running and nutrition

how to run a marathon – part 3

Nutrition. I decided on an ideal race weight based on my build, by comparing against a professional runner of similar build. Taking off pounds is important because it eases the incredible impact of your weight on your legs. I lost about 10lbs in 2 months and though it’s not much, it made a really big difference. Gravity didn’t hurt so bad.

My staple diet for the 4 months of training consisted of oatmeal, peanut butter & jelly, pan-fried tilapia in olive oil, garlic, shrimp, tunafish, honey, granola, fruit, fruit juice, wheat bread and pasta, lots of tomatoes, cup of noodles, all the V8 juice combinations, bananas, oranges, muscle milk (which i found tasted pretty good mixed with hot coffee), tea, broiled turkey/chicken with veggies, jamba juice, spinach, eggplant, salad, almonds, quinoa, almond milk, salads, eggs, sweet potatoes, soups. On weekends after long runs I often treated myself to the stuff I cut out: pizza (cheese), chicken wings, hamburgers, steak, butter, bacon. So I could get the cravings out of my system once in a while. I also took B-complex and multivitamins every single day, and sometimes those green tea extract pills.

I usually start my day with some oatmeal/granola and honey and fruit, maybe some brown sugar. And a thermos of coffee/tea mixed with almond milk. Then I will snack while I’m at work on apples and oranges and granola/protein bars. After work (I work a nightshift) I will fry eggs, sometimes a whole wheat muffin, garlic, onion, ketchup (sandwich). Rest for an hour or two before my daily run (unless it’s summer when I have to get on the road/river early. After my run it’s a good idea to have some protein of some kind within the first half hour, otherwise hydrate through the day, fruit juices, water, granola bar, jamba juice. When I wake up at night before work, I might broil chicken or fish with veggies, or pan fry in olive oil. I rarely do both the big breakfast (eggs) and the big dinner (fish/meat/pasta) on the same day when I am training. I don’t need that much food unless I ran for over a couple of hours. I substitute something smaller, soup/salad/oatmeal/tunafish/pb&j, in lieu of one of those meals. This is what works for me.

The week leading up to a race, you wanna hydrate and carb-load religiously if you can. Meaning small meals several times a day, keep drinking water. I found that eating well makes me feel good, running makes me feel good, yoga makes me feel good, so I would just remind myself of this! It makes sacrifice and effort a whole lot easier when you see the bigger picture. You are a star! You are so healthy! You are the lean, mean, running machine!

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how to run

how to run a marathon – part 1

Having run the CIM 2016 (my first marathon) in 4:58, I wanna to show some love and share my experience with any runners who wish to take on the challenge. I got so much wonderful and free advice online from so many bloggers along the way! I am so grateful. Here are some things that worked for me in my adventure. I hope they work for you, too…

If you are starting from scratch, give it a 4-6 month training window. Go ahead and find a tried and true schedule and post it on your wall. I used Hal Higdon’s 16 week intermediate marathon training schedule. Let yourself stray from the schedule based on your instincts. Everyone has their own personal challenges which will impact daily life. Just know that if you keep running, your legs will get stronger. 10% increases in mileage per week is considered the gold standard. Many runners alternate weeks increasing their sunday long runs to new distances, then falling back to rest the legs. I started out running totals of 15-20 miles a week, then worked my way up to 50-60 miles (with a 20 mile longest sunday run) in 12 weeks, then used the last 4 weeks to taper back down to 20-30 range, letting the legs recover before the big one. Cross-training is essential. I chose cycling and hiking. If I felt I needed a day off, I took it. If I could run 5 days straight, I did. The back-2-back concept is very helpful for learning/feeling how to run on tired legs. Hitting a wall here and there is good for you to experience the pain and try and run through it. Psychological/mental conditioning.

There is such a thing as over-training and it’s dangerous! Keep to the schedule if you can. You could injure yourself. New runners can be prone to injuries because your body is still adjusting to the high impact sport of long distance running. What happens with a new runner is your body tries to acclimate to the stress of impact, and often expends energy trying to stabilize/protect your legs. Experienced runners will find that, once acclimated, the body will be able to use those energy channels towards forward momentum.

