Saturday, September 3, 2011

stupid rain...drizzle is for kids...

So, my running group's (Erin and I) weekend run is traditionally Saturday morning.  Lo and behold, Tropical Storm Lee decided to show up at exactly 0645 as I was lacing up my shoes.  I checked our Facebook page and there were comments regarding not running in the rain and how I "obviously" wouldn't run in get the idea, wimpy stuff that makes no sense...who doesn't love a nice run in a tropical storm? right?

Anyway, I texted my running partner, letting her know I would be at her house in 7 minutes, be ready for a trail run.  If running in the rain is in your future, why not go down some trails that are sure to get you covered n mud...  So we meet up and it has just started to rain so we laugh really quick about how silly this is and then head for the woods.

It is about a mile before you get into the "real woods", "real" woods being identified by dirt, not gravel and side trees, not just overhead.  So the branches are a nice obstacle to dodge and the dirt has a certain shiny quality to it as we tear off down a side trail.  If anyone has run in central Louisiana in the woods, in the rain (or just after it), then you know how the mud clings to your feet, giving you a free pair of shape-ups.  We both have to stop a few times to scrape and or fling the mud off of our shoes before we find the sweet spot in the wet grass/edge of the trail.

The plan was to run 4 on Friday (I did...4.21 actually), 6 today, 8 on Sunday and then cap it with an easy 2 on Monday.  I knocked out the 6 today and with the rain looking like it will continue through the weekend, the 8 planned for tomorrow should be pretty messy...I am a big fan of running in the rain, but 3 days will get a little old.  We shall see...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

really? months since my last post...

So, I am sitting at home watching the news, wondering how much of a problem Hurricane Irene will be for my family up north...
My entire family (with a few exceptions) lives in either Massachusetts or New Jersey.  While I waste away in central Louisiana, my wife is at "home" visiting and vacationing in Laconia, NH and Gardner, MA.  Her flight was supposed to be Sunday afternoon, now AA says Tuesday instead.  Not sure if I am too happy about that. I know that with everyone there and extra food and generators it will probably be fine, but I still worry.

Now, on to other more interesting updates since last least it seems like it has been that long since I wrote.  I have limited the amount of running I am doing.  I usually only run about 10 miles a week right now.  The weekends consist of a 4-6 mile effort with Erin and now Aleece, while the week has a few treadmill efforts, usually 3/4 mile repeats for 3-4 miles at a nice pace.  I mix in a few days of some light crossfit and HIIT (high intensity interval training) and that is it.  I have made a few new commitments recently as well...

Monday I start college classes (Eng Comp Monday/Wednesday afternoons, Psych and Govt on the weekends), agreed to help train my buddy Pete for an Ultra-marathon (with a few regualr marathons thrown in for good luck) can follow his progress here  So that should be fun!  I plan on ramping up the training next week (I planned on it this week, but got real sick and was in bed a few days), doubling it up on Saturday and Sunday mornings.  Probably do 4-6 miles each weekend day with a few early mornings through the week.

My Bike!!!  I sent it in for services a few weeks ago, got it back and it is in tip-top condition now!  I went on a few tester runs to work and back and plan on adding that to my routine as well.  I figure I can ride my bike to work almost everyday and get some extra burn there...  Down here in central Louisiana we are having a MTB Festival called the Fat Tire Festival in October that is being promoted through Red River Cyclery ( and should be a great weekend of riding.  I just need to get ready for it!

On a personal note, my wife and I are expecting a baby in the spring!  We are both super excited about this and have been trying for years to start our family and finally have been blessed with a child on the way.  My time in the Army is also approaching the end soon...I have decided to part ways and am looking forward to moving back east (probably Virginia) and going back to school full time to become a history teacher...might need a little bit of luck on getting through 3 years of school!

So with all of that said, I am going to make a real honest effort to write at least weekly on here and will start including my weekly workouts and how it is going on all the other aspects if they interest me...My dog is laying on the floor next to me crying and making little grunting noises, which means she wants to chase the ball in the back yard...time to go...thanks for reading and remember to like, share and spread the word!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Injured yet again...

So there I was in my backyard doing some kettlebell and medicine ball workouts...I finished up and went for my normal jog around the block to finish off and...SNAP, my foot makes this awful sound and I walk home...

