Monday, December 30, 2013

Gear For The New Year

Written by: Ali Halpin

Gear for the New Year! Now that Christmas is in the rear view mirror we are looking towards the New Year! Here is some great gear to help you stick with your new years resolution. Whether it’s to learn to run, try your first 5k, or PR in a marathon we have what you need to achieve your goals.

Womens Oiselle Lesley Knickers
A favorite among the ladies here at the FootZone the Lesley knicker is perfectly at home in the gym and out on the roads and trails. This functional and flattering  kicker is an essential. $60

Womens Oiselle Flyter Jacket
Don’t let the weather keep you from your run!  Keep the elements out with the Flyer Jacket. This ultra lightweight wind and water resistant jacket will keep you running and happy through anything mother nature has to throw at you! $160

Womens La Sportiva Avail Hoody
A perfect piece for those chilly morning runs or use it as a cozy hoody to throw on post run. This buttery soft hoody is calling your name! $119

Mens Sugoi Titan Tight
Gentlemen here is the essential tight for you! This lightweight versatile tight will keep you running through the 2014. $75

Mens Patagonia Nine Trails Jacket
When the weather turns for the worst here is the jacket that you want to turn to. So lightweight that you will hardly know you have it on. Add wind and water resistance and what more could you ask for? $99

Mens La Sportiva Voyager Jacket
This cozy fleece loves running through pines in the crisp early morning as much as it loves hitting the town at night.

Garmin Forerunner 220
Whether you are training for you first half marathon or are looking to PR at your next marathon the Garmin Forerunner 220 is the training partner you have been looking for. Track your miles, pace, calories and hear rate all from this sleek watch. $250

Feetures Socks
Now we don’t want to forget about our feet. Feetures has synthetic, wool, non cushioned and cushioned options. Socks are the most important pieces to keeping our feet blister free and happy! $15-$20

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Max's January Tip: How to Keep the New Years Goals You Set.

Wow, I can't believe that 2013 is already in the books. Lots of new goals to look forward to in this new year whether it's a new race, a better time at one you've done before, just running a mile, or losing a couple pounds. I know a lot of you are setting goals this year and while you intend to keep them it gets pretty hard as soon as life creeps back in. So, here are a few tips to help you keep those goals. 

1) Set a realistic goal first off and if you reach it sooner than expected, set another one a little further out. 
2) A goal without a plan is just a wish. Or something like that, so make sure you lay out how to achieve that goal as well. Write down a step by step plan of how you're going to achieve that goal. That might be your workouts that you have to do before race day or that you need to limit yourself to 1800 cal/day and what that looks like.
3) Make sure you put eyes on that goal every day. Write it out and post it at your desk at work or somewhere you'll see it everyday when you wake up. As much as that sounds like high school, studies show it really does work. 
4) Get your groove on. A schedule groove that is. Get a routine early on and stick to that routine throughout your journey. Build in a bit of wiggle room so that when, not if, you miss a day or two it doesn't derail your whole plan but you can just jump back in where you left off without feeling like you've lost the battle. You will miss days, that's ok. It's not ok to quit.

The best thing to do is to set a goal that you're whole heartedly going after, that is going to be fun, and you'll feel a good sense of accomplishment when you've completed it. This is the year with new challenges abounding to do something great for yourself. Go get it.

Written By Max King as part of the FootZone Newsletter. 

Plantar Fasciitis Soft Splint: Move Over Strassburg Sock

Written By: Kristen Godfrey

Arg, the curse of plantar fasciitis!! It first struck me 28 months ago. Since then I've tried everything short of finding a shaman and circling my bed with magic crystals at night to feel normal again.

Granted, I'm a long way from where I started. I can now run 4 to 5 miles comfortably, and can tolerate a little bit of speed work, but it's still a slow process of testing the upper limits and then backing off to a simmer again. I’m longing for the long run…

My current maintenance routine consists of a few rolls per day on the ice bottle, stretching, strengthening, wearing supportive shoes with molded arches (pretty much all of the time, other than intentional strengthening), and of course, the ever popular Strassburg Sock. My "sexy sock" I call it.

When Kraig at the FZ asked me to test out the Pro-Tec Soft Splint to compare, I, of course, agreed and eagerly examined the goods. (My enthusiastic experimentation with every tool on the market -- while entertaining for my friends -- will hopefully not be the only thing I'm remembered for).

