Sunday, October 24, 2010

Getting itchy feet...

I guess the title has a double meaning to me at the moment. First is that I haven't had much time available to get out running. Work has been busy but also I'm moving from Australia to Ireland in a few days, yes days! It took a while to get it sorted, but I'm keeping my same job with the same company, which is fantastic! For weeks it seemed as though nothing was happening and then all of a sudden in a matter of 2-3 days it was approved and I had to book flights. I had promised my 4 year old son that I'd be home with him for Halloween, and I'll make it with a couple of days to spare. I don't often make promises, but I don't break any.
I did manage a 10k run on Tuesday after work. I set out and didn't have a particular route in mind, which was great. I headed off away from the freeway and soon found myself on roads that I hadn't been on before. I have a pretty good sense of direction, so I was comfortable that I knew I was doing one big loop. At one stage I didn't know the best direction to go, so I got my Garmin to point the way home, pretty cool! I was running along a quiet suburban road and saw a park, so I decided to run through it. After a minute or so I was thinking that it was really well kept and then realised it was a golf course! Oops! I turned around and ran on the road again...
I really enjoyed the run and it reminded me of all the hill walking I used to do in the Wicklow Mountains in Ireland years ago where I would just start walking and let myself get lost in the landscape. I'd be out for 8-9 hours a day and just relish the mountains and trees and rivers. I miss that...
Anyway, reason two for the title (remember?) is that I'll be traveling for 26 hours on Wednesday, flying from Sydney to Dublin. I have always loved traveling, even for work and have never seen it as a chore. I enjoy meeting other travelers and sometimes just watching the world go by.
Hoping to get two more runs in before I go. Might get one today and one either Tuesday or Wednesday. The second one will - if plans work out - be partly along either Maroubra beach or Coogee beach. Love those areas for running...
I'll blog again before I depart. 


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Giveaway result!

And the winner, as picked by the random number generator at two, Kris!

Well done Kris! Let me know your address and I'll get it sent in the post today.

Thanks to all for taking part.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Barefoot/POSE running workshop details

As most of you will know, I have had a couple of leg injuries this year. One of them for sure was due to overtraining. But the most recent was pretty much down to my running form/gait. So when I heard of a free barefoot/POSE running workshop in Sydney I signed up (actually I was one of the first ten to register, probably spending too much time online!). It was held in Centennial Park, and was a nice sunny day at about 26 degrees.
Being a bit unsure of what was to commence I showed up in my week-old Asics. I quickly realised that everyone else (76 runners apparently) either was in VFFs or was barefoot...doh! I took the runners & socks off and hid them for the next couple of hours :-)
We started at 10:00 on the dot (bit of a novelty that) and Max (one of six Instructors) introduced himself and the rest of the staff. One of the Instructors had apparently broken the Australian 3,000m record the day before! We quickly got started into a chat about why we should consider barefoot running and Max had a great way of holding the crowd's attention. You could tell that everyone really wanted to be there. The whole event was captured on camera, which I presume will be up on their website soon (BarefootInc). We got stuck into drills and exercises pretty quick.
One of the first things was to jump up and down on the spot. Landing on the midfoot, but letting your heels touch the ground shortly after. This helps the "springiness" of the legs to be come apparent. After that it was jogging on the spot, landing the same as the jumps. We then ran about 30m slowly to try and get the foot fall the same as when we were jumping - not easy! After that we did forwards then backwards running. We got buddied up with another runner of about the same height - not easy for someone as tall as me - and did some drills like jumping from one foot to the other while leaning forward and with your buddy's hands on your shoulders. Then leaning forward while your buddy holds your hips and lets go so you start to run. Interesting stuff!
Towards the end, we did a run around the oval in pairs. So one runner in front with second runner behind with one hand on the other buddy's shoulder. This teaches you to be aware of not bringing your foot too far back.
Our final drill was all about acceleration. We noticed that once you lean a little, you speed up. Obviously you can't keep leaning or you will face plant! So the way to accelerate from there is to increase your cadence, doing short strides in high repetition.
We then got free bananas, apples, oranges, almonds and the first 50 registered (including yours truly) got an excellent goodie bag, woohoo!
I did a relaxed 5k run in the park after the workshop and it felt really good and gave me a lot of time to think about what we had been doing. Sorry I have no photos of the event, but I was a bit too busy doing/trying to take any!
I'm sooo tempted to go and buy some VFFs now...

