Monday, May 26, 2014

Crunching the numbers

Sometimes life gets in the way of training, other times training is my way of life.  

Getting to the meat and potatoes of training, I have two weeks until Kettle 100 so as life gets in the way, here is how my week shapes up and my thoughts with the training plan.  
Sunday, May 25 -13.5 miles at an aerobic fat burning level. Total time 2:06:27, avg. hr 149.
Monday, May 26 - gave myself the COMPLETE day off.  Napped on & off. Training's working!
Tuesday, May 27 am - 5 mile run. A little tempo, just to make my heart & lungs work.
Tuesday, May 27 pm - 60 minutes in the pool. Non pounding, cross training.
Wednesday, May 28 am/pm - 5 mile runs (total 10 miles), just cruising speed.
Thursday, May 29 am - 5 mile run injected with some speed.
Friday, May 30 am - 5 mile run easy.
Saturday, May 31 - 13.5 miles at aerobic levels.

At night I have planned 30 minutes of ab work, as my core still needs some strengthening.  The back half of any ultra, you always need a solid core to keep your form in a good upright posture. 

I know what it feels like to feel overwhelmed by training hours, to hate yourself for sleeping in and missing a session, to choose everyone else and not be selfish with choosing yourself but in the end I always subscribe to the motto, "better to show up to the start line 10% under-trained than 1% over-trained.  We are now in the season of graduations, friends and family gatherings and as the weather finally warms up distractions from training are in full swing.  So write out your training plan, hang it on the frig, post it on Facebook or tell everyone about it.  It's okay to cut it short, miss a session and take a full rest day.  Listen to your body, it will tell you what it needs.  
I have not had the best training going into Kettle but my mind is focused on the task at hand and I will take the next two weeks to make sure I am on the start line healthy.

P.S. Yes, those are our babies!  Hilo, my Big Kahuna and Kona Bean (ridge on her nose).  

Thursday, May 22, 2014

10,000 to 1

Defying the odds, four runners stopped their race and carried another runner towards the finish of the Boston marathon this year.  It was captured on cell phones and uploaded for the world to see.  It was truly inspiring to see people encouraging people, runners helping each other and the crowd supporting it all.  If you have run a marathon in Boston, New York, Chicago or London you know the sheer size of the spectators that line each course numbers well over one million. Sometimes spectators are lined up 4 or 5 deep in some places and when you are in the last 10k of the race your legs require all the strength and support they can find.  
As the the sunrise creeps closer to 5:00 am, my morning runs have become longer and start earlier. It was on one of those runs, a weary bathrobe was gathering the newspaper on the driveway and interrupted the cross section of my pitter-pattering feet and laboring breathing with a "looking sharp runner."  It caught me off guard but was a welcome refreshment of encouragement.  I enjoy the solitude of running, the peace and quiet my mind and soul acquire when nothing else matters except putting one foot in front of the other.  The clarity of thought that allows me to return with a solution to a problem that vexed me when I left the house.  Alone in my thoughts, stress and troubles fade away and I often wonder why did Tom Hank's character in Castaway leave the island? Grab the volleyball and run around the island, a perfect storm of tranquility, tropics and unlimited miles.
But my inner circle of support reminds me I cannot and could not do it alone.
Dr. T ran her first single track technical trail 50k race this past weekend.  Learning the lesson that if you tumble on the trail, if not for a passing participant there is not a soul around to help you up, dust you off and see that you continue on your way.  
Coach Jeff K (outside of still hearing him say, "walk with a purpose-walk with a purpose") always sums up the 100 miler as the front 50 are with your legs and the back 50 are with your mind.
Heather tells everyone to stay away from me during the first 50 miles as I am cussing, swearing and grouchy - no one is safe. All the while swearing to never do another one and questioning why I signed up for this in the first place.  The second 50 is the polar opposite.  My mind has taken over and in a Michael Jordan-esque state, I am in a zone.  Every now and then in a race I can be heard talking to my inner self.  I become Rain Man, mechanical even robotic not in movement but in mind. Left, right, left, right, left, right, another mile, another aid station, next aid station, another mile and so on.  I believe it is my ADHD or ADD or whatever you want to call it, I like it.  I thrive on it. It is an empowering drug that is best stated, "I like to see how far I can push myself mentally when physically I have nothing left."
In the ultra community because of the sheer distance and duration of races, spectators are sparse.  Most huddle around the start/finish campground and some trek to aid stations to surprise and support the runners.  I will say they are put through a grueling day as well as the runners.  They may catch a longer nap but they snap to attention when their alarm goes off indicating their runner is due to check in soon.  They gather what supplies they think might be needed, pamper their runner for a minute or two, wish them well, pack up and organize for the next visit.  It could be 20 miles down the road or 5 hours later.  Whatever the gap before we see a familiar face it is always welcomed.  So if you are going to venture into the ultra community, we welcome you with open arms.  Embrace the distance, enjoy the race, acknowledge and savor the supportive spectator.  Because when you calculate the marathon spectator in relation to an ultra spectator, can figure out that ratio.
Unless you want to run with Wilson.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

