Tuesday, April 30, 2013

One Glorious Day

April was a cruel month of running. It all fell apart again. I got two things fixed, but added a new problem.  I first realized that my left foot was rotated out to the side and throwing my whole stride off again. My exercises weren't fixing it, so  I went to get some M.A.T. (Muscle Activation Technique) work done on my foot and lower leg. That helped my leg get back as straight as it ever will (it never will be straight as the tibia is rotated).  That was two weeks ago.

Last week, I found a new chiropractor/therapist office in Woburn, Ma. that does a lot of cutting edge techniques and my insurance pays for it, so I went there on Wednesday. The therapist did a mix of techniques from some M.A.T. work to some Muscle Energy work to rotate my left hip back. She also did some karate chops to my heels and arches. I don't know what that was! I felt really good and perfectly balanced after the appointment. That night was my first track workout with the Gate City Striders in almost three years. Strangely enough, I think I miss running track workouts the most in the since my hip surgery and I was so excited to get out there and run. I had waited long enough.

I ran a two mile warm up with a friend and felt completely "normal" for a change. The workout was 6 X 800 meters and it was a beautiful evening for running. I wasn't sure which group to run with, but hoped I could keep up with the third group. I felt absolutely fantastic throughout the workout. I ran the 800 meters between 3:10 and 3:20 with the faster ones at the the end of the workout. I hung around in about fifth for the first three, but I finished 2nd in the final three behind some young kid. I ran hard, but not too hard. I felt that "inner pain" of pushing that I was missing, but was backing off enough, not to lose form. In other words, it was a great track workout for the shape I am in.

I felt like I was at about 95% balance and efficiency and I haven't been at that point since I don't know when. I had done 4 X 400 on my own on Sunday and I was off balance and my left leg was not working as well as my right. This workout was such an improvement after the morning therapy.

I even felt my hips in balance and my left leg rotate internally which allowed my big toe to get on the ground and there was a strength and fluidity in my stride that I have missed for years. That was as close to perfect running as I could be, so I was thinking that the morning appointment had worked out perfectly and I was back on the road to running.

There was only one glitch. After the fourth interval, I felt a tiny "electric" like twinge in my left glute medius or pirformis. My walk turned into a hobble for about 20 seconds; enough for someone to ask if I was OK. I walked it off, started gingerly on next interval and loosened right up after a short bit. Of course, my glute felt a bit shot after standing around after the workout, but I was so very pleased after a rough month of running.

The next day, I felt good and went for an afternoon run, but shut it down after 20 feet. The glute tightened right up. The next day, I hobbled through a 3 mile run, then tried a new pair of shoes the following day and made 3 again, but it was tightening up again on the run.

I took Sunday off and feeling good again, went to run 7 miles on Monday. Nope, the glute shut things down and I had to walk 3 miles home. Lucky it was a nice day. On the walk, I started remembering the feeling in my glute and stride and I believe the trigger point(s) in my glute have returned. The electric spasm I had on the track was exactly where my worst trigger point had been before.

Now I have to wait until Friday to get a trigger point injection. The last time I had one was in November and right after it I was at the point where I started building and enjoying my running again. Thursday, I see the new therapist for a second appointment, so it will be interesting to see what she thinks. hopefully I can run by the weekend.

Despite that one gloriously perfect day of running, this was a horrible month otherwise. Here are the miles.

