Bunchgrasser’s World

My unique filter on life

Archive for November, 2008

I’m free! Uh, Nike Free that is…

Posted by bunchgrasser on November 25, 2008

I’ve been talking about buying a pair of Nike Free running shoes for the longest time and I finally did so yesterday. My wife and I spent a couple of hours at the Nike employee store loading up on gear (free pass compliments of a friend who works at Nike) We just happen to live 5 minutes from Nike’s world HQ.

I wasn’t actually planning to buy any running shoes there because I normally run in Asics shoes exclusively. Not that I have anything against Nike shoes or any other brand for that matter, I just really like how the Asics Gel Kayano’s fit my feet. So after picking out a few clothing items in the store, I meandered over to the shoe section just to see what models they had.

nike-free1I noticed right off that the Nike Free 3.0 shoes cost just over $40, which is a pretty good price compared to what I’ve seen elsewhere. I decided to try on a pair and walk around the store for awhile. Wow – they felt like slippers. No wait, they actually felt more comfortable than my slippers. I’m not surprized since they weigh only about 6.8 oz. I had to have them – so I bought a black/yellow pair.

I’ve been wearing them around the house and they are sweet. I’ve never had a more comfortable pair of shoes. The question is…can I run in them? I’m a little nervous because my feet are not what you would call low maintenance. And yes I am worried that I may injure my foot running in a shoe with little support.

So, my plan is to wear them off/on for a week or two around the house first. Then, I’ll try some long walks around the neighborhood. If all goes well, I’ll try a short run and see how it goes. My ultimately goal is to strengthen the muscles, ligaments & tendons in my feet. However, I think it is advisable to ease into this strategy very slowly.

Wish me luck and I’ll report my observations in a later post.

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Bunchgrasser’s quote of the day

Posted by bunchgrasser on November 24, 2008

“Do, or do not. There is no try”

– Yoda

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8 miles of glorious sunshine…really

Posted by bunchgrasser on November 24, 2008

What can I say – Sunday was a day made for running. Mid 50’s, sunny, dry & no wind at all. I lingered in the house with a cup of coffee until around 10:00am (until the sun warmed things up a bit) and then headed out for an 8 miler. I took my Ipod Nano this time because music just seemed necessary. My preferred running music is techno and that thumping bass beat kept me riding high.

A couple of miles into my run, I noticed that my knees weren’t feeling creaky and sore like usual. In fact, my feet and ankles felt pretty good also. It was one of those days where everything seemed to line up perfectly. I chose an out-and-back course that I frequently run which has few street crossings and was mostly flat.

I was pushing my pace a little harder on the front 4, and by the time I hit the turnaround and headed back I could definitely feel it in my quads. This was my longest run since the marathon back in early October and it sure felt great running more than 5-6 miles. I’ve taken my time getting my mileage back up there due to sore feet and knees, and my cardio level has also suffered a little bit.

Nonetheless, Sunday’s run was one for the memory book. I can’t recall enjoying a run quite as much as this one. I just felt great the entire time. I don’t expect there to be many days like this, not at least until May or June. I’ll soon be running in the cold, gray drizzle again – and I’ll be thinking of this day.


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Transitioning to the lunch-hour run

Posted by bunchgrasser on November 20, 2008

I’ve been finding it difficult to get my miles lately due to the lack of daylight hours. It’s dark in the morning before work and dark in the evening when I get home. Add some coldness, clouds and rain to that darkness and it can suck the motivation to run right from your very soul.

What to do? Well, how about running on your lunch hour? It may still be cold and rainy – but at least it will be daylight. I’ve always been a “before, or after work” runner, and I’ve also found it somewhat challenging to change into running gear, complete my run, shower and then change back into work clothes in a 1 hour time slot. Not to mention that I’d like to eat some lunch during that time as well.

Yesterday, I went for my first “lunch-hour” run of the season and it went very well. I learned that my office complex does have a small locker room with a single shower stall and a few lockers. So, at least I didn’t have to return to the office hot and sweaty. I’ve listed below some tips that helped me stay within my lunch hour time limit.

  1. Pack a duffle bag at home the night before with all the gear that you need, including shoes, clothing, shower stuff, MP3 player, etc.
  2. Eat a small carb-rich snack (yoghurt, banana, Clif bar) at your desk about an hour before you run. This will ensure a high energy level during your run and make it easier to last until you can eat lunch later.
  3. If you are comfortable doing so, replace pre-run stretching with a 5 minute slow jog. I’ve found it warms my muscles effectively and saves 5-10 minutes.
  4. Realize that a shorter-than-normal run can be very satisfying, especially if you do that run more frequently throughout the week. If running your normal distance takes too long, then reduce your distance and speed up the pace a little. It’s all good…
  5. Scope out (in advance) the best running course(s) close to where you work. My office just happens to be right next to the NIKE world headquarters, so I ran the bark chip path around NIKE’s campus. I also will try the streets & sidewalks around the business park on my next run.

The point is – I refuse to let the darkness or weather conditions alter my training plan. As a life-long Oregonian I’ve learned to accept the cold, crappy weather. And aside from moving to Arizona, or spending time on a treadmill indoors (ugh) – I don’t see many other options.


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Spirit of the Marathon movie – again

Posted by bunchgrasser on November 18, 2008

spirit-picI watched the “Spirit of the Marathon” movie again yesterday. I found it on Netflix and added it to my queue. Actually, it is really a documentary, not a movie – but that is what everyone seems to call it. I saw Spirit the first time when it showed for one night only at theaters in Portland. I had already mostly decided to run my first marathon by then, but I have to say that watching Spirit completely put me over the edge. I walked out of the theater so fired up that I wanted to run home from the theater.

