Monday, June 30, 2008

Bulking Up...

...the race schedule, that is. Two more added to the mix for this fall.

Sept 28th: XTERRA Trail Run at Point Mugu with Allegra. The course profile is daunting, but the hills will be good training.

Point Mugu Elevation Profile


Oct 12th: Long Beach Half Marathon with Brett. To erase my preconceived notions of how ugly the city of Long Beach can be, Brett has convinced me to complete the 13.1 by the beach. I'll use it as a training run for Pasadena.

Long Beach - from the race site

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Heat Goes On

The heat continues to bake the San Fernando Valley and I got caught out in it on a 14 miler on Saturday. My lack of humility toward the weather got the best of me. Maybe I was still high off of the 50-degree Alaska run last week. Either way, I was aware of my ill-preparedness going out the door at 10:30, and shrugged off of reservations.

No hat, no salt, one bottle of water (I thankfully refilled a couple of times at the park fountains), no sunglasses. I took off at my race pace and felt good until mile 8.65. Then it hit me. No shade, 90 degrees, little water and tired legs. Awful. It was an out and back run, so I had 6 miles left. I got a little nauseaus on the way back and resorted to one-one intervals. I completed the first 8.65 miles in 1hr 24, and the last 6 in 1hr 26mins. That's how much I was hurting.

Collapsed next to my fridge when I got back. Chugged some cranberry juice and sat in the shower tub for a good 10 minutes to bring my core temp down. Sore the rest of the day.

Lesson learned - Don't be stupid or arrogant. Prepare dilligently for runs and don't underestimate the weather, the mileage or my fatigue.

(Thankfully Sunday's bike ride and short run went off without a hitch. Back in action!)

And another note - great to see my teammates at our pizza reunion this afternoon. Yet another reason I will be rejoining Team In Training. Wonderful, fun people.

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Friday, June 27, 2008

(Air) Quality Control

The blessing and the curse of living and running is Southern California is the environment around you. Beautiful beaches with clear cool breezes are squeezed up against the smoggy city (and valley - where I live) with its hazy, translucent atmosphere.

I've been fortunate enough to split my running between the valley and the beach (about 60/40 when it comes down to minutes run) so I am not breathing in too much of the pollution. But still, I worry sometimes about the crap I am breathing in.

FitSugar has a recent post warning about Watching the Air Quality where you workout. They suggest:

--Do not run on or near roads where there is heavy truck or bus traffic.

--Work out in the early morning or later in the evening when the ozone levels are at their lowest.

--Exercise indoors if possible.

--If you experience any difficulty breathing, stop your exercise immediately and see your doctor.

Well, the GP trails run parallel to the highway, so I am sort of screwed there. I do run in the morning or after work (rarely at lunchtime anymore). I refuse to workout indoors unless there are brush fires in the area. Who wants to pay for a gym when running on the streets are free! I sort of grin at the last piece of advice - any runner/jogger/biker/walker knows that on occassion, and most of the time PURPOSEFULLY, you will have some difficulty breathing. That's the point of running - moving your threshold farther back! Stopping when your tired gets you nowhere! Alas, maybe that's just my competitive side speaking.

Competitive or not, air quality isn't something to shrug off. No sense in improving the heart when you are killing your lungs.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Improper Marathon Training

A post after my own heart! Over at Mark's Daily Apple, he examines what happens when you don't properly train for a marathon. The post breaks down the physiological affects of the effort required to complete the race. And if your body isn't equiped to handle the effort, bad, bad things happen.

As previous posts suggest, I have some experience on the endurance event front, and I can't say that I have ever gone into one ill-prepared. Partly because I'd be terrified at what would happen had I not properly trained, and partly because the joy I associate with marathoning is not limited to the event itself, but rather to the the entire 4-5 months of training involved with the commitment.