$210 All you can eat buffet

Raise your hand if you run to eat.  Run to drink?  Run to burn off the calories you have eaten, are presently eating or are scheduling to eat.  If you raised your hand to any one of the preceding scenarios, the ultra marathon may be for you...well, sort of.  
As I have made a few more public appearances at run groups, the topic of discussion has been what I eat before, during and after my races.
Remember, what works for me may not work for you but it might give you a guideline.  I hope you are hungry because here we go.
Before the race.
So many runners know the term "carbo load."  Typically I stress carbs before my heavy training days.  Bonk Breaker before the morning run and after it's chocolate milk with Endurox.  Breakfast is oatmeal or cream of wheat with berries. A bagel and a small cup of coffee mid morning.  Pretzel nuggets throughout the morning.  Lunch is ham and cheese on gluten free raisin bread with pretzels and homemade date bars.  Fruit salad mid afternoon.  Dinner varies day to day. Ground turkey spaghetti (gluten free), BBQ pork chops over rice, fish tacos, sushi or grilled chicken over salad but it's always a protein and a carb.  Of course, water, water and more water.  In the days right before a race the menu of items gets reduced to what I know works well in my stomach - plain oatmeal, PB&J on gluten free raisin bread, easy sauced turkey spaghetti.  I do not have an allergy to gluten, my body seems to process it better (faster) and I do not feel weighed down. 
During the race.  
Every ultra has aid stations and most of them offer standard fare but depending on the geographic area of the race you could be treated to some down home hospitality cooking.  I try to stay on a hydration schedule by carrying two water bottles (one for water and one for a sports drink) although eating is a whole other ballgame.  The answer I give is, "what did you eat at your Fourth of July picnic?  That's what I eat."  I can only take so many gels and other endurance nutrition products before my body is seeking solid food.  My point is I eat what my body craves whenever I hit an aid station. The following items I have consumed at different races; pb&j squares, avocado slices, peanuts, m&ms, oreos, pizza, watermelon, payday candy bars, fig newtons, boiled potatoes, chicken soup, chicken broth, meat stew, quesadillas, chocolate chip cookies, vanilla wafers, orange slices, grilled chicken sandwich, mini subs, chocolate covered almonds, chex mix, trail mix, pretzels, pepsi cola, mountain dew, ginger ale and any sandwich on King Hawaiian dinner roll.  I never know what I will feel like eating.  Sometimes, I come into an aid station and nothing looks appetizing other times I am eating everything in sight.  I always walk out of an aid station with a few items in hand it's less jostling on my stomach and I give myself a few minutes to eat.  Of course, there have been times when my stomach launches a protest (details not needed).
After the race.
All runners know the post race meal is one of the best rewards.  Nothing is off limits.  I have asked my body for a huge effort and so I reward it as such.  First things first, my recovery shake of chocolate milk and Endurox.  After a shower, Epsom salts in an ice bath, recovery tights and sandals then it's off to the meal of the century.  Depending on the time, it could be breakfast, lunch or dinner but here are a few items off of my reward meal; Ruth Chris' steak dinner, North Carolina BBQ plate o' everything, Denver omelet and well done potatoes but my two favorites are a Reese peanut butter cup blizzard at Dairy Queen or a 4x4 at In-n-Out burger!!!!!  In the days following the race, I will not discriminate from any food group.  My "binge" usually lasts 3-4 days and my body starts to send signals that it actually misses the nutritionally healthy foods, so it's time to jump back on the wagon.
I am never on a "diet" of what to eat or not to eat, it is everything in moderation with an occasional splurge. The $210 is the average cost of my 5 ultras this season.  Cost per mile for what you get to eat beats a marathon, don't you think?
A new section to the right is "The Fast Lane."  These are friends of mine that are great runners, Meagan Nedlo an Olympic Trials marathon qualifier and Dan Kittaka an artist that burns a 2:39 marathon in between sketches.
This week's workouts
Sunday 2 hour am run
Monday 1 hour tempo am run  1 hour easy pm run*
Tuesday off*
Wednesday 1 hour hill workout*
Thursday off*
Friday 1 hour tempo am run  2 hour easy pm run
Saturday 4 hour early am run  3 hour easy walk/run overnight run
Sunday 2 hour easy run.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Flintstone's Closet

