Archive for May, 2008

Oh how I love going to the San Diego expo, or any running expo for that matter. So many good looking and fit people! And the exhibitors just want to talk to you so you can part with your cash at their booth! The ones that are selling anyway. The lady from the Philly marathon booth saw my Cox Rhode Island running shirt–she happily engaged in talking about some streets that were familiar and some that weren’t. I was really only in Providence for 2 days. Spoke to a Powerbar attendant, who happily talked about concoctions and what part of the run these are good for. Powerbar is apparently getting into the sports drink business. Spoke to a few ladies selling caps with gel holders in them. If I can get back there tomorrow, I’ll probably get one to test during the marathon.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to this run. I don’t mind being placed in corral 2; I’m thinking I was in corral 3 or 4 last year. There are fewer slower runners to get around in the front. It will be just me an a thousand of my closest friends!

I’m starting to appreciate how flat this marathon is, after running PV, Big Sur, and a few other hilly marathons in the east coast. There is no reason for me to run this one slow at all! We’ll see. Hope everyone shows up for this race all ready or in costume!

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So I met this lady today who told me she was bored with running.  Huh?  How can that be?

She equated marathoning to giving birth.  Got to admit, it’s an apt description.  You don’t mind the start and finish, but somewhere after the mid-stage you will ask yourself “why do I do this to myself?”.

I mentioned I learn something new in every race.  Told her I delighted in knowing I still have a lot of energy after mile 21.  She seemed to understand what I meant by that.

For training, she runs with a friend.  She also pushes a stroller with her two kids in it.  She casually mentions there are hills in her neighborhood.  Don’t know–maybe she just hasn’t gotten to the point of knowing what motivates her.  Someone who can run with a heavy stroller up any hill is stronger than me in my book.

She’s done San Diego Rock & Roll five times.  Maybe that’s why she’s bored.  She should branch out and do more races elsewhere.  She was happy to talk about her experience in Fort Collins (Colorado), where the course has a 14-mile downhill section.  Fried her quads.  Told her I am a downhill specialist.  Ha ha.  So true though.

Anyway, it was fun to talk to this lady.  I guess she’s happy with 11 marathons in 4 years.  Maybe that is all that’s in her tank.  Some only do one time and that’s it.  Guess can’t ask for more.

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I seldom think about it, because I trained in maintaining balance for years as a young man. I take it for granted that everyone should be able to do what I do. Unfortunately, that is a wrong assumption.

Here are a few exercises that should improve one’s ability to handle uneven surfaces or running areas where the ground has small and abrupt elevation changes. Note that the knees are always slightly bent. Please do these exercises carefully, but do so at your own risk. If it helps you, then that’s great!

1) lateral leap — leap 1 meter to the left or right (repeat 12 times). Ensure that you land on your forefoot and that your knees are bent at all times. It is okay to use the arms to propel yourself sideways. Both feet should land at the same time.

2) follow the level — if you are transitioning from the road to the sidewalk, attempt to not use your quads to get up on the sidewalk. Use your back foot’s toes (leg closest) to bring yourself up slowly as the leg moves forward and over the sidewalk. This allows for a smoother transition versus using your quads and knees to get up and over. If the elevation change exceeds two feet, walk up don’t run up. You might hyper -stretch something .

3) single leg hops — repeat 12 times for each leg. Land on the forefoot and feel the springing action from forefoot to arch. This allows you to sense how the bones and muscles interact, and the muscle memory will allow better handling for uneven surfaces.

4) choose the right surface — if faced with a choice of surfaces to run on, always opt for the one that provides the best feedback. Asphalt is best. Avoid ruts, grass, concrete, and sand if possible. Wood is actually great to run on, but only if it hasn’t been dried out. Sometimes, the ground can be too hard so go and run on the softer shoulders if you can.

5) keep your thinking hat on — don’t zone out during your run. Look 30 feet ahead and check for obstacles. Prepare a plan and then execute. It will become second nature after a while.

More to come!

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I’m spending this weekend more for equipment issues versus training.

