Run Forrest, Run!

I’m back from the land of non-bloggers with some tasty tales!

Okay, maybe not incredibly awesome stories but definitely some new-found interests.

On April 2, I went to Charleston, SC to run in the Cooper River Bridge Run. It’s an annual 10k that just so happens to be one of the largest in the United States. The current cap is set at 40,000. They regularly sell all entries and are debating on raising the cap for next year’s race. A record was set this year for number of finishers at 34,690. It’s intense, for sure.

Anyways, this is my 4th year in a row and 5th overall, I believe. The Jerdan clan (my dad’s side) uses the run as a quasi-family reunion. This year we had a record number of old, new, soon-to-be, and friends-of-the Jerdans show up – 24 (I think) showed up for one event or another over the weekend. With that many, we figured we’d have enough to break the record number of Jerdans participating but we only wound up with 10 running or walking. Good times were had though.

In terms of time, I didn’t do as well as I was shooting for (55 minutes) but still managed to barely break an hour. Officially I crossed at 59:29. It’s frustrating because I had been training a bit for it and just happened to plan it terribly. My first mile was 9:30. Too slow. My second mile was 9:30. Still too slow. I’d have to make up time on the back half. The third mile is the one that goes up the Cooper River Bridge. And I just so happened to run it in 8:00 minutes. I picked up the pace – just at the absolute worst place to run the fastest mile. So I was completely shot by the end of the Bridge. Between miles 4 and 5, I swore I was seeing my life flash before my eyes. But like I said, I’m still moving in the right direction since last year’s time was 1:02:16 (and 1:10:23 in 2009… and 1:30:35 in 2008…). Barring injury or something crazy, I WILL break 55 minutes next year.

Crossing the finish line

The finishers

While on the running theme, I’m reading Born To Run by Christopher McDougall. It’s addictingly good. But then I checked out Mr. McDougall’s bio. He was a war correspondent for the Associated Press, is a contributing editor to Men’s Health, and has written for Esquire, The New York Times Magazine, Outside, Men’s Journal, and New York. Uh, that’s why it’s written so well. In any case, if you’ve ever enjoyed or been intrigued by running, check it out. Very captivating about a Mexican tribe of ultramarathoners that can run over 100 miles at a time. For fun. And while I have absolutely no intentions of ever doing anything like a marathon (26.2 miles) much less something like a 100-mile race, it does make me want to fine tune how I run. It also pushes me to want to do a half marathon. It’s a huge motivational tool.

Another product I’m currently pushing is Vibram FiveFingers. I ordered some last week (the black/grey Bikila LS) and love them. Running shoes are actually bad for running form, as well as joints. The cushioned heel has conditioned people to run with a heel-to-toe mentality. If you run barefoot, at worst you land with a midfoot strike and at best, you’re on your forefoot. The way a human foot is engineered is for the pressure to come down on the ball of your foot and have the arch and other parts absorb the shock. Landing on your heel sends the shock up your leg and into your knees. Barefoot running (correctly) makes you run in an efficient, healthy manner. And FiveFingers are the next best thing since most people don’t want to blaze down the asphalt with no foot protection. They’re also ridiculously comfortable, even if you’re using them to just walk around the house in.

The only frustrating thing I’ve stumbled upon since getting them is that it essentially resets any progress you’d currently worked up to. I could comfortably run 3.5 miles in shoes. In my Vibrams, I’ve done 0.8 and 1.5 miles and my feet and legs just aren’t ready for it. After my first run, my arches and achilles tendons were really sore. After the second run, my calves are SUPER sore and have been tight for about 24 hours. It tells me two things: first, I need to take it super easy until I build up some muscles in places not used to being used and second, it’s working for sure. I might alternate between Nikes and Vibrams until I build up some tolerance. And try my hardest not to mess up my stride in my running shoes.

So if you can stomach the look (they’re pretty hideous, I’ll admit), open to trying new things, and willing to spend the money when looking for new shoes, give them a shot.

Until next time!

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2 Responses to Run Forrest, Run!

  1. Karen says:

    I love Born to Run! Best book ever. I’m so tempted by the barefoot running, but haven’t tried it yet. Maybe this summer.

    • It really was an amazing book. I couldn’t put it down and finished it this past weekend.

      I’m slowly trying to switch over to my Vibrams. You really can tell a difference between being barefoot/Vibrams and regular running shoes. There’s also a huge difference in the muscles you use. My calves and toes still aren’t on speaking terms with me. It’s frustrating not being able to run as far but I’ll get there.

      Good luck if you give it a shot!

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