Father’s Day Spartan Challenge

June 16, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: General, Sports 

I love today’s world where we can each pick races and events that we like. Some people run trails, others run roads, while some do both. Many athletes ride, or hike, or adventure race. Whatever your interest, there’s a race or event to challenge you.

But how often do you try something new?

Every so often I have the opportunity to try and entice you to try a Spartan Race.

Please read to the end of this blog post because I have an opportunity for one person to win a free entry into a Spartan Race.

Have you done a Spartan Race? These very popular races are obstacles course races of short to endurance length distances. Each race involves water and mud, and their signature obstacles that will test your physical, mental, tactical and team-based skills. Spartan Races are held throughout the country. If these races interest you for 2017, check out the Spartan website as well as the two books Spartan Up! and Spartan Fit! Do a Spartan Race and you’ll come out as more than a runner.

I know. Some of you are saying. They aren’t the same as a marathon, 50-mile, or 100-mile race. Ultrarunners are tough and our events are hard. Spartan Races are much shorter.

You are right of course. But. And it’s a huge “but”, Spartan Races have obstacles that I’d bet most ultrarunners could not complete. Carrying a 60-pound sandbag up and down a long grassy hill, the barbed wire roll, rope climbs, the log carry, carrying a five-gallon bucket filled with rocks up and down a hill, tire pull, water obstacles, and more.

You have to be in the best physical shape of your life for these events. So do your feet. Between the grassy hills, slick with water and mud, the muddy trails and roads, the uphills and downhills over rocky trails and roads, jumping onto and over walls, down cargo nets, and other challenges, your ankles and feet take a beating. You get junk in your shoes, and while no one in the shows complained of blisters, I am certain many of the racers had them. Just watching the shows I could see there would be sprained ankles along with other injuries.

If you can’t complete an obstacle, you have to do 30 burpees. And that’s after you failed at the obstacle. Your heart is racing and breathing is labored, and you are exhausted.

Check out the website and see if this type of race interests you. Their Spartan Race Father’s Day promotion with code SPARTANDAD will get you 50% off gear, $69 Sprint races, and two free digital books with any race purchase (Spartan Up! & Spartan Fit!). Here’s the link for more information: Spartan Race Father’s Day promotion.

That’s a pretty good deal.

This Father’s Day deal from Spartan expires June 18, Sunday night at 11:59 pm, Eastern time zone.

So here’s another deal. Spartan is giving me one free race code to give away. If you are interested, send me an email and tell me why you’d like to do a Spartan Sprint race and why you think it would challenge you. I’ll randomly select one person for the free race code. The only thing I ask is that after your race, I want you to write a short report on how these compare to a marathon or an ultramarathon.

Send me your email by midnight Saturday. June 17th and I’ll pick the winner Sunday morning. That way, even if you don’t win, you’ll have time to go to their Father’s Day promotion and use the SPARTANDAD coupon and save some cash.

You can also use the SPARTANDAD coupon as a gift for you husband or friend or significant other. Just make sure you use it before the deadline.

Running a Wet 100 Mile Trail Run

In less than two weeks is the running of the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run. I will be at the 55.7-mile Michigan Bluff aid station, along with Tonya Olson and others on the medical team. Our aim is to make sure you are healthy to continue on towards Placer High School and a good finish.

For the past six years, the mountains have been dry and the trails dusty. Feet get caked with dirt. Blisters are caused by the dust and dirt as an irritant inside shoes and socks.

2011 was the last snow year. I have looked a bit online and am unclear on snow conditions this year. But this much I am certain, there will be snow and feet will be wet. How much snow remains to be seen.

I am 100% certain that runners will have long sections of wet trail, either from the snow, snow run off, water on the trail, and stream crossings. That equals miles of running with wet feet. I’m also 100% certain that we’ll have lots of wet feet, blisters, and maceration. In fact maceration could easily be a bigger problem than blisters. Don’t forget to avoid pouring water over your head where it will run down your legs into your shoes, contributing to maceration. Lean forward rather then standing straight up.

A blister can be lanced and taped, and runners can continue without to many issues. Maceration is a different story. Once your feet are macerated – the skin shriveled like a prune, there is no quick fix.

With prolonged exposure, the skin on your feet goes through four stages as the maceration progresses to severe cracks and tears in the skin—that can be race ending. As the skin on your feet moves through the four stages, the skin folds over on itself and can crack or tear. This can be painful. Many runners come into aid stations complaining of bad blisters only to be told they don’t have any – it’s severe maceration.

I expanded the section on maceration in the 6th edition of Fixing Your Feet. Starting on page 188, are 12 pages with sections about Cold and Wet, Maceration, Trench Foot and Chilblains, Frostbite, and Snow and Ice. Included are tips and products to help with those conditions. If you have a copy, read the sections – and have you crew read them also. On page 101 is a section on High-Technology Oversocks like SealSkinz and Hanz, Serius, and eZeefit waterproof type socks. Another sock worth mentioning is ArmaSkin socks, which is used as a sock liner and fits tightly against your feet. They would be my choice for a wet race. I’d also wear gaiters to keep snow, dirt, and grit out of my shoes.

As far as skin preparation, here’s what I would do – expecting wet feet. My drop bags would have clean socks, small containers or baggies with powder to help dry wet skin, and container or tubes of any of the following: RunGoo, Trail Toes, Desitin Maximum Strength Original Paste, Boudreaux’s Butt Paste, or a strong zinc oxide paste. I’d also carry some in my hydration pack. I would apply a liberal coating of one of these from toes to up the heels and then roll my socks on. Rolling socks on will help prevent smearing and thinning the paste on areas of the feet.

