Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Streak Goes to Vienna

I've kept the streak going with short runs on the treadmill in the hotel here in Vienna until yesterday.  Then this happened: 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Beware the Ides of Streak

Day 15 and my running streak is still intact.  I'm warming up to the idea.  This morning I did a real run of 7.5 miles with some pace on it.  Yesterday and the day before were disastrous work days. I probably wouldn't have run at all, but I managed a pair of 1-2 mile runs that got me out of my head and into the clear both times.  I was beginning to feel a bit creaky a few days ago, but realized that I had not been giving myself sufficient time to stretch after the short runs.  Today, I did some deep long stretching, and the creakiness is gone.  So, maybe the commitment to the streak is making up for the fact that I'm not actually training for anything right now.  This is important as the holidays are here.  During the next week or so, the streak is going to be hard to maintain. Saturday I go to Vienna for a week, and will be in meetings much of the time.  Making time for a run is going to be tricky.  On the other hand running around Vienna should be fun.

Sunday, December 7, 2014


Yesterday was the SBRC year end gala.  Everybody gets an award.  I think they've got my number . . .

Streaks and Other Stupid Ideas

Last year I ended my running year with an abortive attempt to run every day between Thanksgiving and New Years.  It was a vain effort to establish that my heel was in good enough shape to handle at least one mile a day.  It was a mistake.  Somewhere in mid-December I realized that I was having trouble walking, let alone running, and I entered my cold turkey non-running streak that lasted until March.

So, when a friend from the SBRC suggested that we try another year-end streak, there was only one possible answer, "of course."  So I'm back at it.  Today was day 11.  I'm being careful.  Since the streak rule only require one mile per day, I've kept up my cross-training routine.  The only difference is that on bike or swim days, I make sure that I spend ten minutes on the treadmill.  So far this has allowed me to get the benefits of cross-training, along with the bike run transition which I don't do that often.

I'm not sure why I'm doing this.  It doesn't actually seem like a very good idea, and the farther into the streak I get, the less good an idea it's going to be.  Any insights out there??

Hey, is this thing on?

Things have been pretty quiet on the blog as we approach the end of the 5th year of our existence and soon the 1000th post.  So let's get busy.

Running in Chicago has been reasonably pleasant of late.  Other than a blast of polar vortex in early November, its been mostly above freezing and dry.  Unfortunately I have been fighting a cold that won't quit so haven't logged the miles I could have.  But still getting out for the 4-5s and the occasional 7-8s.  All will change after New Year's so want to get that winter base up a bit in whatever few decent days remain.

As I mentioned to several of our bloggers, I have joined a Ragnar Relay team for the 200 mile LA-San Diego race in April.  Not entirely sure how to train for a 12 person relay where we all run 3 legs of 3-8 miles each.  The total mileage is very even with some runners doing 13 or so and at least one doing 23 (won't be me) and most somewhere in between.  There is always the possibility that someone will get hurt and the rest of us will have to take an extra shift.

The challenge doesn't seem to be the mileage but the endurance of 30 hours in a smelly van with a lot of down time and only a little napping in between legs.  Also not sure what to expect for the night leg each of us will pull.

There is a ton of info on the web site including some training tips but curious what you'all think as I look at that stuff in more detail.  How would you train in winter Chicago so I don't let my teammates down and have some fun? 

Monday, December 1, 2014

How about New Orleans?

Matt Sag and I are heading down to New Orleans to run the 1/2 marathon on January 25th.  Come one come all.  Free Beignets for the first 10 blog readers who meet us at Cafe du Monde at a mutually convenient time that weekend.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Good Form is Not Natural

Running is simple.  You lace up your shoes, walk out the door, and do it.  You grew up knowing how, so it feels natural.  But it hurts.  Injuries crop up, not just sore muscles, plantar fascitis, knee pain, heel pain . . . We've all been there.  We rest. We heal. We go back to what we were doing before.

Swimming has taught me not to trust my natural kinesthetic instincts.  After years of windmilling and dragging my legs, I took a bunch of lessons and a very few key changes to my approach changed everything.  In particular, changing the timing gave me a more powerful pull, a longer glide, better position in the water, and a generally more efficient stroke.  It didn't feel natural at all, and I'm still working out the kinks but changes that felt unnatural helped.

The same thing has happened with my running.  As often discussed, I joined the midfoot revolution a few years ago in response to pain in my right heel.  I started working on leaning forward, and landing on my toes.  That took a while, but eventually it felt natural.  I got faster.  Until, it started to hurt -- this time left heel.  As I have been returning to form in the last year, I'm realizing that even what felt natural then was not ideal.  I was protecting my left hip.  I'm not sure from what, probably just old habit.

It turns out that maintaining good running form, for me at least, requires a lot of thought: (1) fully shift weight to the left side; (2) land on the midfoot; (3) push off from the ball of the foot; (4) lean forward; (5) allow hips to roll a bit (don't hold them level);  (6) engage glutes; (7) increase cadence . . . There it is. . . Oops, lost it. Found it. Lost it. Going too fast . . . Damn! Okay, there it is . . .