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Archive for the ‘All Things Running’ Category

~excited about what the future will bring, now that I’ve established myself in two areas (running and triathlons)

~looking forward to starting the triathlon build phase in the off-season, instead of chasing after fitness during high season due to a lack of planning

~looking forward to a lot of stupid running next year

~looking forward to 2010, a year of training without Ironman-distance goals

~excited about knowing that my triathlon finishes come down to a good swim. Good to know what to focus most of my training time on

~excited about enjoying myself in all sports activities, and also enjoying the company of great friends here and everywhere!

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Received an email that the marathon was nearly sold out.  Don’t know if that’s true or just a sales tactic, but I signed up for it because it is one of my local marathons.  Let’s see–San Diego R&R, Long Beach, Carlsbad, OC, Los Angeles, Pasadena, and Catalina as well.  There’s probably one in Santa Clarita, but I haven’t scoped that one out yet.

I’m sitting in my office barely able to concentrate.  I think I slept funny because one side of my neck muscles are complaining loudly.  Hard to keep my head up.  An enforced rest day for me.  Maybe I’ll check out what other marathons I can get into early next year!

Surf City Medals

Surf City Medals

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I wonder. I bought a pair (CEP brand) at the San Diego Rock & Roll expo recently, and had not thought of testing it out despite the numerous opportunities. Was just thinking about running SFM after Vineman one week apart. I’m going to a multi-day thing in Lake Tahoe in September. If these things hasten recovery, then I’m using it for Tahoe!

Today, I did a slow 21 miler. The lack of the usual pummeling makes me question the idea of testing it now. But right after I put it on, I didn’t mind the feeling of compression over my entire lower leg. Feels nice. I even wore it outside, getting some remarks from a young college-age kid who is more used to seeing grandmoms wear them.

I’ll keep it on the rest of the night. Tomorrow, I get to do a bike ride and run at Fiesta Island. These things are usually 1.5 hour affairs that will make you feel your legs if you have been working them the day before. I guess the test tomorrow is to see if my legs feel any different going into another hard workout in the same weekend. We’ll see.

First use of CEP compression socks!

First use of CEP compression socks!

Follow-up:  the areas that had compression was fresh for the run the next day.  Unfortunately, the upper legs were still recovering and had some soreness.  So I decided to slow down in the run.  Yeah, compression socks work!  But compression tights are better.

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At track, many of our strong runners came up to me.  It was hard for them to comprehend how a meltdown like RnR could happen.

When I mentioned that I had no energy at mile 1, somehow it made it easier to digest.  It wasn’t a pacing issue or a mid-race mistake–it was simply a case of the body not allowing any useful progress on the course.

I guess due to their competitive nature, most were thinking I’d be kicking myself over and over in my head.  And owing to my point of view, I had already left this race and moved on to a new one.  I let myself talk about it this time, since I needed to communicate with them what happened.  They care enough to ask, I would be generous enough to explain.

So, it’s not likely that there is backsliding going on.    I belted a fast one on track (a 1:30 400) and it’s all there.  Just looking for the next 26.2 to let it go.

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Goshdarn it, I have to admit–this is by far the best expo they put on as far as quantity and quality of vendors and things to do. I spent an hour or two just walking around and looking at stuff. I ended up buying a few things that I’ll talk about later.

I saw one of our teammates (Crystal) who volunteered at the athlete registration area. She was in the 2000-2999, and I was just in the next table 1000-1999. So it was hard to miss her. Anyway, we went into the Gaslamp area for a late lunch over at Hard Rock Cafe. The restaurant is just right across Horton Plaza, which is a few blocks from the convention center.

I talked to Dave (Crystal’s hubbie) before I left. He was helping out a friend at one of the booths. Oh yeah, Dean Karnazes was speaking to the audience at the podium. Stock stories. But he still commands a captive audience due to his exploits. Don’t know why I keep noticing–he seems so emaciated. I don’t know if he is losing all that body fat and muscle just by his non-stop running or what. He always looked more cut and younger than I was–now it’s the other way around. I think he is pushing himself too much? Anyway, I shook his hand and said Hi. I’m sure he could place my face (somehow the guy looks familiar in the thousands of faces he’s encountered), but I kindly offered my name to make it easier. He smiled before he walked on to the Accelerade booth, one of his sponsors, to sign copies of magazines for the crowd.

I was supposed to go swimming at the ocean tonight, but I was at the expo late. So, scratch that. On my way out, I spotted another teammate (Sarah) at the corner. Called her on the cell, but not before the San Diego’s Finest spotted me pick up my phone. So I’m making a small contribution to the state’s budget tonight. No skin off my back. One of the officers was actually funny; we talked about the marathon for a few minutes. He wished me luck.

So I bought some top of the line compression socks that I’ll try in the marathon. Should be great. I also bought (drum roll) the latest and greatest–Garmin 310XT. Supposed to have 20 hour battery, and waterproof to 50 feet. The Garmin rep said–the 405 and 405CX are water-resistant, but by no means–should be used while swimming. He said that the force of the arm entering the water is enough to compromise the water-resistance, so you won’t even need the typical submersion beyond 3 feet to cause it to take in water. Danger!!!!

