A lighter racing slate this weekend. Gary Gellin will be at the Quicksilver 50 Mile near San Jose, CA. There is also a 50k and 25k race option. The 50 mile course has over 8,500' of vertical over very scenic terrain. Jim Johnson will be at the James Joyce Ramble 10k which is also the USATF-NE Grand Prix 10K Championships in Dedham, MA. This Sunday, Joe Gray will be racing the Bloomsday 12k which is also the Washington State Road Running Championships.
Friday, April 29, 2011
Thursday, April 28, 2011
A race very ultrarunner should run at least once is the Promise Land 50K+. It is a course that has over 8,000 feet of climb in 33+ miles, on horse trails, old fire roads, and single track, and has got to be the most beautiful 50K on the east coast, if not in the country. Past top-five finishers for men and women have included inov-8's JB Basham (a past winner), inov-8's Anne Lundblad (who still holds the women's CR), Krissy Moehl, Hal Koerner, Scott Jurek, Clark Zealand (who still owns men's CR), Annette Bednosky, Jen Shelton, and inov-8's Sean Andrish (another past winner). In other words, many of the big dogs have run well there and you should too---it was just me and JB this year and it would be awesome to get more Team inov-8 representation next spring!
I wore my trusty inov-8 Roclite 268s and once again they performed like champs. It was a slick course this year but they were awesome on the tricky, wet, rocky sections as well as the muddy horse trails.
My race report on my blog is here. Happy Trails!
2) Team member since: 2005
3) City/state of residence: Asheville, NC
4) Occupation: Manufacturing Manager @ SGL Group, Inov-8 Team Manager
5) Goals for 2011: Have a nice balance with family, running and work. Stay healthy. Try some new ultra races and revisit the ones I have liked in the past. Take Aaron Saft out on a long run and drop him. Moon Jason Bryant in the middle of one of his ultra races.
6) Notable achievements/memories/PR’s in your sport:
Wins at Mt. Mitchell 40, JFK 50, Tussey 50, Shut In Ridge, BelMonte 50k & 50 mile, GEER 100k, Strolling Jim 40, Uwharrie 40, Iceage 50, and Chicago Marathon PR in 2002.
7) Favorite inov-8 gear: Roclite 295, X-talon 212, Road-X 233, F-lite 230 & 220
8) List one thing others may not know about you: I’m obsessed with yard work, good beer and staying in a routine. Anne unfortunately knows about all of these.
9) Favorite energy drink/food: Honey Stinger products, Amazing Grass products, Bells Hopslam, Sprecher IPAx2
10) Your favorite race and why? Mt. Mitchell Challenge 40 and JFK 50 – mixed topography (you get bored of one surface or terrain then comes something new)
11) Advice to other athletes: As a runner be yourself. Don’t get caught up in what other runner’s wear, what others do for workouts, mileage, and nutrition. Learn the majority of this through your own trial and error. You’ll become a better runner quicker and with less chance of injury. Everybody is different, what works well for one runner may not work for you.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Monday, April 25, 2011
Peter Maksimow and Tommy Manning raced to a tie in 1:57:33 at the 25k Cheyenne Mountain Trail Race in Colorado Springs. The results give Peter the win. At the Promiseland 50k, Jonathan Basham ran a solid race with a 2nd OA finish. JB's time was a speedy 4:40:55 on the mountainous course. Sophie Speidel was the 1st female master runner with a time of 6:46:38.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Penwood State Park, CT
10.5 mile loop
5400’ of climbing
This is only the second year of this addition to the New England Ultra calendar, and I was excited to see some new trails. The course consists of three 10.5 mile loops, which are described as half singletrack and half carriage roads. After having run the race, I would describe the course as mostly singletrack, with a 1.5 mile section of broken pavement on each loop. When I think of carriage roads, I think of a trail I could drive my Subaru on; fire access roads in state parks, trails that you can run, look around on, etc. While there were certainly wide trails on the Traprock route, most were not drivable, and I keep my eyes on the trail. The first half of the loop has two hard but short climbs and the most technical sections of trail, and the last half is more runnable, especially the pavement section. The trail is wide, but it is more like wide singletrack than carriage roads.