P.S. I just got an email from the organizers to say that will be trying to run this monthly! Check out their website for info (link above).

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fuel belt giveaway!

Well as most of my readers and any of my friends on DailyMile or Twitter will know, I am relocating from Sydney to Ireland very soon. Actually in a couple of weeks! As I'm trying to consolodate my bits & pieces I have found that I have a Black Wolf fuel belt surplus to my requirements. If you are interested in it, just post a comment to this post. If by midnight on October 20th (Sydney time!) there's only one response then that person will get it. If there's more than one, then I'll use a random number generator to decide who gets it. I will pay postage. Here's a photo of the exact fuel belt the winner will get...

If you want to enter more than once, well that's fine, it's not my time you're taking up! I was also going to give away my 2 litre hydration pack, as it's a bit big for me right now (heading into winter in Ireland!), but that's been nabbed by a fellow runner for their use in Sydney's summer. She will get a lot more use out of it than I would have in the coming months.
Good luck!


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Busy as a busy thing that's really busy!

So I'm busy, who isn't I guess!
I haven't run since the WWFOR on Sunday. I was going to go for a run on Tuesday but things got on top of us in work, it's now Wednesday afternoon and it looks like I won't get a chance today either - not the way things (work) are playing out. I was meant to have a conference call at 23:00 Sydney time last night, but the guy who was hosting the call didn't show, so the rest of us (usually 12-20 show up) just got back to work. Or in my case, went to bed!

I have managed to get a place on a free, yes FREE barefoot and POSE method running workshop that's happening in Sydney next Sunday and I'm really looking forward to it. I would have no problem barefoot running on grass, like a rugby/football pitch, but not on roads and not on trails! I value my feet too much :-)
In my last post I said I had sent an email to a local expert on running/bio-mechanical performance. I got a reply and sent a reply back, waiting to hear when he is free and I'll pay him a visit.
On another note, my Garmin FR305 has been having a problem connecting to my PC and it's been getting worse over the last few months. These days it rarely connects, and if it does then it isn't for long. From the research I've been doing, it appears to be an issue with the 305s :-(
I have all the latest software and firmware and Garmin Tech Support has got me to try a few things, all with no change. It looks like I may have to return it for a repair. Wonder if there's an option to swap it for a newer model? I'll let you know how that goes too. But leave a comment if you've had any issues and how you got around them or what you had to do.
Have a good run!


P.S. Here's my first attempt at a nice!

Monday, October 11, 2010

WWFOR and test driving the Asics

Yesterday we had our WWFOR get together in Sydney's Centennial Park. It had been raining heavily in the morning when I was having breakfast, but it cleared up nicely by 09:00.
I got to the picnic area just before 10:00 and GeekGirlRunner, Rod, JayDub and Andrew had already arrived. We set off with an iPhone app starter's gun (!) at 10:10am on the 10/10/10 :-)
I was going to take it easy, as I wasn't sure how my leg would feel and it was my first run in my new Asics runners. I had initially registered for the half marathon distance, but with my excuses as above I had thought it best to keep it to the 10k. Andrew was doing the HM, but ran with me from the start, so we paced each other. We had a great run in the warm sunshine and great conversation. Towards the end of our second lap, JayDub caught up with us and ran with us for a bit. I stopped off at the 10k mark and JayDub & Andrew kept going.
My time was 55:48, which I was pretty happy with! I had a little shin pain at the 3.3-3.5k mark, but I made a deliberate effort to run on the fronts of my feet (fore foot) and the pain went away then.
When JD and Andrew had finished we all broke out the food and a couple of beers and had a very nice picnic in the sun. Jo R and his wife Emily also came along as Jo had run the 10k, but had started at 11:00. It was great to meet up with my running friends and to make some new running friends. Hopefully it's not too long before we can get together again...Pic below is of Kunaal, Andrew, JayDub, me and GeekGirlRunner.


