Sunday, March 29, 2009

22 miler and other milestones

Yesterday was the 22-miler. Though I feared really bad weather, it ended up being pretty mild but with a steady mist of sorts that left me wet but not cold. It was perfect running weather! In fact, just read that the ideal running temperature, in terms of fastest race times, is 41 degrees. I believe that.

It all went well, and I met up with another marathon-training friend who also had a 22-miler. I ran with her from miles 15-20, providing a nice break and change of pace. She is one of those who tells it like it is and we had great conversation the whole time including this one. Me: "I still can't believe I have a trainer, I never ever thought I would be one of those people." Her (and she's a trainer): "Well, it's like I tell people, you CAN color your own hair at home, or you can pay a professional." Enough said!!

This is the first time that my stomach held up well. I drank about 5 oz of the Xtend/Carb Slam mix that Jake concocted every 4 or 5 miles and that sustained me. Afterward I had a mocha and whole wheat bagel with peanut butter at the coffee shop where I parked the car and I just came down off the run before returning home. I felt pretty good the rest of the day and today I just feel normal. Better, in fact, than I think I have in a while. Maybe I'm coming down off the stress of school a bit as the end of the semester fast approaches.

Today we met for a bench workout and my expectations were pretty modest as my arms were still sore from Friday's session. Surprisingly, I managed two sets of 115lbs for three reps. For the first time I see the 135 bench as very doable in the next few months. That is something I never really mastered in my early 20s so to do it now would be a real testament to the value of smart training...and a smart trainer.

One last comment - I have NOT been recording food and have NOT been a clean eater. The stress of the past week+ did me in and I engaged in evening snacking to stay awake and finish what needed to be finished. Excuses, excuses. Back on the wagon..........

Monday, March 23, 2009


This was my birthday weekend and it was just great! Sunny, warm, and very spring-like. This birthday had a decidedly fitness flavor to it - starting off Saturday with a fartlek run of just over 10 miles with some faster segments built in. Sunday morning, Spencer ran his first 5k race, with me by his side. He worked hard and did a great job on the hilly cross country course, finishing in under 36 minutes. Later that day, Jake's "special birthday workout" involved a set of 42 (my new age!) sumo deadlifts at 135 lbs, which I pulled off (or should I say up) without too much difficulty.

I'm sure a lot happier with where I am this birthday than last!

Monday, March 16, 2009


I realize the final piece of the puzzle needed to really succeed with my running and lifting goals is nutrition. I'm part way there, but not where I want to be, and I've been stubborn about giving into it fully.

A year ago: I ate whatever and really didn't think much about it
Now: I eat much better food, especially the first half of the day, but things can fall apart in late afternoon/evening, especially if I am up late working.
Goal: Fuel up more conscientiously and consistently throughout the day so I don't get to the point of desperate hunger and eat stupid things.

Last week I ate what Jake planned out and it made a big difference keeping hunger at bay, but I need to start figuring it out for myself.

What I am pledging to do:
  • Record ALL my food on SparkPeople faithfully through the end of the month for starters
  • Add in more veggies & salad, especially at dinner
  • Eat a good evening snack so I don't munch on other stuff - oatmeal, apple & PB, etc.
  • NO junky food
I do get cravings for chocolate and carbs/sugary things (graham crackers are the biggie), more so if I let myself get hungry. And it seems the more sweet stuff I eat, the more I want, so I need to keep that in check and go with natural sugars in fruit.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The 20 miler

Yesterday was the 20 mile training run. Conditions were pretty grim - cold (low to mid 30's) with a constant rain. I woke up early, as I have been every day lately, and headed out the door into the darkness around 6 am to plant bottles of JRP's new concoction for me - water + carb slam (dextrose) + BCAAs. Then I parked the car and...ran! Somehow it still amazes me that all one has to do to run, is to well, start running. Unlike other sports, there isn't much in the way of preparation, and there are no good ways to procrastinate once you are dressed and at the starting line.

Anyway, I enjoyed the heck out of my run. I think the weather helped push me - I knew if I could do 20 in those conditions, I was in good stead. And for the first time ever, my stomach didn't completely rebel. I believe the "concoction" was helpful, that and not eating much along the way. I had a few bites of banana but that was it for food. It was nice to not be out of commission for the rest of the day and actually able to function, do work, and not nap! My body is getting stronger and tolerating these demands much, much better than before.

Whenever I finish a longer run, I always wonder how the heck I ever did it. It's a long time to just keep going (for me, 20.5 miles in 2:54).