The verdict on the Soft Splint? Yahoo! Love it! This'll knock your Sexy Sock off.

Three main reasons you'll prefer the Soft Splint:

Your toes can breathe! And wiggle. And more importantly, spread! Toe spreaders have been one of the key tools on my journey to healthy feet, so having toes all bound up feels contradictory. (Plus my big toe nail tended to feel irritated by morning in the Strassburg).

2) The Soft Splint platform holds the foot steady and provides an even stretch across the entire foot. Your foot can turn willy-nilly in the tube-like Strassburg and you don't get that consistency. I felt a dramatic difference on morning one.

3) It's noticeably more comfortable around your calf. Less bindy feeling at the top. I accidentally wore it wrong the first night, with the Velcro strap folded back down over the sock, and that was extra comfy! (by night splint standards). Since that's not how it's designed, I wonder if it would wear the straps out more quickly... I might risk it.

If you are an unfortunate PF comrade, choose the Pro-Tec Soft Splint. I know we in the club can commiserate endlessly about our condition, but let me quickly run down some other takeaways from my experience:

Not helpful: cast, boot, minimal shoes all of the time, resting without doing the maintenance routine.

Helpful: massage, Graston, toe spreaders, custom-molded arch supports, building activity very gradually, routine mentioned above.

Nether here nor there: acupuncture (I've had results for other things, but nothin' here), …pick your self-massage tools of choice.

Decided against: cortisone shot, surgery. (Did not find enough evidence that the benefits outweigh the risks).

The most common answer I come across in PF recovery is: "One day it just goes away. " ….. Hm. Great... In the meantime, we've only got today, so let's take care of our feet as best we can and live it up! Here's to One Day!

Kristen Godfrey is a Licensed Professional Counselor who loves working with athletes and active folks, and would gladly meet you for a session on the trail! "The joy of my work is helping people move through their stuck places and seeing them thrive." Connect with Kristen at or find more at her web site

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

I AM Willpower

Written By: Keith Christensen

Having willpower is a choice. It is not something that is given, nor something that is validated by the external. If you examine yourself, you will find it. When you find it, you will realize it. And when you realize it, you will know that nothing can stop you. For it is the strength of not only discipline, but perseverance and the willingness to never give up. It is the strength of a hero, and to embrace it, is the strength to shape your destiny. Here is my story this year.
2013 Earning my second chance to LIVE.
Who is Keith Christensen:
At 6-5 I have always been Big Keith or BK my whole life. But almost all those people don't know that it all goes back to being a child growing up & living in a physically and mentally abusive home. That has locked me in this l loop of never feeling good enough or  a failure my whole life. I have let this pain shape me and my life. My Dad taught me everything NOT to do raising a child or treating your wife and I truly thank him for that. With that being said I have never found a way to work though the Pain and the secrets that you have to keep. I, like most children in this position learned to just bury it down deep inside and move forward, that it is too painful to think about every day.
Just like any problem no matter how deep you think you bury it, it will come out sooner or later. On me it showed up on the scale. I topped the scales at 434 lbs January 2013. I was slowly poisoning myself with the 1 thing I found comfort in, FOOD. I looked at my wife and said I was sick and ashamed of what I had become.

I had tried before and like most I set a weight goal but never really committed and then when I did not hit the goal, I ate to feel better. After 16 years of smoking I finally quit on Valentines Day 2012 after my wife and daughter asked me to stop, because they loved me even though I did not love myself. I had used smoking as a crutch to deal with stress. What I realized was I had all the tools I needed to deal with stress without a cigarette. It is possible.

That experience taught me that if my WHY was strong enough that I could have the willpower to do this also. I refused to be a Victim in my own life any MORE for something I did not do. So I set out and made a board of short and long term goals . I have always put a weight goal instead of a just getting Healthy/Fit goal. I have to say setting the fitness goals is the best thing I could have done. I hiked all over Oregon, Alaska and California this year and am now running 5 days a week, hiking on the weekends and doing CrossFit 3 days a week.

The scale has moved just fine for me without obsessing over it. I have lost 61 fricken inches overall and 134lbs so far. Thats a 51"  134 lb. monkey off my back . I now realize that the scale measures just weight not Drive, Heart or Dedication to your goal, and knowing that it does not represent You !!

I still have a # that I want to hit but I don't care if it takes a month, a year or years to hit. I know it will come when it is ready. And unlike all those times before this time is different because I am fixing the mental side that was creating the problem in the first place.  