There are others, though, would underestimate or disrespect the distance. In the 2007 Honolulu Marathon, there were approximately 30,000 entrants. Many of these runners were families vacationing from Japan. Since JAL (Airlines) sponsors the event, the offer a package that sets up a vacation and race entry for visitors. The HUGE problem with this is that the race is filled with many unprepared participants. CHILDREN who looked about 12 years old were running this race - that is detrimental to their muscle and skeletal development. Men were pulling over to the side of the road to light up cigarettes. Groups and families take 14 hours to drag themselves across the line.

It bothers me not because they are taking up race space. I am fully supportive of The Penguin and his slow and steady philosophy. Marathoning CAN BE for everyone. But I respect marathoners not because they make the 26.2 mile journey. I respect them because when I stand with the crowd at the starting line, I feel a commaraderie with people who have also spent their weekends running long runs, eating gels and popping blisters. It is the preparation for the marathon that deserves the respect. As many endurance athletes know, the event is just a day (albeit an important one) that caps a lengthy training season.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

50 Races in 50 States

My growing list of half and full marathons has taken on a life of its own. Over my lifetime, I would love to run a half or full in all of the 50 states. Right now I’ve covered only a handful, but then again, I am only 24 and have been racing for 18 months. So I think I have some time as long as my joints oblige. So far this is what I’ve done:

California (San Diego Rock and Roll)
Hawaii (Honolulu)
Florida (Walt Disney World)
Alaska (Mayor’s Midnight Sun)

Pennsylvania (Philly Distance Classic)
Florida (Disney World)

And I’ve got a new state, Arizona, coming up in January and a repeat (California – Disneyland Half) in August. A couple more repeats with Pasadena and Disney for the full races.

So I have to find races that cover the rest of the 45 states. Here is a list of 5 races I would love to run and why:

1. Extraterrestrial Full Moon Midnight Marathon
Extraterrestrial Highway in Rachel, NEVADA

Description: “Running along the fringe of the mysterious Area 51, this stretch of highway (375) has an overwhelming number of reported UFO sightings. So much so, that in 1996 the federal government officially named highway 375 the Extraterrestrial Highway. Not only is the ET Highway full of alien fun, it traverses some gorgeous scenery as well.”

Reason for running
: Probably the easiest race to pretend that you are running because something is chasing you … alien somethings.

2. ING Hartford Marathon
Hartford, CT

Description: “The ING Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon start and finish beside the Memorial Arch in downtown Hartford’s Bushnell Park. The Marathon is a Boston qualifier and results are automatically transferred to BAA. We offer Pace Leaders to assist runners, who wish to run Boston qualifying times.”

Reason for running
: The hometown race. I grew up not far from Hartford, and it would be great to return to CT to run, especially in October when the foliage is brightly colored.

3. American Discovery Trail Marathon
Pike’s Peak, Colorado

Description: “ADTM events are staged at the America the Beautiful Park. The finish line for all events is at the park. The start line for the marathon is in Palmer Lake. Runners should go to the America the Beautiful Park to be transported by bus to the start line. The half marathon and 5K events start and finish lines are both at the America the Beautiful Park.”

Reason for running: You finish in a place called “America the Beautiful Park.” I’d be hard-pressed to find a location as nice as that. I’m sure it would beat the park-turned-mud-pit in Honolulu.

4. ING New York City Marathon
New York City

Description: “The premier event of New York Road Runners, the ING New York City Marathon is one of the world's great road races, drawing more than 100,000 applicants. The race attracts many world-class professional athletes, not only for the more than $600,000 in prize money, but also for the chance to excel in the media capital of the world before two million cheering spectators and 315 million worldwide television viewers. As any one of the more than 700,000 past participants will attest, crossing the finish line in Central Park is one of the great thrills of a lifetime.”

Reason for running
: To take a tour of New York City by foot might be one of the coolest things to do, ever. I lived there for a brief while and loved the energy and atmosphere of the place. The crowd support is supposed to be unbelievable. I’ve had a couple friends run the race, and they were raving about how surreal and wonderful the run is.

5. Grandma’s Marathon
Duluth, MN

Description: “Grandma's Marathon is a point-to-point course run along the beautiful north shore of Lake Superior. The 26.2-mile stretch begins on scenic Old Highway 61, just outside Two Harbors, Minnesota and finishes in Duluth's Canal Park. Enthusiastic volunteers, spectators and live entertainers line the streets to cheer runners on as they stride to the finish line.”

