serious running: trail running, races, shoe reviews

Archive for August, 2009

Find the Right Trail Running

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

Some trails are too soft.  Some trail running is too hard.  But some trails are just right for running.  Now you have to find the right trail run just for you, Goldilocks.  Finding the perfect trail can be a process.  Some people run thousands of miles to find the perfect trail run.  Some people never find it.  Some runners live 10 minutes from their perfect trail run.  Here are some tips to find what we are all looking for in our trail running: the perfect trail to spend the rest of your life with. *tear


The first place you want to go to research a great trail to run is the trail running section of  We have almost 900 trail runs listed all over the nation.  How did we get such a large database of trail runs?  From our users.  Your fellow trail runners are the ones that submit the information about cool trails to run anywhere in the country.  In fact, we even have a $25 gift certificate contest going on right now for submitting trail runs.  Here is how it works.  The point is, use our database with directions, reviews, and pictures to research the best trail running trail near you; its pretty much the most efficient process ever.

But before you get excited about National Trail Running Day and decide to run your heart out on an expert trail, think about what you are looking for in a trail.  First look to see who else uses the trail.  Mountain bikers, hikers, cross-country skiers, Canicrossers? The reason is because you want to be alert if there are mountain bikers racing around corners or be more careful not to run over hikers that may be on the trail.  Don’t worry, trails are not like surf spots, anyone can run them and you won’t be chased off by the locals, braw.  Plan your route before starting.  Think about if you want to do an out and back to make sure you get the right amount of miles in and have the option of turning around early if you are tired.  Or possibly you can do a loop course, not giving yourself the turn around option, thus making the run a little more extreme.  Also think about the scenery you are looking for.  Do you want to check out some cool views, looking for wildlife, or want to be completely surrounded by trees?  I’m always looking for a cool scene, but it usually just ends up being wherever I am anyway.  Lastly, check out the elevation, mileage, rest areas, and exposure to the sun for your trail running.   You need to be careful on the trail not to overexert yourself.  Help may not be readily available like it is when road running.  Better yet, bring a friend with you, nobody likes to celebrate National Trail Running Day alone.

Keep trying as many trails as possible until you find the right trail for you.  Trust me, when you find that perfect trail run it will appreciate all of the experience you will have from the other trail you have runs.

Canicross: Cross Country running with Dogs

Monday, August 17th, 2009


Everyone is out running on trails, especially this Saturday for National Trail Running Day.  Even dogs are getting into the sport of trail running.  Dogs have always been such followers.  Dogs have decided to call their new style of trail running, Canicross.  Canicross is a mix of cross-country running with running with dogs.  Canicross started in Europe as a off-season training for mushing dogs.  So it’s pretty much mushing without the snow…which is not mushing at all, it’s Canicrossing.

Runners attach one, or possibly two, dogs to their waist with a bungee chord connecting to their dog.  If you are running with a leash, then it doesn’t count as Canicrossing, you are merely running with a dog.  Sorry cool guy, maybe you should start mushing so when you go Canicrossing you can talk about how much cooler it would be if there was snow.

If you don’t want to mush, start getting hip to the Canicrossing scene by training your dog to pull you.  Dogs love to chase so start by giving them something to chase after.  Have a friend run in front of you and your dog with a tasty treat or get a friend that Canicrosses too and take turns letting your dogs chase after each other.  Just like with any training of dogs, you want to give your dog positive reinforcement.  Since your dog was a puppy he/she has gotten in trouble for pulling, so learning to Canicross can be difficult, make sure you give your dog positive reinforcement for pulling.  Also, never correct your dog for pulling while he/she is in the harness, your dog needs to associate being in the harness to pulling.  Start short Canicrossing on a well defined trail to give your dog positive reinforcement for being able to pull the whole time.  Not that your dog will wear out before you do, dogs are generally a good bit fast than humans.  I know, if you had 4 legs you’d be that fast too.

So if you want to feel more official, then check out the website for the official European Canicross Federation.

Running Everyday for a Year: Kristin Bourdon (2 of 2)

Friday, August 14th, 2009


As a mother, do you find it difficult to get in your daily run?