So here I am 5k,10k,15k,1/2 marathon done this year and now getting ready to celebrate my 1000th mile ran in 2013. And I realize the boy that became the man that had always quit, never felt worthy and lost his smile, has become the guy that can't Quit. Thanks to eating healthy & running, he got his smile back. I realize that not only do I have willpower but "I AM WILLPOWER"

Be Unstoppable

Monday, December 2, 2013

How to be an Awesome Training Group: A case study of FootZone's latest 1/2 Marathon Training Session

Written By Cristina Stavro

Not too long ago was the Happy Girls Dirty Half in Sisters.  For the 8 weeks leading up to race day, I had the privilege of coaching these mighty fine runners, some of which were chasing down their very first half marathon.  This bunch was a special one that taught me about what it really means to be in a training group.  So to say "thank you" to the group, I'd like to share with you a non-comprehensive list of what it took these runners to truly be an awesome training group and come out at the end of this session with 13.1 miles in the book.

1. Sign Up: Everyone's motivation looks different when it comes to joining a group--lose a bet, take a dare, chase a dream, get fit, stave off boredom--but one way or another, something led them to sign up.  It was half the battle, and for some, the scariest part, but no matter where they were coming from, everyone in the group had to start here.

2. Show Up:  Enter the other half of the battle.  The list of better things to do on a Saturday morning than come run with me at 8AM isn't short (i.e. sleep, cartoons, sleep, give your cat a bath, brunch, and sleep, just to name a few). But the group showed up anyway... even on days when temperatures dropped and clouds hung heavy and low in the sky, they showed up.

3. Be Fearless (and a little nervous) but mostly fearless:  On week 4, I sent an email out saying our next run would be 9 miles at Meadow Picnic area.  And that Saturday the weather was in the 30s for one of the first times with a constant rain/drizzle.  And an amazing thing happened... the group showed up! Even more amazing? They showed up AND ran.  Did I bribe them with the promise of t-shirts afterward and a pancake breakfast the next week? Sure, but look at this group... they constantly surprised me with the buzz and bounce they'd bring to every long run no matter the
mileage or weather.  .   

4. A group that runs together, runs together: Funny how running with people leads to more running with people.  Saturday morning group runs just weren't enough.  Every week there were emails and posts about doing midweek training runs together--hill workouts, tempo runs, post-run coffee runs. I've never worked with a group that ran so much together outside of the program. Awesome.

5. A group that runs together, celebrates together: You know how sometimes, when you finish one of those particularly rough runs and you're just so pumped you made it through and all you want to do is high-five someone but there is no one around so you high-five your Garmin instead, but it's not the same since your watch is digital and doesn't have hands? Well, being in our training group meant always having someone to high-five... and we high-fived, A LOT, because every run was another victory.  7 mile run? High-five. 10 mile run? High five.  Tried a new gel/gu/bar during the run and had no stomach issues? Mega high-five. Quite a few of the runners were facing a new personal record for longest run every week and their energy was contagious, giving us all a little something extra to celebrate.  

6. Finish strong:  All of the above factors came together at the race and there is nothing quite like seeing everyone's hard work pay off.  On race day, the weather was a tad sour but I saw nothing but smiles from the runners crossing the finish line... smiles, fist pumps, hugs, and (of course) high-fives all around. 

A big thanks to everyone who participated... you made the experience unforgettable, not just for your fellow runners but for me as well.  Looking forward to round 2!

Breakfast with Broken Top

Written By: Cristina Stavro
(From that vault, this inspiring piece was written in September 2013)

Motivation to run: It’s different for everyone. I really like early morning runs.  Pre-dawn starts are the cake foundation on which I can make the rest of my day the icing on top.  And I’m particularly motivated by runs that take me cool places and create rad experiences, so it comes as no surprise that this particular run in late September was inspired by this text:
“Snow tonight on the peaks! Look for it tomorrow morning.”

Granted I may have taken this a little more literally than originally intended, but there was no way I’d miss getting a glimpse of the first snow up close on a trail run.  An adventure was in order.  I had to be at the shop by 9 the next morning, so I set my alarm for 5am.

I dug deep for my warmer running layers and laid them out that night.  I’ve found that the key to getting out the door for early runs is letting pumped up and stoked last-night-you pack, prep, and plan ahead for tired, cold, and oh-my-goodness-what-was-I-thinking 5am-you.  If everything is ready, there is no room for a “Where are my lucky early morning run socks? Guess I can ‘t run,” incident or an “I think my headlamp’s batteries are dead anyway” excuse before you even push back the covers.

