Monday, December 31, 2012

Pure Genius: Roll Recovery R8

I had another good week of running and more progress that has me ending the year on a high note and with lots of promise for 2013.

Monday: 8 miles ( I was so thrilled running my 8 mile course 2 days earlier with a time nearly 4 minutes faster than my best time since my hip surgery and in over 2 years, so what else could I do but take another 55 seconds off that time. I can't believe I am running this course in a time that I would consider a decent time back when I was fit!)
Tuesday: 0 miles
Wednesday: 8 miles (toned it done pace wise)
Thursday: 0 miles
Friday: 8 miles
Saturday: Supposed to be an off day, but did 2 1/2 miles of snowshoe running and it felt great. I had no problems with my left hip at all. During all the snowshoe running and racing in the past, that hip would give way all the time due to the instability of running on snow. I hope to do a snowshoe race in 2 weeks, but it was good to wear my Dion snowshoes for the first time in 2 years!
Sunday: 0 miles- I hoped to get 8 miles in again, but the snow shoveling and a trip to the Cape left me with no time to run.
total miles for the week: 26 1/2 miles

I have told myself that I would buy no more running or massage tools. I have corners, baskets, and closets full of all types of contraptions including  rollers, stick products, and massage balls. Pre hip surgery, I lived on foam rollers, but have only recently and slowly started using them again for sore and stiff muscles. My IT Bands, quads, and adductors are incredibly tight I am finding that as I am doing 8 mile runs again that my quads get very tight and keep me up at night. Unfortunately, foam rolling is hard and when I do it, my hips and other muscles get thrown off a bit. Enter the newest massage type device that I have been eyeing and finally broke down and ordered: the R8 Roll Recovery device and now that it has arrived, I can say that this product is pure genius.

The R8 Roll Recovery device is simple to use and boy does it feel good! It can easily hit all parts of previously hard to reach muscles like the adductors. Using a foam roller on these muscles looks weird and it is hard to maneuver. The "wheels" of the R8 Roll Recovery found so many tight spots that a roller, stick, or even a lacrosse ball could not find. Your muscles can be relaxed as you use it and it compressed them real well. It is easy to put a little pressure on the handles if you want to hit a spot a little harder or just leave it on a tight spot. All in all it is easy and "sweat free" to roll up and down your legs and even your glutes. This seems to be a well-thought out tool and its ease of use and its ability to relieve muscle tightness should make it a hit with runners and other athletes as word of mouth gets around. I think the company is going to be very busy and make a lot of people happy with this product. I am thrilled that it hits all the spots that have been bothering me post hip surgery, including all the spots where I have had to get trigger point injections. I will certainly post the effects of using this over the long term, but it seems to be the tool that I need at this very moment as things are looking up in my healing process and my running is coming along so well.

website: review

 ROLL Recovery R8 from ROLL Recovery on Vimeo.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Hood to Coast

A little over a year ago I was sent a preview copy of the Hood to Coast DVD, unfortunately it was a Blu-ray copy and I had no way to watch it. I finally got a Blu-ray player and Hi-definition television and this was one of the first movies that I wanted to see. I completely enjoyed the movie and the stories involved in the telling of this nearly 200 mile relay race held on the other coast. Every year over 12,000 runners on 1000 teams participate in this long running relay event. I have never been to Oregon or the west coast and the beauty of this area came out in the film (particularly as I enjoy my new television). I loved watching the comradery of the highlighted teams. I particularly enjoyed the enthusiasm of the older lady runner who had suffered a heart-attack during the previous years race and was dead for two minutes. She embodies the person who loves to run and race (and defy her doctor's warnings). Then there is the team of aging fast runners who are out for a good time and to prolong their running and racing. I felt attached to these two teams and the runners on them as they are like the runners I know and have run with. The other two highlighted teams tell the stories of a beginning (and undertrained) runners off to accomplish something they never though possible and a family who suffered the loss of a son, brother, husband at a young age and how they gather together with his friends to remember his spirit. I found this feature interesting as I know lots of runners are getting into the sport for similar reasons and it is interesting to get their perspective on why they do so.

I will probably never have the chance to do the Hood to Coast Relay, but I have done a 24 hour relay in college and the Lake Winnipesaukee Relay as well as the shorter Mill Cities Relay. I said, "Never again" to an all night relay after the college event, but I enjoy the racing and teammate aspect of the other two relays. Maybe, when my hip if fully healed, someone will convince me to finally do the "Reach the Beach" relay which I have so far avoided.

You can find out more about the Hood to Coast DVD here. You can also rent  Hood To Coast from Amazon. If you need some good inspiration, this might just be the movie to see.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

10 Best Running Books of 2012

This is my list of the top 10 running related books that I read this year. The links will take you to my more extensive reviews.

