Friday, February 27, 2009

Q: How do I run faster? A: Buy a bike!

I have been running with a Garmin Footpod since acquiring a treadmill in September 2007. Originally I purchased it to aid me in using my Forerunner 305 while running on the treadmill; the Forerunner will not work due to fact it uses its GPS functionality for measuring distances.

Out of the box the Footpod was pretty accurate to the treadmill calibration and given that it was a brand new treadmill I had no reason to disbelieve it. I have since proven it’s out of the box accuracy on a track; at least it works for me and my stride length etc. In addition to providing you with the usual data that you can receive, depending on you personal settings, one other dataset that is not standard is cadence.

I had always heard that the way to run faster is to run quicker, that is to increase you cadence (or churn or turnover as it is sometimes called, and using the Footpod on the treadmill I was able to do this. Then last year a friend of mine (thanks Fred) told me that he had been able to use the cadence setting on his Forerunner while being outdoors; to do this when you have the prompt to “Use indoors?” you simply say no…that’s it! You can also then program the Forerunner to beep (read annoy the *beep* out of you) when you deviate from your settings.

The other factor that comes into play is form and I read a really good blog post by ultra runner Rhonda who describes her experience with pain, injury and form here and I have stolen the video from her blog and posted that below, it’s good stuff and worth watching.

Personally I remember watching some video of ultrarunner Anton Krupricka on YouTube and thinking how effortlessly he seemed to cover the ground and without any really thinking I tried to emulate his style which I have (kinda least in my own mind) got down, of course I am lacking all his other attributes; endurance of a mountain goat, weight of 120lb soaking wet and being, what 15 years younger than me etc. And now I can keep up a good pace 7.5 - 8mph or a 7:42 - 7:30 pace with an average cadence in the 85 – 90 range with no real problems for an "average" run, LSD are long and slow and usually on the trails and speedwork is well...speedier, I'll get to that below.

Here's Anton doing his thing:

Look at that scenery; and you still want to know why I run trails....

Anyway as you may know I cross train on a road bike and I also have a Garmin Cadence Monitor mounted (no I do not own any shares in Garmin…maybe I should get some!), in my quest for speed I was told by another friend, Jan, to stop mashing the big gear and get my cadence up, well this I have been working on for the last 6 -7 months and I can now happily (I use happily in the loosest sense of the word) roll along with a cadence around the 90-95 rpm, this the number of times my pedal crank passes a specific point on my chain stay during is rotation within a minute. As a result this has pushed my average speed up; not that you'd know with the amount of cyclists that pass me on the road!

Now this is where the funky stuff starts, there seems to be a direct correlation between the cadence on the bike and the cadence while running with a +/- variance of less than 3%. As mentioned my running cadence is averaging in the 85-90 range. With an average of 90 rpm +/- 3% = 87.9 to 92.7. You can't argue with the numbers.

During my training cycle last year for Twin Peaks I incorporated 6 weeks of speedwork (written about here) which I ended with a 5k race and shaved over a minute off of my 5k personal best finishing in 19:42, placing 5th overall and winning my age group. My average cadence for this race: 93.0.

Since my original purchase I have purchased another Footpod for another set of shoes. Garmin actually sell two versions, the first version, of which both of mine are is a little larger than v2 and requires that you run your laces through it to secure it to your shoe, I understand that that v2 is easier to affix to you shoe by way of a clip. The downside of when I made my purchase was the price and the v2 was always more expensive, now supplies of v1 have dried up and the balance has changed you can purchase, through Amazon, (the source of nearly everything) a v2 for $75 compared to a v1 which is a staggering $185! (I paid $50 for my first v1 and $30 for my second).

So what is the take away from this rambling diatribe is that if you really want to run faster you have to run faster and ride faster…that’ll be another one chalked up to the benefit of cross training then!

PS If you have a minute pop over to Sara's blog and wish Happy Birthday; today's her 30th!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Review; Running for my Father

I was contacted recently by Cody, a friend of mine from the Trail Runner Club, who asked me would I mind reviewing his movie on my blog. I knew he was making a movie but hadn’t been able to get to any of the silver screen showings so I was delighted to have been asked. I replied that I would be more than happy to and a couple of days later the DVD arrived.