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Pre-WWFOR post and ...stuff

As you may have read previously, I have been getting a bit of pain in the leg muscle that runs along my left shin. I did a 5k run on Tuesday this week to see if the rest I had been giving it was doing any good. I was in less pain, but still had the same issue. It usually returns at the 1.5k mark into a run, and Tuesday's run was no different. I got a bit dejected but really wanted to get to the root cause.
The place where I got my last pair of runners (Avia) has a Podiatrist working for them, who is on hand every Saturday in the store, so I rang them and called over at lunchtime today.
I brought over my Avia and Mizuno runners. We had a chat and I told him the whole gory details. They have a short track and cameras, so I ran barefoot first and then in the Mizunos and then in the Avias. We had a look at the playback and at the wear pattern on my runners. I was amazed to see that I am slightly striking with my left heel! I didn't think I was doing that at all, and would have bet a few dollars on it too! They said it could have started when I increased my distances as footfall can change over time. So he said I should try other, more supportive, runners.
So, he got a few pairs out in my size that he reckoned would help. I tried Brooks, Asics and a pair of Newtons (they had little support in the heel and more in the mid-sole, making your feet strike more forward). I tried running in each while being filmed and then chatted about the way they made me run. The Newton's were a bit too much of a change for me, so we ruled them out but maybe I'll go back to them over time. It was down to the other two, and I went for...(drum roll please)....

The Asics Gel Kayano 16!

I was hoping to get a leg massage today too, to work out the muscle, but everywhere local was closed. I have the WWFOR tomorrow, so I'll try them out then. I was originally going to do 21k, but I now think that 5/10k will be plenty as I don't want to aggravate anything.
So then the staff at the running store said (without my asking) that they would take back my Avia runners and give me the whole price of them off the Asics, even though I had been wearing the Avias for two months! I was astounded, gobsmacked! Not only that...but they gave me a $25 gift card for my trouble, holy mother of crap, now that is GOOD service! When I left the store (after thanking them profusely!) I went for a coffee and sat down and the first thing I thought was that I will have to give them a good mention on my blog (they don't know I have a blog BTW). Their name is the FootPoint Shoe Clinic and all their staff were/are excellent! I have no other connection to them apart from being a very happy customer...
Also, the store has a Sports Biochemist that they recommended for a performance analysis. I have sent him an email and am really looking forward to see what he thinks of my running posture/efficency.

I'll update soon with info on how the new Asics are doing and how my leg is doing too!


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Injury update and general unsure-ness

In my last post I said that I have had to pull out of the Auckland marathon (anyone wanting to take my place can get in touch and we can transfer the entry!). I haven't been able to get the training in due to my injured shin muscle. It's the one that runs down the outside of the shin bone.
I have been to two visits to the local Physio, Jakie, and she has hinted that it may be one particular pair of my runners. I did a short (5k) test and the pain has come back, so I'm not convinced.
I since emailed a physio friend overseas to ask advice. I knew it would be hard for her to diagnose me "online", but I put as much detail into my message as I could. She got back to me in a matter of hours (big thanks Jenny!) and said that it will improve with deep soft tissue massage, but, that won't cure it. The pain will come back. The root of the issue is in my bio-mechanics. Until I get that bit sorted out the pain will come back.
I honestly don't feel like I'm doing anything wrong and that my footfall is reasonably good. I'm not a heel striker and my feet don't "slap" the ground. But it's just running, right? How can I be putting one foot in front of the other incorrectly? Wasn't I "Born To Run" like everyone else?
I'm unsure what to do or where to get advice from next. I know there is a podiatrist that visits the running store where I got my Avia's, so I'm going to see if I can get in touch with him at the weekend...

As I'm often saying, "time will tell..."


Friday, October 1, 2010

This year's stats...

Being a geek and someone who did things like Applied mathematics in school, and went on to do Mechanical Engineering, I do enjoy looking at statistics. I think it's a great way to review what kind of progress you are making and areas where you may need to work on. So, here's my monthly totals for 2010 so far (bearing in mind I really only started running in Feb this year...):

Month Longest run



May 20.1
June 10.7
July 19.4
August 20.01
September 23

So, my running total (pun intended) is 658k. I think it's worthwhile including what my longest run for the month was too. In September it was a 23k run mostly on trails in National Parks in North Sydney. If you take all my running from the third quarter, you get an average of a little over 120k per month. If you then add that average per month to my total so far, then you have 1,020k total for the year - in my first year of running. Not too shabby. To further break that down, it's an average of around 30k per week from now until then end of the year, not much really. When you think that my current long runs are 20k or so it's easy to see that - barring too many issues - I'll make the 1,000k total for the year!
One thing that stands out in a big way is that my distance varies a LOT. I'm taking this under control now and will be trying to get a steady amount of distance in each week. Once I can (hopefully) hold onto that, then I will look to build it up.
Hope that wasn't too OTT to read :-)