Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Runner Again!

Two days in a row I have been able to get outside and run. It has been about a month since I last ran outside and I covered 8 miles both yesterday and today. In that time I have rested the achilles, graduated to light treadmill stuff, and finally jogged around the indoor track on Tuesday . My achilles is still sore (to the touch) and there is a pinching on either side just above the heel ( I think this is the soleus). It doesn't hurt to run and it was no worse after running. I was able to do a normal training pace both days, so I am thrilled (and ready to get rolling).

I  continued playing around with Intermittent Fasting today. I did not eat anything until dinner time. I have felt real good all week (lighter and less addicted to food). Today's test was to see what would happen if I ran without eating. I did another 8 miler at about 3:00 pm. I stuck a packet of Gu in my pocket in case I ran out of energy or something, but nothing happened and it was just a normal run with normal energy levels.

Here's Brad Pilon of comparing fasting and exercise.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Marvelous Running Form in Slow-Motion

Saw this over at at Exuberant Animal. From the description, "This is an adolescent Kenyan who has never worn shoes in his life and runs a significant amount every day. He forefoot strikes."

The next video that was posted over at shows Paul Tergat and Haile Gebrsallasie in the final lap of the Sydney Olympic 10000m race. The slow motion video of their strides is amazing. Watch at 1:13 when Geb catches Tergat. Although he is much shorter, Geb's' stride seems to be the same length as Tergat's stride.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Nolan Shaheed: A Fast Guy With a FASTinating Diet

Yesterday I wrote about the two days I tried fasting this week. Steve Wolfe replied something like this, "You are a nut, stop being a nut, I can beat you any time these days without this diet stuff, so just get over your injuries and let me continue beating you for the rest of your life." (loosely translated-Steve would never really talk like my face)I know it sounds nutty, but really I only went without food for a bit less than 24 hours twice this week. I am confident no harm was done and really how many Americans can say that ever have done that when they were not sick or on Survivor? Most people these days think it is impossible to go without a meal. Anyhow I replied something like this, "Steve I bow down to your fitness level and speed on the roads, track, and snow these past few years, but I am still willing to do whatever I can do to help my body get faster and my health to be better, even if it sounds a bit peculiar." (loosely translated- I would never really bow down to Steve... in my dreams I still hope to kick his butt some day again in a race). I also replied that I would look up some information on a runner who is in the news again this week- and which helped me recall an article I read last year.

The runner is a guy named Nolan Shaheed. I recalled three things about him this week when I heard he just set a mile record for 60 year old men. 1. He is a fast runner who set many records in the 50+ age group. 2)He is a stellar musician. 3) He had a rather strange and unusual diet. I found the article online. It is called Age Group Ace: Nolan Shaheed musician who eats 1 meal/day and sets multiple world records By Mike Tymn and it was s featured in the Jan/Feb 2009 issue of Running Times Magazine.

As Nolan Shaheed sees it, his diet is a big part of his success. At the time he was interviewed for this article, Shaheed had just finished his annual one-month break from running. During that month, he ate only one meal every other day, fasting the days between. Now that he is back to training, he eats one meal a day, with no snacks the rest of the day, just water.

So this guy does something like Intermittent Fasting, but he does it every day while training. Obviously, he is talented, but his diet isn't hurting him and may just be helping him. Haven't heard of him? He is this weeks USA Track & Field's Athlete of the Week. He received the honor after breaking the World Record on the one mile run for men over 60 years old. It was also the first sub 5 minute mile ever run indoors by someone of that age. He ran 4:57.06. He holds numerous other age group records too. He is very fast. He is also very cool, being a trumpet player who has played with an amazing selection of artists.

Also known for making beautiful music off the track, Shaheed served as musical director for all-time Motown great Marvin Gaye from 1974-1976, and through the years has performed with such luminaries as Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Phil Collins, Anita Baker and Natalie Cole. Shaheed served as the lead trumpet player with the Count Basie Orchestra from 1976-1979, and also performed with the Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton Orchestras. Shaheed has been one of the top studio musicians in Los Angeles since 1974, and is in great demand on the Jazz scene. He currently owns a recording studio and is a music producer.