Having watched it twice, ironically the first time on a treadmill, to be honest I am not sure what I have to say can do it the justice it deserves.

The story follows Cody after the death of his Father. It’s not often that I am at a loss for words but it was a privilege to have been asked and to have watched Cody share the beauty of his relationship with his Father; something I aspire to have with my sons. To hear how he discovered running and in the short space of a year went from the couch to running his first marathon is inspiring enough but to see the joy and pain that the story highlights; frustration from injury, the high of his first 20 mile run and the triumph of completing the marathon one year to the day of his Father’s death is simply amazing.

If you need something to move you emotionally and physically this is the movie to do it. The movie is available to buy and all profits go to the National Brain Tumor Society. I asked Cody if I could pass on the copy he sent me and he graciously said yes, so it’s yours to the first person who wants it all I ask it that you review it and spread the word.

Here’s the trailer:

Cody is a professional musician and composer; he also worked on Ultramarathon Man and The Runner both of which I also highly recommend watching.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

You know your weekend is too short when...

After a day at work and a brisk 7 mile run in the evening you go home with a bit of sore throat, put the kids to bed, have dinner decide that an early night is in order but have to stretch and foam roll you IT bands before hitting the hay. Half an hour later you wife finds you asleep on the bedroom floor snoring in some sort of pseudo contorted stretch…I am that man!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A backwards two thirds of a triathalon!

Continuing the mix it up theme Sunday's long ride became Saturday's not quite so long as I planned ride. I was aiming for duration rather than elevation knowing that 70 miles through the canyons could take up to at least 5 hours (I average around 13mph on the hilly rides), so I headed off to the coast with the plan of slingshoting myself North along PCH and hoping to get it done somewhere around, ideally under 4 hours. I arrived to find that the sky was as flat as the ocean, billowing grey clouds, that did not offer rain but there was no break fro the sun, and warmth was going to be driven by activity.

I layered up adding additional clothing as set off. It always takes a the first 10 or so miles to settle in and after getting over the initial horror that my iPod's battery was flat, I hit a comfortable pace of 16mph, the first hour clicked by and just after the hour and half mark I reached the turnaround with 24.5 miles on the clock. I knew from previous rides that I would have to added extra "there and backs" to make up the mileage so after 5 miles of heading South again I switched direction again thereby adding at least another 10 miles to the total. I also stopped to take to pictures dolphins that were heading South just out to sea; awesome! The half way point mileage wise came at around 2:15 so I started figuring out what I could achieve in four hours and settled for 60 miles. At the three hour mark my 16mph was being maintained and I had 48 miles covered, at three and a half hours I was at 56 miles covered and it was at this point I realized I was going to run out of road, 3 miles later I rolled up to my car. I took the advantage of being back a fraction earlier than anticipated, stashed my gear, mounted my rack and bike and headed home stopping to pick up some bacon on the way; eggs and bacon sounded pretty good at this point.

I got home fried up the eggs and bacon and threw a couple of waffles in the toaster, grabbed a shower and 40 minutes later I was back in the car with my wife heading off to our swim class. We had rebooked the last two weeks so my expectations were really low. The instructor had suggested that I get some paddles to practice with in between lessons, well I had the paddles but had not practiced. I jumped in and did a couple of warm up laps, after which I slipped on the paddles and started freestyle; as a kid I was taught to swim but never freestyle so I am horrible at this; all elbows and mouthfuls of water and of course as a runner my upper body strength is for squat! However with this paddles, my stoke slowed, I found I made the time to breath effectively and efficiently and managed to only swallow several pints of water instead of the usual gallons. Switching to breast stroke, we discovered that I am actually pretty good at it and it was long before I had changed my usual form of the head boobing along out of the water to one where I was stroking through the water with my head under, much more effective. And so after an hour of this and somewhere around 800-900m we were done and heading for the hot tub!

After such a good lesson I rationalized the missing 11 bike away maybe just maybe this was a swimming turning point! So a mark on my training book but not a black one like from earlier in the week.