Based on an expectation of a lot of carriage road, I decided to wear my new Road X 233’s, which I have been wearing on the trails regularly. Looking at the entrant list, I knew that my teammates Dane Mitchell and Jason Friedman would be attending, but I also spotted Brian Rusiecki when I went to drop my gear at the start. Brian recently chased our team manager, Mark Lundblad, all day long down at the Belmonte 50 miler, and usually beats me in ultras. Dane is filling in for Leigh Schmitt as the big fast trail guy in New England, and was 4th at last years JFK 50 mile, along with several other 50k wins.
Brian and Dane let me lead up the steep hill right at the start, and I soon started to open up a small lead. My pace was probably just an effort to warm up and there was no reason to force anything this early, so I backed off and the three of us ran together for most of the first loop. I thought about surging when Brian made a pit stop, but that’s not very nice, and I didn’t want to instigate an unrealistic change of pace. The trail was more technical than I expected, and I was wondering how fast we were going to be able to run for all 50k. Based on the description, the course looked faster than the Pisgah 50k, which I can run in about 3:45 on a good day, so I was initially guessing that I could run around 3:40. However, the CR from last year was 4:18, which definitely made me think the course might be slower than I was expecting. We completed the first 10.5 miles in about 79 minutes, and at that point I wasn’t sure I would be breaking 4 hours.
As we started the second loop, it was obvious that Dane was looking to stretch his legs. The pace up that first hill felt more like hill repeat than ultra speed, and gaps soon formed. I settled into second and focused on maintaining contact with Dane while not pushing too hard. Brian fell back on the hills, but the both of just about caught up with Dane towards the end of the technical singletrack. Brian asked me what I said to piss Dane off, and I did admit to saying something about his mother, so maybe that was it. We were clearly moving faster on this second tour, at least it felt that way. The rest of the race was spent chasing the Dane train.
As we approached the start of the pavement section, I was able to catch up with Dane. After a few minutes of running together, he started to slowly pull away at a pace that was a bit too fast for me with over 90 minutes of running left. Dane built a lead of about 30 seconds over the last 3 miles, and pulled further away on the big hill at the start of the final loop. I spotted him on the stone stair climb about 15 minutes into the loop as I passed some guy who was going up on all fours. Dane was still only about 40 seconds ahead at the out and back section in the middle of the loop, but I didn’t feel good enough to make any sort of push at that point. My legs felt better as I passed the section right on the edge of a cliff, and I decided to try and increase my pace over the last 25 minutes.
The fatigue in my legs made the broken pavement section slower than I would have liked, and I tried to push harder than the last big hill following the pavement. This hill made it obvious that I was running as hard as I could, as both quads started to cramp about halfway up the hill. I was able to keep running, but I had to back off to prevent major issues. Fortunately it wasn’t an electrolyte issue, as the cramping subsided as soon as I reached the top of the hill, and I was able to run hard into the finish.
Dane ran 3:55:17 for the win, I followed about 80 seconds back, and Brian was third in 4:04. Jason finished strong to hold off Adam Wilcox and Ryan Welts by less than 90 seconds to earn fourth. After the race, Dane thanked me for backing off and allowing him to walk a bit on that final hill. I guess we were all pretty spent at that point. Steve Nelson, Kevin Hutt, and the rest of the race staff did a great job with the race organization. The course has a bit of everything, and it’s a great venue for runners to get introduced to ultras.
My 233’s were the perfect choice for me, but it was obvious that many inov-8 models worked well at this race. Dane was pleased with his 212’s, Jason wore 190’s, and I saw other runners in 230’s, 285’s, and 295’s. I chose the 233’s due to how they feel on faster trails, the surprisingly good traction in the dry, and protection from small rocks. It wasn’t a particularly abusive course, but my recover was very short. My legs were not sore at all the next day on a 9 mile run, and I was able to do a hill workout the second day after the race.