1) Dandelion Growing Wild by Kim Jones This was the most unexpectedly wonderful book that I read this year and it has stuck with me more-so than other books. Reading about world class marathoner Kim Jones' life and triumphs over the many adversities placed in her pathway from her childhood to her retirement from competitive running. The details read like fiction at first, but she deals with life's challenges from a humane and understanding perspective. You better get the Kindle version. A new copy of the paperback version is now selling for over $400 on Amazon! A newly edited paperback version will should be back on at Amazon next week according to Kim.

2) The Purple Runner by Paul Christman Not a new book, but a reissue of a classic running book that was hard to find, and it definitely lived up to my expectations. This is one of the best fiction books you will find about running.

3) Running with the Kenyans by Adharanand Finn I would certainly like to do what Finn did! He journeys to Kenya's Rift Valley  to live and train with the Kenyans to see if it would improve his running and to shine a light into the world of the Kenyan distance runners and their hopes and dreams.

4) Running for my Life by Lopez Lomong A wonderful story of survival with Lopez Lomong's journey from war torn Sudan, to a being a lost boy in a refuge camp in Kenya, to journeying to the United States where he becomes a high school runner and eventually a two-time Olympian for the USA. What a life!

5) 14 Minutes by Alberto Salazar The great American marathoner, Alberto Salazar, and his 14 minute brush with death to a heart attack. The book details the career of this great American runner and coach.

6) The Secret Race by Tyler Hamilton This book is not really about running, but it makes you wonder if the same drug culture is/was as prevalent in running. This book was certainly one of the final nails in Lance Armstrong's coffin. If you want an honest look at how the cycling superstars kept their pedals in the game and their feet on the top of the winner's podium, then you should read this book.

7) Move Without Pain by Martha Peterson This is the only "exercise" book on my list although I have checked into many others. I use this as a go to book when I want to do Somatic movement exercises. It is a well thought out and presented book and the movements work!

8) Because I Can by Janet Oberholtzer Never give up! Janet is nearly killed in an horrific automobile accident and is told she may never walk again. Janet details the recovery process and the changes it made on her body and in her soul. Yes, Janet returns to running. This is an inspiring read!

9) I'm Here To Win: A World Champion's Advice for Peak Performance by Chris McCormack I didn't review this book, but Chris tells the story of how he became one of the greatest triathletes in the world and his eventual wins in the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon. Chris details the mental aspects of the game. He had to think like Mohammed Ali and plan out his triumphant race strategy in advance and get other triathletes in on his plan even when though they did not realize this.. Here is Chris McCormack on his 2010 Ironman Championship win.

10 A Life Without Limits: A World Champion's Journey by Chrissie Wellington I did not review this book on probably one of the greatest female triathletes of all time. Chrissie wrote more of a "gee-whiz look what I just did" account of her triathlon successes. I liked the thinking, training, and facing bits in Chris's book better as she does not go into the nitty gritty of what it takes to be a sports superstar. However, you do get a glimpse into her "well-lived" life and her many interests and accomplishments outside of triathlon racing. Here is Chrissie winning her fourth and final Hawaii Ironman World Championship, including her Blazeman roll. She said she has retired from triathlon just last month.

Some of the other running related  books I have read this year:

Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health by William Davis. I read half of this and was convinced to try going gluten-free. It seems to be working quite well for me one month later. The book was heavy on the science and you can find most of the gluten-free  information you would want online. The bread of today is not the bread that people ate for ages!

Anatomy for Runners: Unlocking Your Athletic Potential for Health, Speed, and Injury Prevention by Jay Dichary I think this is one of the best and most up to date books I have read on injuries and injury prevention. You can learn to be your own physical therapist!

Tread Lightly: Form, Footwear, and the Quest for Injury-Free Running By Bill Katovsky and Peter Larson of the highly regarded Runblogger blog.

Natural Running: The Simple Path to Stronger, Healthier Running by Danny Abshire and Brian Metzler Another book on how to run post "Born to Run" I was told that this post would be sent to Danny Abshire, but I never got a response. I got my questions and feet problems answered through Muscle Activation Technique (M.A.T.) and no longer wear orthotics and my feet and big toe are landing on the ground much better now!

Movement by Gray Cook It was much cheaper to buy the Kindle edition. It is not worth reading on a Kindle. I haven't read much of it, due to that fact. I would want to browse and leaf through this book to find what I want, not push Kindle buttons.

Corrective Exercise Solutions to Common Shoulder and Hip Dysfunction by Evan Osar Here is another book that I should have bought a hard copy version of instead of the much cheaper Kindle version. It is not easy to find what you want on a Kindle.

Marathon Crasher: The Life and Times of Merry Lepper, the First American Woman to Run a Marathon by David Davis This is a short 48 page book on a little known American woman and her achievement that has widely been overlooked.

Happy running and reading to everyone in 2013! I will gladly take recommendations of other books to read, as I am always looking for a good book!

Here are two books I am looking forward to reading in 2013.