I am very lucky to have a husband who is home most every morning.  He is a FedEx pilot and usually works from 2.p.m. to 2 a.m.  So I can be done running before anyone is even awake – it also helps a lot that my kids sleep until 8 – even on school days.  My oldest son (the only one in school) can do everything for himself in the morning so I walk in from my run and we head out the door for carpool.  If my husband is not available, my mother-in-law is very willing to come over and sit while everyone sleeps.  Before we joined the gym, I took her up on this about once a week.  Now, I can take the kids to the gym on days that I have them all to myself.  My advice to other mothers is – find a way – if it is possible.  Even if you have to be creative.  My running partner and I sometimes trade off our (total of 5) kids so that each of us can run while the other watches the kids.  If it is a priority, you can get it done – as my husband has told me on more than one occasion, “nobody likes a martyr”!

I hate martyrs too.  Do you use a jogging stroller?

Yes, I use a baby jogger- it is 8 years old- we have pushed all of our kids in it at one time or another and they love it!  My advice is to get a good jogging stroller with bicycle wheels – it is worth the investment.  My boys also like to ride their bikes while I run but they aren’t crazy about going for an hour- about 4 miles is their limit.  I take them when my husband is with me and they head home at the halfway point and I continue on.

I usually continue to run when others are done too.  Have you ever had a close call on not keeping your goal?

The biggest challenges to keeping my goal are travel and holidays.  We have taken so many trips since I started – two weeks skiing in Park City (I ran on the treadmill for 60 minutes every day- even on travel days- and skiing didn’t count towards my hour/day), a week at the beach, weekend trips to out lake cabin, etc.  I’ve run in freezing rain, snow, 100 degree heat and torrential downpours.  I ran on Christmas Day and every other holiday. The closest I came to breaking the streak was on the last day of our week-long Disney Cruise. My plan was to run on the treadmill that morning (like I had every other morning during the cruise) before spending the day at Sea World for a few hours and then start the drive home. At about 10:30 p.m. my husband and decided that I needed to “keep the streak alive” (his words) so we use the Garmin to find all the hotels along the way.  I start calling to see if they have a gym. We pull in a few minutes later and I am on the treadmill from 11 p.m. to midnight. I got back on the treadmill the next morning before getting back in the car for the rest of the drive home. I ran 15 miles in the 8 hours we were at that hotel.

At least you got to sleep.  Do you plan any celebration when you finish this goal?

I haven’t planned anything for when I finish. I run with a Garmin so I know my pace pretty well and don’t feel the need to enter any races. I consider this year to be my “marathon.” Today was day 297. Less then 70 to go!

Great job!  Good luck!  Do your think you’ll continue to run at the same consistency when you are done?

I will definitely continue to run and swim when the year is over. I plan to add yoga, weight lifting, and spinning to my routine. If a day goes by when I cannot fit it in, I won’t beat myself up about it but I will probably go longer the next day to make up for it!

The thing that amazes me the most about this experience is that I have not been too sick to run in almost a year. I take a multivitamin, calcium, fish oil, iron, and glucosamine/chondroitin almost every day and I eat a ton of vegetables. I don’t eat fast or fried food and I try to limit my sugar (but that is my weakness). I only had one minor injury – sharp pain just above the back ankle. I swam for three days in a row and it went away. Some days I think there is no way I am going to be able to run up the street, let alone for an hour. But I put one foot in front of the other and before I know it, I am having a great run. I have confidence in my body. I am strong and fit and I love it!

Thanks for sharing Kristin!  Good luck on your goal!

Running Everyday for a Year: Kristin Bourdon (1 of 2)

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

Kristin Bourdon is on her way to running everyday for a full year!  A goal like this one takes so much determination and discipline really intrigued me so I asked her a couple of questions about this amazing goal.


Why did you decide to start running for a year ever day consecutively?

I have always been very disciplined with my workouts.  Working out consistently is not one of my issues!  A long time ago, I learned a very valuable lesson from my Dad who told me, “You will never look back on your life and wish you spent more time at the office.  Take some time each day for yourself to work out and you will be more productive and happier.”  So, when I was in the Navy, I used to spend my lunch hour every day working out.  Now, as a mother of three young boys, my life is super busy.  It is really easy to blow off a work out to do other stuff because there is always so much to be done.  Before establishing this goal, I would find myself getting wrapped up in the kids and before I knew it, the day was over.  This would stress me out and make me grumpy and irritable!  I realized two things.  First, if I got my workout done first thing in the morning, I was still available to the kids for the rest of the day and second, I needed the run to make me feel more productive and happier throughout the day.  So, last October I made a formal commitment to myself to run everyday for an hour no matter what.  This eased the pressure.  Instead of finding myself at dinner time still needing to squeeze in a workout and upset that it just wasn’t going to happen, I started each day saying “what is the plan and when is the workout going to happen?”

