Running Form

I’ll probably dive into more depth on this at a later time. However, I was thinking about running form a little bit on my Monday run. Ever since I finished Born to Run, I have both been a little more aware of both my form, and of others.

Foot strike is the main thing almost everyone talks about. I read a statistic somewhere that about 90% of runners are heel strikers (including yours truly). All research says that a mid-foot strike is the most efficient, and that seems to make sense. Less time on the ground and all that.

At times, I think that I’m moving toward a mid-foot strike, as I’ve noticed I’m running better and more comfortably in my lower heel drop shoes. And many times I’ll catch myself heel striking all the way down the road. So it is what it is. If you ever want to have a perfect mid-foot strike, though, run barefoot through the grass. I’ll do this post run a couple times a week. It doesn’t feel too much different, but seems like I have less “pop.” Maybe that’s because I’m worried about stepping on something.

If you want to see a human with an amazing mid-foot strike, watch kids run around. I’m not even kidding.

Run: Remember when I said I wanted 10 miles? Nope, that didn’t happen. I always forget that the Ledges has an obscene amount of stairs. I traversed a mere four miles, but wound up with a little over 700 feet of elevation gain. Who said Iowa was flat anyway?

Race Medals and Swag – Part 3

First off, happy Memorial Day everyone!

I know I slacked off a bit over the weekend with posting, but rest assured I’ve been getting my runs in, more on that a bit later.

First to the final part of my race medals and swag rants. Part 3 will look at races that give runners something other than a medal for finishing. And I’m not referring to marathons that give you a finishers shirt in addition to a medal. I’m talking about races that hand out something in place of a medal.

More often than not, trail races are the ones that hand out something that isn’t a piece of metal. Granted, I haven’t run too many trail races, but I’ve done a few. I got what was essentially a bottle opener on a ribbon, a coozie, and a block of wood from those races. My block of wood, laser cut with the race name and place, is far and away my favorite. I also ran a Half in which we got a finishers poker chip, which I thought was awesome.

Some races also give out a pint glass or a mug, probably the most useful item. Market to Market Relay gives out a pint every year, and top 75 (I think) finishers at the Midnight Madness 10k get a mug. I’ve always said I prefer to get things as opposed to medals for no other reason than that they are something different.

If you dive into longer races (which someday I will) it’s very common for the finishers “prize” to be a belt buckle. Of course, I have no experience in this area as of yet, but one day I hope to add one of these to my collection of things.

Run: I’ve got some catching up to do here. On Friday, I tackled some stairs in Munn Woods. Sixty nine stairs one way, 12 times. That was a lot of stairs, and on Saturday morning my calves were feeling it.

On Saturday, I churned out a relatively easy 13 miles (and some change) with the Vardos. No, the last mile wasn’t easy, but at that point my fuel was about gone. Still, to hit a 7 minute pace for the morning was pleasant, knowing that I wasn’t going full steam ahead all the time.

On Sunday, I fired off another 12. I was hoping for it to be slower than it was, and recruited some Vardos to crawl out of bed and run with me in the morning. Well, it didn’t work out that way. Although I was able to hit 7:30s at a VERY even clip, which is something I typically struggle with. I was surprised, though, that my cadence was incredibly high. Like over 200 high. I have no explanation for this.

Today, it looks like the rain will hold off, so it’ll be time for some trails. Since I can’t hit the gym for some spin, I’ll use my day off to tackle some challenging, and probably muddy, trails at the Ledges. Hoping to get 10 miles to bring my holiday weekend total up to 35.

Race Medals and Swag – Part 2

Yesterday I dove into the topic of race medals. I mentioned that there are really two different kinds of people, those who love their medals, and those who don’t care. We talked about folks who like their medals, and some who will run races because of the medal. Today, I’d like to talk about the other end of the spectrum: those who don’t care about them.

I run with someone who has told me that if a race really wants to give out something on a ribbon, they should give all runners a bottle opener. Here is where I would like to point out that I did actually run a race that did that. In fact, I have three medals that are bottle openers. But anyway, his point being that medals are more or less useless, and just tell you that you’ve paid to cover a certain distance, which you already knew.

