Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sock Talk: Find The Perfect Sock For Your Foot Type

By: Jenny Hendrickson
My most recent New Years Resolution was to rid myself of the pile of running socks I don't like and fill my drawers with socks that I love. While that hasn't quite happened for me yet (I know, it's lame), I thought I might help those of you that are weeding out the yucks from your running sock drawer.

While we know a couple of things about running socks, like cotton is bad, and that a synthetic or wool sock is best, there are so many things that are subjective. Height, weight, material and how snug fitting a sock is can all contribute to how much you love (or hate) a sock. While much of this is just a trial and error thing, we can give you some general guidelines from runners past to help demystify the process!

Light Weight socks- These socks are NOT padded. They are merely just there as a liner of sorts to help with moisture transfer. They also work well for the snugger fitting shoe (think racing flat) where space is limited.

Medium Weight Socks- These socks are padded. They either have zonal padding, like in the heel and the toe, or through the bottom of the sock. Generally speaking, people who need to fill a little more space in a shoe would enjoy using a medium weight sock.

Heavy Weight Socks- These socks are very cushioned. Typically in an all-over fashion instead of in just specific areas.

Arch Support- These socks are built with a band around the arch to give the arch a snugger fit.

Snug fitting socks- A hug for the foot, these socks fit snuggly throughout the entire foot instead of in a few key areas.

Micro/Hidden/Ankle height socks- These socks come just to the top of the shoe, sometimes with a tab built in the back.

Quarter Socks- These socks come about 4 inches up the leg, providing some protection from debris and/or snow.

Crew Socks- 6-8" in height- these were the tallest sock on the market until the knee high.

Knee High Socks- Most commonly seen in compression socks, or just darn fun socks

Still sound like mumbojumbo? I thought it might, so I asked FootZone staff members to tell you their favorite sock and why it works for their foot type.

Melanie -
Foot type:
Narrow, low volume and flat.
Sock Preference:
Feetures Light Cushion and Fits Sock Light Runner. They both give me enough bulk to fill up some space in my shoe without being too bulky. And both are super soft with out being slippery. I don't change my sock weight with the seasons, just the height.

Kari -
Foot Type: 
Flat feet (low arches), with toes & ankles usually sporting dirt remnants of our local trails.
Sock Preference:
Balega Hidden Comfort is my "go to" all around sock. It is cushioned but not too hot, it stays in place well, and seems to hold up well even when wearing for long runs. This is the sock that I hunt for in the drawer each time I head out on a run. I've bought numerous pair now, yet never seem to have enough.

Ryan -
Foot Type:
Wide, low to no arch.  Sweaty!

Sock Preference: 
Feetures Ultralight. They are tight but not restrictive, thin, comfortable and made from a synthetic material that manages moisture nicely!

Katie -
Foot Type:
Normal to high arch

Sock Preference: 

In cool weather I like to wear the Feetures Merino Ultralight.  They are amazingly soft, breathable and warm.  Not to mention durable!  I also like the light cushion they provide.  In warm weather I like Feetures Ultralight socks.  They are incredibly thin, tight and have a supportive fit.

Tonya -
Normal arch, with toes that cross over one another.
Sock Preference:
I LOVE the Injinji socks. The toe separation makes the fact that my toes cross over one another less of an issue. I get less rubbing, irritation, and blistering. It’s sort of like running with Crisco between your toes! 

High arch with a slightly narrow and low volume foot.

Sock Preference:
Smartwool PhD Ultra Light.  This sock fits the bill for my need of a lightweight, non-restrictive sock.  I also like the Balega Ultra Light for the same reason.

The right sock can go along way! I hope you find the sock that's perfect for your foot and rid yourself of all the slipping, uncomfy, cotton and just plain bad socks in your life.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Mad Ass 2013: My Training Race Before Boston

Written By: Amanda Kremer

It’s week 7 of my 17-week training program to Boston Marathon 2013. Normally, I don’t incorporate any trail races in my marathon training programs for fear of getting injured, but I made an exception for the Mad Ass2013 in Madras.

The race started and finished at the Madras Aquatic Center. If you haven’t been to the Aquatic Center, it is definitely worth checking out.

It was well organized for such a low key race. Strollers and dogs welcome! There was no pre-registration; just show up, write down your name and distance you will be running, and when you get back, jot down the time you ran it in. Route options were 25k, 29k, and 50k, or run whatever mileage you felt like doing. I chose the 29k out and back for no other reason than my friend was doing that distance. There was no fuel or water provided for us along the route (just at the start/finish), so you were on your own for that. All 76 or so racers congregated in the Aquatic Center before heading out for an informational talk. I loved the fact that I could keep warm right up until the race start! No waiting outside in the cold, shivering, wasting precious energy.

