.

This is off the Richter scale of "What not to eat".

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mirinda Carfrae run form analysis

This run form analysis of Miranda Carfrae is absolutely without question one of the most interesting videos on the subject I have ever viewed.   This woman holds the Kona course run time record of 2:56.  Enjoy.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Healing and Unlearning Bad Behaviors

So, I'm waiting in the doctors office, I have to get my car over to Kauth and Meuyer's by 5.  Shevs picking up the girls. The receptionist is a young hottie.  She reminded me of that girlfriend in "The Glades". She escorts me into a bare room with an examination table and 5 magazines, all over a year old and with benign titles e.g., Womans Day, People, Newsweek.  It's been wild month.  I've been to a Kiss concert and Shevs Ironman competition.  This time has been fun.

I was out running in Morton a month ago.  After 3 brutally hot days, this one did not disappoint.  Already 94, the pavement glistened the radiating air.    Barefoot, I was keenly aware of the surface and all its imperfections.  I trotted gingerly, my Achilles were sore from Greg's brutal schedule.  I couldn't muster much better than a 9 minute pace but sweat was gushing from my pores. Something was giving in my ankles.  I felt completely unmotivated.  Were I a better planner or more disciplined I would have not enjoyed those extra glasses of wine last night and gotten my butt out of bed.  At nearly 173 lbs, I was as heavy as ever although I was running 45-55 miles a week.

I had gotten so worn down I no longer took time to stretch or to do any cross training.  I just wanted to eat and drink when I got done with my workouts.  This is not a good place to be for mentally.  So, when I got home that night after only completing half the prescribed distance and none of it at the prescribed pace I again began feeling the stiffness returning to the ankles.  The right ankle was swollen noticeably.   I had to do something or risk a big setback.  So I quit.

I've been injured before from too much, too soon and recognized the train light heading my direction in the tunnel.

In hindsight it's been very good for me to mentally reboot and I don't regret the pause.  I needed to work on some of the non-running aspects of my life and rekindle the furnice.

A knock on the door and Dr. Rians enters.  He's accompanied by an intern with who looks about 25.  He's carrying a folder with my MRI.  Good news. No stress fracture.   It's a condition called Synovitus.  The lacy tissue surrounding the ankle produces too much fluid making the joint painful and swollen.  I still can't run but isn't restricting my mobility.  I can handle all the day to day walking and I can swim and bike although biking too hard still aggravates my ankle a bit.  So for now, I am working on losing a few pounds and doing some of the exercises I should have been doing all along.  I am strengthening my core and stability muscles used to run and swimming and biking.  I'm enjoying playing games with my girls and goofing off.

Stay well!

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Weekend

It's gonna be hotter than snot and even more sticky this weekend. I've got 6 relatively easy miles tonight and then I have to get going very early on my long run 16 miler so I can make it to the bus on time in Downers Grove to retrieve my kids. It's gonna hurt a bit in these conditions. I need to run it between 7:30 and 7:45 pace. Ugggggh.

BBC News - 'Perverse' animal beer bottles sell out in hours

BBC News - 'Perverse' animal beer bottles sell out in hours

Wow. Even at close to 800 bucks, this beer is gone for good! Sold out in hours! Wanna know how they made the worlds strongest beer "Sink the Bismark"?  Me too.  I'm guessing they used an extreme variation of this video by the same team.  It's a beer called Tactical Nuclear Penguin.  Enjoy.

Tactical Nuclear Penguin from BrewDog on Vimeo.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

It's the World's Strongest, Most Expensive Beer -- Inside a Squirrel - Asylum.com

It's the World's Strongest, Most Expensive Beer -- Inside a Squirrel - Asylum.com

Thirsty? Got $765 bucks burning a hole in your pocket? A group called BrewDog has not only regained the title strongest beer in the world, they offer their trademark wonderbrew (55% alcohol by volume) encased in a stuffed animal that was once alive! Is this cool or what?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Barefoot Chronicles: Sport Kilt Review

Barefoot Chronicles: Sport Kilt Review

Barefoot Jason reviews a kilt for running. It's from a US-based company, Sport Kilt. They sell kilts for casual wear. I've always wanted to try one of these out but I'm already a bit too far out there with the whole barefoot running scene. The kilt itself is made from a fairly lightweight microfiber material. It is a single piece of fabric that is wrapped around your waist and closed with a Velcro strip along the top edge. The front of the kilt overlaps itself about 12-14" in the front. The kilt has a relatively large pocket in the front. I'm not sure the family can handle this one. I am not encouraged by Jason's review that the kilt caused some chafing of the trouser snake. That been a problem with some regular running shorts for me as of late.  I don't like that.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Louiville Update....Like Running In Someones Mouth

On Saturday I did my long run in Louisville.  Wow.  As you know from reading my blog, I enjoy running my mouth.   I don't enjoy running IN someone else's mouth.  That's what it felt like. Louisville is HOT and unshakably humid.  I could not get the heat off me as I ran along the Ohio river.  Don't get me wrong, it was pretty and the trail were it not smothered in humidity would have been a great path for my Saturday run.  My strength was slowly sapped from my bod.  People who live in Louisville must be tough as nails.  If you train in this stuff all the time, any race conditions you ever run in will seem ideal.  I saw 2 trees fighting over a dog.  It was so hot, a group of wino's passed around a dilly bar.  Unfortunately, I did not get any barefoot running in as the trail was too gritty for my ability.  If I have a run over 6 miles I can't seem to master it barefooted.  I can run only very slowly for long distances. What do you other barefooters do?  I'm at a loss.  I really want to get my barefoot mileage up so I can run Chicago but I need to do it without losing all my fitness.  Shev and I did have a lot of fun on Saturday night.  We stayed at the Gault House.  Just a block away, on Fourth street they have a section closed to all but foot traffic with a live band.  Here's a shot of it.

