Mayday Mayday

I haven’t had much to write about the past couple of days.  Monday and Tuesday I took a break and rested.  I looked and felt so beat.  Yesterday I went for a light 2 mile run without my watch because I was still sore and didn’t even want to know what pace I was running.

Now it’s already May! And with the Coronado Bridge Run in 2 weeks from Sunday and the SD Rock ‘n Roll in about 4, I decided to set some new goals:

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Nutrition: Read Paleo for Athletes (just started this), eat paleo and try out some new recipes.  My recovery time from this past half marathon has been really poor, either because 1. the course was hard, 2. I fell off my paleo grind, or 3. the course was really hard.  Either way, Paleo for Athletes is shedding light on how paleo works to maximize athletic performance and increase recovery rates.
Workouts: Incorporate more early morning workouts into my schedule.  I’d like to get into the habit of going to sleep early, waking up early, doing yoga or body pump before work then running after work.
Running: Have more structured running workouts.  I feel like lately when I run I have a semi-determined length, but no determined pace.  I mainly just run according to how I’m feeling.  I would like to feel like I’m running more effectively.

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So I pulled out the book Run Less, Run Faster by Bill Pierce, Scott Murr, and Ray Moss.  This book has good running plans if you’re looking to run only 3 times a week.  Workout 1 is a track/speed workout, workout 2 is a tempo run, and workout 3 is a long run.  I attempted to use this program last year, for all of about 3-4 weeks. I kind of burned myself out because I attempted to do the speed workouts faster than prescribed.  This is exactly what you’re not supposed to do.  The plans start 12-18 weeks out (depending on the length your race).  I figured I can start next week at 15 weeks out and prepare for the America’s Finest City half marathon (I should probably sign up for this first).  I think this program could be beneficial, I just need to give it a full chance.  I feel like this time I’ll have a more practical approach, do exactly what it says and just test it out.  There’s no harm in that when my half marathons have consistently been between 1:44 and 1:47.  I’d just like to see a positive (or in terms of time, negative) difference.

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Running with the Kenyans

I told my boyfriend if I could give him any advice for training for our upcoming Rock ‘n Roll half marathon, it was to read an inspirational running book.  I swear they’re almost as effective as running actual miles!

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Yesterday I finished Adharanand Finn’s Running with the Kenyans.  It was just the book to get me back into the committed reading spirit.  As I have mentioned before, I have a lot of books in queue.  It’s been a while since I’ve finished a book and I needed just the right one to hook me in.  I think I found it.

Adharanand Finn travels to Kenya with his family to live and train for 6 months.  His main motive is to learn the secrets of some of the fastest men in the world: Kenya’s elite runners.  Adharanand forms a running team, named the Iten Town Harriers, and all of its members agree to run in the Lewa Marathon.  Through their training and camaraderie, Adharanand comes to learn that there is no real secret to the Kenyan’s speed; it’s not just one singular, magical thing.  It’s an accumulation of all things that are natural and make-up the Kenyan lifestyle.  These include: focus and dedication, tough/physical upbringing, barefoot running, altitude, running to school, training camps, rest, diet, desire to succeed and expectation that winning can change their lives.

My favorite part is when one of his teammates, Japhet, shows Adharanand his college application.  “He never sent it off because he couldn’t afford the fees.  The form is kept, though, as testament to his ambition.  It’s even on his resume, which he pulls out and shows me.  Under “Talents and Achievements” it says, handwritten in blue pen, “Form filled in for Moi University.”

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who loves inspirational running books and/or to anyone who is interested in learning the “secrets” of Kenyan runners.

Read More!

One of my goals for 2013 has been to read more books.  However, lately I’ve gotten overly excited about reading that I start several books at a time because I’m too impatient to finish one before starting the next!  Here are a few sitting on my bookshelf either in progress or ready to read.