The first 2 miles were downhill until we went through downtown Madras and reached the trail head. This is where the chit-chat with my friends started to fade. It was time to focus on the trail adventure ahead with patches of ice and ankle-wrenching rocks. The sun was shining and the canyon views were breath-taking. This is why I run, and this is why I love living in Central Oregon. My neck is still sore from admiring the scenery and scoping the area for cougars (yeah, yeah, I know I won’t see them). The turn-around point was at the base of a huge hill going down. This is where my iPod came to the rescue with Limp Bizkit pushing me up the grueling hill. On the way back, the sun was starting to melt the ice, so I was literally running through mud. I quickly had to come to terms with the fact that my bright yellow Brooks Connects, would soon be brown. It’s OK, just another excuse to buy another pair, right? At about mile 10, my ankles and calves were getting fatigued from all the varied terrain. I was wishing I had supported my ankles with athletic tape at this point. Since the first 2 miles were downhill, of course, the last 2 miles were uphill. I needed Nine Inch Nails for this hill. It felt like it would never end, but the pavement was a nice break for my ankles so I pushed through and finished at 2:34, injury free.  Hard cider never tasted so good!

Post-race festivities included admission into the pool area, a potluck and live music. I had a blast going down the cork-screw slide while screaming like a 10-year-old girl, followed by relaxing in the hot tub overlooking the mountains.  I highly recommend this race for anyone who loves trail running and wants to get stronger on hills, all in a low-key setting. I had a great time and would definitely do this race again.

I wanted to give a special shout-out to Duke the dog (he was actually registered on the list) who successfully completed the 52k!!! Amazing! After all that, I bet Duke could use a chiropractor. Hey! I can recommend a GREAT Animal Chiropractor in Bend :).

Amanda Kremer resides in Bend with her fiancĂ©, Nevin and beagle Taz. She is currently training for her 3rd Boston Marathon and hopes to set a new PR.  Amanda is a Chiropractor, specializing in Animal Chiropractic for both small and large animals. You can find more information about Amanda at

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sticky Thoughts: what's going on with your brain on race day

By: Melinda Halpern

There are days when we show up for a race and everything just works.  The motions feel easy and fluid and we barely have to think.  And then there are the other days.  The ones where everything is bothersome, our breathing doesn't relax and that elusive flow just can’t be found.   If attention is paid to the thoughts on either of these days it might sound like this:

-        It’s all good
-        Keep breathing
-        I can’t do this
-        I’m never going to finish

These are thoughts that are generated by the pre frontal cortex region of your brain that I refer to as The Computer.  This section of the brain is responsible for higher level problem solving, planning, organizing, and managing impulses. The first two thoughts are Smooth Thoughts.  These are thoughts that help the Computer relax, decrease panic and basically get out of your body’s way of doing the things it knows how to do.  The last two thoughts are Sticky Thoughts. These engage The Computer and activate it.  Now emotional pressure is increased and the mind is busy racing with worries that create physiological responses such as increased heart and breathing rates.  And now that The Computer is part of the race it can’t help but micromanage body movements and skills that are best left to less conscious thoughts.

               So why does our brain want to engage in Sticky Thoughts? Why don’t we inherently go towards loving the pain and reassuring ourselves everything is ok?  It’s due to an alarm system that is hard wired in our brains to warn us of danger. It is reading the physiological signals such as tight muscles, excessive breathing, and increased sweat as data that it’s owner is in a potentially life threatening situation so it starts to encourage your body to quit: I can’t do this, I’m off my mark today, This is looking bad, etc.  The Sticky Thoughts create panicky chemistry to encourage you to quit as a way of self-preservation. By signaling distressing thoughts your brain is warning you that you might die!

               But you came to race, not to quit, so what can you do to override your Computer and get out of your own way?

Step One: recognize what is happening.  Your brain thinks you’re in trouble but your body just wants to get up that huge hill.  Take a breath!  Brains need oxygen in the blood to move toxins that build up naturally but even more so when you are stressing your system with activity.  Be conscious of air coming in and out of your body, if only for a few breaths.

Step Two:  don’t argue with The Computer.  The last thing you want to do is to engage this part of your brain.  It has higher functioning and rationalizing capabilities than your other brain parts and it will win!  Your goal is to disengage from the Sticky Thoughts.  Notice the comments and recognize that it’s the alarm system going off and its just doing its job.  Remind your brain that races are supposed to hurt – nothing is wrong with you, and the person next to you is hurting too.

Step Three: The Computer wants something to focus on other than the pain that is making it nervous.  Give it a different job: count strides, notice your breath, focus on the racing bib in front of you.  By shifting from panic to a less activated state your Computer will relax and the flow you are searching for will be more accessible.