At my hotel was perhaps the strangest convention I've ever seen. It's called the My Little Pony Fair. Billed as the world's first large-scale MLP collectors convention. Hundreds of My Little Pony collectors come from all across the globe to meet others who share their interest over the course of several fun-filled days. I can only imagine the kinky Pony play that must have been going on in rooms on all floors. This annual gathering is the world's largest celebration of everything MLP and brings collectors, friends, and fanatics from all over the world together for a weekend of pony fun! Talk about Pony Fun!!!!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Robot Sex?

I doubt this worked but you gotta admire the effort.....Come to think of it.  I need a way to get Shev's attention when I'm cheering for her in Louiville next month.  This costume should do the trick!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Update on Barefoot Vs Shod Test

 Here is the data from the Barefoot test on the 13th:

Barefoot Test.jpg

I was pretty spent for the last 2 intervals.  I have to say I really didn't want to run the last 2 mile interval but was glad I did in the end.  I got a great workout out of it even if the data was a bit inconclusive.  It's skewed from going too hard for fitness and conditions on the first interval.  I felt very heavy in the Brooks shoe I chose for the test.  I has a lot more heel than my Mizuno's although most folks would call the shoe a racing shoe.  The heel was noticable and really inhibited my foot strike making me work harder.  I wonder if a better test of barefoot / shod would be to run the first one at my perceived 10k or even Marathon Pace effort shod and then follow barefoot with the same HR.  I would get more consistent splits and could adjust for conditions by running by perception.  You can see my recoveries were very long (especially after the first interval).  

Today is a much needed day off and tomorrow I hit it hard again in Springdale Cemetery.  My next long run will on Saturday be in sweltering Louisville, Kentucky!  15 miles of fun!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Main Street Mile on Thurday

Two Reactions to Cake

The Standard American Diet (SAD) is causing way too much obesity in the US.  Endurance athletes wouldn't be able to even function on this diet in my opinion.  We consume way too many empty calories.  In many parts of the world they eat meals that consist of smaller portions but also of far fewer processed foods.  I struggle with portion control sometimes however I have in general a much more nutritious diet than the vast majority of folks.  Many of my running buddies have gotten their weight under control but my be missing out on important nutrients by not eating enough fresh fruits and veggies.  It all comes down to 2 things.  Eat less.  Eat Better.

Today I read an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal (Eating to Live or Living to Eat? - WSJ.com) about why it is that some folks can't seem to resist certain foods while others can easily pass. Scientist studying sophisticated brain-imaging technology better understand how the lure of delicious food can overwhelm the body's built-in mechanism to regulate hunger and fullness, what's called "hedonic" versus "homeostatic" eating.

One thing is clear: Obese people react much more hedonistically to sweet, fat-laden food in the pleasure and reward circuits of the brain than healthy-weight people do. Simply seeing pictures of tempting food can light up the pleasure-seeking areas of obese peoples' brains.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Barefoot Test Next Monday (7/12/10)

On Sunday, I ran the Peoria Jaycee's Firecracker 5k.  The run felt very good barefoot and I was happy with my time (19:47 or 6:23 pace).  I scored a 3rd place age group medal.  It was humid and I always wilt a bit in these conditions.  Here's a picture.

Next Monday Big Dog Greg is having me do a barefoot test.  It's a series; 4x2 mile repeats barefoot and shod.   The workout is 1 mile warmup.  Then the first 2 mile set shod at 6:10-6:20 pace.  Check my average and max hr.  Do a full recovery, then second 2 miles on same course barefoot keeping my HR at the same level as with shoes (run by HR not by pace).  Next interval I run 2 mile course with shoes at the same HR as before.  Finally, do 2 miles as fast as I can barefoot (time trial).  This test will yield my barefoot paces and the difference between my shod and unshod paces at this point in my transition.  It should allow Greg to see how much natural fade and unshod fade (indicative of fitness) that is also a variable.  I'll keep you all posted on the results.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

And the Award For Best Perfor`mance Goes To.....

At Faster-Than-Schroff we write about so much more than running.  I've been pretty busy lately just getiting chores like laundry and housework done that I've not really had much time to post anything.  The readers email are going unanswered and the junk mail piling up on my butterfly fuck swing.  Time to get back to work.  Let's begin with a piece on sexual health......

Being in top physical condition requires that we take a look at all aspects of health to include nutrition, meditation and stretching but being in top reproductive condition is also important.  Weak legs can be a sign of severe genital fatigue and sap seconds from endurance events.  Whether or not you choose to have sex while training for your next big event are decisions not to be taken lightly.  Regardless, you know my positionj on being minimalist here.  By that I do advocate and insist you guys be barefoot during sex.  Pronation has no impact on this topic.  But sex has an additional emotional effect that not only effects the athlete but the athletes partner. Being in a committed and deeply satisfying relationship is a lot of work (just ask my wife).  When it comes to sex, emotions and feeling are just as important as performance.  It's very complicated.

I was reading a piece in Men's Journal last week that found most women will at some time or another, fake an orgasm.  I am shocked!  When a man discovers their partners o-face is fake it can be devistating.  I immediately began r extensive research on the internet.  After viewing what must have been hundreds of hours of film and pictures I have determined when a woman fakes orgasms it can indeed appear very realistic.   Trust me.  I looked at A LOT of sites.