Waking up the next morning was hardly going to be an issue in this case.  The prospect of snowy mountains nearly kept me up all night anyway.  That’s why my drive out to Todd Lake early that morning was a bit of a disappointment.

I’m picking up on some of the nuances of Bend’s weather.  This particular frosty morning left a bunch of thick clouds (or one really big one?) engulfing the very mountains I’d come out to see.  The clouds hung so low that even the tops of the trees on the side of the road were hidden.  Hopes of seeing a snow-covered Broken Top that morning were dashed, but I got out of my car and headed up to the foggy Todd Lake trailhead nevertheless.
The dark sky was just beginning to show signs of the sun’s return to our side of the horizon.  And the cold made
my nose numb and runny within two minutes of starting my run…right about the same time, I discovered that in my earnest I had over-dressed.  Thankfully there was a hole in my tights (from an impressively graceful fall on South Sister the week before) that kept me from over-heating. (Good rule of thumb: dress like it’s 10-15 degrees warmer than it actually is… so if it was 35, I should’ve dressed like it was 50… not like a sherpa on the trail to Everest’s  basecamp).

Sufficiently winded, I paused at the top of the hill and caught my breath, looking in the direction of where I had seen Broken Top the last time I was on the trail.  That’s when it happened… the perfect orchestration of clouds parting and sun rising, taking my already unsteady breath away.  The still-low sun lit up the South West face of Broken Top, wearing a fresh coat of snow and glowing orange. 

There are times in my life when I think I’ve got horrible timing (i.e. how I always happen to be behind the person who orders the last cookie at Backporch) but that morning at 6:58 AM on Todd Lake Trail, I was right on time.  And I stood there on our coldest morning yet, staring for the 3 or 4 minutes that Broken Top was visible through the clouds.  When the clouds did their thing and drew the curtain on Broken Top’s snowy debut, I continued with my run, high on the utter epic-ness of what had just happened.  The frozen dirt crunched under foot, my breath left my mouth in small clouds, and my nose froze even more.  Waking up super early for a trail run is never disappointing, but this particular time was pretty spectacular.

Cristina first discovered Bend while on a cross-country road trip with a friend this Spring. It was love at first sight, so she turned right back around, came back, and is loving every bit of it. She loves a good trail run and believes that avocados make the world a better place. Cristina is FootZone’s and OutsideIn’s newest crew member and helping out with the Half Marathon Training Group.

December Gift Guide

With the holidays upon us we are all fretting over the perfect gift for that runner or outdoor enthusiast in our lives. Fear not, the Footzone is here to help. Below are our top 10 gift ideas:

1.)    Balega Sock Packs: Who doesn’t love socks under the tree? Balega has placed their top selling Hidden comfort sock into a 3 pack for both the ladies and gentlemen. $35

2.)    Oiselle Randies: With cute sayings like “Lead from Behind” and “Get Your Rear in Gear” these technical undies are on all the FZ ladies wish lists! 3-Pack for $48.

3.)    Trail Rags: For that trail junkie in your life. Maps from all of our favorite trails in the Central Oregon area conveniently printed on a bandana. $10

4.)    Buffs: These are great for cold weather running, sking, hiking or just taking the dog for a walk. $12-$30.

5.)    Garmin 10: Do you know someone who loves to geek out on their run data? Well then a Garmin is the perfect gift! Track your distance, pace, time, speed and much more with the Garmin 10. $130

6.)    Hurraw: A perfect stocking stuffer! With fun flavors like rootbeer, chai, lemon, coffee and many more to choose from. $4

7.)    Oiselle Podium PJ’s: These are perfect for that lady in your life. Whether she is dreaming of a top 5 in her next marathon or dreaming of twisty singetrack trails these cozy PJ’s are sure to become her favorite lounge wear.

8.)    Yak Tracks: Don’t let the snow keep you from your daily jog or walk this winter! Yak Tracks will give you the traction you need to continue with your ventures on those snowy days.

9.)    Sauce Hats: Who doesn’t love a new hat? With lots of fun prints and colors you’re sure to find one that fits the runner, skier, hiker or biker on your list. We even have custom Footzone Sauce hats!

