Saturday, December 18, 2010

2010...a year to remember, a lifetime of memories

Since i started running last May of this year, it wasn't until June when i took running seriously and since then, i have logged 835km in Come to think of it, my life as a runner is still half a year old. It certainly doesn't feel like half a year old though but i trully enjoy updating my workouts and making new friends in

I made a short round up of how my year 2010 went with Ungo and my teammates, Team Tytsbogdo! I guess we don't need a decade or a lifetime to get us where we are now but rather the quality of friendship and comraderie we have built among ourselves is what matters most. Through the roads we have travelled together and to the roads we will surely travel together in the future. 

Let this short clip be a dedication to all my friends in Ungo and Team Tytsbogdo! Cebu City Marathon 2011 is fast approaching, so let's do this! Let's get through it together as we always have done. 

Happy holidays to all of you guys!!! Always believe...


Thursday, December 16, 2010

My Journey to minimalist/barefoot Running

I can't say i'm an expert in barefoot or minimalist running nor am i a seasoned runner to be fully qualified to make a comprehensive review. This is just my take on why i've decided to take on the minimalist / barefoot journey. Still being an infant runner, i was plagued with a quest to find that perfect running shoe for me. A shoe which i could say, "This was made for me!" Who was i kidding?? A flat, over-pronator and abnormally shaped feet like mine was never going to find that perfect shoe. It was getting too ridiculously expensive. Yes, the science in Orthotics and perhaps the claimed studies of shoe companies who came up with Motion Control and Stability shoes might just be what we need...or is it? or are we just plagued with marketing for the products they sell? 

I've read and researched on different studies, articles and opinions of other runners especially ones who have tried running barefoot or minimalist. Of course they are just too many to mention but let me just break it down simply my way, barefoot/minimalist running simply made more sense. Well, there seem to be more benefits on barefoot / minimalist running than on shod. Let me break it down to my understanding:
  1. Barefoot / minimalist forces you to land on your forefoot, not on your heel. Landing on heels put on tremendous force on your legs and is like stepping on brakes while moving forward. Heel landing causes Shin splints.
  2. Barefoot / minimalist runners don't push off. Push off while running causes Plantar Fasciitis
  3. Barefoot / minimalist forces you to land under your Center of Gravity. Aligned body joints for stable support
  4. Barefoot / minimalist do smaller strides and a cadence not less than 180. Lesser time on the ground, lesser chances for injury.
  5. Barefoot / minimalist runners land softer than on shod. Although cushion on marshmallow shoes relieves the impact you feel, the force that goes up your legs and joints are virtually the same when running on shod or barefoot. You just don't feel it as much because your proprioceptors are shut off when on shod
  6. Barefoot / minimalist forces your Achilles tendon to perform as it should. It provides elastic energy storage in hopping, walking and running. It is our natural shock absorber. Marshmallow shoes (cushioned shoes) constrict the tendon to perform as it should.
  7. Strengthens your feet muscles. Need i say more?
Although, it doesn't mean running on shod is a mistake and decades of product research and development is going down the drain. I still use my running shoes for recovery or in my case, for longer distance runs. Somehow my deformity does take it's toll as it requires more patience and adjustment in transitioning to barefoot/minimalist running as compared to some lucky few. I just think some of the products on the market which are over-hyped is of course, good business! The more i tried going minimalist, the more i couldn't go back to the supports of motion controlled shoes which push your feet up in different angles and are heavy as hell!!! I wasn't going to let my deformity on my arch hinder me from running on flats. Like they say, once you go bare, there's no going back. I figured, the ground is flat and the closer i am to the ground, i will make the ground my support. 

These are my 2 minimalist babies. Terra Plana Neo is on it's way to add to my line-up soon.

Vibram Five Finger Speed
Terra Plana Evo

Both products provide very minimal support and very durable materials. They do an excellent job in emulating actual barefoot running without the risk of puncturing your skin. Although both have very different approaches on their design and feel, it would boil down to preference. 

Terra Plana Evo was my first take on minimalist shoes. They might not be unusually shaped like the VFFs, they are an excellent minimalist shoe to run on. The primary advantage of the EVOs is you can wear them to work or going out unlike the VFFs. They still give your toes the freedom to move and spread out. The toe box area are wide enough for that. I have to question their approach on the recyclable plastic material they used on top. They are unique and comfortable providing enough ventilation but the price just doesn't give it justice. The upcoming Neo costs less though probably due to the different material used for the upper. 

The Vibram Five Fingers (Why not Vibram Five Toes?) really separates your toes to perform maximum support and balance to your body and to your running. They've become more popularly known as "Gorilla Feet". They are best worn without socks but leave a blister on your big toes in long runs especially during the early transitioning stages but that can be resolved with some tape. The speed and Bikila are a little bit thicker than the KSO and Sprint line but still are more grounded than the Terra Plana. Speed and Bikila have better accomodation for over pronators or flat feet people like myself.

