Photo courtesy of Andrew King - D4 Productions

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Body-Training-Nutrition

It's a new year -and hopefully- a new version of me.

I didn't quite make it through last year with two DNF's (which doubled my lifetime total) but for some reason the mind kept pressing on while the body disintegrated.  I've been running trail ultra's for 10 years now, accumulating 24,704 myles while making it to the finish line at 64 ultras - something eventually had to give.  Whether it was the mind or body, it was hard for me to take a step back and not do something I truly love.

The Body

Last October I decided to take that step back to put everything back together and re-evaluate my passions.  I ran a total of 628 myles in 3 months and only ran when I wanted to and only if the body had allowed me to enjoy it.  Rewinding to the beginning of last year, my job had me traveling quite a bit but I still wanted to maintain a race a month so the only way to do that was to race myself into shape.  I picked 4 - 50 mile races in a span of 8 weeks and paid the price with shin splints.  Doesn't sound too bad but since shin splints were the very thing that almost made me quit the Colorado Trail back in 2009, I had to let them heal or miss out on Hardrock.  Next up was the lower back that I had been "putting up with" on and off for the past two years.  If I would have just looked at the tread wear on my shoes I would have seen that my stride was not symmetrical.  I was wearing through the tread on my left outside soul within two weeks.  The PT in October told me I had a proximal rotated hip which caused my SI joint to cease up on the left side.  Cindy Stonesmith fixed me up during Leadville this year but my non-symmetrical stride put the hip rotated again before I hit Winfield, resulting in a DQMITTFL.  I did, however, manage to finish UROC 100K in Virginia afterwards but I did so only to get the sour taste out of mouth and because it was relatively flat on even running surfaces.

From October through December of last year I concentrated on core work every day.  One of the books I purchased was Run with No Pain by Ben Greenfield , which had me doing very specific one sided resistance and stretches.  The pain slowly went away and with a little maintenance I am now relatively pain free.


In January I put in 245 myles with another 40 on the skate skis for some cross training.  I can't confirm this but I feel the skate skiing complimented the core work I was doing to straighten out my hip.  My approach to training has taken a little twist as well.  I have taken things I have learned from coaches I have had and combined them with nutrition.  More on nutrition in the next paragraph.   January training has been a base building month by using a heart rate monitor.  I used the first 3 weeks with nothing over 150 bpm.  Then for the last 3 weeks I integrated some tempo work twice a week in the range of 160-170 bpm.  One workout designed as an LT (mile repeats) and one as a tempo (10 mile @ mp) each week, alternating weeks with flat and hills.  Here is an example:

Flat week Hill week
Monday 2+ hrs Long run  3+ hr Long run
Tuesday 1.5 hrs recovery 1+ hr recovery
Wednesday 4 x 1mile LT run 10 x 1 min (7%) LT run
Thursday 1.5 hrs recovery 1+ hr recovery
Friday 10 mile Tempo 2 x 20 min (undulating)  Tempo
Saturday 1 hr recovery 2+ hrs recovery
Sunday off 1 hr recovery

This schedule has been giving me about 70 myles and 10+ hrs on the feet.  Little by little I have been watching my HR drop with the same perceived effort during those long runs.  For instance, in the beginning I averaged 145 bpm with a pace around 8:20 on a course that offers 1200 ft of climbing over 15 myles.  Now the pace has dropped to 8:00 with the same average.  As I get past The Buffalo 50 mile race I will drop the flat week and go strictly on the hill week to get ready for Hardrock and other 'hilly' 50 mile races.  Here's a profile my most recent run to show where my fitness is at right now.  Getting fit.


As some of you might know every year I give up a food that I really love and is really bad for me.  This year it's bread.  I also gave up coffee last September so the "Bakery and Espresso shops" are a sinful place.  At any rate, I'm trying to teach my body to rely more on nutrient dense foods as opposed to carbohydrate dense foods.  I have never been a good eater and always find myself gravitating to the sweets, pastas, and breads because they satiate me most.  Call it a high carbohydrate craving that needs to come down.  Truth be told there is a real chemical dependence here with serotonin but I won't get into it.