April 1 - 7 (16 miles total)
April 8-14 (6 miles total)
April 15 - 21 (19 miles total)
April 22 - 27 (11 miles total)

Total miles January 97 miles
Total miles February 194 miles
Total miles March 139 miles
Total miles April 52 miles

498 miles for 2013

Friday, April 26, 2013

Cure Tight Hips Forever: Simple Hip Movements and Muscle Activating Techniques

Cure Tight Hips Forever: Simple Hip Movements; Muscle Activating Exercises (Simple Strength) is a new (and cheaper ebook) by Sean Schniederjan that has some really good and helpful hip exercises. I bought his first ebook The Ultimate Hip Knee, and Ankle Guide for One-Legged Squats back in February and immediately took a liking to many of the exercises. Some of the exercises seemed to be works in progress (which is a good thing-learning new tweaks and stuff) and Sean provided updated video links to help with the exercises. You can also learn to move like Shakira (even if live me you don't know how Shakira moves)

This week, his new ebook came out (this one on Amazon). I asked Sean before purchasing the book if it was any different than his first book and he said it is 40-50% new material. I noticed that some exercises where missing and there were some new ones. I guess the first ebook is geared toward fixing the hips in order to do strength moves like squatting and in particular a pistol (one-legged squat). 
The new ebook is more geared towards just working the hips so they can be more open, balanced, and free. I have gone through the exercises a few times and they are easier as the target is just the hips. I am not sure the exercise have been the ultimate cure-all for me at this point, but they have greatly helped things along. I have also heard from a few readers of my blog who have found Sean's exercises very helpful to them also which is great feedback.

 The last month of running has been really rough for me as my hips moved way out of position. I did try a new therapist this week who uses a variety of cutting edge techniques (another day's post) and just one session put a lot of things back in position (mainly pulling my left hip back to be even with my right hip). I noticed how some of the techniques she used were similar to techniques in these books, but on a more gentle scale and even with less movement. She used some Muscle Activation Techniques and Muscle Energy Techniques and I don't know what the karate chops to my arches and heels were, but that was the only non-gentle part! Anyhow that evening I felt incredibly balanced while running and did my first track workout since my hip operation (6 X 800 meters) and the pace and ease exceeded my best expectations. 

If you are looking for cutting edge and usable ideas to fix tight hips, I can recommend this ebook. The one improvement I would like to see in the ebooks is how to learn the correct amount of force with these movements. My therapists  and what I am learning from M.A.T, M.E.T,  nd Somatics is that sometimes the you need to push gently and not force movements. I always am one to normally push and force a stretch or an exercise to the max and that may not be the best way to improve quality of movement.

Here is Sean describing his ebook and the kick back exercise for the hip flexor.

Here he teaches you how to move like Shakira!

Sean also has videos demonstrating his exercises, but those are only for people who buy the ebooks.

And OK, I had to find out how Shakira moves her hips, so here you go. I only know her from The Voice.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Steve Jones on Sorting it Out on the Run

I got to talk a bit with former marathon world record holder Steve Jones at the Boston Marathon Expo this year. He was just sitting at a booth alone, so I went over to talk with him. There were lines all over the Expo for the current running stars: Ryan Hall, Shalane Flanagan, and Kara Goucher and I couldn't believe that people were walking right by Mr. Steve Jones. I got to hear about the runners he is coaching in Boulder, the Torres twins (now both retired), and the Falmouth Road Race's Tommy Leonard. He is one of the gutsiest runners of all time and hails from Wales. Speaking of being a gutsy runner, The Guardian just did a feature on How Steve Jones Pitstopped his way to Victory in the 1985 London Marathon. Let's just say that Steve "sorted things out." It's a good read and don't pass by Steve next time! I did forget to ask him if he was a fan of my favorite band, The Alarm, also from Wales.

Thinking about trying to regain your youth. What happens with us aging runners is also happening in the music business. The Alarm's lead singer Mike Peters is my age and has a new soundtrack out for a new movie called "Vinyl" a fictionalized account of the time about 10 years ago when he made a point to the recording industry by having some teenagers lip sync and pretend to be the Artists behind his newest single. The song went to the top of the British charts before he revealed that it was really an Alarm song. He wanted to point out that old guys can still rock and that there is a type of age discrimination in the music industry. Here is a bit on the soundtrack, which I have been listening to a lot lately. I don't know if I am being transported back in time to the 70s or if this is the sound of what music could and should sound like today.

