Monday, August 31, 2009

Barefoot running?

The only times I've run barefoot (since childhood) have been a couple of sessions of strides on grass after hard workouts (in shoes).

But I've definitely seen people running, even road races (ouch!), sans footwear.

This article in The New York Times explores the increasingly heated debate between shoe manufacturers, physicians and barefoot or minimalist enthusiasts.

Chris has jumped on the minimalist bandwagon, purchasing Vibram FiveFingers and Nike Free shoes, at least as additions to his extensive running shoe collection. [see photo, courtesy of Chris Fuller of The Sporting Life, at left.]

Me? I tend to over cushion my runs, but I'm slowly learning I can step down to less cushion with no adverse reaction to my workouts, recoveries or lower limbs. However, I don't think I'd ever go all the way to bare feet for running on roads.

What do you think?

Friday, August 28, 2009

75 Marathons in 75 Days

In 1996, Terry Hitchcock ran from Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn. to Atlanta, Ga. to raise awareness about the struggles of single parents.

Before he started his journey, he had never run a day in his life.

That journey is now chronicled in a book, "A Father's Odyssey" and a documentary, "My Run."

This article: "Good in the long run" in the Minneapolis Star Tribune gives more information about Hitchcock, his life and his struggles.

Hitchcock's story is a fascinating one. I'm looking forward to reading the book and seeing the documentary.

You can become a fan of the documentary on facebook and/or follow updates on twitter.

Minnesota readers, note there is a book signing in Uptown Minneapolis at locally-owned, independent book retailer Magers & Quinn on Wednesday, September 2.

I'll be there, will you?

More of NYT's "Roving Runner"

Who wants to go to NYC with me to recreate the Roving Runner's running tours?

This first column is fun for me because writer Brian Fidelman's introduction reminds me of the stories my dad would tell me, when I was young, of how he would ride the bus to County Stadium (Milwaukee, WI) when he was young to watch the Milwaukee Braves.

The Roving Runner: Baseball Nostalgia in the Bronx
I like this second one because it illustrates what I have heard from many people who have lived in NYC. No matter how long you've lived there, there are always many places you've never been. It seems running may be a great way to explore New York City.

The Roving Runner: Roosevelt Island

And this one on running around the U.S. Open (tennis)complex. Fun!

The Roving Runner: A Tennis Tour on Foot

Kristin Armstrong on body image

This is a great article from Runner's World, written by Kristin Armstrong, about young girls, body image and self-esteem.

Read the article here: Runner's World "Mile Markers" column.

This is such an important subject and it was interesting to read the fun activities she led the girls through.

Armstrong was right on point when she contacted Molly Barker, founder of Girls on the Run for help planning this talk because building self-esteem and self-respect is the mission of Barker's organization.

Fastest 8 year old in Minnesota?

I love this story about J'ianna Cager, an eight-year-old girl from North Saint Paul, who is tearing up the track at local and Junior Olympics meets. Press

Interesting that people are so shocked that a girl from MN can run so fast! Huh?

And the best part is she's doing it because she loves to run (and win!) not because anyone is pushing her.

She'll be fun to watch in the coming years!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

RIP Diane Goulett

I'm sorry to say I didn't even know Diane Goulett was not well until I read this obituary.

Minneapolis Star Tribune

I remember her from some of the earliest Race for the Cure (Twin Cities) races. When I did a quick search of race results for her, I saw that she ran that race in 2003.

The obituary says she stopped running in 2003. RFTC could have been one of her final races.

RIP Diane.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Heather Van Norman takes asst. coaching job with Tennessee

Former Windom, MN high school sprinting standout Heather Van Norman, who won the Class A 100, 200 and 400m every year from 1985 through 1988, is moving her family to Tennessee. [photo courtesy of University of Tennessee.]

Van Norman, an LSU graduate who was a six-time All-American, ran for the Minnesota Gophers her freshman year before transferring to LSU.

She just announced she will be leaving her position as head men's and women's track and cross country coach at Tulane in New Orleans to become the assistant coach for women's sprints and hurdles at the University of Tennessee. (Read the announcement at

Van Norman was the first staff hire for J.J. Clark, Tennessee's Director of Track & Field and Cross Country.

Van Norman had been at Tulane since 2002. Previously she had coached at Georgia Tech and Rice University in Houston.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Track & Field World Championships Preview (plus TV schedule)

USATF released the following preview of the U.S. Team for the IAAF World Championships in Berlin August 15-23, 2009.

The release includes a detailed team roster. Minnesota will be represented by Matt Gabrielson (men's marathon) and Katie McGregor (women's 10,000m), both of Team USA Minnesota; as well as former University of Minnesota standout and 2008 Olympian Shani Marks (women's triple jump).

The TV broadcast schedule is included. Remember the times listed are Eastern time.

MDRA Cross Country Relays begin tonight with notable absences

When race director John Cramer's starter's gun goes off tonight signifying the start of the 36th season of the MDRA Cross Country Relays at Como Park in Saint Paul, there will be two runners notably absent.

As many of you know, Cindy Brochman is currently in Arizona at An Oasis of Healing seeking treatment for her stomach cancer, diagnosed in December 2008. Brochman has been a staple at the Relays for years and will be missed this year. But members of the running community will be thinking of her and will continue to send her their best positive thoughts for healing!

Also missing will be age-group leader Marien Bradsher who recently moved to North Carolina, where she's from orginally. Marien was at the Relays every year since moving here - running or volunteering - or usually both!

I recently interviewed Marien for A Few Words With... Marien Bradsher on the website of The Sporting Life. [Note the TSL editor's use of a winter running photo to remind Marien what she'll be missing!]

The MDRA Cross Country Relays run every Wednesday night throughout August. There is a youth run at 6:30 p.m. and the open race starts at 6:45 p.m. Two-person relays - bring a partner or find one there. Progressive increase in distances over four weeks. No pre-registration is necessary.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

"The Roving Runner" from The NYT

I promised I would be watching for this feature and I have!

Below are links to the second and third installments of Brian Fidelman's feature "The Roving Runner" from The New York Times.

His descriptions are great. They make me want to travel to NYC and explore the places he's described. Anyone up for a little running trip?

The Roving Runner: Red Hook

The Roving Runner: A Trip to the Cloisters

Goucher has big plans for her marathon career

Not surprisingly, former Duluth high school running standout Kara Goucher has big hopes and dreams for where she wants her early marathon success to lead her.

One hint: she'd like to claim the American record in the half marathon (1:07:34 set by Deena Kastor in 2006.)

She talked about some of those goals with a reporter from the Chicago Tribune before competing in the inaugural Rock & Roll Chicago Half Marathon on Sunday (August 2.)