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12th in age group  143rd overall              57, my age     27:32.9, my time.

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Shins say no....

Posted by macgdon Sep 24, 2011

.....actually, they said "take it easy on us"!

Most of my running has been on pavement, and perhaps I did too many miles too soon after recovering from bronchitis.

So I decided to take a couple of days off.

But then, I woke up this morning, and felt I hadn't "put in enough miles" prior to Sunday's Fall into Fitness 5K.  That's ambition!

On the other hand, I decided on a slow thirty minute chug around Portage Park.  No need to aggravate things.  That's reality!

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Farewell to bronchitis

Posted by macgdon Sep 15, 2011

Hallelujah, it's over! With the Dr's  prescription I threw enough antibiotics to be rid of the thing.  Next time I won't mess around with going to the CVS Minute Clinic, only to be prescribed some useless cough suppressant.   Next time, and I really hope there isn't a next time, I'll go straight to my Doctor.

Enough ranting-back to running.

The Fall Into Fitness 5K is coming up soon.  I'll be happy to run the thing under 30 minutes. I did it in 28 something last year.

I've since the bronchitis ended a week and a half ago, I've been getting in a couple of 4 & 5 mile runs.

I really am training for the 10K portion of the Chicago's Perfect 10 race, so, he said, with a dose of condescension, I really want the 5K to be a mere stroll in the park.

Next year, I hope to feel that way about 10Ks.

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Damn brochitis

Posted by macgdon Aug 21, 2011

Since I started running regularly, I had one very brief cold.  Other than that, my health has been fine.  That is, until this Tuesday, when the Great Big Ball of Snot decided to visit my lungs. No nasal congestion, mind you, just Bam Zoom straight to the lungs.

I have thrown Mucinex at the thing for the past few days. It refuses to leave.

I asked if exercising would make the condition worse, and was told no, just don't overdo it.

I did not ask about the feasibility of sticking a vacuum cleaner tube down my throat, and sucking all the mucus up, but I suppose I should not try that at home.

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A farewell to inserts?

Posted by macgdon Jul 11, 2011

The experiment has begun.  I took the inserts out of my New Balance 373s and replaced them with a pair of Dr. Scholl's odor eaters.  No, I am not confessing to having  stinky feet.  I wanted to have a little more room for them,and less cushioning. 

I came back from a three mile run in 80 plus degree heat, and the first thing that I noticed was that there was no pain in my right instep!

I'm still not sure if that's because I'm taking shorter strides, and landing on the midfoot, or if the inserts in previous New Balance shoes contributed to the pain in my right instep. 

All I know is that I intend to continue  the experiment in running with less cushioning.

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Away from the cushioning

Posted by macgdon Jul 8, 2011

It's the day after a 6.8 mile run.  Most of my run was on pavement.  I feel it in my shins, a little bit.  That's not unusual.  What I noticed yesterday was that my right instep was not in pain.

Previously, whenever I completed a run of at least 3 miles, I would feel pain in my right instep-only the right, never the left.  Was it something about the New Balance shoes I wore?  Was it something about my stride?  I don't know.

Since running in my cheapo new Balance 373's, which have less cushioning  than the previous ones, I've made a conscious effort to run upright,and with a short stride, no more than 14 inches, and landing on the midfoot.

Yesterday, was the first day that my right instep didn't act up.  Hmmmm, I call that progress.

Maybe there's something to this idea of running in a shoe that doesn't have such an elevated  and cushioned heel.

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Sunday, before going on an outdoor run, I ran a mile around the Lakeview Y's track.  31 laps = 1 mile.  Again, I concentrated on a short stride, upright posture, and landing on the mid foot.  With 5 laps to go, I tried something different.

I started landing on the balls of my feet.  No pain there, but I had an odd thought - I wish I had claws.  Running so far forward made me wish I had claws to dig into the turf.

Some time, I'm going to have to see if there are slow motion videos showing where dogs land on their paws.

Oh well.

After my indoor run, I put on the shoes, and ran for 6.3 miles.  The weather was sunny,breezy and in the low 80's.  That was a welcome break from Saturday's roasting.

Today is a day for rest.  I'm feeling it in my shins.  Not sure whether to blame the barefooting,or two days of running on mostly pavement.

Maybe next month, I'll experiment with runing in Converse canvas low tops.  The heels aren't elevated on those things.

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I had been reading articles, and discussion posting about barefoot running, and "minimalist shoewear".  My reaction to the concept was that it was F.A.D.- Fucked And Dangerous.  One needs some cushioning from the pounding one takes while running.  Why increase the damage to bones and joints by running barefoot.  Oh yes, did my ancestors run barefoot while chasing down elk or moose?  Hell no.  They were Scottish, and before that they were Celts from Ireland.  It's cold up there, so they probably found something to wrap their feet in. It may not have had the cushioning of the New Balance shoes I wear, but it kept the feet warm.