Kings of the Road: How Frank Shorter, Bill Rodgers, and Alberto Salazar Made Running Go Boom by Cameron Stracher. I know that this book has been in the works for a couple of years and that the Falmouth Road Race plays an important part in it! Due out in April.

For fans of The Perfect Mile and Born to Run, a riveting, three-pronged narrative about the golden era of running in America—the 1970s—as seen through running greats, Frank Shorter, Bill Rodgers, and Alberto Salazar

In 1972 American distance runner Frank Shorter won Olympic gold in the marathon, a history-making accomplishment that launched a seminal decade in the sport.
Kings of the Road tells the story of running during that golden period from 1972 to 1981 when Shorter, then Bill Rodgers, and then Alberto Salazar captured the imagination of a disillusioned American public, as they passed their figurative baton from one to another. These three menwere American running during those years, and though all three toed the line together only a few times—at the legendary Falmouth Road Race—they gave their sport real conflict and drama for the first time. Each man built on what the other achieved, and their successes, in turn, fueled a nation of couch potatoes to put down the remote and lace up their sneakers.
As America now experiences a similar running boom, Kings of the Road delivers a stirring narrative of three men pushing themselves toward greatness and taking their country along for the ride.

Marathon Man: My 26.2-Mile Journey from Unknown Grad Student to the Top of the Running World by Bill Rodgers and Matthew Shepatin This one is also due out in April. Bill Rodgers will be signing lots of books at the Boston Marathon this year. I have his first biography from 1982  and it will be fun to read a new one!

The legendary long-distance runner details his historic victory in the 1975 Boston Marathon that launched the modern running boom
Within a span of two hours and nine minutes, Bill Rodgers went from obscurity to legend, from Bill Rodgers to "Boston Billy." In doing so, he instantly became the people’s champ and the poster boy for the soulful 1970s distance runner. Having won the Boston Marathon and New York Marathon four times each, he remains the only marathoner to have appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated twice. Winning the Holy Grail of marathons in an unthinkable record time changed Bill’s life forever.
But his dramatic breakthrough in Boston also changed the lives of countless others, instilling in other American runners the belief that they could follow in his footsteps, and inspiring thousands of regular people to lace up their shoes and chase down their own dreams. In the year before Rodger’s victory at the 1975 Boston Marathon, 20,000 people had completed a marathon in the United States. By 2009, participants reached nearly half a million.
Thirty-seven years later Bill Rodgers still possesses the same warm, endearing, and whimsical spirit that turned him into one of America's most beloved athletes. In Marathon Man he details for the first time this historic race and the events that led him there.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Back to Falmouth

All of a sudden, things are starting to go real well in the running department. The Muscle Activation Technique (M.A.T.) therapy I had been doing is continuing to strengthen and realign my body even though I have had no appointments for a few weeks now. This is really good. Every other type of therapy I have tried in the past had a shelf life of a few days before things started to fall apart. I am finding now that each day I feel bit better as my muscles continue to adjust and absorb the new ability to work together. I also started going gluten-free the day after Thanksgiving and this has been a huge lift for me. I am no longer tired all the time. I am eating better and less. I wanted to try this to see if it would reduce the inflammation in my hip and something is making my hip feel better. The pinching feeling is going away and my runs are getting better, plus I feel all around healthier and more energetic!

Previous week:
Monday: 3 miles treadmill
Tuesday: 5 miles
Wednesday: 3 miles treadmill
Thursday: 0  miles
Friday: 0 miles
Saturday: 7 miles Falmouth Road Race course
Sunday: 0 miles
total: 18 miles

This week:
Monday: 0 miles
Tuesday: 4 miles treadmill
Wednesday 3 miles treadmill
Thursday: 0 miles
Friday: 4 miles treadmill
Saturday: 8 miles
Sunday: 0 miles
total: 19 miles

The last time I ran Falmouth was in 2010.
It was the final month of running
 before my hip gave out.

I am keeping the mileage low so as to not overdue things and am not running if things feel tight or my hip feels off. Last Saturday I went down to the Cape to visit my parents and to run the Falmouth Road Race course for the first time since racing it in 2010. It was only my second run over 5 miles since September, but I was real pumped up to run the whole course. My dad dropped me off in Woods Hole and off I went. I felt pretty good, but I was wondering if the hip would start hurting or if I would run out of energy by the end and crawl it in. Neither happened. This is my home course and I just enjoyed stretching out my legs. The hills in the first three miles seemed bigger than I imagined them, but I was OK and holding back. I half expected to hit some rough patches, but they never came. I thoroughly enjoyed running the course with so many good memories of it going through my head. When I hit the harbor after the five mile mark, I took out a phone to call my dad to get him to pick me up at the finish line. I was running as I was fumbling with the phone and had to hit the numbers three times before getting it right. I had slowed for about 1/2 mile to do the call and when I was done I was by the A&P. Now I could smell the finish line and I could even run a bit faster. I hit the 6 mile mark and increased the pace again. I was feeling stronger as I ran which was so encouraging. By the time I hit the head of the harbor for the last corner up Heights Hill I started really pressing the pace (compared to how I have been running since my surgery). I floated right up the Hill and even sprinted the downhill to the finish (I have yet to sprint or let my legs go on any downhill post surgery, but why not?). I hit the finish in 58:18. While that time is not remarkable in any way (11:06 slower than I last raced it in 2010) and just at what was once a usual training run pace, it was my best (by far) post hip surgery run. Of course, as soon as I stopped, my hip tightened up and I had a bit of a limp through the next day. The run was the first time in a long time that I felt like a runner again, not just a gimpy jogger. It was my "I am coming back" run and I couldn't have done it on a better course! I was on a runner's high for days after that run. It just felt so good! Now if I lose 30 pounds and the 2 seconds a mile that each pound reputedly slows your time by, I am just about capable of running under 50 minutes on the Falmouth Road Race course and that is with the very limited training I have been doing. I think I can lose more than 30 pounds and if things keep going this well, I can go a lot faster with 1/2 year of training till the summer.