Most of Sunday was spent sailing, I am not a sailor nor nautical in anyway but it was a kind of job interview; unfortunately despite all the winds at the beginning of the week we suffering from the quiet after the storm and so there was not much wind, which, with hindsight was probably a good thing given that it meant we could talk. Anyway the interview thing went really well and it looks like there might be something that I can pull out of it.

And that wraps up the week that was!

Here's the MotionBased data and a few photos of bike ride including the dolphin ones.

My black mark!

So Tuesday I fell off the wagon, I had planned to double and ride in the morning and run in the evening but it was not to be, Monday being a holiday meant that I had extra work to do and so I simply ran out of day, I did well to squeeze in the run in the end and I had to convince myself to let the missed workout go; sometimes you just need to. This was my sole black mark in the training plan over five weeks, (until I got to Saturday...details to follow) all in all not bad. I had an easy run and recorded some of Episode 4 of the Quadrathon Podcast, it wasn't the best of runs and was really a metaphor for the rest of the week; rushed, disjointed and out of rhythm…oh well moving on.

The week continued it's theme of being switched up and Wednesday's run was completed after a late start and a late finish…sometime around 10:00pm. Thursday got blown out of the water and so in an attempt to not completely fall off the wagon Friday was a double day. 4:00am the alarm went off and I was on the bike for a little over and hour, that evening finally everything fell into place and I had an awesome run; 9 miles, 1:07:49, average pace 7:31, which more than made up for the really crappy day and week that Friday had ended.

Here are the splits:

Mile 3 was a bit off pace because of the hill, but it was good other then that. And so began the weekend!

A fistful of posts!

No post for a week! Nothing…Nada…Nix! Well here is the catchup!

Monday night was the recording of the West coast Version of the Runners Round Table, this is a sorta, kinda spin off/collaboration from Phedippidations/4Feet Running/Running from the Reaper to name but a few and yours truly was a co-host, apart from my POC crap phone which left me sounding like I was shouting down the wrong end of a wind tunnel, it went really well, there was an active and lively discussion from my co-hosts, Kelowna Gurl, Erin337, Neuman and Solorunner, topics covered were "spousal support" and "fitting it all in" as well as some interesting questions from the chat room, rumor is there is to be another real soon…stay tuned. You can download it from iTunes here.

Today is a threefa, of postings; now that's a first!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The softest ankles west of the Pecos!

Cometh the weekend cometh the long run. This weekend the plan had my first 20 miler for this cycle scheduled. After the success of the changing breakfasts last weekend, I repeated that Saturday morning, grabbed my gear and headed off to the trails. I was planning on running at Cheesboro Canyon which is only 15 minutes by car from my house. We had had a lot of rain (a lot for SoCal) and during Winter when it rains it can take days for the temperatures to bounce back, this morning was no exception and the thermometer in my car was pinging away telling me it was 30f, I didn’t need to be told everything was covered in a white crusty frosty. I switched up my outer layer for a thicker one, ran through my pre-run stretches, donned my vest and headed out, it was cold and I didn’t want to hang about. Just as I was leaving I saw a runner coming out of the park; she would be one of the four people I saw over the next four hours!

Cheesboro Canyon provides a real variety of running terrain and trails. The main trail runs along a canyon floor with parallel trails either side; one on a ridgeline and the other in the adjacent valley (The Ridge and Palo Comado respectively) and my figure of eight route would take in all three main paths. To keep you additionally engaged the terrain changes from open pasture to wooded cover and then to scrubby desert like with a smattering of open rocks face, of course this meant that the potential for a varied running surface as I was to encounter later.

I was aiming for a steady 6mph/10 minute mile pace which is my permanent trail benchmark. I completed the first loop which was just over ten miles in 1:52 so I was a little behind the curve but several areas of thick mud had caused me to drop my average pace. In terms of fuel I was having a Hammer gel every 30 minutes, I keep them in a bottle rather than individual servings which makes for easier access, less waste and less stickiness. I also had two handbottles with Perpetuem in, I had made them in one batch and added a squirt of gel to that as well. The temperature never higher than fifty; it stayed that way all day in fact, and overheating was never a problem, I popped an S-Cap at the 12 mile mark and that was enough.