An excellent book to read about a similar British champion from the same time period (and the guy Steve Jones beat in that race in 1985) is Charlie Spedding's From Last to First: How I Became a Marathon Champion.

And if you really wanted to know when the running boom ended or at least jumped the shark, check out  the video produced for the 1985 London Marathon as seen at the bottom of the Steve Jones article. Here it is if you can make it through the entire sappy 42 seconds.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Becoming a Supple Leopard

I have had Becoming a Supple Leopard: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance by Kelly Starrett on preorder for a long time and I guess it has finally  been released as I got my copy delivered today. It is big oversized book (400 pages) and is chock full of illustrations. Is you are fans of his Mobility WOD (Mobility Workout of the Day) you already know Kelly has a lot of interesting ideas and techniques for all sorts of movement and injury problems. I have watched tons of his videos, so this will be fun to have his work all organized in one handy book for reference and insight. If you are inquisitive here is a 50 page sample PDF of the book.

Maybe I am not a leopard,
 but I became Maasai
My Maasai club
My favorite observation while checking out the book so far is the illustration that Kelly uses when describing the hip joint. He uses an African Shillelagh (club) to portray the femur and then uses some cloth to demonstrate the hip joint capsule and the effects of a slack capsule joint compared to a tight capsule joint (pages 50-51). This has helped me understand some of the things that can go wrong in the hip joint. Strangely enough just weeks before my arthroscopic hip surgery to fix a labral tear in my own hip joint, I traveled to Kenya and met with some Masai people on the Masa Mara. I did some Masai jumping and bought one of those clubs from them. Despite all my focus on my hip at the time, it never registered to my mind that the club I bought looked just like the head of my femur.

And now that I am fully off topic...here is a video I made of the Masai, just because that was a really cool experience.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Lauren Fleshman quote about Boston Marathon Runners

I saw this quote from Lauren Fleshman on her new appreciation on marathons and the people who run them and I think it is another way of restating the 1977 Joe Falls quote I highlighted in yesterday's blog post on the Boston Marathon.

Lauren said:

"I think this has sent a powerful message about how marathons can mobilize people," she said. "Marathoners care about each other on a deeper level. It's something I've always suspected about the running community. Now there is hard evidence."

Joe Falls said:

"The runners is Boston seem special. Maybe it's because they are all God's children. They seem to understand charity and they seem to understand discipline. How many times in the course of 80 years has one runner paused to aid another runner. That's charity. And who will ever know of all the discipline that they put into their lives in order to prepare themselves to run in this race, this arduous test of one's self."

I guess that is part of what they mean by Boston Strong.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Bring back the Innocence: Boston Marathon 2013

It has now been a week since the 2013 Boston Marathon. Too much has gone on since 2:49 p.m. on that Monday afternoon. Like others I have been glued to the internet and the television for the past week trying to make sense of such a depraved act. Within minutes of hearing of the bombings at the end of my day teaching school, my initial thoughts and online message was, "Thoughts are with my friends and all the runners and fans at the Boston Marathon finish line. This is a simple sport and certainly is not a place for violence." My thinking has not changed one iota since that moment. While my sentiments have not changed during the past week, my mind has had to suffer the questions of who could do this? my eyes have seen photos and videos I would never care to see, and my heart has been ripped by the hurt and pain caused to so many people, my race, and the people of Boston.

The Boston Marathon is dear to my heart. It has woven itself through my life for decades starting in 1968 while as a third grader I decided I wanted to run that race in Boston. The night before this year's race, I started rereading Joe Falls 1977 edition of the book, The Boston Marathon. As I was reading, I was reminded how simple and innocent it was to be a runner back then. Here is a quote from the first chapter, "The runners is Boston seem special. Maybe it's because they are all God's children. They seem to understand charity and they seem to understand discipline. How many times in the course of 80 years has one runner paused to aid another runner. That's charity. And who will ever know of all the discipline that they put into their lives in order to prepare themselves to run in this race, this arduous test of one's self." How could someone decide to wreak havoc on such a race and onto such people?