This week I did an 8 miler on my regular 8 mile course. Again, my stride felt long and loose and when I looked at my watch at the second corner of the course, I saw 9:40. To me pre-surgery, when I am under 10 minutes at this point I know I am having a good day. I couldn't believe that I was under 10 minutes so effortlessly and so I just kept up the pace. I kept an even pace and again, my stride did not falter and had a fluid energy. When I finished, with a big sprint up my road (I can do that again!) I was almost 4 minutes faster than my best time since the surgery and about 8 minutes faster than what I was typically doing in the summer. In fact my time was right at the point where even pre-surgery, I would be happy with the time. All of a sudden, I can do my old training pace again. I am thrilled, but being cautious. I am not going to start running as much as I can. I still have a lot of healing to do and I don't want to mess things up. The best news about the 8 miler is that even after running a faster pace per mile than the previous week, I had no limping after the run at all. It is just a very good feeling to know that I might finally be getting back to running without pain. My running muscles certainly were tight last night, but that is an unusual feeling to me. Usually, it is my hip or back that is sore, now it is just the muscles, equally tired on each side. That is a good feeling.

The other thing I have changed over the past two weeks is that I started wearing compression shorts when running. If this can add strength and stability to my muscles it was worth a shot. I don't know if it is the shorts or everything else in combination with the shorts, but I am running with a much longer and balanced stride. If it helps me feel closer to 100%, even by a few percentage points, it is worth it. I got a pair of the CW-X Men's Pro Shorts.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

You can now watch Bekele's World Record 5000 meters race

This has not been online before, but the Fanny Blankers-Koen Hengelo Games has now made this  video of the world record race run in 2004 available online. Thank-you very much! Bekele's record was set on May 31, 2004. He ran 12:37:35.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Transcend- The World's Greatest Marathoners- Trailer

There is a new feature length running documentary coming late summer 2013 called "Transcend" Here is the newly released trailer for this movie. This trailer features the greatest runners in the world, Olympic Gold Medalists and world record holders, Haile Gebrselassie (2xGold), Kenenisa Bekele (3xGold), Tirunesh Dibaba (3xGold), Tiki Gelana (1xGold) and 2012 Boston Marathon Champion Wesley Korir.


Here is the synopsis of the film:
THIS FILM will bring the audience into the world of distance running. Long distance running is the most defining characteristic of the human race. Our ability to run at moderate speeds for long distances is a uniquely human characteristic. As runners of all levels enter into prolonged periods of breathing and pacing they often experience something commonly known as a “runner’s high”. Scientifically explained as the activation of endorphins, there is something to this experience, which lends itself to also having a spiritual explanation. These long periods of running bring about a calm and peaceful mentality and perspective, characteristically similar to spiritual practices like meditation and prayer. Many of the greatest endurance runners in the world find their identity in a particular faith. Belonging to something bigger than themselves, their faith gives them greater perspective and enables them to better deal with doubt and defeat. From the elite runners in Eastern Africa to the running clubs that dot the North American landscape, there is a sense that we are doing so much more than putting one foot in front of the other.
Here is the blog for the film.
Here it the website for the film.
It looks like it will be well made and be very interesting.

Here is a previous teaser trailer for the film. I just love the video of the great runners training in Ethiopia and Kenya.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Amazing Video of the 1948 London Olympic Marathon

Three Olympics have been held in London. Each one had a marathon race. In fact, the 26.2 mile marathon standard distance was set at the 1908 London Games. Everyone knows about the famous 1908 London Olympic Marathon where Dorando Pietri staggered to the finish line and due to being aided near the finish was disqualified from winning the race. We were just treated to two more fantastic London Olympic Marathon races this summer (men's race highlights and female race highlights), but how many remember what happened in the 1948 London Olympic Marathon?

