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Archive for the ‘FiveFingers’ Category

1000 Miles on My Vibram FiveFingers KSO !!!

Posted by scott on July 25, 2011

I crossed a big milestone on the Munger State Trail near Hinckley, MN last Sunday – 1000 miles on my Vibram FiveFingers KSO.  I am still a huge fan of these, and they are my usual go-to shoes.  They are still in great shape, and have many more miles on them.  I will post a more detailed 1000-mile review soon.

More good miles to come, thanks for the memories KSOs!!

 

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Posted in FiveFingers, Shoes, Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

Why I Love Trail Running

Posted by scott on June 2, 2010

Photos from an early morning 13 miler last Monday say it all. What’s not to love about scenery like this? I will take this over pavement any day.

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Posted in FiveFingers, Training | 4 Comments »

New Gear Reviews

Posted by scott on January 20, 2010

I haven’t been posting a lot lately, many time commitments coaching hockey, holidays, etc.  I also tend to post more on Twitter these days since it is so easy to do from my phone, rather than take time for a post.

Having said that, I have also been writing a lot more Gear Reviews lately, and those pages don’t show up in the feed if you subscribe to this site.  So take a minute to browse those pages a bit if you are interested.

I have been trying out a lot of new gear this Winter, and am happy with a lot of things I’m using.  I’m sold on merino wool as a base layer.  I am also in love with my GoLite Wisp windshirt – I still can’t believe how warm it is for how light it is.  I took a break from FiveFingers and Feelmax shoes to test out some New Balance 100s.  This is a great shoe, and I will train in these for mid-range mileage, but I still like going minimal when I can.

Sights set on the Zumbro 100 – here we go!

Posted in Feelmax, FiveFingers, Shoes | 2 Comments »

Eagle Peak Trail Running at Mount Diablo State Park

Posted by scott on November 14, 2009

I was speaking at the Enterprise 2.0 conference in San Francisco a couple weeks back, and preceded it by spending the day with some field reps in the East Bay area.  I had researched a number of the NorCal Pacific Coast Trail Run course maps and locations, and even printed out a couple Google Maps thinking I might be able to sneak out of downtown SF for some trail running.  But I gradually accepted that long days and early sunsets would mean no trails this trip.  Right before leaving the hotel Monday morning, I quickly decided to just throw in my Five Fingers, some running wear, GPS, a towel, etc. just in case… you never know.  Man am I glad I did!

Final (?) Approach to Eagle Peak in Mt. Diablo State Park

As luck would have it we ended the day just a tad early out in Walnut Creek.  I had noticed some signs for Mt. Diablo State Park on the drive into the hills.  After we shut down for the day I dove into my travel folder and dug out one of my Google Maps, remembering that PCTR hosts a Fall event at Mt. Diablo.  What luck!

With GPS backing I was at the trailhead in about 15 minutes.  If only I had printed out the course maps before I gave up on my trail running dreams for the trip, I could have run the race route.  Fortunately, there was a good map at the trailhead, and trails are very well marked.  I didn’t have a lot of time and didn’t want to get lost on a big loop, so I quickly settled on an out and back up Eagle Peak on the Mitchell Rock Trail.

The trails were in great shape and the views were beautiful.  Sunset provided mesmerizing shadows and amusing but easily tolerable temperature differences between the valleys and the peaks.  The weather was absolutely perfect for an evening run and a light breeze wafted sage and juniper aromas.

Terrain varied a lot from sideslope traverses to ridge backbones to bizarre tunnels through thicket you had to duck under.  Most of the trail was a nice flat narrow gravel, with occasional rocky outcrops that reminded me of the Superior Trail.  I was a bit worried about making it out of the park in time to avoid the threatened lock in at sunset so I stopped for some photos but tried to keep moving on the way up.  I managed to summit the 2400 ft. Eagle Peak in 51 mins, which was a pretty good clip for me.  I saw the only other runner just descend the far side as I summitted.  I brief break for the views, and I started the descent at a full, quad-pounding clip.

