Saturday, 30 March 2013

Elbow drop!

How is it still this cold?!

I think someone needs to have a word with Mother Nature and just make sure she is OK, I'm worried that  she may have forgotten how Spring is meant to be!

Maybe she has been distracted and just overlooked the temperature side of things as there are a lot a confused looking flowers out there today.

I unfortunately picked up a bit of a niggle in the back of my knee after having an extremely cold run resulting in twisting my knee a little. After much resting and icing I came to the conclusion that it was finally time to bring out the big guns. Deep tissue massage

Those of you who have had one will now be wincing at those three little words, those of you who have not will now be wondering what all the fuss is about.

Here is what Wikipedia has to say....

"Deep tissue massage is designed to relieve severe tension in the muscle and the connective tissue or fascia. This type of massage focuses on the muscles located below the surface of the top muscles. Deep tissue massage is often recommended for individuals who experience consistent pain, are involved in heavy physical activity (such as athletes), and patients who have sustained physical injury. It is not uncommon for receivers of deep tissue massage to have their pain replaced with a new muscle ache for a day or two.
The term “deep tissue” is often misused to identify a massage that is performed with sustained deep pressure. Deep tissue massage is a separate category of massage therapy, used to treat particular muscular-skeletal disorders and complaints and employs a dedicated set of techniques and strokes to achieve a measure of relief. It should not be confused with “deep pressure” massage, which is one that is performed with sustained strong, occasionally intense pressure throughout an entire full-body session, and that is not performed to address a specific complaint. Deep tissue massage is applied to both the superficial and deep layers of muscles, fascia, and other structures. The sessions are often quite intense as a result of the deliberate, focused work. When a client asks for a massage and uses the term “deep tissue”, more often than not he or she is seeking to receive a full-body session with sustained deep pressure throughout. If a practitioner employs deep tissue techniques on the entire body in one session, it would be next to impossible to perform; it might lead to injury or localised muscle and nerve trauma, thereby rendering the session counter-productive."

What it looks like....

What it feels like at times...

All joking aside I am aching a little bit today and it kind of feels like I have been punched in the leg but hopefully a couple of days rest and I should be back on the road again!
It is something I have put off for a long time but I am glad that I went ahead and did it. Anybody having doubts about any pain should really just get it checked out by a professional and save themselves a lot of time and pain.
I shall catch up with you all again soon as I have a lot of new stuff I am reviewing at the moment.
Here is a taste of reviews to come....Ultimate Direction AK Vest, Raceready shorts, Tabi boots.....

Stay safe, keep warm and keep running!

Monday, 11 March 2013

Xero to hero?

Its review time again chums!

The wonderful people at Xero Shoe UK sent me over some sandals to give a darn good thrashing and here is the story so far....

As the little metal door to my mail box gently opened to reveal the grey plastic bag within I couldn't help but smile. I love getting new toys!

So lets have a look in the bag shall we?

New toys!

Nice surprise!
Xero have a choice of two thickness's of sole, a 4mm and a 6mm. I have got used to a thicker sole over the last year so I went for the 6mm version.
They give you a great choice in lace and sole colours which I thought was really nice as it gives you a chance to be a little more individual and well lets face it, its fun!
Next is the wonderful technology in the shape of the lace threading tool, beautifully engineered piece of wire that......ok, ok its a hair pin! I have to say it works really well when combined with the end of a ball point pen!
Finally and most surprising is the hole punch that comes with them! This little tool is fantastic and I love the fact that they have included it with the sandals as making the holes without one is such a pain!

Hole punch included!
So onto the building!
I would really recommend opening the Xero shoe site and having a good read if this is your first time making hauraches (click here to be whisked there now) as their instructions are really easy to follow.
When making the hole between your big toe with the wonderful hole punch tool remember to put down some newspaper if you value your carpet or flooring. Trust me, the tool is sharp and you WILL end up with a perfect little hole missing from my.....I mean your laminate! (time to hide from the impending slap across the back of the head!)
When threading your laces try using a ballpoint pen to help pop the end through. Try and do it slowly as sometimes the inside of the lace will go through and push back the outside sleeve. If this happens, take the lace out and just seal the end of it with a little fire and use some pliers to shape it into a little point.
Careful with sealing the end though as flicking melted bits of lace around the room is not desired and may lead to injury from your significant other.

Tying them is a whole different animal and I will continue to post different methods as I try them out, for now lets get onto running in them!

Right after building my new Xero shoe and messing around for about an hour with the "slip on slip off" method of tying it was finally time to take them for a spin!
Arrow grip

It must be noted that I took these out when it was just above freezing so maybe my discovery was a little unusual.

Good grip on the foot bed
After the first mile or so of stopping and adjusting the laces a little, things settled down into what felt like a normal run for me in sandals. The foot bed felt comfy and had a surprising amount of grip. The little arrow grips on the bottom worked really well on the road and gave a confident footing.
The 6mm was just enough protection from most of the sticks and stones you would come across on a normal road run but I did find that personally I missed the extra 4mm that I have grown accustom to in my Luna`s.
I am in no way saying that this is a bad thing, just a personal preference!
If you like to feel every change in surface and want to be really close to barefoot then the Xero Shoe gets you really close!
Really flexible

I mentioned before that I took these out on a really cold night and this is where I made a strange discovery...

