Monday, December 26, 2011

Flirting With The Dark Side

I started cycling mainly because I wanted to do cardio without running.  I once accompanied a friend to a marathon, observed participants limping around after the race and wondered what would posses someone to put their body through that pain.  After moving, I couldn't ride to work any more so I started looking for other ways to hold on to some fitness.  One option was....running.  I decided to run during lunch at work once or twice a week.  I purchased some Nike Free shoes and started doing some runs but still felt knee and back discomfort after runs longer then 3 miles.  It seemed that all my beliefs about running were true.

Then everything changed.  Claudia and I went to Peru and a member of our group that completed a 3 day hike to Machu Picchu wore Vibram FiveFinger shoes through the hike.  At the end of it, he seemed to be in better condition then those of us that wore hiking boots.  At the same time I was reading "Born to Run", a book about barefoot running.  After the trip I decided to take the plunge and purchased a pair of Vibram FiveFinger Sprints.  I quickly realized I had no idea how to run in these and actually started walking and then slowly working up to running again.  I quickly found that I could run without discomfort and my body recovered much faster then wearing shoes.

I did make a rookie mistake with my first pair of Vibrams.  I bought them and they were to big so I went down a size but in reality, I probably should have gone down at least one more size.  The thin sole combined with an incorrect fit led to them wearing through in the little toe.  So I purchased my second pair, Vibram FiveFinger Bikila LS.  These are a size smaller and combined with the lacing, have a much better fit.  They also have a slightly thicker sole allowing running over rougher conditions.

The other addition to my running arsenal finding a lightly used Garmin Forerunner 405 and pairing that with a Garmin footpad and my heart rate strap to begin gain the data to actually know how i'm doing.  All these tools have not only allowed me to run comfortably, but I actually look forward to runs.  Especially as the cold and wet of winter set in, I find that it's a lot more fun to go for a run then try to bundle up and ride.  Never would have guessed.....

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Catching Up

So I've finished my first semester of grad school.  I did find time for my two favorite team rides, the Tour de Gruene and our annual Fredericksburg Winter Camp ride.

Tour de Gruene is a two man time-trial that I raced with Clint F.  Fortunately, my running has complemented my limited riding and I had decent form and we won our group.  But that ride is mostly about getting together, swapping stories from a year of racing, and eating good food.

The other ride is our annual Fredericksburg Winter Camp ride.  Every year our "coach" Richmond organizes a series of long rides over the holiday break including a big ride that is normally the largest Joe's Pro Bike group ride.  Fredericksburg always provides great roads and scenery and the conversation is fantastic.  This year, one of our teammates Marc did a timelapse capture of the ride.