I made it down in plenty of time for a total of around 6 miles.  My quads were screaming by the time I got down and it felt great.  The Walnut Creek folks are lucky to have a park like this in their back yard – I would love to camp with the family through smaller state parks like this someday, a lot more appeal in many ways than the packed National Parks.

View from Eagle Peak, Mt. Diablo State Park

View of Mitchell Rock Trail from Eagle Peak

More photos at flickr.

GPS details at Garmin Connect.

Posted in FiveFingers, Training | 1 Comment »

Parkour Training for Trail Running and Ultras

Posted by scott on October 5, 2009

Image credit: amfdesigner on flickr

I have recently become fascinated with Parkour (sometimes referred to as “free running”).  I know in internet-meme-time I’m like 3 years behind the curve, but so what.  I first heard about this in a Trail Runner article awhile back, and I have to say I rolled my eyes.  It almost seemed invented for print, I didn’t get that there was a whole movement around this thing, and some more interesting aspects that were missed.  Then a Rocketboom segment came along and I was a bit more intrigued.  Finally, I fell off my chair laughing at the Parkour scene from The Office.  OK, I’m getting the signal – I need to look into this.

Parkour is briefly described as the art of overcoming obstacles in the most efficient way possible.  Like anything, it has morphed into many sub-genres that span a spectrum from running combined with vaulting to street-based floor gymnastics to jumping buildings with multiple flips.  I will leave the building flips to others to thin the herd, but the most basic movements in Parkour are very appealing as a training tool for trails and ultras.

When basic Parkour is done well, you almost look like a fugitive.  The intent is to move very rapidly, as if in an emergency situation, and vault or otherwise clear obstacles rather than traversing around them.  Free running seems to emphasize freedom and creativity.  Parkour emphasizes directness, efficiency and economy.

There are a few basic vaulting techniques – Lazy, Speed, Kong, and Dash – that are foundational to Parkour and are used almost constantly.  These are the easiest techniques to start integrating into running, along with Wall Runs and Tic Tacs.  The great thing about these is that it turns a normal run into a heavier workout, adding core strength, balance and impact landings.  For a guy like me who loves to run races like Superior but just doesn’t take the time to put in laps at Afton this a great training technique.  I can pound my quads right in my own neighborhood!  It’s also very Crossfit-ish – you can get a very short but very intense workout in.  Do you remember the old fitness trail concept where some city parks added exercise equipment on the route?  Adam was recently onto a similar idea of adding obstacles and exercises on a course at RTA.  Sounds like a blast.

There is a lot of noise around Parkour, but here are a few resources I found useful:

Sites / Organizations

  • American Parkour is a large site with some good basic tutorials and large discussion forums.  Also links to many local groups.
  • Urban Freeflow is a UK-based group that also has a great site.  They have convenient links in the footer to YouTube videos they have posted for many specific Parkour techniques.
  • Meetup has groups for local Parkour groups that meeting for training sessions and Jams.

Videos

There are a million videos of Parkour on YouTube.  Here are a few I found most interesting.  These are more along the running side of thing than the gymnastic side of things.

  • Parkour in Latvia -ignore the “ninja” stuff in the title, this is a classic example of Parkour
  • Extreme game of tag – this is kind of amusing, but again gets to movement for speed and efficiency to avoid pursuit, not a lot of time-wasting techniques
  • Nearly human – this is dramatically arranged around an animalistic theme and has a mock encounter at the end, but is otherwise another great example of Parkour as means of fast and efficient movement.  And most of the techniques are in FiveFingers!

Posted in FiveFingers, Parkour, Training | 1 Comment »

Minimal Footwear Is Here To Stay

Posted by scott on June 17, 2009

The continuing verdict for me is that huaraches are here to stay for summer running.  It is just a blast to have the tops of your feet open to the breeze in this great summer weather.  I’ve gone up to 13 miles in them just fine, only a bit of chafing from the laces but I have an answer for that.  Good stuff.

