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Antioxidants and endurance


Lately I have discovered the magical properties of blueberries and grapes (specifically concord grapes for me).  Sure I heard they were helpful to endurance athletes, but I never suspected they would be so darned powerful against lactic acid and joint inflammation.

As an example:
This past weekend I ran a 9 mile Saturday and followed that with a 17 mile Sunday. On Saturday I was felling pretty sore after the run and was really wondering if I would be OK for Sundays long run. However I ate about a cup of blueberries and literally felt the pain melt away over a few hours. (I also iced my knees, which is a usual ritual in the evenings as I watch a bit of TV.)

Sunday morning came and I was full of energy and completely pain free prior to the run. The 17 miles passed without any issues, and I was a bit stiff afterwards. I cleaned up and fuelled as normal. (Gatorade, protein shake, water, veggie soup) But I followed the meal with a cup of blueberries, and sure enough the pain melted away just as it had the day before.  By the early evening hours it was as if I had not ran a long run at all that day.

I experienced the same results earlier in the week with concord grapes.

Oh, and by the way…the seeds are very healthy and should also be eaten.  Crunch, crunch!Adam closing

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An awesome way to track nutrients

I have been using Cron-O-Meter as a desktop application for some time to keep tabs on my daily intake of calories and nutrients.  As an application developer I often get so busy during the day that I forget to eat, so this helps me stay on track and ensure I get the proper amount of nutrients to workout and run the way I do.  I really like the desktop application, but often wondered why it was not online and even thought of building an online version of my own.

The other day while starting the application I was prompted that a new version was available for download, so I went to the site and learned that the application I loved is now available online at  I immediately created an account and found that the online application is much more functional than the desktop version.  There are more stats, better use of historical data, and it is also much easier to use.

Please check it out.  Many people I talk to complain because they cannot lose weight, even though they work out regularly, while some others have trouble gaining or maintaining weight like myself.  I always point them to the application so they can track their nutrition for a few days.  Many are surprised at the results.  If something is not tracked, we often do not realize what our intake actually is.

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Oil reduced my recovery times

Udo's Oil

This past training iteration was the hardest I have run so far as I prepared for my first 100 mile ultra.  As we know by now, the training went great but I ended the race at 100K (62 miles) instead of my100 mile goal due to nausea caused by slight dehydration on a very hot day.  Many people have asked me if I did anything different as I trained for the ultra, so I am writing this review on one item I have come to love.

Aside from running many more miles and other obvious things to go along with that (ice baths, protein, hydration, gels, food, more food) I also started using Udo’s Oil.  I originally heard about it while reading UltraRunning magazine.  On the inside cover was an ad where a famous ultra runner claimed the oil reduced recovery for him by 1/3.  WOW!!! A full third is HUGE!!!

In the ad there was an 800 number to call for a free sample, so I called.  Couldn’t hurt to try something free, right?

The free sample was actually a pretty large sized bottle, and arrived in only a few days.  On the bottle it was recommended that I ingest 1 tablespoon per day, with a meal, so I tried a few different ways of eating it.  I tried on a salad, and with orange juice, and then with tomato juice which I decided would be the way to do it from then on because it really enhanced the flavor of the juice.  The oil is exactly that, oil. (like olive oil) It has a nutty flavor yet is very mild and easy to eat.  I mix it with about 4 ounces of Campbells tomato juice and drink, generally prior to a meal.

At the time I started eating it I was running around 30 to 40 miles per week, and was doing ice baths after long runs as well as icing as needed.  After about a week or two I noticed a definite energy level increase, and my miles per week were also starting to go up into the 50 range.  I didn’t think about it at the time, but I also had much less soreness after long runs.  I even felt so good I had stopped taking ice baths.  This was not intentional and I did not even notice I had stopped the ice baths.  I simply didn’t feel the need for them, so I skipped them, but did continue the occasional ice packs as needed around my knee joints.

The sample bottle of oil ran out, so I went to my local vitamin store and purchased another larger bottle.  Wow, it seemed expensive compared to the bottle of olive oil you buy at the market.  I almost didn’t buy it, but decided that since the first bottle was free and seemed to help a little I would buy one to continue growing my miles and determine if the oil really helped.

It was almost magical how I was running more miles than I had ever run in my life, running more days per week than previous training iterations, and I was actually doing less for recovery than at lower miles in the past.  I was riding high and felt like superman as I continued pushing higher and higher in my training.  Every day I would wake in the morning feeling fresh and ready for the next run, as if I had not run the day prior at all, at 70 – 80 miles per week!  It hadn’t dawned on me how much the oil was helping.  However, 3 or 4 weeks later as my mileage started hitting 80+ per week I ran out of the oil, and decided to save money and not get more.  I was feeling great, and training was going very well.

