10.19.08 – Nike Marathon, phew that’s done!

October 21, 2008

Congratulations to everyone who ran the race of a lifetime yesterday at Nike’s Half and Full Marathons. We all did a fantastic job! A million thank you’s, kisses, and hugs all around go to our own precious Ann who really showed what a PowerGal is made of by running the few last miles with anyone who needed encouragement and help. In the end she probably ran a full marathon herself. Who loves Ann? We do!!!

From the point of view of someone who generally despises endurance training, here are my thoughts:

1. It is disheartening to me that the gals running the full marathon ended up running by themselves at the moment when they could have used the company of their friends the most. For future events where we sign up as a group, we stick together through “thick and thin,” and finish together. There is no point in running by yourself unless you are vying for the Olympics. You can do that on your own time. We don’t go to a restaurant together and then get separate tables. We don’t come to boot camp together and then disperse around to train on our own. Adrian/Josh say “No soldier left behind” and they are right. Nuff said.¬†

2. On that note, I’m not keeping track of race times anymore. We are not competing against each other. ūüôā

3. On another note, official race times are always screwed up. For example, Ann, Maria, and I crossed the finish line together (i.e. holding hands) yet our overall and gender placement is off by the thousands. It also shows that our times are off by hours and minutes. It also shows that Celinda ran a half instead of a full. So don’t put a lot of stock on numbers and go by your own, or better yet: just be glad you completed a grueling race. If you still want to look because you are a masochist, click here to get the “official” time for the Nike race. ¬†¬†

4. Maria and I had a grand time. We almost feel guilty about that. Ha ha…Not once did we complain. Heck we didn’t even hurt! We chose to believe Smokey’s spirit was carrying us through and somehow that made the task easy to endure. The moral of the story is to have a cause, person, thought, etc. that you recur to when times are tough. Future group events should have a cause attached to them.

5. It has now been proven that we don’t need to train excessively to do this or any other race (big part of the blame goes to me for putting together the marathon training schedule- bad bad coach). Of the three girls who ran the half marathon, exactly none trained at all, yet they were able to complete it fine and more importantly without injuries. In fact, we all felt like we could have easily finished the full marathon. Granted, we were not running for time but we would have finished it nonetheless…which is THE ONLY POINT.

6. Building on the above, we need to start training smarter. Training for volume is only an invitation for a lifetime of injuries. I’ll say this until I’m blue in the face “you only have one body for life.” Please, please, please, take care of it. Sometimes you get second chances but what if you don’t? One of the most important components of training is rest. Heed your body’s warnings, it knows what it can and cannot do. Follow your gut feeling and you’ll be fine. Also, we are not 15 anymore. Ha ha.

7. We need to diversify. Running races is not the only thing we can and should be doing. Step out of your comfort zone and try new things. That is the true measure of fitness, when you can translate your current training into sports you haven’t done before. Future group events will include things like white water rafting, swimming, snowboarding, underwater basket weaving, or a night at the arcade…you get my gist.¬†

These are my thoughts anyway. From the bottom of my heart. I’m sorry if I offend anyone but I don’t want the group to lose its focus and fabulousity!


marathon training and injuries

September 30, 2008

Hilarious cartoon that anyone who has been training for a race can appreciate:

Here is the accompanying New York Times article, Coping (or Not) with Injuries in Training for a Marathon. Some interesting ideas on cross training. Swimming anyone? Yes?

love, hate, and LSD

September 18, 2008

Here I go again with the Long Slow Distance running. Despite my absolute despising of this running modality (no really, I didn’t watch one single endurance event during the Olympics telecasts, not even the 10K swimming so there you go) I still have a subscription to Runner’s World. Why on earth?

I just figured it out myself. Bear with my convoluted explanation. There are many articles that I do find very interesting and helpful. There are recipes that although a bit high on the unhealthy carbs side are yummy nonetheless…and listen after running bloody marathons I wouldn’t be trying to keep it Zone compliant, pass the ice cream gallon bloody now, so I can’t blame them so much for the “carbo-loading.” There are great reviews on apparel, gear, shoes, and all the rest. For the most part they offer pretty good tips on running technique. But mostly I subscribe for the inspiration. There I said it.

It’s like Suisen says: short distance is physical, long distance is mental. Through the reading of articles about running I think I have gathered that a lot of people get into running long distance, especially as adults, to overcome something (a disease, a bad marriage, a physical disability), to honor someone (a partner, someone who is no longer among the living), or to help others through raising funds or awareness for charity. That to me is pretty inspiring. It also makes me look at LSD runners with less contempt. Ha ha!