That was 2 weeks ago, I haven't ran or rode my bike (maybe once or twice) and I have limited my workouts to really light training...I am broke yet again and the doctors tell me, "well, we'll have to wait a few weeks to see if the hairline fracture opes up...blah, blah, blah..."  So I have a follow up next Monday to see if the fracture "opened up" enough to see in an xray...I really do love Govt. healthcare!  If you have not already been allowed to purchase and reap the benefits of govt healthcare, just get ready for the hurry up and wait game...coming soon to a hospital/office near you!!!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Cheating on my trails with a dirty bike...

So I am currently undergoing some difficult decisions in my life...I started riding my new mountain bike last week and instantly became super addicted to it...I also just picked up a pair of 24kg kettlebells which are entirely too heavy for me right now. I am excited about the kettlebells and have mixed emotions about the bike.  On one hand the bike provides me with a form of exercise that my doctors will agree with...I get the "running that much/often is bad for you" and "you really should look into riding a bike or swimming".  I think both of these things are probably (definitely) good ideas and should be explored with as much attention as possible.  The issue I have is that when I start to do something new, I become so absorbed and obsessed with it, all other endeavors tend to fall to the side.

A few years ago when I started running seriously, I cranked my mileage from the regular 10-12 miles a week to 50-60 miles a week and was absorbed.  I was falling asleep early, losing a ton of weight, getting toned (I also hit the gym for 3-4 hours a week) and enjoyed all the benefits that come with tons of healthy exercise.  I had ankle reconstruction in May of 2010 and the result was a nice gift of osteoarthritis and a group of doctors telling me to stop running and start crosstraining more.  I decided after several months of repeat visits and a new set of lesions developing on my ankle cartilage (whats left of it) I decided to drop a few $ on a used mountain bike and started to get into strength training a little more.  The problem is that I feel in love with the new stuff and fell out of love with the old stuff (running).

There is the possibility that I am in "lust" with my new hobbies (I am prone to a bit of impulse and the resulting weeks of extreme behavior) and the shine will wear off in a few weeks.  I am going on a nice run tomorrow to get back to my original love, running.  I feel like a nice long run on the trails I fell in love with back in the day will do me good.  I am hoping that I will be able to split my time between the two love affairs I have while still keeping them both happy and not leaving either of them wanting...wish me luck, I feel like I am cheating on both of them...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Crosstraining...all the benefits and more!

It has been about a week since my last blog and I have been working out with the kettlebells, medicine balls and generally crushing myself in the gym and in my back yard.  I talked to a buddy and he is selling me 2 24 kg bells this afternoon.  They are a little heavy but I should be able to work into them in a few weeks (or maybe months...they are really heavy).  So working out twice a day, really equals 9 times a week with all the crap that just happens.  I worked late one night, until 10 pm and slept in the next morning, so I only did the morning routine and then the afternoon routine for those two days.  That is how it goes, if you have a workout plan, or at least this is how it goes for me, you schedule all the \sessions and when you miss one you end up feeling guilty.  I made this new schedule so crazy, when I miss one, I feel relieved and am glad I got a rest!

Needless to say I have been really tired and feeling extremely sore most days.  I think that is a good thing.  I also am still plagued by small injuries.  I finished an afternoon session with Amy and then went for a 4 mile barefoot run.  Around 3.2 miles my left foot just started to hurt and there was a slight pop and I had to walk the rest of the way home.  After a visit to my doctor ad an x-ray, thankfully nothing is broken.  I got the requisite speech from my Doc..." you really shouldn't be running so much, have you thought about mountain biking or swimming more instead?"  I respond "Of course I have thought about it...I just love running, I am an addict and need a 12 step program".  I went home and looked on the internet yet again for cheap used mountain bikes in my area.

Craigslist is the only want-ad type site and down here in Louisiana (or so I thought) and there are not a lot of extra mountain bikes floating around!  I made several calls and emails and the closest bike was Baton Rouge, about 3 hours new bike would not be.  I went to work the next morning and asked around about kettlebells and bikes.  This is when my buddy spoke up about selling his bells on  So I went home, made a profile, found a few bike and bought a 2002 Specialized Rockhopper.  It is all white and needed a new soft seat and some lights to make it street legal, but it rides nice and soft, has a full suspension (i wanted a hard-tail but couldn't pass the deal up) and fits me great.  So now I have a bike and can ride to work, go explore new trails on the weekends, map out new running adventures for my running club...they are not motivated enough to go out and run 8+ miles of random back trails to find a sweet 5-6 mile course...I do all the leg work...pun intended.