It seems that Nolan Shaheed has been eating this way for years. Here is a ten year old article MAXIMAL RESULTS WITH MINIMAL EATING! MAXIMAL RESULTS WITH MAXIMAL EATING! by Peter Holleranthat that describes his diet. The author takes a look at strange ways that different runners eat.

How and what runners eat is about as fascinating as how they train, and perhaps even less conclusive. Our purpose here, however, is mostly to entertain! Nolan Shaheed, 50, miler and world M50 half-mile record holder, who runs 65 miles a week, eats just once a day during training, once every other day when not training (he takes a month off each year before building another base), and fasts for 22-23 hours before a race. “I did a lot of reading on the subject,” he says, “and the message seemed to be that the digestive system shouldn’t be working all day. I found that to be true. I have much more energy when I eat only one meal a day.” Rice, beans, vegetables and fruits constitute most of his calories. He eats meat only once or twice a week.

The article also says this about Kenyan runners.

All right. Shaheed trains once a day and eats once a day. The Kenyans follow suit by training twice a day and eating twice a day! Only the hardest of the hardcore, who do three workouts per day, get to enjoy breakfast.

Matt Metzgar also commented on Nolan Shaheed back in 2007 comparing his diet to eating as a hunter-gatherer would.

Here is an audio interview of Nolan Shaheed found on Growing Bolder.

I don't intend to ever eat exactly like Nolan Shaheed, but I found reading about him and his successes very interesting. I like this quote from the Running Times article.

Training Philosophy

"I don't eat until after my daily training at about 5 p.m. I do one speed workout a week and take a day of rest. Basically, my philosophy is, he who trains the hardest wins the most. Of course, it all depends on what 'win' means to you. I can come in last and still win."
Read about the EatStopEat system of intermittent fasting here.

Intermittent Fasting Trials

Last year at this time, I tried doing the "Warrior Diet" for awhile. The biggest shock was that I could "hold off" on eating a breakfast and not eat anything until the afternoon. I love to eat, especially breakfasts! In the summer, I transitioned to the Paleo Diet and ate "lightly" in the morning and afternoon. Once I got into the swing of things during both diets, I felt better and realized it wasn't hard to constantly eat all the time when you eat healthy.

I have found that it is not as easy to eat Paleo style in the winter when fresh fruit is not as easy to find. With limited running in the past couple of months and holiday cooking all around, I haven't been able to maintain the eating levels and weight that I would like to be at. In the back of my head, I have been planning to start something called "intermittent fasting". This means you do not eat anything for 18-27 hours or so. I was just too chicken to try going without food for so long. I could go without eating until about 1:00 p.m. and feel great, but could I go without eating anything until dinnertime? I have been doing the no breakfast thing 3-4 days a week for a couple of weeks, but Sunday I tried going until dinnertime with a longer fast. It was much easier than I thought it would be. I finally had my first bite of something (and I only drank water) at 6:30 p.m. Today I skipped breakfast, then even though I had a lunch, I skipped that too. I did not eat until supper. This is what I have learned from these two trials. I am no hungrier at 5:30 p.m. then I would be a 10:30 a.m. The hunger does not get any worse throughout the day. In fact, you feel quite comfortable and energetic and don't even feel hungry unless you think about it. Appetite is different then hunger. Fasting for the first time is like running your first marathon: you are frightened that you can't do it and think that it is impossible to accomplish. After you have run a bunch of marathons 26 miles is a piece of cake! In other words it is not as hard as it sounds. Once you do it once, it is easier the second time.

I have read a few websites and blogs on intermittent fasting. I am trying it to lose some weight (less calories going in), to get off the bad foods I have been eating, and because supposedly the fat burning works better when you aren't constantly eating. I have not read this e-book, but this site (Eat Stop Eat) tells you a bit more about intermittent fasting. What is there to know? You just don't eat all three meals seven days a week. Take one or two days and don't eat (from supper to supper). I had no loss of energy and will keep trying this to see what or if there are any results.

Plus as a time when I cannot be competitive, I was just competitive with myself and accomplished something I never thought I could do (or at least willingly do). It was interesting to note that denying yourself food for a few extra hours was not that hard to do and in fact felt much more more healthy than grabbing snacks of various types throughout the day.

