Thursday, 28 June 2012

Running for a Cause

About six years ago I started to run for many, many reasons (but most importantly for my health). I will do a separate post on my reasons later. Over the years I have run mostly for myself. I have done only a very modest number of races (three 10K's, one 10 Miles and two half marathons). My reason is that no matter how much fun a run might be, it always takes up too much time. A 10k race will take a day rather than an hour, while a 10K run at home will take an hour and a half, including changing and stretching before and a shower after the run.

Still, since I started to run, I have wanted to run for a good cause. While checking how to sign up for a local half marathon in the beginning of September, I discovered the possibility to run the race for a good cause. As the cause is one that people that are close to me have benefited of quite a bit (research into heart-disease), I decided to take the leap and see if I can raise some money for this research.

I signed up for the run today and expect to receive the money-raising kit before the weekend. Let's just see if we can get people to pay for my run.

The course of the race promises to be interesting. The start and finish will be in a not too large village. A large part of the middle piece is along one of the Schiphol runways and through cropland and meadows. Though this will be the eight's installment of the run, I have no idea how many participants there will be.

Preparation-wise, things are going well. This evening, I did run 2 of week 8 of my half marathon training. Because of my new I-Have-No-Shame-And-I-Love-It playlist on my musicplayer, I simply had to extend my fast run and do 8.2K rather than 6K. This night's run taught me a thing or two about myself (especially about my music-preferences) that I am not particularly proud of. The songs that give me most energy during a fast run are songs by British back to the seventies/eighties punk bands. I even found any bit of fatigue or pain disappear at the end of my run when I heard the opening tunes of "Run to The Hills" by ehrm... yes, ehrm... Iron Maiden. (but in the words of the most modern of my favorite singers: SO WHAT!)

Thursday, 21 June 2012

1100 K's in my Vibram Fivefingers Speed

Yesterday's run was Hot, Too Hot for a person living where I live who is not used to any sort of heat. Still, I went (because I could) and completed training 2 of week 7 of my 12-week Half Marathon schedule (more on this later).

With completing this training, I have run 1100 K in my Vibram Fivefingers. I did the 1100 K's in about a year and a half. (This is very disappointing compared to previous years, but I have a number of Excellent excuses lined up for every one who asks me how my running has been going.)

I have run approximately 1100 K's in regular running shoes earlier, and I have had to replace these because - besides the regular wear - the soles had lost their bounce and I could distinctly feel the effects of this in my knees. As there is no bounce in my current shoes, I do not need to throw them out for that reason.

Still 1100 K's in any pair of shoes will leave signs of wear. The wear in my Speeds is visible on the soles (these became Very thin in several places) and several places on the upper part. I noticed various holes on the sides when I put them on without my socks (you won't notice a hole in black shoes when there is a layer of black fabric behind them). The insole of the shoes have a hole in them on the outside of the left shoe. This is probably caused by something strange in the way I place my left foot (likely caused by a rather painful hernia that affected my left leg and immobilized me for three months several years ago).

Using a layer of liquid rubber, I was able to repair the worst thin-spots on the soles. I am planning to use Engo Patches to fix the damage to the inside of the shoes (especially the left side of the left shoe). These are difficult to come by and I HOPE to receive my order by the beginning of next week.

Obviously, the damage to the upper part of the shoes is more difficult to repair - I won't be able to. Despite these war-wounds, I am planning to keep running in them for at least five more months. I expect to then have run approximately 1700 K's in them, including three half marathons and (if all goes well) one 10 miles run. They have some more work to do before I will send them off to the eternal running grounds.

Naturally, I will keep you posted.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Fathersday 2012

-= Breakfast =-
This morning I woke up to the smell of fresh coffee, baked beans, scrambled eggs and crispy bacon. The Missus and the young Padawan had spent at least 30 minutes in the kitchen to prepare a Champion's breakfast for me. This breakfast was a small reminder of the time when the Missus and I were just the two of us and would lavishly go about traveling through Europe. Whenever available, I would always take the British cooked breakfast - and yes, there was 30Kg's more of me then than there is now.

For presents, the young Padawan had bought me a kite (a larger one than the one I keep stealing from him). Flying a kite with the little one has been a dream since long before he was born. Despite the fact that he is distracted by everything around him (he is two), I am loving every second of it. The Missus gave me a gift coupon for a lunch for two and I look forward to the time together. No doubt the Padawan will have the time of his life during a sleep-over with his nieces and nephew.

