Wrekin, Vibram 5 fingers and log "find" 29/4

Last summer, after reading a bit on the subject, I started doing a little bit of bare foot running round a field next to my home. What I'd read suggested that a lot of the injuries runners seem to get, are not the result of running, but more the result of our foot wear and the style of running that that foot wear encourages. I'd only built up to doing half an hour bare foot before summer came to an end and it was too cold to continue bare footing. I think it was enough to start me off because over the winter I tried to change my style and run as though I were bare foot. Also, I only ran in my Mudclaw 270's which are low profile without much cushioning. My running buddy Methuselah was also coming to the same conclusions as myself. While I've been waiting for Inov8 to come up with an even more minimalist shoe, but still with suitable grip for some of the more serious runs I do, Methuselah went down the Vibram 5 finger route. He had a few ups and downs on route, spending a lot of time on his back side in some of the races we did. He now seems to have adapted (with the aid of more grippy 5's). Anyway........I ended up with a pair of 5's kindly donated by Methuselah. Apart from wearing them on holiday recently I hadn't worn them. So, I decided it was time to give them a decent try.
I popped down to my local hill the Wrekin.

Started at the western end, up and over little hill, then on to Wrekin summit. A little slower than usual, I don't think it was down to the 5's but more like the extra weight I've put on recently. After reaching the top I carried on down the east side to the bottom. It's mainly stony path on that side and I could feel all the stones under foot. I must have looked a bit like an over grown fairy tip toeing down the path (lucky it was raining and there weren't many people around). After that I doubled back round the north side through the woods.

On the way back to the truck I went on a hunt for some food for the wood burner and found a modest log to haul back.

I was out for about an hour and a half. Towards the end of the run I was finding it hard to keep my weight off my heels as I think my calves were getting tired (confirmed the next day with stiff calves). And, the balls of my feet were a bit sore from all the small stones on the paths. But, apart from that, It seems as though my running style has changed over the winter to a more mid foot, fore foot strike and the lack of any more painful achillies problems seems to suggest, for me at least, the new style is working.
I think I will still mainly use my Mudclaws until Inov8 come out with something better. But, I will try to use the vibrams maybe once a month to continue to work on my technique. And now the weathers getting warmer, I'll do some more bare footing in the field.

Weights 28/4/10

Quick upper body, 20 mins.
Chest press
Upright row
seated row
Lat pull downs
Still doing 3 sets of 20 reps on 50% max weight.

Llantysilio Mountain Race 24/4/10

My first run of this race. AM 6.2 miles/2100 ft
A cracking day for it. The sun was out and there was a good turn out for this race.
The route
Surprise surprise, I had had a few beers the night before so wasn't feeling really up for it when Methuselah and I turned up for this one. It started easy enough with just a steady climb to get the legs warmed up. Then though the hills started coming and, it seemed to me a least, they kept on coming. Once at the top of one hill you could see the next one, but, when you got to the foot of that one you couldn't see the top and you kept on thinking you were nearly there only to have your hopes dashed as the climb continued.
photo from Alistair http://www.fellrunningpictures.co.uk/
The lovely day was taking its tole on me as well. I felt as if I were over heating and when the breeze came it was most satisfying. Just before the last climb I could see runners running down the hill to the side and because I don't run with my glasses (either that or wish full thinking) I thought that was that was the route. I was crushed when I saw I had to run up the hill and back before I could take that turn and cruise down to the finish.
re hydrating in the Sun Inn. Great pub
When we were there Methuselah bumped into a fellow "Vibram Five Finger" wearer. It was interesting to see them interact. Almost like rare zoo animals that had been separated from their own kind all their lives. There was great excitement in the air. Anything could have happened ;-) Thank god it didn't.
Rare breeds, seldom seen together
A tough race for me, but I'll put it in my calender for next year. I need to get into longer runs, lay off the beer and loose some weight if I'm going to have any chance of doing the longer runs later in the year.

Wrekin Streak Fell Race 21/4/10

My third run of this race. As this is now my local hill I was hoping this year to produce a good time.
Photo as usual from the Fell running photographer Alistair http://www.fellrunningpictures.co.uk/

For some reason though, it crept up on me so I didn't prepare for it in the manner I had hoped I would. Oh well, I was slightly faster this year, but, only by about 15 seconds. Must try harder next year.

I planted a mini, digi cami thingy on the side of a tree by the start finish line and bellow are some very short extracts from the 30 odd minutes of film. So mini is it that no body spotted it strapped to the tree, inch's from them.
The start. One competitor starts late. She did well, I remember her going past me about a third of the way up.

A short while later, the winner

A while after that, Me and M (behind the head)

Wrekin Training Run 17/4/10

A nice slow run round the Wrekin with Methuselah.
The morning after a bit of a party, with a slightly sore heads, M and I set off round the Wrekin.
Started at the Buck a tree hotel, down the road to the path, up the path towards halfway house. Cut off just before halfway house and jogged round the south side to to the foot of the summit. Then a steep ascent up the flank to the top. Once at the top a run down the east side ,past the Panther with her camera(who was out for a walk) then continued down towards halfway house again. A left turn and continued descending towards the north side path. Then, all the way back round the Wrekin, past the flank and retraced our steps back to the hotel.
From the hotel
Down the east side
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Weights 14/4/10

Upper body. 20 reps 50% max weight
Chest press
upright row
Lat pull downs

kickboxing 12/4/10

60 mins hard slog. Pad work and sparing. Not done anything (apart from maybe drink too much beer) since Corndon so it was a real effort to get into it. Must step up the effort it I'm going to have any chance of doing the longer races I want to later in the year.

Corndon 3 peaks classic 5/4/10

AM 7 miles 1850 ft . 1:07ish to be confirmed
A nice race that starts with a relentless climb (that seems to go on forever). Followed by a gradual decline where you can get up some good speed and still stay in control. Then a short road section that takes you round to the next peak. this ones not too high but quite steep. Other side of that peak is pretty steep also so difficult to let the brakes go without taking a tumble. A nice little trail run through a small wood leads to another short road/track section before the third peak which isn't too high or steep, but, by then the legs are feeling a bit tired. Once over the final peak it's all down hill, a nice long section where you can again get up some good speed all the way down to the finish.
Photo courtesy of Alistair http://www.fellrunningpictures.co.uk/
After a weekend of beer drinking down the local beer festival I wasn't expecting too much in the way of a good time. In the end I was about 1 and a half minutes slower that last time. After the race I decide to carry on the drinking theme and tucked into a couple of pints of "cloud nine"
enjoying the cloud nine and prize giving after the race at the miners arms priest weston (nice pub)
closest I'll ever get to a prize ;-)