As the violence of the bombing became known, I felt for the runners who nearing the finish of such a monumental goal, were stopped. Many were so close to fulfilling months of training and years of dreaming. As I learned more of the circumstances and those most injured or killed by the bomb, I realized most of the victims were spectators.  One of the biggest thrills of running Boston is the hundreds of thousands of fans along the route that cheer on all runners or their own friends and family members. Those who run Boston know how important the fans are to the event. Yet it seems that most of the injured were these fans who came to cheer on the runners. They are such good people to do that!

I can also say, that throughout the news of the event, I often thought of the volunteers and staff of the B.A.A. Marathon. I often thought of race director Dave McGillivray who so kindly let me run the whole "Midnight Shift" of the 2000 Boston Marathon with him (video). I know how thorough and prepared he is with the race each year and just knew that this must tear at his gut. I know many people that volunteer at the finish line or work as race announcers and I was wondering what was happening and if they were O.K. So much planning and hard work by runners and volunteers and staff at the Marathon and those are all good and noble things and I can't comprehend the savage need to attempt to destroy all of that.

In the week prior to the Boston Marathon, I was wishing I had rewritten my review of Bill Rodgers new autobiography Marathon Man. I felt like I had missed my favorite part of the book, not that it was anything insightful  but it is because of what I admire about Bill Rodgers and what I really think that running (at least for me) is all about in the end. Bill Rodgers just loved to run and the passages of him as a kid and an adult portrays his childlike enthusiasm and enjoyment with the physical act of running and being out in nature. We learn about him running through the woods with abandon all the while looking around at the birds and the woods. Running to me is all about getting back to the element of just freely running around like a kid and enjoying every second of it. I have seen Bill like this in a race and it still amuses me. I remember a 5 mile race in 2006 run before a major rainstorm that Bill Rodgers was at. After finishing, I went back to cheer other finisher on. It finished on a road over a dam. Everyone looked determined and miserable due to the race conditions until Bill Rodgers came into view. I watched with complete amusement as Bill headed right for all the puddles on the side of the road so that he could splash through the puddles as he ran. To me that is pure Bill Rodgers and after all the racing and miles that he has put in, I was so happy that to see that splashing in puddles still made running fun!

That is the running innocence that I don't want to lose. I still don't cut my hair short, because there is something about running and feeling it flop around behind you like Billy's hair or Pre's hair or any runner's hair from the 1970s. The other reason is it is one of the few things I can think of that cost money to have something taken from you! The innocence of youthful running,, legs stretching out, jumping over obstacles and cornering around trees, no care in the world, good stuff to hang a lifetime on; running. As I implore my failing legs to restore their carefree youthful moves and looseness, I so want running to return to those days. And maybe not just for my body.

