Monday, October 06, 2008


So a friend of mine who is an outstanding masters runner was training for the Western States 100 about 6 or 7 years ago. They have a Memorial weekend training "camp" where you can go and run parts of the course each day. So he is cruising along and takes a fall. Along the trail they had cut some large saplings (a couple of inches in diameter) but left the stumps sticking up.

Can you see where this is going?

He falls on the stumps and puts one through his quadricep muscle. OUCH!!! The people with him help him and get him to the hospital. The doctor comes in and while he is working on my friend, the doctor is griping how much he hates the Western States 100 and the runners because he tried to deny them access on part of the trail that crosses the corner of his land but couldn't do it because of the historic nature of the race (or something like that). So the whole time my friend is wondering if this doctor was going to give 100% to him. Fortunately, the DR did.
With the help of a great sports massage therapist (Tony Gilbert, if you are ever in the Bay Area this is the guy to see. He is in San Mateo and his company is Athletes Edge.) he was able to eliminate pretty much all of the scar tissue. When he first saw Tony, the wounded area was this large, hard lump. When he was done, you couldn't even feel any scar tissue.

Then in 2002 (@52 years old) he won a trail marathon that he had won 20 years earlier in almost the exact same time.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Sad news..

Runner's Feet in Burlingame is closing :( It was an institution on the SF Peninsula for nearly 30 years. I started shopping there in 1982 and worked there from 1996 - 2006. One of the last of the old time shops. It will be missed. Shaun (the owner) did open another store in Turlock (about a 1 1/2 - 2 hour drive from SF) so the name lives on. She has had RF since 1990 but the commute has been too much the last couple of years.
Even though I am in Kennewick WA now, I think of the store often and definitely miss it.

Good Night Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are!


I just want to give a couple of shout outs to former Runners' Feet employees and outstanding young ladies.

LG just won the SF Marathon in a time of 2:52!!! It isn't exactly a flat course. I have known her since she was an outstanding high schooler. Awesome job!!!! I am very proud of you.

JWO just had her first sub 5 hour 1/2 ironman at Vineman. Very cool. We actually ran for the same high school and even had the same coach (even though I am about 20 years older than her). Keep up the great blog, very entertaining and VERY revealing. Stay fierce!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Reality Check

First off, I can't believe it has been almost a year since my last post. I know I promised to teach how to read wear patterns but I am going to do that later.

The motivation behind this post is a friend of mine who is (was) training for her first marathon and ended up with a stress fracture in her foot (you know who you are!). The marathon is in October. She was on a plan that was about six months long.

She still wants to be able to do the 1/2 marathon. My advice: DON'T!!!! You are probably going to do more harm than good. Your feet are more important than a marathon. OK, now I have made it public!

Unless your income is based on running races, there is absolutely no reason to hurry things along. There are always other races. I used to get this a lot in the running shop. You wouldn't believe what people would do to there bodies just to do a "race". That's an idea for another post. I will do one on some of the best injuries I have seen!

My tip on first marathons: If you have a consistent 20 miles a week (or more) base then choose a marathon roughly 6 months out. If you do not run much (or at all), pick one 1 year out. Give yourself 6 months to build to a consistent 20 - 25 miles a week. Then do a six month, marathon specific training program. I know it sounds conservative, but it is better than an injury. You will also enjoy everything more, and stay a "runner" longer. I have seen too many people force their way through that first one and basically give up running because while the finishing high was great, everything else was horrible.

OK I am getting off my soap box now. Until next time:


Sunday, August 26, 2007

You're such a Heel

A lot of people come in a tell me they supinate. Supinators are pretty rare. When I ask how they know that they point to the heel of their shoes and show me the outer heel wear. Generally, if you wear out the outer heel of your shoe it means you are human!!! When the foot strikes it is supinated so you hit on the outside. That is why they angle the "crash pad" on the heels of shoes. Supinators generally hit way up on the midsole or forefoot. They usually show little to no heel wear (the heel wear they have is usually from walk in the shoe).

What's a supinator, you ask? Supinators (and underpronators) feet tend to be VERY rigid so when the foot strikes the ground it does not pronate (or not much). They stike on the outside of the foot (usually near the forefoot) and stay out there. They need shoes with a lot of cushioning and as curved a last as they can get (more curve, more pronation, all things being equal). With such rigid feet, they do not naturally cushion as well as someone with pronation. It is very rare to see a supinator. Most people who are "supinators" are actually underpronators. An underpronator has some pronation, just not enough (you fit both of them in the same type of shoes). I only see a few true supinators a year.

My next post will be about how to "read" your wear pattern.