The second loop took me back along the canyon floor and then over a short sharp climb which then leads to a really nice three mile downhill, unfortunately it was in the last of these three miles that I really came unstuck, well actually the total opposite I was completely stuck; in the mud, grinding to halt and attempting to not go apex over elbow in the deep mud I was forced onto the grass which then stuck to the soles of my shoes in some form of gloopy concoction that in some African countries is used to make houses! They say that mud is a great exfoliate and skin conditioner and based in that my ankles will be lovely judging by the coverage I was getting. After a mile or two of this the trail terrain changed in to one that was more runable and so I picked up the pace and headed back to the parking lot, by this time a little pressed for time…as always!

So in summary, both issues that have ambushed my last two long runs; ITB and bonking were no where to be seen. I have be proactively rolling my ITB 2 x 100 times a day for four weeks and that has resolved that issue and the substitute for an oatmeal based breakfast for a bagel based one has had a significant impact on the long run fueling.

This run is the first of the next 8 weeks of 20 miles or more long runs, next weekend is my last long bike ride and two weekends after that I have my first tune up 50k race for LD50, if it goes as well as this weekend I will be more than pleased.

Here is the MotionBased data and the usual photos, there are some pretty good ones this week!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Don't touch that dial!

For those of you who listen to podcasts and have listened to Phedippidations you may have heard mention or even tuned into the Runners Round Table podcast. RRT is unique in as much as you can listen to it either live as it is recorded or download later to listen to at your leisure, there is also a live chat room that feeds into the recording. The round table element comes in a there are usually between five and tem people “at the table” discussing a specific topic; recent ones include; Disney Marathon and RunCastTV.

For people on Mountain and Pacific Time and all points west it becomes a bit tricky to participate due to the fact that it usually happens while everyone is at work (you know, that thing that allows you to buy new shoes, pay race fees and put your children through school!), so next week there is going to be a spin off from the West Coast and yours truly (that’s me!) is one of the hosts, my other co-horts from the world of blogging, podcasting and the new obsession Twitter(ing) will include: The Ultradad, KelownaGurl, erin337 and solorunner.

The show airs live at 8pm PST and will available for download some time thereafter.

To get to the show go to Talkshoe and look for the Runners Round Table, you don’t have to register to get into the chatroom but if you don’t you’ll just be a “guest” and we won't know who you are, you can ask questions and tell us what a fantastic (or not) job we’re doing!

Back issues if the Runner Round Table can be downloaded through iTunes from this link.

Talking of iTunes The Quadrathon Podcast has been approved by Apple and now has its own feed here which will allow you to put me on your iPod, if you’re reading this in a browser you can click on the player in the side bar and listen right now, Episode 2 is available and Episode 3 is coming soon. Show notes can be found here, feedback and comments etc are very welcome.

Hope to see you at the round table next week!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Who me, a control freak...and no, I don't want a bagel!

So I mentioned in my last post that I was trying a new fueling strategy. Partially prompted by my review of why I bonked during my long run two weeks ago and partially because I am always on the look out for new research etc on topics like this.

The change was prompted by a posting on the 1stEndurance blog reviewing Carbohydrates for Endurance Athletes. While I am no foodie (or control freak) per se I do believe in taking control of the things you can and fueling and hydration is something that you can definitely take control of. I should also caveat this by saying that I am no qualified expert, this is simply based on my own experience and I apologize if this gets too technical but I will try to dissect the info into bite size chunks for your consumption.

Glycogen is the body’s store of carbohydrate based energy; the body has a glycogen store of 1500-2020 kcal. Therefore the body typically has enough of this type of energy store to fuel 3 hours of exercise, assuming a consumption level or 600-700 kcal/hour. Any marathon runner, in fact any runner, has probably heard mention of the wall, this is the threshold the runners encounter typically around the 20 mile mark or three hours, working on the standard of 100 calories per mile, (personally I consume a little higher: 130), assuming that there is no replenishment along the way.

When you exercise or race at or above your threshold level blood is drawn away from non essential functions; digestion is one of these functions, and redirected to the working muscles, this leaves the digestion of foods difficult and can lead to gastric distress and dehydration. This is not something I personally suffer from, but I know a lot of people do.