Buy quality running shoes that are made for long distances. My personal favorite shoe and the one that got me through: Brooks’ Launch 3! A ‘neutral trainer’ that is very supportive but not too heavy, and has the kind of midsole cushioning which pushes back to help your forward momentum. Be aware of ‘pronation’ and have someone check your stride. Shoes wear out in 300-500 miles. Have an alternate pair and keep track. Faster runners tend to run on different shoes than they train on. Hokas are cushiony and good for recovery runs. The Pegasus 33 Nikes are good but a bit heavy. There are tons of useful shoe and product reviews all over the internet. Use them.

Use anti-chafing sticks like ‘Body Glide’ for surfers. Long runs will rub raw your arms, feet, inside of your thighs, anywhere there’s friction. Experiment with socks. They do make socks these days which prevent blisters, but moleskin helps, too. I experienced a knee injury while breaking in my Hokas which caused me to need new shoes only days before my race, and the ‘Swiftwick’ socks I was offered kept the blisters at bay. If you do get blisters while training, there are safe ways to pop and bandage them and keep running without delay. Don’t forget suntan lotion if you are fair-skinned. Nobody loves skin cancer and you may be out running for 3-4 hours at a time…

running

CIM – countdown! (part 2)

With less than one week to go before my first ever marathon, I am running out of time to train let alone play with options. Two weeks of cold symptoms and bronchitis had destroyed my running schedule before the fated long run where I injured/strained my knee only 10 days before the race. And though I was really happy with my 10:39 pace on Nov 5th when I finished the Run the Parkway 20, I really didn’t want 6 months of hard training to end without ‘the big one’.

I took a deep breath and recovered some hope after talking with friends and family, and kept on. I bought a compression sleeve for my knee and did a couple of short (2-3mile) runs over the weekend in my Adidas Pureboost X’s, and I did still feel a dull pain in the knee but not too bad. Running fast on a downhill did not seem to aggravate it, and there was no swelling or bruising afterward. This convinced me it was the proverbial ‘runner’s knee’ people talk about.  I began to wonder if I might forsake the Nikes for the Pureboost X’s but nowhere online could I find anyone who ever ran an entire marathon in these shoes! I just didn’t want to wear the Pegasus again, due to their weight and something about them just did not feel right toward the end of my first race. The Pureboost X is a lightweight shoe which is incredibly comfortable and is mostly reviewed online as a 10k or less trainer with floating arches, and good for the road. So I decided to run a counterintuitive 9 miles yesterday with only 6 days to go, just to see if the Pureboosts (and my knee) could handle long distance.

These are the final variables for my race preparation. I have brought my weight down to 169lbs (i am 5′ 11″ tall) by eating mostly tilapia, pasta, oatmeal, cup of noodles, and drinking Jamba juice, muscle milks, tea, water, and V-8. I take B-complex and multivitamins and green tea extract pills daily. I am happy with my in-run energy plan which consists of Roctane (higher amino acid levels) GU gels every 45 minutes, and S-caps (salt pills with potassium) every hour. And of course water/gatorade provided on the course. Needless to say, shoes and a knee injury are 2 very critical variables to have at such a late stage in training. Up until I got sick and subsequently injured, my training regimen (Hal Higden’s intermediate schedule) went perfectly well, too.

How did yesterday’s run feel? Pretty good. The Pureboost X’s felt fantastic all 9 miles, so I think I will go against the grain and run the marathon in these beauties! Maybe I will be the first one ever to do so? I think they can go the distance. As for me, well, my knee got a little funky after I took a bathroom break midway through the run. It began to hurt in mile 5 and I really thought my plans to run the marathon were about to come crashing down. But I decided to try and run through it, and this time — miracle of miracles — it worked! By the end of the run it was feeling quite good and so was I. My plan is to stay off my legs as much as possible the next 5 days, do a lot of yoga and quad stretching, buy some glucosamine supplement and KT tape (kinesiology) — which seems to have worked wonders for other runners in trouble with runner’s knee — and keep my head up and heart skipping beats as Sunday fast approaches.

my marathon month

This has become my marathon month and despite all my other obligations i have to say it’s been a joy to have been mostly devoted to running for the last six months. in 3 weeks i plan to run the Cali International, and last week’s twenty mile ‘Run The Parkway’ race gave me a sweet shot of confidence. it was my first ever real live race, and 10 minute 39 second miles was my best pace ever, 20 miles my longest distance ever. i met some cool new friends on the run who i hope to see at the CIM. the morning was simply beautiful as we followed the American River up then downstream, and got a good dose of singing birds, rising sun, cheering fans and morning mist.