Reason for running: Named one of the top 10 best marathon’s in the country. Also, you get a shirt that says “Grandma’s Marathon” and if that’s not bound to confuse a couple people, I don’t know what is. After the cooler weather in Alaska, I think I favor races in northern states. Minnesota sounds cool, even if the race is held in June

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Pavement Altar

After two full days of resting, I had to hit the road again. Lace up the kicks and take to the beautiful, if not hot, Griffith Park golf course for a 6 miler. Took me a mile to warm up the quads, but I managed to maintain a 9:20 pace for the workout. It was peaceful and nice to be back on the road again without the pressure of hitting a time. Something close to spiritual, although I am not a spiritual person by any stretch of the imagination. But I do visit the Pavement Altar enough to find some sort of center there. When I am able to tune out the rap music and the ticking clock, I connect with something more.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

A Look at What's Next

The Immediate
I am in day one of two of a vegan, gluten-free detox. Lots of veggies and fruit and almonds. No bread, dairy or processed foods. I'm hoping it will reset my body to my pre-race diet (which was a lot lighter than it has been the past two weeks. But I can't complain, I needed the energy)

Tomorrow I will do a "soft" 3 mile run. I say soft because that is how I will have to run in order to ease my quads into workouts again.

The Long Term
This blog is about the Goofy Challenge in January, but my schedule has grown to accomodate other events/goals/indulgences. Here's a look at the next 7 months:

-Disneyland Half Marathon - Aug 31. Looking forward to training with my friend Amie for her first marathon

-Pasadena Full Marathon - Nov 16 - I may treat this one as a serious race for which I will try and achieve some new goal

-Walt Disney World Half Marathon - Jan 10, 2009 - With my mom. What I have been training for all year

-Walt Disney World Full Marathon - Jan 11, 2009 - The second half of a long weekend

-Arizona Rock and Roll Full Marathon - Jan 17, 2009 - Yes, a week after the Goofy Challenge. TNT means to much to me to take time off. I'll be running to enjoy it, and I can't wait to begin the Winter Season in August.

A Reflection on the Weekend

The Moose Crew

More Moose

Thankfully this post was prepared on the 6 hour flight back from Anchorage. After a crazy and wonderful weekend up north, the trip back gave me a little time to reflect - and it wasn't until then that I had a chance to digest experience a little more. My thoughts came to me in the form of bullet points, it wasn't a chronological reflect. So my apologies for the disjointed recap - its the only way I have understood the trip.

Alaska Mountains

As I sit on the plane and write this, I struggle to believe that I have just spent four days up north. It seems surreal, and I can't quite pinpoint why. Maybe its the 23.5 hours of daylight that the city offered, or the 50 degree weather. I don't know. Maybe it was the break in my militant routine. Whatever the reason, it was relaxing.

Three quotes come to mind and provide a little structure...

Luck is when preparation meets opportunity - I think it's a Buddhist saying

We left Anchorage on Thursday at 7am. I was at the airport at 4:30am, frantically blackerry-ing my bosses until 10am (before and during our layover in Salt Lake), and by 2pm AK time (one hour behind Los Angeles), I was finally on vacation.

Friday was dinner at the Sour Dough Mining Co. Lots of breaded goodies and an excuse to carbo load.

Deliverance meets Chuck E Cheese

Kelly and Me and mostly likely some corn fritters

Friday's pasta party was emotional, nerve-racking and celebratory. Saturday's Victory Party was the same, without the nerves.

Liz and Jon at the Victory Party

Maia and Allegra

Moose Crew at the party

The night before the marathon I visualized myself running a 3:56:56. I don't know why that number stuck, but I kept it in my mind until I fell asleep. You know what they say, "If you put your mind to it..."

Find Your Limits and Exceed Them - Someone was wearing this on a shirt at the victory party. It's something that you could find on a shirt in a Big 5 or Sport Chalet, but when I read it, it resonated.

