Barefoot running

First post-season, non-CV Track related post. And what a good topic to start with...


I have been very interested in barefoot running (rather minimalist running) since I heard of of it about 4 years ago. A little over two years ago I bought my first pair of minimalist shoes, Vibram Five Fingers. I have since graduated to Merrell's barefoot model, and apparently the Nike Frees I recently purchased are a minimalist shoe (I beg to differ).

I was very excited to get my Vibrams a couple years back. I wore them everywhere. To track meets, to the store, at the gym, when hiking, when working in the yard... When I wore them conistently I did notice some really cool things, like jumping higher without working on my jumping or having a little more spring in my step when I first started running, or even having a little more explosion when doing some olympic weightlifting. I like to attribute these movements to the shoes, but I have no proof. They could have been because of many other factors, or, even worse, psychosomatic. However, I really do attribute those unqualifiable gains to the shoes. 

Notice in the above listed activities that I never mentioned distance running. Not to say I've never used them for distance running, I just don't really remember enjoying it. I could use them on a treadmill, on a soft trail, or on grass, but they were terrible to run in for any distance on sidewalks and streets. I could feel the onset of problems in my feet, like stress fractures, that are mentioned in the video.

It's been two years and I've tried some different forms of these shoes, and my feelings are still somewhat the same. Once my initial excitement for these shoes dampened a bit, and I could look at them a little more fairly. I've decided that most people are going to get different uses out of them, find different qualities, and have varying levels of pain. For instance, I can use mine all day walking around and feel no ill effects, but I cannot stand to run in them. When coaching football in the fall, on the turf there are no shoes that I want more than my minimalists, but when competing in most anything these would be the last shoes I pull off the shelf. What do I love minimalist shoes for the most? Hiking. They don't provide a ton of support or protection, but they really do allow me to feel the trail and the generous, flexible grip gets me up tough inclines like a young goat. I will take a few stubbed toes for increased step efficiency any day (and I should mention their weight is so much better than any hiking shoe I've ever had).

The questions I have for track are: what disciplines would benefit most from barefoot running? If one trained barefoot consistently prior to a competitive season what benefits would they see? Would it help across disciplines from distance, to sprints, to jumping, to throwing.

I would recommend the following shoes for those that are interested...
  1. Vibram Five Fingers- these shoes are goofy as all hell, and there is no masking that you are wearing them, but in my mind these guys are the "originals" and their product is the best.
  2. New Balance Minimus- I do not own these but from what everyone says these are a great shoe, and probably give the Five Fingers a run for their money.
  3. Merrell Trail Glove- A terrible shoe. I initially liked them, but then noticed how roomy the ball of the shoe was. A very knowledgeable shoe guru told me Merrell's shoe engineers thinking: the toe box is really roomy to simulate barefoot running by providing an oversized strike zone to land on. So basically, the ball of the shoe is made to simulate a wide, flat expanse such as a street, sidewalk, path, or patch of grass....Fantastic, thinking Merrell! Just save me the money next time you have a poor design scheme. Oh, and apparently they made this decision after putting the kibosh on copying Vibram's design of those wacky toe-fingers (which begs the question, did they come up with the name "Trail Glove" before they had the design, and shouldn't it be now "Trail Mitten?).
  4. Nike Free- If you have worn any of the above shoes, and then tried this "barefoot" running shoe, and can draw any comparison then your brain is mush. You have no sense of touch, or feel, any longer. I've heard people with this generally don't live very long. If this is you, stop reading and go live. Go, by the time it's tool late!
  5. Beware of impostors wanting your dollar...I love Adidas more than any other brand, but I noticed they now have a barefoot Five-Fingers-esque shoe that is clearly an attempt to not miss out on some potential revenue without the appropriate research or testing. 

That's all on that,
Run, jump, and throw 

Coach Nack


That's what I'm talking about

Being seeded 13th and finishing 5th!

That's what the four gentlemen pictured above did. Yesterday, they ran a new PR and school record 42.87, and bested that mark today in finals with a 42.59, earning the team 5 points. Ahead of them was the first place team of Fountain-Fort Carson, yet behind them were perennial strengths Cherokee Trail, Rangeview, and ThunderRidge. Great job Tanner. Great job Daniel. Great job Ryan. Great job Tanner. We are unfortunate to be losing one of these guys next year, but are lucky enough to keep the other three. Hopefully we'll find our way back to this place next year, but if I've learned anything from this year it is to not take anything for granted from one year to the next.

It is also worth great mentioning that Tanner Townsend had an awesome day prior to the 4x100 even taking the track. In a deluge of rain, Tanner improved his mark from prelims by .2 seconds, more than any other competitor. Tanner bursted out in the open 100m finals and took 3rd with a time of 10.76 seconds (wind: 1.3), a new PR for himself, and another school record. He then rounded that performance off with a 7th place finish in a very competitive 200m. All this came after having flu-like symptoms for a good part of the day yesterday. Very nice job Tanner. Hopefully Coach Heikes or Ms. Townsend has some pictures to share with me for the blog. 