So the benefits of crosstraining for me have been two fold.  I ended up with what seems to be a great new hobby...mountain biking, I get all the great "soreness" from working out a couple extra times per week.  I am losing fat and gaining muscle at an alarming rate.  I eat like a horse and have not put a single pound on...I also have not lost any weight yet, but my body composition is changing.  Hopefully it will keep me from getting injuries from running everyday, I wish I was one of the genetic freaks who could put in 100+ mile weeks and not get hurt, I just am not there yet.

I love my new bike, I rode it to work on Friday and then home (only a 5 mile round trip) and am excited that it only takes 11 minutes door to door and it takes 8-9 in the jeep.  One more way I can save a dime, lower my gas guzzling ways and keep pollution down a tiny little bit.  I used to think my  .5 mile ride to work just didn't matter, but now I realize that every little bit matters and we can all do a little extra to help out.  And that goes for everything in our lives, not just pollution...we should try to help out a little extra in every aspect... really do our best in whatever we are doing...have a great day, I know I am going to, I have a whole network of trails to explore and only a  few hours to do it!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Merrell Trail Gloves vs Vibram KSO's

So I went ahead and spent the $ and bought a pair of Merrell's new Barefoot shoes...the Trail Glove.  After wearing my trusty Vibram KSO's on runs both long and short, trails and roads, a few races, plenty of physical therapy sessions and out and about, I decided a "shoe" would be a nice tool to have.  I subscribe to Jason Robilard's theory that shoes are tools to be used when needed.  I read many a review on several minimalist shoes including the New Balance Minimus Trail , Terra Plana's Vivio Barefoot II, other Vibram models (treks and trek sports) and all sorts of make it yourself huaraches and the "buy them from me start ups" as well (I have made my own recycled running/trekking sandals and they are quite a great piece of equipment).  I was sold after reading Jason's review, you can read it here too... was convinced.

I brought my wife to the mall and told her a few things looked great on her and spent a nice sum of money on her wardrobe and as we left the store slipped in the comment that went something like this, "now that you spent all this money on your clothes, I can buy those new shoes I wanted right?"  Amy replies, "if you really need another pair of shoes, go ahead".  So as soon as we got home, I was on the Merrell page and ordered up my sweet black and yellow (smoke/adventure yellow) Trail Gloves and waited impatiently for the UPS man to arrive.  He did several days later and off to the trails I went.  Okay, so I didn't run off to the trails just yet. I was nursing a pretty severe overuse injury on my Achilles and IT tightness, so I wore the to the gym to cross train and to the store and everywhere else I could.  They felt great and the fit was phenomenal...all I had done was walk around at this point remember.

I decided to test them out on my next race, without doing any runs in them first.  I had been walking around in them alot, so I wasn't totally unprepared and on race morning I did a few strides and a quick mile along the levee to get warmed up.  I already wrote about the Red River Run 10K in a previous post, so feel free to go back and read that as a first look type of review.  This is going to be more focused on the comparisons between my tried  and true KSO's and these new kids on the block.  So here it goes, we will do a few vs. comparisons of the features.

FIT:  My Vibrams fit great, they are a bit loose on my foot and I like that, it allows for some extra adjustments when they get wet and I can throw on a pair of wool injinji's if it is too cold out.  The Trail Gloves have a similar fit to them as far as size goes...I was put off by the tight mid-foot design at first, but am beginning to accept it as a great feature.  The Merrell's do turn in on my big toe, causing a bit of a hot spot on longer runs (6 or more miles) and the toe box could be a bit wider for me.  This would probably cure the hot-spot issue as well.

SOLE:  The Vibram KSO has the solid, almost smooth razor siped sole that leaves a bit to be desired for traction on the trails.  This being said they are about as close to a barefoot feel (traction wise) as I think you could get.  The KSO sole is super flexible, thin and provides awesome ground feel (in my opinion) and I am not sure this can be improved on.  I am making a new ultra-minimalist huarache out of some 2mm rubber that may be better for ground feel...but I digress.  The Trail Glove's sole is just amazing...traction, yes... flexibility, yes...ground feel, yes, but not as good as the KSO.  The overall feel of the shoe on rough terrain makes me long for gravel roads and root and rock covered trails.

