Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Running in my Luna Sandals

Today I ran 4 miles in my new Luna Sandals.  The first thing I noticed was how much quieter I was running.  Next I noticed my form was better.  Usually I run downhill for a minute, then turn onto a flat street and check in with my form, making adjustments.  Today when I hit the flat street I was in great form (I use the ChiRunning method). 

My right calf was getting tight and the bottom of the right foot was getting sore; so I focused on a softer landing and the problems went away.  I really like the quick feedback I get when running.  With Luna's, or other barefoot inspired shoes, once your form breaks down you start to feel pain.  Once the calf or foot starts to hurt you know it is time to check your form. 

From LunaSandals.com

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Luna Sandals Have Arrived

My Luna Sandals!
The Luna Sandals have arrived!  Barefoot Ted has some videos on his website on how to tie them.  You have two options, slip on or traditional. 

At first I tried the slip on method.  The video was great and easy to follow.  Once I had them attached I walked around the house.  I've been wearing flip flops for the last few months to get used to having something between my toes, so the feeling was not unusual.  I ran on the carpet and everything felt fine.  I slipped them off and on and that was easy. 

Next I tried to tie them the traditional way.  I was happy with the slip on method, but wanted to see what the difference was.  I didn't think I would like having something wrapped around my ankle.  I was wrong.  The traditional method felt a lot better.  It was also easy to get on and off.

After walking around the house for a few days I finally went outside.  The first thing I noticed was the knot between my toes to attach the lace.  I was walking and it was uncomfortable.  I tried to run and it felt fine.  I walked again, but changed my form and the discomfort was reduced.  But running felt really good.  I'm looking forward to getting them out again.

Slip on with Hemp Laces
Tied Traditional Style

Monday, September 20, 2010

Trail Running at Afton State Park, MN

In July I ran the 25k at the Afton Trail Races (race report).  I enjoyed running on the trails but haven't been back.  This past weekend I wanted something different, so I headed to Afton.  It brought back memories of struggling up the hills and pushing myself on the flatter sections.  This time I noticed the hills were MUCH easier and my footing was more secure on the treacherous downhills.  Since July I've run a lot of miles and worked to strengthen my legs, so I should have expected feeling better.  What I didn't expect was the thrill of flying down the hills.  I found myself smiling as I went full throttle down the hills and tried to maintain this speed in the flat sections.  When running gets old, time to hit the trails to freshen things up.

It was so much fun that I plan to go back and run more trails.  And this time I will make sure the lids on my bottles are tight.  One bottle leaked and my shirt and shorts smelled like HEED! 

Me Running the Afton 25k in July

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Barefoot Ted's Luna Huaraches

After my 20 mile race on Saturday I decided to skip running this week.  But on Tuesday I took off my shoes to run around a soccer field by the house.  I did it to see what barefoot running felt like, and it felt great.  I also ran on the packed dirt of a baseball field and could feel my technique change to accommodate the harder ground.  After 4 passes on the hard dirt I was totally comfortable running on it.  It was a great experiment, and best of all the tenderness in my right foot didn't bother me.

I've been reading a blog by Jason Robillard, author of "The Barefoot Running Book."  Needless to say he is a barefoot runner and promoter.  He also is an ultra runner who's detailed race reports are great for a beginner like me to further my understanding of racing.  His reports also motivate me to run because he may run 100 mile races, but he doesn't win.  He is just an average guy who likes to run. 

After running barefoot Tuesday, I decided that barefoot running is something I want to explore in more detail.  I remembered a recent post by Jason, a review of Barefoot Ted's Luna Huaraches (link).  Jason had very positive comments: "Simply put- they are my minimalist shoe Nirvana."  Sounds like a great recommendation, so today I ordered a pair from the Luna website (link). 

Barefoot Ted's Luna Huaraches

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Get Ready to Rock - 2:58:49

Today was great for a run, overcast with perfect temperatures.  Lucky for me I was signed up for a race around Bald Eagle Lake in White Bear Lake, MN (link).  This was a 20 mile race, and my previous farthest run was only 18.  This was going to be a real test.  Lucky for me Pacer Sam from the Minnesota Pacers was leading the 3 hour group (9 min miles) and that is exactly what I wanted to do. 

This was also the first race that I was going all out on Hammer Nutrition products.  No details, but to summarize I skipped solid food for breakfast and only took Hammer supplements.  At the 1 hour and the 2 hour marks I took more Hammer Supplements, and along the way I drank Hammer Perpetuem

So how was the race?  Awesome.  Unknown to me, my alarm clock was set 10 min behind, so I was running late from the start.  Then construction on the drive blocked the road (yes, the ENTIRE road was blocked with no detour signs).  The internal compass worked fine and I was back on track in a few minutes to arrive at the parking lot.  And it was EMPTY!!  Most people parked on the other side of the school, so I had plenty of spots to choose from.  The T-shirt was very nice, in a light blue color.  I took care of business and was in my car resting in no time.  But first I ran into Blogger Julie and had to say hi.

I lined up with Pacer Sam and what would turn into a group of about 15 runners, all going for 3 hrs.  It seemed most people lined up by pace as only a few times did we need to pass or be passed by other runners.  The course is fairly flat with about 5 miles in neighborhoods before the two loops around Bald Eagle Lake.  I was excited as mile 10 grew close because just after the mile marker my wife and kids were waiting.  They all yelled when they saw me and I swapped my Fuel Belt bottles for new ones.  The rest of the race was good till about mile 16.  Then it became a real challenge to stay with Pacer Sam.  He was very good a motivating everyone to pick up the pace till it was just Sam and I at mile 18.  I stuck with him till mile 19 when he all but pushed me to finish strong.  Over that last mile I had spurts of strong running but was able to really dig in as the finishers shoot appeared.  That last mile was 8:16.  It helped that my wife and kids were all yelling for me. 

Official Results:
88 out of 210
Time 2:58:49
Pace 8:57

Friday, September 10, 2010

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, a book

On Saturday someone from the St. Croix Valley Running Club said they were going to Greece to run the Athens Marathon (Link).  Another runner said to read "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running" by Haruki Murakami (Link).  Haruki talks about his experience running the original route, only backwards from Athens to Marathon.  To summarize, the run was hot.  But he has a lot more to say and so far the book has been good.  I figure tomorrow I will have plenty of time to read while I recover from my 20 mile Get Ready to Rock run.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Surf the Murph trail race in Savage, MN

Whenever I get the latest Runners World I immediately want to run a new race.  So after the Oct issue I started researching Surf the Murph, held October 30 at Murphy-Hanrehan Park in Savage, MN.  I had heard about this race from trail running bloggers. 

I would do the 25K since I am doing the Mankato Half the weekend before.  I should be in good shape after building for Mankato.  The cost goes up Oct 1, so I will wait to see how my 20 miler goes this weekend. 

Sunday, September 5, 2010

18 Miles

Today I did the longest run in my life - 18 Miles!  I ran on the Gateway Trail and saw a few others out on long runs.  It was a great day with cool temperatures and a good mix of sun/shade.  I felt surprisingly good, averaging 9:11 a mile. 

This Saturday I'll be doing 20 miles at Get Ready to Rock.  The race will have pacers, so I think I might go with the 9 min group (3 hours total for 20 miles).  This may be a stretch, but if I do some run/walk after mile 10 I should be OK.  The big problem today was range of motion.  After 2+ hours of the same running technique my legs felt stiff and my already short stride got shorter.  I did some walking and stopped to refill my water bottles and after each I felt much better.