Despite not being able to stick with Dane towards the end, it was a good race for me. It would be nice if the rest of life were as easy as a 50k trail race. You train, run a time that usually aligns with your fitness level, and can hopefully be satisfied at races where you don’t win. You can even look back at the data from a race and get feedback on improving your training. This definitely contrasts with many other challenges. My current comparison is applying to faculty positions. You train for an interview to compete for a position. There isn’t really anything positive about second place, and feedback is rare to nonexistent. I guess the one commonality between these two challenges is the recovery: heavy drinking!
Friday, April 22, 2011
Jonathan Basham and Sophie Speidel will be racing the Promiseland 50k. A tough and beautiful course in the mountains on VA. Peter Maksimow will be at the Cheyenne Mountain 25k. There is also a 50k option for this inaugural event at the Cheyenne Mountain State Park near Colorado Springs, CO.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Foothills Trail, Upstate S.C.
April 16-17, 2011
20 hrs 47 min (New Female Speed Record)
FOOTHILLS TRAIL April 16-17, 2011
1:45am: After tossing and turning for four hours, I finally gave up on any illusion of sleep, got up and turned on the coffee. I had gone to bed listening to the howling wind and rain bombarding my windows. Tornado warnings had been issued across the Southeast and the weatherman had recommended that all sensible people should “hunker down” for the night. Instead, I was about to set out for a 77-mile solo adventure across the Foothills Trail, a remote and rugged trail along Blue Ridge Escarpment in upstate South Carolina.
3:30am: We arrived at the trailhead at Table Rock State Park. I had managed to doze a bit during the drive down (fortunately, I wasn’t at the wheel), but the force of the wind blowing the Subaru around made it difficult to get any solid rest. I sat in the parking lot for a few minutes, hoping against hope that the wind and rain would die down, while knowing that the radar showed at least three more hours of storms. Finally, I filled my fanny pack, strapped on two headlamps, grabbed my water bottles, and was off.
The trail was dark and wet. It was nearly impossible to see the white blazes through the fog. The river roared below me, and between that and the sound of the wind and rain, the noise was nearly deafening. I had chosen this weekend for my run because of the full moon, but I didn’t get a glimpse of it through the heavy cloud cover. The first 9.7 miles of the trail circumnavigate Pinnacle Mountain and climbed Sassafras Mountain, South Carolina’s highest peak. This is a rocky area and the heavy rainfall had created multiple mini waterfalls across the trail. Creek crossings that can usually be rock-hopped had turned into knee-high rivers. I typically don’t mind a little water, but I have to admit that I was terrified crossing many of these areas, knowing that one false move could send me slipping off into the dark abyss. I am not by nature a religious person, but I did resort to prayer, and after an hour-long conversation with God, I did manage to feel a little more confident and less alone. After going off trail once for about thirty minutes, I finally managed to make it to Sassafras, where I met Mark for some much-needed aid and encouragement, although I think he was just as freaked out by the weather as I was.
At that point in the run, I seriously considered dropping. The weather was miserable and scary, and it hadn’t taken me long to realize that I’m really not a solo adventure-type runner. As much as I’d love to be one of those hard cores who disappear for days or weeks into the woods, maybe that’s just not me. But the other part of me remembered that I had put this goal out there and it would be just plain embarrassing to go home after only ten miles. I decided to continue on to the entrance of Laurel Valley and take stock there.
Reaching Laurel Valley an hour or so later, I had a decision to make. The next portion of the run was a wild and remote 34-mile stretch through the Jocassee Gorges area, accessible only by boat. Once I entered, I was committed to a minimum of eight hours alone and without aid. By then, the rain was tapering off and my spirits were rising. I had done that section of the trail before and felt confident that I could complete it during daylight. If I decided to call it a day at Whitewater Falls, the end of this section, at least I would have completed 47 miles, a respectable distance.
An hour or two into Laurel Valley, the sun began to peak through the clouds. Soon, the clouds had vanished completely, leaving a perfect blue sky and gorgeous spring day. The trail was covered with mayapples, wild iris, and trillium. Birds began to sing and life was good. I maintained a pretty steady pace over the multiple bridges and 1,500 wooden steps, managing to avoid getting off trail except on two brief occasions. Since the trail followed the river for extended periods, there were plenty of opportunities to fill my bottles. Mark ran in to meet and accompany me for the final ten miles, which provided a moral boost.