UPPER:  This is a toss up.  The Vibram upper is super thin, stretchy and breathable.  The Merrel's upper is also thin and breathable but not stretchy.  the lack of stretch is compensated by the laces and traditional "shoe" design.  I enjoy the lace up design and really think that getting them on is much easier than my Vibrams.  The closer systems on both shoes are great, I am interested in a "LS" model of KSO's much like the new lace up Bikilas.

STYLE:  I am really not as interested in this as many people I have read online are.  When I bought my Vibram's, I looked for the most neutral color I could find and chose the grey ones with the green highlights.  I thought black would be too hot and the other colors were just too loud for me.  The Merrell shoes are a nice mild black, grey and yellow combo that is both pleasing to look at and hide dirt well (much like the grey Vibrams).  The toe pockets of my KSO's attract alot

OVERALL:  I think that both of these offer alot for me.  I love my KSO's for trail running and road running and will continue to put miles on them until they breakdown and I need a new pair.  I will probably buy a pair of Trek Sports at that time.  My wife has a pair of them and she loves them.  I also think that they are probably a bit closer to the Merrell shoes as far as the soles are concerned.  The Trail Gloves are my new favorite shoe.  I probably will not wear them on any long road runs and will stick to my KSO's for that, but I will be doing plenty of hiking, off road running and heavy duty trails in them.  In fact I am not sure if a better heavy duty trail shoe is available...if you are a shoe company insider and would like me to test your trail shoes out I will certainly give it a shot, however, you have a tough row to hoe.

I have run about 200 miles in my KSO's and about 50 in my Merrell's so far.  I am sure after a bit more "breaking in" the Merrell's will grow on me even more than they have already.  I only wish that I had a pair of Merrel's with a thin sole like my KSO's and that I had a pair of Vibrams with a thick sole like the Trail Gloves...looks like another trip to the store with Amy in the future to validate my next purchase of shoes.  Or maybe by the time I actually get around to buying them I can just ask Vibram to send me a pair to review...we'll see.  Stay tuned for more and remember to "like", "follow" and most importantly...share with your friends please.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

New Training plan

So I previously talked about my new theory regarding my training plan.  I said I would only run as far and as fast I felt like and I would keep the long Saturday/weekend runs and still do 1 "workout" run in the week, probably rotating between track sessions, hill repeats and a tempo run...occasionally doing all of them together for a superheros style workout...we'll see if I ever have the motivation to finish one of those.

I was out for my long run with Erin this morning (Pete was a no show), and we were discussing my past injuries (Erin is a former coach and x-country runner and has finished several marathons).  We agreed that my past injuries (see the past few posts) were probably a combination of things, the most prevalent being just overuse complications and not enough cross training and strength training.  We further discussed my mild form of self diagnosed OCD and that in order to stick to a training plan (or lack of one) I would need to map it out, so that's what this is...

I am required by the Army to workout in some way shape or form 5 days a week.  They pay me to do this and give me at least 1 hour a day to go to the gym.  It is actually a pretty sweet deal.  I would probably shell out the $ for either a gym membership or invest in home gym benches and weights otherwise, so I really am saving money right now with the free, forced, mandatory physical training.  I am in charge of my unit's special population physical training program (injured and on profile. restricting them from normal unit PT) and as such, can and have, designed a workout program for these Soldiers, of which I am one.

This program consists of Monday, Wednesday and Fridays doing some sort of cardiovascular workout.  This is anything from 3 mile walks in groups of 2-3 people, up to elliptical and treadmill runs as individuals.  With the varied injuries that people have sustained in the Army, you can't have a set running program that is for everyone. On Tuesday and Thursday, we all go to the gym and workout with free weights, nautilus machines etc.  I only have one set of rules here and it is to do 2 exercises, with 3 sets each, for your upper body, core and lower body.  This is the minimum and fortunately everyone has enough maturity and motivation to meet these parameters.  I think that this setup gives everyone enough wiggle room to design a plan to meet and maintain personal and professional fitness goals.  It works for me and my leadership likes the plan as well.