I don’t think I’ll use the 310XT for the marathon. Maybe for the next ocean swim! The rep said it is perfect for triathletes like me. It is sizable though, so you have to think about taking it off before taking off your wetsuit. There is no way to force the wetsuit arm cover over the 310XT (like I recently did with my cheapo Timex Ironman watch).

I spotted Dane Rauschenberg, another fellow Marathon Maniac. Talked to him a while, and then got his book, “One Man, 52 Weekends, 52 Marathons”. He’s got one of the big shoe companies as his sponsor (can’t remember who). He did say that he is just off an 8 marathon in 7 weeks streak, where he lowered his PR to 2:49. He said he is both too tired and too busy. Oh, he is a lawyer up in DC when he is not doing mondo running.

Also spoke to Les Wright, the RD for the Tahoe Triple. He said he spotted my entry last night, and was happy I was coming back. We chuckled about how the body makes you forget the small hills up in Lake Tahoe. I’m only kidding of course–altitude at 6500-7500 feet, huge hill climbs, and 72 miles of misery. Don’t you just love it?

Did notice Bart Yasso, selling his book at his own booth. Noticed him in Big Sur, Disneyworld, and now San Diego. Always wanted to know what he is about. I guess I have to find out one of these days, so I can go talk to him too. Also saw John Bingham, a contributor to Runners World. Penguin Chronicles I think.

So I have to admit having fun at this expo. Plus, watching all the good-looking people (healthy people are very good-looking) was worth a couple hours of my Friday afternoon. So what if I spent a pretty penny tonight, plus a contribution to the state budget? Ha ha. I’m going to hang out and drink my Mimosa, thank you! And maybe finish off half the Hickory Bacon Cheeseburger meal from Hard Rock. Monstrous, those things are.

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Coming from the long slow run tradition, every practice at higher speeds is a learning experience.  I’m surprised I can run this fast.  I haven’t been at it that long, but here are a few lessons I’ve heard from others or learned on my own.

Do it slowly and ramp up carefully. It is possible to take on too much too soon.  Listen to your body and be ready to back off if it looks like you can’t keep it together.

Schedule plenty of rest days while you ramp up. I have one complete rest day and another active rest day each week in the past 6 months.  Even though I arrive tired at my rest day, I always feel ready and refreshed when my first quality workout comes up.

Know what you need and focus. My mileage has actually come down.  It comes from focusing on quality versus quantity, and the need to stay healthy while running faster.

Work with a plan. Talk to a coach or mentor.  You can also look one up like Daniels or Pfitzinger, but be careful about loading up on miles before you are ready.  I use these as guides, and came up with my own plan based on my current fitness.

Use the methods to good effect. Intervals will let you gain speed.  Repeats will help establish a sustainable pace.  Long runs develop your endurance.  And marathon pace will of course get you to your new working speed.  Do be careful about loading up too much too soon.

Schedule weekly track practice. I find my time at track to be very beneficial.  While I don’t necessarily focus on gaining speed every time, I sometimes use track to practice lengthening my stride, increasing stride rate, or practicing my running form.  I also mess around with running flat out for a straight 400 or 800 when I’m feeling the need for some speed.  I also use the time to watch the stronger runners perform and interact with them.

Learn to operate at the higher speeds. There are mechanical and physiological considerations at the higher speeds.  Mechanical–stride rate, stride length, and running form come to mind.  You simply can’t run fast without involving your entire body.  Physiological–elevated heart rate, breathing, lactic acid build-up, hydration, nutrition, and fatigue.

Stay healthy. Look after your nutrition.  Know what your body needs and eat!  Do everything you can to not get sick.  Don’t get side-tracked because of injuries–running-related or otherwise.

Find an athlete (willing or unwilling) to compare against. I have access to results for our strong age-groupers, elite runners, and pros.  I make it a point to function at or hover near their training zones.  As much as I can put up with anyway.  One cross-country runner sets a blistering 5K pace on track at 6:15.  The faster guys operate at 5:45.  For me at least, I would like one day to surpass this pace when I’m ready for much stronger speeds.

Stay away from activities that work against your plan. Friendly runs or competing activities will do this.  If it does not add, it might take away.  Trail running generally works against gaining speed.

Dream big. You need to anyway.  Transitioning to higher speeds is not easy and you really have to work at it.  So having a big dream will make it all worth the work you put in.

I’m on my first phase.  It just happens to be on a six-month schedule.  I call it my “wait and see” approach, to find out how my body reacts to faster running.  Once I’ve established a new training zone and speed, I might go into a second phase and attempt a faster run at the end of the year.  It really all depends on what my body can handle.

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Here it is:  PloS ONE

The research title shows:

How Do Humans Control Physiological Strain during Strenuous Endurance Exercise?

Jonathan Esteve-Lanao1, Alejandro Lucia1*, Jos J. deKoning2, Carl Foster3

Please look at the article link for details.

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