Finishing up the Laurel Valley section, my confidence level was high. It had turned into a lovely day and my energy level was good. My legs were beginning to ache but the pain was nothing a couple of ibuprofen couldn’t mask for the time being. I finished the section in 8:30, about thirty minutes faster than I had when I ran a 47-mile training run back in February. I cruised through the next three sections, which were 4.7, 3.3, and 3.9 miles respectively.
The next portion of the trail, 10.4 miles from Burrell’s Ford to Cheohee Road, was the only part that I hadn’t had the opportunity to recon beforehand. I had been warned that this section was tricky, as there are a number of spur trails, tricky turns, and an intersection with the Bartram Trail. I had daylight for the first hour, which was great. When darkness set in, however, it was a different story. Although the night was clear and silent, a peaceful reprieve from the conditions I had endured earlier in the run, the blazes seemed faded and farther apart. There were a couple of spots where the trail ran through campsites, which provided a good opportunity for me to ask for directions, but afterwards, seemed a little sketchy. Should I have told those three guys with a pile of empty Bud Lite cans that I was alone and over ten miles away from my destination?
The overflowing Chattooga River presented challenges of its own. The trail parallels the river for some distance and at one point it was completely underwater. I had missed the high water detour, which was marked from the other direction, but not in the way I was traveling. In the darkness, I couldn’t see much except that it appeared that the trail had ended, so I took a deep breath and plunged in, expecting water to be up to my ankles, not my butt. The river was cold and moving quickly. I tried to move quickly as well in order to get back on solid ground.
Back on the trail, I glanced at my watch, noting that my pace had fallen off substantially as a result of the darkness, the river, and several meanderings off trail. I figured I still had about four miles to go in this section when I saw a tiny light ahead and heard a desperate voice calling, “Is that you, Anne?” Apparently Mark had noticed my slowing pace as well, and having expected me at the next crew access point much earlier, had started down the trail, convinced I was lost or injured. It was a pleasant surprise to have some company for the remainder of this section and before I knew it, I was at Cheohee Road, only six miles from the finish. I had run this section previously and knew it to be better marked, less technical, and without any major climbs. A quick check of the watch revealed that a 4 mph pace would result in a sub-21 hour finish, so I swallowed a few gulps of Coke and took off. The final miles were bliss, illuminated by moonlight and stars. The fatigue and lack of confidence that had plagued me earlier in the day melted away and running felt effortless. I arrived at the car and a relieved Mark around 1:30am, 20 hours and 47 minutes after I set out, tired, hungry, sweaty, stinky, and happy.
Post script: Although I swore many times during and immediately following this adventure that I was “done” with this sort of thing, I have already begun my search for the next challenge.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
1) Primary sport (s): Trail Running, Cross Country
2) Team member since: 2011
3) City/state of residence: Berkeley, California
4) Occupation: History Graduate Student at the University of California in Berkeley
5) Goals for 2011: I am hoping for high finishes in the USATF 15K and Half-Marathon trail championships as well as a marathon in either the summer or the fall.
6) Notable achievements/memories/PR’s in your sport: I look back fondly on the Lithia Loop marathon in 2009 which was that year’s USATF Trail Marathon championship. I finished 2nd and I’ve never felt so strong throughout a race. It was incredible running back down the hill towards the finish and dropping a 4:45 22nd mile. I’m not sure if my legs will ever again move that fast so late in a race.
7) Favorite inov-8 gear: I’m very fond of the f-lite 230, but am looking forward to trying out the Talon 212s.
8) List one thing others may not know about you: I am on a quest to find decent French rap music. Let me know if you find any.
9) Favorite energy drink/food: At the end of a long or hard race I do not reach for an energy drink or water or even a beer. Foodies and health nuts can go ahead and cringe, but the best thing after a tough race is a cold can of Coca-Cola... and then a cheeseburger.