 Recall how Meg Ryan's character in the film “Harry Met Sally” was able to demonstrate how well women can act at faking an orgasm. She went through the orgasm sequence at a restaurant, fully dressed, head back and moaning, so dramatically that a female patron declared, “I'm having what she's having.” Those women who know the truth laughed loud and long, while men chuckled too.

I decided interviewing my running buddies might shed some light on this most delicate subject but none of them seemed to have a clue.  Mike Srouse (I changes some letters to protect his identity) said "Rob, I don't know.  My wife's 100% totally satisfied with me.  It's just never been an issue."  Sean Robertie (also not his real name) said "Rob, i'm not bullshitting you.  In my marriage it never happens...  The wife is always so blown away by me she can't speak for hours.  Perhaps we are just fortunate.  To recover from me she finds that sleep helps.  It usually it takes 2-4 days before she's completely right again.".

'You guy just don't get it.'  Ken Heckler (again) suggested.... 'Being a physical therapist I understand the female anatomy in such detail that make the typical OBGYN asking for my advice.  It's really all about setting the mood.  I use clothing to enhance my sexuality even at work. When I put on a great looking outfit it just sets the mood for great intimacy.  I'm really happy with my official NASCAR approved Jordash jeans and my velvet thong.  They highlight the important stuff.  As for the sex event itself, I like to make really fast race car sounds right before she explodes!  VVVVVVRRRRROOOM VROOM!'

Schroff (his real name) was dumbfound.  He was no help at all.  A self proclaimed virgin. Apparently he's saving himself for his wedding night or he might be afraid the extra cardio would negatively affect his training.

Experts in the sex field (and I mean doctors guys...) say the best way for men to be totally sure a woman is not faking it is to do a brain scan while performing any sex act. Heightened brain activity in the left frontal lobe is a dead giveaway.  Be sure you keep plenty of conductive gel handy for the electrodes.  Brightly colored feathers taped to each electrode can help to keep the mood from changing while applying the apparatus.


Shev Comments: I don’t fake it. I’m real and I keep it blunt. Not only does he have to perform to the utmost standards, but he also has to entertain me. If he's not 100% on his game once we get started I’ll show signs of boredom real quick with a loud, obvious sigh or just be like ‘get off me if you’re gonna bullshit around, I don’t have time for this’   He really is faster than Schroff.

Staley Comments: My fake orgasms are practically academy award winners. I swear sometimes I get more involved in seeing how convincing I can get and watching the reaction of the “under-performer” who now thinks he is the “King of the World.” However, if with my stellar performance he takes too long to get to the point, my “go to move” is faking a charley-horse or some kinda muscle related pain. This again requires another chances to exercise my acting chops. Like the man said “All the world’s a stage.”

Beth Comments: I’ve been faking it for a while and propose that those who should continue to fake it take a two-pronged approach. Yes, the requisite moaning is necessary. If your able to speak in tongues even better. (I’ve never been able to let go and speak in tongues because I think I’m just too aware of myself.) He’ll think he’s gotcha. You want your faking to be multi-dimensional.  God I hate those jeans he always starts out in.

Amy Comments: This is not a drill! ... It's a miter saw...please familiarize yourself with my power tools! After he falls asleep I just email him my complaints so he can deal with them at work.

Doreen Comments: I try to just sort of react to his get me in the mood plot twists. Having 2 PHD's helps. I've never faked an orgasm but I think it's because I never put out if I am not in the mood yet I have learned to accept that he always will be.  Its not easy being devastatingly attractive and being married to me all of the time. Also, I think its OK to just distract him with beer.

Beth Comments: Ewwh!! Yuck!!!  I accidentally found this site in my finance's browser history. Now I think I need a shower. I feel the same about sex with David as I do about the toilet paper in the bathroom.  I go in thinking hopefully it's going to be long and useful, but it always ends at the wrong moment.  Fortunately I can bluff like a Vegas poker player.  After his 45 second performance he falls asleep and I can play my good hand.  Deal with it.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Grandma's Marathon Race Report

I survived Grandma's Marathon in Duluth Minisota and ran actually faster than I planned.  I don't feel bad.  I'm ready to begin my cycle for Chicago. The guy below is Dick Wilde. I met him at the party after the race. He won the first Grandma's ever with a time of 2:14.44. He's run 76 marathons under 2:20!

I have to say the party was the highlight along with all the incredibly friendly people of Duluth, MN. In truth I'm ecstatic about how well I did. I didn't think I was in much better than 3:20 shape but I just sort of went with how my body felt with the thinking that I wanted to hit the half feeling good enough to pick it up a bit. It was a bit warmer than the weather forecast and a bit windy but overall a pretty good day for racing a summer marathon. I appreciate all the help from you guys. I'm back in a condition I can build some speed with.

Here were my Garmin Splits so you can look at HR and pace (looks like a HR of 160-165 is where my body runs best for this distance?).....I set the watch to autolap every 4 miles. In truth I didn't really look too much at my watch after the first 8 miles. I was mainly focusing on being consistent. I wanted to get arrive at the half in condition to get tougher for the second half. Miles 20-24 were the most challenging mentally for me (see lap 6 below). Perhaps adding a bit more mileage to my workouts will give me more mustard for this part of the race. Unintentionally I started to slow and my hr started to drop during this period of the race. I tried to pick it back up and dig deeper to keep it together for the last 2+.
Now I hope to extend my barefoot mileage to be able to run fast barefoot at Chicago. I have my work cut out for me.

Be Strong....Keep Thinking Those Dark Thoughts.

Research by Kurt Gray, a doctoral student in psychology at Harvard, shows that a person's physical endurance increases if they perceive themselves as good or evil. "Evil" acts in particular give a person a large boost in physical strength. How cool is this!