Congratulations also go to Nick Stalzer for his 3rd competition in as many days. Today he narrowly missed finals in the triple jump with a jump of 43-2.25 (they said 43-4 at the time of competition though...confusing) which is the 2nd or 3rd best jump he had all year. Over the three days Nick helped me realize what a grinder the state meet can be--get qualified in three events and think that you have all the opportunities in the world, but before you know it they're all gone. Everybody comes to play no matter the circumstance. The outcome of this one meet does not take away from a fantastic season. Thanks, and great job Nick.

With the final gun today come the end of our season. One with many positives to move forward with into next year. We officially scored in both the boys and girls sides, but I think we set our sites much higher for next year. 

BTW, this years 1st place finishers were Ft Collins on the boys title, and Loveland on the girls. These are two awesome programs that deserve great credit for what they've done.

Well, here comes the minor depression due to track withdrawal. I'll miss it. Thank you, everybody. Keep checking back. Hopefully I'll be better about posting over the summer months than I have been in the past.

Coach Nack


The drought is over!

Because of this young lady right here....

....the scoreless streak of the ladies CV track team at State is over.

Natasha had an awesome day. She beat her mark, tied for 4th, set a new PR (5'4"), and hit all of her first jumps until her PR height. Not to mention she had an awesome final attempt at 5'5". These are all the things we ask of athletes, and are tough to do, but Natasha nailed all of them. I have no doubt her experience at the state meet last year enabled her to do this today.

A lot went into this performance. Thanks, Natasha, for having the perfect mindset for today. Thank you, Coach Smith for being at my side giving suggestions for heights Natasha should jump at. I'd also like to thank all of the CV track athletes that gathered to support her; your fandom was hugely important to Natasha today. I love to see you guys rallying around each other.

In other news. Our boys 4x100m is onto the finals. After one of the members of the team failed to show up, they overcame and ran a great race on their way to a new school record and a trip to the finals. You can check them out tomorrow in that final race at 3:35pm. 

Also coming up tomorrow...
     Nick Stalzer in the 5A Boys Triple Jump @ 8:30am
     Tanner Townsend in the 5A Boys 100m finals @ 10:45am, and the 200m finals @ 1:40pm

Other than our athletes there will be lots of awesome performances to check out, so come on and support the Sabercats.

Coach Nack


State directions, schedule and heat sheet

Directions/map: (If I were you, I'd be on the road by 6:20)

View Larger Map

A link to the 3 day schedule through CHSAA's track site:

Heat sheets: (the dark streaks are highlighting our athletes)


State Qualifiers

Congratulations to the following state qualifiers...
Tanner Townsend- 100m (15th), 200m (10th), 400m(11th)
Nick Stalzer- Long Jump(8th), Triple Jump (8th), High Jump (9th)
Will Bakemeyer- Pole Vault
Boys 4x100m relay(13th)-Tanner Dalgardno, Ryan Fila, Tanner Townsend, Daniel Wheeler, Matt Wheeler
Boys 4x200m relay(14th)- Tanner Dalgardno, Ryan Fila, Mason Kasunic, Jake Ludwick, Tanner Townsend, Daniel Wheeler  

Brittany Reiner- Long Jump (18th)
Natasha Jones- High Jump (11th) 
Christina Stathakis- Pole Vault (12th)

I am absolutely destroyed by our girls' 4x100m and girls 4x400m teams not making it. They are currently ranked 19th and 21st respectively. For the 4x100, there are 3 teams tied from #16-18 at 50.23; we are #19 at 50.24. Missed it by 1/100 of a second. Grrrr.
And the girls 4x400m is even worse. At the end of todays meet I thought the 4+ second PR would be more than enough to get us in. In fact I had little doubt. Needless to say it was painful to see the ranking of 21st.
Our best hopes are that some teams will scratch their relays and we can get them in, but, to be honest, that does not happen very often. I'd love to spend another week coaching all of you.

A lot to say about the league meet we just finished, but I am too exhausted to do that. Maybe I can sit down and write about it sometime; or maybe it will end up being one of the things I write that never gets published... Our girls team could get hung up on the narrowest of margins that they lost by today, but instead I'd have them celebrate the growth they've made in one year. To do so, the first image below is from May 13, 2011, and the second is from May 12, 2012.



Post-First day of league

Lots of good things happened at out league meet today, but the records and data I have right now are incomplete at best so I can't give a lot of kudos and congrats right now. However, I can congratulate Christina Stathakis for being the Continental League Champion in the girls pole vault. Way to go Christina!
(Feel free to chant)
SHE'S A FRESHMAN (clap, clap, clap, clap)
SHE'S A FRESHMAN (clap, clap, clap, clap)

As for everyone else, we have another day of this business on Saturday, and we need to continue the success we had today. These days can get fast, a little hectic, and can maybe seem a little out of control. Just remember: to take a deep breath and take everything one day, one event, one throw, one jump, or even one step at a time. Do what it takes to beat your mark.

