Monday, February 28, 2011

In search of?

I have been in search of the perfect companion for my runs, and I don't mean a human companion nor do I mean an animal companion (I do like this kind of dog though).No, I mean a technology companion. As most know, I love listening to podcasts and occasionally music while I run but I also like to have a phone and I really have wanted to have a camera too. So for the last year or so I have carried an Ipod Nano (3rd gen) or shuffle, my cell phone (Motorola Razr V3m) and no real camera (yes the cell phone has one, well kind of, sort of).

My cell phone has a 1.3 Megapixel camera and it works but the pictures are at best so so. So I looked at cameras but didn't really want to carry a 3rd appliance and they were anywhere from $50 to $300+, plus most were larger than I wanted to carry. I thought more about taking a camera instead of the phone but that didn't seem like a good idea.

So I finally figured out what I wanted to do, get a newer phone with a better camera except almost all of the phones with a better camera require a data plan (meaning an extra $29.95 to Verizon) and that didn't make sense to pay the extra cash and carry a $300+ phone on runs in the rain, snow, heat, etc.. with an individual who has been known to fall once or twice on trails. I already have a smartphone (Samsung Jack) for work but I don't like to run with it even
though it does have a 3 MP camera which works ok. It has a weird Samsung cable that I have to use to connect my headphones and syncing my podcasts hasn't worked that well. But the main reasons are that I can't see the keys (yes, carry reading glasses would solve that issue) and the phone has a tendency to make calls when I least expect it (especially when it's in my pocket).

So what's my answer, my initial thought was to buy a phone that meets my camera needs and don't sign-up for any service. So I started looking on Ebay for a cheap solution and at the same time I decided to make sure my idea would work. So, I borrowed my daughter's old env Touch (3 MP camera) and it worked fine, too bad Verizon insists on a data plan for it, as it would be an improvement. It did prove my concept would work which was a good thing, although the glasses were still a little bit of an issue as I couldn't discern "erase vs save" and of course erased the first few pictures I took.

As I was looking into phones on Ebay and experimenting with syncing podcasts and music to the enV. I discovered another thing to listen to, audiobooks, I can download them from netlibrary (available from my local library) for free and then listening during my runs. The first audiobook I listened to was Dean Karnazes "UltraMarathon Man". I really enjoyed it, the audio brought a new perspective to the book and the book again reminded me of why I run, it's because I love running, duh. Running brings me peace, satisfaction, fulfillment, pain, success, failure, fitness (meaning hopefully good physical and mental health) and many other things and it was nice to get a chance to reflect on it as I listened to Dean's story.

After looking at ebay for the past few weeks, I realized that I can get a phone with a better camera and I can use it to replace my work phone. My Jack has a cracked screen, so since I am paying, I can buy one and then I won't feel guilty if I run with it and something happens, like it gets wet. If I ruin it, back to ebay or back to the Jack.

So last week I purchased a Motorola Backflip on ebay. Maybe not the best phone available but with a 5 MP camera, wifi, mp3 player, android 2.1 and a keyboard it is a huge improvement over the Jack and the cost wasn't that bad. Plus Motorola and Nero have an application (Motorola Media Link) that allows me to easily sync from my desktop or from Itunes.
So hopefully you see a few more pictures from me as spring arrives, if nothing else it did capture the before and after of yesterday's run.

Before the run

After the run

Final note they took that fine looking Motorola phone from above and left my ipod, they also left my clif shot bloks, headphones, running shoes, running clothes and bible, go figure.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Interesting Podcast, Interesting Guests

When I went for my run yesterday, I was as always listening to podcasts. I was listening to a show that I discovered last summer called "PureFit Radio", can't remember how I found it, so my apologies to whoever mentioned it. It was the 2/11 episode and in it they interviewed two guests: Stefaan Engels and Ian Sharman. If the names aren't familiar then let me introduce you.

