Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Aqua Velo, Its not an aftershave!

Well after my wife catching the triathlon bug after doing the bike leg of the Columbia Iron girl I decided I better step up to the plate. Great thing to train for as a couple and I saw my wife Laura morph from non-athlete to triathlete. I was proud of her. Its only taken 10 years of marriage for me to rub off on her! Because I have a chunk of cartilage in my left knee gone on my femoral condyle after a second ACL/medial meniscus knee injury doing excessive plyometrics I have opted for an Aqua Velo. I am still deciding which one and was tempted by the Chesapeake Man which features a 2.3 mile swim but it has been over 10 years since my Olympic distance triathlon and priority number one is not to drown and I think I should start with a shorter open water swim.
I am open for suggestions. For those not familiar an aqua velo is a stand alone event but more frequently part of an organized
triathlon in which you only complete the bike and swim segments. A way for the 40 something set with bad knees to get back in competition and put off the appointment with your friendly neighborhood orthopedist for a knee replacement!

Friday, August 22, 2008

No Bolt from the Blue

Usain Bolt broke three world record while gathering 3 gold medals in the mens' 100 meters and 200 meters and 4x100 meter relays in this years Olympics. Never been done. The New York times recently raised speculation as to whether or not his performance was clean. The issue was also raised as to the improved performance of the whole Jamaican track team. Usain was beating older athletes at 15 in Jamaica so he is no bolt from the blue. I'm a podiatrist and make my living watching movement patterns. There is no wasted energy with Bolt (other than his celebratory arm waving just before the finish). If thats the way he can do it more poer to him! At 6'5" his head does not move up and down and he is tight getting out of the blocks (little lateral movement). Having said that I choose to embrace his accomplishment with the recognition that there is uncertainty with respect to PED use in modern sports. To acknowledge some uncertainty is not bashing the performance of an athlete like Bolt. It is living in reality.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Newton: Function vs. Hype

The Newton running shoe is part of the forefoot running craze. The concept was put together by 2 guys that got the thumbs down from Saucony on their idea. The premise is that forefoot running is more efficient and that the nature of the design is
more suited for forefoot running The concept of energy efficiency is especially attractive to the triathlete community as they are all about energy efficiency on that third leg. It has an energy return system on the forefoot hence the name Newton which is supposed to provide energy return. As I am a podiatrist, I tend to see only the folks that are having problems and this is what prompted me to write this piece. I had a patient that was not a competitive runner that developed shin splints after switching to running with the Newton shoe. The trouble with making the switch to the Newton is that many runners do not have the level of conditioning or the efficiency in their forefoot running to make the transition. My patient had both these problems. There is another subset of runners/trend setters that are simply caught up in the boutique aspect of the shoes at $175 a pop. If John Mayer is wearing them on that you-tube snippet in West Hollywood I must get a pair. The reviews from the running shoe stores have been mixed as well. One running shoe specialist I spoke with reiterated the concern that if you are not a forefoot runner to begin with there may be some breaking in soreness. Others have reported calf and achilles pain. A japanese study reports that elite marathon runners fared better with a forefoot/midfoot striking pattern but is this correlation or causation. the answer remains to be seen.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Gary Hall Jr. Covering the Olympics

Gary Hall Jr. covered the Olympics and sharing his insights on the competition. His last blog entry is a reflection on what it means to be an Olympian. You will need to cut and past a couple of these into the browser.


Hall's in the house

Walking the Plank


The 2000 US 4 x 400 meter relay track team had the gold medal revoked because of doping by one of the team members. I treated one of the alternate relay members and I wonder what course his Olympic career would have taken had some of his teammates not cheated.