I was soaking wet, cold, but exhilarated! I'm looking forward to 22, then 24, then finally the big 26.2 mile run!

The song that got me through the final few miles was Switchfoot's Dare You To Move. I think it's actually about about someone hitting rock bottom, but the lines about "I dare you to move, I dare you to lift yourself up off the floor" just spurs me on!! Apparently this song/video has hit the mainstream...there's quite a bit of that crossover happening for Christian groups.

Friday, March 13, 2009

We live up to our expectations, not our desires

This article caught my eye -- -- talking about how many diets fail because we rely on our desire for weight loss to carry us through to the goal, while in fact our deep-down beliefs and expectations for success can undermine that and keep us from our goals.

Maybe that's one of the things that is so great about working with a talented trainer. They help us recalibrate our expectations. That's true for me...the things I am doing now I could never have counted among my expectations.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


Notes from papers I read -

Walberg Rankin, Janet (2000). Dietary Carbohydrate and Performance of Brief, Intense Exercise. Sports Science Exchange, 13(4), 1-4.
  • for RT or repeated sprints, no benefit to high CHO intake compared to moderate
  • carbs after workouts help recovery
American College of Sports Medicine and American Dietetic Association (2000). Nutrition and Athletic Performance, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 2130-2145.
  • fat should be 20-25% of diet; below 15% provides no benefits
  • protein for me - around 70 recommended for endurance; up to 95 for RT
  • body fat for female runners between 6 & 15%; skin-fold measures have errors up to 3-4%
  • get screened for iron status? do I get enough iron?
  • electrolytes are not necessary for sessions under 3 or 4 hours
  • carbs during exercise good even for events lasting under an hour. For longer, about 39 g per hour can extend performance -- 1 pks Sharkies is 36 g, 1 PowerGel is 28g
  • consume glucose, fructose can lead to diarrhea
  • post-exercise CHO intake - 83 g @ 2h intervals BUT timing is not that critical if there will be one or more days off between intense training sessions.

Rough interval workout

Today I was scheduled to run 16x800m repeats and I wanted to start with a mile to see how close I could come to 6:00. I felt good, rested, fed, ready to go, but mentally I was worried and negative. JRP came out to support me but I was beyond help. I got through the first half mile at a 6:08 pace, but could not sustain it and just stopped...quit. I've never done that before. I got to work on the repeats but each one was so hard. I got through 10 and was advised to cool down. Which now that I think about, I never did. More like fell over on the giant pole-vaulting marshmallow pad, under a crystal clear sky with just a whisp of a cloud. I didn't want to get up again....ever. It was too perfect.

My times today for the 800's (.51/52 miles) were 3:12, 3:16, 3:16, 3:24, 3:16, 3:23, 3:07, 3:14, 3:08, plus that 2:54 for .47 miles. That's an average of 3:15. Lap 14 was a 6:02 avg pace....close, now I just have to learn how to sustain it for a full mile. That requires an attitude I did not have today.

Considering that a month ago on 2/7, I did the 800s in 3:20 and 3:25 for an average of 3:22, today was an improvement. I wish I had known that this morning when my head went south. The moral of the story is (a) I need to go into speed work knowing what my times have been historically and (b) I HAVE to have goal times to pace myself. Jake pointed out I'm not recovering enough in between so the idea is to use the HR monitor to get to about 20 bpm over resting before starting again.

I will go for an easy 5-6 tomorrow just to run and be get that positive vibe back.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Today's Run Inspiration

By Your Side by Tenth Avenue North
Why are you striving these days
Why are you trying to earn grace
Why are you crying
Let me lift up your face
Just don't turn away

Why are you looking for love
Why are you still searching as if I'm not enough
To where will you go child
Tell me where will you run
To where will you run

'Cause I'll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don't fight
These hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Look at these hands and my side
They swallowed the grave on that night
When I drank the world's sin
So I could carry you in
And give you life
I want to give you life

Cause I, I love you
I want you to know
That I, I love you
I'll never let you go

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Goals/Areas of Focus

With the race and bench press meet behind me, it's time to start regrouping again. Things I am thinking about (besides marathon prep!)
  • Squats - add them back into the routine more consistently - light and mainly focused on good form
  • Deadlifts - 225 for 3; 185 for 15
  • Bench - hit chest harder - maybe supplement with pushups at home on chest and tricep days. Goal of 135 lb bench by August 30.
  • Triceps - work on those blasted medicine ball pushups
  • June 20th Sundown 5K - meet sub-7 minute/mile goal
  • Fall Brush Mountain Breakdown