I like to switch it up every few weeks, alternating between traditional bench press, curls, squats sit-ups and the treadmill (for cardio days) etc. and using medicine balls, kettle-bells, plyometrics and stationary bike etc.  I have recently decided that instead of just doing whatever I feel like doing I am going to spell out a 6 week training plan and then gauge my fitness using a 10K as the benchmark.  My goal is to improve my time in the 10K by running less and focusing on strength and mobility exercises.  There is an obstacle course about 2 miles from my house in the woods, so that will be incorporated as one of my runs each week.  I will run out to the course, complete the whole thing and run home, using my total time as my gauge for that, trying to beat my time each week.  I am getting ahead of myself.

My goal is to get into great shape and I think a varied strenuous workout plan over the next 6 weeks will accomplish this.  On April 30th I will run a 10K in and around my town, in order to judge how I feel about it. I think that this plan should see me get  into the best shape I have been in for a few years.  I also hope that with this program I will lose about 10 lbs and see significant changes in my body fat and visual body composition.  If there is a change then I will post photos...if there isn't then I wont'...I will just forget that I wrote this and move on with my fairly ordinary existence...

Stay safe and have a great day...remember to follow, like and share with your friends...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A new approach to for me at least...

I recently ran in my first ever 10K, the Red River Run in Alexandria, LA.  It was a great race and tons of fun before and after the race.  I met some great new people and put faces with names of people I had spoken and/or emailed with before.  The thing that made this race so significantly different from my past races was the amount and type of training I put in as race day approached.

Lets discuss.

I typically run about 30 miles a week.  10 in shoes, 10 in my KSO's and 10 barefoot.  These are working, fluid numbers and have begun steering away from my Nike's and Asics and into my Vibrams and barefeet more often.  I try to mix it up with trails, road and treadmills all throughout the week and never really skip any aspect of my 4 a day training schedule, unless I am adding a day or mileage or whatever.  I have been nursing a few minor injuries the last few weeks and decided that my doctors were probably right and I should take some time off (even with a race coming up).  I stopped running for 12 days, turned up the cross training on the stationary bike, alot of kettle-bell and medicine ball workouts and 3-5 short barefoot walks with my wife and dog each week.  I normally skip the walks and go for my run or I run and just meet them on their walk and we finish the last mile together.  It is a nice way to finish the day before a shower, dinner and time spent on the couch.

So the 2 weeks I took off before the race kind of worried me, like only someone with a mild case of OCD about their training regiment can worry.  I figured I would keep the pace slow, maybe around a 9-9:30 and just have fun...right?  I looked down at my Garmin about 1/2 a mile into the race and realized I was going entirely too fast...about a 6:45 pace. I backed it off to what seemed like a comfortably hard pace and decided I would hold it until I got winded or my legs started to act up again.  2 miles later I looked at the watch again...7:24...average...I still felt great and decided that there was something wrong with my watch and I should, just for safety, back it off again.  I finished in 47:11.60, right at a 7:37 overall pace (the 10K ended up being like 6.25 or 6.35, I forget now).

So I started to think about what I did differently for this race.  The biggest thing was the lack of running and the increase of x-training and gym time with compound exercises.  I have decided that I will continue to run 3-5 times a week, just kind of throwing my old regiment out the window in favor of the new "idea" as far as feels comfortable 2 days a week.  Run a long social run on the weekend (or a local 5K or whatever). Run 1 quality speed/hill/interval/tempo run a week...and make it really count...and start throwing in stationary bike 3 mornings a week and some type of high intensity training (cross-fit/kettle-bells etc) 4 times per week...hopefully Tuesday and Thursday mornings and afternoons.

So if you were able to struggle through my disjointed, sketchy writing and pulled the important pieces out of it, then great, it all sounds good inside my head when I think it, although I have been told it is hard to understand when I speak or write it down.

Don't forget to subscribe/follow/like if you enjoy reading this and as always share to as many as you can, eventually I may write something others will enjoy...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Merrell Trail Glove Review at the 13th annual Red River Run (RRR)

So Saturday was my first 10K and the first time I wore my Merrell's running.  If you have been reading this, then you know that I have been having some injury issues.  I decided to us e the RRR as my recovery race and also to test out the new kicks.  I must first say that the RRR was great!  Kegs and pasta salad at the end, mmmm.