Stefaan Engels is the world record holder for consecutive marathons. He ran 365 marathons in 365 days. He just finished his last one on February 5th in Barcelona, check out the podcast (make sure you go for the 2/11th episode, although you might find the other ones interesting too) or his website for more information, pretty phenomenal accomplishment. He ran most of the marathons in 4 hrs and 15 minutes, with a few 3 1/4 to 3 1/2 hour ones thrown in when he felt like racing.

Ian Sharman just won the Rocky Racoon 100 in Huntsville, TX where he ran a record time of 12 hours, 44 minutes, 38 seconds which works itself out to 7:38 min/mile which to mean seems superhuman. I probably can't run 1 mile at that pace and he ran 100 miles at it. He is interviewed later in the 2/11th podcast or check out his blog for his account, Ian Sharman's (mainly racing) Blog or the account from irunfar.

Two very interesting stories, take a listen, hope you enjoy it.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Shoe heights and shoes for 2011

I have had a theory that when I used to run in road shoes on the trails I sprained more ankles. The basis of this theory was that I had a belief that either the heel height/forefoot height ratio was greater or that the heel height was too high. This effectively assumes road shoes have more cushion and support than trail shoes, I am not talking about the minimalist road shoes but the traditional cushioned support shoes.

So to prove/disprove my theory, I did some basic research on three shoes I have been running in. Before I looked up the numbers, my gut told me that my Salomon XT Wings (the ones I was wearing when I got hurt at Superior) had me sitting higher off the ground. I thought my Cascadias had me the closest to the ground.

So here are the numbers:
Salomon XT Wings - Heel 25mm, Forefoot 13mm, Delta: 12mm
Brooks Cascadia 4 - Heel 22mm, Forefoot 10mm, Delta: 12mm
Vasque Celerator - Heel 28 mm, Forefoot 16mm, Delta: 12mm

So the data doesn't exactly support the theory. My Cascadia's are lower to the ground but my XT Wings aren't as high up as I thought.

So what does this mean? Got me, if you want to read a bit more here is a post where the author spent more time looking into it - RunBlogger Shoe Height post

I still think my XT Wings were a contributor to the sprain as they are a more beefed up shoe, at least I think they are. It is my nature when an injury happens to blame the shoes, much easier than blaming myself.

Of the shoes above, the ones that I like the most are the Cascadia's, I like them for shorter runs. The Celerators fit a bit different and I need to wear a thicker sock. The XT wings, I don't like and I have concluded that Salomon's just don't fit me well. I wear a size 13 and my toes get crunched a bit, I think a 14 would be too long, I do love their laces.

So as I retire the shoes above, what will I be running in in 2011?

Montrail RockRidge - Heel 21 mm, Forefoot 11 mm, Delta: 10 mm
Montrail Sabino Trail - Heel 19 mm, Forefoot 9 mm, Delta: 10 mm
Columbia Ravenous - Heel 20 mm, Forefoot 10 mm, Delta: 10 mm

So it looks like all 3 will have me riding lower to the ground, so if my theory had any merit, my ankles will have a good year, that is after I get one of them back to good health.

I picked up all 3 pair from SierraTrading over the last 3 or 4 weeks for $121.36 (including shipping). I ordered the Ravenous and Sabino Trails first but the Sabino Trails had a defective loop so I sent them back and although there was an issue with the return, SierraTrading came through just fine. I wanted to exchange them and instead they gave me credit. Turned out though they then offered me free shipping and I ordered another pair but I was also able to pick up the RockRidges for ($35.67) and of course I couldn't resist as I think Montrails fit my feet really well. So now I just need the snow to melt and I am set to hit the trails.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I have been here before and I thought I had moved on but it appears I have those fundamental questions yet again dancing in my head:
  • When is it stupid to run with pain?
  • Should you run through the pain of a sprained ankle?
I don't mean right when you first injure an ankle, I always try to run through those, granted I am usually miles from nowhere so that may be more of a "what else do you do?". No, I mean days and weeks afterwards. When should you start running? Should you really wait to be pain free? What does pain free mean anyway?