Here is a recently uploaded video of the 1948 Olympic race. It surely is something I have never seen before and the color video is simply fantastic. Just like in the 1908 Olympics, the lead runner stumbled upon entering the stadium. Etienne Gailly of Belgium, was on the verge of collapse, just like Pietri had been 40 years earlier. He was quickly passed by two runners, but no one intervened, and he was able to stumble on to the finish line to earn the bronze medal. This historic video is certainly a gem worth watching, and one can't help but compare the running strides of these runner 64 years ago with the strides of today's elite marathoners.

Here is what is published on youtube about this race:
The course of the marathon race for the London 1948 Olympic Games took a different approach to the one chosen for the London 1908 Olympics. While in 1908 the race went from the royal residence at Windsor Castle until the Olympic stadium in White City, this time, the race began and ended at Wembley stadium. Still, despite the changes, the excitement remained the same as seen during London's first Olympic experience.
Out of the forty-one racers who started the race, Etienne Gailly of Belgium was the first one to enter the stadium for the final lap. However -- as had happened in the 1908 Olympics with Dorando Pietri -- Gailly arrived visibly exhausted and near to collapse. Having learnt from Dorando's story 40 years earlier, no one intervened to avoid the Belgian runner's disqualification.
As soon as he reached the stadium, Argentinean athlete Delfo Cabrera - who had been following Gailly closely - took the lead of the marathon. Tom Richards from Great Britain was next to enter the stadium, overtake Etienne Gailly and attempt to challenge the leader, yet Cabrera remained strong to take gold. With the encouragement of the crowds, Gailly made it through the finish line in third, taking Olympic bronze in a superb effort.

Here is an article about a 87 year old American, Ted Vogel, who now lives in New Hampshire giving his recollections of running in the 1948 Olympic Marathon. Ted finished in 14th place. The great Johnny Kelley finished in 21st place (finishing times here).

Here is another short black and white video of the 1948 Olympic marathon.

Here you can find a video of the 1972 Olympic Marathon.
Here you can find a great video of the 1976 Olympic Marathon.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

1976 Olympic Marathon Documentary: A Video Gem

Here is a fantastic video showing the 1976 Olympic Marathon. The last time I saw footage of this race was 36 years ago during the Montreal Olympics, so it is just a wonderful treat to see this video: 26 Times in a Row recently posted on youtube (the video cannot be embedded so you will have to go to the youtube link). This is the race where Frank Shorter won the silver medal while trying to repeat as the champion. Waldermar Cierpinski was the surprise gold medalist as he would be again four years later. American Don Kardong just missed the bronze to Karel Lismont and you can see how frustratingly close was the finish. It is great to see such high quality video of some the of the great running stars of the day: an injured Bill Rodgers making a fight of it, fifth place finisher Lasse Viren trying his first marathon days after winning repeat gold medals in the 5000 and 10000 meter races. There is Canadian favorite Jerome Drayton and 44 year old Jack Foster of New Zealand. Here are the results of the 1976 Marathon. Years later, there is much suspicion that Cierpinski was part of the East German drug program, but his Olympic victories were never taken away.
Things changed in 1998, when a German scientist, Dr. Werner Franke, managed to get into the archives of Stasi, East Germany's secret police force. By the time the GDR collapsed, Stasi's spooks had managed to destroy most of its incriminating paperwork, but not a file on State Plan 14:25, which Dr. Franke uncovered at the Stasi headquarters in Leipzig. State Plan 14:25 contained details of East Germany's drug program for its Olympic athletes. The file implicated many gold medalists, five of them winners in track and field in Montreal. Cierpinski's name was at the top of Page 105. He was No. 62.
This is an amazing video to watch: whether you last saw the race years ago or if you have never seen footage of this Olympic Marathon. This is 24 minutes of your time well spent! It is also fun to see things like bicycles on the course and wide range of course vehicles intermingling with the lead runners. I had completely forgotten that one runner even ran an extra lap! If you haven't seen the 1972 Olympic Marathon make sure you watch that race here.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I'll beat you some day!

This is a Christmas tree ornament one of my students made for me a few years ago. I had promised that if anyone in my class could beat my in the Santa Fund 5K that year, that I would not require them to do homework for the rest of the year. There were many hopefuls that year, but no one came anywhere close. One disappointed girl made this ornament to solidify her goals for some future day! I love it! For some reason, after nearly 30 years of teaching, I have never had a student or former student beat me in a race. That could change real soon. I had two of my fifth grade girls this year qualify for the Junior Olympic National Cross-Country Championship race last week in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Only one chose to go to the race, but with talent like that in my classroom, my unbeaten streak could end very soon, if I don't start getting my running going.