10.)  Nutrition: A couple GU’s or Hammer Gels are always a good stocking stuffer for the outdoor enthusiast in your life! We can help you navigate the nutrition racks and find the right fuels to gift!

Come pay us a visit for more fun gift ideas!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Learning to Run: a mile to a marathon.

By Lavon Medlock

In the Fall of 2010, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and sign up for the Learn to Run (LTR) program through FootZone. A variety of factors brought me to this decision, but the main one was a desire to shed the baby weight of three consecutive pregnancies.   I found myself sitting on the floor of the FootZone one Wednesday evening in late September feeling the support and encouragement of a room full of people of all shapes, sizes and fitness levels.  Connie Austin was going around the room asking participants to share their goals for the program and the reason why they specifically wanted to learn to run.  When my turn came I simply said that I wished to be able to wear my engagement ring again.  Secretly, I also wanted to be able to run 3.1 miles without stopping, but that goal seemed too lofty to be worth mentioning out loud.

Fast forward 6 weeks and I distinctly remember the overwhelming joy of having met that goal – I had just run 3.1 miles without stopping!!  Never mind that I finished second to last; the point is that I had met my secret goal.  Who knew that I had that kind of drive and athleticism in me?  Apparently, we all do but some of us just need a little guidance and help finding our way.  Coach Connie has a natural gift for doing precisely that – offering just the right amount of support balanced with just the right amount of knowledge and sprinkled with the perfect touch of prodding.  There are many tips that I learned during those six weeks that I still find myself revisiting to this day.  One of my favorite lessons was how “char-don-nay” can help you breathe more effectively when running.

Fueled by my new found confidence, I committed to 2011 being the year of weight loss and health gain.  By exercising a few times a week and tracking my food, I was able to work off 25 pounds in about 9 months.  I wasn’t running consistently that year in part due to a bout with pneumonia that had set my endurance back significantly.  It was demoralizing to be back to square one unable to run a mile.  After sulking about it for a bit, I started putting in the work and slowly getting my cardiovascular system built back up.  If I wanted to be a runner, I had to put in the work.  Another lesson from LTR: consistency is key. 

2012 was a year of discovery for me as a runner.  I ran a total of 12 races that year ranging from 5ks to an 8k, a few 10ks and my first half marathon.  All along the way, I constantly drew from knowledge I gained in the LTR program, everything from measuring my cadence to monitoring my breathing to making sure I was wearing the right gear.  It was also nice to see many familiar faces during the various races as many of the other runners were LTR participants or mentors.

Two weeks ago I accomplished a goal that I have secretly held in my heart for over a decade but didn’t dare breathe out loud: I completed my first marathon.  26.2 miles of awesome.  Well, some miles were more awesome than others but when things got tough, I went back to the basics from LTR.  At mile 12, my kids handed me some Ritz crackers to nibble on.  I saved one and decided to hold it between my thumb and index finger to make sure my arms and hands were relaxed.  That’s just one of the numerous form tips that I gained from LTR that come in handy (pardon the pun) to this day.  Having completed a 26.2 mile race, I may be a “marathoner” but in my heart I will always to be a “Learn to Run(ner)” first and foremost.

Oh, and the engagement ring fits.  In fact, I’ve almost lost it twice recently because it spins off my finger so easily thanks to all the running.

Lavon learned to run in 2010 and hasn’t stopped since.  Living in Redmond, she is an on-the-go mom to her four and six year kids.  Squeezing in week day runs between preschool drop off and errands, she isn’t afraid to sport a running skirt on the trail or in the grocery store.  Find her on twitter @mizpinto00.

C.O.R.K. XC Race Results

Well done racers! We hope you had fun and enjoyed the race series. A big thanks to Max King for putting these on! It takes a lot of time and we feel lucky to have such a cool race series right here in Bend.

