Turtle Running has moved!

09/12/2010

Check it out at its new location HERE.

I’m currently trying to figure out a way to make this page redirect traffic to the new site. Until I can do so, use the above link to visit Turtlerunning.com. Please update your favorites and feeds to the new location. And, if you haven’t already, set your running shoes on slow.


Downtime

09/07/2010

Please excuse the silence I have been/will be observing over the next week or so. It’s for a good cause– namely, a new, even awesomer Turtle Running.

I’m working on getting the site up and running just right. Until then, please stay tuned. Keep those RSS feeds going and wait for news. And run safe, run happy.


Monkey Feet

09/02/2010

Well, they finally broke me. I bought a pair of Five Fingers. Bikilas, more specifically:

On my feet.

With all the talk about barefoot running, I wanted to experience these monkey feet for myself. I never intended to run in them, for reasons that I’ll explain shortly. I wanted to wear them for walking, especially at work; they do, after all, nicely distill the comfort of being barefoot (and who, given the choice, wouldn’t go to work barefoot?).

As for running in them… don’t believe the hype. Moon-eyed runners come into our store all the time looking for Five Fingers and Nike Frees, aggrandizing them as a panacea for every kind of injury and physical shortcoming. Five Fingers represent a fundamental shift in the running paradigm, and people mistake this alternative running style for an inherently better one.

If we peel back the layers of optimism, however, we see two major arguments that are put forth by the barefoot community. They are that

1. Humans evolved to walk on the balls of their feet and
2. Shoe technology is actually injuring people

The first argument has some merit. If you ever sprint barefoot, you’ll probably find yourself lifting up onto the balls of your feet. Running “on your toes” like this means a faster turnover and, well, feels natural. So if humans evolved to do this, shouldn’t our technology accommodate it? Perhaps, but this a flawed argument. This implies that evolution is meaningful and therefore “right” when, from a scientific point of view, evolution is largely random and the human body is imperfect. Technology is meant to pick up where nature left off. While the human foot may indeed be a magnificent feat (haha) of engineering, it won’t offer the shock absorption, rebound, or balance of modern running shoe technology.

The second argument is an excellent example of why you can’t trust statistical studies from people who are trying to sell you something. As a precursor to their Nike Free line, Nike released studies done on running injuries. The idea was to prove that high-tech running shoes actually caused injuries. The evidence, however, was highly anecdotal and the experiment lacked controls. One study confirmed that runners in the most expensive shoes were more likely to be injured; but then, aren’t people with poor biomechanics more likely to buy expensive shoes? Are the more expensive technologies the unreliable ones? The bottom line is that none of these experiments established a causal relationship between running tech and injuries.

I don’t mean to disparage minimalist running shoes. After all, you can see them on my feet above. I just want to help others understand what these things are and are not. They are extremely comfortable, and a viable alternative. They are not a miracle cure.


Recognition

08/24/2010

it looks something like this:

In addition to teaching, I work nights at a sports store where I specialize in selling running shoes. My location is trying to decide whether or not it will carry the new model of the Brooks Green Silence. They need a couple employees to demo the shoe and write a short review. So the shoe manager picked me to test these things.

Dramatic introduction aside, the recognition is nice. I am, after all, a lowly retail worker, a tiny cog in a vast machine; this is a concession that I can do more than spin in place.


I Can

08/21/2010

I worried that my running experience wouldn’t be very meaningful to kids. My running philosophy can get pretty abstract; after all, it tends to take shape when my brain is full of endorphins. Like most feel-good chemicals, endorphins can form some pretty obscure connections and leave one with heady ideas.

I had forgotten, however, that the core of long distance philosophy is actually quite simple. Easy to stomach? Popular? No. But very simple.

Of further aid was my former coach’s introduction. He mentioned that I had run 50 miles in a recent race. This piqued the kids’ interest, unfathomable though it must have been. I had their interest for some time at least; there was no longer any need to implement my original fireworks-and-wild-arm-waving plan.

With the kids so amenable to the crazy man before them, I began to speak from the heart. I explained to them that we often say we can’t do something when we know that we really can. I can’t lose weight, I can’t shoot three-pointers, I can’t run a mile, I can’t get a good grade in this class. When I say these things, what I really mean is that I don’t want to do this thing because it means working hard or maybe trying and failing. It’s easy to say “I can’t,” but then that never makes me feel very happy.

I told them that I love running because it reminds me all the time that I can do just about anything, if I’m willing to work hard, and maybe even to fail. I explained that each of them is capable of doing whatever they want, whether it’s running a mile, scoring that three-pointer, getting that “A.”

“I can”, “I will”, even “I tried,” will always leave you happier than “I can’t”– even if the latter is easier.

(cue fireworks)


Ceiling 100

08/13/2010

A short while ago, I mentioned a realization I had at some point during the 50-miler. I say “at some point” because the events thereof have merged together in my mind; I can only remember bits and pieces and the overall gist of the experience. Grinding pain takes its toll on the memory. Anyway, at some point during the race, I realized that I am capable of the 100.

Before my first ultra, 50 miles seemed nearly impossible. It was close to twice the longest I had ever run. Now the 100-miler has that honor. It’s twice the longest distance I’ve ever run. It seems nearly impossible.

But during my ultra, I discovered that the 100-mile is within my reach. It will require specialized training, eating, and everything else, but my body is capable of running 100 miles. I don’t plan on doing this next week; in fact, it may be a couple years before I attempt it. But the 50-miler put it into perspective; it shattered the ceiling of my limits, and replaced it with one far higher.

This, in a nutshell, is why I run.


On The Road Again

08/05/2010

I’ve gotten back into a consistent running routine. Not a serious one, mind you, but I’m on the roads every other day, running between 3 and 5 miles.

It feels fantastic to be back. So much so, in fact, that I took my first couple runs at a heightened pace; like, 6:15 heightened. I’m not normally a speedster, but even I like to go fast every once in a while. Really stretching my legs out and moving feels good.

This is not, however to say that these runs were painless. Contrary to the speedy recovery most of my body has made, my right hip and groin muscle are nagging me. They remain an indication that my body hasn’t made a full recovery yet. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy running without the manacles of scheduled training.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.