However I was reminded yet again that running minimal is not without its risks.  My achilles was a bit sore at the beginning of a training run last week and rather than going shorter or easier, I went all out for a 7 miler – bad call.  Stretching your Achilles Tendon gradually and safely is probably the most important change that happens when you start running minimal or barefoot.  You have to carefully increase distance and pace, as is often preached in marathon training.  The difference is that you are much more impacted by the changes.  Anyhow, I’m still resting a few days and my AT is feeling better and better so I will be back at it in no time.

I still like my New Balance 790s and will be wearing those some of the time.  I will likely still race in these at Superior.  But Feelmax, huaraches, and Vibram FiveFingers are the staple diet for me.

Another amusing change that happens when you run minimal is that your feet get bigger.  It’s a combination of letting them get more stretched, building muscles, and increases the pads on the soles (soles are not tougher from barefooting, just thicker).  I’m glad I ordered a larger pair of 790s awhile back, because my toes are bumping the front of my current pair where I used to have room.  As your toes spread, FiveFingers also get much easier to put on.  Many people say they initially had to struggle into them, but after a year or more they are able to slip into them standing up.

Posted in Barefoot, Feelmax, FiveFingers, Huaraches, Shoes | 3 Comments »

Pleasure and Pain – Running with a Dog

Posted by scott on May 7, 2009

Our dog Nessie is a hard-core runner.  She absolutely loves our runs and is incredibly attuned to the slightest sign that a run might be coming up.  If I’m checking my bag before going to work the next day, she comes from anywhere in the house as soon as she hears the zipper.  Any time I touch running shoes (tidying them up in the closet, etc.), she is at my side.  Any now with our early morning long runs, any time I get up early she is following me around the house, just in case.  When a run is definitely imminent – running gear on, shoes on, GPS on – she whines and wimpers until we are out the door.

She is tons of fun on the trail.  She is constantly back and forth to be out front and then back to say hi.  She’s in and out of the woods flushing grouse and deer.  I put my old GPS on her last weekend and when I did 11.7 miles, she did 13.4.  She keeps looking back at me like she’s thinking “I can’t believe we get to do this!”

In town is still fun for her, but a bit more of a struggle for me.  She is constantly pulling me forward – it takes 3-4 miles for her to settle down into a comfortable pace.  I finally discovered that an extending leash, which I hate from a dog-training standpoint, is the most comfortable leash to hold even when she pulls.  I also try to hit trail areas early morning, when she can be off leash.

We had our biggest run-in (literally) a couple weekends ago when I painfully learned the hazards of barefoot-style running and dogs.  I was halfway into a 10-miler and things were going great in my FiveFingers when she suddenly darted in front of me.  My foot was swinging forward and I kicked her leg hard.  Fortunately for her, the VFFs meant she was OK but my foot erupted in instant pain.  I came to a full stop and shared some vocal thoughts for a few moments.  For the rest of that weekend I was sure it was broken!  Xray on Monday confirmed no fracture, so we are again on speaking terms.

The highlight for Nessie is when we get home, and she gets a raw egg (or more depending on distance).  She never lets me forget it, and follows me around the house until it’s in her dish (a polite small whine here and there to remind me).  It’s a little ritual I started after we first started running and I would get really crabby with all of her pulling.  I decided I needing to reset my attitude, so I started calling her “Coach” on the run and an egg for a treat when we got home.  I’m still kind of wondering if this is what she really likes about the run – just the egg!

Posted in FiveFingers, Training | 2 Comments »

Sore Calves and the Treadmill

Posted by scott on February 14, 2009

I have been a fair-weather winter runner and have only been going outside when the temp is in the balmy 20s and up.  So that means a lot of treadmill time, and I hate the treadmill.