Race #1
1 Ryan McLaughlin 12:46
2 Andrew Jensen 13:06
3 Michael Dennis 13:16
4 Brandon Drake 13:21
5 JJ Howard 13:35
6 Rob Russell 13:38
7 John Craft 14:06
8 Ryan Ness 14:19
9 Easton Curtis 14:21
10 Sather Ekblad 14:22
11 Jeff Jones 14:36
12 Laurel Manville 14:41
13 Danny Harris 14:49
14 Brendan Layden 14:50
15 Dean Dilday 14:53
16 Katie Caba 15:01
17 Andy Flemming 15:02
18 Kaitlin Greene 15:04
19 Dave Webster 15:46
20 Mike Mosley 16:07
21 Amy Albrecht 16:16
22 Courtney Braun 16:17
23 Alisa Jeffries 16:23
24 John Wienshiem 16:49
25 Rob Thompson 16:50
26 Kari Strang 17:01
27 Ellen Kramer 17:21
28 Jenny Mishler 17:22
29 Suzy Jones 17:36
30 Jane Cleavenger 18:10
31 Steve Crozier 18:43
32 Rick Saenz 18:49
33 Alec Laydon 19:05
34 Demitri Zeloots 19:26
35 Cheryl Younger 20:15
36 Maureen Schlerf 20:19
37 Ian Brown 21:26
38 Mike Brown 21:27
39 Laura Kantor 22:26
40 Jill Duncan 22:43
41 Elisa Cheng 22:59
42 Amber Peterson 23:16

Race #2
1 Ryan Bak 23:07
2 Ryan McLaughlin 24:42
3 Frans Alajoki 24:51
4 Jeff Browning 25:34
5 Brandon Drake 25:45
6 Michael Dennis 26:12
7 JJ Howard 26:20
8 John Craft 26:31
9 Andrew Jensen 26:45
10 Rob Russell 26:49
11 Stephen Redfield 26:55
12 Monte Gregg 27:13
13 Derek Hayner 28:20
14 Mike Brown 28:37
15 Sylain Bauge 28:39
16 Teague Hatfield 28:43
17 Sather Ekblad 28:52
18 Gary Timms 28:55
19 Danny Harris 29:00
20 Kaitlin Greene 29:07
21 Jeff Jones 29:23
22 Mike O'Halloran 29:58
23 Amy Albrecht 31:41
24 Courtney Drewsen 31:49
25 Courtney Braun 32:09
26 John Wienshiem 32:19
27 Kari Strang 32:40
28 Meredith Brandt 33:17
29 Jenny Mishler 33:18
30 Kris Denney 34:04
31 Eliza Jaffreys 34:13
32 Susie Jones 34:18
33 Jane Cleavenger 35:01
34 Caroline Daubeny 35:27
35 Steven Chrozier 35:32
36 Rick Saenz 37:21
37 Devon Gaines 37:57
38 Matt Denney 38:07
39 Mike Conrads 38:28
40 Maureen Schlerf 39:18
41 Laura Kantor 42:48
42 Isata Sibley 44:00
43 Jill Duncan 44:17
44 Jack Strang (2) 22:13
45 Demetri (2) 24:45
46 Ian Brown (2) 25:47
47 Benjamin Browning (2) 28:53
48 Elisa Cheng (2) 30:21

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

From Marathon to 50K

Written By: Amanda Kremer

I have run a total of 13 road marathons.  With each one, I have learned something valuable to improve my performance for the next race.  This year I decided (or more correctly, I was lightly persuaded) to run a 50K -- The Flagline 50K, specifically.  This was a distance I have never run, on terrain that was new to me.  Only 5 more miles of running -- my inner voice said, “I can do this, no problem!”  Well, a 50K trail race is a whole different animal, and I wanted to share what I learned from transitioning from road marathon to trail Ultra-marathon.

1.   Terrain.  As much as I love my ultra light weight, thin-soled Brooks Pure Connects, they did not protect my feet from the beating of rocks, roots and varied terrain.  The bottoms of my feet felt like they had been beaten with a meat tenderizer. What I loved about this trail race, is that my hips felt great afterwards.  After a road marathon, my hips are tight and sore for days.
        Lesson learned: Get trail shoes with a thicker sole shoes and better traction. Save the Pure Connects for pounding pavement for 26.2 miles.
2.  Carrying gear and being prepared for weather. Although this was a very well-organized 50K race, the aid stations are further apart compared to a marathon.  I decided to carry my 2-Liter pack to assure I had water when I needed it.  I have never worn a pack for my marathons, so the added weight provided a bit more of a challenge for me. I was ill-prepared for the weather.  It ended up raining, snowing and  sleeting, which resulted in a sloppy mess.  The fact that I did not have any mittens or gloves nearly pushed me to drop out; luckily there were generous people on the course who allowed me to borrow their gear.
        Lesson learned: Be prepared for ANY kind of weather, especially in the mountains.  I know that I don’t function well being too cold, so I will have that covered for next time. Mittens are a must!
3.  Crowd appeal. I always chose my marathons based on how large and popular they are.  The bigger the better for me. I strive on cheering crowds for the entire length of my race--I love it! For a 50K, you don’t get so much of that, in addition to extended periods of time running all alone.
        Lesson learned: Since I had silence most of the way, I had to stay mentally strong to motivate myself
through the race--more than I ever have for a marathon.
4.  Change in form. It took years, but I have finally mastered good running form that works for me -- for road marathons. After running a trail Ultra-marathon, I was sore in all different areas of my body. My neck was especially sore from looking down at the trail all the time, my shoulders and biceps sore from tensing up on the trail, and feet and ankles shredded from the varied terrain and improper footwear.
        Lesson learned: Take a Good Form Running Clinic and join a Trail Running Group.

