Posts Tagged ‘portland marathon

16
Jul
10

Some thoughts and food update

I have given a lot thought to the marathon or longer races that I have been doing lately.  I enjoy the races very much and they give me a sense of satisfaction or accomplishment.  I feel good knowing I can run 26 miles with no problem, or finish a 50 mile race, or head down to Tennessee for my favorite Strolling Jim 40 Miler.  I have finished 26 races of marthon distance or longer but I have been asking myself why lately.  You see, I don’t want these races to be my “identity” or self-worth measuring stick.  I have been thinking that if these long races are creeping into the arena of meaning THAT, then I need to back off of them so that I can regain a healthier sense of who I am and what is most important to me.  I don’t want to get to a place where I think I am not in shape because I don’t want to or can’t run a 50 miler anytime I want to.  I don’t want to be thinking, “man, I only did 1 marathon this year I’m must not be a real runner.”  I am not there yet but I know myself and my tendency to do this so I have had to put myself into check regarding this.  So I have been considering drastically cutting back on these races so that I can begin to focus on more objective measures of success that define my fitness and my goals more accurately.  I am not looking to be one of the best marthoners or ultra-marathoners, I am looking to be in very very good condition as a runner who still enjoys running for the rest of my life.  Anyway, these are just the thoughts I have been having regarding this.

My eating went very well yesterday again.  I went to Taco Del Mar for dinner but had the calories and points to be able to do it within my plan.  It was very tasty too.  It’s friday and I don’t work tomorrow so I am finishing off my lunches today.  I feel pretty darn good physically and have lots of energy.  I will also run today, I think it is a marathon goal paced run for 5-6 miles.  I am just going to focus on enjoying that run for running’s sake.  Just be outside and enjoy the sensation of movement and experience the blessing of being able to run at all.  That’s all for today.

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05
Oct
09

Marathon #20. Portland Marathon

marathon-signWell, well, well……….  This marathon was a totally different experience.  It was not even slightly the same as other marathons that I have run, even other Portland Marathons.

It was a mighty good challenge to say the least and I am very happy to say that I got a new PR and actually finished in like the top 10% of all runners.  That was something very pleasing and new to me.  I ended up with a time of 3:33 for the marathon.  This is an improvement of 25 minutes compared to my former personal record marathon time.  For that day, on that course, using the strategy I used; I COULD NOT HAVE GONE FASTER.  That was it.  I gave it my all.  I have had to fight off the disappointment of not finishing the marathon with my goal pace range of 7:30-7:50 miles but I am trying to focus on the positive.  In the last 10 months I have went from a 4:14 (9:41 miles) to a 3:33 (8:06 miles).  This is a vast improvement and my hard work paid off very well.

One mistake that I made was to try and do the marathon using the strategy of the Pace Groups.  They use an effort based model where each mile is run in a different time in order to create the same “feeling” or “effort”.  This is not how I have practiced.  I always run mile goal paced miles strictly within my 7:30-7:50 range.  Using the pace group strategy I was doing some miles in the 6’s and that just was to fast for me even if it was only for one mile at a time.  I normally stick to my plan, go slower on the uphill and make up for it going down the hill.  This has always worked out well.  I should have been more confident in my own plan.  I may not have finished with a 3:20 (the pace group I ran with) but I would have probably finished better than I did.  But like I said, I did the best I could with how things were in reality and I exploded my previous PR.

Running a marathon faster like this is totally different than what I am used to.  It is not as enjoyable to run like this but it has it’s own special appeal and allure.   It is very satisfying in it own way.  For one, you run along side some very focused people and you are just going, going, going, very focused like.  There are also WAY MORE SPECTATORS.  This was shocking to me.  Usually by the time I go by most of the spectators are gone because there person has already passed through.  Being in the top 10% made it that 90% of the people had not yet passed through so 90% of the spectators were still waiting.  And that was a lot of family and friends.  It is fun though, they call out your name (it is on the bib) and it is motivating.

Overall I am pleased with how things went.  I am also sore as hell today.  Much more than normal. 

Here I am waiting for race walker champion Tammi.  Fellow blogger who won the race walk division.  I am also getting teared up by watching everyone push through and finisher their own marathon

Here I am waiting for race walker champion Tammi. Fellow blogger who won the race walk division. I am also getting teared up by watching everyone push through and finisher their own marathon

28
Sep
09

Progress in running and marathon #20

portland-marathonI have been waiting for this moment now for a long time To be exact, I have been waiting and running now for 2 years and 7 months.  For some reason 20 marathons is a major milestone in my head.  It is a big deal to me.  Not only is it a big deal to have 20 marathons under my belt, but this will be the first marathon that I really go for it.  It is also neat that for my first goal paced marathon and for my 20th marathon, I will be doing my 3rd Portland Marathon.  It is kind of an anniversary marathon I guess since it was my first marathon ever back in October 2007.  My time in that first marathon was 5:45 or so.  I can’t exactly remember now but I am pretty sure it was in the 5:40’s.