From the article: “'People perceive those who do good and evil to have more efficacy, more willpower, and less sensitivity to discomfort,' Gray said. 'By perceiving themselves as good or evil, people embody these perceptions, actually becoming more capable of physical endurance.' Gray’s findings run counter to the notion that only those blessed with heightened willpower or self-control are capable of heroism, suggesting instead that simply attempting heroic deeds can confer personal power."

I'm now going to recommend you all start thinking bad thoughts at about mile 20.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Last Night's 12 Miler (almost all barefoot) Getting Ready For Grandmas

On Sunday I received a phone call from one of race people at Grandma's.  He had noticed I was registered as Barefoot Rob and was wondering about the unusual name.  He asked if I'd just run San Diego.  I hadn't.  After Huntsville I registered under this name but as I've been struggling to get back into condition I've fallen off on the barefoot mileage in order to be able to run Greg's paces.   I told him my dilemma an asked him to switch my name to Rob Fennell so as not to offend any barefooters who see me running if I am in shoes.   Don't get me wrong.  I still run a portion of my mileage barefoot and have raced a 5k but as it's warmed in Illinois in order to run with the guys and to complete the very difficult schedule I've had to do many of the workouts in shoes or sandals.  I'm toying with the idea of running the Grandma's marathon barefoot but with less than 2 weeks to go I'm not sure I've got the foot conditioning I need.  I ran last nights paced workout barefoot or nearly so.  I used the East Peoria trail because of it's relatively smooth finish.  I put the Vibrams on at mile 8 and finished the last 4 in them.  Overall my pace was fine but my feet were hurting at the end.  I did no damage to my soles but feel I lack foot toughness.

Now for something completely random:  I found this video on youth and ageing and it speaks to me.....

Irony at BP's Gas Pump

Friday, June 4, 2010

Shrek Savvy Fancy Free

A couple of weeks ago the family traveled to Carbondale, IL for a swim meet. We had a GREAT weekend. My girls had a swim meet so we booked a cabin at Giant City State Park. Southern Illinois is like a whole other world. The park was beautiful and the cabin was quite reasonable. Two things happened that were noteworthy. First, this was the second time we have traveled to the park and this year just like last there was a Pitt Bull Association holding some sort of event. Now where I come from Pitt Bulls eat people. Being barefoot and running the perimeter of the area of the event many unsociable dogs were being kept in cages in the back of 4 wheel drive pickups that were larger than RV's.

I wondered if there weren't a few overly enthusiastic owners who held a higher sense of confidence than they should and also wondered whether one of their dogs would see me, instinctively know I wasn't one of their kind and eat me. Then I heard a loud snarl and low and behold a dog at full speed launched across the yard and attached a guy in a rubber suit. It was a demonstration of how to use your pet as a weapon. All this was happening while a few feet from them their kids were laughing and playing on the swings. Thankfully I went unnoticed. I think I could hear banjos and I started having flashbacks from that movie Deliverance......

On Saturday we decided to go to the stables to get in a family horseback ride. Too cool I thought. We get to the stable and filled out the waiver. My girls were saddled up on beautiful but smaller horses and my wife was given a horse named Playboy (well endowed I might add). Then I got a look at my horse.....er well. Kaila was giggling to her sister. "Look dad's getting Shrek! HHHHAAAAAHHHAAAA!!!!!". I quickly corrected them. "She's not a DONKEY shes a mule!" It was no use. Its very hard to look cool on a mule I found. I think its the ears.

Anyway, this morning, I opened my mailbox and find this letter. Evidently I impressed somebody.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Chilli 5k -- 19:43 (I'm happy)

Being barefoot only cost me about 15 total seconds. Mile 2 was a 6:30 (had a gravel stretch that I danced around) but I finished my last 1+ at 6:15. It's a great course for barefoot running. Smooth. In addition to the 5k completely au natural, my warmup and cool down were done in the sandals. My age group was wicked fast. It's not often that a guy like Pat can go sub 17 and get 3rd in his age group and 5th overall. That was pretty cool for me to see all those fast over 40 guys go at it.

It was fun watching my daughter run her 5k. She was a very nervous 10 years old. She had the goal of not stopping to walk and ended up winner her age group. She's a great kid. These are pretty long distances for young kids. She doesn't train and I think that's best. At her age it can be damaging for her to run too many miles plus you want her to develop a love for the sport.  Her goal was 30 minutes and she came in about 15 seconds short.  The great thing was that she won $125 gift certificate to Running Central.  Thanks Adam & Marie!!!!!  She's stoked to get some new gear.  Running Central did a great job of supporting this race as they do all things running in town.  We are so lucky to have a store of this caliber in town.  Not having to go to a big box retailer to find some crappy gear in a store that mostly caters to golfers, camping and basketball is really nice.  Running Central focuses on running and track and field and they get the right gear with the knowledge to use it correctly.  I highly recommend them.

Race conditions were warm. The upside is these early warmer races and test runs will be helpful for Grandma's if it turns out to be warm. The heat wont be a surprise.

Sunday I ran my 16 on the East Peoria trail at about 9am. It was pretty warm, about 85 F. I thought it would be good to get some more hot weather running in. I developed a couple of hot spots on both feet during the run. It's the second time these darn Huaraches have done this too me. It could have been the cumulative of running fast barefooted yesterday or it could be what sweaty rubber does to feet. My feet are not fully conditioned/toughened to the point where I can handle this much back to back volume and intensity in these shoes. I tend to have bad judgment of what I should be wearing on my feet. In hind site, I probably should have worn shoes and gotten the distance at pace in. I wanted to push the limits of my minimalist shoes to ensure I was ready both physically and also from a foot toughness standpoint for my marathon. The two goals sometimes work against one another. Because of my choice, I'm nursing sore pigs. Nothing serious. I had to walk an aweful lot of the last 6 this morning. I was so disgusted I turned off my GPS watch and cursed the path back to the car. This walking bugs me more than the sore feet. I was on a 7:50 pace till mile 10.