Here is my mileage for the past two weeks:
previous week:
Sunday: 0 miles
Monday: 4 miles
Tuesday:0 miles
Wednesday: 2 miles
Thursday: 2 miles
Friday:  2 miles
Saturday: 2miles
total 12 miles

Last week:
Monday: 5 miles (first time over 4 miles since early September)
Tuesday: 0 miles-trigger point injections
Wednesday: 5 miles
Thursday: 5 miles
Friday: 0 miles
Saturday: 0 miles
Sunday: 8 miles
total miles 23 miles- all in all a good with with my 4 longest runs since September

Last week I had an appointment with the physiatrist that I haven't seen since early Spring last year. My hip should not be this tight after surgery a year and one-half ago and I would like some ideas about what to do. Monday I ran 5 miles so I could tell the physiatrist where I was feeling the most problems in my hip. She thought the pinching was more from tight muscles and ligaments and did not think an MRI would show anything. She said that I should see the surgeon again to see if it is something in the hip joint or get another cortisone shot. He works inside the joint and she works outside the joint. She said my many of the muscles on the left side were really tight and offered more trigger-point injections. I had 4-6 sessions of these last year and they seemed to only help temporarily. I had already paid the copay and she offered to do them that day, so I got 8 or so shots. My left IT band got the most shots, as well as my quads and the adductors down by the knee. I also got a shot or two in my glutes near the outside of the hip. I iced up afterwards and drove home. The next day I felt good and did 5 miles and did the same the day after. I started feeling off on the last mile of that run and continued feeling off the rest of the week. Muscles were shifting again: loosening up and changing my alignment and my knee was even a bit sore and gimpy one day. By Sunday, I still wasn't feeling aligned, but threw caution to the wind and went for an 8 miler more for my mental sanity. The pinching in my adductors hasn't been as bad the last week and that could be from my exercising that area more or from the shots. I have started doing some light foam rolling to loosen things up, too. I survived the 8 miles, but like after the 5 milers, I am physically exhausted. I am not sure if it is tiredness from getting old and being out of shape, from my diet, or from my body just being exhausted from running with a new form and my muscles, tendons, and nervous system just being overworked in new ways.

The physiatrist may be right about tight muscles around the hip joint. They are just really slow to loosen since the surgery and for some reason stay chronically tight (maybe to protect things). They could then be pressing around the hip joint when I run and giving me that pinching feeling. So I am hoping I can slowly unravel the tightness. I have also started doing Coach Jay Johnson's Myrtl routine (Myrtle for the hip girdle) to try to get some more range of motion and strength into the muscles around the hip. When I run, I do feel good. There were points on the 5 and 8 milers where I was just gliding along in a pretty good balance and just enjoying the freedom of running again. It is when I stop that I feel horribly tired and things start to tighten up. Post 8 miles literally feels like a post 25 mile run. I have to lie down and rest and my muscles are just tight throughout the night. I am making progress. It is just slow. The Muscle Activation Technique (MAT) therapy has really helped the mechanics of my feet and ankles which helps everything else further up stream. I can feel most of my imbalance now in the back. We started working on my back, but I stopped a couple of weeks ago because of my hip. Maybe after Christmas, I can finish the work on my back.

After Thanksgiving, I also started eating a gluten-free diet. I started reading Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health about how the wheat we have been eating in the last 50 years is completely different than the wheat that people ate for centuries due to cross-breeding and hybridization of the wheat. The book gets into all the science of wheat, so I only made it halfway through, but I am convinced enough to try to get wheat out of my diet and to see what effects that can have. I am basically eating a low carb, gluten free diet similar to Tim Ferris' slow carb diet. At least it has gotten my motivated to eat healthier and to reduce the cravings for wheat and its byproducts. I am also seeing if getting off the wheat can help my feel less tired all the time.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

My Top Five Favorite Running Shoes of All Time

This list of my top five running shoes of all time is solely based on my personal experience of almost 40 years of running and being a running shoe freak (my wife often calls me "Imelda"), but after seeing an article on the Sneaker Report: The 100 Best Running Sneakers of All Time I was left scratching my head at some of the choices on the list, so I decided to put together my own list for you to scratch your head over. The criteria I set for the list is that I had to have bought more than one pair of the shoes in my life (I broke that with my first choice-but, hey, it is my list), that I had some original pictures of the shoe to share, and most importantly that the shoe left such an impression on me that I can still "feel" what it is like to wear the shoes in my mind years or decades later.

Tiger Marathons 
#1) The Tiger Marathon: I think I have to agree with Sam Winebaum and his own response list Top Running Shoes of All Time that the Tiger Marathon should be in the number one spot on my list. I have never met Sam, that I recall, even though we both live in New Hampshire, but we both started running about 40 years ago and that meant that we fondly recall our first running shoes and well this was one of the few ones out there, so I am very fond of my memories of this shoe.

Adidas Gazelle
When I started running in 1973 back in 9th grade I had a pair of "plastic" K-Mart cheap imitation running shoes. Our team could order a pair of running shoes from a guy in a van and I along with many on the team ordered a pair of Adidas Gazelles for $13 each. I never could imagine so much comfort on my feet when I got those shoes. They were beyond incredible, however they would barely be called running shoes today. I bought some remakes a few years ago, but they did not cuddle my feet as much as I remember those first Adidas shoes did. I wore them until holes allowed my toes to poke through the bottoms and still wore them some more. They were like a pair of well worn jeans, but I only mention them fondly because of their comfort, not because of memories of running in them.

