Tuesday, August 12, 2008

2008 Falmouth Road Race

Here I am checking how slow I am going at the Falmouth Road Race!

There is a
nice video of the 2008 Falmouth Road Race taken from the press truck here. You can see much of the men's race as it unfolds.

On Sunday, August 10th I ran the 36th Falmouth Road Race. I first ran the race in 1975. I have run the race most years since then. The slowest I ever ran was that first year I ran when I was just 16 years old. This year I was worried than I might run slower than that time. I have been training but it has not gone well. My hips are tight and sore and that along with muscle imbalances are slowing my racing times drastically this year.

Anyhow I love running Falmouth so I was ready to run, but I was telling myself to not stress about the time as no one really cares what I run as a time and to just try to relax and take the race as it comes.

I got my race number #250 and went to the rec center on Saturday for the pre-race show. The most noteworthy thing this year was that I went to the Aline booth and met Alan Neveau. I bought a pair of Aline foot devices before the road race last year and used them during the race (not suggested). My legs felt balanced when I did the race that year and I used them for about a couple of months, but my imbalances came back and they were somewhat heavy in my running shoes.

This year I noticed the devices looked a bit different. They were red and seemed a bit smaller. I talked with Alan and he said this version was new and just out. They were lighter, slimmer, and had a few other improvements. He fit them to my feet. They check out your ankle and knee alignment. He had me bend my knees foward and told me that my achilles tendons were very tight as I had a hard time pushing the knee forward. I notice that as I run as it seems my knees do not bend forward much over my ankle. Alan said that the Aline foot devices shoes help with that but to stretch the achilles and to use something like the ProStretch


I have a pair of those at home as I must have bought them over 15 years ago and I think the Prostretch was the first device I ever bought to help with running problems.

After Alan got me fitted he very nicely told me that he was giving me the pair he fit me with to replace the ones I had last year. He also told me not to run the race in them like I did last year!

I put them in my shoes to walk and run in and to watch the Falmouth Mile that night. They do seem to balance my feet out better. Despite my hip problems my feet have been a problem area this year also. I can't figure out if the hips change the way my feet work or if my feet change the way my hips work. I have tried over-the- counter inserts, ortho-heel inserts, inserts of my own making, and no inserts the past few months. Nothing has felt right. I notice that the tendons (or fascia) at the bottom of my feet are also very tight and stiff (not to to point of pain) but I am nervous that a problem may be coming. I have not found the solution to this or my hip problems yet, but I liked the feel of my Aline footbeds in my shoes as I walked around and my hips were loosening up as the day progressed, I didn't run at all Saturday.

I did what I wasn't supposed to do and decided to wear the Aline footbeds as I raced Sunday. At this point I knew I couldn't race well anyhow and why not see how they felt. I put them in the Asics Hyperspeeds I got a couple of weeks ago (nice shoe- they feel like the Asics Tiger Paws I loved a few years back) and even though the shoes may be a tiny bit smaller than I like they fit inside easily.

I got to the starting line and hung around waiting for the start (I get to start in the front group so I don't have to worry about crowds or other things- I can just hang out in Woods Hole). As the gun went off I started running. I knew I didn't have the racing stuff but got off to a decent pace. The Aline foot beds felt all right. When I looked down my left leg seemed to be tracking straighter. The weather was nice and sunny and it seemed like a nice day. There was a slight tail wind however and that sort of kept all your body heat stuck to your body. It was not a cooling breeze.

My legs were tight. My hips were tight and not coordinated. There was no speed, no pushing to go faster, and no racing on my part. But it still hurt to run and was an effort. When you are running poorly it always seems to hurt more and take more effort than when you are running quickly and things are going well! During the race I was hot and worried that my pace my slow and I would have a time slower than my race in 1975 or not break 50 minutes at all. My body certainly was not adjusted to the Aline insoles and I think some muscles were fatiqued or not working as well because of them but I don't think they slowed me down. While my overall pace was disappointing I didn't crash completely and ran to a 48:52 finish which is just about a 7 minute mile pace. I still think that if I could get my alignment back I should be able to run the race at 6 minute pace or faster, but I have to get this body figured out first. I finished 354th.

After the race I went straight to the massage table area and got in line for a massage. I met Sean Gallagher of Gallagher Family Chiropractic in Falmouth. We have met many times after the road race and Cape Cod Marathon where he donates his services after races. He always says hello and usually works on me after Falmouth (many times I feel better after the race than before!). He worked on my legs. The first thing he said was a remark about my left leg being longer than the other. I even had a heel lift in my right shoe. Then he did some adjustments and showed me a stretch for my hips. He is a nice guy and a very good chiropractor for athletes.

That was it for Falmouth 2008. I had a nice blister under my left arch -just like last year when I used the Alines for the first time so I will now slowly start letting my feet and body adjust to them and see how they work out.

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