Sunday, February 28, 2010

Baby we were born to run...

With apologies to "the Boss", but the phrase fit the day.  I can always tell when it's time to replace my pair of running shoes - something gets tweaked, a knee hurts, or it just doesn't feel right.  Today was that day.  With the best of intentions of a 1:10 training run late AM, it just did not happen.  Perhaps it was the 1:05 long run last Friday during the lunch hour or cross country skiing all day Saturday or maybe I just needed a rest day.

One minute into my run, I felt the interior quadriceps muscle at the knee insertion point on my left leg tweak - just did not feel good.  Overuse maybe, but fortunately just a muscle issue I'm thinking, I'm hoping.  After a minute massage, I tried again but it was not cooperating.  Realizing that's been 10+ months since I bought my Nike Air Max Moto 6's and many miles on them, I looked at them closer and realized that the heel tread was nearly gone and was exposing the white cushioning material.  Yep, they're due for retirement.  So I abandoned the run in favor of a rest day and made the pilgrimage to Runners Roost.  I looked at several Nike pairs as those have been good to me in the past but ultimately settled upon the Asics Gel Nimbus 11.  Compared to a top of the line Nike they just felt better - good cushion, good forefoot padding and to my surprise, the tweaky knee did not yell too much jogging outside the store during my "test drive."  I'll put them to the test Monday to see how they feel overall...

Speaking of running, I recently finished a great book - "Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen" by Christopher McDougall.  Interesting read about the Tarahumara Indians living in Copper Canyon, Mexico and their ability to run incredibly long distances without all the 21st century technologies of Nike, Asics, Reeboks, etc...  Rather they run in sandals, run for fun, run for sport, and run for life.  The book investigates why human beings are natural born runners with our unique breathing abilities compared to other mammals, sweat glands, and little hair on our bodies.  Our bodies are designed for long distance running over our life - originally for hunting/running down our food, but today mostly for sport and fitness.

It also investigates the rise of running injuries that 70-75% of us runners will experience in our lifetime that until 30 years ago was unheard of.  Why?  The book documents the rise of running shoes in the early-mid 1970's and the technologies developed to solve pronation, supination, arch weaknesses, etc. that may be the driving force behind these injuries.  The book studies runners prior to the rise of Nike and describes how human beings naturally are forefoot runners -- NOT heel strikers.  To understand what this means, go outside and run a short distance on the sidewalk.  By form and choice, you will run on your forefoot rather than heel strike - it feels better to do so - the heel can't take the force of concrete/stone/asphalt/etc. but the forefoot can because you run "softer" and use your knee as a natural shock absorber.  It might have some merit to change one's running form but the jury's still out.  Me - I'll try it periodically during my runs but I'm not sure if I'll fully transition...change is hard...but it makes sense to me.

Climb On my friends!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

It's "new to me"...

After 8 years of trusty, reliable service by my 2002 Honda CRV, "she" is officially retired!  Going places that it probably shouldn't, crossing Colorado streams for, as the 2002 Honda commercial advertises, "adventures in reality", numerous trips to Moab/Boise/Salt Lake City/Albuquerque/every place in Colorado, it was time to seek a replacement.

After months of researching different types of SUV's, CUV's, rugged station wagons and the like, I made my way to Mountain States Toyota last Saturday on the pretense of looking at a new vehicle.  The sales consultant who met me asked very focused questions of what I was looking in a vehicle - easy - a vehicle with good ground clearance, can get me, my gear, and my climbing partners to a rugged trailhead, is comfortable to drive, doesn't mind a 4x4 rock-strewn "road", and not $30K.  At that point, he directed me to a line of 12 used Toyota 4Runners - all quite nice.  Some were newer, some were low miles, some were "Toyota Certified", some were 2.9% financing for 60 months, and some had the aroma of way too much perfume/smoke.  What caught my eye was this beauty - a dark blue, 2006 4Runner SR5 with sunroof, skid plates, 6 cylinder, nice rims and a good price.  Qualifying for 2.9% was a major perk as well.  I spent most of Saturday afternoon test driving, asking a lot of questions, negotiating for new mats/new tires, deciding how much to put down and how much I could afford with monthly payments.  Time well spent.  By late afternoon, I was driving my 4Runner home and dreaming of new summits that the 2010 climbing season brings.

As one of my regular climbing partners, Patrick Vall, said and I quote..."I'm just glad you can't use your lame "my Honda can't make it up that road" excuse any more when we go 4-wheeling to get to a trailhead. My 160K mile 4Runner thanks you! I'm looking forward to sleeping while you drive;)"

Pretty much covers it...Climb On!