10) Your favorite race and why? It’s hard to say an exact favorite, but I really enjoy running races in the southeast in the winter. It’s brisk, but never too cold. Real running weather. I love the 3M Half-Marathon in Austin, TX and will always have a special place in my heart for the one race in my hometown: The Santa Scramble 5K Run and Walk.
11) Advice to other athletes: Push the envelop. Moving past our comfort zone is part of what makes us really human, otherwise we’re just clever animals sitting around watching the blinking lights on our TVs and computers. I’ve always thought that one of the ways to justify our rather malignant presence in this world is by exploring what the limits of life truly are. So, test boundaries, run an extra-mile, wake up an hour early to get that much more training in to find out just who or what you might be. Sometimes you have to get a little crazy in order to find the new.
Monday, April 18, 2011
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Anne Lundblad will be making a solo attack on the 77-mile long Foothills Trail in upstate South Carolina. She's got her eye on a sub-24 hour finish, which has been accomplished by only one woman to date. Sean Andrish and Dave James will be racing one of the toughest 50 mile races in the US, at the Zane Grey 50 miler. The course is point-to-point along the scenic but rugged Highline Trail from Pine to Christopher Creek, AZ. Amber Moran will be back at it this weekend. She is taking on the inaugural Mayland Toxic Trail 15k in Spruce Pine, NC. There is also a 5k race option up in scenic high country of WNC. Dane Mitchell will be racing the Traprock 50k. A 3-loop course on single and double track at Penwood State Park in Bloomfield, CT. Sabrina Moran will be competing as a member of a relay team this weekend at the Happy Pace Race 24-Hour Relay. The 24 hour race is at the Sandy Bottom Nature Park in Hampton, Virginia. The team relay record is 553 miles, and her team is hoping to break that record. Joe Gray will be at the Bellevue 10k in Bellevue, WA this Sunday.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Merrimack River 10 mile trail race
North Andover, MA
My first Merrimack River trail race was probably the day I realized that I am much more competitive on trails than on any other surface. I was a very distant second to a CR performance from Dave Dunham, but was ahead of many people that would easily beat me on the roads. The next year, in 2000, I beat Dave by 3 seconds for the win. This year was my 13th consecutive race, and it seems impossible so much time has gone by.
My training has been going well, and with cool and dry conditions I was hoping for a fast time. The Merrimack trail is definitely fast, but this doesn’t make it easy. There is really no place to rest. The gun goes off, and if you want a fast time, you have to go out hard and hope that you can hold on for about 60 minutes. A select group of two have run under 57 minutes (Dave and Paul Low), and while breaking an hour has been done by a number of racers, there aren’t that many times under 59 minutes. I told Kevin Tilton that I thought that there would be some 57 and 58’s with the good conditions and solid field.
I managed to get a good start this year and filed into second behind Judson Cake, who is coming off a strong snowshoe season. Kevin Tilton and Chris Mahoney, two of my CMS teammates, were close behind as we settled into the first mile, which passed in about 5:05 for the four of us. Kevin and Chris went around me as Judson started to pull away, and the pace stayed quick for the second mile, which I went through in 10:15. There are a few slower sections in the third mile, but I was surprised to see 16:15 as we ran by the marker. I think Kevin thought it was a bit slow, as he and Judson seemed to begin to pull away at this point, with Chris sliding back towards me. The top two were consistently gaining a second or two on the small hills, but we were all still within a few seconds at 4 miles. Judson and Kevin pulled away on the steep power line hills, and were about a half minute ahead at the 5 mile turn around.
I was only a few seconds in back of Chris, and got to within a couple seconds when he slipped on one of the many gullies. I was definitely gaining ground on the hills, but he would pull away quickly as soon as he hit runnable terrain. Kevin and Judson were out of sight, so I was just focused on trying to hold my pace and run a fast time. I was somewhere around 29 minutes at the turn, and was hoping to be able to run a strong second half and have a shot at breaking 59 minutes.
