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Product Review: Bodyglide


It’s on my mind today since I just used the last of my Bodyglide stick, and it struck me how it has become a valuable part of my running toolkit.   I’ve always dealt with foot blisters, and through trial and error, the combination of wearing Injinji Tetrasoks and using Bodyglide on my feet has served me well.

I’m not sure exactly what this stuff is made of, and it tastes freaking terrible (don’t ask why I know this), but for the most part, it lives up to it’s manufacturer’s claims.  Bodyglide provides a nice friction barrier for those “hot spots” you get, particularly on feet and toes, and sometimes around other body parts where gear or skin mixed with moisture produces friction.  The product comes in a stick format, much like deodorant, that makes for easy application in a variety of places.

One issue I have had with the product is the claim of  stainlessness.  When used for nipple protection (pretty much a guy only issue), I’ve found shirts develop a quite unattractive half-dollar sized brownish stain right above the nipple area.  Not terribly cool.  Good thing I’m not out to pick up the chicks…  Anyway, after contacting them via email and twitter, soaking the shirts in water with a temperature of 160F or above got the stains right out by melting the Bodyglide.  Perhaps I could avoid this by not leaving my nasty sweaty clothes in my gym bag in my car after lunch runs, but that’s another story.  Regardless, the people at Bodyglide were quite quick and polite at helping me through the issue to my satisfaction.

Since I’ve started using it, they’ve introduced a whole line of additional products that I haven’t tried yet.  These additional products seem to target individual or specific applications or needs (Bodyglide for Her, Bodyglide for Feet) that could possible be solved equally well with the original product.  However, given my need, the Bodyglide for Feet is something I’ll most likely try.

Overall, I would recommend giving this a try if you have blistering or chafing issues.  For the most part it’s a product that does exactly what it says it does, for a reasonable price, and THAT is something us runners need more of…

www.bodyglide.com

twitter.com/bodyglide

Two observations about myself by a maturing runner


I learned two things about myself as a runner the other day.  They’re both things I think I knew for quite some time, but just kind of wormed it’s way through the crowd in my psyche (trust me, it’s crowded in there).

Observation #1:

When running any kind of speed workout, I much prefer flats and “minimal” shoes.  About a year and a half ago,  I went through a somewhat similar thought process around realizing that the Brooks Glycerin and Defyance were “too much shoe” for me.  That realization landed me smack in the middle of a love affair with the Brooks Launch.  Lately, I’ve dusted out my Brooks T6s and Green Silences, both shoes I didn’t like much when I first got them.  Now? I like them.  a lot.  Maybe even love.  Although I will admit preference to the T6s,  the ideas behind the Green Silence (reused materials, biodegradable midsoles, etc…) are more attractive to me.  Regardless, the lower profile and drop from heel to toe is what is attracting me back to both of these shoes…  I’ve been following the hype on barefoot/minimalist running with a healthy dose of skepticism, while dipping my toes in the water (pun intended) here and there.  The conclusion that I’m coming to, while completely unscientific and purely anecdotal and personal is that moving toward less shoe is good for me overall…

Observation #2:

I actually like my VFF Bikilas, and I’m looking forward to logging more miles in them safely and wisely.  Tied to observation #1 above, I bought these mainly to see what they hype was about and in the desparate hope that walking and running in them would help with the Plantar Fasciitis that I still suffer from.  While I’ve only run a couple of times in them, what I have observed is that my feet relax and feel better for days after, even after short 1 milers in them.  Again, purely anecdotal and not controlled, but real results that I’m happy to accept.  I don’t see myself as becoming a barefoot runner at all, but I do see this as a valuable tool to help me become an injury free runner.
What’s your experience with minimalism?