Now for something completely different...

As head coach I always get asked this, but have never had any paperwork to use to verify this, but now I have it, and it turns out I've been a little wrong. What am I talking about? Lane seeding, of course! Here is a screenshot of what lane you would run in based on what place runner you are. For example, Tanner Townsend made the finals in the boys 200m dash today, and he will be in lane 6 for that race. Using the table below we can see that he actually finished second meaning that gave him the lane the second greatest competitive advantage.

Some of these seedings are new to me (good thing I found this), because I thought on a 9 lane track (like we have at Sports Authority Stadium) that lane 5 went to the #1 runner, and lane 4 went to #2, lane 6 to #3, etc. As it turns out lane 4 only has #4, or the "4th best runner".

Learning is neat-o.

Coach Nack
Rip 'em with the teeth
   Tear 'em with the claws
      Bring in the meat wagon


League Relays begin Tomorrow...

Support CV track athletes beginning their league championships tomorrow at Sports Authority Stadium. But, first...

ALL ATHLETES: Track banquet is May 17 @ 6pm (next Thursday). You and/or your parents should have received an email about this last week. It might be news to some, so click this link to find out more info. http://www.punchbowl.com/partypage/3627ae3d8ed1cfd0 

JV ATHLETES: Your uniforms are past due. Bring them to me in the library. DO NOT leave them for me to check in--make sure I am there to check them in. If I'm not there, please come back later.

VARSITY ATHLETES: Find the heat sheets below. The schedule, if needed was posted yesterday. 

FIELD EVENT ATHLETES: Your schedule is NOT changing; you will be competing on Thur and Sat

 I would like to point out the underhand exchange that gets blown out of the water by the overhand exchange around the 2:10 mark

Coach Nack
Rip 'em with the teeth
   Tear 'em with the claws
      Bring in the meat wagon


League Championships Schedule

Bus leaves at 1:25pm (out of class at 1:05pm) 
            3:00     800m Medley             Girls    Finals
            3:10     4 X 800m Relay         Girls    Finals
            3:25     4 X 800m Relay          Boys   Finals
            3:40     100m Hurdles             Girls    Prelims
            4:00     110m Hurdles             Boys   Prelims
            4:20     100m Dash                  Girls    Prelims
            4:40     100m Dash                  Boys   Prelims
            5:00     3200m Run                 Girls    Faster Heat
            5:20     3200m Run                 Boys   Faster Heat
            5:45     200m Dash                  Girls    Prelims
            6:05     200m Dash                  Boys   Prelims


            3:00     Triple Jump    Girls
                        Long Jump      Boys
                        Shot Put          Girls
                        High Jump      Boys  (starting 5'4")
                        Pole Vault       Girls  (starting 6')
                        Discus             Boys

           We will adhere to the starting time for each event and NOT move ahead of schedule.

Bus leaves at 7:20am


                                    *ALL EVENTS ARE FINALS*

            9:00     100m Hurdles             Girls   
            9:05     110m Hurdles             Boys  
            9:15     100m Dash                  Girls   
            9:20     100m Dash                  Boys  
            9:35     4 X 200 Relay             Girls   
            9:45     4 X 200 Relay             Boys  
            10:10   1600m Run                 Girls   
            10:25   1600m Run                 Boys
            10:40   4 X 100 Relay             Girls
            10:50   4 X 100 Relay             Boys
            11:00   400m Dash                  Girls
            11:25   400m Dash                  Boys
            11:50   300m Hurdles             Girls
            12:10   300m Hurdles             Boys
            12:30   800m Run                   Girls
            12:45   800m Run                   Boys  
            1:00     200m Dash                  Girls
            1:10     200m Dash                  Boys
            1:20     3200m Run                 Girls    Slower Heat
            1:40     3200m Run                 Boys   Slower Heat
            2:00     4 X 400 Relay             Girls
            2:15     4 X 400 Relay             Boys


            9:00     Long Jump      Girls
                        Triple Jump    Boys
                        Discus             Girls
                        Pole Vault       Boys  (starting 10')
                        High Jump      Girls  (starting 4'2")
                        Shot Put          Boys

           We will adhere to the starting time for each event and NOT move ahead of schedule.


Three days of schedules

For our 9/10 championships on Thursday...

TJ Twilight on Friday...

Cherry Creek Invite on Saturday....

Check out the post from Sunday for more information.

Coach Nack
Rip 'em with the teeth
   Tear 'em with the claws
      Bring in the meat wagon


What happened to the league standings thing Nack mentioned?

Instead of updating last night's post I thought I'd just get a new post up. The table below deals with something all athletes need to keep in mind as they compete this week and head into next week: Continental League Championships. The table below has the our top athletes in each event (non-wind aided marks only) and where that would place in league competition.

Some people shut down when they see that they are behind, but others prosper because they know the goal. This post is for the latter of these two groups.

Coach Nack
Rip 'em with the teeth
   Tear 'em with the claws
      Bring in the meat wagon