There are many areas of running that a person can see improvement and I am going to share some of the growth in running that I have experience.  My goal is to inspire hope that sooooo much more is possible for us than we think when we are first starting out.  I remember that when I first started out with a long run of two miles that I wanted so bad to someday be able to run a mile in the 7 minute range.  Now I will be trying to run a marathon with 26 consecutive miles in that range.  I hoped to be able to run a marathon in about 6 hours, now I will be running one in hopefully half that time.

My goal was to run injury free and still love running after a long time.  I have done this.  I have not sustained an injury nor have I given up the most basic of exercises.  Despite my general sense of low self-esteem, I have been proud of what I have accomplished with running and weight loss.   This is possible you guys.  It is possible to be transformed from an overweight person who hates exercise to an athlete with many accomplishments.  Here is a little bullet list of what is possible.  At least this is how it worked for me.

  • All out mile: 9+ min., 7:52, 7:07, 6:56, 6:41, 613, 5:41 is now my new PR.
  • Half-marathon: 2 hrs, 56 min, now it is 1:32 (7:02 pace)
  • Marathon: 5:45, and my new PR is 3:58.
  • 50K:  5:35 to a new sub 5hr
  • 41.2 miles: 7:51 to a new 6:56
  • I breathe about as hard running 8:30 minute miles as I did running 13:45 minute miles in 2007.
  • My legs heal faster and my soreness is gone on the third day compared to being sore for almost 6 days after my first marathon.
  • I increased my long run from 2 miles to 50 miles.  That two miles seemed just about as hard as 50 at the time, at least mentally.

I am a new man.  I hope that this little changes that I have made can inspire you to believe that you can make sure strides yourself.  Thanks for listening.

14
Sep
09

Marathon #19 is in the bag!

skagit flats finish line

My 19th marathon went just as I expected.  It was a no-frills “long run” as my final long preparationg for the Portland Marathon.  I usually will do my 100 miler pace on these “long run” marathons but this time I didn’t.  I walked every 15 minutes for about 1 minute.  I also found that my legs and body are more comfortable at a faster pace rather than a slower one.  The slower one conserves energy but at the same time makes my legs feel tired too.

washingtonSo I had to work on Saturday and the marathon was on Sunday in a town 4-5 hours north of my home.  I got off of work at 5 pm and then had to take my wife to her annual employee appreciate party at one of the doctors house.  So I did that, had some food and fun, then left for Burlington, WA around 7:30 pm.  I finally arrived at my sisters house at around 10:30 (she lives about 45 minutes south of marathon start).  I talked with her and her husband for an hour and hit the hay.

Woke up bright and early at 4 am, had coffee, ate two small chewy granola bars, and waited for our time of departure.  My sister took me to the marathon and was amazed at all the “regular” looking people who were running it.  By regular, she meant people who were not “rail skinny” like the elite distance runners you see on TV.  Yep, that’s right.  We are just regular people conquering the miles.  Doing what we can with our regular bodies.

I finished the marathon in 4:10.  I did 10 minute miles for the first ten miles.  I did 9:30 minute miles for the second ten miles.  Then I did 8 minute miles for the last six miles.  I was a hot sunny day and the marathon maniacs were out in full force.

14
Mar
09

You CAN run an ultra-marathon!

ultramarathon

image credit: news.bbc.co.uk

GOING BEYOND 26.2 MILES IS TOTALLY INSANE!!!!!!!!!!  The image above is a guy working on finishing the Badwater Ultramarathon.  It’s a 134 mile race from the lowest part in the United States to the Highest.  That’s hardcore, not to mention that the race goes through Death Valley in the summer when the average temperature is 120. An ultramarathon is any race longer than 26.2 miles. It can be done, but ultramarathons are not something you do to get or stay healthy.  They can really beat your body up.  I am not saying never try it, I did it, but it’s not for everyone.  Even before I wanted to do a marathon I desired the ultra.  I read about a guy who ran 50 miles and I just could not believe it.  That made me want to do what I couldn’t believe was possible.  It took me a long time to do it.  I did several marathons first and then I slowly worked my way up the ultra ladder by doing the shortest races first until I reached 50 miles.  I just don’t have the time to train for anything longer than that.  If you have running experience you can give it a shot.  I also talked to my doctor before I did an ultra.  He was not real excited about it, but he told me I was healthy.  You should do the same.  If you don’t have experience and want to do an ultra, keep it on the back burner until you have some, but don’t forget about your dreams.  Here are some resources to help you get started.

