Are We Really Born to Run?

Are we really born to run?  I don’t know.  Wish I knew the answer, but after reading Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, I think I will be a lot closer to the answer.  You see, McDougall’s book is about the quest to find the answer to the question.  He ironically states: 

“These were very good questions.  But as I was about to discover, the only ones who knew the answers – the only ones who lived the answers – weren’t talking.  Especially not to someone like me”.  – Christopher McDougall, Born to Run, p 13

Clearly I am only thirteen pages into this book and I am captivated.  Whether it was chapter one’s tail of find “El Caballo Blanco” or the strange commonality to my own quest for the same answers, I really can’t wait to see how this book unfolds. 

Before I go, let me leave you all, my loyal readers, with one last quote from the book.  I found this to be very motivating and might blow it up really big and hang it in my cubicle for inspiration:

“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up.  It knows that it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed.  Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve.  It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle – when the sun comes up, you better be running.” – Christopher McDougall, Born to Run, p 13

With that said, more to come as I explore the world of Born to Run

Week 51.2009 Triathlon Training Chart


Week 51 of 2009 was my toughest triathlon training week yet and it had a few milestones. 

1) It is the first time I’ve run 8-miles!  Yes, I almost into the double digit run workouts. 
2) It is the first time I’ve biked up Ortega Ridge Rd in Montecito, going from sea level to 500+ feet.  Awesome ride.
3) It was also the first week that I swam more than one lap in the pool with the forward crawl stroke.
4) The first week in more than two months where I’ve had all four workout types: swim, bike, run, strength.

While this week was tough, it was fabulously productive. I feel great exiting this week and am looking forward to a lighter recovery week next week. 

For more of my triathlon training and race results, click here.

How Training by Ego Is Disaster

As a triathlete with some pretty lofty goals, I have to pay particular attention to training smart.  This means I need to:

1) Carefully plan out a quarter (3 months) of workouts using periodization.
2) Take plenty of time for rest to let my body recover from the stresses of building
3) Listen to my body and skip a workout when my body tells me to rest. 
4) Listen carefully to my trainer, peers, and fellow triathletes to make sure I am not overdoing it.
5) Record and measure each workout's intensity and duration, reviewing my training dashboard frequently.

The Ego Run
However, sometimes the most calculated, well planned workout goes awry.  Take my recent 8-mile run as an example.   Waking up that morning I felt sick, stressed and lacked energy.  Since I had committed to my trainer to do it, I felt compelled to do it, after all, I trust his judgement. 

Arriving at the gym, I still felt a little odd and even considered calling it quits, but my ego to push through kept me on track.  Then I met my trainer and he didn't look so good.  I asked if we should reschedule, but we agreed it would be good to push through it. 

Then we stared running and at 0.86 miles it was clear that my trainer was not doing so well and neither was I.  I suggested we cut it short, but we agreed to push through it.  At just over 4 miles we both agreed that in the future, if either one of us felt the way did that morning, we would reschedule.  

It was almost like that crazy episode of Modern Family called Run For Your Wife where the husband's ego thinks it can out do the wife's running capability.  In the end, the husband almost kills himself but the wife let's him win. Why?

In the end, we were both not doing so well.  I about threw up and had sore ankles and legs.  He looked like death and had a sore hip and ankle. 

The Lesson
In retrospect, I learned that when two guys get together, egos tend to inflate and smart decisions go out the door.  We were both lucky that we didn't come away with more serious injury. 

The lesson here is to listen to your body and don't let the ego, commitment, training plan or anything else override what your body is telling you.  LISTEN.  THINK.  REACT.  The future of your entire athletic ability is at stake. 


How Many Fingers Are On My Feet? « Aric In Training

How Many Fingers Are On My Feet?

October 10, 2009 · Leave a Comment

Ah…  primal running has come to Aric In Training!

Vibram FiveFingers and barefoot running have become the latest fad.  A fad it might be for the time being, but I firmly believe this primal footwear will be as popular as those strange Uggs.

After reading all of the information published about the benefits of barefoot running, I decided that I must have a pair.  Unfortunately, my first experience with FiveFingers was somewhat limited due to availability.   However confident I was, the tight fit and my fat, deformed toes presented a problem that I worried about, but felt that the size 41 was the best solution.

BUT, today was the moment of truth.  I received a call from a saleswoman at Santa Barbara Outfitters informing me that my size 41, FiveFingers KSO had arrived!  Woohoo!  This city slicker just got a lot closer to primal, barefoot running.

I hurried downtown after work and there they were; perfectly pretty black KSO’s.  Didn’t even bother to put them on, I just grabbed the box, paid and high tailed it home. At home, though, I spent about ten minutes getting the left one on (the left is the funkiest of the two feet), but only about one minute getting the right one on.

Ah...  primal shoes for the outlier!

Ah… primal shoes for the outlier!

My feet are in a paradise that they have never felt before!  Oh my…. the breath-ability, the room, the flexibility, and even the power!   My feet, for so long, have been trapped inside shoes that were designed for normal people.  As you all should know by now, I am not normal… I am a very happy outlier living amongst normals.

The openness of the design, the toe sockets, and the heel cup are just perfect.  My arch can do what it wants and my toes can flex as they please.

The next big test, besides getting them off, is going for a run!  Tomorrow…  tomorrow I will be like a kid in a candy store.

More to come!

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Check out this post from triathlon training blog… AricInTraining. The FiveFingers are really cool!

Collecting Self Data

“Self Data” is my term for any data set that I collect about myself.  From financial statements, to trips to the bathroom to how much each meal costs, they are all data sets that have interesting patterns.

An extra special data set I have are the results of my VO2 test that helps my track my fitness level.  From the first test to the second test, I about doubled my caloric burn rate and dropped my VO2 max by 15%.  I had made great strides in terms of fitness. 

This is why tomorrow morning’s test is so exciting to me.  How much further have I improved over the past year?   Can’t wait to see the impact of my behavior on this metric.

From Office Potato to Runner, Part 1

“Welcome to post one of a multi-part series in which I share my experience with running as part of my journey from couch to triathlete. Running is the hardest triathlon sport in terms of effort (at least for me) and I certainly shed some sweat, pain, and even tears getting to where I am today.”

You can read the rest of my story over at Aric In Training, the blog of my triathlete journey! 


FiveFingers Review on Hulu – Barefoot Running?

Being a fitness/triathlete nut that I am, I am intrigued by the latest fad, barefoot running.  While it should be no surprise that shoes could cause potentially worse injuries for runners as opposed to barefoot, I really don’t think America is about to give up their cushy Uggs! 

More seriously though, this review by WIRED magazine presents a wonderful overview of this latest theory.  It is available on Hulu: I like the comparison of a guy running in shoes and the guy running in FiveFingers.  Gave me flashbacks to the last triathlon I was in where everyone passed me!

Here is a NYTimes article for the non-moving picture viewers:

Once I get back from vacation, I might have to give it a serious go and pick up a pair.