What’s on your reading list?  Have you read any of the books below?readmore

one. Chi Marathon by Danny and Katherine Dreyer  l  two.. Running With The Mind Of Meditation by Sakyong Mipham  l  three… Running With The Kenyans by Adharanand Finn  l  four…. Spontaneous Happiness by Andrew Weil, MD  l  five….. Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo

“The Key to Life is Running and Reading”

Who knew Will Smith actually provided the quote above via his Kid’s Choice Award speech in 2005?

Personally, I think I am addicted to reading…about running.  Maybe I am just trying to live vicariously through these authors/runners?  I will say though I have been trying to practice what they preach.  I am becoming more conscientious of my form and have started using some of the techniques they intersperse throughout their narratives.  I really enjoy this kind of non-textbook-like learning.

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So last night I started What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami.  And so far, he seems more average, or “mediocre” as he puts it, in terms of running.  It might be more relatable.  But we will see.

Tonight I decided to go to BODYPUMP with an instructor who slightly reminds me of Jillian Michaels.  I nixed my run for the day, having done a significant amount the past two.  Instead I warmed up on the treadmill, doing a sprint sequence I made up on the spot.  I actually liked it though and thought it was pretty ingenious.  It was the perfect no-brainer workout.  I sprinted for 45 seconds, stepped off for 15.  Then every 2 rounds, I would increase the speed by .2.  I did this from 8mph to 9mph.  Below is a play-by-play.  45 seconds just seemed to fly by.  I moved my feet quickly, and imagined myself out for a rather swift and brisk walk (even though I never really do such a thing).  Treadmills really aren’t so bad now that the new gym has treadmills set up with TVs (much better upgrade than watching yourself sweat and suffer in a full body mirror).  So watching Kim & Kourtney Take Miami or The Big Bang Theory becomes acceptable and helps to pass the time. Continue Reading…

Happy Sunday

photoThis weekend I started and finished Dean Karnazes’ Ultramarathon Man.  I also pushed myself to run my longest distance yet: 14 miles.  On Saturday my trainer and I had planned that I would run 5 miles Sunday, and the same 5 miles Tuesday, to compare my times and my speed.  However, as my Saturday progressed, and as I read deeper into Ultramarathon Man, I just really wanted to go out and accomplish something.  Sunday is my only day of the week I can actually do an extended long run, so I wasn’t going to settle for anything less than 10.

It was definitely a LSD (long slow distance) type of day.  I woke up with my eyes sunken into my face, moving at a snails pace.  After a Gnu bar, quick shop at Sprouts, and Protein smoothie, I finally got myself out to run by 11:30.

The first mile was tough.  But I kept telling myself it was just my mind making it difficult and that my body was completely capable.  It’s always a battle between pushing myself and relaxing, both of which basically yield the same results.  I just psych myself out when I think about pushing harder and expending more energy.  As I reached mile 5, I started to get into my stride.  I decided to push it a little further and put myself out 7 miles away from my starting point.  Then there would be no turning back (besides the fact I’d literally have to  turn around and run back).  14 miles, 1 hour 52 minutes later, I was back at my starting point.  Sunkissed and sweaty, I grabbed my bCAA’s and stretched out at the park.  What a happy Sunday!

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Ultramarathon Man was another inspiring ultra-marathoner book.  However, it took a different angle from the ones I’ve read before…but I liked it.  Karnazes had run cross-country in high school, but hangs up his shoes after quitting track, never to run again for 15 years.  Then on his 30th birthday, he decides to run 30 miles.  This leads to him “find” running again.  While running one day, he encounters two runners who unknowingly introduce him to ultra-marathons, namely the Western States 100.  Dean takes a different approach of recounting these highly challenging courses.  Several chapters span the length of each race, giving the turn-by-turns of the course as well as the emotions and struggles that accompany pushing your body past its limits.  Other events include Badwater, running a marathon to the South Pole, and running The Relay (199 miles usually divided into 5.5 mile legs run by 11 team members) SOLO.  It was motivating enough to get my butt out to run 14 miles.  So, ya, I would recommend it.  Now…on to the next one!

