Saturday, January 30, 2010

Fingers As Toes

So I did it.  I rolled out to visit the friendly Appalachian Outfitters and bought a pair of FiveFingers Sprint.  Should that be Sprints?  I don't know how the plural works in this situation.  Anyway, I'm going to have to ease my feet and legs into dealing with this pseudo-barefoot running.  So says the interweb AND the guy who sold them to me.  I guess the good plan is to run about a quarter of a mile and then build a little at a time. Patience.  Yuck.

So I took a little run down the street and back as a test drive after my regular sneaker mile.  These things definitely make you run differently.  It's like wearing nothing at all, or at least as close to nothing at all as I've experienced at least. I think it should be pretty fun once I build up to normal distances.  Hopefully.

One thing I noticed is that 19 degrees doesn't really mix well with FiveFingers.  But then again, neither does anything else so I'll let that slide.

Feast your eyes on my confused feet:

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Flip Side

No shoes. Shoes. No Shoes. Shoes. Which is it, world?

Right after I whipped up that last post about barefoot being awesome I received an e-mail from Road Runner Sports from the "Chief Runner" saying that running around with no shoes on isn't the greatest idea in the world:

Rocks.  Glass.  Got it.

Alright, so minimalist it is. No barefeetness.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

There's More Science To Running Than I Ever Would Have Guessed

Remember back in December when I posted this video?  Well, thanks to the Cleveland Public Library I've been reading the book written by that guy.  It's pretty good. Entertaining, factual and motivational.  It makes me want to run.  Although the stories of ultra distances might be giving me false ideas that I can just go out and run through the night and beyond.  It makes it sound so easy.

Anywho, one of the big topics of the book is human evolution/running style and the conclusion seems to be that less is more in the realm of footwear. There's even science behind it, not just crazy talk from some hippie. Science!!

I’ve already been intrigued with the Vibram FiveFingers as it is, but now after finishing this book, and reading this latest study by some braniacs at Harvard I’m really thinking maybe I should change my running style and give the barefoot (but more likely the FiveFinger) style a try.

Of course the nearest seller of the FiveFingers is a 35 minute drive away.  I guess if I had ultra runner skills this wouldn't be a big deal as I would just run there, but I'm not.  And I'm not a huge fan of driving (most days) either.  However, I’m going to have to see if I can get there and give this a try.  I’ll report back if I accomplish anything.

In the meantime, since I’m sure you didn’t want to read any of the articles or studies I linked to above, here’s a video summing it up for you.  It's sort of like reading but with fewer letters to get in the way: 

PS If anybody wants to come witness Andy's challenge you are welcome. And welcome to join him on his quest I imagine. The date is February 20, 2010. You are invited to stay at my apartment. Or Andy's.

Monday, January 25, 2010

I started another challenge blog

Hey everybody.

I set myself up with another challenge, and I started another blog about it. If you want to follow along, I'd be thrilled.

The address is was too long.

Friday, January 22, 2010


I don't really feel any smarter or memory-enhanced since starting this Mile Challenge, but scientists claim that I should:  Jogging can improve memory: Study*

Perhaps it's the lack of receiving sugar pellet rewards for my hard work or the fact that I'm not a British rodent running in a wheel that makes the difference.

*Mark me down for an editorial catch in that story -- One reference of  "grey matter" and one of "gray matter".  Hey, maybe my memory is improving afterall!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My First Run (Outside)

Sit down, grab a tasty beverage of your choice, and read this little tale I have to spin about running outside.

I did some math yesterday and figured out that if I run two miles every day this week, until Friday, I'll be caught up on my mileage for the year. After that it's a mile a day. Clear sailing. I went to the gym around 6:45, hoping to bust out a quick two miles and have plenty of time to come home, make myself a Jack and Coke, pop in Season 3 of lost, eat some left over pizza, and have one hell of a night.

Turns out the fates are against me. When I got to the gym, the parking lot was absolutely full. Figuring there was no chance of getting on a treadmill, I decided to come home, put on some pants and a hoodie, and take it to the streets. Only problem is, I only know a three mile loop from my house, and I am so incredibly lazy that I was not interested in what two miles would be. "Screw it," I thought. "I'll bust out a quick three and call it a night."

So I'm running outside, in the snow, and around 1.25 miles a little piece of crap (can I say "crap"?) dog comes running and biting at my heals. And when I say piece of crap dog, I mean that this dog was not much larger than a piece of crap. I quickly considered my options, and decided that, having already kicked a cat today (that's a different story entirely), it would be in my best interest, as far as karma is concerned, to not increase my hours-awake-to-animal-kicking ratio. I had to speed up my pace considerably.

After pulling a Usain Bolt on this dog, I hear someone on a front porch yelling, "Hey, get away from my dog!" I briefly turned around to see a woman yelling in my direction, and the little turd dog running back towards his/her (I wasn't sure of its gender and I didn't stop to check) house.

Now, I know when most people post on this blog -- and by "most people" I mean Bill -- it's usually some sort of advice or legitimate concern. This post, however, is a warning. To the lady who yelled at me from her porch: I ran my 3 miles in about 20 minutes today. My highschool personal record was 18:47. There is a solid chance that, over the course of this year, I will come close to beating that record. If I am on pace to set a new lifetime PR, and your dog gets in my way, I will punt it.

