Wednesday, August 5, 2015

I have seen the future and it is to be run in Brooks Ghost

Today was the first run I've been on that had absolutely no shin pain in weeks. I had almost forgotten the joy of running without fear of sudden pain. I went so slow that I'm sure anyone that saw me from the road thought all sorts of mean things about how I may as well be walking. But I didn't care because it meant that I could see the light at the end of this horrible dark tunnel.

I did finally go out and get new shoes after having put an excess of 700 miles in the last pair. I went and got fitted for a bunch of different shoes but ended up going with the Brooks Ghost and they're a dream. 

They're marvelous. I'm a mid-forefoot striker and they seem to do very well for that. The fit around my ankle is also superb. I'm not sure if I have weird protruding ankles but sometimes certain shoes will crash against them. I also seem to have a strangely wide toe box but narrow heels. Women with these issues will understand the pain I must endure when forced to wear formal shoes for weddings and the such. Shoe manufacturers seem to think a lady's toe box should be just as slender as her heel the same way disney animators seem to think a woman's waist should be the same circumference of her neck and her eyes as big as her brain.  

Again, I'm going slow but I think this has given me the boost to register for the half marathon in February!

Anyone else in?

Thursday, May 7, 2015

First 10k completed and running dogs

It was actually April 12th but I haven't gotten around to writing about it. I ran it with some friends who are all way better and faster runners than me but I'm proud to have finished running it anyway. I walked up hills but ran the rest. Next up: half marathon!

I think I'll go ahead and register so that I have to train. The last couple weeks have been light on the running but it's picking up again. Even better, without really meaning to, I find myself running faster than I used to. Not sure why but I do know one thing that will for sure keep me motivated.

I got a new puppy yesterday. When I started running initially, I took my little 7 lb dog, Marvin, out with me. He's a little chihuahua mix but he's lanky and could run for miles. I had to stop running with him because he has some cervical vertebrae issues and it was making him gimpy. This little one, Estelle appears to be a chihuahua/terrier mix of some kind and at two months she's already half of Marvin's weight. Once we get through with all the puppy training I'm hoping she'll get big enough to run with.

I know what people think. "Why not just get a big dog?" Theoretically, I love bigger dogs. Bigger than 90 lb gets hard but within reason, I think they're super cool. The problem is everything is more expensive with a big dog and I really like the ease of portability that little dogs give you.

Anyhow, here's hoping Estelle gets past 12 lb.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

lululemon: Now with more wasp!

Back with more griping about the top clothing choice for bored, rich, waspsy women who really want a good looking behind in yoga pants.

Again, disclaimer: I am not a student or scholar of Buddhism or Hinduism by any means but I know bullshit co-optation when I see it.

Today it is about Dhyana. According to it means the practice of mind control by which we stop thinking and seek to realize Truth in its essence. The entry for it is super long and difficult for my non-enlightenment seeking brain to understand, which is why I'm SO glad I can GET IT with this nifty t-shirt!

I mean, why study the ancient wisdom that informs yoga when you can just slap that shit on your thin waif form and just absorb that through diffusion? Yeah, it's $58 but I mean, you spend that much on your weekly Iced, Half Caff, Ristretto, Venti, 4-Pump, Sugar Free, Cinnamon, Dolce Soy Skinny Latte budget? Budget? AHAHAHAHAHA!

In conclusion, Lululemon, suck it. 

Group runs, the shudders and hot sprinters

I've never been a group exercise person. I've avoided aerobics, yoga, jazzercise and all similar activities that involved sweating in a confined space with lots of strangers. I never played sports as a kid and so naturally feel completely out of my league in any sort of team activity. Running is fantastic because you don't have to suffer though any of the pit falls of team sports. However, there comes a time when running by yourself seems less than enough.

I came across this group run that starts at Uncle Billy's Brewery. It seems less scary than early morning group runs because the end goal is to get sloshed on home brew. Still, some of the fear remains, especially because I'm really not sure how long it actually it is. Might be a few miles, might be 10?

They're on Wednesdays, so today. I subconsciously decided to not go when I went for a long run this morning. The weather was perfect and half way through I realized I didn't want to push it by going on another long run later that night. I actually got to 4 miles, which is great for me though I realize it's chicken scratch to most.