Back when I started running in 9th grade at Falmouth High School, we were given an anthology of short stories to read. One of the stories was called "See How they Run" by George Harmon Cox (written in 1941). You can now find the story in The Runner's Literary Companion: Great Stories and Poems About Running. In this story based on the Boston Marathon a young collegiate miler decides to run the The Boston Marathon because his father is dying and can't. This would make the 20th consecutive race for his father. I remember reading this story multiple times to get a "feel" for the race. It seemed so simple and innocent in those days (I assume it was somewhat factual) with the competitors meeting together before the race at a barn and the camaraderie of the older participants. I guess newer marathoners would also consider it quaint that I remember running Boston in the early 1980s and hanging out in the school on Ash Street on the Village Green in Hopkington. You could just wander in like in many smaller road races today and sit in the hallways and stretch. The young Johnny Burke is somewhat cocky at the start, but in the end he learns about the race and himself and gets the girl. What more could someone want from a race. That was extra motivation for myself to get out their and run Boston someday. I ran my first marathon in Dallas in 1977 and it took 8 more attempts before I beat the 2:50 qualifying time in 1981 so that I could finally run Boston in 1982. That is over 200 miles of marathon running just to get a shot to run Boston. Qualifying was always in my mind and Boston was firmly entrenched in my blood. I remember thinking I would be one of the runners that ran it every year, but my interests changed after having a streak of two races (I ran in 1983 as a bandit in 3:07, but was given a medal despite my protest that I had no number. I was told that I was fast enough to get the medal by a volunteer. This was the first year that Boston gave out medals.) At that 1983 race, I heard about the Cape Cod Endurance Triathlon and I went from being a marathoner to a triathlete. Injuries, life, and other circumstances have meant I have only done about 8 Boston Marathons. I have lost count and will have to research my results someday to find out how many I have actually done, but I found 7 medals (plus 1981) so that makes 8, or 7 if you disallow banditting in 1983.If I don't run Boston however, I am always at the marathon expo and watching the race and being thrilled by the whole day each and every year.

Jon Sinclair and Kim Jones.
Strangely enough this year was the most low key, I have been about the race. I didn't do a big production like I usually do at school, although my class watched the finishes with me! I went to the expo and met and had nice conversations with both with Kim Jones and her husband Jon Sinclair as well as Steve Jones (no relation, but the former world record holder in the marathon). I was laughing as I read Joe Falls 1977 book that night on the Boston Marathon In the foreword to the book, he wrote, " The amazing thing is that no one named "Jones" has ever won the the Boston Marathon. You'd think they have four or five Joneses by now. They have had a Smith, and a Brown and a Hill and an Anderson, There have been two Kelley's, Johnny The Elder and Johnny the Younger. But there was also a Yun Bok Suh, an Eiino Oksanen, an Edouard Fabre, and an Aurele Vandendriessche." I don't think that the author in 1977 anticipated the deluge of African runners who would go on to win Boston. Heck we have even had two different Robert Cheruiyots win the race. Still, no Jones has triumphed, as I laughed that I met two Joneses that tried. Kim Jones (ha, I looked at Kim's wikipedia page and then remembered that the person talking to Kim before I did took a picture on his Ipad and said it would be on Wikipedia soon and there it was!) twice finished second at Boston (read her excellent book) and Steve Jones also was a second place finisher in 1987.

It is hard to recapture the race memories before hearing of the bombing. The winners will never get their due and I haven't even yet read over the race stories or find out how all my friends did (if I didn't hear their times before the bomb). I do know that all my friends are safe, but I also know that one para at the school I work at was hit with debris from the bomb and still has shrapnel in her head and body. She will be OK. I also have heard that Jeff Bauman, the spectator in that horrible photograph taken of him with missing legs in the bomb's aftermath works at a Costco in my city of Nashua.

In retrospect, I would like to reflect on that Joe Falls' quote from 1977,  "The runners is Boston seem special. Maybe it's because they are all God's children. They seem to understand charity and they seem to understand discipline." Lets remember that and not lose the innocence and fun and the work of running The Boston Marathon. I know it is a big business now, but every runners personal achievement is not about business, but rather about finding ways to enjoy and benefit from living a happy and childlike life that is full of wonder and perseverance  If that is missing, then maybe you missed out on the point of running.

Thing to reflect on:

1) Do not lose the innocence of running. Run with childlike abandon.Splash through puddles.
2) Learn to understand the hate and violence. Do not resort to hate or violence in your life.
3) Pray for and do whatever you can for those affected my the marathon violence.
4) Thank the fans and volunteers. They create the experience that us runners enjoy.
5) Get my body working, so that I can qualify and run Boston in 2014. We cannot let evil and hatred win. This is our race and our sport!

There was a race on Monday. Here are the highlights.