For more scientific evidence on both areas, check out http://www.runblogger.com

Predawn Runner Profile


Hey guys! I was a featured profile today on Greg Strosaker’s well written blog: Predawn Runner. http://predawnrunner.com/2010/08/predawn-profile-jay-parker/

Check it out, and stick around to read the rest of his blog, it’s worth your while…

The Newfound Joy of the Group Run


Group runs?  Bleh, who needs them?  I’ll just go out on my own, or maybe with my one and only serious running partner, Kent P.  At least that’s what I thought up until this week.  I’ve been on some group runs before, mainly on business trips, and people are jetlagged and cranky, hungover, and are at such different skill levels that it really wasn’t that much fun for anyone.

Earlier this week, several of my work colleagues suggested we go out for a group run at lunch.  Initially I was skeptical, but the day before, the daily mission on dailymile was to let the crowd vote on your workout the next day, and the crowd voted for the group run.  So I did it.  And I liked it.

We went slower than I normally run, by about 1-2 minutes per mile.  The whole out of the out-n-back, my ego told me to speed up, even through I know I need to make my easy runs easier.  So, at the turnaround point, I just loosened up and relaxed, chatted and enjoyed the experience.  You know what?  Slower is sometimes better, especially if it means building good relationships and remembering that the run is about fun.

We’re going to keep it up, and hopefully the work group run will grow.  We’ve already talked about having different pace groups, and ways to keep it fun for all skill levels, so I think everyone is going to win here…

Running Ambassadors – Running in Foreign Cultures


I am fortunate enough to have the experience of traveling around a good portion of the world through business.  Since I started running a couple of years ago (2 years next month!), I’ve had the opportunity to run in Brazil, China, France, Switzerland and Sweden as well as many places here in the US.  This post is focused on the cultural differences I’ve observed while out on a run.

Of course, being a native of the fine state of North Carolina, it’s practically embedded in my DNA to say “Hey”, make eye contact and give a little wave to anyone I pass on the run.  In fact, I just feel weird if I don’t do it, even if I’m trying to get a speed workout in.  This attempt at friendliness is viewed differently from culture to culture, as you’ll see below!

Brazil: This country is very supportive of physical fitness, and when I was there, I saw many runners out in the parks.  Everyone had a smile on their face and was either listening to music or would say hi in passing with a smile.  I did some treadmill running here, though, as I wasn’t to0 sure of the stability of where I was.  All the runners are beautiful people in Brazil, though.

China: Mostly I ran inside here, as the pollution was pretty bad in Bejing, plus the traffic was really pretty sketchy.  Not a whole lot of runners around the part of town I was in, but there were an incredible amount of people on cycles, mostly commuting.  Being an American, it’s always odd to see a businessman in a suit pedaling along… The few miles I put in outside taught me that outdoor runners in the middle of Beijing are not a common sight.  Pedestrians gave me a lot of odd looks and I spent most of the time trying not to get flattened by the insane Bejing traffic.

France: I was in Lyon the whole time I was in France, and my hotel was on the Presqu’île, which is a sort of peninsula between the Rhône and Saône rivers.  A block long jog brought me down to the waterfront of the Rhône, and there were incredible running and cycling paths that extended for about 10 miles (Google maps link: http://tinyurl.com/yypywx3).   There were a lot of people out in the morning before work and after work, before dinner.  Most everyone at least made eye contact, and most offered a cheery (if breathless) “Bonjour”.  Most people were fairly fit, and saw a few really fast people out.  Lots and lots of tights.  Very few people in shorts.  One thing about running in Europe is the tights.  Everybody wears them all year round…

Switzerland: To be fair here, I only had one run in Switzerland, and it was really right on the border of France.  This was at the base of the alps and was incredibly beautiful to see those giant mountains while on the run.  The town I ran through was pretty hilly, and I ran with a couple of colleagues with varying degrees of fitness.  We ran in the early morning, but already people were commuting to work in Geneva.  However, these commuters looked at us like we were aliens.  Obviously nobody runs in this little town… I did see one other runner while in Switzerland, and he was trucking up those hills hardcore-style.  Between running through the little ski village and the rural landscape just outside of town, this was a lovely, lovely place to run.