The criticality comes in consuming the right carbohydrate at the right time as not all carbs are created equal. You may have all heard of slow burning carbs like oatmeal and faster burning carbs like, say, a doughnut. You don’t have to be the sharpest tool in the shed to see the difference between oatmeal and a doughnut, well how about oatmeal vs. a bagel?

Well this is where my change applies; my typical pre-run staple has been a bagel…oops!

Before I commence on the great bagel debate I want to bring into the conversation another measure called the Glycemic Index, the Glycemic Index measures how fast a food is likely to raise your blood sugar. The Index is generated based on glucose, which is one of the fastest carbs available. Glucose is given an arbitrary value of 100 and other carbs are given a number relative to glucose.

This is helpful to know because if your blood sugar is low and continues to drop during exercise you would eat a carb that is high on the Glycemic Index i.e. water melon (Index # 72) this will raise your blood sugar quickly. On the other hand for endurance athletes to keep the blood sugar from dropping during hours of activity, you would eat a carb that has a lower glycemic index and longer action time i.e. fettuccine (#32), hence the pre-marathon pasta dinners you see.

So the proposition is that before exercise you need to ingest slow burning carbohydrates or carbs that are LOW on the Glycemic Index, these, consumed 30-60 minutes before a race are beneficial in as much that they prolong your endurance level.

During exercise there should be a focus on a mix of HIGH and LOW Indexed carbs that both top up the tank immediately and also add fuel for the longer term. Consuming carbs; specifically those that contain fructose (#20) and or glucose (#99) that are easily digested and absorbed reduces the potential for stomach issues and address the immediate and longer term needs.

Post race consuming foods HIGH on the Index promote a speedier replenishment of the lost glycogen stores; additionally protein ingestion has been noted to improve recovery.

So how does the lowly bagel come into play here, well put simply the bagel has an index number of 72! So my simple strategy was to swap out the bagel for a bowl of my cereal killer, and to be quite honest the impact was quite amazing. A 1000g bowl provided 585 calories, during the ride I consumed a bottle of EFS Liquid Shot (400 calories) a bag of Sharkies (140) and a Cliff Builders Bar (270), fluid wise a bottle Amino Vital (90) and two bottles of Perpetuem (520) total 2005 calories, sounds a lot right, well according to my Forerunner I burnt 4050, even allowing for a +/- discrepancy of 20% I was well into the red, however finishing the ride I still felt strong and fueled up with more miles in the tank.

So in typical verbose fashion the take away (excuse the pun) here is; bagels are good after the run and so bye bagel bagel bye bye…at least till I get home, when in fact it would be a good thing to eat!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Riding the Rectangle

So southern California has been having a bit of rain lately, basically on and off since Thursday, I had a very soggy 9 miler Friday night but having spent all week on either the treadmill of bike trainer I needed to get outside come hell or high water and I went with the high water option. In some places the water was running over the curb; that's about 6". I got soaked, but had the most awesome of runs!

This weekend was a bike weekend so I was really hoping the weather would hold as the route I had mapped out took me through some twisty canyon roads, both up and down, and the thought of wiping out going round a corner really didn't appeal. So Sunday morning I set off a little later than I had planned but not by much; it's a trade off between waiting for the light and getting out there early, at least the mornings are getting lighter, slowly but surely.

The route is basically a rectangle, with two flat sides and two canyons to ride through. The first flat side was spent warming up, with all the rain there was a real dampness in the air and the small downhill's were shall we say 'bracing'. I reached the entrance to the first canyon and started to climb, then I rounded a the gradient increased and then after another corner increased still. My bike has a triple chainring and so I have maybe a little greater range than one with a double, but here I was in the granny ring, standing up and moving at around 5mph, a strong side wind would have blown me over! Fortunately the steepest section of the climb was over after about three miles, when I looked at the MotionBased data I saw that in those three miles I had gained about a 1000' (it works out to be about a 6% grade). I finally reached the top of the pass and took some panorama photos looking inland towards the San Fernando Valley and westward towards the ocean. Click on the pics, they're really big.