I sprained my right ankle back in mid January (it was the second time in 5 months). This time it was a traditional sprain, a right side rollover with a really neat wipe out into the snow. I am still having issues, last time it was a weird sprain so after I got it properly diagnosed I was slightly better (mentally) about having to take some time off. I was still pretty surly about it but I least felt less like a wimp. That one took 12 weeks, this one is at 5 weeks. I believe I would be remiss to not point out what my wife would be quick to note, how many days or weeks did you take off? She usually would add something else like "Why do you insist on being stupid"? To the second comment, that may be just my nature, the first part of the comment I can answer.

I took 8 days off and I did ice it regularly, I took ibuprofen (which I don't normally do), then I ran 4 miles, iced it, took off 4 more days, ran 5.5 miles, iced it, took off 2 days, ran 10.5 miles, iced it, took off 2 days, ran 5 miles, took off 2 days ran 4 then 12 then tried to resume normal running the last couple of weeks.

So my past 4 weeks mileage is: 4, 16, 21, 30 and I was (am) planning on 35 miles for this week with a long run of 15 to 16.

I started to run last night, I was going to run in Lebanon Hills, but I forgot a coat and I thought I would need one, yes it would probably have been pretty stupid to run in snow anyway so it was probably good I forgot the coat. I was going to run after church tonight but decided to instead ice the ankle and give it an extra day. The ankle does bug me on stairs, when starting and stopping, it is now more of a nuisance pain with an occasional sharp pain when it seems to catch for lack of a better phrase when I start to walk or change direction. Just a sharp pain that subsides in a few more steps. I think this is just because it's still a little swollen, I know I can run on it for a while but the pain does seem to increase as the distance grows.

So what would you do? Run or rest?

I thought about phrasing it more like "what should I do?". Except that I know I will run tomorrow and then push myself to get in the runs over the weekend, why, well, good question for someone other than me to answer.

Sorry to post yet again about a running injury, but I needed to just document another episode with me running through an injury. One day I will go back, read these posts and maybe learn from them, you have to believe that you will one day learn from your mistakes.

"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."--Thomas A. Edison

So maybe I have not failed. I've just found 20 ways that won't work or did I just use the wrong quote and instead should I have used one of my favorites?

"Stupid is as Stupid does." -- Forrest Gump

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Making progress plus some rambling thoughts

Was able to run 3 days this week and got through 12 miles today, walked every 15 to 20 minutes for a minute to make sure I didn't do any significant damage and I didn't run through the snow as I was afraid I would mis-step. I have been looking for a solution to how to carry a camera, listen to music and have a cell phone. Today, I took my daughter's old EnvTouch today and took this picture.
It is from a church in Apple Valley who's roof fell in (presumably from the snow, no one was hurt). I had a better picture that I took in landscape mode, only problem is I can't see without reading glasses and apparently hit erase vs. save. It's hell getting old :-), (note to self, throw reading glasses into pack or pockets). So I am leaning to upgrading my work phone to allow me to blend all three worlds (pictures, music and phone). For the moment, the envtouch works ok except it is not a working cell phone as I refuse to pay Verizon extra dollars for a data plan so I still need to carry a phone. I also figured out how to sync the phone to my Itunes podcasts using Itunes Agent so I listened to the phone on today's run. I have discovered e-audiobooks recently which is expanding my listening beyond podcasts and music. Our library system is fabulous, maybe everyone's is but I love ours.

I have to admit, it was funny the other day we went out with some friends before going to "Feed my Starving Children" (great org, check it out) and they talked about various things that were in the news, I knew of none of the news of they day they discussed but did know about a new podcast I had heard about listening to "DirtDawg "called "3 non joggers", (two of them do ultras and the third guy is a mailman).

I would be remiss to not say congrats to Wayne for taking on Rocky and getting through 80 miles and to Vicky for working through 60 miles. Does this mean I am on the hook to pace you at Potawatomi? To put what they did in perspective, I think today I might have been able to extend myself to say 15 miles, Wayne and Vicky you guys rock.

Finally, congrats to all of you Packer fans, I was hoping for my Bears to be there but your team finished us off and then ended the season the way Viking fans can only dream about.


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