Friday, April 12, 2013

1969 video of Steve Prefontaine, Frank Shorter, Marty Liquori, and Gerry Lindgren in a two mile race

Wow, here is a great old film of a 1969 two mile race between Gerry Lindgren, Steve Prefontaine, Frank Shorter, and Marty Liqouri. The race took place in Hawaii. I haven't seen many videos of Gerry Lindgren running. Leif Bugge has a lot of old running videos on his youtube channel.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Marathon Man by Bill Rodgers

Bill Rodgers has a new book out: Marathon Man: My 26.2-Mile Journey from Unknown Grad Student to the Top of the Running World written with Matthew Shepatin and it is a fun read. Bill was once the greatest runner on planet earth and his rise to running success is an often told story (I still have a copy of his 1982 autobiography Marathoning). I wasn't sure if this book would be a rehash of everything I have read before or something new. Well, this book had me hooked before the first chapter began with his humorous story about being a guest at the White House with President Jimmy Carter. I laughed out loud a couple of times and I could tell this would be a great book.

The book alternates between a retelling of his 1975 Boston Marathon triumph and his story of growing up and running through the years. In the first chapter, I learned not only who gave him his racing shoes, but also where he got his headband, and the t-shirt with the "Boston- GBTC" printed on it, as well as those white gardening gloves. A lot of the story is focused on Rodgers great 1975 Boston race as he slowly takes you along the course during the race in alternating chapters.

We learn about his close friendship with his brother Charlie and childhood friend Jason Kehoe. We also learn how Amby Burfoot, his college roommate and Boston Marathon champion himself  played such a critical role as his mentor, even though they were complete opposites in how they approached runner.
Jerome Drayton and Bill Rodgers
Bill Rodgers has always been a friendly person and this book is like a long conversation with him, except for a change he talks about himself. His voice comes through clearly in the retelling. I have met Bill many times and even ran about four miles of a marathon (Clarence DeMar Marathon in Keene, NH) with him. He was the official starter of the race and caught up with me and another runner at about the 9th mile and we just shot the breeze until he pulled off at the 1/2 marathon point (it was just a workout for him and a dream come true for me).  His friendly nature and positive outlook comes through in the book, well that is except when he is in a race. Then he is a cold-blooded killer!

I spent all day Sunday reading the book (a sign that a book is a good read) and had a splendid time reading about the running boom years with Bill Rodgers. There was a lot going on with the politics of the time, the emergence of the running boom, amateurism versus the need for professionalism in sport, and learning to train properly. I think that if you want to know Bill's story for the first or even fifteenth time, this book will keep you interested. I enjoyed hearing his thought processes as he described his racing, his outlook on life, and although I knew the connection with Amby Burfoot, I like how he gives so much credit to Amby's mentoring and the the lineage that was passed on to him from Amby back to Amby's high school coach and 1957 Boston Marathon winner Johnny Kelley (the younger). Bill calls himself the last of the great New England road runners who came up running on the roads rather than on the track like most of the champions of today.

At times the book seemed a bit repetitive and it might need a little bit of editing to tighten it up. Too often we heard about Bill's ADHD or how he used to chase butterflies as a kid. There were a few mistakes too, that as a teacher seem to stick out to me. The text says that Frank Shorter asked for a plane ticket and $6,000 to race the 1975 Falmouth Road Race. I was puzzled about that,as I was one of the 800 people that ran that race, I had never heard that figure before particularly for a race that cost a couple dollars to enter. A couple pages later the price had been reduced to a more likely $600. The female champion of the 1975 Boston Marathon is listed correctly as Liane Winter and a page later is called Liane Miller. These things can be corrected (at least on the Kindle version that I read) and I wouldn't point them out except we had an author at school today and he said that a typesetter retypes the whole text of a book before it is published and they can sometimes make mistakes. I hope it was the typesetter and not the author's who overlooked these and a couple other smaller mistakes.