Having a 20 miler scheduled for next week makes me VERY happy. I feel it will give me much needed confidence that I have gotten enough cardio base running in. I'm not so concerned about having a perfect taper because I am looking at Grandma's as a building up for the fall marathon(s). If I do Huntsville, I'll evaluate after Chicago, it will be in shoes. I think I'll run this marathon more conservatively than some of my previous attempts. I'm just fit enough to think I can run faster than I am really capable and then be upset with a poor showing.

I don't think I'm believe yet I am as fast as I can be. I've been making lots of progress but I had lost a bunch of fitness from where I was trying the barefoot experiments. Although I enjoy this part of running, I am not ready yet to concede the seconds to father time. The great thing is that my knees and IT bands are in excellent shape. I know it's very odd but it's fun for me and that's what it's all about in the end for a guy with my mid level running ability. I'm never gonna get paid for this so I'd better be having fun or why bother :-)!

Friday, May 28, 2010

My Inner-Croc caught on Video

It's been a while since my last post.  Sorry about that.  I've had a serious case of of blogger block.  I found this on a friends facebook page and thought this is perfect for FTS! I'm struggling to get my head back in the game. I believe we all have a subconscious part of ourselves that caves in to the moment and is purely interested in pleasure. It what makes us choose short term gratification over long term happyness. It's what takes over in the addicts head and screws up lives. It's prehistoric. I call it my Inner-Crok (as in crocodile). I'm constantly at war with it.

What's been happening in my world? Well, I've been trying to get my fitness and speed back. Last year I pretty much tried going cold turkey and run all my runs barefoot to see if I could transition completely. When it got cold I spent the winter running on my treadmill barefoot. The result was unfortunate. I had a lousy barefoot run at Huntsville, AL. I completed the course but did tremendous damage to the bottoms of my feet and nearly needed medical attention. It was a gritty course with lots of course neighborhood streets. I walked a way more than I wanted and finished just under 4 hours. I was hoping to run a 3:30. After all the indoor running, I ended up with feet far too tender for the roads.

Discouraged by a total lack of drive and fitness, a friend also struggling with different issues asked if I'd run one day a week with him in shoes so he'd have company. Like any addict, once I stepped into the shoes I've quickly become even more dependent on them. I enjoy the ability to run faster pace work and the roads around my house and to run a marathon training program with Blair Dog coaching. In Peoria I have so much grit, crappy unswept shoulders with chips and debris that it's been difficult to go fast. Taking a break for a short Hawaii vacation in Kona, I realized just how bad my roads were compaired to the strip of road near my vacation rental. That week I was able to do quite a bit of barefoot running with no injury. I also had some better luck with my Huarache sandals.

I'm registered to run Grandma's Marathon in a few weeks and am running about 50-60 miles a week currently.

I've moved toward the Huarache Sandals for my middle distance runs and am encouraged by the results. They appear to be a viable alternative to barefoot running but with enough protection I can run faster. However, the shoes have not been quite reliable enough yet. I'm not sure if it's the shoe or if it's how I am making them.

Initially I purchased a kit from Barefoot Ted consisting of a sheet of Vibram Cherry rubber and some hemp lace. My first run was a 10 miler where I gave myself bad rope burns. I've since altered the way I tie them and switched to some quarter inch leather strap and have had better results. I completed a 20 miler last week but had a break at about mile 16 that I had to stop for about 10 minutes to fix.

I purchased a large roll of the rubber material on ebay and tried a few different laces. So far the leather has been the best but it still breaks too often for me to have confidence in them for a marathon. Regardless, I might try them for Grandma's (June 19th). I made a pair for my 8 year old daughter as well and she seems to enjoy her pair.

On Wed, I ran a test run Boredom and encountered a new problem. It was really muggy, the first fast longer run in the heat for me. I did go out WAY too fast but also had a setback in that the shoes started really slipping climbing Detweiler Drive. My feet started to incur blisters so I bailed at mile 8. I had to borrow a cell phone from a stranger to get a ride from my wife. Humiliating! I'm still trying to figure these things out. I may try gluing some thin suede to the sole to give me more comfort but this will only make the shoes thicker which kind of works against the benefits of being barefoot.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Delavan 1/2 Marathon Race Report

Delavan Splits.jpg

Here are my Delavan Splits with HR data.  Lap 6 was a stop I made at 5.71 mile mark, the water station.  I had stashed shoes.  The pavement was pretty rough and I decided my feet were taking too much abuse to continue.  Lap 7 was me changing shoes.  Lap 8 was at the 6 mile mark to get me back on track with the course markers.   Lap 5 & 14 were the most directly facing into the wind.

If you take the pit stop out for shoes, I averaged about 7:20 pace.  It was not as fast as I hoped to go but I'll take it.  Overall, with a warmup I got about 15 miles in for the day and a good workout to boot. By Mile 11 I was getting depleted.  I didn't take any gels and didn't get lunch so that may have been why.  Also the wind induced speed changes may have made me tired.  It was your typical Delavan blustery day but I didn't get hurt and actually got training benefit from it.  