That’s a great way to make sure you get the work out in!  I never work out after dinner, I always make sure I eat too much.  About how many miles do you run a week?

I always run between 6 and 9 miles a day.  Nine is the most I will go – only because I know I have to do it again the next day.  I have a running partner who does not care to run every day nor as far as I like to go.  It works out perfectly.  We meet and run about 4 miles together and then I continue without her to finish up the hour.  We probably run together three times a week on average.  Knowing I have to meet her makes getting out the door so much easier and once I am going, finishing the hour is not a problem.

Do you incorporate or count any other cardiovascular activities like biking or swimming?  Not that either of those are as cool as running and should count.

I swim 3500 yards one day a week – I look forward to swimming when I just feel too worn down to run.  It takes me 70 minutes to do my swim workout – I consider those extra 10 minutes as a buffer for the days that my run ends up being 55 minutes!  We recently joined a gym and I will run on the treadmill – even though I prefer to run outside.  But if I take a yoga class, I do not count that towards my hour – so I don’t take classes very often!  Occasionally on gym days, I will do the ellipitcal machine or the stair climber – but only after running on the treadmill for at least 5 miles – this is strictly because the treadmill is SO BORING!  Nothing else counts towards my goal – not even spending a whole day walking around Sea World!

Stay tuned for the next istallment tomorrow!

Iliotibial (IT) Band Syndrome: Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009


I know a lot of runners that have gotten Iliotibial Band Syndrome.  The Iliotibial band is a tough group of fibers that run along the outside the thigh, also called the IT band, for your hipsters (no pun intended).  It functions as a stabilizer on the outside of the knee joint during your runs.  Some symptoms of Iliotibial Band Syndrome are pain on the outside part of your knee or lower though.  This pain might worsen going up or down stairs or getting out of a car.  I wouldn’t know though, I drive a tractor trailer truck and just jump out of it.  Maybe that’s why I got Jumper’s Knee

One possible cause of Iliotibial Band Syndrome could be abnormal biomechanics.  Runners with excessive pronation, higher or lower arches, leg length discrepancies, lateral pelvic tilt, or bowed legs are more prone to IT Band Syndrome.  Don’t you hate genetic predispositions?  Also, runners who usually run on one particular side of the road can develop IT band syndrome because roads slope to the side, which puts excessive stress and tilt on one particular side of your pelvis.  IT band syndrome is also common during pregnancy as the connective tissues loosen and the woman gains weight, so if you are pregnant and running then you need to keep watch over your IT band.

It’s fine if you develop Iliotibail Band Syndrome, but you need to treat it so you can get back on the run.  First off you need relative rest.  You developed IT band syndrome by overuse, so take it easy and relax for a bit.  It is also beneficial to put ice on the area of inflammnation to help the swelling decrease.  Gentle stretching will help too.  Overall, in order to help reduce the stress you put on your IT band when running it is good to look at your running biomechanics.  This will also help prevent you from developing Iliotibail Band Syndrome again.  Making the same mistake twice is not cool.

Other preventive measures you can take are doing one leg squats to strengthen your IT band.  Make sure you do them in front of a mirror to make sure your hip isn’t falling to one side when you bend down.  Stretching will also help IT band syndrome.  Stand in a doorway with your left leg crossed in front of your right legt.  Extend your right arm overhead and reach for the left side of the door frame.  Have your left hand on your hip and push slightly on your left hip to move it to the right.  You will feel a slight stretch on the right side of your torso.

So there you have it, don’t be like everyone else and just say no to developing Ilioitial Band Syndrome.

This is the end for END footwear Running Shoes

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

“This is the end.  Beautiful friend.  This is the end.  My only friend, the end.” – The Doors


This is the end for END footwear according to  END (Enviromentally Nuetral Design) footwear has been discontinued by LaCrosse Footwear who purchased the END footwear brand this past June for 500,000 dollars.  LaCrosse plans to use the technology, resources, and capabilities into the Lacrosse and Danner product lines but discontinue the END brand.