-= Windy run =-
(Some time) After my rich breakfast, I went  for a run. My half marathon schedule required me to do an 80 minute relaxed run. Though wind-force 5 caused the run to be not so relaxed, it was good to do a longer run again. I did the first training of week 7 in my HM schedule (just over half-way) and the runs are getting longer again.

Running in toe-shoes that provide little to no protection to the soles of my feet, I am training my feet to toughen up a bit. During the Amsterdam half-marathon in 2011, my feet had taken quite a beating. I was used to running the distance, but my pace during the race was considerably higher than during my training runs. This resulted in my feet being tender - to the degree of a nice juicy steak - for at least a week. So far, things are looking promising. Though my feet were painful after the 8.5k interval of two days ago, today's 14k run was no problem and I feel completely recovered just hours later.

To my regret, the wind died just after my run, so we could not get the kite to take off (we did try naturally). I will take pics of the next kite-flying expedition we will be going on.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Running abroad

Our camping trip

The Missus, the young Padawan and myself just returned from a trip to France. As a different geographic location is never an excuse to not run, I brought my shoes with me for the trip. We were somewhere in the middle of the country for about a week and I only got in one run - for all sorts of excellent reasons. Quite unlike my native country, France is hilly and despite the relative shortness of my run there it was HEAVY.

Still, the scenery of the run was great. I ran through a tiny village (Alvignac), down towards the next village and up a tiny lane starting a steep ascend towards a Chateau d'Eau (yes, water-towers are usually built on the highest point in the area...). After having passed the Chateau d'Eau, it was a relaxed half hour more-or-less down-hill run back towards the camp-site where we were staying. Though my half-marathon schedule prescribed a very easy 40 minute run, this turned into a 50+ minute (8.6 k) hill-training.

Away from home

Being away from my regular running-haunts can be both very good and very bad. Some years ago, I needed to be in London several times in a short-is period of time. I stayed in a hotel with only a dimly-lit park in the vicinity and did not dare to encounter the regulars of the area. The treadmill - the only alternative if I wanted to do any sort of running - in the hotel was either facing a mirror (charming) or facing the floor-to-ceiling windows (which against the dark of night turn into a mirror - also charming).

Treadmills are evil.

The same city offers a Great variety of excellent running grounds in daylight. At one particular visit, I got into my running shoes at six in the morning and did a lovely 10 k through Hyde Park (Fartleking my way from squirrel to park bench). During the same stay, I was invited by the staff of a local running shop to join them and their regular Wednesday night running group for a run.

About a year ago, I was in Las Vegas, where the average day temperature is twice the value I am used to. Fortunately, at six in the morning, the temp is only 30 degrees Celsius. I left my hotel and went for a 7 k run where the distance I ran was determined by the half-way mark of my water bottle. (Forgive the crappy results of my BlackBerry GPS receiver. I forgot to bring my Forerunner).

What I specifically remember of a couple of runs I did in various cities villages in Norway were the extremely hazardous circumstances that were created by the lack of decent foot or cycling paths. I did some six or seven runs during my stay there and do not care to remember the trouble we went to to find locations that did not involve (mostly local) cars doing 1.5 times the speed-limit of 60 k/h.


Yet, no matter the challenge, I always bring my running gear on whatever (private or work-related) trip I go on. It's fun to collect Garmin Connect entries from across the globe (if you remember to bring the Forerunner). The fact that my VFF can be reduced to the size of half of one of my former running shoes definitely helps in deciding whether or not to see what the running conditions will be.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012


It's been a while since I blogged on Paranoid and Running. In fact, the blog has been away for some time. I deleted the posts that were once there and decided to do away with the blog. Still, some weeks ago I noticed that I missed blogging and thought... What the Heck.

I will be writing on running, coffee, city trips and miscellaneous topics. I wrote a lot of (mainly boring) stuff in the previous iteration of Paranoid and Running. This stuff will not be rehashed and republished. Though I am a literature-geek, I will not blog on anything literature here. Check my other blog ( for anything literature-related. Very infrequent posts there. Additionally, I am focused on being barefoot. Though I do not go to work barefoot, I am barefoot or in minimalist shoes most of the time in my own time. As such I am interested in minimalist footwear.

What's new then?
In the time I was away from blogging, I moved away from regular running shoes and switched to minimalist shoes (I chose Vibram FiveFingers (VFF) as my poison). After the first steps of my first barefoot run I decided to never return to regular running shoes. It took me about 6 to 9 months before I was fully used to running in barefoot shoes. In the mean time, I did my first half marathon in them (October 2011) and am planning to do my second HM in them in the beginning of September this year. My third half will possibly be the Amsterdam half for the third time (second in VFF).