Other than that, it was a book I thoroughly enjoyed. It makes a great book to pair up with Cameron Stracher's soon to be released Kings of the Road: How Frank Shorter, Bill Rodgers, and Alberto Salazar Made Running Go Boom as they cover similar events and people from a completely different point of view. Runners who don't know Bill's Story will get a glimpse into the times when running was looked upon as a strange endevour to pursue and the top runners lived in poverty to a few years later when Bill could sell millions of dollars worth of clothing in the first year of his clothing business for runners. Those who know Bill's story will enjoy his retelling on the failures and successes he had along the way to bringing running and marathons into the mainstream and the public consciousness in the late 1970s.

Here is some vintage video of Bill Rodgers closing in on the finish of the 1975 Boston Marathon. You can also see Steve Hoag (or Tom Howard) running with Tom Fleming as well as Ron Hill in his hand-made Union Jack shorts.

Janda short foot exercise

Last week was not a good week of running and I am shutting it down until I can get in for a M.A.T. (Muscle Activation Technique) appointment. I have been noticing over the last couple of weeks that I am imbalanced and having a hard time recovering from runs due to stressing my joints in muscls in the wrong way. This week I took 5 days off, then ran a decent 8 miler on Wednesday. The next day I was stiff and my joints were tight. I ran 8 miles again, but I should have stopped after the first mile. I basically forced myself to finish the run with my hips off and my legs moving in different patterns and directions from each other. It was hard to run and I was about 10 minutes slower than the previous day. I had noticed that my left foot was pointing more and more to the outside like it used to do as I walk and run through the day. The isometric exercises weren't getting it back and by Wednesday, my muscles were loose so I could fake the running, not with the stiffness the next day. When my foot points out ( I have been told I can never fix the tibial torsion-but I have been able to hold it in position better) it means the way I run is affected. I pronate and roll over the ankle, and the weight is placed on the inner half of my knee (affecting the popliteus muscle) and then my hip is not in position so both hips get out of alignment and I feel it in my lower and sometimes upper back. I have got in over 500 miles of running since the last M.A.T. appointment last November. Hopefully I just need a good tune up to get the muscles firing correctly. I am not sure what the cause is this time: running? starting to do some foam roller work? or maybe the camber of the road? I have an appointment for Saturday, but I hope to get in earlier, because I know better than to run like this and I don't like sitting around.

Running miles April 1-7
16 total miles
446 total miles for 2013

I did find a Janda exercise this week called the short foot. This is a movement to help strengthen the arch. I have heard of Janda before, but have never seen this exercise. It does remind me of what Gregg, the M.A.T. guy has been having me do . I have a lot of foot exercises from him, but maybe I have been doing them wrong. I am supposed to use a similar pull when doing multiple isometric exercises with the foot pointed in, forward, and out for different muscles. I have concentrated on pushing down with the forefoot and pulling back with the heel (all slight movements) but not on lifting up over the arch.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Now this is racing! "Drama all the way!"

This is quite a race and definitively worth a watch if you are a fan of running. I won't give away the end result, but there is so much happening in this 1979 5000 meter track race with the great runners of that time. In this race are the world record holder holder Henry Rono (13:08.4), Rod Dixon bronze medalist at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games in the 1500 meters as he is moving up in distance at this point (a few years later-1983-he would win the New York City Marathon);  Brenden Foster, the bronze medalist at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games in the 10,000 meters;  Eamonn Coghlan, the speedy miler who would later win the gold medal at the 1983 World Championships for 5000 meters; Bernie Ford, and English runner who finished 3rd in the 1976 World Cross-Country Championships, American Rudy Chapa, Alberto Salazar's college roommate and storied high school and collegiate distance runner, and English runner Mike McLeod, who would later finish 2nd at the 1981 Falmouth Road Race and win the silver medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games 10,000 meters. Throw all that talent in a race and interesting things are sure to happen, especially with Henry Rono's weird surging tactics. There is even a fall in the race. Watch and enjoy. This is spectacular racing and the video is very high quality, something you don't often see in these older videos.