And I think that’s where we meet our separation between the two types of people I’ve mentioned. For runners who lean more toward the competitive side, you will likely see less and less who care about the finisher medal. Because they are in the race to compete either against other runners, or themselves. At that stage, you really don’t need a medal to tell you that you ran a distance you otherwise could have run on your own (probably).

I can see both sides of this spectrum. Like I said yesterday, I have my medals, but just hang them on a plastic shelf. So they are really just collecting dust right now. At the same time, I probably give them more love than others in my running group. And that, I guess, is the beauty about race medals. Just like runners, no idea or thought about medals are the same. You aren’t right or wrong if you like the medals. And you aren’t right or wrong if you don’t care one bit.

Tomorrow, we’ll hit Part 3 of this quick series. We’ll be talking about when races give you something other than a medal (which I love).

Race Medals and Swag – Part 1

This is a topic that comes up at least once a month on my group runs, and one I think about every once and a while. Most races that are a Half Marathon or farther (and some shorter ones) give out a medal for covering the distance and crossing the finish line. It doesn’t matter if you finished first or last, you’ll get the same medal.

If you’re a distance runner/racer you likely fall into one of two categories. Either you display your medals on some sort of hanger or medal rack, or you toss them in a box and never look at them again. So let’s talk about these two types of people.

I’ll admit, I fall into the category of hanging my medals. Not on a fancy hanger, mind you, just on hooks attached to my plastic storage shelves I bought from Lowes. Still, I like my race medals. Not because I want to flaunt the races I’ve done (that’s what social media is for…obviously), but because they all tell a story. And maybe this is me being a journalism major here, but there is a story behind everything, and the medals, I think, go a long way in telling them.

Now, if we’re sticking to the display category, there is another type of person. The one who will run the races to get the medal. Not for time. Not for the competition. For the medal. And I understand part of this. I get wanted to show that you accomplished something that very few people (especially if we’re talking about a marathon) have or ever will do. And that’s fine. But I’ve entered races where we get something other than a medal (more on that later) and some runners are audibly upset about their lack of medal. Come on people. If you want a medal that bad, you could run 13 or 26 miles on your own and make a medal. It will cost less. Then there are those who enter a race because the medal looks cool and for no other reason. Again, I don’t get that.

Like I said, I like my race medals. I think they’re all unique and have a cool story to tell. I like it when I get non-medals better, because it is something different. Because at the end of the day, a race medal is something you will likely wear for a couple hours after the race and never again. Who cares what it looks like. The accomplishment is really what counts. Your runner and non-runner friends won’t really care if the medal is ugly or cool, they’ll care about what you accomplished.

Tomorrow in part 2, we’ll talk a bit about those who don’t care at all about race medals. And if my rant isn’t too long, we’ll dive into races that give you something other than a medal.

Run: And now that my rant is over, let’s talk about my actual run yesterday. For the third straight day, heat and humidity were the story. The morning rain gave us a bit more humid than Tuesday did. I definitely had less energy than on Tuesday, but hit about my normal pace, maybe a little slower. My main goal, though, was to hop on some single track trails in Ames. Trails are always a nice break, and after rain in the morning, they were nice and muddy. For me, the run was tougher than most, but a trail run is never a bad run. I also had the opportunity to take a different route back home. Until tomorrow, friends!

Welcome!

I apologize for the weak title, but since this is post number one, I thought it was fitting. As time goes on, I’ll do my best to post recaps of my recent run, do some in depth race recaps, and have some sort of thought or rant (depending on the day) to go along with that. I’ll also throw in some gear reviews if I get some new things. But this brief intro will serve that purpose for today’s post.

Run: Last night’s run was the first of what will be a week of hot and humid runs. With the temps above 80, and the Iowa humidity rolling in that means summer is here. It also means some runs become a bit more of a struggle with the high humidity. Yesterday was no such struggle. Running with the Vardos doesn’t normally see me push the pace (that much). But yesterday I felt pretty good and popped off some quick miles in surprisingly easy fashion. I haven’t gotten outside today yet (planning on hitting some trails) but it looks like the heat and humidity will be cranked up again today.