I ran a sub 4-hr race. Officially it was 3:56:25. In order to "break four" as its commonly referred to, you have to average a 9:06/mile pace for the entire 26.2 miles. I think I averaged an 8:59. This is shocking. Why? Because when I was 14 I couldn't run 3 miles without gasping for breath. Because three years ago I made myself get on a treadmill every day for 8 months and run 30 minutes. Because I am athletic, but not a runner.

But what I do have going for me is an obsessive nature and a desire to be the best. Both traits have souble edged sides that can slice you. But when applied positively, things can come together.

Everyone was nervous and chatty on the way to the starting line. We were on the bus. It was loud, people singing, laughing, getting their nerves out. At these moments I usually turn inward. Saturday was no different. I was quiet and kept thinking about the goal ahead. Going into the race, gathering with my teammates before the gun went off, I felt really confident. The weather was a perfect 50 and overcast, a little rainy even. If there was ever a time and place to exceed my own limits, it was then.

Miles 1-12 were great. Effortless, almost. Gorgeous wooded surroundings; chilly pine trees stirring from the rain. Crunchy gravel with a few obstinate peeble-boulders. Saw a baby moose about 20 minutes in. Apparently after we saw him, he ran into a fence. Everyone hits a wall during the marathon. Moose included.

I ran with Chris from miles 1.5 to 4. I had my watch prepped, I was doing math problems trying to figure out my averages and paces and walk breaks...etc. Chris told me to stop thinking and start running. Just stay comfortable. Just relax. I took his advice, eschewing intervals for simple running. Somewhere along the trip, in my mind, I dropped the "Coach" off of "Coach Chris". I just realized that.

Saw our ever-present, but admittedly not perky manager Rachel at miles 4 and 17. Made me appreciate how much familiar faces can boost your spirits when things are tough.

At mile 8 i had the closest thing to an out of body experience that I can describe. I wasn't floating overhead or anything (that would be cheating!). I was running, moving, fast. My body was working, but my mind was completely and pleasently disconnected. I became aware of the disjunction and for a moment, it was very cool.


At mile 13, the doubt started creeping it. It's that blackness in your gut and in your lungs that washes over you. It takes hold of a tiny, little crack in your confidence and begins ripping into you like a ravenous termite. (How's that for a description). Just when the doubtmite got ahold of me, I turned the corner and found Coach Kate, the coach of the San Fernando Valley team. Thank you Kate!! That is all I can say. Her spirit, attitude and enouragement was more of a boost than any gel, drink or pill could provide.

The second half of the race was mostly downhill (we had worked our way uphill for the first 15 miles).

It's amazing, in a blink of an eye, you finally see the light. It's amazing, when the moment arrives that you know you'll be all right - Rock on, Aerosmith.

Mile 20 introduced the beginnings of some pain. My legs hurt from the pounding. My breath was laborous. My shoulders were bulky. Chris caught me at mile 21.5. When I saw him I threw both my hand sin the air to wave. The yellow visor was, as usual, a welcome sight. But little did I know that the next five miles would be as painful as anything I'd every physically endured.

As we ran, Chris vowed to get in to the finish line under four hours. I had a cushion of time, but not too much. I'd been averaging an 8:59 pace.

We started to run faster, and that's when the yelling began. He jumped out about 10 paces ahead of me, and strung along a series of challenges. "Come on Emily" "Get your ass up here this is no time to fuck around" "Are you strong?!" "Stay with me Emily" "Let's go Emily we have to get moving"

I sped up to an 8:20 pace at one point. Ouch ouch ouch. I was fading, physically and mentally, but there was plenty of emotion (Anger, pain, exhaustion, hope) brewing inside of me.

At mile 24 Chris tapped into the motivations that broke down my breathing, but fired my final reserves up. "My daughter's name was Isabella" and "Javi's mom is fighting for her life." "Just 30 more minutes of pain and you are done" I literally stopped breathing, getting choked up. I have my many reasons to run, and close to the top of that list is Chris's story and Javier's story. Typing this up now, I still get a bit weepy. On the course, I did all I could to keep from collapsing.