On to the shoes.  I have been wearing the Trail Gloves around for a couple of weeks, to the gym, the store etc.  I have only been walking and standing in them to give them a chance to break in a bit.  I read other reviews about them, one guy said injinji's were a nice addition the first time out, another said no socks...I went with the injinji's as I had not run a lick in 12 days.  The feel of the shoes are great.  They are nothing like my KSO's, and nothing like my old Asics or Nike Free's, they are a new and very original feel.

I did a few repeat sprints on the levee before the race and was amazed at how the shoes just let you run in the best form you have mastered.  Some footwear takes away from your form, these just allow you to run.  That being said, they are still shoes...I ran for a few minutes to warm up then headed to the start line.

I started out at a 7:30 pace and decided, after a 1/2 mile, to see if I could hold it.  Around mile 5 I decided I couldn't hold the pace any longer and had to slow down to about a 7:45 to finish in 47:12.60, not a bad time overall and a really good time considering my runs are all at 9ish and I had not run at all in 12 days.  I came in 38th overall and 6th in my age group.  Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) my age group in Alexandria, LA is extremely competitive.

The only issue I had with these shoes was a small hotspot on the front/side of my big toe.  I am sure this will go away as soon as I run in them more and my feet get used to them.  That being said, I think of that issue as a major downfall, I shouldn't have to "get used to" my "barefoot" shoes, should I?  Overall they are a great shoe and I think that I sold a pair to a new friend at the race.  He is doing ultras and needs a shoe for them...I recommend Merrell Trail Gloves, KSO's or reverse order probably, as my top 3 choices for long distance minimalist running options.

Thanks for reading and remember to "like", "share" and "follow" my page for updates...thanks! and wish me luck!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Partial Recovery...

So I got home from work today and Amy was gone with Reagan.  I quickly deduced this when her car was in the driveway and her Vibrams were fellow that I am, I figured she was walking the dog.  I quickly changed my uniform for a pair of shorts and a top, tossed my boots in the corner and took off in the opposite direction of where I hoped she had gone.

I was right, about a mile into the run, I found the two of them walking up the hill towards the house.  I stopped and walked the rest of the way with them, remarking how good my Achilles and legs in general, were feeling.  So tomorrow is the 13th annual Red River Run in Alexandria, LA.  I had planned on running it barefoot and still may.  However, I am thinking it will be a great time to test out my Merrell Trail Gloves after wearing them in the gym for 2 weeks.

So the shoe review and a race update will be in store for the 2 or 3 people that actually read this.  Go ahead and click "Like" on Facebook and follow if you are interested in updates.  I am going to reward the people that start following me early, before I become famous.  So if you are interested in getting all sorts of cool stuff in the future, including but not limited to stuff, then go ahead and get in now...

wish me luck, i'm going to need it!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Recovery Race?

So I have been down without running...I have a serious hip/knee/leg issue on the right side and I have the Achilles thing on the left.  I went to the doctor and they told me no more running, they sound like a broken record.  I have not run for over 7 days at this point and plan on staying off of my feet until Thursday at least.  The biggest question right now is...can I use my upcoming race on Saturday as a "recovery race"?  I am running the Red River run in Alexandria, am thinking that a nice easy 6 miles would be okay...slow without shoes and try to just take it easy and have fun...we'll see what happens on Thursday when I go for a quick 2 mile run...stay tuned...

Friday, March 4, 2011

Sidelined By Injury!

So it has been almost 2 weeks since I ran the Austin 1/2 Marathon in my Vibrams and I am having a bit of an issue with my left Achilles tendon and my right knee and IT band.  It started the week after the race with a sore ache in the right leg from the hip down to the ankle all along the IT.  I nursed it a little bit with warm baths and Tiger Balm thinking I could "run it off".  I did about 7 miles in the woods behind our house, alone, nice and slow on the trails, also thinking this would allow me to have a good time, no one to push me etc... I came home from that run with a serious ache in the right leg and a new pain the the left Achilles.

I ran that Saturday, then again on Monday.  I did 6 1/2 miles after work trying to concentrate on my form and allowing my ankles to pronate fully and really trying to lift my feet.  Around mile 4 I felt a tightness in the Achilles and some serious pain in the left knee.

My choices were:
A.  Continue to run to my Jeep about 2 miles away.
B.  Turn around and go the 4-5 miles home on foot... or
C.  Walk the remaining 2-3 miles and be walking in the dark with no phone, wallet or dinner in the next hour.