Well, let me tell you.  About 2 weeks after running out of the oil I was not recovering from the previous days runs in time for another run.  I had to start the ice baths again no matter how long the run was, and still had to keep ice on my knees a few times each day.  My energy levels were down, I mean way down, and I was starting to doubt my ability in a very serious way.

It was then I realized the ONLY change was the oil.  My diet was the same.  I was running the same.  I was maintaining my nutrition the same.  So perhaps it was the oil making such a HUGE difference.  I immediately went to the vitamin store and purchased another bottle.  I was only a couple of weeks away from a race, and I didn’t want to take any chances.

TAKEAWAY:  So, I believe that Udo’s oil really made a difference in my training.  While I cannot really put a solid number to how it improved my recover, I would say that 1/3 less time sounds realistic.  This past training iteration was extreme as my miles got above 90 over a 25 week period.  Plus I ran out of the oil just before running my “peak” week of 92 miles, so it is hard to say if the lack of oil or the 92 miles was the cause of my fatigue. (I think it was a little of both, leading to the perfect storm.)  I would recommend the oil to anyone, but due to the cost I would say to use it from mid-training iteration up to race day.

I hope this helps someone like it helped me.Adam closing

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Nature’s Path Flax Plus Pumpkin Raisin Crunch

Nature's Path Flax Plus Pumpkin Rasin Crunch
We all know that in order to workout and do some of the crazy miles we do it is necessary to fuel right.  A couple of years ago I discovered a cereal that is SO AWESOME I eat it almost daily, and really notice the days I do not.  It is an organic product, and the nutrition is simply amazing.  I usually start each morning with a bowl of this, and a glass or orange juice.  The fiber helps keep us regular, the fats (omega-3) really help recovery, and plenty of carbs to power our workout as well as enough protein to keep us growing.  I simply can’t say enough about this cereal…you MUST TRY IT!!!  Oh, and the flavor ROCKS also.

Flax Plus Pumpkin Rasin Crunch nutritional info

For more information please check out their website Nature’s Path Flax Plus Pumpkin Raisin Crunch.  I think you will be as amazed as I am at the ingredients and how it really gives a boost to your days.

NOTE: You may need to look in your local green market.  I noticed that most of the larger chain stores have removed this product, though it seemed to sell well.

Get some and enjoy!Adam closing

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Clarity From Training Lunacy

Have you ever noticed how hard it is to tell a “runner” from a “normal every day” person?  I mean, sure you can look at someone and tell they are not a couch potatoes.  But unless a person is a workout fanatic who makes you sick to your stomach they look so good stands out in a crowd, how can you really tell if he/she is a runner?  I came to this realization after my son painfully pointed out that people walking down the street would not know I am a runner.  I guess I do not stand out in a crowd, unless my shiny head forces bystanders to reach for their sunglasses.  Leave it to the honesty of children (and wives) to really make you feel good about yourself.  Sheez! (Picture below is NOT me.  I make it look much better.)

I am only 5 weeks away from running my first 100 mile ultra, which means I am running mega miles each week. (70+)  A little crazy I know, but aside from the many hours spent running it is not bad at all.  In fact I can say I have more energy than at any other time in my life, I experience less muscle soreness than when I was running 30 or less miles, and my appetite seems much more leveled out and predictable.  Another things I notice is how I do not feel as clumsy or fragile as I once did when I was running in 40 mile range.  I remember evenings at judo practice feeling like a piece of crystal on a table about to be turned over.  I would opt out of certain activities during practice because I simply did not have the reflex to prevent myself from being hurt from feeling stiff and brittle.

So, why the change?  I am not sure, but I like it.  My heart rate while running an 8:30 pace is a solid 146 (8:00 is at 152 and 7:30 is at 156), I don’t feel the need to take a nap due to fatigue, and I feel pretty agile with less pains and stiffness.  Oh, and one other thing, I seem to be more clear minded.  Not sure if it is true or not, but it seems to be the case.  My memory is a little better, as well as my ability to process thoughts and ideas seem to be faster and less prone to errors.  All in all my body seems to like the 70 to 80 range of miles each week.

When I created my current running schedule 17 weeks ago I remember showing a friend and both of us said it was very aggressive, and was a lot of miles.  While in fact it turned out to be fairly easy despite the normal fatigue I feel on the Saturday and Sunday back to back long runs.

I will post more later, after I can be more sure of the results, but felt that I should post this while things were going well…for history sake.