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photo credit: normanack

One thing that I particularly don’t like is that my calves get really sore.  I have been a sort-of Chi runner since I started running in 2007, when Jeremy threw the idea at me as kind of a gag.  And I’m now reading the POSE book and trying to mix some of that in.  But the bottom line is that trying to do any kind of “falling” or forward-leaning style on a treadmill is a challenge.

I also love running in my Vibram FiveFingers, but again the treadmill is not ideal.  I find that my calves get a lot more sore when I’m on the treadmill, even when I run with 0 incline and at the same pace as I run outdoors.  I haven’t analyzed why, but it’s odd.  I also find that the balls of my feet get more sore on the treadmill – I’m guessing this is because you can’t naturally lean or spring off your feet as easily – you are too focused on trying to keep up with the machine rather than running naturally.  Oh well.

It feels great to be running again, even if only a little and on the treadmill.  I’m up to 3 miles per run, 3-4 times per week.  It’s a far cry from the the plan I had for this week when I made my 2009 training plan last fall:

M – 6
T – 5
W – 8
Th – 6
Sat – 20

for a weekly total of 45.  I’m going to stay at about 3 miles per run this week, do stairs or the parking ramp (the office is in total flatland) on Thursday and see how it goes.

Posted in FiveFingers, Training | 1 Comment »

Cold Weather Barefooting and Other Winter Kicks

Posted by scott on February 4, 2009

While most normal runners are spiking their shoes for winter, I’ve been experimenting.  I actually haven’t been running much, just some short runs here and there to test out the injury.  But I have wanted to get outside to test out some barefooting options for cold weather.

When things get into the high 20s and above, I stay in the FiveFingers.  I added a cutoff sock as an ankle warmer between my tights and shoes, and this has worked out pretty well:

FiveFingers Ankle Warmer

As the temperature heads towards zero, I turn to my Body Glove Cold Weather Distance Flats:

Wearing Body Glove Shoes

These are actually just 2mm water shoes from the marina near our cabin.  I wear Injinjis with them and they are fantastic in the colder weather.  They have tons of flex in them and a very soft thin sole, so you really feel the ground.  They are really warm and repel water a bit to keep feet dry.  They are definitely not waterproof, but they are definitely closer to it than typical running shoes.

For any notable distances or when things get really cold, I use my New Balance 790 trail shoes.  I got these last fall and haven’t put serious miles on them yet, but love them.  As far as full shoes go they are very minimal and lightweight.  They have a bit of tread on them, but not too aggressive, so you can actually run comfortably with them on pavement.  These will likely be my main shoe for any races in 2009.

Posted in FiveFingers, Shoes | 9 Comments »

Cleared the Hurdle with the FiveFingers Challenge!

Posted by scott on February 3, 2009

When I threw out the challenge, it was just a wild last minute idea and who knew what was going to happen?  To be realistic, a lot of folks were just making us wait and got their donations in at the last minute, or handed us checks the day of the Walk.  But I’m going to choose to believe that the FiveFingers challenge had something to do with us making our goal.  In fact, we didn’t just make our goal of raising $3000 to help find a cure for diabetes, we smashed it!

JDRF Walk 2009 Thermometer

Our Walk team raised a total of $3801 this year, which is so exciting.  I have no solid data to back this up, but ‘m going to credit Mike Hugo with heeding the VFF challenge call and getting in a very generous donation to tip us over the $3000 mark.  Thanks Mike!  And thanks to so many other generous friends and family members.

So I kept my part of the bargain and slipped into the ‘Fingers at the Mall for the Walk:

JDRF Walk 2009 FiveFingers Closeup

I’m sure embarassing our large group of friends:

JDRF Walk 2009 Group - 2

I saw a few odd looks, and got a couple comments.  Kids were especially interested in them – maybe their parents will let them stay barefoot longer!

Thanks again everyone, hopefully we will beat this yet.

Posted in FiveFingers, Life | 1 Comment »

 
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