08
Mar
09

You CAN run a marathon.

rock_n_roll_marathon_start

Image credit: San Diego Rock&Roll Marathon

You can run a marathon.  Maybe you can’t even walk for 30 minutes, but if you keep up with your activity, you will eventually have the ability to finish 26.2 miles.  Is finishing a marathon one of your lifetime goals, one of your impossible dreams?  I believe that you can do it.  It is not easy to get to the starting line nor the finish line.  However, it is possible.  As you probably already know, I started out at 307 lbs and only able to ride a stationary bike for 12 minutes.  If I could do you it, you CAN do it.  You must take it slow and build up your fitness.  I talked to my doctor about it before I started to train for one, you should too.  Below are some resources to get started towards  your goal of finishing a race that only about 1% of people finish each year.

03
Mar
09

Endurance athlete fueling, hydration, and electolyte

For all of you that are doing or want to do endurance type events and activities, it is very important to understand fueling, hydration, and electrolyte intake.   As some of you may have heard, some physical states that endurance exercise can induce can be potentially very dangerous.  I wanted to just briefly talk about a couple of things and then point you to a world of knowledge regarding these topics by linking to an endurance library that you will find very helpful.  The link is at the end of the post.  Most of the information in this post comes from Hammer Nutrition’ website.

CALORIES IN DURING ENDURANCE EVENTS

First off, I wanted to talk about caloric intake.  When you are going to be out there doing your thing for a long long time it will be much more manageable if you take calories in.  Now you don’t have to take calories in up to a point, but the longer you go, the more important it is.  I take calories in from the start of my runs if they are longer than 13 miles.  It helps my mind and body to do so.  I can run much further without calories, but it is far More difficult to do it.  I burn around 700-800 calories per hour while running but the human body will only digest around 350 plus or minus some each hour.  You still end up in a deficit but you increase your endurance by doing this.

Dehydration is bad

It is important to take fluids in during your endurance activity.  As with food, you body can only take a certain amount of fluid in.  You will not be able to replace all the fluid you lose without putting yourself in danger of “water intoxication”.   Below  is a chart from this link to demonstrate the importance of hydration and its effect on endurance.

Symptoms by percent body weight water loss:

  • PERCENT WATER LOST ——— SYMPTOMS
  • 0% — none, optimal performance, normal heat regulation
  • 1% — thirst stimulated, heat regulation during exercise altered, performance declines
  • 2% — further decrease in heat regulation, hinders performance, increased thirst
  • 3% — more of the same (worsening performance)
  • 4% — exercise performance cut by 20 – 30%
  • 5% — headache, irritability, “spaced-out” feeling, fatigue
  • 6% — weakness, severe loss of thermoregulation
  • 7% — collapse likely unless exercise stops
  • 10% — comatose
  • 11% — death likely

 OVER HYDRATION IS FAR MORE DANGEROUS

One of the most dangerous conditions that can happen to us is hyponatremia.  This is the state where the sodium levels in your body have been “watered” down by to much hydration without proper electrolyte replacement.  It is a common occurrence with marathoner who will take 6 hours or longer to finish their race.  This condition can be and has been fatal at the marathon levels. Here is a little blurb about this condition from hammer nutrition.

Tragic consequences

Hyponatremia usually results from drinking too much, especially when one drinks fluids such as plain water or a sports drink lacking the proper electrolyte profile. Training and fitness levels, weather conditions, and, undoubtedly, biological predisposition, also contribute to developing this form of hyponatremia known as “water intoxication.”

Sadly, we must note that this condition has lead, directly or in part, to the deaths of otherwise healthy runners in major American marathons. It is hard for us to comprehend the grief of the families they left behind. These athletes went out to run a marathon, to achieve a personal victory. Improper hydration took away their day of glory and also their lives. They collapsed and went into an irreversible condition involving uncontrollable brain edema, coma, and death. We report this to help prevent any future such tragedies. Over-hydration represents a very serious problem. Unlike dehydration, which will generally only result in painful cramping, possibly a DNF, or at the worst, IV treatment, over-hydration can incite a chain of ultimately fatal physiological consequences.

So you cannot replace all fluids lost but you can drink to much.  The reason for writing this post is because I used to be very scared of this condition and also of generally hurting myself doing these long runs. I want to share with you the most important resource I have found for learning about endurance activity and it’s necessary caloric and fluid replacement.

The complete endurance library