Here are a couple of sources of information on intermittent fasting:

Running on empty: the pros and cons of fasting Shari Roan "Los Angelos Times"

Called intermittent fasting, this rather stark approach to weight control appears to be supported by science, not to mention various religious and cultural practices around the globe. The practice is a way to become more circumspect about food, its adherents say. But it also seems to yield the benefits of calorie restriction, which may ultimately reduce the risk of some diseases and even extend life.

Fast way to better health by Michael Eades

Is Intermittent Fasting Healthy? by Mark Sisson

Numerous animal and human studies done over the past 15 years suggest that periodic fasting can have dramatic results not only in areas of weight (fat) loss, but in overall health and longevity as well. A recent article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition gives a great overview of these benefits which include decreases in blood pressure, reduction in oxidative damage to lipids, protein and DNA, improvement in insulin sensitivity and glucose uptake, as well as decreases in fat mass.

Scott’s Intermittent Fasting Success Story Scott Kustes

The Benefits I’ve Seen
* Improved mental clarity during the fast
* Improved workout performance during the fast
* Lower body fat percentage at the same bodyweight (i.e., more muscle mass)
* No worry about food during the day ‘ I can get up, run out the door to work, work all day, then go home to eat. I don’t have to be concerned with fitting in lunch and food is no longer the focal point of my day; living is.
* No food-induced crashes during the day – I’m on top of my game all day. Even eating low-carb Paleo on a normal eating schedule left me more lethargic than this
* Better in-tune with my body – you learn to distinguish psychological hunger (i.e., it’s noon and I should eat) from real hunger. When I get truly hungry, I break the fast and eat, even if it’s outside my “window”
* More energy – You’d think I’d experience fatigue with no food intake, but I can’t quit moving and having an urge to go run around the block during a fast
* Food tastes better – it’s amazing how much better a well-cooked meal tastes when you haven’t eaten all day

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Walking Backwards Up the Stairs (and other PT moves)

I still have a sore achilles and so only mananged 20 miles of slow treadmill running this week. That is 8 more than last week, but I had to miss a few days after tweaking the achilles just by making a short dash to my car through a parking lot to beat my daughter.

Maybe it is good I am not running so much as I continue the Postural Restoration exercises and twice weekly visits to the physical therapist. My hip is getting stronger and as I do my exercises and strengthening moves there are many little shifts going on in my body. I am accomplishing many new movements and notice great improvements in my balance. When running on the treadmill I feel so much better, but not perfect yet. It is going to take the muscles a couple months to catch up with what my brain wants them to do. As I feel shifts in my feet, hips, or torso they send signals to other parts to re-balance and it is hard to recognize which is the proper movement and which is an old pattern trying to hold on. It is fascinating stuff.

I do about 4 Postural Restoration exercises and then many traditional strengthening and balancing exercises: like full squats on a Bosu Ball (round side down) or one legged squats (round side up). I am doing a move that starts off like a turkish getup and ends like a side plank (for my obliques), and lunges (the secret I learned to clean up my wobbly lunges was to engage the hamstrings. Now I am doing medicine ball rotation lunges (hands out straight holding the ball and move the arms side to side as you lunge over the extended knee. I started off doing all of these real poorly but have learned the balance and stability needed to execute them correctly. Here is a variation of the lunge with a medicine ball twist. It took me a while to get my hip, knee, and ankle in alignment and then all of a sudden my body "got it".

One of the four Postural Restoration exercises that I do first is called the "Retro Stairs". This is one that is supposed to "reset" my hips as well as strengthen my gluteus medius. I have been doing this daily for a few weeks. At first I started on only my left leg and hip. I push my left hip back and to the side, bend forward, and lift my right leg slowly off the ground before stepping back up to the next step. In the beginning I had zero strength to pull off this move. When I lifted my right leg up, my left leg and torso would sink together and it was hard to step back without feeling like a million pounds was on my back. When I did this on the opposite side, I could easily float right up the stairs without any problems. I complete the maneuver now with much more ease on the left side than previously, but it is still not as strong as my right side. You can see a version of the retro stairs here. It is a great hip strengthener and rebalancer. While I have done some of the other exercises in that document and moved beyond them, the second PRI exercise in my list of four that I do daily is also in the document. It is the "Single Leg Wall Left AFIR with Right Glute Max". The third PRI exercise I do is on this document. It is called the Figure 6: "Sidelying Resisted Right Serratus Punch with Right
Trunk Rotation" (OK so the rest of these names are not that catchy!). This is for my hips and twisted torso. The fourth of the exercises I am currently doing is the "Seated Alternating Reciprocal Quad Sets with IR" (found here). Of course I am doing these based on the feedback the physical therapist sees as I progress through different exercises. So far, I give my therapist and Postural Restoration the highest praise. These are exercises that I have seen no where else and they are perfectly suited and geared towards my imbalances. Now I just can't wait until my achilles feels better so that I can get back to running full-time again.