Add another three letter acronym after my name, BDD.  I have been told I suffer from body dysmorphic disorder.  I am not sure it's a true case but I think everyone has moments where they are just not happy with how they look.  After a week of inactivity and two decent effort weekend runs, I felt the steps I made forward were in reverse.  I also think athletes are harder on themselves and sometimes we focus on how we look rather than on how we feel and perform.  
The past couple of run club events that I promoted for CW-X, I have been asked about my training, what I wear and how long I recover.  Discussions among different body types inspired this week's blog and I would like to remind everyone to choose what fits and works for you. Collecting product information and listening to opinions is always valuable but purchase products that work for you not just because someone else says that it works for them.  I am a huge proponent of product testing at running stores.  If you hear that your running store's weekly run is holding a product sponsored wear test, make it a point to attend.  There is no better way for a risk free, no cost product trial than to put it on and pound out a 4-6 mile run.  It beats 30 seconds on a treadmill or a quick try in the dressing room. 
For those that remember and for those who don't know, the Flintstones (cartoon version) family that we watched on Saturday mornings consisted of Fred, his wife Wilma, daughter Pebbles and Dino (the DOG-asaurus).  
The next paragraph may be too much personal information, so feel free to skip down.  
My shoe size is an 8 with a width of 4E.  Yes, it is an 8 4E!  Fred Flintstone like and the joke among many of my circles is my foot is as wide as it is long.  It does limit the brands I choose because of width and right now New Balance 890 and 910 Trail are in my closet.  As for bottoms, I wear CW-X. Combine the weight of Wilma and the height of Pebbles and you would be correct in saying I wear CW-X Women's XS.  Yes, Women's XS.  My bottoms I am wearing this season, especially for my races are the CW-X Endurance Generator 3/4 tights.  It is what fits and works and I have no problem announcing it.  As for tops, I stretch the spectrum of many brands but I prefer The North Face tops (Better than Naked) and Sugoi outwear.  Yes, they are always size Small and sometimes (depending on cut) I have to go Extra Small.  In summary, I am 5 foot 7 inches tall and I weigh 122 lbs.
This year I have joined the back half of the first decade of the Men's Masters category (that's 45-49)! I admit that I cannot pound miles like I used to in my thirties and I am adamant that before and after runs I HAVE to warm up, warm down, stretch and ice.  This goes out to all runners that suffer from those little aches and pains, nagging injuries and downright awful reminders that season after season we need to take the proper steps to enjoy our racing seasons.  
Before every run, whether it's speedwork, tempo runs or long weekend runs - warm up!  It could be a quick 5 minute brisk walk, or an easy mile or two jog.  Your body (legs, lungs, heart - basically every organ) needs some wake up time.  Get your workout done and warm down with special care. Walk around for 5 minutes, stretch, rehydrate, walk around some more and stretch again. However long it took you to warm up, double it and make sure that you warm down.  For me, that is an essential part of my recovery formula.  It enables me to repeat long mileage runs and allows me to log 100+ mile weeks at the peak of my training.  As you can see from the column on the right, I have another sponsor - Pacific Health Labs.  As I have posted, nothing better for a post run recovery drink than Endurox mixed with chocolate milk.  It's a serious chocolate shake!
This upcoming week's training schedule is as follows:
Sunday - 2 hour am run, 1 hour pm run (both easy 9:00 pace) *
Monday - 30 minute am tempo run (7:50-8:00 pace), CW-X run club pm run *
Tuesday - 60 minute run  (easy recovery pace) *
Wednesday - marathon speedwork or hill work *
Thursday - day off
Friday - 60 minute am tempo run (8:15 pace) *
Saturday - 3 hour am run, 2 hour pm run *
Two last things you may want to know, first my body usually falls comfortably into a 9:00/mile pace and second the * means 30 minutes of core and balance work.