Melinda is presenting more information on this topic at FootZone on Thursday 1/24/2013. 

Melinda has been a licensed therapist in private practice and the public sector for over 10 years.  She has coached athletes in swimming, rowing, and skiing throughout her life on both the East and West coasts.  While her profession as a therapist provides her insight to people and their motivations, her passion as a life-long athlete fuels GritPerformance.  Her website can be found at

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Nutrition: Fact or Fiction?

Written by: Lisa Uri, MD, NTP
Family Practice, High Lakes Healthcare
The Standard American Diet (SAD) is contributing to the deteriorating health of our nation.  The information in the media is often overwhelming. Here are a few myths that can be confusing.

1. Fat and cholesterol make you fat and give you high cholesterol.
Sugars and refined carbohydrates are mostly what contribute to poor health.  Good quality fats and cholesterol can build healthy cell membranes, improve insulin sensitivity, fight inflammation and aid in hormone production.

2. All fats are bad for you.

All  fats are NOT bad for you.  Hydrogenated or trans fats are definitely bad for you, but there are many sources of healthy fats, both unsaturated and saturated that can improve your health.

3. Calories in equals calories out.
Its not the quantity of the calories you are eating, rather the quality.  “Empty” calories will be more detrimental than calorie-packed nutrient dense foods.
4. Non fat is always better.
Fat gives food flavor. When you remove the fat, you remove the flavor, so to make it taste good you must add something that tastes good….usually SUGAR!
5. Diet soda is ok because it is sugar free and has limited calories.
Your brain and taste buds know better and the increased sweetness from artificial sweeteners may cause you to seek sweetness and crave other sugary food products.    
6. All red meat is the same and should be avoided.
Grass fed and grain fed beef are different.  The ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids is decreased in grain fed, industrial produced beef which contributes to the level of inflammation in the body. Grass fed beef (minus hormones and antibiotics) is preferred.
7. All sugar is the same.
High Fructose Corn Syrup is generally 45% glucose and 55% fructose and table sugar is 50% glucose and 50% fructose.  The additional fructose affects the ability of the sweetener to be utilized by the cells of the body and needs to be metabolized by the liver prior to use.  Overwhelming the liver with HFCS may lead to elevated triglycerides and fatty liver.  FYI…HFCS is in MANY MANY FOODS.  (ie check out your Heinz ketchup label)
8. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables (several servings daily) can provide phytonutrients (vitamins and minerals) which provide fuel for the body, help with metabolism, improve the immune system and optimize overall health.  Eat the colors of the rainbow!
9. Margarine is better than butter.
Compare the number of ingredients in margarine to organic butter. Margarine is a highly processed food. The addition of a hydrogen atom to straighten the fat molecule in margarine and make it solid at room temperature creates a “plastic-like” product that gets incorporated into cell membranes, which can adversely affect the function of every cell in the body.  Butter is better.
10. Wheat bread is always better.
Often wheat products are enriched, meaning they have been processed to the point that many of the vital nutrients have been removed, and then had to be artificially added back in.  Stick to products that are not enriched. Preferably, look for organic, sprouted products. (Sprouting removed phytic acid which is a component of grains that can block the absorption of minerals.)
We sometimes forget the effects that the “fuel” that we put in our bodies can have deleterious effects, or that it can truly be used to improve our health.  Food is medicine that we can use to our advantage on a daily basis.

Learn more Nutrition Fact and Fiction tips at The Nutritional Therapy Workshop lead by Dr. Uri at FootZone February 20th.

Dr. Uri is a family practice physician at High Lakes Healthcare in Bend.  Her focus is preventive care, wellness and nutrition.   She is currently enrolled in the Integrative Medicine fellowship program at the University of Arizona.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Snowshoe Running: Winter Workout Fun!

Written by: Laura Kantor

Love trail running? Enjoy snow? Combine the two and snowshoe run this winter!

Snowshoe running is super-fun, a great workout, and is winter sports convenience at its best: dress for a winter run, grab your snowshoes, and go! You’ll have a big smile on your face the entire time because you’ll feel like a kid playing in the snow while you’re getting your workout in.

Snowshoe running is easy to do. If you run without snowshoes, you can run with them. You’ll have it figured out and having fun in literally 30 seconds. It is a fun but intense workout that builds both lower and upper body strength and endurance. You’ll find yourself lifting your knees higher and driving your arms and legs harder both up and down hills. The soft nature and variability of snowy trails is a great workout for the stabilizing muscles in your core and legs and will make you a stronger trail runner come next spring.

Running with snowshoes burns up to 40% more calories than running at the same pace without snow. It builds up body heat much faster because you’re working so much harder, and you’ll start to sweat more heavily and earlier in your workout. For this reason, you should start your run feeling a little chilly because you’ll warm up quick.