That's a promise.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Nutrition Assistance

In case anybody is finding all of these miles to be leaving you lacking in energy and you think an increase in calories and/or protein would do you a favor, you may want to roll out to Cleveland for a night at Buckeye Beer Engine.  Their ‘Wildly Improbable’ Burger of the Month can get you those needed calories in a neat, face-stuffing package.

This is only available in January so you best get moving if you want some of this goodness:

January's ‘Wildly Improbable’ Burger of the Month 
Two eight ounce beef patties lovingly placed between three grilled cheese sandwiches. The grilled cheeses are made with bacon and tomato. Total damage: 1 pound of beef, three pieces of bacon, six slices of cheese, and six slices of bread, cooked in butter. $18.00

If you're not following, from the bottom up, it's grilled cheese (w/bacon & tomato), 1/2 pound burger, grilled cheese (w/bacon & tomato), 1/2 pound burger, grilled cheese (w/bacon & tomato).  Oh, and that comes with a fried pickle and your choice of fries or chips.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Face Fashion

Now that I'm 11 cold weather days into this year I've found that it's not too hard to brave whatever is out there.  It's not always fun, and it's certainly difficult to motivate, but it's less than 10 minutes of outside time, so once out the door it's all OK.

The one thing about the cold that tends to be the worst for me is the breathing of the cold air.  It hurts.  Cold in the nose, in the throat and in the lungs themselves.  Once your body warms up it's not such an issue but the first couple of minutes when your breathing rate and intensity picks up, that air is harsh. It's like breathing needles.

And while layers are easy to throw on the rest of my body, the mouth/nose aren't always that way.  Any tops that have high necks never really go up high enough to cover my mouth and I don't really like scarves or turtlenecks.  Material that is too thick makes it difficult to breath and just puts your own breath vapor all over your face.

So what then?

I tried using a Buff (actually a Buff imposter) and that seems to be just the thing I need. It's just enough to filter the cold, yet not so thick to be restricting or gross and wet.  The one problem I have is it makes me feel like a traitor.  I hear you thinking "How can a weird stretchy band = traitor?"

Well, it's the color scheme.  You see, I got it at a freezing cold Cleveland Browns/Pittsburgh Steelers game as a promo and it's Browns colors with small Browns helmets on one side and a helmet-looking stripe on the other.  I live in Cleveland so you'd think this would be a good thing, but I'm a Steelers fan.

I'm not psychotic in the rivalry rules department so I'm overlooking it, but wearing this thing as a Steelers fan is probably a jailable offense in Pittsburgh, Cleveland and most towns in between.  Plus I look like I'm in disguise for some purse snatching (note included pre-run photo). But I guess that's another issue altogether.

Either way, this Buff idea is pretty great if you need some cold air defense.  I'd just recommend thinking the color/design situation through first -- even if it is free.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

26 deg out today. had two of everything on and was a bit hot. found some kickass gloves in the closet. which i remembered which relative gave them to me. sure they were a xmas gift as some point. would like to send the shoutout to whoever scored them cause they kept my digits mighty toasty today.

salt, the natural enemy to ice.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Suspicious Package

I've been complaining about Mother Nature having the nerve to make winter actually feel like winter and how it's not very ideal for running and then this guy has to go and point out that I'm just being a crybaby:
25-Degree Windchill But No Clothes Needed

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I ran for the first time today

I was putting off running because there was a small chance that I was dying. My thought process was, "Well, if I only have a few months to live, I might want to spend my time doing something other than running every day. I have been pretty sedentary for the last few ... years."

I went to the doctor and, long story short, I'm going to live. So I finally started running. It was fun. I look forward to this. I tried that "running not on the heels" trick. I can't tell if it worked. Has anyone else tried that?

Ditch Those Shoes

So I just stumbled upon this little story that I thought might be of interest, if not annoying to those of us running: Barefoot Running Safer For Joints

And although this is from a British site, it states that the study was done by a U.S. company.  So although, as with all studies you should probably take the findings with a grain of salt at least you don't need to worry about this being some sort of lie concocted to get us back for throwing that tea in the harbor back in 1773.

Monday, January 4, 2010

I'm Complaining Already

I know it's called "Challenge" for a reason but this mile business has already gotten to the point where I have to give myself a pep talk to get out the door.

The weather here in Cleveland (and I think where most of the participants are) has been pretty uncooperative. I've done a mile each day so far (ooh, a whole four days!) but none of those days have been enjoyable. It's been cold, windy, snowy and slippery. And it looks like there is no change in that scenario coming anytime soon:

Cleveland's Extended Forecast

Seriously, Mother Nature?  I know it's Cleveland and I should expect this. And I also know that technology allows for indoor running but I'm trying to stick to the challenge parameters I set for myself which is a mile a day outside style.  No wimping out for me.  Not in 2010.

That said, Mother Nature -- a slight break here and there wouldn't hurt.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Bad Start

yesterday i was hoping to start the year off right by manually disimpacting an old lady on 1/1/10 and then going for a run. instead she pooped on her own and i worked 14hrs without eating so i passed out as soon as i got home.

moral of the story, she had the runs and i did not. not a good way to start the new year.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Time To Start

It's the first day of 2010 or MMX as the Romans like to say.

Time to get yourself a mile.