Killing Three Birds With One Stone (or a wrench)!

Curtesy of sjparks.org/trails/cayote

Yesterday was an overcast day for the most part of the day.  It rained in early am, but when the sun came up, I made a dash to the nearby  Coyote Creek Trail(south part) in San Jose for a 9 mile run.  There were much more folks out running/cycling and engaging in outdoor activity than the time when it was just a lonely black squirrel and I.  I felt good when I started running a pace of 8:20/mile, and ended with a pace of 8:34 min/mile. On my way to Coyote Creek Trail, I ran pass the residence of a few of my colleagues, nurses I’ve been trying to recruit as a running nurse.  Folks, I want you to know I am getting much resistance from my nursing comrades, but I am resilient.  Although I was tempted to drop by and drag a few folks with me, I figured I will continue to extend my invitation for them to join me as long as I am breathing.  This might go down much easier. Yeah. But let me tell you guys, this beautiful Coyote Creek Trail is almost in your backyard!

Take a little time to help yourself

For those of you who are tired of running and busting your but on the unit, or are feeling sick but still had to go into work, THIS RUN is for you! If you are off or are bumming around, just think of all the fun you are missing!  Coyote Creek Trail is an 18.7-mile paved (some gravel) natural trail that extends beyond Hellyer Park  and stretches as far as to Morgan Hill.  There are lakes, birds, ducks, squirrels, butterflies, people, and other living creatures enjoying the beauty of being immersed in nature.  This awesome park also has many amenities such as barbeque grills (Aha! This should get you going!), basketball courts, restrooms, and WATER FOUNTAINS (Miami, are you taking notes? See post on Oleta River State Park)!  There is a ramp for boaters to lower their boats and boat in the lake, but I guess yesterday was too cold of a day for the boaters.  There were none in sight (Maybe they’ve all have gone to the DEEP South!  MIAMI?). So the Pond Ducts had that joint reserved and boy were they partying!

Feeling warm... Tea anyone?

I tried to run predominantly in the grass/gravel side of the road, careful not to get stopped by the grass with prickles on ‘em, while taking in all the view around me. The colorful maple tree leaves, and brown fall kissed bushes made me feel a bit warm inside.  All I could think of was eggnog and herbal teas.   I must admit, this park is much more formidable in the summer.  It is where I cross-trained on my bike when I had that metatarsal fracture this past spring.  Biking and Yoga were the only activities my Podiatrist cleared me to do, and I was grateful for this too. As I continued my course, I was concentrating on the new running cadence I’ve been practicing where instead of pounding or landing on my heels, I make a conscious effort to land on my mid-foot.  As you may have guessed, lately I’ve been reading up every and anything that has to do with running.  Especially after I suffered from my second third metatarsal fracture that had my life on what seemed to be an everlasting hold.  I tell you, friend, this thing greyed my hair and almost killed me.  One day I glanced in the mirror and it appeared to me that rigor-mortise had already set in. One book that I find hard to put down, which I bought at a running store in Fort Lauderdale–what the sales manager (who also runs) called his Running Bible, is entitled Natural Running by Danny Abshire, co-founder of Newton running shoes.  It is a must read if you are highly interested in the art of natural running.  At some point soon I will try a Newton running shoe and let you know what I think.  For now, I will get as much education in this new-to-me art and then give it a try.  So far, all is going well with my Vibrims Five Finger shoes.  They get me a lot of “you are a weirdo” glances, but I do feel comfortable running short miles on natural trails in them.

My Air Pegasus

This time I ran in my Nike Air Pegasus (which I find very comfortable on long runs) instead of the Five Fingers Vibrims shoes which I prefer to reserve for short runs or when I do HIT (high intensity training) exercises for 30 minutes.  For some reason the new technique (well, maybe not so new.  It’s just the way we naturally ran until we bought into those high healed running shoes comfort-only propaganda) which is causing much ruction in the running news lately, seem to be working well for me as I am trying to perfect it.  Research is showing that mid-foot stance running has many benefits more than any other invention that has been previously or lately concocted.   It’s the natural way of running.  So, I am learning to run once again. This mid-stance technique (the upper body being centered over the mid-foot and stabilized with gravity, then lift your legs and off you go) has many proven benefits, one big one that hit close to my heart was that it has noticeably minimizing the incidence of running injuries in the subjects who tried it. Putting it in another way, the way I understand it best,  you land on your mid-foot instead of your heels or toes, with your body remaining in upwards position with a slightly forward lean, then proceed with lifting (not pushing off with toes) you foot.   Instead of large strides that distort your biomechanics (natural movement) by putting your body in an unnatural stance, you will want to take shorter strides.  I found that it take little less effort to run in this manner, that I am able to run a longer distance without feeling pooped too quickly.  Day before yesterday when I ran 6 miles, I was feeling the strain just before my Ipod Touch announced  the six miles mark. Matter of fact, I had my eyes fixed at the gauge on the device instead of enjoying the run (not cool) because I was too eager for the six miles to be over.  Don’t get me wrong, I had a good run, but usually I have to give a boost to my self-motivation after the fifth mile when running with heel-pounding big strides.  Note, I only did this to compare my results. Another interesting things I’ve noticed with this new method of running, although I took shorter stride or steps, I felt myself running faster than usual, and finished my run with an average mile of 8:34 (under 9 min/mile)!  At hitting mile 9, my Ipod Nike-plus program made a pump-me-up announced that the run was a personal best for a 10K (well, it was over 10 kilometer I’d run. A 10K run is only 6.2 miles.), so I took the gesture with a broad smile. So, yesterday, I ran as far as Metcalf Road  (near where they have the Silicon Valley Monument with all those 010101010101 digits on a plaque), turned back around, made a cut through to Montgomery Hwy, passed my comrade’s place of residence once again (“Hollah at you soon”), and headed down Bernal (Silicon Valley Road).  My run terminated in front of Lucky’s grocery story.  Yeah, this is when and how I killed three birds with one stone.  I stopped at the 9 miles to buy a few groceries and then walked two miles home.  So, I

  1. Saved on gas I would have burned to buy grocery 2 miles down the road, and
  2. Saved time that I would have used by going home, then going back to buy grocerie

Oh, the third bird?   OYE!  I got a great workout and the opportunity to munch on a sweet banana (Potassium replacement therapy) on my way back home.  According to my Nike Plus training software on my Ipod Touch, I burned 1,028 Calories on that run (9 miles in 1hr 17 minutes, 16 seconds).