#246. post-race with medal

this was an inaugural race which is selling itself as the official CIM training run and will in fact be getting in bed with the marathon for a package deal savings for 2017. my boyfriend has a bum knee but already decided he’s gonna try and also ‘get in bed’ with me so we can run the parkway next year together. (we’ll just have to see how that goes – wink wink) anyway, my brother was a sweetheart and just bought me my first pair of maximum cushion Hoka One One Bondi 4’s. thanks bro!

my super max comfort runners

i broke them in a little with recovery runs – 14 miles – on the streets and the american river the last couple of days and so far they feel spectacular. the ‘rocker’ effect really helps setup a rhythm and yes, they offer good pushback with every stride, creating a forward momentum for you. dam, i felt the road so hard in the race last week. around mile fifteen my Nike Pegasus 33’s could not save my legs from the pavement and it’s a solid shoe but i guess i am used to more trail running. i was able to run the border of the parkway on the dirt for several miles though, so it may have been more to do with my decision to keep unusual pace. for the first half marathon i was runnin ten minute miles versus my usual eleven. quite a leap of faith in myself and mostly adrenaline i suppose. also i met some people i enjoyed talking to and was trying to keep up with them, too. a real friendly crowd overall, just over a thousand strong. anyway, the life of shoes log about 4-600 miles and mine are close to dead. and what with the dead legs feeling i had by mile 18, i decided i wanted to try for a pair with max cushion so i don’t have to feel the road. in the future (if i race) i plan to go for trail race events like the AR50 (American River 50 mile ultra). that full day hike up to Auburn really makes my mouth water!

cool metallic bling!

what i love about running and training are all the factors at play and how it becomes a genuine laboratory experiment on yourself with so many variables: shoes, posture, nutrition, energy, pace, weather, distance, surface, time of day, hydration, pre-workout rituals, yoga, sleep, stretching, comradery, audio, mantra, visualization, adrenaline, topography, comradery, location, gels, s-caps (salt pills), amino acids, recovery rituals, ice baths, epsom salt, protein shakes, shedules, titrating, tapering, comradery, consistency, constancy, technique, anti-blister, anti-chafing, injury prevention, pre-race ritual, wildlife sightings, sprints, hills, post-race ritual, education,  (did i say?) comradery, effort, breath, rhythm… honestly i think Einstein would be scratching his head!

the American River

during the race i overheard someone say how they told a friend, who then asked them how much they’re getting paid to run? people do look at us crazy when we tell them we actually pay entrance fees for these killer events. you probably need to be running 6 minute miles to get sponsored, idk. all i think you need to understand, though, is how you get a better youout of this deal. truly! a bioaffective-psychosocial-spiritual new you. that’s my take. i am in the greatest shape of my life (bio). i am quicker to calm, if not emotionally sound (affective). my psychology is a real mindfuck (in the best sense of the word), as i am exceeding the limits of what i thought i was capable of. this part is particularly super special because it means i’m breakin on through and out! i am shattering formerly solid personal belief walls and opening up a new world where what i may have thought improbable is suddenly alive. in process. someone once said ‘dare to fail‘ and it’s true. i wouldn’t now be busting my ass for Folsom on december 4th, if i felt i had to finish. it’s exactly knowing that i never have but maybe could run 26.2 that has me surging and thrilled to try. and that, my friends, is the what and why.

marathoner?!

running

the weather broke @ a record fifteen miles -iii

The sunlight was cheering me up and the kind exchanges I had with passerbys along the way. I was softening at a point in the run where I figured I woulda been going into ‘warrior’ mode. I passed a woman who looked awfully sad and wished I coulda cheered her up. A young man cruised past me on the uphill, doing sprints. There was a lady getting coached on the Guy West bridge, and I thought about my boyfriend who was gonna follow me on his bike today but had to cancel. I think it’s just as well – I like to run alone.

I always see many homeless encampments and the homeless folks either are keeping to themselves or, in my experience, are just as kind as anyone if you give them a shout and a smile. There are pits and labs off leash sometimes by the river, but I found so long as I don’t scare easy and just keep running toward them, everything will be okay. Only once (last week) did I change course because a dog was running toward me bellowing. He turned out to be more bark than bite.

The last four miles would prove to be the hardest, tracing the river west on the levee, but by this time I was just a slow train to sacramento and I was able to remove myself from the effort so that I honestly felt my body was its own charge and recharging system (paired with a couple more packs of gummies i stashed in my flipbelt), so all I had to do was envision finishing and get out of the way.