I chose A. and though I would just slow it down and still be able to walk it off later on.  Man was i wrong!  My pace went from low 8's to high-mid 9's and I thought my legs were going to fall off at times.  I obviously made it to the Jeep and eventually home to a bath, dinner and lots of ointment.

I have not ran more that 10 feet (jogged to the mailbox) since Monday.  The 10-20 feet to the mailbox were not pleasant, hence why it was only 10-20 feet instead of the 200 to the mail...I have 3 races this month, 2 already paid for that I am running and people expecting me to volunteer at the other.  My friend, who is a PT, gave me some advice, which I am following...NO RUNNING!!! ice and heat and ice and heat and stretch and ice and heat and stretch...I think I am supposed to use a foam roller at specific times as well...I do all of these things and the Achilles pain has subsided (except for the ill advised jog to the mail) and the knee only hurts when I am awake...

I promised not to run at least until Wednesday...I may just wait until the race on Saturday...we'll see.  Either way both the 5K on Saturday the 12th and the 10K on the 26th  will both be ran barefoot.  I was going to writ e review of my new Merrell Trail Gloves this Sunday, however, with no running in my near future, it will wait until the end of the month...thanks for reading.  Click the "like" button, share with your friends and follow me for new updates as they happen...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

New Stuff on the Way

So Amy and I went shopping the other day to get her some new clothes and what not.  The trade that I slipped in while at the register was that I could get the new Merrell Trail Gloves now...right?  She responded yes that I could get them.

Yesterday I ordered my new shoes and am eagerly awaiting them to get here to go for a run in them.  I was then asked what ever happened to the North face hoodie that she wanted?  I went to my favorite online dealer of that brand of clothing and after a bit of searching, I found a nice black hooded sweatshirt and thought why not look at some running jackets as well...I did need a nice wind/water proof jacket for clod wet mornings...I found a sweet Torpedo jacket and decided why not, it is on sale.

So next weekend when I am sitting around with nothing to do I will take both the jacket and the shoes out for a run and write my first review of these two products.  I will then try to write a review on y KSOs that have been giving me miles and months of great service.

I will also try to write a bit on the last race I ran and the upcoming races for March that I am participating in.  Austin 1/2 Marathon on February 20th, and several local 5K's and the Red River Run in Alexandria, LA (10K).  Stay Tuned...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Freedom 5k & 1 Mile Fun Run/Walk | Alexandria, Louisiana 71303 | Saturday, March 26, 2011 @ 8:00 AM

Freedom 5k & 1 Mile Fun Run/Walk | Alexandria, Louisiana 71303 | Saturday, March 26, 2011 @ 8:00 AM

"You will never run again..."

“You will never run again.”
This is what the doctors, 3 different ones, told me in August, September and the last one in October of 2010.  On October 9th 2010 I ran my first two, very slow, very painful miles.  It took me just over 23 minutes to do it, I wanted to quit several times and when I got back to my house I thought the doctors were right, maybe I was done with running.
I was a runner, for as far back as I can remember I ran everywhere.  My dad used to tell people that if I went somewhere, even to the fridge for milk, I ran there.  I dabbled in cross country in high school, disliked to competitiveness and dropped out after half a season.  I joined the Army and ran almost every day because you had to.  I fell in love with running when I came back from Iraq and me and a few buddies became fitness freaks.  I worked out in the gym for 45 minutes, ran 4 miles, did our morning fitness with the platoon and ran in the afternoon; I was in the best shape of my life. 
I had my ankle reconstructed ( a brostrom procedure) in May 2010 after too many trips to the medics with rolled and or sprained ankles.  The result of this procedure was “You will never run again”.  After a few weeks of physical therapy in the pool and in the clinic, my therapist recommended I get a pair of Vibrams to help strengthen my feet and the muscles of my lower leg.  This is how it began!
I got a pair of KSO’s and used them in the clinic, walking the dog, going to the store; everything except running.  About 10 days after that first excruciating 2 miles, I attempted to hit the trails with my former running buddy.  We used to rack up about 20 miles together before my surgery and I had got him back into running about 6 months before I went under the knife.  A simple 5 miles on the trails behind our houses, really slow, wearing my KSOs…sounded like fun.  I stopped several times, had to walk about a mile of it but finished with a strained smile on my face and the stupid determination in my head that I was still a runner.
I started to look into barefoot running after an old boss finished a 50 miler and said he had been training with Vibrams and barefoot and I should check out Chi and Pose running.  I started my research and soon became consumed.  I was up to about 10-12 miles a week at this point and was ready to try something new.  I started taking the dog for a 2 mile walk barefoot, running the trails in my KSOs and attempted a 2 mile circuit of the neighborhood without shoes of any kind.  I stayed in the grass and kept it at about 11 minutes per mile, finished and had some sore feet for a week.  I went out again and again and eventually pushed myself up to a 6 mile barefoot run each week with some Vibram trail runs and still using my trusty Asics in the gym on the treadmill.
January 2011, I put up 3 solid weeks in a row of 30 miles.  Long runs of 8-12 miles and I only wear my shoes for about 10 miles a week (I am still in the Army and we must wear running shoes).  I run about 10 in Vibrams and the rest barefoot.  I have competed in several 5Ks and am running the Mardi Gras ½ marathon and the Austin ½ in February.  The doctors were wrong…I am a runner and barefoot running saved my life!
James Buzzell, Fort Polk Louisiana, February 8th 2011