END footwear’s goal was to provide normal athletes with high performance footwear through innovative design.  END footwear received honors for the Best Trail Running Shoe Debut and Best Road Running Shoe debut by Runner’s World in 2009; not that anyone cares what Runner’s World says.  I personally have never worn a pair of END running or trail running shoes but I have heard they are very different from most trail running shoes.  Here is what END footwear says about their trail running shoes:

“There’s a spiritual sense of oneness when you explore the outer mire. From dust to muck, the Stumptown collection comes to life in the land of filth with superior traction, stability, and confidence for extending the wilderness experience, urban wandering, or any other stress release you can invent.”

END footwear was a smaller company that was able to focus on what the customer needed in their revolutionary trail running products.  Apparently END footwear even got spiritual about their trail running shoes.  Even though LaCrosse will use a lot of the technologies and materials from the END brand, they will lose the culture that has been developed by END.  It looks like this is the END for this small, responsive shoe company with a huge passion for running.  The END.

Win a $25 Gift Certificate for adding Trail Runs!

Monday, August 10th, 2009


Running is recession proof, but runners are not.  That’s why we at are going to help you out.  In celebration of National Trail Running Day we will be giving out 2 x $25 Gift Certificates to either or, your choice, to the top two members who add the most Trail Data from now until one day after National Trail Running Day, August 22nd.  Contest ends on September 1st.  That way you can do your gnarly Trail Run on National Trail Running Day, go home and sleep off your dehydration headache; wake up the next morning and upload all of the great data you got on National Trail Running Day and then do it again the next weekend.  Everyday should be National Trail Running Day.  Contestants will receive credit for adding Trails, Trail Reviews, and Trail Photos to the Trail Running section.  The amount that you contribute will be quantified as follows to determine the two winners as such:  3 points for reviewing a Trail Run, 2 points for submitting a new Trail Run, and 1 point per Trail Run photo submitted, up to 5 per Trail Run Listing.  The winner will be picked randomly but entrants will be put in the “hat” one time for every point that they earn.  Bottom line, the more points you earn the better your chances you of winning!  You must be signed in to receive credit for your submissions.  giving back to the Trail Running community, one trail run at a time.

Stuffitts Shoe Savers

Friday, August 7th, 2009

Do you hate wet running shoes?  What?  You’ve never had wet running shoes?  You need to go run a trail or run in the rain then.  Don’t you hate bringing wet shoes into the house or garage and then forgetting about them.  Or worse yet, you remember to put them outside to dry and a creature uses the bathroom in your running shoes.  You better buy a shoe lock on those bad boys.  People steal Trail Running Shoes in my hood all the time.

Please step with me into the 21st century, where you don’t have to worry about wet trail running shoes anymore!  Insert:  Stuffitts Shoe Savers…literally.


A running friend of mine gave me a pair of Stuffitts to try out and they actually worked!  They have a 100% natural cedar core that in a bag, with a technical dual-wick fabric shell.  You can take off the fabric shell and wash it which is good for your smelly adventures.  It is recommended to get a new cedar core, which eliminate the odors, every year but we’ll see how long I can hold out without having to replace this.  They also have a great strap that makes them and your shoes easy to carry.  No more one-handed extended nasty shoe carry!  Carrying things sucks.


The best thing about the Stuffitts is that they dry out your shoes faster than any other method.  A study has shown that Stuffits will dry your shoes 8 times faster than air-dry (I’ve always said air was inefficient) alone using Stuffitts shoe savers.  It also removed 60% of the moisture within one hour!  Check out this video from their homepage about how they conducted the test.  The video actually makes Science pretty interesting.  And you know how I feel about Science (scroll down in this link to the comments section).


So check out this new, cool, technology and product.  Go to the website and learn more about them.  I like them a lot.  It’s well worth the $25 to keep from buying a new pairs of shoes.  What?  You like wearing new shoes all the time because they make you feel faster and prettier?  Well you should Stuffitt!

SkirtChaser Denver, Saturday August 29th

Thursday, August 6th, 2009


The SkirtChaser are coming to Denver!  That’s right fellas, get ready to chase some skirts.  SkirtChaser Denver is a part of Skirt Sports SkirtChaser race series.  When Nicole DeBoom developed Skirt Sports, the first ever running skirt, she always had in mind to do a race series in conjunction with her product with the same message:  look good, feel good, perform better.  Work hard and play hard.  This is what the SkirtChaser race series is all about.  Feeling good and playing hard.