I would like to get up to 5 miles at least before the 10k in a couple of weeks which at this point I realize is totally doable. Mercifully, my shin splints are a thing of the past. The thing to avoid, I realized, is engaging in any kind of sprint behavior. I sprinted 3 days ago now and my quads are still very upset with me. It's incredible all the muscles sprinting actually requires, not to mention the stamina. I barely got to a tenth of a mile each time. Totally get the wide sea that separates marathon bodies and sprinter bodies.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Bicycle stagecoaches

This needs to happen. Pedicabs are cool for event centered/drunkard transportation but let's face it, they're too slow to provide a real alternative to cabs. Bike pulled stagecoaches however would totally be able to replace other forms of public transportation.

In Mexico, there are these 'buses' that are little more than large vans that act as city buses. They're cheap and have certain routes though you can ask to stop anywhere along them. I don't know of any city here that has them but stagecoaches would be an awesome way of providing that kind of transportation without the gas required for huge city buses.

For them to make sense though, I think they'd have to be partly subsidized by a city government or even user memberships.

*sigh* one day...

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Ancient Olympic games

I've long been a fan of the classical world. History, myth, religious cults, and on and on. In reading a few books on the ancient games there were tidbits that I found too good to not share.

The first 13 Olympiads had as their only event a short foot race which dictated the length of the stadium. Later the diaulos was added which was two lengths of the stadium and then the dolichos (roughly equivalent to today's 5,000 meters), which was the long distance race at 20 or 24 lengths of the stadium.

Leonidas of Rhodes did what today would be unheard of. He, "with the speed of a god," won all three events at four successive Olympiads between 164 to 152 BC. Accordingly so, he was worshipped as a deity in some towns.

Much later came the pentathlon which consisted of discus, jumping, javelin, running and wrestling. Even later, chariot racing and boxing.

As for nutrition and conditioning, different 'trainers' and doctors of the time each contributed their own advice. Vigorous dancing was held as an excellent training activity which is of course, perfect. Ancient father of medicine, Galen, contended that 'natural' activities such as rowing and digging could properly prepare an athlete. He also recommended a diet rich in beans, boiled of course to reduce, ahem, flatulence.

Others said a diet with plenty of dried figs, wheat and cheese was key. Later a trainer Pythagoras, held that meat was the way to go. This of course, at the time, was an extravagance that many athletes could indulge in. Most of the commoners were stuck with their bread, olives and oil.

Women, of course, were excluded from the Olympiad but they had their own festival, the Heraia, in honor of Hera. It had only one event, a foot race of approximately 160. Runners were divided by age groups. As the men, the victors were allowed to set up statues of themselves in the temple of Hera. Many ancient male figures did actually advocate a certain amount of athletic ability in women. This sometimes could include sword fighting!

My favorite thing about the ancient Olympic games has to be the commonly respected truce that allowed the games to take place. Myth holds that King Iphitos of Elis from around the 9th century BC asked the oracle how to end the civil wars and plagues which ravaged the Greek city-states. The oracle told him to reinstate the Olympic games which apparently had been held unofficially for a long time before. During the games, a truce should be announced between all the Greek territories.

Before the games could begin, three heralds were charged with going out and carrying the message of the games and of the truce. Ultimately the truce ended up lasting for two to three months to allow for the travel of spectators. As you might imagine, this did contribute quite a bit in reaffirming common Greek identity.

stupid running injury

I was ignoring it at first but finally have to come to terms with the fact that despite all my caution, sigh...I have medial tibial stress syndrome, aka shin splits. More disturbing is that so much of the information out there kind of leaves you hanging in regards to what you should do next.

So MTSS occurs when there is too much stress put on your tibia suddenly, as in with a new training program. It turns out that what seems like 'just shin splints' are actually a kind of stress on the bone itself, not just the muscles. Which means, ignoring it and overtraining can land you in stress fracture land. So what to do?

Ideally, you let your bone build itself up to deal with the stress of a new running program. On the one hand bone remodeling can take up to a month but on the other, the idea of resting for a whole gd month sounds insane and counterproductive. Also, because of the way bone remodeling works, your bones are actually more vulnerable during this process.

Going off along the physiology tangent, bone remodeling is super cool. Osteoclasts, which are actually derived from white cells, break down bone with hydrochloric acid which dissolves the mineral component and lysosomal enzymes break down the organic parts. Then osteoblasts follow and secrete the ground substance and collagen fibers which will be the organic matrix and in a week or so inorganic salts crystallize within said matrix. Once these little guys are totally surrounded by this stuff, they become regular osteocytes, or bone cells.

Back to running...

After much research, I came across this article from the blog Running Writings which was extraordinarily helpful. It doesn't seem like I have to stop completely, just take it easy with pace and back off of increasing mileage for little while. Which I guess is ok.

so take away:
- Reduce the volume, intensity and/or frequency of runs
- Work on strengthening calf muscles every day
- Take your vitamins!