Friday, April 29, 2016

Rollga: Is this the best foam roller ever made?

I have so many different kinds of foam rollers, massage sticks and balls for rolling that I could set up my own PT practice!They live all throughout my house in corners and closets and under beds, but I am always curious about new designs and whether there can ever be a better foam roller. A couple of weeks ago, I noticed an interesting and new version of a foam roller called the Rollga. I "had" to order one to give it a try and I do find it easier and more comfortable to use. It is like having massage balls mixed together with a roller. It does make it easier to target areas like a massage type ball does, without getting squirrely as it can be hard to maintain contact on the muscle you are trying to work on. I also notice that in the depressions of the roller, so much more muscle gets worked on. It feels really good on the quads and lower legs. I am not so sure on the back. I overdid it the first day using it, but that is probably more due to its effectiveness at hitting muscles and I loosened up some that were trying to hold my out-of -whack body together. There are three models: the silver Genesis which is a  lower priced softer roller, the blue ISO model, and the black Pro-series model which has a harder surface. I got the Pro model. There are good discounts currently on the Rollga website, but they are cheaper on Amazon (plus you get a carrying strap-which costs an extra $1.95 on the website).

Rollga has a Youtube channel with videos on how to use the roller on different muscle groups including a video showing a large truck rolling over one and then popping back into shape. Here is their user guide and how-to use-guide.

What is the best foam roller you have used?


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Resistance Band Work for Flexibility and Mobility

Despite not looking like a skinny runner, this guy gives some great tips and pointers-along with excellent reasoning.

This one is suburb for me. I put the band around a bedpost and wrap it around the top of my legs. It really get you working on the glutes and a proper hip hinge.

This one is great for my foot. It helps keep my foot for rotating out further than it already does.

I am working on this and still evaluating it for use on my hip joint (due to arthroscopic surgery), but it is a better explanation than other videos I have followed for opening up my tight hip joint.

This one is a killer for me. I did it one night and felt good, but the next morning my lower back and hip was so tight I could barely put my shoes on. It did seem to target some weak lower back muscles, so I will keep working on this to see how I progress.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Is this your running personality?

The results of this study  on runners sounds about right!
"The Cattell 16 Personality Factor Questionnaire showed that the subjects were significantly more intelligent, imaginative, reserved, self-sufficient, sober, shy, and forthright than the general population."
The study did come out in 1977. That was the year I ran my first marathon and the results seem somewhat similar to my personality. I wonder if the results would be the same today if they studied today's type of runner? Here is another quote:
"Middle-aged runners and joggers either possess or develop high levels of self-sufficiency and imagination and tend toward introversion in their personality makeup. It is not known for sure if these factors are a result of or a casual factor in their habitual exercise pattern."

Does this study ring true for anyone else?

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Going to be heading up Mt. Washington on my ElliptiGO!

First off, I was a bit disappointed that there would be no east coast ElliptiGO race this year to get me hyped up and training harder. The previous three New England races were a blast and got me in a competitive mode that I so enjoy and miss! I do understand that it takes a lot of work to put on a quality race and that things did not work out this year, so I had to find a new challenge.

2013 ElliptiGO End of Summer Classic
2014 ElliptiGO End of Summer Classic
2015 ElliptiGO Spring Classic

Sure, I will be doing more centuries and trying to break the 6 hour barrier, but that is a different kind of intensity. I could go out to the Mt. Palomar ElliptiGO World Championships  in the fall, but that is way out of my price range (although some year I hope to make it to the race). I started thinking it would be cheaper to do a race in my own back yard of New Hampshire and that would be to ride my ElliptiGO in one of the two bike races up Mt. Washington. Then I saw how incredibly expensive the race entry fees were. Further research showed that one of the two races, Newton's Revenge, would not be held this year, so that left the Mt. Washington Hill Climb  held on August 20. Two ElliptiGO riders rode in the Newton's Revenge event in 2010 so if I wanted to bite the bullet and try out this race, I thought it best to ask first if I could ride my ElliptiGO before committing to the race and paying for the entry. I was told I would be OK for riding since it had been done before and that they would keep no official records- they also allow tandems and  unicycles- with no records, but even better, they added an ElliptiGO category to the race- you can even see it on the entry form. With thanks, I sent in my entry fee and at least one other rider is joining me. I hope to see more this year as I am sure this will be a one-time deal for me and the more the merrier.

2010 Newton's Revenge results (unofficial ElliptiGO record held by Bryce Whiting):
Newton’s Revenge, Mt. Washington, NH7.6 miles, 4727 ft of gainMale7/11/2010Bryce Whiting1:54:22
ElliptiGO inventor Bryan Pate finished 7 minutes later.