Sweden: I’ve done most of my international running in Sweden, as I work for a Swedish company, and my wife is Swedish.  I run in two cities mainly: Katrineholm (where my wife is from) and Gothenburg (where my company is located).  The two are very different in many ways, and alike in some.  Katrineholm is small and fairly rural; I have to run around the entire perimeter of the town to get in a 10 miler,  yet  there are miles and miles of compacted dirt and mulch trails through the forests for walkers and runners.  Gothenburg is a more industrial place, and is Sweden’s second largest city.  There are a lot of runners here, and there are sidewalks and running paths all over the city.  No one looks at you strangely, and all cars stop for you to cross the road.  It’s like runner’s nirvana.  However, there is one small setback for me: Swedes are a little reserved to strangers, and no one really makes eye contact with someone they don’t know.  This is obviously a detriment to me smiling, waving and saying: “Hey!”.  I get a lot of weird looks.  My mother-in-law actually sat me down and asked me to stop talking to people while out running. Katrineholm is the home to the nation’s largest forensic psychiatric hospital, and the patients/convicts are actually let out to walk around the city if their behavior is good.  They talk to strangers.  Often.  Yes, you read that right.  She was afraid that people would connect me to her and think that a patient/convict married her daughter.

She may not be far off….

Oh, and everyone in Sweden runs in tights.  It’s like Craft got together with the Swedish government and made it mandatory to run in tights. You get weird looks for running without tights…

I hope to add many more countries to this list, and continue to observe the interesting cultural differences that connect and separate us as humans on this planet!

My first barefoot run, by Jay, age 39.


Ok, so technically, it wasn’t really barefoot, since I had on my trusty Injini toesocks, but it was certainly shoeless.  For those of you who haven’t been following, I’ve been having some Plantar Fasciitis issues, and have been getting lots of advice and support from the barefoot community.   Today was the first run since some pretty severe pain 4 days ago, and after a 4 miler on the treadmill (in case I had to cut it short), I decided to try a barefoot run.

So…I chucked my well loved Brooks Launches off and set the treadmill to 6 MpH, figuring I’d take it slow on my first attempt.  Well, 6 MpH quickly got cranked down to 5.5, but within a tenth of a mile, something curious happened: my Plantar Fascia on my right foot just kind of stretched out and relaxed.  It was still tender, mind you, but prior to this, I was kind of limp/running barefoot.  I found my stride and just felt like I could keep going for a while.

I stopped at a half mile, as even though I’m a midfoot striker and have a fair amount of calf strength, I didn’t want to overdo it and be really sore.  I probably will be anyway, but heck with it.  Hmm, you barefoot freaks may actually be on to something here.  I mean, I’ve read Born to Run and enjoyed the book and was entertained by the theories, but never really felt motivated to try it.  I think now I’ll go a day or so, see how I feel and then seriously consider incorporating some short barefoot runs in for foot strength building purposes.

Plantar Fasciitis and me!


After feeling tightness in my right foot for about a week, I went out for a long run on Sunday.  My plan called for 16 miles with the last 5 at 7:02.  At about 6 miles, the pain set in, and I knew it was more than tightness.  I turned around (6 miles from home) and headed back.  The pain was shooting through the sole of my foot with every step, but was lessened when I ran on dirt or ran faster.

By the time I got home, I was limping, and I spent the rest of the day hobbling around.  After doing a little research, I self diagnosed with Plantar Fasciitis.  My mother has been having troubles with this recently, so she and I had a quick chat, and I decided on a plan of action:  Night Splint, ice rolling, stretching, stretching, stretching…

It’s now Tuesday morning, and it’s still a little painful to walk, but a noticeable improvement from Sunday.

I’ve gotten a lot of good advice from the dailymile crowd on stretches and exercises, especially from the barefooting crew: http://groups.google.com/group/huaraches/browse_thread/thread/4376ea0790d7be1b?hl=en

So, I’m gonna stay on the bike for the next few days and trust my training to date before making any decisions on the NC Half in two weeks…