If you run in Central Oregon in winter, you’ve already got the clothing you need. Dress in light layers up top, warm running tights, hat, and warm gloves or mittens.

You’ll want specialized running snowshoes and short, low-profile gaiters. FootZone carries both! Gortex trail shoes are ideal, but many people wear their regular trail running shoes with warm socks, such as SmartWool or DryMax, and stay warm. Wear your hydration pack or waist pack with water bottle, take a snack, and remember your camera!

Snowshoe running will cause you to think about pace differently. Expect your pace to be a few minutes per mile slower than you’re used to running. Since snowshoe training is more rigorous than running, your snowshoe runs will be shorter. Run for time instead of miles.

You can snowshoe run wherever there is adequate snow. We have awesome snowshoe trails in Central Oregon that weave through the forest to warming shelters, through lava fields, to lakes, or to the tops of buttes with amazing mountain views. Run down the closed Cascade Lakes Highway, up the forest road past Todd Lake, or on any marked trail. Since we’ve recently had a good amount of snow in town, the forest roads around Phil’s Trail and Shevlin Park are good bets for a close-to-home midweek run.

Snowshoe Run with Laura hits the trails weekly. All running paces are welcome for a low-key group snowshoe run every Saturday morning through mid-March. Our focus is on fun and fitness, and we visit a different trail or destination every week! Connect with us on facebook: or contact Laura at

I look forward to sharing our beautiful winter trails with you!

Laura Kantor ran for the first time in her adult life in 2006. She was introduced to snowshoe running two years ago and fell in love with the sport on her very first run. Now Laura shares the joy, beauty, and adventure of snowshoe running with others.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Top Five Things I Learned from My First 50 Miler

Written by: John Knotts


Photo courtesy of Ken Schuh

I recently completed my first 50 miler, The North Face Endurance Challenge, in San Francisco on December 1, 2012. This experience taught me a lot about myself and running. Below are the top five things I took away from the training process.

#5 Seek Wisdom from Others

We are blessed to live in trail running mecca, Bend, OR, with an awesome community of runners. If you can’t find runners in your area, check out online communities like Seek out other runners and ask lots of questions. The wisdom of those that have gone before you is priceless. I owe a special thanks Tonya Littlehales, Rob DeClerk, MaxKing, Julianne Whitelaw, KellyCooks and Dr. Bari. They were all very gracious and took the time to answer my endless questions.

Photo courtesy of Ken Schuh

#4 You Are an Experiment of One

What works for one person doesn't necessarily work for you. And sometimes what works for you one day, may not work on a different day. It's a lot of trial and error. I tried several different brands of nutritional products, two or three different training plans, and tested endless pairs of shoes. It takes time to figure out what works. And sometimes a shoe that is great for 10 miles sucks after 20 miles. Thanks to the FootZone for taking my returns ...and my credit card.

#3 Slow Down

Photo courtesy of Ken Schuh

You have to start your ultra at a ridiculously easy pace. Your body only has so much blood to go around and if it's all going to your legs (and skin if it's hot), you won't have any left for your stomach. And if there's no blood going to your stomach, you can't digest food. And if you can't digest food, you can't go more than a couple of hours. At least not without hitting a really rough spot (see #1). If you're like me, you'll find this out the hard way (see #4).

#2 Be Prepared for the Unexpected

A huge storm slammed northern California, right before the North Face Endurance Challenge, and completely drenched the course. The race tents were repeatedly blown down and destroyed. California State Parks denied race access due to safety and erosion concerns, which meant the race course had to be changed the night before the race.

You always hear people say to be prepared for the unexpected. As I stood at the start line in the dark and mud, rain horizontal in my face, and my headlamp only able to reflect the fog two feet in front of my face... it did cross my mind that this was not what I signed up for. I had expected to escape a bit of the Bend winter and race in some warm California sunshine.

Photo courtesy of Ken Schuh

#1 You Can Go Through a Bad Patch and Come Out the Other Side

I saved this for #1 because it was the most shocking truth I learned about ultrarunning during this whole process. Until I started running really long distances, a bad day would consist of bonking and crawling home. Bonking, or "the wall", always ended my workout. I never imagined that you could go through that and feel good again without a shower, a huge meal, and a good night's sleep. But you can. Just keep moving. Try to eat, try to drink, try salt. Pay attention to your body and try to figure out what's going wrong. And just keep moving. In ultras, it's not a bonk, it's just "a bad patch".

John Knotts resides in Bend OR with his wife and three kids. He is a stay-at-home dad and decided to finally embrace running in 2012 after flirting with it for most of his life. He can be found around the web, but most easily via his new website

Special thanks to Ken Schuh and The North Face.