Saturday, October 23, 2010

VIP rules

Well it seems that fall is now arriving to the Pacific Northwest. The leaves are turning, it's crisp in the morning, and the first of many storms has arrived.
The question that I seem to get daily is "Do your group runs continue all year?"
Of course, the answer is "yes.. why not?"
Running year round in the PNW is quite easy vs. other parts of the country.
Dressing for the weather is quite simple: never wear cotton! Always choose synthetic or wool clothing. These have wicking and warmth abilities once they get wet (sweat or rain).
Here is a basic rule to remember: I call it the VIP rule
Ventilation, Insulation and Protection.
Ventilation - is the way to ventilate the heat / sweat from your body.
Insulation - keeps your body warm.
Protection - protects your body from the elements, sun, wind, rain , sleet, and snow.

There are a few products out there that do an amazing job with this.
Craft has Zero Extreme and Zero tops. Zero Extreme is geared for temps near 55 to 35 degrees, Zero is temps 40 to 25 degrees. Sounds like the PNW in the winter!

In running, we generate heat, our wicking shirt is our insulation. If you walk you may want to add another layer to trap that heat, or wear a thicker shirt. Smartwool makes a lightweight top that works wonderful.

Protecting yourself from the wind and rain is key. While most Gore-tex jackets (waterproof) are too warm, they do not ventilate fast enough. Look for jackets with body venting as your arms swing, or other types of venting. There are a few jackets that have a great wind/ water proof front and highly breathable fabric on the back. Sugoi makes the Firewall 220

Sometimes 1 shirt will fit all 3 requirements for the VIP rule

Keep this idea in mind when about to go outside for a run:
1. What is the temp? dress for 5- 20 degrees warmer.
2. Is it windy? This steals your heat without protection.
3. Is it wet? Wetness robs you of warmth.

Now get out there and run.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Race Day

Fall races are here! This is the time of year when most start to doubt their training plans, training partners, and get worried about their upcoming races. This is the time to see how well you have prepared yourself to take on the challenges you signed up for!

If you are behind on your training, make sure your "race" turns into a long run. If you have spent the time to follow a plan be sure to align everything to allow yourself to run towards your goal and achieve it!

Many of you have spent the last 2- 8 months training to run a marathon, half marathon, 10k or 5k. It is through all you training runs that you learn about how your body reacts to different situations. You learn which gels, drinks or water you like, or more importantly, don't like. You have spent many hours either by yourelf or with training partners for moral support, to try new ideas, just to keep you motivated.

During the race here are a few tips to keep you motivated:
1. Stick to the plan - (now is not the time to try something new)
2. Try to run a negative split, if possible. (Start slow and speed up vs. too fast and crash)
3. Hydration and nutrition play HUGE roles in performance, don't forget!
4. Walk breaks may actually allow you to finish faster!
5. Smile for the cameras!

Look forward to seeing many smiling faces on race day.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"Do I need new shoes?"

This is the type of question I get asked daily. There is no easy response. A response will require more information regarding the pair of shoes:
How many miles are on them?
Do you wear them daily?
When did you purchase them?
What do they feel like?

These are the type of questions I ask as I look at the shoes and place my hand inside to feel the cushioning near the forefoot. I look at wear patterns on the out sole. I look at the alignment component to see if it has broken down.

Here are a few ways to make your shoes last longer:
1. Track mileage, keep a log and record mileage, if you walk around in the shoes that equates to 4 miles / hour.

2. Have quiet feet while running. If you hear your shoes sliding in on the heel, or pushing off with your toes this puts substantial pressure on the foam and prematurely wears down the mid sole.

3. Run more efficiently. By working on your cadence,180 steps / min, you will require less out of your shoes. The longer your foot is in contact with the ground the more the mid sole is being compressed. This is where you can prematurely wear out mid soles.

4. Rotate shoes, if you are running 25 - 30+ miles a week get a second pair. Alternate your shoes. They will feel better and last slightly longer than if you wear one pair.

Some rules to follow for shoes in the $90-$140 range, lower priced shoes 1/2 the time
20 miles a week 4months
30 miles a week 3 months
40 miles a week 2 months

By following this simple rule you can run longer and feel better.