At mile 25 he said "Only 9 more minutes of pain" and I consciously thought to myself "A chemo session is longer than 9 minutes. I can do this". I gave the last hill all that I had.

Chris stopped with .2 left to go. The participants had to finish ourselves. Finally he was yelling for me --cheering-- from behind.

I crossed the line, stopped running, curled into primitive fetal position and stagered through the shoot. I immediately found Liz, who finished a minute or so ahead of me. We shared our pains. Thank god the body forgets pain, because it was all-encompassing for a while.

Not accurate on any section, but close enough.

I have a big, tan head. And a big, heavy medal.

As you can see below, the pictures illustrate the gaps I have left in this story.

Did I mention that is was broad daylight at 11:30pm?
Night Time in Ancourage ... it's still bright on the bus (me and Maia)

That we spent the day at a glacier!
Lindsey, Kelly and Pete

Chris and Brett

Group Photo Op

Portage Glacier Lake area

Lindsey is always prepared

Portage Glacier moves 17 inches a day. If you squint and are really patient, it looks like its chasing you.

That the boys wore pink sweatshirts on their own accord!
Pre-Race Fashion

Are there lessons from this race, this weekend? From breaking through something and finding that once you acheive one goal, there is always be another to take its place? Always. I need to watch less TV and more time interacting with people. There is life outside of the Hollywood Entertainment Industry. I will always look to Chris and Javier's stories for inspiration. The time and effort (sacrifice) I make to improve will pay off in spades under the right conditions.

I'm spent. That's all she wrote.

Pics and Recap Soon

Wrote up a recap of sorts on the 6 hour plane ride back last night. Also have some stills sitting in my camera. Will update when I get home tonight.

For now, just know that is was an amazing weekend all around. Good race, good weather, and great company to share it with.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Friday, June 20, 2008

Almost race time

Its about 9pm here in AK and the is shining. This whole sunshine all day thing is VERY disorienting. We didn't leave dinner til 10 lst nite but it was like daytime.

I'm set for tomorrow. Took it easy today with a glacier tour and pasta party. Watching one of my fav movies on AMC now, the last samauri. Hope its an omen

Will report back with pics soon!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

On the Run

Scientists seem to have found a link between Fitness and Crime. Maddan, Walker and Miller have studied inmates in an Arkansas prison system, and their findings show that the prisoners were at their fittest upon entering the facility. Mind you, they used BMI to calculate fitness, and we all know that BMI isn't the most accurate formula in predicting health.

“Those who are fit may have personalities that are more likely to make them violent,” Dr. Walker said in an e-mail message.
It's an interesting link they draw, and it isn't all that farfetched to associate the "runner's high" flood of endorphins with the chemical rush associated with that of a crime spree or violent streak ...

Personal experience with crime? No. None. Except for crimes of fashion. Does anyone actually look good in running spandex?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

5 Days Til the Race

Let's hope the last run of the season was not an indicator of what will go on Saturday in Anchorage.

Put up a quick post before heading off to practice on Sunday morning. Unfortunately, that was the last time I felt good until this morning. After downing oatmeal, coffee, and three Excedrin for my IT band, I took off for the session. I got there and felt unusually tired. Sure, 7am on Sunday isn't a stretch of day when I feel most awake. But I felt more rundown.

Right when we started our run - a final 8 miler along Venice and Marina Del Rey - my stomach started to hurt. Not my gut, but my real stomach, up closer to my ribs. Nausea, intense sweating (it was humid), and a general rundown-i-ness. Not good. Not good at all.

Even though the run took a little over an hour, I kept telling myself it was almost over. And I made it through and skipped post-practice chat to go home. I thought I'd get better during the rest of the day. Maybe it was just the Exedrin. But no. Alas, I spent the next 36 hours in a constant state of lethargy, nausea and, oddly enough, hungry. It sucks to feel sick when you are also hungry.