See ya soon!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Just like Christmas...

Wow, it's been a while! The weather has been great and so has the running and mt biking!

I got a new toy...the Garmin Forerunner 205.

I went with the 205 because I didn't need the heart rate monitor that the 305 has. What is a Garmin 205 you ask?

The 205 is a wrist watch size (albeit a large one) GPS unit. It gives you distance, speed, elevation, % of incline, and more things I will never use! You can mark points and navigate back to them (it does not have the mapping capabilities of the regular hand held GPS units).

If you are not familiar with GPS, basically there are a bunch of satellites circling the Earth and the GPS unit communicates with them to to find where you are. As you move the spot your signal is coming from changes and it records those changes. That is a VERY simplified version but the important thing is it WORKS!!!

What I especially like is you do not have to calibrate it, no foot pods, it does not matter what you are doing (walk, run, bike, kayak, flap your arms real hard and fly like a bird). They are really nice for tri's, just hit the lap button for the next leg! The info in cycling mode is different than running (for some reason runners want to know the % incline and I guess cyclists don't) but you always get speed and distance.

If you want the heart rate monitor, spend the extra $100 and get the 305. BTW, the 205/305 are nicer than the 101/201/301 that are still around. You do not lose the signal as easy (trees, heavy overcast, and buildings can interfere with the signal). Of course, here in the desert that is Eastern Washington there are few trees, fewer tall buildings and abundant sun shine!

I give this 4 out of 5 toes!

Friday, February 23, 2007

It's not my cross to bear...

So today there are snow flurries on Badger Mountain! Wow, it was nearly 70 two weeks ago. Oh well, time to break out the warm stuff again.

I have been mountain biking the last couple of weeks (we have some great single track). I like riding a lot before I start a speed work cycle for running. It really strengthens the legs without all the pounding and helps with upper body and core strength.

Cross training is very important for all runners. Choose activities that do not use the muscles the same as running. I like to choose activities that do not have the impact. Generally, swimming and cycling are excellent for runners because they really build the cardio system. Another favorite (of mine) is rock climbing (in or outdoors). You develop incredible core and upper body strength. It also can help with flexibility. Just make sure you supplement it with some light weights. Focus on the pushing muscles.

Also, try and cycle in and out of different running workouts. I like to use an eight week cycle. First I increase my long run for eight weeks. Then I cut the long run back to (about ) 50% of what it is and begin an eight week cycle of tempo work. At the end of that cycle I stop the tempo and do eight weeks of interval work. Then back to long run cycle. Of course you need to tailor it to any races you may be doing, etc. But overall it works well. A tip: If I have a big race (5K or 10K) coming up I will tailor the work out so the race comes at the end of the interval cycle.

One more race tip: If you are doing a shorter race (about 12K or less) try this taper week: Every day do a 1 mile warmup and cooldown. Do 400 meters/ 440 yds (one lap at the track) at 5-10 seconds faster than race pace and do a 1/2 lap recovery. Mon-5 intervals (yes I know this is not technically the correct use of the term "intervals" but it is how it is commonly used) Tues-4 ints, Wed-3 ints, Thurs-2 ints and Fri-1 int. If your race is on Sunday, you can rest on Wed and shift everything one day so you do the last workout on Sat. I really like this taper week. You feel really rested and fast. If by Wed or Thurs you are feeling tired, take a day off.

Well get out there!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Livin' and Dyin' in 3/4 Time

It is in the 50's!!! Well I am going to go out and enjoy the warmth. I saw a bunch of male robins yesterday and that means SPRING! (for those of you in the midwest and northeast, sorry). We are having some serious wind but it will help dry the trails. They should be in great shape in a couple of days.

There is a park called Badger Mountain. They just put in a new trail last summer. It is really nice. About 2.5 miles long and about 1000 ft climb. The trail is single track and has gravel on the entire trail. It goes to the top of Badger Mountain and you have awesome 360 degree views of the Columbia Basin. I think I will head up in the next day or two. The old calves haven't had much of a workout this winter.

With the weather getting better do not forget sunscreen! Your skin is sensitive (if you haven't been in the sun much because of winter) and even a sunny day in the 50's can give you a nice burn. My favorite is Kinesys. The spray is awesome for arms, legs and back of the neck. You just spray and leave it. NO RUBBING! The lotion (I use it on my face) works very well but is a bit thick. I never feel like I have a good application, but when I get home no burning. For my face I have also had great luck with good ole Coppertone Sport. Goes on well, doesn't sting the eyes and smells like the summers of my youth!
Well off I go, see ya!