Of course it would be easier to just tell everyone that they need a new pair, since I own a running shoe store, but really it depends.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Reviewing my stats from the Grand Colombian 1/2 iron distance triathlon vs. last year I noticed a few consistencies.
Swim time exactly the same, (- .2 sec)
Bike time +2 min
Run time +2 min
Overall I was quite a bit lower in the results due to the large amount of Kona bound athletes that came out and rocked the course in preparation for their big race. All in all, I am quite pleased with my performance.
My plan was simple: finish, and feel good.
To finish smart I had to plan a strategy that would allow me to finish the entire race. Since I'll be racing again the following weekend, same distance. I need time to recovery and race again within 6 days.
I chose to race purely on a set HR. In my experience I can bike and run comfortably near 150 and 160 respectively. So I decided to split the difference and go with 155HR as the target. When ever I looked at my watch I wanted to see 155, ignore everything else! Only HR, only HR, only HR.
For nutrition I allocated 2000 Kcal for the whole race. The plan is to intake nearly 1/2 of the expected output of energy.
As I met up with my fellow teammates from KBA RACING, on Friday afternoon all of us are talking about race day plans and some are looking over the list of entrants, sizing up the competition, I just listen quietly and tell myself to stick to the plan. It is very easy to get sucked up in the hype of a race and go after someone and race THEIR race not yours.
Race morning, it's wet outside, but the sky's are clearing, hmm not so bad. I love the 9AM start, exactly how my body likes to start. We make our way over to the start area, check the bike, get all our bags in the correct places, body marking, idle chit chat and eagerly await the start.

Race starts: Swim course is nicely laid out, with a line about 6' underwater to follow. Head down, go! After rounding the first buoy, the swim gets strung out and I find myself just behind the leaders 15m, but ahead of the chase group, ahh clean water, I find my smooth stroke and just glide along all the way. Not being a fan of drafting in the swim and getting hit an kicked, I like to swim alone.
Bike: Grab my bag run into the changing tent and get ready for the bike. Since the chip seal roads are quite rough, I chose to wear an additional pair of bike short for the bike section. This turned out to be a smart choice. Bike course covers about 53.5 miles with over 5000' of uphill. It seems to be 2 miles short. Within the first 2 miles the road goes from a nice flat to a 10% grade! Cars struggle up these type hills! This is when I start to check in with my HR, as expected it is well above. Knowing that it will be high until the grade levels off I choose to just keep spinning. Once the road levels off, near 3% now, I settle into my HR strategy. I start to look around some and notice there is a wind coming out of the South East, this is both a blessing and curse. In the early part of the race it is a side-head wind but it will be a nice tail-cross wind to push me up the long hill after Elmira. So I take note to use it to my advantage. On a short out and back I see KBA Racing team Mike and Chris having a great bike leg, not too far behind only a few miles at this point. Once turned around, I see Phil, then Heidi. After a few shouts of encouragement I settle back into my focus on HR. Somehow in this next 15 minutes I seem to get away from everyone, not sure how. I had a view down the road for a few miles and could see no one. I took a quite peek behind and again no one. It would stay this way nearly all the way to the finish. I knew I was on course, but being out their alone was strange. Just kept eating and watching the HR and soon I was flying down the hill into the transition. Felt good on the bike noted a max speed of 46mph.
After a quick change into running shoes, off I head into the double out and back. I settle into nice smooth run after about 1/2 mile. Note to self, more brick workouts. Get into the groove and start running well after the first mile. Quick HR check and now it's time to cruise. Wondering where I'll see the leaders and fellow teammates. Stick to the plan, walk through every aid station drinking 2 cups of drink, then start running again. Felt great all through 10 miles or so. This is when the lack of training set in. Just switched into the move efficiently mode, gave the arm swing all the effort. The last uphill I slowed while the arms worked hard to get me up, after this the last 1/2 mile is down to the finish. I just let go and flew knowing I'll be done in a few minutes.
I came in just 2 minutes slower than the year before. Pleased with my race.

Later, I check my watch info and my average HR was 155.
Total calories burned 5235, Kcal consumed, 1970 +/-100

KBA Racing placed 2nd in the Team catagory. Good day for racing.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Where did summer go?