Since proactive care is better than reactive, I’d check my feet at most aid stations, adding paste as necessary. If my feet were feeling bad at an aid station, I’d apply some powder to help dry the skin, and have some food while letting the powder do its job. Then apply more paste and clean socks. If your feet are badly macerated, it will take drying them, coating them with powder, and rubbing it in and letting it sit for a while, then stripping off the powder and adding more of your choice of paste. That may easily mean 15 minutes or more. If you don’t take care of macerated feet, they’ll get worse over time, requiring more care and longer time – and there may come a point when it’s irreversible in the time you have.

The time you take in aid stations does add up and it can quickly erase any time cushion you may have to finish within an allotted time. But skip quality care, rush too fast, ship hydration or eating, and you’ll pay the cost.

Remember your first line of defense should be your crew. They should know what you want for foot care and how to do it correctly. There aren’t enough medical people to take care of everyone’s feet and we may be busy with others, adding more time to your aid station visit.

Yes, as I said earlier, I will be at Michigan Bluff and Tonya and I will do our best to help you. But heed my warning. We cannot work miracles when you have failed to take care of your feet from the start. In the same way we cannot take away the pain and problems with black toenails and toe blisters caused by your not trimming your toenails, we cannot repair badly macerated feet when you have not tried steps to control the maceration.

I ran Western States in the late 80s and one thing I learned is the outcome of the race in your hands. Whether is your training, conditioning, choice of footwear, choices of food, what’s in your head, your choice of crew – lots of things affect your race. I encourage you to take the time necessary to care for your feet.

Staying Visible While Running

June 5, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: General, Health 

Today’s article is written as a guest post by Bryan Mac Murray, an Outreach Specialist with Personal Injury Help. I believe staying safe whether running or walking, or cycling is important and something we often forget about.

Staying Visible While Running

You are a member of the growing group of people who enjoy running to stay healthy. As a runner, you understand that making sure you are noticed by drivers is important. Visibility is essential is safety while running regardless of where you go – areas that are less traveled or busy streets. To ensure your safety, you must be proactive and make sure you stand out in the crowd so drivers will notice you and be much less likely to hit you. Here are few ways you can make yourself stand out when you are out for a run.

Fluorescent Clothing

You want to make sure you dress in bright colors so you will be noticed. Fluorescent clothing, such as hot pink, lime green, neon yellow, and orange will get attention. Traditional colors such as green, blue, black, brown, or gray just blend into the surroundings and camouflage you. You want to wear a jacket, vest, or shirt that will make you stand out from both the front and the back.

Visible After Dark

If you are out running when it is dark, such as before dawn or after dusk, you need to make sure you are visible to drivers. When there is no daylight your brightly colored attire isn’t noticed. Wear a safety vest that has reflective piping or put reflective tape on the front and back of your clothing. Reflective bands on the wrists and ankles also help. Add some reflective tape on your shoes as well. For added protection carry a flashlight in front pointed downward. Flashing LED lights can be worn on your clothing on both front and back to help you get noticed. It may be a good idea to make sure that any running clothes that you buy have visibility components, such as jackets with reflective panels, high-visibility colors or both.

Don’t Run Alone

If you can, run with a buddy. Two people running together are more visible than one. Both of you dressed to be visible and running side by side will definitely make you stand out. Having someone along in case of an emergency is also beneficial. This is especially true if you’re running in less-trafficked areas, such as a fire road or nature trail. Because there are less people around, it may take longer for someone to respond if you’re in trouble.

Follow the Traffic Laws

You need to know the traffic laws and adhere to them, just like motorists. This means that you don’t just zip through a stop sign or ignore a traffic light. If it says “don’t walk” you don’t just run on through. Approach the signal or sign, stop, and obey the traffic laws. You don’t want to run into the path of a vehicle where you weren’t seen until the last minute. While they may seem more avoidable, bicycles can also be a hazard in this way, and if they’re not being attentive cyclists, they can easily collide with a runner, especially when the bicyclist is turning at an intersection while a runner crosses it.

Run in Well-Lit Areas

You want to run in areas where you can see where you are going. If you head off down a dark street, you could trip over obstacles or debris or end up running into a criminal who is up to no good. Never go down a street that looks dark, abandoned, or just gives you a creepy feeling. Follow your instincts and stay safe when you are out and about. Remember, you need to see where you are going and you also want people to see you so you aren’t hit by a car or the victim of a criminal act. It’s also a good idea to do without earphones if you’re running in a dangerous area as well- being able to hear an approaching car or a would-be assaulter could mean the difference between a close call and a tragic incident.

Watch for Cars

If at all possible, run on the sidewalk. You keep a more significant distance between you and the cars by staying on the sidewalk. This distance can serve as a safety barrier of sorts. Always stay alert so you can get out of the way if you need to move fast. Don’t run around or between cars because you are setting yourself up to be hit because drivers cannot see you when you are in their blind spot. Watch for people opening car doors. Don’t run too close to parked cars or you might end up getting doored.

Staying Safe While Running

Running helps you stay healthy and provides great fun. Making sure drivers will notice you is a great way to improve safety and decrease your chances of being hit by a car. Make sure you know how to stand out and also be ready to jump to safety if the need arises. For additional protection, carry cell phone along with your name and emergency contact information taped on the back in case of an emergency. Let someone know when you are leaving, your route and when you plan to be back.

*This Article was written by Personal Injury Help, however this article is not intended to be legal advice nor should it be construed as such. To learn more about Personal Injury Help, you can visit their website at personalinjury-law.com or email them at help@personalinjury-law.org.

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