Friday, January 23, 2009

A Most Enjoyable Run

ORN: 3.1 miles, 32:34, R3/W1, 10:31/mile

This morning’s run was something special.

Not that the run itself was remarkable; a very humble (though pain-free) three miler.

But it showed much of why I enjoy running.

You see, this week has been hectic. Four of my five work days have been 16-18 hours long. The tension, particularly yesterday, has been very real. Not bad tension; we’re grappling with some very good problems to have. Yet it has been long and intense and draining.

Wednesday night, as a meeting moved well past 10pm, I said to myself “I gotta get out and run tomorrow.” But that meeting motored well past 11 and it was midnight before I could get to bed, exhausted. Thursday night’s event continued past 10pm again, but this time I said “I don’t care; I’m up and running on Friday morning.”

So I did. Into a relatively balmy 36F morning, with the wind-chills oh-so-comfortable at 20F, I walked out the door. And as I quickly fell into the routine on my favorite Cumberland Woods route, I thought about why I find running so enjoyable.

The quiet. The time alone. The steady pat-pat-pat of feet. The winter morning dark which cuts out most other distractions. The repetition of a consistent pattern.

I don’t worship running. But I do find it a spiritual discipline, a regular practice in which I can reflect, pray, contemplate more important things. All of which happened this morning in a special way.


Saturday, January 17, 2009

New running resource; thinking about shoes

ORN: 5.2 miles, R3/W1

During December, I had a nice set of email exchanges with Marius Bakken, a member of the Norwegian Olympic team in 2000 and 2004 at 5,000m. He’s finishing medical school now and has started up two websites. We had a wonderful exchange and I think he adds to our knowledge, both as an elite runner and as a physician.

His first site is about our omnipresent challenge of selecting running shoes, while a second site is about marathon training plans. You may find it useful; I sure have.

All of which has caused me to wonder just why it is so hard to find a good shoe that works over the long haul. This has come back to my mind as I fight my current ITB issue. In my five mile run this afternoon, the ITB started rumbling at me again right at the five mile mark. Are my long-term trusted Brooks Beasts no longer adequate? Will I get to run a pain-free 10 miler anytime soon??

In my discussions of this matter with Marius, I wondered if there is a simpler way of diagnosing pronation. I’ve learned, with the help of the great folks from Naperville Running Company (a tip of the running cap to my pal Waddler for connecting me to them) that the wear pattern on the shoes I’m wearing now tell the best story of how well my shoes are or aren’t working. A wear pattern tailing to a take-off point at or inside the big toe is a sure sign of overpromation. Conversely, a wear pattern that moves to outside of the middle toe shows underpronation. Further, I’ve come to believe that a good shoe will compensate for my natural biomechanics and present a “normalized” approach to the pavement below. If that works, the wear pattern should be neutral. Somehow, finding the best running shoe should be experimental not theoretical.

Yet I’ve never read this or seen this clearly stated anywhere. In fact, it was only after years of running I ever could figure out just what “pronate” meant. I suggested Marius consider this in his new site…perhaps he will. In the meantime, living over three hours away from a competent running store, I feel a little stuck in shoe selection. Further, any experimenting with shoes is expensive. For a lumpy, large, overpronater like me, decent shoes run in the $120-140 range.

Do I look at the Mizuno Wave Renegade 4? The Asics Evolution 4? Or the seemingly invisible Loco Mojo?? Or persevere with the current pain with my trusted Brooks Beasts?

I overthink these things when I run. My wife is so grateful that I have a blog to blather on over such things, thus sparing her hours of boredom. Thanks for any thoughts and advice you might have.

And, shoot, how lucky can I be that overpronation is one of my big concerns?? I have nothing to be concerned about. At all. And I am grateful.

Persevere. Through issues big and small.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

2009 Running Plans

ORN: 6.2 miles, R3/W1

I’ve been holding off publishing any plans for 2009. I knew what I wanted to do but wasn’t sure at all what I could do.

Since mile 16 of the Memphis Marathon on December 6, my left ITB has been bugging me. It’s been coming and going but always seemed to wake up in a bad mood somewhere around 8 miles into a run. A week ago, I did some speed work with no problems but only did 6 miles total. So, what would happen today when I went out for a 16 miler?

As usual, it went wonderfully for the early part of the run. Unfortunately, just shy of 6 miles, the left ITB started barking again and it became quickly evident the problem remains. I was near home, so I just shut down the run at 10km.

So, while I had previously looked at three marathons which were all nearby and conveniently scheduled this spring, I’m going to scale back and target a single half-marathon, the Geist Half Marathon on May 16 just north of Indy. This will let me scale back the mileage but maintain a target. From my log last year, that could well help. If the leg feels better, I could throw in a couple of other races but I’m not committed to such a plan yet.

It also fits with my long-term running goals about which I have not written here but will in the next few weeks.

I’m actually pretty happy with this plan. So, here we go.