The descent had a few rollers but essentially I dropped 1800’ over 10 miles, the roads were still wet and so I was riding pretty gingerly and by the time I had reached PCH my forearms were screaming from hanging onto the brakes!

The ride along PCH was uneventful, the surf was still good as a result of the storms and the surfers at Zuma were catching some pretty good waves. There were no dolphins to watch but the cloud was lifting and the sun was twinkling off the ocean. I stopped to strip off few layers, in anticipation of warming up on the next climb.

The ride through Topanga canyon went well and I was quicker than the last time (two weeks ago) by nearly an average per mile of 30 seconds which at least shows some semblance of improvement, doubly pleasing as I had had a longer harder ride before hand. I reached the top and cruised down the backside into the San Fernando Valley, made my way back along the final 5 miles and was home with 61.12 miles 4:56:53 total time/4:36:24 moving time (the variance is due photo stops and clothing changes etc) and an elevation change of +7,013 / -6,822. And best of all, it only started to rain within the last 1/4 mile!

This ride starts week four of the plan, no time for reflection yet as there is some ways to go but so far so good (ish)! I was using a different fueling strategy this ride which went well and I am going to share in a different post.

Here is the MotionBased data and there are quite a few photos here…some of them are actually pretty good!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Branching out...

I’ve been pottering around with this idea for a few months now and only recently have I managed to get my act together and get on with it. So without any real fanfare my I introduce The Quad Cast, the Podcast spin-off from the blog. I figured with this being the 100 mile year and all that it might be fun to give it a whirl and document it in a different format.

This doesn’t mean that I am retiring from blogging here though, it’s going to be in addition to and I hope it goes some way to supplementing the photos and videos that I post.

It’s taken my a little time to get it all together, editing software, hosting sites, iTunes and the like all have their foibles to learn so hopefully while the first few episodes will be a bit rough it should start to polish up over time.

So if you have nothing better to do than listen to me drone on for half an hour you can find and download it from here. I am waiting for the iTunes feed to be reviewed but will post that when it’s approved.

Please post comments good bad or anything in between.

PS Thanks everyone for you messages of support to my last post and for those of you who are interested #15 was the lie; clearly most of you know me far to well!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Reading not writing!

Just a short post to say that I am around and following you, my lack of comments may not indicate that, but all but my attentions are elsewhere right now. Monday I found out that my contract which was due to be renewed in June and up until Christmas was going to be renewed is actually going to end two months early! I guess this is what happens when you employer posts a $1 billion loss for the year!

So back to drawing board, as you all know the economy sucks and we are having to think outside of the box, so far outside that an interstate move may be required, right now we’re not really ruling too many things out; much as we love SoCal we have no major ties to here. So if you know of anyone looking for a Project Manager/Financial Analyst or something that fits in between let me know, who knows if they’re local to you we could be going out for a run together soon!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Mutiple Hits!

I've been hit on Facebook some ten times in the last week with tag, so in attempt to get the biggest bang for my buck they're doing double duty and being posted to blogger as well (there are a couple of edits here)! Enjoy.

Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you.