On the other hand, I tend to run upright.  I don't do the heel strike- I land on the midfoot.  Why not try a mile around a track?

Today, I went to the Irving Park Y track.  It's a hard surface.  32 laps equals a mile, so that's what I'd do.  Before taking my shoes off, I inspected the track for any extraneous objects.  Inspection done, I took off shoes and socks to chug around for a mile.

I found myself being extra careful NOT to land to far back on the foot, and to use a short stride.  I don't think it was more than 13 inches.

I did a mile in 11 min 17 seconds.  It's to early to see what I'll feel like.  That's what tomorrow's for.


I'm still skeptical about laying out a lot of money for minimalist shoes. If you want something minimalist, why not buy a pair of addidas Sambas, or some other indoor soccer shoe? They're close to the ground, and the heel isn't extensively cushioned.  Why not buy a pair of Converse canvas low tops?


I bought a pair of New Balance 373's from DSW.  They fit well and are $30.00 cheaper than the minimalist stuff New Balance is coming out now.  Other websites have described them as "lifestyle/running" shoes.  I'll see how many miles I can put on them before they go kaput.

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How I started, part 3

Posted by macgdon Jun 25, 2011

     September 25, 2010, I got up real early for a 9am start- 5am.  I'm something of a morning person-if you call stumbling into the kitchen to make coffee, and then stumbling over to the computer morning person activities.  It was my first race, and I wanted to make sure my body was awake.  I wanted to be up in time to have a small amount of coffee for the wakeup, but not so much as to keep my blood vessels constricted for a long time.  I also wanted to make sure I had time to stretch. 

I live ablot a half mile away from where the race would start, so the walk over to the park was part of the warmup too.  Looking back, I wish I had left for the race a little later.  I eneded up at Portage Park with an hour to kill.  Plenty of time to jog, chat with folks, and tease Alderman Allen about having the opportunity to beat him in a race.

     As for the race itself I have these observations.

     --I ran the first mile too fast.  9:30, if I remember.

     --I was actually taking the race seriously, trying to find a good pace.  Every time I thought I had one established, I'd almost run into somebody jogging with their dog, or pushing a baby stroller.  Ohhhhh, so THIS is what they mean by a fun run!

     --Chicago city streets have quite a crown to them.  The streets on the course were well paved.  I only saw one hole on Pensacola Ave.

     --My time? Under 30 minutes! 

     --Alderman Allen beat me by two minutes.  He's had more practice.

     --The next time, I'm at a race that's offering post-race back massages, I'll be patient and get in line.

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How I started, part 2

Posted by macgdon Jun 25, 2011

     Once I registered for the "Fall Into Fitness Run" I printed out a copy of the race route.  That weekend, I walked and jogged the route just to see what 3.1 miles was like. On the following weekend, I tried jogging the whole route.  I forgot what my time was, but it seemed doable.

     Since the weather was still good, and there was enough light, I did a lot more running outdoors.  One of my favorite places to run was, and still is, the Sauganash Trail, which runs from Bryn Mawr to Devon Ave. in Chicago's Sauganash neighborhood. If you're traveling on Peterson Ave. towards Pulaski you'll underpass it.

     As the days became shorter, I ended up doing more running indoors at the Y.  I'm not a fan of treadmills, unless there's something on the TV I want to watch.  So it was 'round & 'round the track.  It was a poor substitute for outdoor running.  On the other hand, I didn't run into or accidentally inhale small bugs like I did on the Sauganash trail.

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How I started - part 1

Posted by macgdon Jun 25, 2011

      In  2010, my running consisted of going 'round & 'round the track at the Irving Park Y for a mile - no more than that.  If I wanted more aerobic activity, I used a recumbent bike or an elliptical. Well, I used the ones with the working TV screens. At the time, I had no interest in entering "fun runs" 5K's etc.


     In August of that year. I was at a monthly  meeting of the Portage Park Neighborhood Association. Tom Allen, who was 38th Ward Alderman at the time was speaking at our meeting. If you've never seen Allen, imagine a tall, gray haired bean pole of a 50-something man, who regularly runs around Portage Park, and - as I later found out, plays four wall handball at the Irving Park Y.

     One thing on Allen's agenda that night was to plug a 5K run his office was sponsoring, the "Fall Into Fitness 5K".  My curiosity was piqued.  I live in Portage Park, and within walking distance of the actual  Portage Park, where the race would start.  I wondered if I could finish a 5K.  The race would happen in six weeks.  I figured there would be enough time to  increase my mileage.

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Member since: Nov 27, 2010

A 50- plus year old newcommer's journey into running, plus occasional musings on the conflicts between Ambition and Reality. Hint: While Ambition picks out the running shoes, Reality pays for the ice bags.

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