If you are in the southern New Hampshire (Nashua) area and are looking for an excellent physical therapist, Jackie is definitely the person you want to get referred to by your doctor. If you are interested in the Postural Restoration therapy, I think she is the only person doing this in the area. Here is her business card:

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Slowly Starting Up Again

I have been babying an achilles problem recently and I am happy to be able to start running again. Last week I tried running twice and stopped after one mile each time because I could feel the achilles pulling. This Friday I tried a slow 2 miles on the treadmill. It worked. Saturday I went 5 miles on the treadmill. Both times my pace was very slow, but the achilles did not bother my stride (although I still feel it and it is sore if I push on it). Today I did another 5 miles. I am slowly trying to move the pace up a notch every 1/2 mile or so. I have a long way to go as I can tell it is still not right and I am ready to stop the second it hurts when I run, but it certainly feels good to get running again. I do miss the training and don't like skipping the snowshoe races, but I am being patient so it can heal and hopefully I can start training for Boston soon.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Top Ten Things I Found this Week

I am getting tired on saving websites to my favorites list and letting them accumulate, so I am posting some of the better and more recent things I am reading and wanting to keep track of here. You may find some of it or none of it interesting, but it keeps me amused and thinking. Plus after the snowshoe race on Sunday, my achilles is really barking at me so I have a bit more time to sit and read.

1) A friendly weekly check in for the 50+ runners in Weekly 50+ Training Thread.

2) Interview with running great Kenenisa Bekele

If I am going to run the marathon then I can’t go back to the 5000m and 10,000m. It will be difficult, so I don’t want to change yet. I want to enjoy the middle distances. Maybe in two or three years we will see what is going on. I am dreaming a little bit about the marathon.” Herald Scotland

3) An Excellent FloTrack video with Michigan Coach Ron Warhurst (coach of Kevin Sullivan, Nick Willis, and Nate Brannen) on "Tools that the Greats Have" including running mechanics, consistency, and training smart. "The only thing I really deal with is their arm carriage. Arm stroke dictates what your feet do and your stride length."

Track and Field Videos on Flotrack

4) Todd Hargrove on coordination and efficiency from his Better Movement blog.
"Even in a sport such as running, which does not involve much technical skill, efficient movement is easy to observe. Professional marathon runners have an unbelievably smooth stride. They are so incredibly fluid that they look like perpetual motion machines, or a ball rolling downhill. They need add only the slightest bit of energy to each stride to keep the ball rolling. By contrast, the average runner doesn’t look very much like a rolling ball – more like a rolling triangle. Their gait looks painful. And it probably is painful." 
"So how do we train to be more efficient? Movement systems such as the Feldenkrais Method and Z-Health are devoted primarily to creating more efficient movement."

5) Shoveling snow and balancing the body and keeping it symmetrical. After shoveling snow on Saturday I was wondering what the Postural Restoration people would recommend. I found it.

Shoveling snow: This is repetitive activity that results in a lot of low back pain injuries. Remember our tendency is to have our weight on our right leg while shoveling the snow, rotating our trunk to the left. Like any repetivite activity, you need to balance your body or keep it symmetrical to prevent injury. Do one row of snow on your right leg and rotating to the left, however the next row should be done opposite. Standing with your weight on your left leg with your right leg ahead of it, shift your weight back onto your left heel, and rotate your trunk to the right. If you wanted to integrate this further, inhale thru your nose as you shift your weight back onto your left heel and then exhale thru your mouth as you shovel the snow and throw it to the right. This will be more ackward and slower than being on your right leg and rotating your body to the left, however a happier back can be the result. 6) The Athletes Prayer for Loose Calves. This video shows a better way to free calves. At first glance, it looks the same as the usual way of stretching calves. It's 100% different, as the video shows. Hint: Your toes play an important part in the stretch.
 Laawrence Gold at
7) A Men's Jounal article on Resistance Stretching. A Better Way to Stretch.
8) Warming up with joint mobility exercises. The Essential Eight - Eight Mobility Drills Everyone Should Do. Micheal Boyles

