Saturday, April 17, 2010

Five Fingers Update

I wanted to give a little follow-up to my introduction to Vibram Five Fingers (VFF) shoes. If you read my earlier post you know that calling these shoes is a stretch. They are more like lycra gloves with pliable rubberized soles than shoes. There supposed to help you mimic a barefoot running stride with out tearing up your feet. And to that effect they work nicely.

The deal is you are supposed to work up to any distance over time to condirion the muscles in your feet to working without the artificial support of shoes. You would be amazed by how complex the structure of your feet are. Of course that means there are a lot of muscle, tendons, and ligaments than can become sore, irritated or inflamed if you push this phase.

Anyhow, I had worked up to a couple miles with the VFF and frankly running with conventional running shoes was feeling a little weird. So as my training progressed, it was time to do some speed work. Nothing major just 3) 1/2 mile intervals. So I did them, felt good and went home.
Well,the next morning, while my feet had acclimated, my calves had not. While I slept my calves had conspired to prevent me from leaving the house. The first part of the plan was to make it difficult to stand up after getting to the edge of the bed. After a couple minutes I was almost able to stand upright except ALL my weight HAD to be on my heels. Any weight on my forefoot triggered my calf muscles to fire. It was excrutiating! The next part of the plan was to make it almost impossible to get down the stairs. Do you know how hard it is to go down stairs with all your weight on your heels? Not easy. Go ahead and try it.

After a couple days the pain has lessened. I now know to break up the workouts with regular shoes and VFF. And SLOWLY increase the time with the VFF and ween off the running shoes over time.

Freakin' Mohican

Freakin’ Mohican: Recipe For Destruction

Remembrances of The Mohican 100 Mile or Mohican 100 K Endurance Mountain Bike Race.

A rough recipe for this endurance event in Ohio includes:

• 4 parts of water (3.5” in the 24 hours preceding the race after a whole week of rain.)
• 8 parts dirt
• 1 part leaves, stick and pine needles.
• Three parts rocks
• 2 parts roots.
• 2 parts of elevation gain. I know its Ohio, but there is damn near as much elevation gain as in the Wilderness 101. Over 11,000 feet in 100 miles. Who knew?
• 160+ racers
• First checkpoint at mile #27 Or mile 35 for the full half of the field that got lost… (yes me too) Ride bike for a minimum of 3+ hours to reach said checkpoint (top finishers) or over 8 hours for bottom feeders. Me just under 4 hours.
• No signs for 20 miles of twisty intersecting single track before check point # 1 (all stolen the night before?)
• Lightning and hail warnings
• 2 parts bonus hike-a-bike not quite as bad as Iron Cross, but not part of the course either
• 1 part hike-a-bike up the face of a damn too steep to push your bike, had to carry (5 miles from the end) 200’+- elevation gain
• Attrition rate must exceed 25%
• Crash bikes in every conceivable manner imaginable.
o Yours truly all during the event:
1. Over the bars: tuck and roll, modified superman, and full bar straddle, heel click to full on sprint down hill to remain upright
2. Biff front wheel left and right repeat numerous times or until you can no longer mount bike
3. Rear wash out left and right repeat numerous times or until you can no longer mount bike
4. Walk bike for miles, up hill, down hill, flat terrain, advanced trails, expert trails and even novice trails…helps mix ingredients
5. And fail to make the short extremely steep climb, put your foot down on a slippery root (down hill side) and tumble over a cliff
6. Fully submersed after slipping off creek side trail and falling into 6’ of water

• Numerous unmarked road turns
• Broken chain
• Mix all dry and liquid ingredients in a big basin. Allow to congeal shortly. Roll rubber tires though quagmire until tires scoop up enough of the mixture that the wheels will no longer turn at all. Stop bike and scrape off enough mud to continue. CURSE! Repeat every 500 yards or until a stream crossing affords the opportunity to dunk the entire bike under water to allow forward locomotion. Repeat for 100 K, 100 miles, 5.5 hours (top 100K) 8.5 hours top 100 Mile or stagger in after 17 hours under you own power (last finisher at 12 PM) Whichever is longer and more painful. Or continue until the will to move forward and finish is overcome by man’s natural affinity toward self-preservation and survival.
• Drink beers, lick wounds, and make plans for the Wilderness 101 in July.