Stomp of Approval!!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

My first double!

Well I did it! This weekend I ran my first back to back double. Saturday I ran 20.09 miles, and then Sunday I ran 20.13 miles. The physical requirements of these runs werent too bad, but the mental challenges I faced were pretty tough.

My last 2 long runs ended poorly with me aborting the run early. Once was due to a legitimate concern with my right calf feeling really tight. The other one was due to more of a mental defeat. I was slightly dehydrated and having problems keeping my HR down so I was concerned that pushing on would result in an injury so I aborted early. Im having mixed feelings about these runs, mainly the second one where I felt dehydrated. Did I do the right thing with cutting them short? Or should I have manned up and pushed through what might not have been anything at all? I guess thats what running is all about! Not knowing for sure when to gamble futher or when to pull out.

If you push on through it then you have 2 possiblle outcomes. The first is that its just a mental block and once you break through it you improve both physically, and mentally because you know what it feels like to hit that wall and break through it and you know how to handle it next time. On the other hand, if its actually an honest issue and you push through it you run the risk of getting injured. Then your set back both physically and mentally, nobody likes sitting on the sidelines...

Then theres the option of cutting the run short. You have the exact opposite results of what you would have experienced had you pushed through it. If you cut short you greatly reduce the risk of injury, but you loose out on futher physical improvememt.

I think the only way to know which option to take is with experience. If you hit the same wall, around the same time, on almost every run no then you either need to reassess issues regarding your running, or push through it cause its a mental block.

Regarding my 2 long runs, I did a little of both. I carried 2 liters of honey water with me, along with drinking a liter of chia seed honey water pre-run. This helped me to assure myself that I wouldnt become dehydrated during the run. Then when I did start hitting the wall I would close my eyes for a second and take a deep breath in and hold it for a second before exhaling deeply and imagining that I had just taken a short break and was just starting up again. Surprisingly, this worked out quite well! Im happy with the knowledge that I have learned a little more about myself and how to push myself futher in the future and continue to grow and improve as a runner.

posted from Bloggeroid

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Long run Saturday 11/19


After my last 2 long runs fell flat on their asses with me cutting the runs short and being picked up early both times you can imagine my satisfaction after completing all of todays "scheduled" 20 miles without any outside assistance!!

I was planning on sleeping in till 5:00am, then getting ready and going running. Instead I let my wife sleep in. This meant that I got up with the kids and took care of them untill she woke up. She deserves it! As much as she does for me its the least I could do for her. So this meant instead of waking right up and being on the road 45 minutes later, I woke up and was on the road almost 3 hours later. So I figured I should eat something, which I normally dont do. Luckily my grandmother had dropped off some Satsumas a few days before, so I had 2 of them along with the 1 liter bottle of Chia seed Honey water I had mixed up the night before and a half liter bottle as well.

I hadnt ran since Monday, so after 4 days off it felt great to be running again. Unfortunatley the effects of the week full of pre-Thanksgiving feastage was taking its toll on me. I was chugging along around a 10:45 pace and my HR was staying between 147 and 149 (its capped at 150) so I was a little worried, but my Garmin never beeped at me so I must have been doing alright!

I was carrying 2 liters of the Honey water I had made the night before, and was through 1 liter by mile 9 and was feeling really good.

Who peed in my water bottles??

About this same time I come across a little dog standing in the ditch eating from a small pile of dry dog food thats covered with ants. Great. This poor dog had obvisouly been dumped here by some douche bag, but at least they left him something to eat. So I carry on running and turn around at the 10 mile point to start heading back and there about 50 feet behind me is the little black dog I had seen a mile back. So hes now following me....

Around mile 13 I stop for my second pee break and the dog is still with me. This time I pet on him a little and notice he was nothing but bones, hair, and ticks. After pulling about 12 ticks off his head, neck and ears I notice he has a huge gash in the side of his face thats scabbed over and pretty nasty looking. At this point I start to notice how well behaved the dog is and tell him that if he can make it the 7 miles back to the car then Ill bring him home and take care of him temporarily untill I can find someone else to take care of him.

Within the first 1/2 mile I realize that this was a mistake. The dog was now running in the middle of the road proudly instead of running in the shadows behind me hiding. This resulted in 3 cars, 1 big Dodge dualie, and 1 18 wheeler (pulling a fuel tank of some sorts) having to slam on their breaks hard enough to lock up the tires. I kept yelling at the dog to get out of the road, and with all this extra stress my heart rate was sky rocketing and I was forced into a 12:45 pace with my HR still hitting 152 every time a car would pass. Luckily around mile 15 the dog had stopped at a house that had 3 dogs in the yard and was climbing through the fence the last time I saw him. So I turned the HR alert off and decided to pick up the pace for the remaining 5 miles. My legs were pretty tired already, but I wanted to push through the pain to show myself that I could do it. I think my last 2 or 3 miles were under 10 minutes each with the last one being pretty close to a 9 flat if Im not mistaken. It felt good to pick up the pace for once! And it helped me prove to myself that I can still run through burning and tired legs. I think this will come in handy when Im around mile 30~40 and know that Ive got another 10~20 miles left to cover...