In my Luna (sorry to keep bringing them up but it is my best point of reference!) which uses a Vibram sole, they start off cold and then after about 3 or so miles warm up just enough from the friction to keep your feet warm while you continue to run. The Xero however even after 6 miles showed no signs of warming at all and so left my feet so cold that I had to head home.
Now I'm not sure if this is just me being spoilt with the luxury of "heated" feet with my Luna or what but it left me thinking about weather this was a bad thing or not?
6mm profile
If I was truly barefoot then the temperature of the ground would effect my feet so maybe it is a better representation of being truly barefoot?
On the other hand I am running in a sandal so should it also protect me from the cold of the ground?

As yet I still cant decide, what I have decided is that warmer weather will see the return of the Xero!

They were a lot of fun over a short distance but I think if I wanted to up the miles I would be interested in trying out a hardcore beast version! Something like a 10mm sole with crazy trail grip so I could rip around the trails with just a little more protection.

As I have mentioned before I am training to be an ultra runner so I tend to look for different things when it comes to footwear and gear so my opinion may seem a little over the top and to the truly hardcore maybe I'm just being a bit of a wimp!

So lets move on to the results shall we?

Build quality - I have to say, I was actually really impressed! The sole is a little strange for its lack of heat but the overall build quality is really good! The foot bed worked well under the conditions tested so far, as did the grip. The laces are a little abrasive but still pretty good. The inclusion of the hole punch and lacing tools really impressed me as it showed real thought behind the product. I think 4 big cheesy grins for build quality! :) :) :) :)

Value for money - This is a simple simple question, YES! They are such great value and the options of foot bed colours and lace colours makes them a fantastic choice for anyone wanting to try out sandals and not break the bank! Oh yeah I forgot to mention that they are said to last 5000 miles as well!! 5 giant smiley faces for value! :) :) :) :) :)

Fun value - They are tons of fun once you have them tied on properly. Lacing them may frustrated or delight you, take your time to find a way that works for you! For the most amount of fun take these onto the grass and have a play! Remember to build up slowly though and watch for sharp stones!
For my own fun value I give the 6mm sole 3 in hope that we will see a 10mm version *wink wink* :) :) :)

Would I buy them again? - Well apart from the fact that they are good for a claimed 5000 miles so I may not need to buy some for quite a while, yes I think I would! I think I would maybe try some upgraded laces or webbing and maybe add a plush leather topper just to customise them for my own use.
3 grins for this one as well :) :) :)

Final note -
For someone looking to get into sandals I would say that Xero Shoe would be a great purchase! They are built really well and are very very well priced! Cold weather maybe your only issue if you are just starting out  but don't let me put you off!

If anyone finds a particular tying method that you would like to share please drop me a line and I will give it a go!

This will not be the last you hear of Xero Shoe! (click for a link to the UK site)

Cardiosaurus out!

Friday, 8 March 2013

500 views and working Tweets

500 views!!! :O

A huge thanks to everyone who has stuck with me and keeps reading this blog it means a lot! :)

As you may have already noticed my Twitter feed is now working! Yay!

Please feel free to follow me and also let me know what your up too!

I have also added a "click to tweet" button on the bottom of each post if you wish to pass my posts on with ease!
I am also working on a Facebook page at the mo, I shall update once I have something worth posting about!

Thank you all so much again!

Happy Tweeting tweet fans!


Wednesday, 6 March 2013

The humdrum conundrum

So you want to become an Ultra runner? Me too! To do this you need time to run, obvious but important fact. The small issue is one of time.
Do you get up at crazy`o clock? Run after work? All of the mentioned? Its tough to keep motivated when your time is minimal.
Personally I like to run after work, well lets be honest if I could run instead of work that we be ideal but unfortunately like many many others this is a luxury I do not have.
Running after a full day at work can sometimes be a challenge in itself as its very easy just to sit in that comfy chair and bask in the glow of the TV. However I find the reward for getting straight back out again even when tired to be great.
Maybe its in my head but I figure if I can head out after working 9 hours and still put in a 3.5 hour run then on race day I should be golden!
Mornings for me just don't work in terms of running, I feel nasty and it takes me too long to wake up. This I also figure wont help my technique so in the interest of not hurting myself and of course the interest of my sleep I am a night owl.
The small issue with being an owl is once again our friend time.
Home, changed and out the door again by 6pm gives me just enough time to get some decent miles in before heading home, shower, eat and bed. On my long runs bed can be just before midnight. Dinner is eaten literally on the run with a small meal once I get home. Then its off to sleep ready for work again in the morning.
Here is where the title comes in to today's story.
The conundrum I am beginning to face as my long runs are getting longer is once again time.
I really need to work up to around 6 hours running time. Now those of you who are gifted with quick math skills will very quickly work out that once done running it is already 12am. Shower and eat and hope that my brain wants to sleep should see me counting sheep by around 1.30 maybe 2am.

I guess I just man up right? Its not called an "Ultra" for nothing right?!

Well this also brings me onto the blogging to running ratio, running gives me something to blog about but takes time. Blogging gives me an outlet for my running adventures but takes time. My job keeps my house paid for so that I can spend less and less time in it due to the running, I obviously need money and a job takes up time. The solution is to get paid to run, I need to win races so would need a lot of time to train....ah...erm....

The Humdrum Conundrum