Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Magic Socks?

I am not an elite athlete or an above age grouper who most of the athletic companies seem to give gear to or sponsor on a yearly basis. Believe me, it is not for a lack of trying. Every year, I apply to several of the companies whose products I use and apply for product testing or sponsorship, only to be shunned. I understand that some of them want to be associated with "winners" or "fast people", but being out there as much as I am and for as long as I am I figure that if nothing else I can give them an honest assessment of their product. As some of my fellow colleagues are fond of saying, " It is what it is."

Enter CEP socks. They were looking for local runners/ultrarunners to test their product and give feedback of their product. Based out of Pontiac, Michigan, I of course was interested in the benefits of compression socks that I have read about in the past. I contacted CEP and through the magic of Twitter and email, I was afforded the opportunity to try out a pair.

CEP Technology claims that it will enable you to: (direct from website)
Give yourself an edge with CEP Running O2 Compression Socks featuring 18-25mmHg compression. Used by professional triathletes around the world, CEP running socks are the first scientifically proven compression running socks to maximize power, boost energy, and speed recovery time.

CEP Running O2 Sportsocks maximize muscle oxygenation and boost energy with CEP's unparalleled scientifically optimized ultimate compression technology for all-day benefits. You’ll run with less effort, increased speed, decreased recovery time, reduced fatigue and optimized performance.

The days of wearing socks “solely” to protect feet from blistering are over. CEP compression sportsocks are the first truly functional compression sport socks with a patented pressure flow technology that provide a scientifically proven increase in blood circulation and a consequent increase in performance. In addition to blister prevention, CEP socks provide more oxygen, more energy, an improved metabolization of lactic acid, and faster recovery so you can return to training quicker than ever.

If I was going to give them my "paw" approval of the product, I figured there would be no better way than this past weekend to give them a whirl. With an 18 mile run to work on Friday, followed up by a trail marathon on Sunday, I thought it would give a variety of terrain and mileage to give an assessment.

Wow! After Friday morning's run to work in cool temps (low 40's), I found that the socks held tight around my leg and lent some warmth. Aside from my students calling my outfit a space suit complete with near thigh high socks, I was really impressed that Saturday I had absolutely no soreness or stiffness in my legs! Rolling into the trail marathon, I was curious if the undulating terrain would produce blisters, but not a one, and I was so impressed by them that I wore them all the way home, and one day removed from the marathon, my legs felt great.

I wouldn't say that I ran with increased speed, it was a trail marathon after all, but I do feel that I have had a faster recovery and less fatigue. In the end, I am giving them the first Dirt Dawg Paw of Approval, for what it is worth.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Trail Marathon Race Report

After Friday's Birthday Fun Run to work (18.64 miles), I had a simple goal of just taking today's trail marathon as another training run and make it a nice solid weekend of running. The combined runs over 2 days would come out to just under 45 miles and would give me a good inidicator to how my training was going. In two previous attempts at the trail marathon, I had finished in 5 hours and 4 hr 45 min, but in both cases were left gasping for air and quads crying after the double loop of relentless hills. With an early start at 7 am, I was hoping to get out early and easy and finish stronger than in the past.

With a bit of luck before the early start, I ran into Brian (aka. Lupus Runner and 100 miler stud) and we decided to run the course together. Topics included our plans for Burning River so far, or lack thereof, training, movies (could Over the Top, be the worst movie ever made) and family. Miraculously, even with all the rain that had fallen in the last few days, the trail was in pretty good shape and we managed a 2 hr 32 minute first loop. Gearing up for the second loop, I snagged a couple of chocolate chip cookies and we cut the chit chat to a minimum and put the hammer down so to speak. I  had come to finish strong, and the trail wasn't going down without a fight. Without the rain, steadily rising temps and surprisingly hungry mosquitos threatened to derail the goal. However, I firmly believe in feeding off of other's energy and both Brian and I cruised to a 4 hr 57 minute finish. 

I am feeling really good about my 100 miler training at this point. :)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Out with the old....