So I freaked out a little. The race is days away and NOW I come down with the flu. But I also looked at the bright side. At least this will force me to taper more than I probably would have.

I took all of Monday off from exercise and spent it drinking Peptobismol. Here's a little secret - that stuff tastes kinda good.

My liquid remedy paid off. I am feeling much better today. Operating at 85%. I'll do a quick lunch time run to wake up the legs. Tonight will be spent packing.

My shuttle arrives at 4:15 AM on Thursday morning for the 7:30 flight. Yeah, that sucks. But we get to AK at 2:30pm and have the rest of the day and Friday to enjoy the sights before the race.

Here's the site: to check up on Saturday's results. Mayor's Marathon

Image courtesy of

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Good Morning!

6:30am and I'm off to my last training run before the race. 30 biking miles on these legs from yesterday. 8 miles shouldn't be too hard this morning, but you never know. Crossing my fingers that my IT band is feeling okay.

6 days until the race!

photo courtesy of

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Carbo Backloading

Swallow This by Gretchen Reynolds is another NYT look at endurance athletics and nutrition, and it makes me wonder if one of the editors of the health section is in the midst of training for an event. Whatever the case, keep it up, I enjoy the reading.

To again address the nutritional code-breaking surrounding endurance athletics, I bring up this article as an argument against "carbo-loading", and one for, what can be considered "carbo-back-loaded with a touch of protein." It's not an eloquently titled theory, but not everything can be as catchy as the "Big Bang".

Anyway, studies referenced by the article suggest that a body in a state of rest (at dinner the night before a race) are not as primed and ready to store glucose -from the carbohydrates- as a body in previous motion (after a run) is. It is after long endurance events, or Sunday runs as I think of them, that the body is set to repair the broken down muscles and replenish what has been lost. But it's not only about replenishment, it's about preparing for the next run. Our coaches harp on it time and time again - 30-45 minutes after a run is the window for replacement. And replacing what you've lost on a long run is key for the next run.

Two days before the marathon, I plan on having a a larger meal that I hope will sustain me for as much of the run as possible. And from the read I get from this article, it sounds like I should go on a short run beforehand. A short run is not in the same ballpark as a 3 hour workout. But I'd do it in hopes of atleast turning my muscles on to their glucose-absorbing state. It beats sitting around, I hope.

Pic courtesy of Jupiter Images

Monday, June 9, 2008

Hitting the Trails

As you can see, a large section of the Mayor Midnight Marathon is done on trails.

You might think all running and its mechanics are the same. Essentially, sure, it is. Left foot follows right foot follows left foot, follows right foot. Repeat that for a while. But different surfaces play a significant role, and they shouldn't be underestimated. The impact your lower body feels is directly related to the hardness of the surface on which you are running. The harder the surface, the lower the stress point on your body.

In other words, running on concrete - one of the hardest surfaces - affects your ankles most prominently. Running on asphalt - only slightly softer - will stress your knees more. Running on dirt or grass tends to affects your hips. Your ankles and knees absorb the shock a bit better, and your hips take the brunt of the work.

I've a fair amount of dirt trail running in order to prepare for the race. Many of my weekday runs take place along the horse trails at Griffith Park. Running on uneven surfaces such as these teach your ankles to react to slight changes in grades. My old soccer coach used to tell us he strengthened his ankles by running on dry river beds because they provided a stabilization workout for the feet. As one with bad ankles, I hope the trail runs have helped. But as one with the occasional bad karma run, I hope I don't trip over a tiny boulder along the way.

And, of course, there are other obstacles to watch out for. FitSugar has some advice about how to prepare for hitting the tracks.

I.T. Came From the Deep

With less than two weeks until race day, we are slowing winding down the TNT calendar. Yesterday's 12 miler should have been cake, butter, or anything else considered wonderful. But I've developed a nagging IT band problem in my knee that sees to be nagging at my mind as well.