9) An interesting article on vision and sports performance: Where You Look Can Affect How You Look: Running Mechanics and Gaze Control. Don't just focus on the finish line, as you get closer, look beyond the finish line.
For runners who are performing over longer distances, I always emphasize the importance of training their gaze to track well ahead of their current position. In open areas, I would have them focus on the horizon. However, in more confined areas (i.e. track stadium, wooded trail), I would have them look as far as they could focusing on a point that sits roughly at the height of their head. Focusing your gaze on points that are in close proximity to your current position will result in greater stress and mental fatigue. Your running mechanics will also subtly suffer and you will find that you are less smooth with your running. When an athlete focuses on points in close proximity, their eye movements will tend to move quickly from one fixated location to another in numerous saccades. Vickers describes saccades as rapid eye movements that bring the point of maximal visual acuity onto the fovea so that it can be seen with clarity. When focusing or “fixating” on a point much further away, you will find that you will run more easily and freely, and feel as though you are being pulled toward that point. It is similar to the concept of not focusing too much on the finish line in a race. From a significant distance (i.e. greater than 50-100 meters), looking at the finish line may work. However, as you get closer to the finish line, it is better to focus beyond the finish line to elicit the best performance. Fixating your vision at the finish line may terminate your velocity prematurely.

10) Activating the Psoas Muscle. My physical therapist says that I am using my left TFL and not my Psoas muscle. Here is an article on a simple way to activate the psoas muscle. Mike Robertson's blog

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Beaver Brook Snowshoe Race

photo courtesy of Scott Mason
My wife says this picture reminds her of the start of a triathlon. Instead of water flying everywhere, there is snow! Or maybe instead of swimmer's caps, there are winter hats!

There is a character in the TV show "Heroes" (similar ones can be found in other comic book style movies and television series ) with the ability to stop time. In "Heroes" the world stands still and this character can go around and do things that benefit him. I was thinking that this would have been a very convenient skill to have at this years Beaver Brook 5K snowshoe race in Hollis put on by Mike at 3C Race Productions.

It was a perfect day for snowshoe racing. The light fluffy stuff was falling down and there was a fresh layer of new fallen snow everywhere. I made it to the starting line a little later than I wanted and was one of the last arrivals less than 1/2 an hour before the start. I did get to meet a bunch of my fellow snowshoe friends and see some new converts to the sport trying out their first race.

At the start of the race I somehow got positioned right on the packed down trail and ended up closer to the front than I wanted to be. With my late arrival, I wasn't able to get more than a 1/4 mile warmup in and I am nursing a sore achilles tendon. It forced me to drop out of the track workout on Tuesday night after a 1 1/2 miles of intervals and the only run I had done since then was a slow 5 miler on the treadmill on Friday. I knew that slow running wouldn't aggrevate it, but I wasn't sure what would happen while running on snowshoes and I was ready to even quit if it tightened up too much. I knew I should go out slow, but there I was in the front paceline, having to work my stride to keep up. What a blast though! Snow falling down and being kicked right back up! After the turnaround  at 180 yards, the path opened up more and I slowed a bit, or was it that faster racers went by?

From this point on until the last 1/4 mile uphill of the race, I seemed to be in a pack of five or six races racers mostly racing in a paceline. This is where the time-stopping stuff would come in handy. Snowshoe racing is tough stuff and it really gets you racing at the edge. It would be nice to just stop things for a short while and  catch your breath a bit and let the heart rate drop down. It would also be easier to make passes on the course. A couple of times I would pass a few racers, but it took a lot to make a pass as you had to move over to the unpacked snow to do so and that took  bit more effort when there wasn't enough effort in the bank to give. How much easier would it be to stop things and then get ahead of those racers who are directly in front of you? Its not like in a road race where you can just move ahead of someone easily. I guess this was the difference between last years and this years race. There were a lot more people racing this year. There was no "alone time" for me at all during this years race, well expect for the last uphill run to the finish line where most of the pack I had been running with scooted ahead of me up the trail. Overall it was an extremely fun race. I only ran 16 seconds faster than last year, but I have only managed about 100 miles of running in the past two months, so I'll take it.

