Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Training: Cookies & Pushups

Regardless of the sport or athletic endeavor that I have been involved with over the years, nutrition has played such a critical role that it amazes me what I am still learning. As I mentioned in a recent post, I spent a bunch of time talking with folks about the issues that I had during BR100 and potential solutions for getting the nutrition plan in place, at least during the events.
A couple years ago I met with Lee Ann DiBiasi, a nutritionist in with Summa Wellness Hudson OH who did a complete nutritional analysis for me based on my weight, target weight, activity levels, and specific caloric plans for long runs. I learned a lot from it and I am pretty certain she told me everything that I needed to know, what to do, literally almost how to do it, and more information beyond that….but here we are 3 years later and I am struggling with it. This is not to say that I struggle with normal training, eating, and so forth. I struggle with taking the time to plan out my nutritional needs for longer events. As a father of 3 young children, working full time, and husband I am lucky that I even have enough time to train for ultra marathons. I know that I am not alone in this (or very similar) situation. I struggle with the fact that despite I know that 6-8 cookies per night do not do good things for me, I reach for them anyways…. As I reach for the cookie, I even say in my head “DON’T DO IT”…..but then will power dies and the cookie wins.

So, what to do? I think like any other thing that you want to accomplish that you are having a hard time with you’ve got to start chipping away at it one bit (or cookie) at a time. I can’t go cold turkey for a long time, so I have just started to have less and less every day.

Nutrition on the trails
Here is where I have had some success in the past month or so. I have become quite the fan of the Hammer Perpeteum multi-hour bottle and a Nathan HPL#020 hydration pack filled with 60-70oz with nuun. Every 10-15mins I take a decent sip from the multi-hour bottle and in between, I keep the nuun/water flowing. I have not been able to go longer than 3.5 hours at a time in the past month, but so far everything has been excellent. No digestive issues, no bonking, no cramps, not tired of the flavor. Interesting that last summer I tried it and never liked it. I always make my food the night before my long runs, races….well, as I understand it with Perpeteum and their Sustained Energy products, there are no artificial preservatives, so they sort of….spoil overnight and especially in warm weather. I always noticed this and had 3 bottles of it in the Summer Buckeye 50k last year which must have spoiled…..well, I fell out of love of it and that was that.
Former NFL player and current MMA fighter, Herschel Walker’s weight plan was all body weight activities with only three main exercises: Sit-ups, Push-ups, & Chin-ups. Google the guy, you’ll see articles and interviews from him, extremely determined person, positive, and driven to continually progress positively in life. The other key to his physical success was his nutrition plan. According to the articles I was reading, he ate very little, and only one meal a day….~1,200 Kcals per meal. I think I would faint on that level of food, but it worked for him and continues to work. Anyhow, he is well known for his rigorous body weight training. Here is the excerpt from the article above:
Every Day:
750-1,500 Pushups
2,000-3,500 Situps.
That’s it.

So, about a week ago I downloaded an app on the droid called ‘100pushups’ with the intent that by the end I can complete 100 pushups straight. 7 days in and I’m up to 150 a night at this point (in 5 sets) and the reps just keep growing each day. I read about Walker and thought that if I can do a couple hundred a day, it would benefit my upper body, core, etc…. Ultra runners aren’t known for looking like MMA fighters, so I am just looking for core strength, muscle lean-ness, and a little body fat loss.

It’s all such an interesting journey.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Running: I wish I was a fly

This one's not about running, just a pure moment that I wish I could have filmed with my son over the weekend.

I spent a good 8-9 hours this past weekend chain-sawing and splitting wood. When I was about done, my young son came out and wanted to watch me for a while and help me stack the split wood. The area where I was doing all this work is in the back corner of my lot by an older shed, wooded, with  enough moss cover on the ground to allow you to sit or lay down comfortably. We sat there on the moss for a while enjoying the peaceful moment that I don't often get. While we sat there, a really large hoverfly flew over to check out the wood stack. We sat there for probably 10 minutes watching this fly hover, check out the new surroundings, shift from side to side, stop, move, stop, land, get back up and look for bees for it to eat, and every so often check us out. My 3 yr old says "I wish I was a fly, I would fly all over, over the house, in the house" he said this a couple times and I could see how he was intently studying this insect and imagining himself flying around in just the same way. I felt like if I could look into his mind for a minute I would see the view from his eyes of him  imagining himself flying over the house on this gorgeous blue sky day, then shooting into the house, through the rooms, down the hall and into his room to play.

The hoverfly eventually tired of us, we finished up the wood and headed to the side yard where my 4 legged trail running buddy was laying down in her favorite spot. We sat down next to her and rubbed her belly. My son says to me "I wish I was a dog" and I when ask him why he says "So, I could eat dog treats." I said, "well, you can have a dog treat right now if you want, buddy"....he thinks for a second and says "I think I want to be a fly."


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Running: My legs were pissed at me, so I took the elevator today.

It's been about 5 weeks since BR100 and I have been having a lot of fun. Quite on purpose, I did not schedule anything on the remaining 2011 calendar as far as ultra's go. It's biting me a little bit because I would love to do a couple of them that are timed well and are already sold out.

I was "running" on day 2 after br100, but ended up running myself over to the pool and aqua jogging a while. I think I logged about 25 miles that week, and a couple 1,000meters in the pool. By week 2 I was up to 45 or so, and by now I logged 50 last week as well as a 60 mile road ride. My speed is not there, but it'll come.
So, after all the wondering about what happened to me shooting for a 22-24hr 100 miler, I realized that I showed up with a fuel tank full of nothing (did not even eat breakfast, idiot), and tried to chase that for the rest of the run. Why? Who knows, maybe I was getting over confident and under-experienced about it all. So, long story short....I have spent some time talking to folks who know what they are doing with regards to nutrition (thank you Crystal & Chris Basich, and Jody @ Fleet Feet!). Looks like for now, I have settled on getting my calories through multi-hour bottles of Hammer Perpetuum. It may change, but I am going to stick with the plan for a while and see how it goes. At least I know what I really need to do now.

I'll continue to pop my nuun tabs as my hydration strategy and may even mix 'em all together for some ultra martinis (although, I have a couple friends who use it for the morning after a few too many beverages :)

With all that said, as I was talking to folks about it, I kept thinking that I had been doing this to myself for a couple of years. A 50k or even 50 miler, you can get away with a lot of different products...I still think I could run an ultra on coffee and cookies..... but it all reared it's ugly head at BR100, exposing the fact that my calorie plan was simply not up to par. My hydration plan has been solid for a while, especially since I discovered nuun, but it's the calories that really made me suffer. Such an interesting sport, this is why the experienced runners do so well, they know what works, what doesn't work, and continually tweak it as time marches on.

Blah blah blah, so what's next?? Run With Scissors Double Marathon if family, work, travel all work out. If not, I am going to reproduce the Johnson Five-0 (50 miler), shirts and all.

After RWS, looks like the USSSA (US Snowshoe Association) accepted my January 15th Race as a State Championship race and qualifier for the USSSA Nationals in Frisco, CO! Boo yah! I feel kind of like I have discovered an untapped market in Ohio, we have snow, we have winter athletes, why not race on the
snowshoes??? Well, I got a 3 race series planned for you:

Jan.15th - 5k/10k USSSA National Qualifier, Lake Farmparks, Kirtland Oh.
Feb.11th - 5k Race at Girdled Rd.
Mar.03rd - 5k Race at Chapin Forest (night race), under the lights.