A short while after buying the Gazelles, I bought the Tiger Marathons at a sports store for about $18-$19. They were thin and light and had a nylon upper. I didn't feel the cushioned happiness that I got from the Gazelles, but I felt in contact with the ground when I ran. The rubber on the bottom was long wearing and they were another pair of shoes that I wore long past the days where they still looked respectable on your feet. I remember I even duct taped them together at times to get more use out of them. These were minimalistic shoes in the best sense of the word and are why probably to this day I enjoy light thin minimalistic shoes. Sure they often slapped the ground, particularly after the front sole of one pair started coming unglued so that the front of the shoe opened like a mouth as I ran, but they were a memorable shoe and the shoe that let me first "think" that I was a real runner. The Tiger Marathons are not to be confused with the Tiger Pinto whose upper looked the same, but the sole seemed even thinner. I never had a pair of Pintos or the Nike equivalents of either shoe, but my teammates did.

The Tiger Marathons were still good enough to climb Mt. Cadilac in Maine that summer.
...and to wear the next year  along with tube socks.

#2) The Nike LDV:  Most people will agree that the Nike LDV is probably not the greatest shoe that Nike has ever produced, but it is one that I wore that I bought quite a few times when I was running in college. It was comfortable, had more cushioning and a taller and "wider" heel than other shoes at the time They also seemed to be more "technologically" advanced as Nike was getting their "foot" in the door and a name for producing running shoes that were "different". We pretty much "were convinced  by Nike that they had to be right with all the technology they started putting into shoes-even if the science was dubious! They even had a pair of running shoes with a wider flair at the heel.  I already had been wearing the Waffle Trainer which was similar to the Tiger Marathon in the upper, but had that famous "waffle" sole instead of the flat rippled sole of the Marathons. The Waffle Trainer was more cushioned and a bit more unstable than the Tiger Marathons and every time I got a new pair they always seemed to rub and blister me on the top of my foot. I bought a remake of this shoe over 10 years ago and did some running in them and got the same blister. The LDVs seemed to work for me while running and they were great shoes for kicking around in too! I bought some Nike remakes of this shoe a while back and the reissues felt nothing like the original.

1979 Wheaton College Cross-Country team at a pre-season camp in Wisconsin. What a great team of guys!
I am sporting a Bill Rodgers Running Center shirt and some LDVs.
Can you pick out the multiple  National Champion
and  future 13:22 5000 meter runner in this picture?
1979 my LDVs  at the ancient starting line in Corinth Greece.
 The apostle Paul wrote this to the people who probably saw these blocks daily
in their city 2 thousand years ago,
"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run,
 but only one gets the prize?
 Run in such a way as to get the prize." 1 Corinthians 9:24
1979 Edinburgh, Scotland sporting a pair of  worn-out Nike LDVs.
 I traveled all over Israel and Europe one summer rotating two pairs of these shoes.
One of my many pairs of Puma H Streets

My H-Streets at the 2008 Applefest half-marathon.
#3) The Puma H-Street: Technically the Puma H-Street was a fashion shoe, not a running shoe. It was designed to have an upper similar to a spiked shoe with a very thin soft sole on the bottom. I bought a bunch of these shoes in the mid 2000s, as I enjoyed the minimalistic feel to them. I know the POSE runners and others were getting into them too  at the time, but Born to Run had not happened yet, so the typical runner would just laugh at my shoe choice (many friends did!), but I really liked them. They gave me a feel of the road similar to running in the Tiger Marathons decades earlier. The colors on these shoes were crazy and finding them meant searching eBay. I liked them so much, I even wore them to school teaching, which many of my colleagues found peculiar. I never raced more than a half-marathon in them, but raced in them often as well as doing about 1/3 of my training in them for years.They were great on the track! They never wore out. The tops would just fall apart. I still have a few pairs (some very new) hanging around in one of my piles or boxes of shoes.

The Asics Tiger-Paw
The Tiger X Caliber from 1980.
Not to be confused with the X-Caliber GT
#4) The Asics Tiger-Paw: I was so happy wearing this shoe. It was a racing shoe that could be worn as a daily training shoe and that is what I did. There were a few versions of this shoe before Asics discontinued making them. I think I bought up about 5 pair when I realized they were no longer being made and was sad when I could no longer run in any of them due to how worn out they got. I wished I could have bought more. They were the last shoe I truly felt comfortable in all the time. They were light and airy to wear and had no added doo-dads to alter what my feet wanted to do. The uppers just held the sole onto your foot so that you could run without thinking or worrying about anything foot related, yet they still kept their form. It was like running in a slipper when these shoes were on my feet. The Asics Hyper-Speed was a replacement shoe, but they were softer and Asics put holes in the bottom which is not a pleasant thing on rainy or snowy runs. I still have a pair of the old Tiger-Paws that I use in my snowshoes when snowshoe racing. The Tiger-Paws reminded me of a favorite pair of shoes I bought in the summer of 1980 in the Chicago area (from Dick Pond). They were called Tiger X Calibers, but they were not the Tiger X-Caliber GT's that gained great popularity a year later. They were something earlier. They were extremely light and felt like a slipper at a time when shoes were starting to get clunky. Running in them was a revelation to my feet, but I could never find a pair to buy after that anywhere else. I am not sure that they got much distribution.

