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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.

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No carbs on long runs


After I completed my last training plan in January I started my new plan in February after recovering from the 50 mile ultra.  However, I included something extra that was not included in my past training plans.  That’s right.  Lately I have stopped taking in carbs before and during long runs, including sports drinks with carbs. (I am sticking to water and electrolytes.) Many of you may think this is crazy, and I know some are astonished by it,  but hear me out.

I read in an article at McMillan Running that stated there is a benefit to endurance on long runs if we training the body to optimize usage of carbs and fat burned while on the run.  Most of us have become accustomed to fueling on our long training runs, so this should not be done as a crash but should be done slowly.  On each long run intake less and less carbs before and during until you are able to eliminate them. (This is for training run times between 2 and 3 hours, and not competition. I always carry a gel with me just in case I run into trouble while on the run.)

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Sweating too much?


After my 19 mile run yesterday my wife and son took to the streets to do some running of their own.  My son is not really crazy about it, but at his age he is not crazy about anything but video games so I don’t put too much stock into it.  He did keep up pretty well though, and seemed to enjoy it afterwards.  My wife who has been running for the past year is starting to consider doing the 1/2 marathon at Miami in the end of January 2010 when she finishes her semester at school.  I am excited for her and think she will do great!

Over the past 4 long runs I have noticed a significant fade in strength after I reach 2 hours. (Or 12 to 13 miles.)  While I have drastically improved my performance on runs less than that amount, it was very disappointing I didn’t seem to be able to push past the two hour mark without a noticeable drop in speed and performance.

It all came to a head two weeks ago when at the end of an 18 mile run I noticed that my hands were pretty swollen. This led me to start doing some research and asking around if others had this type of trouble also.  I found that a few could remember clearly that they experienced this, and also had remedies or references that shed some light on the situation.

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Oh no, not my first injury!

Fate has changed my thinking of what will be my first marathon.  I suffered an ankle sprain from judo, the second week into my marathon training.  BAH ! ! !

At first I thought it was pretty mild, and continued to run for a few days.  My ankle was slightly swollen, and if I ran on my heel it doesn’t hurt too bad at the beginning.  Once I get past 1 mile it doesn’t hurt at all…until I stopped running, and especially in the mornings.

It has become clear that I needed to take a week off and let my body recover.  On the Internet I found some resources that say R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) is the best treatment for sprains.  So I purchased a couple of reusable ice packs, and a compression ankle wrap.  After only a couple of uses it feels much better.

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The Start…

I have a brown belt in judo and want to start preparing to test for my black belt.  I realize that even though I am an active person, I am not in the best of shape.  Muscles are a bit soft, and my endurance…well, I don’t have any.  Sure, I run from 1 to 3 miles a few times per month, but it is truly hard work to really complete the longer distances.  As for weight training, I lift a bottle of beer once in awhile, as well as move my wireless mouse around my desk while coding. (I am a programmer.)  The only exercise I really get is attending judo class twice per week with my son. (No, I was never fat at 184 pounds and 6’1″.  Just not in great shape.)

In November 2008 a new LA Fitness will opening down the street from where I was work.  I had been thinking it would be nice to get into better shape, so after the required haggling to get the lowest monthly cost I joined the gym. (It is not even open yet, but I signed up and waited until they opened their doors to start working out.)

As with most men I tend to show results of weight training pretty quickly. (My wife hates that, and thinks it is so unfair.) I started feeling pretty good within a the first month, and also noticed that my strength in judo was drastically improved.