I was curious about how my form would be after all the physical therapy work and  Postural Restoration exercises. I found my left stride was off again and I was often stumbling on that side of my body during the race. After about 1/2 mile into the race I remembered to tighten my left adductor and that helped smooth out my stride at times. I think the problem was that I was not able to do my exercises before the race  after shoveling out my driveway. I noticed that I was only shoveling from the strong side of my body and that was probably reinforcing the bad patterns and not working on the hip shift and using my left side to do work. If you practice bad patterns you are going to use bad patterns. In the end I was happy that the achillis got no tighter during the race than it was at the start.

Scott Mason has a great group of photos from the race here at his website. Here is a video of the race.

I ended up in 21st place out of 87 racers (results). Last year I was 8th out of 47 so the competition and number of racers are moving up. The 50 year old age group is growing too. Last year I was the second 50+ racer in the age group 23 seconds behind Scotty Graham. This year I was fifth. Jerry Fitzgibbons, running his first snowshoe race pulled out the victory. Scotty Graham went flying by me in the first 1/2 mile of the race in pursuit of Jerry, and came close but didn't quite catch him. I don't know Eddie or Rich, but they must have been running in the pack I was in until the last bit. Funny thing was everyone in the pack looked young and fit, but you can't tell with all the hats and stuff we wear. Its good to get some more strong competitors in this group.

I think I have been racing Jerry longer than anyone else I know still out there running. I first met him in a parking lot of a restaurant the night before a triathlon back in 1984 or 1985. We had dinner together and I saw him at a few more triathlons. The last time I did the Cape Cod Endurance Triathlon in 1987, I remember that Jerry was a spectator and after the race he told me that he would never do an Ironman distance triathlon. After I moved up to New Hampshire in 1988, I joined the Nashua Velo Club. We had a weekly training ride (loops through the hills of Hollis, Pepperell, and Brookline). Sure enough every once and awhile Jerry would show up. The cyclists in the club did not like seeing us triathletes show up. Those were some tough paceline workouts as they constantly tried to drop us off the back! Then Jerry would run for the Gate City Striders off and on through the years. I think he eventually competed in 10+ Ironman races around the world. Now he runs the track workouts with the Striders, first in the summer and now in the winter. It is a rare day when I can beat him in a race and he showed his strength during this race,

Here are the finishers on the 50-60 age group
11 18:50 Jeremiah Fitzgibbon 53 M  Bedford NH
14 19:00 Scott Graham  51 M  Westford MA
17 19:53 Eddie Habeck III 52 M  Williamstown VT
18 19:57 Rich Miller 58 M Barnstead NH
21 20:15 Jim Hansen 50 M  Nashua NH
27 21:32 Gregory Cullen 57 M  Westford MA
28 21:46  Don McCarty 49 M Nashua NH (not quite 50 yet! but this was his first snowshoe race and he is always a strong competitor!)
29 21:56 72 Ed Mulvey 50 M 50 Boxford MA
36 22:52 Kevin Curry 51 M  Lynn MA
38 23:10 Dan Scotina 54 MSaugus MA
41 23:29  Joe Merriam 50 M  Franklin NH
44 23:51  John Kleschinsky 51 M Andover MA
45 24:27 Billy Shea 58 M  Danvers MA
47 24:53  Bill Morse 57 M  Dracut MA
55 26:24 Diane Levesque 56 F Rochester NH (first female in the age group)
78 33:49 Kevin Curtis 50 M  Sudbury MA
83 39:25 Gloria Cullen 55 F  Westford MA (I finshed one place behind her daughter Amber)

