Friday, May 17, 2013

Race for The Cure

As a fan of alt-rock band The Cure, I had to laugh at this cartoon:
The Argyle Sweater, by Scott Hillburn
In case you were not privileged to be a fan of The Cure, you may not get the reference. They were known for their distinctive mops:
Who knows if these guys are actually runners, but I get they get a kick out of all the races put on for them each year!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Daddy needs a new pairs of shoes

Traditional running shoe manufacturers will tell you to replace your running shoes every 300-500 miles.  The cushioned becomes compressed and worn out so that it no longer cushions.  Since I run in Vibram Five Fingers, which have no cushioning at all, I don't pay attention to the miles I put on a pair.  The attraction of VFFs is better "ground feel."  The foot responds to the ground and the runner's gait is a more natural, barefoot gait.  So I just run in my VFFs until the "ground feel" becomes a bit too close, as it did tonight.

I hadn't realized the sole was getting so thin there on the ball of my foot.  It's the same spot that always wears thin on my Vibrams (here and here).  But early on in last night's run, I started feeling a sort of hot spot.  I finally stopped to investigate, and sure enough there's a hole.
I completed the run and confirmed what I has suspected: once the hole was completely through the sole, a hole began to be worn through my foot.  (Kelly's right; I do have stubby little toes!)  Too much ground feel.
So, with Kelly and the kids in bed, I hopped on the internet and set out to order some new VFF sprints.  I have been running in these for several years, but it seems that Vibram is phasing them out.  Vibram has come out with so many varieties of running shoes (seemingly less and less minimalist) in recent years that I can't keep up.  One time I bought some Bikilas, but only ran a few miles in them before I knew they were not for me, so I sent them back.  With Vibram discontinuing them, I feared I would not be able to find my Sprints!  That would stink.

Thankfully, the good folks at had some in stock!  And, since they are an "endangered shoe," they are on sale.  I joined their VIP club for $2 and got 3 pair for under $100!  These used to retail for about $60-$80 a pair.  I'm so sad that Vibram has discontinued the Sprint.  These 3 pair will last me for at least a couple years.  After that, who knows what I'll do.

Oh, and since it was late at night and I was probably not thinking that clearly, I surfed over to REI and found some Vibram Treks, my go-to trail running shoes, for 1/2 price.  Sure enough, they are discontinued, so I picked up 2 pair.  Someday I'll have to find other shoes to run in.  In the meantime, I'm stocked up.

Friday, May 10, 2013

A graphic marathon

The legend of the first marathon is well-known in one form or another to marathon runners.  Boaz Yakin and Joe Infurnari tell the story in a dramatic way in their graphic novel, Marathon.  I am in no position to evaluate the historicity of their account.  Probably no one is, given that CNN wasn't there to record the events in 490 B.C.  The gist of the story is that the Athenians defeated the Persians at the Battle of Marathon, and a messenger ran all the way back to Athens to alert the city of the Athenian army's victory.

But was the runner Pheidippides?  Or Eucles?  According to Wikipedia, Plutarch was the first historian to mention this run, and he calls the runner Eucles.  A later historian calls him Philippides.  But of course the 19th century poet Robert Browning settled the matter with his poem Pheidippides, so now few remember the name Eucles.  Whatever the name, the victory of the Athenians over the Persians was significant for the future of democracy and Western civilization, and worth remembering.  Not to mention this race that thousands of us run every year. . . .

Yakin and Infurnari capture the history, the political background of the war, and the violent clashes in Yakin's sharp text and Infurnari's sketchy, sometimes chaotic illustration.  I personally am not a big fan of the style of illustration, and both the illustrations and the text sometimes seemed to leave too many gaps in the story and in the action.  Fans of graphic novels and movies with gladiator action will enjoy this bit of historical drama.
Marathon runners can relate to how he felt at the end of his run,
but most of us don't run while being pursued by armed men intent on killing us!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


I recently read a book called Get Off Your A-- and Run!  The author said that to motivate herself, she got a picture of a shapely, fit actress in bikini and put it on her mirror.  Each day, she would stand naked in front of the mirror repeating, "You fat b--ch! You fat b--ch!" while looking from herself to the beautiful woman in the picture.

I think that sounds rather crude and self-deprecating, but in principle I thought it might be a decent idea.  Then I saw the race pictures from last weekend's Possum Kingdom trail run and decided nobody shaped like that can be a good trail runner.

I figured Kelly might not be too thrilled about my putting pictures of gorgeous girls in bikinis on the bathroom mirror, so I found a picture of one of the greats, Dean Karnazes, the ultramarathon man.  I have put it on my mirror, along with a picture of myself at Possum Kingdom looking rather big around the middle.  I don't stand naked before the pictures chanting "You fat slob" or anything like that, but it's a good reminder to me.

Karnazes, sometimes known as Karno, has inspired me with his long runs, great running spirit, and desire to get even the most slothful among us moving.  I figure I could do worse that to make a habit of asking, "What would Karno do?"  So, would Karnazes get a 44 oz. Dr Pepper every time he stops for gas?  (And even sometimes when he doesn't need gas?)  Would he drink Dr Pepper at all?  Would Karnazes load up on sweets just because you can fill a whole box for a dollar on Fridays at the work cafeteria?  Would Karnazes skip a run just because he's feeling tired and lazy?  Would Karno walk those last few miles of the trail run or push himself to finish strong?

I'm no Dean Karnazes, but that guy's older than I am, and still runs competitively in ultras and trail races.  We'll see if asking WWKD? will help me get into better shape and start looking and feeling like an ultrarunner!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Things seen while running: our new baby neighbors

 Running around the lake the other day, I saw a couple of families with a bunch of kids.  I don't know how these multiple-birth moms do it!  I met a family with quadruplets and another with septuplets.

The goose family was very protective of their goslings.  When I tried to get closer, daddy goose hissed rudely at me.  I just wanted to hold those downy chicks!

I don't know where Daddy duck is.  Mama and her ducklings weren't too interested in me.  They probably figured that I wouldn't venture out into the water to get closer to them.  They were right.