Unfortunately, after working hard to gain ground on Chris, I went down trying to avoid some oncoming runners. It could have been much worse, as I just missed smashing my face on a two foot high boulder. One of the female racers screamed as I fell, thinking I was going to dive into the boulder. I was able to get my hand out and roll off to the side without losing much time, but it took me a while to get back up to speed.
The rest of the race involved staring at Chris’ singlet and trying to hold my pace. I felt like I was making good time, but my watch was telling another story. A good race at Merrimack usually involves positives splits, maybe only losing 30-60 seconds in the second half. I ended up running about 90 seconds slower. Some of that was due to the fall, but I also had no knee lift the last couple miles. For most of the race I was thinking that I was on pace for a low 59, but when I looked at my watch at 58 minutes and realized I had a good amount of trail left, I was worried about breaking an hour. I’ve had a few races over 60 minutes, and I didn’t want to regress to that point. I finally reached the finish in 59:43, and was pretty done.
Judson joined the sub 58 club with an even paced 57:31. Ironically, Kevin, Chris, and me have all run in the mid 57’s, but we were all over 59 on Saturday. Although all four of us seem to be in pretty good shape, it’s funny how difficult it is to run under 59 minutes, even if you have done it previously. Comparing our splits with previous years, I think the key may have been mile 2. It was very fast, and it might have been a bit too much too soon. Besides Judson, the rest of the top four had a pretty significant slowdown over the last few miles.
Kevin and I both wore X-Talon 190’s. They were perfect for a fast course that has some difficult technical sections you approach very quickly. I’m not sure what you have to do to get those things to slip on a downhill. I think my legs give out before I get to that point.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
1) Primary sport (s): Ultra-running, Multi-day speed hiking 2) Team member since: 2005 3) City/state of residence: currently Allentown PA, but moving to Greenwater WA in July 4) Occupation: Finish carpenter 5) Goals for 2011: CR @Promise Land 50K, Complete my "Triple Gem" (Colorado Trail, Long Trail, John Muir Trail) by thru-hiking the John Muir Trail with my wife Hilary in July, Speed attempt on John Muir Trail in Sept. (undecided on supported or unsupported), 13th finish and sub 7hr @MMTR 50 in VA, run @ least 1 new ultra, and remain healthy and fit. I have a few more projects that Im still working on for 2011. 6) Notable achievements/memories/PR’s in your sport: Current supported speed record holder for Vermont’s Long Trail, previous supported speed record holder of the Colorado Trail, 9th finisher of the Barkley Marathons 7) Favorite inov-8 gear: Roclite 285 (training and shorter distances); Roclite 319 (longer distance/mulit-day event); Roclite 288GTX (multi-day events, peakbagging, thru-hiking). 8) List one thing others may not know about you: I’m a wannabe professional big mountain snowboarder 9) Favorite energy drink/food: I have been successful using Nuun tablets during races and Ultragen Recovery drink from First Endurance. In addition, Honey Stinger gels and chews (pomegranate) always go down easy during races and they are my primary source of fuel during all my endurance events. 10) Your favorite race and why? The Mountain Masochists 50 Mile Trail Run in Virginia. Although this was my second ultra 12 years ago, MMTR is really where it all started for me. For me, the MMTR is more about camaraderie and experiencing autumn in Virginia as opposed to running a fast race. 11) Advice to other athletes: Be consistently active year round, yet take breaks and rest the mind and body. Try new activities and incorporate cross-training into your schedule. Practice yoga regularly; your body will love you for it!
Monday, April 11, 2011
Michele Hartwig won the overall female title at the Winona Lake 50 Miler. Michele's winning time was 10:38. She wore the Roclite 268's on the muddy, technical course. Dwight Shuler was 9th OA at the Lake Junaluska Duathlon, with a 1:29:50 finishing time. Abby Mahoney was the top female at the Northern Nipmuck 16 Mile Trail Race in Bigelow Hollow, CT. Abby wore the Terroc 308's and improved 3 minutes on her time from 2010 with a 2:30:45 clocking. Kevin Tilton was 2nd OA (59:07) and Ben Nephew was 4th OA (59:43) at the Merrimack River Trail 10 Miler in Andover, MA. Jim Johnson won the 30th Annual Red's Shoe Barn 5 Miler in Dover, NH with a speedy 25:25 time on the challenging 5 mile course. Jim wore the new Bare-X lite 155's (test pair, available Fall 2011). Yassine Diboun was 2nd OA at the Peterson Ridge Rumble 40 miler. Yassine's time was 4:27:20, less than minute out of first with a speedy 6:41 mile pace.