Taking a cue from Medals4Mettle¬†I have decided to run the Nike half marathon in honor of someone whose life I appreciate and miss a lot: Smokey. So what if it will be more walking than running because of the myriad medical issues (confirmed today through another doctor, f**k). What matters is that I will remember Smokey with each step I take. After all his struggle on that fateful night was so much worse than any little pain or discomfort I may experience during the half. Running will be my way of saying: here’s what I did to recognize the pain you went through baby boy. The Tiffany necklace awarded at the end of the race will be put next to his ashes and the Buddha figurine that accompanies him in his sleep by candlelight (thanks Ria!).¬†

From Runner’s World here’s an inspirational countdown that a pacer does during her group runs (entire article here). Use for the last six miles or segments of any race for any sport, event, illness, what-have-you:

Mile 6 – This is where we start taking the race one mile at a time. For each mile focus on something. For this one your focus is on the reason you are in this race. Is this a race qualifier, a dare from a friend, a personal best?

Mile 5 – For this next mile, I want you to focus on all the work that you have done to get here, and how it’s all paying off now

Mile 4 -For this mile let’s focus on the personal support system, on our families, friends, children, parents, pets…everyone who has helped you over the past few months. Give them a silent shout of thanks

Mile 3 – Almost there. We all have a personal hero, someone who has been through something so much harder than a marathon. let’s think about what they got through and use that strength

Mile 2 – Jut two miles left. Remember a time in your life when you demonstrated great strength in some other arena. Tap into that strength now. You are about to achieve something special

Mile 1 – Last mile! You are going to do it! Every step at this point is erasing that distance to the finish line. You have worked so hard and you are not going to lose it now!

the endurance experiment

July 21, 2008

It’s no secret that I abhor long distance running (aka Long Slow Distance*). Endurance goes with putting up and also with patience and I’m not very good at any of those. As such I’ve been pondering what to do if I actually want to complete the bloody nice Nike marathon¬†in October 2008.

Here’s the conundrum I face. LSD is solely aerobic training. The benefits of it are increased cardiovascular function and better bodyfat utilization. The drawbacks are plenty though: decreased muscle mass, decreased strength, decreased power, decreased speed, decreased anaerobic capacity, and decreased testosterone levels (although women manufacture about one seventh the daily testosterone amount of men they still need this hormone for growth and to maintain muscle and bone strength).¬†Not to mention that everytime I run long distance, I fuck something up. Is it coincidence that the entire sports rehabilitation industry caters mostly to runners’ injuries? Hmmmm…

In my opinion that’s a lot of drawbacks for such limited benefits. As I age, is it more important for me to be strong, have dense bones,¬†and¬†good balance to be able to break a fall, or to be able to run¬†20 miles? The answer is pretty obvious to me.

So what to do if I still want to run the marathon? OK, so it’s true that I might have signed up for the wrong reasons, namely to get the limited edition Tiffany’s necklace and cruise the chocolate mile…ha ha.¬†But something tells me that¬†I should just do it!, ya know, for bragging rights.¬†Now everyone would have you believe the only way to train for an endurance event is LSD. My fast-twitch fiber being revolts against this idea.

The answer came to me this past Saturday at a certification where I got to meet endurance athletes who train a whole different way. Enter CrossFit Endurance training where you concentrate on training your anaerobic system with the added benefit that it simultaneosly trains your aerobic system (and if someone has ever done Fight Gone Bad you know what I’m talking about). Studies (see here and here for 2 examples) demonstrate that the adaptations caused by anaerobic training are similar to high volume endurance training, however, this adaptation comes at much lower training volumes. Short and¬†intense intervals…hell yeah, I’ll take two please!!!

You may ask yourself, well if this is the end-all-be-all of endurance training, how come more people don’t do it?¬† Number one, not everyone is built equally. Number two, people generally don’t like intense training. Tell me magic mirror, why are¬†there are a gazillion recreational marathoners in the world but only a few recreational sprinters? Because sprinting is damn hard. In comparison¬†almost anyone with good company and conversation can power through a marathon.¬†He he.

In addition to the CF WODs, I’ll be doing the prescribed¬†CF Endurance training 2 or 3 per week under my coach’s watchful eye (also will be incorporating rest/recovery techniques to keep me healthy and ready). There are plenty of crossfitters who report better times, increased resistance to fatigue, and increased power as a result of the adaptations brought on by the CF WOD and the non-LSD endurance training. Heck there’s the story of this guy who only did the CF WOD regularly. Then one weekend he signed up for a triathlon to go hang out with his friends who were also doing it. Borrowed a mountain bike, threw on his regular pair of ratty shoes, and powered through all the events to place 3rd overall. I bet everyone else in the race must have felt a bit blue!

So I’m giving this type of training a mighty try, San Francisco hills and all.¬†My goal is just to complete the marathon, not to break the sound barrier so don’t be busting balls. LOL. If it works, it would prove to me that LSD is not the whole truth…and also that chocolate is indeed a mighty stimulant. If it doesn’t,¬†it would¬†prove once again that I’m fierce. Just because. LOL.

If Katie Holmes can run it without a bra, how hard can it be? [insert hysterical laughter here]

*For-the-love-of-gawd Disclaimer: Please do not take this post offensively. It was written solely to express the feelings about LSD (not the drug mind you) from the bottom of my heart. You may enjoy LSD and I commend you for your endurance and determination. Now back to me.