I think the rest my body is getting is more beneficial, given that I hardly get a day to do nothing.  I  just  connected my small footprint workstation to my big TV.  I now have a monster monitor!  In any case, this configuration might help with future plans regarding laptop-related training software especially since my big TV is in front of most of my training equipment.

I’m headed out to play with my bike now.  I’ll go for a fun run (zone 2) afterwards.  I’ll then do some swim mechanics.  I’m sure I’ll resume endurance training again tomorrow.

Somewhat overcast outside with occasional sunshine.

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So I checked my weight after Palos Verdes and what do I see?  145 lbs.  Ordinarily it would be a welcome sight; unfortunately, my training is going into overdrive.  What it means is that losing weight will now be a normal occurrence.

145 lbs is a good weight for me.   I can certainly see myself go to 140 at the rate I’m working out.  That will be skin-and-bones.  Got to increase my food  intake fast!

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I just got back.  Palos Verdes is right next to Long Beach.  Very pretty course and a grand view over the water (you see Catalina Island).

It was fun, but unfortunately we were running under a heat wave.  It might have reached 100 degrees F by noon.  I soaked my shirt with water, but I still had the tendency to overheat.

As in Chicago, I passed plenty of runners who were suffering from the heat.  I always knew I was a warm weather person, and I do a good job with heat management strategies during the race.  I know this running couple who are pretty fast (they sometimes win their age groups or races outright).  They ran the same race today, and they finished minutes behind me.  Definitely a weather thing going on, because me finishing in front of them never happens.

I’m hiding from the heat in my house.  I’m going to bed right now.  I’ve had enough of the outside for the day.

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I was enjoying the sun outside (all of 90 degrees in SoCal) and got to thinking–what’s a good description for me?

I am definitely a marathoner–as this is my preferred activity when I have nothing better to do.

Plenty of runners call me an ultra-runner–something that is starting to fit with my psyche.  Okay, given that I run a lot and run ultras too, that;s an apt description.

I have started calling myself a try~athlete.  Yes, I engage in preparing for triathlons these days; but I don’t feel right about taking any other description until I have toed the line.

I guess my preparations are laughable at this point regarding the two other sports (swim and bike).  But hey, it’s only been two weeks!

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I’ll be signing up for the 2009 lottery again when it opens up last quarter of this year.  If I don’t make it in, I plan to volunteer to be a pacer from night-to-day.   So for the end of June next year, that is where I’ll be–out in the WS course one way or another.

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The good:

1) No black and blue toe nails (that’s a first). I took care to lace my shoes snug and also size it to have the wiggle room. I was also mindful of my feet while navigating the steep descents.
2) No blisters. I just taped (minor) over the usual hotspots. I concentrated the taping on the soles of my feet in the front strike zone. I avoided taping over the top of my foot since the thinness of the skin causes it to come off after many miles.
3) I know how to run steep descents now! Seriously–ask me how.
4) Keeping the core body temp cool is a good use of packed water.
5) My muscles didn’t complain once from all the running; my lactate treshold must be very high now.  The core is still weak though.

The bad:
1) Coke is wonderful, but only if you don’t ingest it often. Nauseated from miles 30 on up.
2) Your time speaks to your motivation. Had no set plan other than to finish, so I got that.

The ugly:
1) I might have compromised my finish time by lining up in the back.

Things I noticed:
1) Runners had pacers after mile 30. It’s a great way to feed off someone else’s energy. Or maybe having a conversation or two distracts you from the work at hand.

Lessons learned:
1) The best way to train for an ultra is to run trails! Specialization. So how well can I do if I mainly run marathons?
2) In the latter stages, the body responds to routine. So even if you are totally tapped of energy, just the act of running keeps the feedback loop going–you keep running because you are running.
3) Never underestimate the power of a kind word in the latter stages.
4) Even if you are not hungry, keep the feedings consistent. The pain of going long may mask other body signals.

Most runners I talked to on the course have done a number of 100s. I ask myself how does anyone do 100s? I won’t find out until I toe the line and answer that question myself. I may have an opportunity coming up in Philadelphia.

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