The SkirtChaser race is different from your normal 5K.  All of the women participants are given a Skirt Sports skirt to wear and line up at the starting line before the men.  It’s always ladies first at SkirtChaser races, as it should be.  The women start the race as the men wait at the start line, watching the sea of women run away from them.  Kind of like your typical Saturday night.  Only this time you still have a chance to catch the women.  Three minutes after the women’s start the men are released.  If you think 3 minutes is a long head start, it’s not as long as you think.  When I ran the Skirt Chaser – Raleigh I was able to catch 355 skirts and only 20 eluded me.  That’s a lot better ratio than a normal Saturday night!  I was even injured at the time.  So why was I able to catch so many skirts?  Most likely because I have mad skirt chasing skills, so don’t expect the same results.  Currently the standings for Skirt Chaser race winners are Girls – 7 Guys – 3.  Apparently a 3 minute head start is pretty fair.  First person across the line, male or female, receives 500 dollars!


A great reason to run this fun 5K race is the block party after the race.  Runners over 21 receive two free beers from Oskar Blues Brewery to replace their carbs.  The post race block party has happy hour style food and drinks, dating games, and fashion show.  The block party goes from 5:15 to 8:00, a perfect time to relax, have fun, and meet some new friends.  Skirt Chaser makes it easy to meet new friends by giving out stickers for the single men and women to wear to signify them being single.  It’s a efficient system aimed at getting more participants to socialize.  From the website, “…you may just meet your future spouse!”  I have always wanted to date a runner.  Even if you already have a spouse, the event is a great time with live music entertainment, a sexy fashion show, and a hilarious awards ceremony with awards in categories such as “most likely to make out at the water station.”  I’m not sure what you have to do to qualify for that one.


You want to run this 5K race, no matter what your ability level, sex, or marital status is.  It’s fun for everyone!  Entry fees start at $35 but you can upgrade in order to get some great deals on T-shirts, skirts, shorts, and visor.  Whatever race package fits you best.  Procrastination fees start after Aug 9th at a $7 increase, registration closes on August 26th.  A $10 procrastination fee is added to race day entries.

Stop procrastinating on love and run the SkirtChaser 5K – Denver.  Your mother will be happy.

Why Running Marathons is so Rewarding

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

This post was contributed by Kelsey Allen, who writes about the nursing schools online. She welcomes your feedback at


Training to run a marathon is a pinnacle point in your life when you develop the ability to pace yourself as well as motivate yourself to gain the stamina needed to run the 26.2 miles that are required of you.  Running a marathon is no easy feat and can take years to completely train for, but the end result is worth it in so many ways.  Pushing your body in that way can be highly rewarding as you have never been pushed to that extent before.

The United States has become known as the obese capital of the world which is a title we have yet to completely shake off since there are more and more documentaries coming out about our constant struggle with obesity.  Americans’  ability to get off their couches to go out and train for a marathon is a remarkable change from the previous stipulation that all Americans are “lazy couch potatoes”.  While most winners in major marathons hail from countries in Africa that are notorious for distance runners such as Kenya and Ethiopia, there are still a great many runners who end up in the top 10 that are from the area.  The concept of the marathon run dates from the fabled run of the Greek soldier Phidippides who was a messenger from the Battle of Marathon, taking a message to Athens.  His role was to announce that the Persians had been defeated, with the legend stating that he ran the entire distance without stopping.  While Phidippides collapsed and died after exclaiming the news to Athens, he set the standard for the run.  With the length of the route being approximately 26 miles, this thus became the standard for the distance within the modern marathon.

The advent of the modern Olympic games at the turn of the 20th century paved the way for the popularity of the marathon run, as this became a featured sport within the Olympics.  Since this time, the marathon run has become a worldwide event, with major cities like London, Berlin, and Boston featuring many of the top runners within their races.  The top ten list of marathon runners mostly hail from Kenya and Ethiopia, with 10th place going to runner from Morocco.  While you typically will not reach this time when running your first marathon (near 2 hours), the fact that you can even finish a marathon is more rewarding than you know.  Training for a marathon takes a lot of stamina and endurance, as well as continuous motivation to keep increasing your route every day, but as soon as you cross that finish line you are able to realize how worthwhile it is at the end.