I see myself doing more 50Ks in the future and a stronger comeback for next year’s Flagline 50K.  I still have a lot to improve on and feel fortunate to be among so many influential runners here in Bend.

Amanda Kremer is an Animal Chiropractor in Bend, specializing in both large and small animals.  She is currently practicing out of LaPaw Animal Hospital in addition to house and barn calls. Find out more about her practice at

Monday, October 14, 2013

Flagline 50k – Expect the Unexpected

By Ryan Manies

I will be the first to admit it, I made a huge mistake in my first real Ultramarathon, theFlagline 50k.  I was prepared physically, I had run another 50k three weeks prior in the middle of the Nevada Desert and just by having a 50k finish under my belt boosted my confidence (albeit it wasn’t very pretty the last 4 miles).   I was smart with my long distance fueling and felt experienced in what my stomach could and couldn’t handle on longer runs.

Rain, sleet and snow at the aid stations
So what was my big mistake? I was overly optimistic about the weather.  Even at 6am when I peeked out the window to look up at Mt. Bachelor on race morning, I still told myself that the clouds and weather would ‘burn off’.  Unfortunately for me and my fellow ultra-runners, it did not, and this optimism caused me to under dress.  When I got to Dutchman Flat 10 minutes before the race I realized how cold, wet and windy it really was - I never arrive at races very early, it gives the mind too much time to think about what is going on.  I went through the trunk of the car hoping/praying to find a beanie, a pair of gloves, a poncho?  Anything to shield me from the elements.  My life saver came from a Nike Drifit rain jacket which had been left in the car on accident.  It had no insulation but it would keep my upper body dry.  The legs?  Well they would be on their own for this race.

I walked to the starting line – no I didn’t warm up, I count the first 11 miles as a time to do that – and before I even had time to contemplate what I was doing we were off on a single track trail towards Swampy Lakes.  Even as the first couple miles rolled away I told myself that I would shed the jacket at the first aid station (mile 8) because I didn’t want to overheat on the uphill after that.  As if the weather reacted to my thoughts, a few miles later it started snowing.

Before I knew it I was at the first aid station.  My plan was to stop at the station to eat and drink but I was so cold that continuing to run seemed like a better idea.  As I made my way uphill I forced down a gel and some water.  It’s difficult to stay hydrated on really cold days, you never really get that thirst quench like you would on warm or hot day.

Ryan leaving the FootZone aid station.
Does that face say I'm cold or what am I doing here? Maybe both!
I threw in some ear buds in hopes that music would help me power up the mountain.  For the most part I was on my own during this section, it seemed like the group of people I had been running with earlier had all stopped at the aid station.  It was too late to worry about why now.  I could see some runners in the distance, and not being very experienced on climbing, I took cues from them when I should walk certain sections.

My biggest issue was that my core temperature was still cold.  I couldn’t feel my legs at all, which looking back at the race now might have actually helped me.  The next miles were a constant battle in my mind of whether I should walk or run.  Ultra-running is all mental, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.  I wanted to walk the steep parts to conserve energy, I still had 20 miles to go after all, but I noticed that my core temperature dropped even more when I did this.  So I ran more than I probably planned on, but it was important to keep myself from freezing.