Monday, February 14, 2011

Mardi Gras Half Marathon and the training that got me there...

So I just got home from New Orleans.  My wife and I woke up early Saturday morning, packed an overnight bag, fed the dog, packed the car and drove 4 hours to the Crescent City.  I have been to New Orleans several times over the years; for business, partying (Mardi Gras on my 18th birthday-thanks Dad and Kenny), a job interview and the 4th of July with my current wife and girlfriend at the time.  All of those times, except the job interview, were very laid back, fun, exciting trips.  My most recent trip was for my first official 1/2 marathon and I had trained pretty regularly with lots of help from my running club and some advice from my physical therapist.

It all started about 3 months ago when I decided to register for the Austin 1/2 and booked my hotel nice and early, took the time off from work and downloaded a training program on the internet.  About 2 weeks into my plan I saw a link for the Mardi Gras 1/2 and thought it would be a great way to prep myself for Austin, so I decided to register for that one as well.  I followed my training plan about as close as anyone I know has ever followed a training plan.  I hit 90% of my days and substituted several of the speed and hill sessions with easier tempo runs, ran longer and faster on my long slow days that I was supposed too but overall I felt good about my training.

The last few weeks of training I knocked out 2 half's on my own on my normal routes and nailed them both right around 2 hours, which was my goal time for my races.  I trained in my Asics, KSOs, my homemade huaraches and barefoot. The last 2 weeks saw the addition of a shiny new pair of Nike Free's added to the mix and I played with the idea of racing in them for New Orleans in the hopes of preserving my feet for Austin...this was not to happen.  I put about 20-25 miles a week into my training and upped it to 30 for the last month, spreading it all pretty evenly at 1/3 of the miles barefoot, shod and in my Vibrams.  I was very happy with the overall outcome, finishing my first ever 1/2 marathon in 1 hour 51 minutes and 29 seconds, my Garmin said I ran 13.18 miles with an average pace of 8:23 ( ).

I did a nice easy 1 mile at a 10:00 this morning just to shake the cobwebs out and hopefully this week will see about 15 miles of maintenance and one hill workout so I can really nail Austin on Sunday...wish me luck I am going to need it!!!  Next post will be covering my Charity organization...Team Red, White and Blue, a wounded veterans organization that raises awareness, money and support for veterans transitioning from the military into the civilian world.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

It has been a while...

So I'm back and with a bit of persuading from a fellow runner/blogger I may try to re start this whole thing again.  I am almost 9 months past my ankle surgery and well on the way to running again.  I have been told by many doctors along the way that I will never run again, and told them to all pound sand, I am running...

I transitioned into barefoot running back in November/December and now do about 1/3 of my mileage barefoot, 1/3 with my Vibrams and the rest in sneakers.  The transition into running totally barefoot has allowed me to correct my form, get some real feedback from my feet and shown me that the things that others say are crazy, really is just an opinion!

So I guess I will try to make this a weekly thing again and maybe add some mid week updates as I progress.  I have a few races coming up and will be running at least one of them in my Vibrams and maybe both of them.  The first in New Orleans on the 13th of February for the Mardi Gras 1/2 marathon and then the very next week I am running the Austin 1/2 marathon as well.

Goodbye for now, hope to write mare this weekend upon my return from New Orleans.