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Signs You Are Over Training

1. You consistently miss your workouts.
Despite the fact you know you are capable of running the distance and the pace you fail in either or both of these criteria. Often you feel a sense of frustration that leaves you wanting to hit it even harder. An early indication can be prolonged recovery from typical training sessions or competitive events. Back off.

2. You are feeling tired all day after a workout
Do you feel like you need a nap all the time? Are you dragging yourelf from place to place?

3. You seem to be hitting it hard day in and day out.
Is every run a tempo run? Do you and the guys get into pissing matches each an every run. Stop participating in the Ego Racing Series and realize every workout has a purpose. You need to train other systems as well if you want to get better. Stick to your plan!

4. You ache all over
Your muscles are sore to the touch and bending over or walking down stairs hurts. Take a few days off. Do you experience GI disturbances? Are your limbs feeling especially heavy? Do you experience chronic respiratory infections? All can be signs.

5. You seem to be getting less lean despite the fact you are working out more and more
Are you working out more but losing "leanness"? You are probably not burning fat but instead are draining the muscles of the glycogen (sugars). You are no doubt burning a TON of calories but very little of it fat. You need to slow down for a large bulk of your training. Harder is not better all the time. Understand your heart rate zones and paces.

6. You have lost your motivation and are not interested in running?
The whole point is to have fun. I doubt your getting paid to workout. Don't be so myopic and goal oriented you lose sight of the fact that the journey is more important than the destination. This is your bodies way of telling you something but, like depression, it might not be obvious to you at the time. Mood disturbances (depression, anger, anxiety), general fatigue, frequent illnesses, loss of energy and vigor, feelings of heaviness in the limbs.

7. A higher than normal resting heart rate first thing in the morning.
First thing in the morning...e.g., 10 beats over what is usual for an individual.

Ok. Help me out. Can think of others?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Period Shoes for Women

First there was the Rebok EasyTone. These women's shoes are built to tone and firm a girls posterior while she walks the mall in search of chili cheese fries and a new purse. In exchange she got to walk around looking like she had a club foot. Very sexy! It was very clever of Rebok. People love a quick fix. These shoes are billed as an easy way to get those chiseled cheeks without the time consuming workouts.  

Now Asics is one upping Rebok by introducing a shoe that adjusts itself off the hormonal changes that naturally occur before and during a womens menstrual cycle. This one is not for vanity but for health! It's called the Asics GEL-KAYANO 16. I prefer to call it the PMS trainer.  It contains cushioning cells which expand and contract in harmony with a woman's hormones  (I wish I was making this up). Thankfully, now a girl doesn't have to be (at best) in a wheelchair, or in extreme cases, bed ridden because her shoes hurt so badly she can't walk those cursed 3 days each month!

According to Asics: "When oestrogen is high, and a woman is at her most fertile, the arch drops. Later in the month, when she is menstruating, levels of the hormone are low but her arch is raised." So we need to be checking out our women's training shoes and hitting on them when those Asics are in low arch mode.  Hubba Hubba! Me so hoooowrnhey ;-).

Here is the actual news story about the shoe: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1249982/Running-shoe-women-adjusts-according-time-month.html#ixzz0fjEPmuBj

 I remember when I was a kid my best friend Ron and I were playing and his mom told us to go to the store and get her some tampax. We were pretty nervous. She may have also wanted us to pick her up a pack of smokes. I'm old enough that this wasn't such a ridiculous request nor was there any danger of us a) having DCFS called or b)being denied a pack of smokes just for being 12.  Those were the good-ol days! We took his little brother.  When we got to the checkout with the box of Tampax the guy at the counter asked my buddy if he knew what these were for.  Ron, a consumate smart ass put his hand on his bro's head and said, "Oh these are not for me. They're for my little brother.  He's four.  We saw these on TV.  The ad says you can swim and ride a bike if you use these and my brother can't do either." I could have NEVER said that to a grown up.  Even today, I'm the kind of guy who blushes when my wife buys a month worth of toilet paper at Target. I try to hide by the magazines hoping nobody recognizes me. I don't want everyone to thinking, here come the Shitzoids.  The've got QUITE a GI problem I see.  Must be a diarrhea induced by poor hygiene. Poor shucks....constantly crapping all over themselves.

Not to be outdone by the shoe giant Asics.  I am coming out with my own line of shoes that can be made from maxi pads.  I think I can get Adam at running central to carry them. From a marketing standpoint they will be popular with both the minimalist (low flow) runners and the folks who well, let just say, need a bit more protection.... If you want an advance pair you'll have to make them yourself. I plan to offer 3 convenient sizes: (1.) Regular, (2.) Light and (3.) The Damn has Broken.

Here is the prototype shoe I'm basing my design on.  I plan on giving my wife a pair for her birthday this year (shhhhhhhh!).

I'll need four maxi pads to make a pair.

The selling points are:
* Soft and Hygienic
* Non-slip grip strips on the soles
* Built in deodorant feature keeps feet smelling fresh
* No more bending over to mop up spills
* Disposable and biodegradable
* Environmentally safe

Rumor has it the Asics PMS Trainers will be offered with a GPS soon. The Asics PMS-GPS.  You'll now have a crazy bitch who can find you.  Run fast guys!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Muscle Tone Is A Function of the Nervous System

I was reading a post on fitnessblackbook.com and came across an interesting story on muscle tone. The piece reinforces a thought I have about conditioning. Specifically, the role the brain and nervous system plays in getting fit. Muscle tone is a function not just of building muscle mass but as much a function of the nervous system. Muscle tone is an "electrophysiological" phenomenon. Getting stronger is also largely a function of the nervous system. The greater the nerve impulse to a muscle…the stronger it contracts and the greater force that muscle will generate. As a muscle becomes stronger, your nervous system becomes more efficient at sending strong signals to that muscle. Over time, the muscle will have a greater "ionic flow" even at rest…AKA greater "muscle tone".