I finished with 20.09 miles in 3:39. Not fast by any stretch, but not TOO slow either. I had me a big glass of chochlate milk when I got home for my recovery drink, and it tasted soooooooo good!!!!

So heres what worked and didnt work.

-1 liter of Chia Honey water before hand seemed to do pretty good.
-A few Satsuma oranges before hand also seemed to work nicely.
-2 liters of Honey water seemed just right for the distance / time I ran.
-So overall I would say my nutrition today worked out pretty good! No GI problems at any time and the Honey water never left a bad taste in my mouth like most sugary sports drinks do.

What didnt work.
-Running with a suicidal dog was not a good idea. It was so stressfull that my HR was skyrocketing, therefore killing my training plan.
-My poor diet choices the past week werent great either. Too much dressing, potato salad, rolls, and WAAAAAAYYYY too much Bananna Pudding (if there is such a thing...) All these complex carbs killed my fat burning machine, I think.

So thats Saturdays 20. My goal is another 20 on Sunday. Hope it goes as goos as the first one!

posted from Bloggeroid

Friday, November 18, 2011

Honey Water, part 1. Continued...

Ok, after letting the honey waters sit out for a little while and rise to room temperature the honey dissolved quite nicely, so I added another quarter ounce (maybe?) To each bottle and shook them up.

Then I added 2 large spoonfulls to one of the bottles to have as my pre run drink. Im thinking that the extra calories plus the extra hydration gained from the chia seeds will help out. Then Ill carry the other 2 bottles with me and sip from them throughout the run. Although I hate carrying water bottles... Ill just think of it as cross training!

Can you tell which one has the chia seeds added in?

posted from Bloggeroid

Lessons #1 in making a honey water mixture...


In my feeble attempt to prepare for tomorrow mornings "long" run I decided to mix some honey in with some water for a good solution for both energy, calories, and hydration. I know a few people that do this, and the good Doctor (Dr Phillip Maffetone that is) suggests just this in his book titled "The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing" Hell of a title huh? Wonder what its about?

I started out with a nice cute honey bear full of all natural Texas made honey.

Then I added a little bit to a 1 liter Ozarka "sport bottle" which is just a fancy way of marketing a bottle with a closeing pop top with spout as opposed to a regular twist on and off cap.

How much honey did I add? Hell, I dont know! I basically squeezed for a 3 count then stopped. I think I bought a 6oz bottle, so I would guess maybe half an ounce per liter? Maybe? Maffetone suggests a certain ratio, but I dont remember it off hand so this will do for now!

Then I grabbed 2 of the 3 bottles I had mixed and started shaking, and shaking.... And shaking....... And still more shaking, but the honey that had sank to the bottom wasnt budging. Apparently the ice cold water solidified the honey and it wasnt about to start mixing together.

So I grabbed my old mixer thingy that we used for baby bottles and for protien shakes, stuck it down inside, and turned it on hoping maybe the cyclonic action would help to mix the honey in. Wrong again... Instead it made a vortex straight to the bottom and started to slowly pull up little streamers of honey towards the top that would then spin around untill makong contact with my mixer and then sticking to it.

So Ive decided its probablly best to just let them sit out and reach room temperature, then try to mix them up. On my next attempts I will first warm the water, then mix in the honey so it will dissolve better.

Wish me luck!

posted from Bloggeroid

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Long run - Sunday 11-13-2011

I woke up Sunday morning with a number in mind. 32. I wanted to run 32 miles. Not sure why I was insistant upon running a 50K that morning, but thats the goal I had set in my mind.

My longest run prior to then had been 26.23 that I ran on the exact same kind of whim on a previous Sunday a few weeks back, so this kind of thing might be somewhat normal for me to do, who knows! I had planned on a long run all week, so I had purchased a 6oz bag of Walmart branded Trail Mix amd seperated it out evenly (or at least close enough) into 2 little sandwich baggies that I had then wrapped up tight and taped shut, effectively making a pair of 3oz trail mix pouches. One went into each pocket. Then I grabbed my lunch box and threw a few bottles of water in with some ice packs, grabbed 2 boiled eggs, my Garmin 305, Garmin HRM, SPI belt, car keys and I was out the door before the sun came up.