There are the Tiger X Calibers post college X-C race in 1980.
The design is pretty similar to the Tiger-Paws
that came out over 20 years later.
Tiger-Paws at the Newburyport 10 miler early-mid 2000s.
5) The Nike Air Sock Trainer: In the 1980s I was big into Triathlons. The Air Sock Trainer was a shoe I didn't have to tie when in the transition area or at any other time. I also liked the feel of this shoe when I ran. I thought the mesh over the toes was a little tight and my toes would eventually break through and rip the stretchable upper, and that was my only complaint with this shoe. I wore them in training and in races including Ironman distance triathlons. I think I bought three pair of these shoes in all, but my final and last pair ended up stolen and lost while I was doing some swim training across a secluded lake by myself. I had  parked my car and stashed my towel, keys, and these shoes under a tree. I recall as I swam back and forth across the lake a couple of times seeing some teenagers hanging around, but thought nothing of it. I was practicing using my new wet-suit which was blue,pink, and yellow. Black wetsuits were not the norm in those days. When I got out of the water, I noticed all my gear was gone and I could not find any trace of them at all. I was stuck on this beach by myself and I was locked out of my car. I had to get some help to call the police and a  tow-truck and I had a strange decision to make. Do I go and find a house and knock on doors with my wet-suit on, looking like I was dressed as a silly superhero or do I take off the wetsuit and go door to door in my Speedo? Talk about feeling uncomfortable with either choice! I compromised and chose the half-wetsuit look (top down) and finally got to a phone and a received a tow home. I was ticked that I had to pay for that tow home and that I never recovered my fairly new pair of Nike Sock Trainers! I may have been bold enough to buy day-glo colored wetsuits, but I never got the courage to buy the bumble-bee colored Nike Sock Racers!

They don't make colorful wetsuits like this anymore!
Finishing the swim at the 1987 Cape Cod Endurance Triathlon
just a few weeks after getting locked out of my car.
Hovering over the finish line at the 1986 Cape Cod Endurance Triathlon
in my Nike Sock Trainers after traveling 140.6 miles wearing a Speedo! 
Well, those are my top 5 favorite shoes for now! I didn't really cover my 5 favorite racing shoes. Maybe I will do that some other day! I also have another shoe that some day may make this list, if I ever get healthy enough to put some good mileage in them. The Hoka One One "maximallistic" shoes have been my go to shoe for over a year now post hip surgery and even though one pair I own is slightly too small and the other pair is slightly too large, I have some warm and tender feelings already for how these shoes feel on my feet as I run. I would love to do a marathon or go further in them.

My Hoka One One Bondi B's with a pair of my Puma H Streets:
 two of the most dissimilar running shoes you can find,
 but I like the feel of both on my feet!

As you can tell I am very passionate about running and running shoes. One criteria I had for choosing my favorite shoes had to do with how they felt on my feet. I would like to also write about something else I am passionate about and for a people that I have a lot of compassion for and that is the children and adults from the Mathare Valley in Nairobi, Kenya. Bunched together in a tiny tin-shacked shanties live close to one million people in one of the worst slums on planet earth. I had the pleasure last year of visiting and teaching in some of the schools in the Mathare Valley. The streets of Mathare are open sewers  filled with trash and most children do not have a pair of shoes to call their own as they walk around in the fifth. 

Tin-shack shanties in the slums of the Mathare Valley.

Shoes on the feet of Kenyan students in the Mathare Valley.

I walked this path many times in Kenya. I couldn't imagine doing it barefoot!

Some of the boys I met at the Joska School in Kenya.
Three local girls are raising money to buy a pair of shoes for each of the over 1000 students from the Mathare Valley who attend the Joska School, a boarding school of mostly tin buildings 1/2 hour away from the slums where the children would otherwise live. Please watch the video that they made and if you happened to save some money on your last shoe purchase and would like to contribute a bit of money to this cause that would be greatly appreciated. They are trying to raise donations of around $30,000 so that every child at the Joska School will have a new pair of shoes on their feet. I can only imagine how wonderful a new pair of shoes would feel on the feet of these children who have so little. It costs about $20 to buy a new pair of shoes and a pair of socks for one child. That is about the price I paid for my first pair of Tiger Marathons back in 1973 and I know how much pleasure those shoes gave me many years ago. What a simple gift to give to a needy  Kenyan child.