The idea of feeling pain crossed my mind but never really caught hold! Again, training in the heat had acclimated me to a higher threshold of pain. It gets so heavy some days when I finish these levee runs close to noon, I find myself dipping off the trail around sutter’s landing (2 miles from home) and splashing the cool clean waters over me to cool off. Today I still had cool breezes coming over me, which made all the difference in the world.

I made it home in 2 hours 45 minutes – exactly 11 minute miles x15 miles = 165 minutes. I made it! My boyfriend is really nice and he took me out for a large Peach Perfection at Jamba Juice to celebrate the victory.

running

the weather broke @ a record fifteen miles -ii

The first mile to the american river had me feeling strong and not as tight as previous days, I sure was psychologically prepared, and as I summited the levee to the railway the 7am amtrak leaving downtown sacramento chugged east, blocking my path. I fell into the rhythm of the train and got a good visualization for myself as I stood there waiting and running in place. Be like a train, be like a train. Several miles later it occured to me that birds are like mantra bodies because they often sing the same song over and over all their lives! This reminded me how useful my own mantras have become, and reassured me it’s not a needless to practice these repetitions: nam-myoho-renge-kyo. I had been singing it in the shower before sunrise.

Once I snuggled up next to the river, I picked up my pace a bit to the cool delta breeze carrying across the levee. The visor of my hat kept the red rising sun out of my eyes, as I ran due east for another mile before following the river bend south at paradise beach. It must have been 60F and I am acclimated to running later in the day, towards 75F, so my weekday training gave me an edge for the early morning long runs.

There is a boat launch with a water fountain at mile six, so I was able to stop and hydrate for a minute and take a pack of energy gums with electrolytes there. Quickly I got back on the trail, and I was feeling fantastic. My breathing has gotten easier and easier the more I run, which is what happens to long distance runners. Your body is amazing and learns to make the most of the oxygen. I always hit my inhaler before any run, because otherwise my asthma makes me wheeze, but two blasts is all I ever need before any run no matter the distance.

I discovered that mile 7 is about where I begin to loosen up and hit my stride. The trail took me under a couple of highways and now the sun had climbed and lotsa people were out walking their dogs and cycling and running, too. Some of the early morning fishermen had packed in their river waders and were heading home, climbing the levee right before my eyes. The american river is full of salmon and snowmelt off the Sierras. I did my U-turn and headed back on a slight incline then stopped again at the same water fountain at mile 9, as it was the only water I would get on my run…

couch with netflix

some of my best decisions come outta me when i let go of logic and hold on to that feelin and so was tonite as i went ahead (with only a sliver of ‘proven’ in my pocket) and signed myself up (placed my bet) for the Cali International Marathon this december and the Run The American River Parkway (20 mile) event this november, so now i have 4 months of arduous training ahead which was not part of ‘the plan’ in my head all year, yet i will follow ‘the feeling’ instead cause it seems to make my life alot more interesting. i will be the first in my family to run a marathon so that’s cool, make my family proud. the greater hope i have and the part where the leadership quality in one’s own life appears (leadership as one who makes the unpopular and ever outrageous split decisions which turn out very well for everybody in the end), is not to shelf but rather to impel the big idea – the Book (of course) – i have my heart set upon. how? well, i reached ten miles (on my own time) in my latest run. i’ve been keeping a close eye on the physical as it interacts with my mental and psychological, and it’s been mostly stimulating. object in motion stays in motion kinda theory (which i believe in). yes there have been days lost to these long runs. but what is lost in the immediate aftermath of physical exertion is restored only to complement/supplement the mind and spirit quite soon after hydration and sleep. in these (restorative) conditions the muse is more likely to come out and play, and certainly more reliable than couching (her) with netflix.  my grace period (i gave myself) ends on halloween, what with national novel writing month on its heels. what i’m saying is, if you are leading the way in your life like you oughta, you may be unpopular with yourself but good things will follow, or inspiration follows perspiration (a duller way to say). i am making my moves and enlarging my ‘risks’ for greater ‘rewards’. the populist in me has the simple-minded view that drop-everything-2-focus-on-writing-the-books is the easy answer to all my problems, but the populist has made my life a living hell (in the past) because she’s an idealist and not at all pragmatic. times I so situated myself to carry on her way did not yield any bountiful harvest… i can see… so that my Book(s) may be written, I need only follow the feeling, drop the populist, lead the way, and amp up an already amped and blessed life scenario. are you with me? hold on cause here we go