At the end of this race, there is a bonus race of Steve Ovett setting the 2 mile world record. It only shows the final mile, but again we have Henry Rono, Eamonn Coghlan, and Mike McCleod, as well as Nick Rose. Steve Ovett plays with the constantly surging Henry Rono and celebrates as he passes for the win and Henry's record.

Of course, showboating the finish didn't always work out for Steve Ovett, as this popular video "Arrogance Personified" shows. John Treacy never gives up  in this race. We also get to see the late great Bill McChesney running.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Running to the Limits Part 2

Here is part 2 to the Alex Vero documentary Running to the Limits. If you have not seen part 1, you can view it here. The third and final part will be released at the end of May. In this section, Alex travels to Ethiopia to learn the secrets of East African distance running  and we get to see an interview with the great Haile Gebreslassie.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

World's Greatest Stretch

Who knows if this is really the world's greatest stretch? It seems more like a dynamic mobility exercise than a traditional stretch, but I tried it and I really like the way it feel on all the muscles around my hips which were getting way too tight and throwing my running stride off balance. You go through a series of positions and only hold for 3-5 seconds. You can do the sequence in only a few minutes and repeat it a couple of times. It did not leave me feeling sore at all, but I felt a lot looser after doing it a few times and I felt more mobile in the morning.

From the Equinox site:

It is so beloved because it targets every major muscle in the body — especially the ones we tend to overuse sitting at a desk or a computer all day — and it takes less than 5 minute to complete. Since it’s a dynamic stretch with static components, it can be used as part of your dynamic warm up, to prep your body for your workout, or at the end of a session. 
This combination of movement and static positions challenges the central nervous system, forging the connection between the body and the brain that is so crucial to an effective session. When the connection is made, muscles fire properly, so you make the most of every movement and are much less likely to get injured. Plus, this synchronization of movement increases your range of motion, so each exercise can be completed thoroughly.

You can see a slide show of the stretch here.
You can view a PDF of the simple instructions here.

I found the stretch at this site here.

If you Google "World's Greatest Stretch" you will find videos and explanations of different variations of the stretch, the site I linked to has more positions embedded in it. There is no video yet, even though they say to view the video on their site.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

March Miles

Since my last two posts have been about the Falmouth Road Race, I figured I would share one more  photo that traces my racing career to even deeper historical roots in Falmouth. This picture is from July 4, 1961 at what looks to be an early predecessor to the Falmouth Road Race and 12 years prior to its more currently hailed beginnings in 1973. That is my older brother jumping the gun in the center of the picture. I am the calm and slightly ambivalent racer with the white rope belt standing there waiting for the official start. The photo was taken at the East Falmouth Elementary School playground. For those who have run in Falmouth, this school is right at the 9 mile mark of the Cape Cod Marathon.

Here is my mileage over the past three weeks:

March 11-17   32 miles- highlight was running my fastest 8 mile route in a couple months by about one minute- so that is also my fastest time post surgery
March 18-24  37 miles- highlight was 13 mile run- only the 2nd time going that far outdoors post surgery
March 25-31 27 miles- highlight- two 8 milers within seconds of my fastest time 2 weeks ago

Total miles January 97 miles
Total miles February 194 miles
Total miles March 139 miles
total miles 2013 430 miles

I am not doing as much as I did in February, but I am trying to run at a faster pace. My muscles really tighten up after faster runs as my hips go through a larger range of motion, and I am finding it takes a day or two for my muscles and joints to calm down so I can run again with a good stride. I am also finding that my hips and body have really gotten off balance lately. I am now taking some time off until I can get it sorted out as running in an imbalanced fashion can only lead to problems. It is a minor setback, that I do want to bully my way through. I have been finding that I am starting to either feel fit for my runs (running faster and farther) but a bit off with my balance and stride or really forcing a run (usually the day after running hard).