I downed a nice crisp refreshing 500ml bottle of Ozarka (man, I should be their spokesperson!) With the 2 boiled eggs on the way to the Exxon gas station on my side of FM 421, which as Ive mentioned before is one of my favorite roads to run on, and then grabbed 2 more bottles of water and took off running.

I enjoy running in the wee hours of the morning before the sun is up. Its motivating to know that while 99% of the world is still sleeping in their cozy beds, oblivious to the world around them, Im out there on the roads training / preparing for my next race / zombie apocalypse. Unfortunatley today was a little different. See this is one of the most important weekends in Southeast Texas. The day before was the official opening day of hunting season, so every man worth his weight in shit was sitting in a deer stand waiting for the big one to show up in his cross hairs. Oddly enough, this is the first time Ive been running down 421 that I havent seen a deer. Actually, I guess thats not entirely true. I did get passed by a truck that had its tailgate down with a huge White Tail Buck in the bed with a massive rack. Wish I could have gotten a pic of it as it was pretty impressive!

Anyway. My nutritional "plan' today was to test out eating while running. So I had planned on eating 3oz of the trail mix and washing it down with a bottle of the amazing liquid of the gods known to man as Ozarka (see, look at this publicity!) at miles 10 and 20.

I was feeling good, although the weather had done a 360 on me in the past week. Last weekend it was on the upper 50's / lower 60's with relativley low humidity. Today it was in the 80's when I started with pretty high humidity and very little wind. Gotta love Southeast Texas weather! So come mile 10 Im very thirsty. It takes me almost a full mile to eat the 3oz of trail mix, which I chase down with the Ozarka.

I keep chugging along feeling very good, but also very thirsty. At this point I should have thought about it and turned around and headed back to the car where I had more water sitting on ice. But that would have been the smarter thing to do, and theres no way in hell Im going to take the smarter path, right? By the time I reach mile 15 Im feeling quite dehydrated, but I push on to fhe turn around point. 16 miles away from my car I turn around and start heading back. I still have my other bottle of H2O excelence, along with the remaining 3 oz of trail mix. I know I still have 16 miles to go, so I hold off on consuming them for a little longer in order to attempt to ration them out as intelligently as I can.

Come mile 18 I realize that I havent pissed since mile 5, so Im pretty sure that with that fact coupled with the way my body was feeling I must be pretty dehydrated. So I call my amazing wife and she says she will drive me out some water. At this point Im fighting to keep my heart rate under 150 so Im almost positive that Im dehydrated. I go ahead and down the remaining 500ml of Ozarka and its like heaven found its way into mouth. I felt great! For about 5 minutes. Then I felt like a paper sack of ran over dog poop again. Finally, at mile 21, I see my wife pull off the road onto the sholder and I slowly make my way up to her. I drink one bottle of ice cold Ozarka and realize just how dehydrated I am. My legs and back start to get stiff as I stand beside the truck and I feel as if my kidneys have been punched by Chuck Liddell. I decide to call it quits at this point and my wife gives me the ride of shame back to the parked car.

I ended my run short for the second Sunday in a row.... Its driving me crazy!!!

So, since the purpose of training is to learn what works and what doesnt work, heres the brekdown of it...

What worked.
-The boiled eggs before the run didnt seem to have any negative side effects as far as GI issues are concerned.
-My ingenious packaging of the trail mix surprised me. Maybe Ill make a write up post of a "how to" Below is a pic of what all I had with me (food wise) on this run and you can see the trail mix packets.

-My choice of running barefoot didnt let me down either! Go figure, lol!
-Compression shorts, normal basketball style shorts, and cotton T shirt from the only sprint triathlon Ive competed in all held up great, as usual.

What did not work.
-Hydration. I need to find a way to have more water avaliable on these longer training runs. I either need to find a good 4~8 mile loop and start running it, or drop frozen bottles along the sholder of the road and hope their still there when I get to them.
-The trail mix might have been a little too salty, causing me to become more thirsty (I dont think 'thirstier' is a real word) which wouldnt be an issue if I could resolve the hydration issue.

So I did actually learn something from this run! Hells yeah!

posted from Bloggeroid

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Well... It started out great!

I decided that for today's (Saturday) run I would just take off from my sons soccer game and run home. Easy little 15 or so mile run, should be no problem! WRONG!!!!! I forgot how shitty the roads in my hometown have become thanks to the city's bright idea to cover everything with what has to be the worlds worst version of chip seal. So heres a quick recap of the run, with pictures!!!

I actually started off at my wifes gym (Exygon) in Beaumont and headed through a few little roads following your average grade sidewalk heading to one of the major roads in town thats got massive sholders, oddly enough this major road is actually named Major Dr.