Both are excellent products. One might find the other to be cooler in design. Although VFFs are sometimes difficult to put on, the barefoot feel of these justify that. I would have to say VFFs give you more of the "barefoot" feel becuase of it's "barefoot" design but the Terra Plana EVO gives you that shoe feel but still provide enough freedom for your toes and keep you as low on the ground. Although for EVO, you have the option to remove the in-sole if you want to go hard corea. That gives you very similar feel of barefoot since VFFs don't come with any in-sole off the box.

Enough with the product review, i told myself i'd cross that 42km finish line only in barefoot or minimalist. Who am i kidding?!?? My mind was probably too big to accept that it might be physically impossible or challenging for a flat runner to pressure myself on that. I really stood by that goal until a few days ago. 

I said earlier i'm not against shod and i'm not. I've decided to fulfill that marathon dream in marshmallow shoes for the upcoming Cebu City Marathon on January 9, 2011. It might feel i'm cheating my barefoot / minimalist journey but i just couldn't miss this chance here in my home turf. Thanks to enough convincing from Sydney delos Reyes. I might have made the biggest mistake in my life as a runner. Let's see come January 9, 2011.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Joining the Bandwagon

My first attempt to write this much about my thoughts or much about anything, more so a blog! The thought of it simply terrified me, being a very private person that i am. I have to admit my recent addiction, RUNNING, is what got me to try blogging though. No!!! I'll do my best not to make this all about running blogs. Although i am simply amazed what a simple sport such as running has brought so much inspiration or life changing habits to a lot of people but we'll get to that later.

First of, what did get me into running? I started last May this year because i needed some change from my usual workouts in the gym and i needed a little competitive sports. I've always been into individual sports but i never figured running would somehow be in that category. I've always been a die hard Golfer up until the past few years. To a lot, even to myself at the time, i never did understand why people run, keep running, or even do a 42km marathon??! Ridiculous and crazy!!! 

The OLDEST of my bros, Rh1 got hooked in running a year before. Seated beside each other in the office, i'd always hear about his running experiences and this boring website then, Wake up before the break of dawn to run?? Running on a Friday night with the traffic?? Run that far when you can drive there?? How boring can that be?? 

Before May, i was still in the "party all night" mode then (probably in denial of my age)! A regular 1 pack a day smoker who just couldn't imagine Life without cigarettes. Little did i know as i slowly built up my mileage, my urge for smoking reduced so i figured i would capitalize on that. Last stick was May 28! Smoke free ever since after 18 years! Running just kept the urge away so run i did. My first fun run was the SRP sundown when i first ran my first 5km distance. With the recent boom of running here in Cebu, next thing i knew i was joining most Sunday Fun runs and forgetting about the Saturday nights or "party all night" mode.

My physician friends told me running is not advised especially to Flat feet people (i'm sure by now you guessed i have flat feet and that picture above is my very own) and that injury was inevitable but that wasn't going to stop me, after all, this is my "addiction." I believe there's a science in running and i am really amazed with barefoot running which is why i am in the transition stage of going minimalist.

What really amazes me from this addiction, is when you witness different groups of people gather together sharing one simple sport, Running! It doesn't matter how fast or slow you are, how old or young you are, everyone simply inspired each other. Runners become friends even outside the roads or the track.  One very popular group is The Ungo Runners. I am proud to be a part of it and our sub-group, Team Tytsbogdo. Much like life, it's a fight against yourself, your weaknesses and we need a strong support group to cope with these challenges. In running, you compete within yourself, to struggle for improvement, and persevering mile after mile to get closer to your goals no matter how difficult or painful it may get. Hearing about how running changed their lives for the better is simply inspiring!

Remember that boring website i mention, I take it back!!! A simple social networking site where you post your workouts yet for me, is way better than this other blue social networking site. I've never refreshed my browser more for any website since, well, the internet was invented! A testament why this website simply rocks? My team, TTB (Team Tytsbogdo)! If you're wondering still what that means or how to pronounce it, don't bother google-ing it as our team Annoying Coach would tell you, you'd be wasting your time! TTB was born out of the fun of sharing each workouts (go figure), the funny expressions of Fafi, Wonder Colili and funnbogdo, the heat training sessions of Bespren, the fashion statements of Fashionbogdo, the bedtime novels of Juday, the Lawapwapness of Lawapwapbogdo and handsomebogdo, the monkey poses of Bogdonator, the funny pranks to my team mates with rh1, the science behind the Huarache runners, etc. I could go on and on about all the people i've met through this "boring" site and how close we all have become but one thing is for sure, Running has never been this fun!