1. My wife and two boys are the most precious things in my world
2. I constantly debate what my life would be like if my wife and I had had children younger; it’s an inner dialogue
3. I have concluded that the first twenty five years of my life were me just practicing at it and mostly getting it wrong
4. I have two tattoos, but you’ll only ever see one
5. I have had three motorcycle crashes, I passed my car driving test first time after 3 lessons
6. Both of my knees have dislocated; multiple times, as have my wrists, a shoulder and jaw
7. I have only broken one bone; a toe – in anger!
8. I am a qualified horseback riding instructor, I moved to Holland to work when I was 17, I stayed two years and bought, sold and show-jumped horses in northern Europe
9. I spent seven years in the Territorial Army (National Guard) I reached the rank of Sergeant
10. My first trip to the US was with the Army, we went to, of all places, Alabama where I was awarded and Honorary Colonelship for the State
11. I do not have a Bachelors degree but I do have a Masters’
12. I have lived in California for 6 years and never been in the ocean deeper than my knees
13. I have traveled to six continents: Europe, North and South America, Africa, Asia and Australia (if you include New Zealand)
14. I leaned to snowboard in June! OK it was in New Zealand, I have never skied and probably never will
15. I collect those fake credit cards that the banks send you, I have over 5000 of them
16. If I could do it all again I would be an architect, civil engineer or would have joined the Army proper
17. I have suffered from altitude sickness twice; both times it sucked!
18. I have been analyzed as being predisposed as a muscle type II (fast twitch) runner yet I choose to participate in type I (slow twitch) distances
19. I would like to run the Western States Endurance Race and The Last Great Race (look them up on
20. I am the eldest of three boys; there are exactly two years, two months 8 days between the youngest and the middle and then the same between the middle and me...spooky?
21. I am the most cynical person I know when it comes to human nature although I am totally open to being proved otherwise, but I doubt I’ll ever be convinced
22. I love traveling but hate being a tourist, I often find the journey is better than the destination
23. I am highly functioning introvert, but once you get to know me that all changes; it’s not as bad as being a dysfunctional extrovert but close!
24. I am not religious or spiritual in anyway shape or form, I am a dyslexic, agnostic, insomniac and I do spend sleepless nights in bed thinking about the meaning of Dog!
25. One of the above 24 facts is a complete lie…can you tell which!

I am not tagging anyone here but if you want to play...well you know the rules!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Pop Quiz!

I am a glutton for (a) punishment or (b) food?

So I had to switch my long run from Sunday to Saturday which meant that rest day took the reverse switch (Saturday to Sunday) no biggie thought I. I had planned to go back to Boney Mountain where I raced in January and run the first 13 then add a 5 mile loop on, estimated time three and half hours. My wife was also running Saturday morning; she has a half marathon in March, and so we bumbled around in the early hours finally leaving around 7:20am. I was at the trail head 20 minutes later on and up and running by 7:50am; already running behind the curve.

If you’ve read my race report you’ll know that the course has an immediate downhill to a valley floor and from there you work you way up a small peak and back to the valley floor then up a larger one; Boney Mountain itself topping out at 1800’ with an elevation gain of about 1500’ on the second one. I was making pretty good process up with some walk breaks on the steeper section I reached to top and went to step it up a gear on the downhill and there was nothing, nada, nix! The tank was empty! At this point I was a bit worried as I was only just over half way through. I made my way down and reached the bottom and the 12.5 mile mark with five an half miles left to cover I was feeling, to be honest, like crap, heavy legs, couldn’t catch my breath, I just couldn’t find my rhythm. I started negotiating with myself that I should get to 16.2 miles; 90% of the planned distance, I checked my watch and I was really behind schedule so I agreed with me on reaching 15 miles, so I tacked on a short loop, I hesitate to say quick, headed back to to parking lot which I circled for the final quarter mile and called it quits!

So what went wrong, well I was trying a new gel; First Endurance’s Liquid Shot; this is 4 shot bottle; 400 calories and electrolytes, and I wasn’t feeling the recharged feeling that I normally get with Hammer Gels, it's the second bottle I have used now and I have one left but I don't think it will be replacing my Hammer Gels anytime soon. I also had a hand bottle of Perpetuem (260 calories) and another with Amino Vital (90 calories) (750 calories over three hours is right in the middle of my 200-300 per hour target range) so I wasn’t really underfueling while running. With hindsight I think what was the larger contributing factor was that I hadn’t refueled properly from the night before. The previous night I had run 9 miles at a reasonable pace (average 8:28) had had a lightish dinner, watched some TV and gone to bed, for breakfast I had a bagel and coffee, so I think I was running low when I stated and just ran out.

When I got back to the car I grabbed a couple of bottles of Ensure and drank them, by the time I was in the car driving I could feel my body coming out of the red. Also I hadn’t consciously noticed it but it had got pretty warm and the thermometer in the car said 90f!

So not the best of runs but certainly one to learn from, and it's always better to learn while training rather than on race day.

Here’s the MotionBased data and the photos, not too many as the batteries were going.

Oh and the answer the question is (c) both, but apparently not at the right time or in the right order!