With longer intervals (8-1s), I've found the outside of my right knee tighting up to the point of pain. It's a dull but growning twist that has me wincing toward the end of runs. The solution? Assault my quad with Stick massages, ice the knee, and take it easy for the next two weeks. Cardio-ly speaking I can do a 4 hour marathon. I can keep a 9:10 pace throughout. But my knee will be the determining factor when it comes time to prove that. I'm not latching all of my hopes onto my time. Mostly, I'm just excited to see Alaska in a way that few people ever have. There are only 5000 people in this race! But I want to do so pain-free. I'm hoping to convince myself that during this taper period, I can slow it down and just rest and bike. Most likely, I'll go for a 30 min run today followed by copious amounts of stretching, icing and massaging. I'll bike most of the week (save some gas money too) and see how next week shapes up. Nothing I can do now will really matter on race day. These next two weeks are meant to keep us sane - slow runs, short bursts of exercise and lots of sleep and race. Oh, and eating. I sure have that covered.

image courtesy of

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Benefits of Intervals

Short on time? Interval workouts may be just as effective as long, medium-intesity runs (ie. marathon training runs). According to this study, 25-30 minutes of working out using an interval setting can be just as beneficial cardio-vascularly as a medium 40-60 workout without intervals.
After six weeks, the researchers found that the intense sprint interval training improved the structure and function of arteries as much as traditional, longer endurance exercise.

Mark, over at Marks Daily Apple, is a huge proponent of short bursts of high intesity exercise. While I can't quite subscribe to staying away from what he deems "chronic cardio," I do believe that interval training is essential not only to developing a high lactic threshold, but also jumpstarting HGH production in your body.

Post run bread stick or fish stick?

I’d choose neither, but this article by New York Times’ Gina Kolata takes on the facts and fictions of post-workout carbohydrate and protein replenishment. The elite athletes/doctors (talk about overachievers) say that after a long endurance workout, they choose real food over the energy bars and drinks. When you break down the biomechanics of the post-exercise recovery, studies are vague on what your body actually needs.

They article states that only high-level endurance athletes (those who workout twice a day … the professionals) will benefit from specific, high protein and high carb meals in bar form. The rest of us just need real food. A bagel, some eggs, some meat.

Sure, I get that. But here’s the thing. Some of those laboratory-hatched energy bars actually taste good! Since I am not a high-level endurance athlete, I’m not wholly concerned about being 100% prepared for my next run. I think about it, of course, but my paycheck is not riding on it. So at the end of a 3 or 4 hour run, I might forgo the bagel for a Carrot Cake Clif bar or a Chocolate Cherry Lara Bar. Why? Not because I am banking on it allowing me to push through mile repeats the next day. I’m eating it because, like or not, I want a reward for going 18 miles on a Sunday morning. It tastes good!

Flickr photo by larkspurlazuli

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

All downhill until Race Day

Sunday marked the exit point for peak training. A second 20-miler for the moose crew while the Rock and Rollers were running their 26.2 down in San Diego. Only 6-7 of us were there for the long run along Ocean Park Boulevard and San Vicente, but with cooler weather and less of a parade of TNTers along the way, the run was manageable.

I ran with Kelly and Pete, and since he's got some knee issues that have kept him pool-bound this season, we took it easy. We did 3-1 intervals the entire way, and I have to admit that I loved them, very much! It is much easier to maintain a pace when you have a finite amount of time you know you have to run. We shuffled along the route, averaging an 11min/mile with the walks. We finished just under 4 hours, and I felt wonderful. It was as if I hadn't run 20 at all. Sure, the toes were a bit sore, and my legs felt the pressure of the jog. But it was quite a pleasant run, and a reassurance that we are ready for race day.

And since Mom and Dad are in town visiting, I had a bunch of muffins waiting for me at the end of the run. I don't think I have ever downed two muffins so fast (one was bran and one was...I can't remember, it was just delicious!)

Yesterday's 45 min maintenance run (5miles) left me a bit tired. I am looking forward to an easy run tonight with my friend Amie (followed by sushi dinner!) and then a nice 5 miler on Thursday. On Saturday I will again run with my mom around Toluca Lake. Sunday is a 12 miler, and then its two weeks til Alaska!