I had a friend of the family and co-worker suffer a stroke recently. Fortunately for her it was rather mild and she is expected to make a full recovery. Her rehabilitation is what I find really interesting. When she describes her exercises she uses terms like fatigue and straining to get the muscle to do what it needs to do. The stroke occurred recently so the muscles have not broken down or atrophied. What she is experiencing is a weak signal being sent from the brain.

All this makes me realize how important it is to train the brain. If you want to get fit and make gains you need to do your drills as importantly as you need to run the miles. Both reinforce good signaling and help to make you fit.

Friday, February 5, 2010

If I Spray....


A Mountain of Weight To Lose?

(stolen from technology review)
Want to drop a few pounds on your next vacation? Head for the mountains, the taller the better.

The researchers found that basal metabolism increased at high altitude, though it's not clear why. Levels of leptin, a hormone known to suppress hunger, also increased, perhaps in response to decreased oxygen. Participants ate less, even after symptoms of altitude sickness had disappeared. And they continued to eat less after returning to Munich, at least during the four week follow-up period of the study. The research was published this month in the journal Obesity.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Tuna with Wine, Tomatoes, and Herbs

I saw this at Eat, Move, Thrive

(Tuna with Wine, Tomatoes, and Herbs)

3lbs Tuna Steaks, Very Fresh, Sashimi grade if possible

Sea Salt (Optional if Strictly Paleo)

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

6 Tbsp. Olive Oil

1 Cup Finely Chopped Onion

3lbs Tomatoes, blanched, peeled seeded and chopped

2 Cloves Garlic, minced

1/2 tsp. Dried Oregano

1/4 tsp. Dried Thyme

1Cup Dry White Wine

1 Tbsp Tomato Paste

3 Tbsp Chopped Flat Leaf Parsley

Warm your oven (175 deg. F or your oven's lowest setting). Season the steaks with pepper and salt (if using). In a heavy skillet, sear the tuna quickly in olive oil over high heat then transfer to a cookie sheet or Pyrex dish in the oven to keep warm. Reduce the heat under the skillet to medium, add the onion, and cook until softened but not browned. Stir in the tomatoes, garlic, and dried herbs. Reduce to a simmer and let bubble away for 5-10 minutes or until the sauce becomes rather thick. Increase the heat to high, add the wine and tomato paste and reduce until the sauce is once again quite thick. Taste the sauce and correct for seasoning. Plate the tuna steaks, spoon the sauce generously over each steak, and garnish with parsley.

Single Women Eat Salad

I read an interesting story in a blog about women and food. Researchers have set out to prove the anecdote about women and salads. According to the research study, young women use food choices to send signals to potential suitors. So just like their clothing and jewelry, they tend to pick meals to enhance their desirability to the opposite sex. According to a story in The Guardian: "The salad leaves are meant to say, 'I'm pretty; I'm attractive; I take care of myself',"

I can't speak for all guys, but when I was young and single, messages from attractive women had better been sent with a bullhorn. If they had big breasts, then signals needed to be prefaced with a ball peen hammer. I wasn't exactly what most researchers would call subtle!

One really interesting aspect of this study was that the pressure increased with the number of potential partners around. Conversely, the men didn't watch at all what they were throwing down their gullets. Fist pump and belly smash!

Science Direct

In a naturalistic study, we investigated the influence of gender, group size and gender composition of groups of eaters on food selected for lunch and dinner (converted to total calories per meal) of 469 individuals (198 groups) in three large university cafeterias. In dyads, women observed eating with a male companion chose foods of significantly lower caloric value than those observed eating with another woman. Overall, group size was not a significant predictor of calories, but women's calories were negatively predicted by numbers of men in the group,while the numbers of women in the group had a marginally significant positive impact on calorie estimates. Men's calorie totals were not affected by total numbers of men or women. This study supports previous investigations, but is unique in making naturalistic observations.

I have two little kids, both girls (ages 9 and 11). So this is fascinating reading for me. At this point they have no interest whatsoever in impressing boys. They generally wear thier meals about their faces and think a good burp followed by a fart is hilarious entertainment. What this study says is that at some time in the future this will change for them (and for my wife and I).

I guess I am not surprised given the weird relationship Americans in general have with food. Women are trying to impress potential mates by limiting their food intake, a display of restraint, or control. This is a woman who cares about her appearance, who is not a greedy pig.....

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Marathons Make Your Muscles Old

Some evidence suggests that marathon running can be making our muscles old. Now despite the fact I have been feeling old today, this blog post kind of makes me wonder. But don't get me wrong; I have no intention on giving up what I really enjoy. I'm guessing Cigars and Bourbon have deleterious effects on the body as well.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Last Nights Pool Party

I was dragging a bit

Last Night's Pool Party or as Neltner called it: :The first event of the ego racing series, went better than expected -- I ran hard, hanging with Scott and Schroff up to tower from pool. Scott and David were being kind and didn't drop the hammer on me. We've pissed on each other much worse in past runs. Being the first run outside in a while, I have to say it was really fun. My shoes did not go unnoticed and were the brunt of many remarks. We had a good group, Mike Krause, Me, Jeff Neltner, Scott W, and Schroff. At the tower we got a drink. Returning, I ran the second 4 easy with Mike Krause downhill who was relaxing that night as it was his first run in a while. I figured 3 miles of tempo work was plenty for me considering my fitness and my first start outdoors. I wore my Mizono Wave Universe's. Temp was 27 degrees and no wind. Very compfortable temps. Wore 2 ls tek shirts and tights. First run w/ shoes in 2 months. It was good weather for the run. My HR was pretty high going out 170-175 w/ max of 183. You can see by the link below at the halfway mark all my vitals go way back down as I jogged back home downhill. Total mileage was 8 for the night w/ 15 minutes of stretching after.