I have two goals for the race:
1) finish within 20 minutes of my fastest run up the hill (who even knows if this is possible)
2) ride all the way up without stepping down off of my ElliptiGO.

I have ridden up Pack Monadnock twice now and it has a steeper section than Mt. Washington.
The first time up, I had to put my foot down as I was tired from trying to blast up it as a 10 mile "race"effort on the old Pack Monadnock Road Race course.The next year I made it to the top without putting my foot down, but it was terribly hard to keep moving and balanced on the steeper sections!

2013 first ride up Pack Monadnock

1996 Mt. Washington Road Race 76th place 1:22:23 nearing the summit.
I have been up the mountain many times before, mostly in the Mt. Washington Road Race. When I was about 10 years old, my family drove to the top and down in our 1962 Chevy 2 wagon that was falling apart. It was quite an achievement for that car.

Me Planning further adventures up the mountain 47 years ago!
Family trip to the summit in 1969.
People were astounded that our old 1962 Chevy 2 Wagon made it to the top.

But it did!
With my mom and siblings.
Cog Railway at the summit.
Summit view.

I am sure I will have to add some hills to my training and change my gears so I have a lower range for the steep climbing. Who know what it will bring, but it should be fun in its own crazy way!

My running times at the Mt. Washington Road Race:

1992 1:32:19
1996 1:22:05
1996 1:22:23
1997 1:33:08
2000 1:33:21
Then I got smart and stopped racing.

So now I have something to look forward to (or regret).

Photos from 2014 trip up Pack Monadnock: From FB post:
Made it to the top of Pack Monadnock on the auto road without dismounting my ElliptiGO (last fall I had to stop and walk a few seconds as I was riding as hard as I could to race 10 miles to the top and was puking up air before the real climb even started). The auto road is 1.3 miles long and gains 788 feet with an average grade of 11.9% and a max grade of 20+% (steeper than Mt. Washington, I have heard which is at 22% max and 12% average). It is a beast, but first I had to ride 30 miles to get there and then 30 back home.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Drew Hunter runs a sub 4 minute mile to set a new high school indoor record

Here is the USATF video of the one mile race at the Armory Track in which high school runner Drew  Hunter broke the 4 minute mile for the first time and set a new high school indoor record. Alan Webb, the other high schooler who has run sub 4 indoors was the previous record holder. This is also the third fastest high school mile ever run indoors or outdoors behind Alan Webb and Jim Ryun. His mile time was 3:58:25.


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

In Edinburgh with Garrett Heath: Short documentary

Here is a short documentary on Garrett Heath before and after his race win at the Great Edinburgh XC Challenge. See previous post:  2016 Great Edinburgh XCountry International Challenge.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

2016 Great Edinburgh XCountry International Challenge

For the third year in a row I made sure that I was watching the Great Edinburgh XC race in Scotland on Saturday morning. Number one, it is a great race to watch during the winter season: number two, they always have a top notch runner racing: and number three, the landscape and course is both beautiful and rugged. I fondly recall Edinburgh from my visit there in 1979. Having watched the two previous editions of this race, I knew that Garret Heath owned the course and I was interested to see how he would do against Mo Farah. I had a strong suspicion that he might just get the victory.  The men's race was exciting and Garret Heath did pull off the upset for his third win in a row. The previous wins were on a shorter course.

Here is a video of the last half of the men's race. You can watch full race replays here

Jae Gruenke at the Balanced Runner has an interesting discussion about the running form of the top athletes at this race and some slow motion video that she recorded. You can check it out here

Here is her video of the top men:

A story from the summer involves Garrett's brother Elliot, who is also a top level runner. I noticed on the ElliptiGO Stava mileage board in August that Elliot was posting some massive and hilly rides on an ElliptiGO (must have been injured) He did a couple of weeks of over 250 miles each in August, if I recall, and may have led for most mileage on an ElliptiGO for those weeks. I was already anticipating doing a 300 mile week and I was checking to see if I could maintain my ElliptiGO mileage lead throughout the week. You never know types of massive rides an athlete might do each week and it is usually on the weekend. I got up over 300 miles and had a good lead, but Elliott wasn't posting so I didn't know if he would hook up his computer at the end of the week and beat me. I ended up with 350 miles for an easy lead. Elliot never posted much mileage that week. He never knew I was competing against him! All that I knew was that if I was GOing 350 miles, I did not want to rate second in total miles!