Here we are in the middle of September already. Where did time go? I had plans for training and racing triathlons this summer. Was it the weather that got in the way or was it myself that just didn't feel like training? Either way summer ever came to the Northwest this year.

Time demands from all directions have increased and something had to give. I chose my personal training time As I'm packing for the Grand Columbian 1/2 iron distance triathlon I'm thinking where did time go? I had some great swim practices, almost got arrested one time for swimming ( more later) My biking practice has consisted of riding with my son and helping runners around Lake Washington as they ran, mobile aid station. My running is, well, my running. I am blessed with the ability to know how to run.

Back to the attempted arrest. Apparently it is illegal to swim, at Gene Coulon Park, outside of the lifeguarded area. A member of the City of Renton Parks Dept. pointed this out to our small group of weekly swimmers, in wetsuits, one morning. We all stood there kinda like "really?" We still went for our swim of 1 mile. This got me to thinking. (This can be sometimes a little dangerous) My idea of a "swim park" came to life and I have a meeting with the City of Renton and the Parks Dept to create an open water swim park.

Hopefully, my inner strength of knowing I can do it, will get me to the finish. Not hitting my goal time will be OK for me. Having the ability to just go and finish is a win.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

It's gotta be the shoe

As many of you may have heard, the barefoot trend is slowly picking up momentum.

IF you are inclined to try it out be very careful. I say careful because there is an "adjustment period" that your body, feet, legs, muscles, tendons, and joints will go through. The period may last from a few weeks to years.
There are a few stories out there that say the running shoe industry is causing all the injuries in runners. To get rid of your shoes and run the "natural way" the way we were born to run.
If we look a little deeper into the design phase of shoes from these companies, I have friends there, they actually go to great lengths in designing shoes with biomechanics in mind. They understand the biomechanics and impact forces encountered with running. However, the end user may not. They may purchase a shoe base on a review, friends advice, or a sales person telling them this is the perfect one for them. Many also look at shoes online and pick the color that bests matches most of their clothing.
There are many choices in running footwear out there. There is a do it yourself lace up sandle, Vibram Five Fingers, racing flats, light weight trainers, traditional running shoes, and now:

These are unlike any shoe I have ever ran in in over 30+ years of running.
Truly an amazing shoe.

What is it? Why would anyone want to run in them?
First of all the shoe feels like you are floating over all the rocks, but yet your foot is stable since you are in the midsole. The shoe just soaked up all the trail impefections and gave a smooth gentle ride. I purposely ran off trail, over large rocks, and changed my running to a heavy heel strike to see if I could get the shoe to feel bad. Nope. The shoe rolled merrily along.

I had very little jarring and impact from a nice 10 mile run on the Pacific Crest Trail.
With 100mm across the bottom of your foot, just under 4 inches in width, it will be very hard to roll your ankle since you are on such a stable platform. The toe off was real smooth, the sole rolls upward just in front of the ball of the foot. Quickly, my cadence was at my noraml 180. DId I mention they are NOT heavy. They will come in at or below most trail shoes on the market today, 10.5 ounces - 12.0 ounces

I can tell you first hand that these shoes will make you really think about your running (in a good way) and what having FUN is all about.

I'll be the guy wearing the "funny looking" shoes that gives you a "on your left" as I float along the trail.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

getting back at it

OK so it seems that we have neglected our blog. It's true. Life has taken us in so many directions something had to give.
Well, I will try my best to bring the blog back to life and share running antidotes, race day mantra's and other training and life's important lessons learned.

We have a weekend full of racing adventures planned. This Saturday is the White River 50 Mile trail race, down near Crystal Mountain, WA. Iliana will be running her first 50 miler! She is well prepared, nervous, excited, and scared all at the same time. I'll be there to help her throughout the day crewing her. Which means I drive around like crazy trying to catch her at a few aid stations for a brief minute or less wish her well and encourage her to get going on towards the finish. The race starts at 6:30 AM.
On Sunday I'll be racing at the Whisky Dick Triathlon, Vantage to Ellensburg, WA. This weekend will no doubt test both of our abilities, between driving done on Friday afternoon, all over Saturday, come home unload, repack head to Ellensburg, wake early head to Vantage, back to Ellensburg, rest a little then drive back home for a nice restful Sunday evening.
Wish us well.