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Friday, April 8, 2011
Michele Hartwig will be racing this weekend at the Winona Lake 50 miler in Indiana. It is a scenic and challenging 10+ mile loop starting in the afternoon with a night time finish. Dwight Shuler will be racing the 3rd annual Lake Junaluska Duathlon in Western NC. Dwight will be wearing the new Road-X 255's and looking to improve upon his 2nd place OA finish here last year.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
In the past several years, there has been much debate within the running community regarding barefoot running, and subsequently (or jointly) toe- or mid-foot strike running patterns. I by no means want to add any fuel to the debate, however I find it an interesting topic, one that could potentially have a large impact on the running community. Anyone interested in both sides of this hot debate, there is a great synopsis in Runners World (February issue). Interestingly, a PhD candidate at the University of Massachusetts (Amherst) is currently conducting a study to look at the running mechanics and economy of toe-running and heal-striking. I was fortunate to be a guinea pig for her research.
The second part of the study was aimed at measuring the oxygen consumption during a series of treadmill tests to determine if heel or toe striking is more economical. I ran for 5 minutes at 3 different speeds for each footfall pattern, as my oxygen consumption was monitored. Additionally, accelerometers were placed on my forehead and ankle, to measure the accelerating forces as I ran with both footfall patterns.
It is hopeful that this research will provide scientific evidence on which footfall pattern is more economical and efficient, based on the forces exerted and effort expended for each. I, for one, am excited to see what this research concludes. In the mean time, Allison Gruber, who is conducting this study is looking for a few more test subjects to round out her study – particularly forefoot and mid-foot strikers. If you are in the area and interested in participating, you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, April 4, 2011
Ryan Woods took the overall victory at the Dry Creek Half-Marathon with a fast 1:18:59 winning time. Despite strong head winds, Amy Lane was the 1st female and 21st OA at the Westfield Half Marathon in 1:28:47 (a new PR). Also under windy race conditions, Dwight Shuler was 1st Master and 8th OA at the Greenway Challenge 10k in Black Mountain, NC. At the Sugarbush Triathlon, Kevin Tilton's team finished 3rd in the male team kayak division while only using two people while most teams used 4 people. Kevin had the fastest running split time 5.25 miles in 27:28 and the 10th fastest ski time.
Saturday, April 2, 2011
Road-X 233 = Bad @$$
This shoe has some great features going for it! When I opened the box, I wondered how the traction would function in wet conditions as the traction pattern is almost none existent. I was given the opportunity to put the "sticky" traction to the test on their first run.
I had a workout planned and wanted to give them a go. I had been using the Flite 230's previously, so I didn't just jump into this two arrow shoe without prior experience. I was pleasantly surprised by how much grip the 233's gave on the wet roads on which I was running. I chose a very hilly loop to give them a fair shake at different speads of a fartlek workout. I have a very low volume foot, not narrow, just thin height-wise if you will. Although I had to draw the laces in tight, just as I do with all shoes, the midfoot of the shoe really fit snugly. There is a significant curve to the shoe, but felt normal when I slipped it on. I did have to size down 1/2 a size. Usually I wear a 10.5-11 in Inov-8's, but I had to go with a size 10 in the 233's.
The heel of the shoe also cupped nicely around my achilles. I usually have to use the last eye hole on most shoes, but had no problems with this model. Once on the road, I received immediate feedback that this shoe is reponsive, light-weight, and a great fit! I was pleased as I found I forgot I was wearing shoes. The 233's felt like a part of my foot. My message, "Don't devolve your feet, revolve them with these new Road-X shoes!" Join the revolution!
Team Inov-8 Member & Revolution Master