Finally I hit the awesome FootZone aid station where the crew helped refill my water.  I had plenty of gels with me so I didn’t need to eat anything.  Before I could really question if I should keep going, I was already off down the dirt road.  I was able to run a few miles with a fellow Bendite and talking about life, work, etc. seemed to keep my mind off the real task at hand – finishing.  I wasn’t able to take advantage of the downhill as much as I had hoped for as my quads were starting to tighten up (I still think this was due to the cold weather as I have run longer downhill stretches before with no issues).  I let my friend pull away as I knew I was holding him back.  When I got to the stream crossing I was grateful to be going back uphill again.  Some Mt. Bikers cheered me on and I asked them ‘Where is the hot tub?’ They laughed and said ‘The finish’.  BUT SERIOUSLY I NEEDED TO BE WARMER.
More rain and snow.

On the way uphill I had arm sleeves on underneath and pulled these down around my hands but I could tell that these were now starting to feel cold as well.  I was staying positive about finishing and reminding myself to eat and drink, eat and drink but this part of the race was definitely a blur for me.  This section had to have been my highest calorie intake.  Unfortunately I think the temperature continued to drop.  I can only surmise this because both my ipod and Garmin ‘died’ on me and they were both fully charged before starting the race (whamp whamp whaaaa – that’s literally the cartoon sound that played in my head when I found out everything was dead). 

I finally made it to the FootZone aid station again (the course does sort of a figure 8) and they topped off my water again. I really can’t thank the crew enough, the support definitely lifts the spirits.  I even saw this with other runners in front of me who were dragging but then hearing a cow bell a short distance ahead pick up their form and pace in a matter of a few steps.  After two cups of Pepsi I painfully asked how much farther was left and was told 7 miles.  The only good news was it was mostly downhill from here.  I was off again.
This next section, I can only imagine, probably had some awesome views but it was so bogged in by fog and clouds that you could barely see the road ahead of you.  I kept trotting on but again realized I was not taking advantage of the downhill.  Eventually we made it back into the forest and the single track trail was just what I needed, not to mention the protection from the elements.  The last aid station told me it was approximately 5k to the finish and I knew that one last gel was probably a good idea. 

Keep on moving, one foot in front of the other.  Keep on moving, one step forward is another step towards the finish.  This was the mantra going through my head.  There was an awesome section of downhill where I felt like I was a roller coaster.  I had to be careful about going too fast as I didn’t want to trip.  But man did it feel like I was flying at no effort at all.  Down, down, down until finally I was back at Dutchman.  It wasn’t over yet though as I still had 1 mile left.  In the scheme of things what is 1 mile after running 30?  I had to walk a little bit just because I couldn’t see or visualize the finish yet.  When my wife came into sight and then the finish it was the biggest race relief ever.  I picked it up a bit and gels started flying out of my pack (probably mostly due to poor form, but don’t worry I went back and picked them up).  Through the finish
Finish line!
and it was all over.

I changed out of my wet clothes and went back to the finish for a well earned beer.  If I learned anything from this year’s Flagline 50k it is to ‘expect the unexpected’.  I will always have extra layers with me going forward.  I’m always apprehensive about carrying too much weight on runs, but on races you have the advantage of leaving things at aid stations if you want to.  As long as you label everything, name and phone number, I am sure someone in the ultra-running community will get it back to you.
Thanks Superfit Productions for putting on another great race and thanks to FootZone for helping out, from the ultra-running clinics at the store to the aid station on the course and everything in between.

Ryan Manies short bio:
I moved to Bend 4 years ago in order to take advantage of the outdoors.  The trails in central Oregon have reinvigorated my passion for running.  When I am not on the trails you can catch me doing Online Marketing for Altrec or at a pub enjoying a locally brewed IPA.  Mmmmmmmmm IPA.

Monday, September 30, 2013

From the October 2013 newsletter: Max's Tip of the month, layer up!

Written By: Max King

I just about froze on my run this morning. That signals the start of fall for me and a time when I have to give up the carefree shorts and t-shirt weather and have to actually carefully consider what I'm putting on in the morning before heading out for a run. It's now officially "layering" season. 

The tip to layering effectively is to have a good variety of options for different weather conditions. The nice cool Central Oregon mornings are usually served best with a light poly or Merino wool long sleeve top, with a light windbreaker vest, and a pair of 3/4 tights. As it gets to be a little cooler a heavy weight long sleeve Merino wool top, vest, light weight full tights, running gloves, and hat is the way to go.  With the occasional fall showers it's nice to have a lightweight nylon water resistant shell in your back pocket. I know it's tough to have everything in your running clothing quiver, but the nice thing is with Central Oregon, you'll end up needing it at some point and you'll be glad you have it. Remember, there's no bad running weather, just bad clothing. Now get out there and layer up.