Here is a link in Training Peaks to my workout. It's kind of interesting to play around with the buttons on this web page. It gives you a lot of detail.


I may bag today. I was tired this morning. I think the cold weather and a bit of speed play took a bit more out of me than I initially noticed. This morning looking in the mirror, you'd have thought I had been out at the bars. Good time though.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tonights 10

It was horrible weather so we cancelled the 1st pool party of the season. I was looking to get some physical abuse from the gang. It was not gonna happen because the streets were covered with a sheet of glass ice. So it was back to the treadmill. I did 10 miles total with 3 x 1.5 miles @ 6:27 pace. Man am I out of shape.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Copper River Coffee and Tea

Most of the coffee shops I go to don't do coffee well. I can't tell you how many times I've had the sinking suspicion the person making my coffee doesn't actually drink the stuff. So when I find a place that's different I like to point it out. I went to Copper River this morning. Copper River is a coffee house locally owned in Peoria, IL that specializes in gourmet espresso beverages, whole bean sales, and loose leaf teas. They have a decent selection of single source small batch coffee's for sale all clearly marked with roast dates and all fresh.

Copper River Coffee and Tea is the continuation of what used to be Kade's Coffee and Tea. Formerly the manager of Kade's, the current owner of Copper River was approached by the owner of Kade's during the summer of 08' and was asked if he would like to purchase the assets of the company, essentially, buying everything that made Kade's what it was. The owner of Copper established Copper River Inc. in October of 08' and at the cusp of the new year had purchased all the equipment and inventory of the former company, officially opening Copper River on January 2 of 2009.

Their mission as stated on their web site is to providing the best quality of coffee you can find and to make all your experiences enjoyable. They strive to find ways to cut the artificial out of their drinks and to provide a high level of freshness. As such they do not use powders or pre-mixes. They provided great customer service. They are not yet up to the level of the very best coffee houses in the state such as Coffee Hound in Bloomington. But if you have a question concerning a drink or about a particular single origin coffee, they will probably have the answer.

The employees are expected to learn as much as they can about coffee and tea, and their web site claims employees are encouraged to take their own initiative to go to seminars, check out other shops states away, or read relevant literature.

At the current point in time, they are slowly coming into their own with roasting operations here at our shop. They have a small 4lb roaster. I bought a lb of espresso blend from them as I am totally out of beans. The beans were not roasted on the premise but they were roasted by a local roaster. I didn't ask who. Leaves and Beans perhaps? I am going to buy beans on Tuesday. They are going to roast on Monday.I don't know what beans they are getting specifically. Because of the small capacity, they can't produce enough inventory for all their needs.

I asked for a skim milk latte and a single shot of espresso. Both were decent but not up to the extraordinary level of a shot from Coffee Hound. The guy doing the art messed it up but the owner or manager, I'm not sure which, was patient with him and told him not to sweat it. I am sure they will eventually get it down. The shop was fairly busy.

I would say they are the next best thing to CH in the area but they are close enough I can easily stop by. It's certainly the best coffee house in Peoria. The cafe is warm and inviting. It would be a nice place to sit and read a book. I don't know if they have wi-fi. They have a drive through. You can talk with the baristas who are friendly enthusiastic young guys that seem to be fairly knowledgeable. It's not in a great location for foot traffic but War Memorial gets fairly busy and that might be enough to keep them viable. Coffee is a brutal business. In the end it will come down to whether they can differentiate from all the other coffee shop / cafe's in town that really are not about the coffee.

I hope they do well and continue to build on their enthusiasm. Go give them a try. I give them a thumbs up.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Races I'd Like Run 2010

I divide my season up between A, B, and C events. The A events I consider to be most important. B events are important for training measurements and C races are just for fun or as to be incorporated as part of my workout schedule.

C February 13 -- Wildlife Winter Trail Run 6k
B March 21 -- Delavan Frostbite 1/2 Marathon
C April 3 -- Springfield 1/2 Marathon
C April 24 -- Wildlife Prairie 5k Trail Run
C May 1 -- U of I Marathon
C May 29 -- Chilli River Run 5k
B+ June 19 -- Grandma's Marathon
C July 4 -- Firecracker 5k
C July 17 -- Evergreen Tri (Sprint Distance)
C July 24 -- Iron Abe (Sprint Distance)
C August 7 -- Canton Triathlon (Sprint Distance) -- Triathlon
C August 15 -- Brimfield Old Settlers 5k
C August 22 -- Pigman 1/2 Ironman -- Triathlon
C Sept 15? -- IVS Half Marathon
C Sept 18 -- Morton Pumpkin 10k
A October 10 -- Chicago Marathon
B April 2011 -- Boston Marathon

How Different A Running Store Can Be

Pat Rizzo visited Peoria last November. He made some great comments on his blog. We had him over to the house for the Screaming Pumpkin planning meeting. Check out his post blog post

Rich Giebelhausen's New Bike

Rich sent me this photo with the following note:

I have attached a picture on my new bike. I really enjoy getting on it, getting in some quality "riding" time and it is so comfortable when I get into the aero position!!!

Peg doesn't advise me to ride it around Morton. She would prefer I took it out of town - like a real long ways away.

I am at loss for a name but it definitely needs to have a female name.