For those that haven’t seen it yet – I highly recommend finding and watching it. Even if you aren’t a runner – I thought it was a well done documentary. It follows several individuals (both professional and first-timers) as they prepare for and finally run the Chicago marathon. I’ve added a summary from the Spirit website below:

Spirit of the Marathon is the first ever non-fiction feature film to capture the drama and essence of the famed 26.2 mile running event. Filmed on four continents, the movie brings together a diverse cast of amateur athletes and marathon luminaries.

As six unique stories unfold, each runner prepares for and ultimately faces the challenge of the Chicago Marathon. More than a sports movie, Spirit of the Marathon is an inspirational journey of perseverance and personal triumph; a spectacle that will be embraced by runners and non-runners alike.

 I have to say that I was inspired all over again yesterday while watching it for the second time. My wife and daughter watched it with me and they enjoyed it as well. My wife is contemplating running her first half marathon this spring and I think watching Spirit has helped push her over the edge.


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2008 OYSA Fall League Final Standings – Girls U13 Premier Gold

Posted by bunchgrasser on November 10, 2008

2008 OYSA Fall League Final Standings

(Courtesy of OYSA)

Group A Total
Wins Losses Ties Goals
A1 : Oregon Rush 95 Girls Nike 37 14 12 1 1 38 14 2 0
A4 : THUSC United Sodium 30 14 9 2 3 24 10 0 0
A5 : LOSC – Extreme 28 14 9 4 1 29 12 2 0
A3 : FC Portland Platinum – 95 22 14 7 6 1 18 17 0 0
A7 : Keizer – Hotshots 19 14 6 7 1 19 17 1 0
A6 : ESUFC Arsenal 15 14 4 7 3 12 18 0 0
A8 : EMFC 95 Magic 10 14 3 10 1 7 24 0 0
A2 : WSM Strikers 1 14 0 13 1 2 37 5 0

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Wet 6 miler – stepping out of the comfort zone

Posted by bunchgrasser on November 8, 2008

I recently decided that I wouldn’t let the weather dictate my running schedule. It seemed like an easy thing to do, but this morning my commitment was tested in a big way. I woke up this morning to dark, cloudy, unstable weather – but it wasn’t actually raining when I was making coffee and getting dressed. However, by the time I put on my Garmin and headed outside – it was coming down in buckets. This is the Oregon that I know and love (not)…

It isn’t that I mind running in the rain so much, but those first few minutes when you start out dry and then quickly transition to wet…not exactly my favorite thing. The only upside is that I was trying out my new blue Illuminite Milano running jacket that I found on clearance last week at a local sporting goods store. I’m a sucker for any kind of “technical” gear and I was really interested to see how long the jacket would shed water. It actually performed pretty well for a Teflon-coated “water resistant” jacket. The real test will be when I run at night. I’ve heard that these jackets have amazing reflective visibility.

In spite of the pouring rain, the 6 miler turned out well. It really felt good to get back on the pavement and my goal now is to ratchet up the mileage slowly. My knees still feel a little sore and creaky, but seem to be improving each time I run. I’m half way committed to a spring Marathon (I’m currently leaning towards the Eugene Marathon at present) assuming that my health and training continue in the right direction. I think it could potentially be challenging for me to get the miles I need during the winter season. Bad weather and the many holiday distractions will make it tougher to stay on track I think.


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Palin Returns to Alaska to Chants of ‘2012!’ – Uh, yeah…right…

Posted by bunchgrasser on November 6, 2008

sarah-palinSeveral months ago I promised myself that I wouldn’t post anything political on this blog. Sure, I have my own opinions on weighty topics such as politics & religion. However, I just haven’t felt any strong desire to espouse said opinions publically, preferring to focus my posts on personal interests like running, wine, & beer. Mmm…beer.

Now that election day has come and we have a new president-elect, I don’t see any harm in sharing my opinion on this comical note. I was perusing the Foxnews site this morning and saw this article…(chuckle). Enough said…

(Photo: sloomis08, Creative Commons, Flickr)

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Runners Poll – What is your winter running strategy?

Posted by bunchgrasser on November 1, 2008

I’m curious about how other runners keep up their training in the winter months. Mentally, it is harder for me to stay consistent when it is dark, cold and wet outside. I’m trying out the new polling feature on WordPress to (hopefully) solicit feedback from other runners.

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Post marathon update – 3 weeks later

Posted by bunchgrasser on November 1, 2008

Friday evening I rushed home from work, threw on my running gear and headed out the door for my first run since the marathon. Since we are losing Daylight Savings time this weekend, I knew it would be my last chance for a run in the daylight after work. Time to mentally prepare for several months of rain, cold and dark…ugh!

After the marathon, I committed to giving myself 2 full weeks of recovery time to help my sore knee heal up. It actually took 3 weeks. However, yesterday for the first time I noticed that my knee wasn’t feeling stiff and sore like usual. My blisters have healed. I still have 4 black toenails but they aren’t painful any longer.

I never imagined that I would say this, but not being able to run has been very tough on me. It’s a weird thing to say, but for whatever reason – running seems to get into your psyche and it becomes a part of you. When you deny yourself the product of your addiction it feels just like any other withdrawal symptom.

My run on Friday evening only ended up being 3 miles because I ran out of light. I was ok with that because my legs felt creaky and my cardio level has suffered these last 3 weeks. Still, it felt so good to be back on the pavement again.

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