Out with my old, Nike Air Pegaus ESC (Extra Special Coating?) which told me that they had enough approaching the 400 mile mark. These shoes are flat out fantastic for my narrow, high arched foot, and I like them so much that I am running in another pair right now and have a spare new pair in a box somewhere in my man "running" cave.
And in with my new Brooks Glycerin. The Brooks Dyfance were too soft for me and the Brooks Axiom 3 are being phased out and as the guy from Hansons Running Store told me yesterday, "will be far and away superior to the Axiom 3. Unfortunately, they will be out at the end of July."
I want to support my local running shop as much as I can, and even though I found these shoes cheaper online, I plunked down alot of moola for them. Here is hoping they will show me as much love as the Nike Air Pegasus ESC.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Vacation Pics

Although I sometimes felt trapped on the boat due to the people and lack of running surfaces, I did have to marvel at this "floating city"

Little Dirt Dawg became an expert traveler, navigating the airports, tender access, trains, taxis, and shuttles like a pro. He is currently in negotiations with Frommer's to write a kids book to traveling.

Running with Dirrty Girl for the first time in quite some time was pretty awesome, even if all she wanted to talk about was boobs and the effects of running on them.

OK. So, I had to run around a 240 meter track every morning. With views like this, it made it a bit more tolerable.

Ridiculously expensive, Atlantis nevertheless had a pretty sweet aquarium for the kids to check out.
While Dirrty Girl and Little Dirt Dawg went off on a pirate adventure, Dirrty Feather and I enjoyed some treats on the island of Antigua.

Of course, no vacation on a boat would be complete without the requisite "family photo". Believe me, this one was the best of the bunch.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

"Jogging Track"

They advertised it as a "jogging track", but in reality it was a
sunbathing deck in disguise that was free of lubed up and lathered
travelers from about 5 am - 8 am every morning. Measuring at around
240 meters per lap, it would take about 8 laps for every mile.

My relaxation during the cruise wasn't found in a fruity conconction
or lounging by the poolside cooking my skin, but rather circling the
"jogging track" with it's unforgiving hardness, while dodging picture
takers and those in search of the cafeteria for some java to jump
start their day for approximately an hour each day.

Pace was not important as it was supposed to be a vacation. And for
all my gripes about having "cabin fever" and days at sea, I could not
complain about views of the open seas or a new island all the while as
I circled the "jogging track"

Monday, April 06, 2009

Martians Neutralized

Mission Objectives:

  1. Use Martian Marathon as a training run. Time goal: 4:15 – 4:30 – why? I really don’t know

  2. Run Marathon comfortably and finish feeling like I had miles still left in the tank

  3. Get up before Marathon and get some additional miles in. Try to make it a 50k day.

  4. Stick to run/walk strategy

Arise from hyperbaric chamber @ 4 am and rambled around for pretty close to 6 miles before heading out to Martian Marathon and utilized run/walk strategy to a T. Had my Martian Vaporizer Backpack on (Read: Golite Tailwind Pack, complete with Hammer Gels, Digital Voice Recorder and Jesus Phone) and met up with Skywalker before race start. Stupidly abandoned run/walk strategy for first 6 miles of marathon and ran at near 8 min/mile pace with Skywalker as we chased Martians. They seemed to appear at every mile marker and change color.

Skywalker became stricken with what is believe to be a space induced calf injury and bugged out @ half marathon turnaround. Decided that I need to adhere to walk/run strategy and slowed pace down. Repeat to self: Not a race, training run. Kept mouth shut (very hard to do) from other astronauts out on course stating: “Hang in there. You are looking great.”

Turnaround @ halfway mark to face stiff re-entry headwind as I approached Earth (Finish Line). Knees start to ache a bit just past 26 mile mark and wonder if space boots (Nike Air Pegasus ESC) that are really meant for the craters of Mars (trail) do not have enough pillowiness (cushioning). About mile 30, hit a groove and cruise to landing in 4 hr 7 min.

Have intergalatic positioning system (timing chip) snipped off and look for food. See fellow astronauts who did not handle re-entry and decompression so well as they hobble over to food chamber. Grab some pie (pizza) and cookies, look at odemeter for day: 32.32 miles – 5 hr 15 min. Smile.

One happy Dawg. Mission Accomplished

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

There is no turning back....

Thank you for registering for the 2009 Burning River 100 Mile Endurance Run. The Runner's Packet will be available in early Summer on the Burning River 100 web site: www.burningriver100.org . Additional information is available on the Burning River 100 Discussion Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/burningriver100

Better get running.  :)