At this point in my run I realized just how far my feet had come in the last year. Last December I had my first double digit BF run on part of this road and remember thinking that the little rain / traction grooves were absolute torture. This year they werent anything! I couldnt even tell they were there! Good thing too as I ran on them form mile 1.25 to around mile

After Major Dr. I hooked a right on Hwy 105 for a quarter mile or so then turned onto RFD Rd. This is a little cut through road from 105 to Hwy 69. I like this road cause theres a bunch of live oaks (My favorite non-fruit bearing tree) and very little traffic, plus its a really smooth asphalt surface, which seems to be my favorite running surface so far!

After this I stayed on the feeder road of Hwy 69 which was, of course, lovely asphalt. Up untill this point I was chugging along at a nice easy 11:20ish pace, just enjoying the beautiful day. I checked my watch and to my amazement I was running around 9:45... Not sure how or why this happened, but it felt good so I just went with it.

Then I got up on the Hwy so I could cross Pine Island Bayou via the bridge. The road itself is a very smooth, worn down asphalt, but the sholders leading up to and away from the bridge were very rough looking cracked and uneven cement. I was blown away at how quickly my feet would adapt to it. I stepped on it and was worried about how rough it was, but within 2 steps it felt just as good as the smoothened asphalt on the road. Leonardo Divinci wasnt joking when he said that the human foot is amazing!

Then I got back on the feeder road of Hwy 69, but this time I was not only in a new city, but I was also in a different county, so the roads were what I rememberes to be killer chip seal from my last run on them, which had been back when I was first starting to run BF. Turns out my feet have came along so far since then that not only was this surface no big deal, but I was able to keep up a sub 10:00 pace for all of it without sky rocketing my HR (which was capped at 150 per the Maffetone method mentioned in a prior post) so I was shocked!

Then I came to the killer. Old Silsbee Hwy.... About 2 years ago the County / city decided to take this perfectly fine white asphalt road and cover it with the nastiest, roughest, shittyest chip seal imaginable... Unfortunatley this is the road I live on. Needleas to say, 1 year was had not been long enough training for me to tackle this beast yet. I tried, but only made it 100 yards or so before crossing a field to hop on the sholder of Hwy 96 (Hwy 69 splits in Lumberton to become Hwy 69 and Hwy 96, very confusing at times...)

but the county / city had just covered the lanes with the same devilish chip seal that also.covered Old Silsbee Hwy (Thanks...), but left the sholders covered with tar, which just grabbed the loose rocks that came off the lanes during the paving process. So the sholders were even worse cause there wasnt even the half ass eveness that was on the rest of the road, just 1/4" rocks spaced every 4~5 inches apart. Just far enough so that they REALLY hurt like the dickens when stepped on... Unfortunatley I was in too much pain, and too pissed off that I couldnt run in my own hometown to take pictures of this treason towards all Barefootery. If thats not already a word, I get credit for inventing it, much like President Bush and "strategery", which is an awesome word!!!

Oh, I also started the run in shorts, a long sleeve undershirt, and a T shirt, but as it warmed up I took the under shirt off and wore just the T shirt. After a mile or so I got tired of carrying the long sleeve shirt in my hands, so I threw the shirt part over my back and tied the arms around my neck. I like to think that I came across to the average passer-by as a Barefoot super hero, much like the "Maple Grove Barefoot Guy", but Im pretty sure I just looked like a looser. Oh well, good thing Im used to it!

posted from Bloggeroid

Friday, November 4, 2011

Rocky Raccoon "Strategy"

In training for my first ultra theres a lot of things Ive needed to think about that I havent ever had to think about before. Nutrition, hydration, walk breaks, physical exhaustion, mental exhaustion, smart pacing and lots of other important topics have been bouncing around in my head for awhile now while I try to figure out each one. Im still unsure of nutrition, but the rest Ive got at least a vauge idea if what to do.

The pacing and issue of walk breaks is my main focus right now in my stage of training. My "strategy", if you could call it that, is to run the first 35~40 miles with a HR cap of 150. With this in place I think Ill be able to run a smooth 11~12 minute per mile pace and still have plenty left in the tank for the last few miles. The remaining 10~15 miles will be where I start to pick the pace up little by little every mile. My goal is to have the last 10 miles be my fastest, with the last 5 being the fastest of all. I figure at that point the mental exhaustion will have turned to elation at almost being done with my first Ultra Marathon, so Ill have the energy needed to push myself to the finish line.

Like I said, this is my "strategy" (notice the quotes here...), so its not a set in stone plan. Im hoping that if all else fails this will at least low me to complete the last 10 miles at close to the same pace as the rest of the race since I would have been saving up energy for them.

Thursday, November 3, 2011