In the October 2012 issue of Ultrarunning, Sunny Blende wrote an article entitled "Metabolic Efficiency - Becoming A Better-Butter-Burner" and a light bulb went off in my head.  I thought "I'm a carb-whore and that's what I burn, when it's gone so is my energy." Then I watched this and read "High Fat/Low Carbohydrate" by Tim Noakes.  And the last piece of influence, First Endurance has a great article on how to implement a low carb diet into training and racing.  Ultimately I am trying to teach my body to become more efficient, and by "efficient" I mean burn fat.  I honestly feel I will be better off in the late stages of 100 mile race and I will be healthier because of my eating habits.

Will this work or is this a bunch of mumbo-jumbo?  I don't know but I'm willing to give it a try and have been doing so since the beginning of the year.  I believe there is real substance here and with all the processed food here in America, it's time to train my body to reacquant itself with nutritious based food and less carbohydrate dense food.

If you care to remember anything from this post, remember this "You will never out-train a bad diet"

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Pearl Izumi 2013

Not sure why I decided to put up a blogpost because for all intents and purposes, this thing is dead.  I've come to the computer several times over the past year to shut it down but just don't have the heart.  There is some good content on here and I find myself referring back to see what my fitness was like in any one month.  When I started the blog it was to log my workouts so friends and family could keep tabs on my fitness.  But now there are so many other avenues to log workouts on the computer, I just don't see the utility anymore.  Not to mention brevity is key, and with such media venues as Twitter and Facebook the blog becomes a thing of the past.  But for the sake of tradition I'll blog about important stuff and link it to my FB and Twitter accounts.

There has been talk about the Pearl Izumi Ultra running team folding.  Why would PI do such a thing when the attention was at an all time high, not to mention the launching of a new shoe line: E:Motion?  I'll put all rumors to rest by saying that the PI Ultra running team did not fold, it just changed shape.  Here is an official statement from the PI headquarters:

“We have decided to aggressively expand our trail and ultra presence in 2012 through a program called Team PI which is a grassroots program developed in concert with our rep and retailers.  In 2012 Team PI grew to 55-60 athletes across the country . This proved so successful that in 2013 that we want to grow that program to 250 members of the running community many who are a part of the trail and ultra community. Growing this program from the ground up awards many athletes a chance to be a part of PI and brings us brand awareness across the country.  There is also a direct tie to retailers. The expanded Team PI is an evolution of the concept started with the elite team and is intended to support the program with a broad base and a few highly visible athletes. We are aggressively evaluating new athletes for 2013 so, visit our facebook page to find out if a Team PI program exists in your territory and to learn more.”

7 years ago when Aric Manning, myself, and Bob Africa met for the first time in Moab to discuss the Pearl Izumi Ultra running team, it was by meer coincidence.  Aric had branded some Pearl Izumi shirts with the Smith logo for me and we were looking for additional sponsors to fully outfit a team.  I just so happened to be running with Bob Africa during Moab Red Hot 55K and he noticed my Peak I Pearl Izumi running shoes and started asking how I liked the shoes.  I began to tell my story as to why I love PI.  Little did I know Bob actually worked for PI and designed the very shoes I was wearing.  The rest is history.  The one thing I remember is that we all agreed that we wanted a small group of talented runners who loved to be on the race scene, hang out afterwards and have a beer together.  A group that genuinely was fun-loving.  I feel we accomplished that over the years.  But we all know nothing lasts forever and as business' morph so do areas of focus and marketing strategies.  So I say to Aric Manning and all those runners who flew the PI flag - thank you for making the team and Pearl Izumi products what they are today.    

Moving into 2013 I will once again fly the PI flag and hopefully it will be a year to remember in the racing and adventure department.  I am no spring chicken anymore but every time I see Karl Meltzer take down another 100 mile race, I'm inspired.  So we will see what the pins have left in them.  Here is my 2013 schedule:

Buffalo Run 50 - March 23rd

Zane Gray 50 - April 27th
PCT 50 - May 11th
Jemez 50 - May 25th
Hardrock 100m - July 12th
Colorado Trail - August 6th-13th (more to come on this juan)

Here's to 2013 and health!