The top ten overall
1 15:48 Jim Johnson 32 M  Salem NH
2 16:24 Tim Cox 36 M  Northwood NH
3 16:43 Robert Jackman 27 M  Warwick RI
4 17:10  Dave Dunham 45 M  Ward Hill MA
5 17:22 Steve Wolfe 45 M Merrimack NH
6 17:34  Matt Westerlund 37 M Laconia NY
7 17:40 Chris Dunn 41 MStrafford NH
8 18:12 Danny Ferreira 27 M  Concord NH
9 18:21 Sean Snow 43 M Dunbarton NH
10 18:43 Christopher Smith 43 M  Woburn MA

Top Females
20 20:06  Amber Cullen Ferreira  27 F  Concord NH
24 20:41 Ann Rasmussen 45 F Plymouth NH
32 22:23 Jessey Campbell 19 F  Northwood NH
40 23:22 Gail Gordon 38 F  Lynn MA

Friday, January 1, 2010

Top Ten of 2009

Here is my top ten list for 2009.Have a Happy (and successful) New Year.

1) Postural Restoration
I have only been to five visits to the Physical Therapist, but the exercises I am doing are working in amazing ways. I am learning how to finally get my left hip to work properly. Basically my left TFL (Tensor Fascia Lata) is constantly engaged and doing all the work (that it is not supposed to do). I am not engaging my left hip flexor at all (psoas muscle), and my left gluteus medius is extremely weak. By doing some very targeted and unusual exercises everything seems to be shifting around in my hip and left leg and it feels so much more stable already, plus I am working on my tight right side (ribs and shoulder) that are rotated to the back position. I am thrilled with the work so far and on the limited runs I have had (my achilles is sore). This therapy gives me a lot of hope for 2010 and it was so unexpected. I was just going to a physical therapist to ask a few questions and I lucked upon a therapist who uses this type of therapy. Hopefully this will be the fix I need to correct my running form and imbalances. However, proper running form may not be all that it is cracked up to be. Check out this video of  2:16 marathon win in Japan this year!

2) Feldenkrais
I have learned so much about how the body and muscles are supposed to move around the joints from this simple and relaxing type of exercise.

3) Running on the Internet
I really appreciate searching out all sorts of running information on the web, whether it be medical, race results, or just connecting with other runners. Not only that, but I have been able to watch the World Championship, marathons, and other track and cross-country races live or at a convenient time. The most exciting  race of the year was when Dathan Ritzenhien set the American 5000m record at Zurich. Dathan claims his third place medal in the world half-marathon champtionships was a better race and there were some extremely exciting track races to watch this year, but nothing beats the moment when it appears that Dathan is catching Kenenisia Bekele at the end of the race.

4) Snowshoe Racing
I had a pair of Tubbs 10k racing snowshoes for ten years but never ran a snowshoe race until this year. It was a lot of fun and I even won a race (with a very small field), but there aren't many wins at any type of race left in my legs so I'll take it!

5) Inspiration
Whether it be world class athletes achieving their dreams or beginning runners tackling a new distance for the first time, I am always inspired by the achievements of others. I have watched many of my teammates on the Gate City Striders have breakthough races this year. Nothing compares to the results of Mike and Cathy Merra. Cathy has catapulted herself into national prominance as a 50+ runner, but I think Mike's progress has been just as dramatic. Seeing as all three of us are the same age, that gives me a lot of encouragement that improvements are still doable. It does take hard work, though, as Mike and Cathy work hard on the training and diet.

6) Gate City Striders Wednesday night track workouts
I had a lousy year of running and racing, but my favorite part of running is participating in the Wednesday night track workout. I enjoy the camradarie of running with friends and pushing my body to levels that I could never do on my own. Unfortunately I was playing keep-up during most of the workouts, but some of my best running of the year was the pushing I had to do during some intervals.

7) Born to Run
Great book, if you haven't read it yet, then you are missing out on a classic book!

8) Eating Healthier
I have been learning to eat healthier, although it is harder to do in the winter months. Whether it was the Warrior Diet or a bit later in the year the Paleo Diet I have been learning to eat less "factory food" and eat more real foods. I am still playing around with the diets, but I know that certain things work better for me. Eating junk foods is not one of them (unfortunately).

9) Photo Finishes
This was one of my favorite finishes to a race of all time.

10) Muscle Medicine
I put this book to good use once I strained my achilles last week. Using the F.A.S. T. technique as decribed in the book as well as using the TPMassage Foot Baller  I have been loosening up the calf and soleus so I can do a small bit of running as I heal.