New Shoes

Born to Run brought to light the idea of “jogging” and the shoes created to accompany this culture.  Cushioned shoes, pronation, orthotics were all developed in the 70s with the first Nike shoes (the soles of which were first created from a waffle maker!).  One analogy that resonated with me was that even if you put an egg in an oven mitt and hit it with a hammer, the egg will still crack.  When running, your foot is ultimately trying to find stability, but with extra cushioning it has to work harder.  Even with all of that cushioning, it is still suffering impact.

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After reviewing my race pics, I realized, I am definitely a heel striker (and I make the cutest faces).  And the thick, chunky heel of my lunarglide+4 (reviewed by runningwarehouse.com as a shoe for heel strikers) just reinforced this.  Born to Run made me think; How we run naturally without shoes; how you used to run as a kid, barefoot, through the grass, light and free; how the Tarahumara can run in huaraches with soles made of tire scraps.  How Barefoot Ted started running barefoot in an attempt to alleviate pain.

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Regardless of how I ran my past race, I already knew I would treat myself to a new pair of shoes.  I eagerly ordered a pair of lunareclipse+2, craving the new bright lavender color (a shoe I previously had in black).  However, when I received them, I had already started questioning their cushioning.  So I ended up returning them.

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Instead, I opted for a pair of Nike Free TR Fit 2 for a couple of reasons.  1. I could wear these for training and BODYPUMP (flat-soled shoes are good for weight-lifting, providing even distribution of weight) and 2. I could slowly transition into minimalist shoes since even when I ran with Nike Free’s I always added inserts.

These fit like gloves and I literally wanted to sleep in them the first night I got them (they were brand-spanking new and clean!).  However, when I first tried running in them, I had to run significantly slower.  And I was even being propelled by the treadmill!  Gradually I have started to work on my form.  Taking smaller strides, focusing on a light strike.  I almost envision my legs propelling in place like the Road Runner!  Someday I just want to run mentally detached from my legs.  I want to run miles (maybe just 26.2 someday) and not feel any pain!  This just means…TIME TO READ ANOTHER ULTRA-MARATHONER BOOK!

My Idol

My first post will be dedicated to my biggest inspiration right now: Scott Jurek.

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I recently finished Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, and even more recently Eat and Run by Scott Jurek.  Born to Run was first recommended to me by my trainer.  I had started it around Christmas, but really didn’t pick up my reading until the day before the Carlsbad Half Marathon (for some added inspiration).  This book started out primarily about the Tarahumara, an almost mythical tribe of Indian runners in Mexico who embody the ancient “Running Man.”  They are able to run for days, sustain themselves on corn beer, some corn mixture and chia seed drink.  It was interesting–but then I got into the ultra-runners–and that’s when I got hooked. I became transfixed and fascinated with how some people are able to run so much!

The next day I ran my race, not hyped up with adrenaline, but relaxed, and ready to sit into and run my own race.  I finished comfortably with my best time, a 1:44:09, beating my previous PR at the AFC with a 1:44:51.  This race reignited my running spirit.  It had been exactly one year since I last raced (my previous half being the Carlsbad 2012).  I had sold my bib for the past AFC because I didn’t feel trained enough.  But now, I was back on the grind, and became determined to run the Triple Crown again this year.  With the Torrey Pines State Reserve in my back yard (close to work), I figured, I might as well.

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So naturally, being so inspired, I followed suit with another book about Ultra-marathoners–Eat and Run.  Somehow–I don’t even know how–this book made me feel so empowered!  I felt like I wanted to do it all.  Namely, just run 13.1 miles (vs. 50-100+).  So I took off for the hills.  Literally.  I went Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Sunday last week, biting off hill repeats, and one long 10-miler up the hill, 5 miles out to UCSD, and back to Torrey Pines State Beach.  

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This book not only gave me a different perspective on running, but also a different perspective on eating/fueling.  Which will bring me to one of my upcoming challenges…TBD (to be discussed).

My Book Rating: 10/10! Dis book da bomb.