Friday, December 16, 2016

The Last Post

This will be my last post on this blog. At times I've really enjoyed this and at times I've felt it was a chore. That being said I really appreciate everyone who have kept up with this blog for so long.

This however is not the last of my story telling. That will continue and in fact it will continue in two different places.

The Business of Running Shoes - this is my new business or better yet how I make a living. I was talking to a long time friend in the business two weeks ago and he said this "You've been doing this all your life, now you get paid for it".

Content Like this Blog and More -

- More Shoe reviews.
- Better organization
- and Shoe Ranger already has a much larger following.

Thanks for reading and I look forward to hearing from you.

It's a good life.....


Monday, November 21, 2016

Eco Catalina Marathon

Saturday I ran my marathon. Going into the race I knew two things:

  1. I hadn't covered anything close to the distance. My longest run this year before Saturday was 13.5 miles. I ran frequently but never very far. 
  2. I had done lots of running on trails but nothing was overly technical. 
 Friday I took the train to San Juan Capistrano. It was a beautiful day so I decided to walk to Dana Point.
 From Dana Point it's a 90 minute ferry ride to Catalina Island. The water was flat which made for a smooth ride.
Race morning was stunning. The sun came up to clear sky's and cool temperatures. Overall it was a perfect day to run a marathon. 

Going into the marathon I know those two things would come to get me. My plan going in was to take off easily and play the race by how I felt. The race itself is really hard. There is no other way to explain it. That's why I wanted to do it. 

Start - I set my target HR rate to my MAF zone and kept it there. The first 3.5 miles is up hill from roughly sea level to 1500 feet. To say I was running slow was an understatement. I went through the first mile in roughly 150th place. I stayed at that effort through the hill and by the top I was in the top 50 or better. From that point the course begins to roll with lots of single track and lots of steep climbs and descents. I kept my HR in check and felt great. At mile 13 it felt easy. 
I eased the effort up at this point not to race pace but more to tempo. If felt good to run with my form. I knew every step I took was further than I had gone all year. I kept the effort going and really started going through the field of runners in front of me. The effort still felt "easy". At mile 19 there is a section called the crush. It's a tight rolling single track and it bit hard. For some reason I started to feel the race here. At Mile 20 there is a nasty hill that simply goes straight up. You can see the top from the bottom and not a single person is running. I power hiked this hill and felt good going up. 
At the top of the hill there was an aid station where someone offered my Ibuprophen. I passed, filled my bottle and carried on. By Mile 23 I was wishing I hadn't past. Here's where course knowledge and techincal running would pay off. 
I've done the Catalina Marathon. At 23 miles you hit the twisting turning road (basically the way we came up through the first three miles). At mile 23 of this marathon the course goes along the mountain top. Avalon, the finish looks to be a half mile straight down and we are running away from it. At roughly mile 24 we went up over a ridge and dropped straight down a single track. It was steep, rutted and rocky. My legs were shattered at this point and it was everything I could do to get down. People were passing me right and left. By the time we hit the road with one mile to go I was mad. I opened up the pace to a full effort and crossed the line. 

The pain of that marathon will be with me for a time. I did the race because it fell on November 19th and this would have been my brother's 57th birthday. I knew any pain the marathon was causing me was nothing to the pain of knowing you would die from ALS. 

It's a good life.....

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Ironman Kona 2016 Report

Last weekend was the Ironman World Championships in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. I was there to enjoy the energy of the event as well as do the running shoe count on race day.

For the stats on the shoe count go here:

Some things you can learn from watching 2200 pairs of feet going by:
 For the most part, people make good footwear decisions. Some don't.

  1. Don't buy the Kona inspired shoes days before the race and use them on race day. The only reason you would is because you've worn the shoe before. So many people made the emotional decision to wear new Kona shoes and it shows up on Saturday because they aren't functionally working for the athlete. That's not a good thing. 
  2. So many athletes were in old shoes. I saw shoes as old as 10 years. That doesn't ever make sense. I see this daily where runners come to me complaining of joint pain where their shoes are 2 years old. I simply put them in new shoes and they come back and say the pain is gone. Never do a race in an old shoe. You are asking for trouble. 
  3. If you have to put sponges in the heel of your shoe to protect against blisters, you should know this before the race. Everything regarding the conditions can be tested. 
  4. If I can put my fist or even my finger between your heel and the heel of the shoe you are going to have problems on race day. I saw many people having heel slip problems. Maybe a sponge would be better. 
  5. Water in your shoes. There may be nothing worse than water that doesn't drain. Most shoes drain the water naturally. Some don't and you can hear them sloshing down the road. Test it. Go running and dump water on your head. Water adds to the weight of your shoes by the way. 
  6. I've said over and over again 50% of the function of your shoe comes from the midsole and 50% comes from the upper. If your foot is swimming in an upper that doesn't fit you have lost 50% of the function and it shows dramatically. Aside from that you will get blisters. 
  7. Ok, old shoes, shoes that don't fit the one that really gets me is shoes with mud caked on them. Not one pair buy many. Come on people, caked on mud adds to the weight you are picking up. It's really easy to clean the mud off. 
Kind of late in the day when the field was kind of thinned out, a motor cycle with a camera on the back was rolling down the road. You could see it for 1/4 mile and you knew this was an important athlete. I'm sure if you watch the Ironman coverage on NBC you'll see the woman as one of the focus stories of the race. She's the first observant Muslim woman to race in the Ironman World Championships. It was truly inspiring to watch her run in that heat fully covered. 

The sad thing or more the sickening thing was what I heard as she ran by. My country is a divided country. The Isolationists have a voice and it was in full force at Mile 5 of the Ironman Marathon. A guy standing on his porch by himself says in a loud deep voice "I hope she's not carrying explosives in all those bottles" I am not kidding you. I wanted to punch him. He then repeated it to his neighbor who was walking his dog roughly 30 minutes later. 

On a lighter note I ran into the woman who sent the tweet, Paula Newby-Fraser. She of the 8 Ironman Kona titles. Her first words to me "Jeweller, I heard about you not making it in the swim at SuperFrog. That's a black mark on you in San Diego" Never a break from Paula. It's why we love her. 

It's a good life....