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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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My not so crazy diet


A few have asked me about my diet and how I stay so damned skinny slim and make it look easy while still maintaining my energy levels.  Of course my first response is IT IS EASY…if you are active, making it so that there is no real need for dieting in the first place.  However, I realize for many it is not that easy to understand HOW they should be eating regardless of activity level.  In the United States, the land of fast food and prosperity, we as a society don’t want to eat right. (At first one could say we forgot how, but that is a bunch of bull.  We learn it in school, see it on TV, read it in advertisements, etc.  So the main reason is simply because we don’t want to, or because we feel it is not easy.  It is easier to get fat and sue fast food companies for our own stupidity.) Ahem, OK I will get off of the soap box.

Disclaimers: First, I am not claiming that eating the way I do will work for everyone.  We are all slightly different, and you may need to tweak my diet to fit your lifestyle and activity level.  Second, genetics do play a small part and I am naturally thin to begin with.  However, I think this type of diet would be a good starting point for almost anyone.  Third, I am not a physician or trainer and  do not claim to know what I am talking about. (my wife is nodding her head)  So please take anything I say and analyze it for your own usage, and BE SMART.  You may also want to consult your real doctors prior to doing anything.

Let’s get rid of some unhealthy thinking in most dieters minds right away, before moving forward.  One is starvation, another is weight loss supplements or energy drinks simulating a high metabolism, and yet a third is eliminating a food group, thus making our diet less rounded.  While all of these  may appear to work, in the short term, they do not work for any length of time and in some cases result in terrible long term health problems.  These three notions should be gone from our minds so we can look at a healthy reality.

Before you switch to any diet you should really have a clear picture of what your current diet is like.  I recommend that you closely track your diet for a week or two before doing anything new.  I use a FREE program called Cron-O-Meter to track my calories and nutrition.  There are many more out there, but I prefer this one.  After you have a good benchmark of your current habits you can make changes in an educated manner.

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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.)