Monday, August 25, 2008

Form and Style

It is true, there is no one style in which to run. Distance runners know that, while there may be some more efficient ways to transfer your body's energy into a forward motion, at the end of many races, primal/survival/fetal position trumps perfect form. Sometimes its just about getting your crippling body to the end.

Gina Kolata takes a brief look at the various forms of running, particularly the strike locations of runner's feet. Midfoot strike is most efficient, but really there is no one way to run. As she describes:

But for every rule there are great runners who exemplify it and great runners who are exceptions to it.

Emil Zatopek, a Czech distance runner who won the 5,000, the 10,000 meters and the marathon at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, ran with his head thrusting upward and his arms flailing. He has been described as running like a man with his head in a noose.

Personally, I run like my feet or on fire, or like I am Kenyan, or have no heels. I run mostly on my toes, a habit I attribute to many years of agility practice in basketball and volleyball. It looks a little funny, but I enjoy it.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Some Snaps from Runyon Canyon

From the hike with Lindsey and Greg up Runyon Canyon on Saturday

Later that day, the three of us saw Eric Dane at brunch at Kings Road Cafe. Nice.

New Pedals, Bruises

My fault - I got more tired than I expected as of late, and my writing has fallen away. But just because I don't write doesn't mean I don't run.

A little recap of the weekend:

Saturday - a big workout day of 18 miles of biking, 2.5 miles of hiking and just over 10 miles of running. Left my apartment at 8:30am and didn't return until 6pm...well, it would have been a 5:30 return if not for my getting lost along the 2 miles between my apartment and Griffith Park. My lack of common sense still surprises me sometimes.

Sunday: 5 miles of running down at the beach. A light day, of sorts, and I embraced it after the +4 hours of Saturday's schedule. After 7:30am practice, I went over to Performance Bicycle Shop in Santa Monica to get new pedals and shoes for Max (my bike). Dropped too much money on the new equipment, but I'll survive. Went home and tried out the new clips.

For those unfamiliar with biking shoes: The shoes have a metal and plastic mold attached to the bottom. It locks into a groove (or multiple grooves) in the pedal and literally binds your foot to your bike. The benefit of this is a full powered rotation when your push the pedal down and around. Not only do you generate power from your quads when your foot pushes down, but you also generate power from your hamstrings as your pull your foot on the upswing.

The drawbacks of clip in pedals: Falling down. Becuase your foot is attached to the bike, and because it takes a little coordination to release the clip and step to the group (not to mention get back on the bike and clip in without falling over), sometimes you --- and by "you" I mean "me" --- will take a lateral dive right into the pavement. In front of your apartment. Where your neighbor is staring at you and feebly attempts to offer a gesture of concern. (Yes, I'm fine, thanks).

After mastering to the new clips, or at least not falling in the middle of the intersection of Riverside and Ledge, I took a quick 5 mile ride around the neighborhood. I may give it another shot in the AM before work starts.

Also, by the way, I've started my fundraising for the Santa Barbara/Pasadena weekend of craziness. Check out my site, and give a bit if you feel inclined. Thank you much.

Emily's Team In Training Site

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Fountain of Youth is...

Up and running! According to Reuters.

Looks like running makes you live longer than not running, at least when biology and genes are concerns. To play devils advocate, the article doesn't examine the increased risk of, say, getting hit by a car while running verses getting hit by a car while watching TV ... Oh those lurking variables.

I also think there is some sort of Einsteinian theory that objects in motion tend to age slower than objects at rest. It's the basis for a lot of time travel theories, in which people travel at light speed, only aging a bit, and return to Earth where hundreds of years have past.

A quick tangential explanation a la Brian Greene

Everything travels through space-time at a relative speed, and the constant we measure against is the speed of light. According to the article's little chart "Your head is moving through space and time at the speed of light. The faster your head moves through space, the slower it moves through time. ... Since you must travel constantly at exactly the speed of light, when you increase your speed through space, you decrease your speed through time."

Okay, I've managed to confuse myself a bit, but it all boils down to one thing - run faster, age slower .... relatively.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

TNT Race Report: Winter 2008 Week One

Back to Team for season 4! Woke up awfully early this morning (6:30am) to head over to Santa Monica for the first training session of the season. The group looks much smaller than the summer Team - there are about 50 people part of the group. The benefit of this is getting to know people better. I work better in smaller groups.

It was also great to reunite with some of my friends I haven't seen since Alaska. During the 40 minute run, I got a chance to catch up with Chris and pick his brain about running Santa Barbara and Pasadena back-to-back.

And now I am on my quest to raise at least $1800 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I'll upload my promo video and website link tomorrow.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

A Change in Schedule

Tomorrow is the first day of TNT for the Winter 2008 season, my fourth with the West Side Marathon crew.

I've made an adjustment to my schedule to accommodate my travel and training schedule. I will no longer be running on the Arizona Rock n Roll Marathon. Instead, I will be fundraising and training for the Santa Barbara Half Marathon in November. What's interesting about this schedule switch is that the half marathon comes a day before the Pasadena Full Marathon.

So ... I've been espousing the 39.3 in 2 days motto for the Goofy Challenge. But as it turns out, I will be doing this Nov 1 and 2. I will use the back-to-back races as a warm up for Goofy because, as it is part of my annual vacation tradition with my mom, I want to make sure both of those races go smoothly.

Within the week, I will have my TNT site up. I will be raising at least $1800 for the cause. For Al and Isabella Wilno especially.

Quick recap of the week:
10 miles today with Allegra and Brett. Great run around Silver Lake and Los Feliz. Look forward to moving to that area in a year or so.

30 miles of biking over the week. To and from work multiple times, and a longer ride this afternoon.

Tomorrow's TNT training is only 30 minutes, but I will supplement with 9-10 miles in Santa Monica, and maybe another bike ride. A good, productive week overall.

Also, this week I learned that I run by the Jonas' Brothers home on one of my well-trodden routes. 10 years ago, maybe I'd be enamored. Now ... staring at the cable bill ... I'm jealous!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Weekend Round Up

Saturday - I overslepts and missed the Team in Training kickoff event at 9am. Bummer, I was looking forward to catching up with friends. Instead, I took the extra hour to bike around the park for a nice 18-mile trip. After that, headed to Santa Monica for a hilly workout with Brett along the Sunset Boulevard hills near the beach. Topped the run off with a set of the Santa Monica stairs. (See the YouTube video I did not shoot below. Video courtesy of someone named "hotgymgirl" which is a better name than Going For Goofy, I suppose.

Santa Monica Stairs - video powered by Metacafe

My legs are sore from the hills and stairs (9 miles total), but that didn't stop me from completing another medium distance run today, 8.5 miles in the Valley. It's very hot here. I look like I jumped out of the shower by the end of the run. And all of this sun is doing little to rid my wrist of the white-striped Garmin watch tan.

Looking ahead to this week, I'm thinking of working out longer distances but on less days. An increase of of daily mileage but not days worked out might give my legs mroe chance to rest. We'll see what happens.

Also a goal: Get my Team in Training fundraising kickstarted. I need to set up my website and send out my emails soon. You'll be hearing from me!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Laps Around the Blogosphere

Before I barrel headlong into a weekend recap, here's a look at what I've been reading up on this week. Some good, some bad, but all beneficial to creating an effect workout ...

Over at Cranky Fitness, Cranky takes a look at the pros and cons of recording your workouts and diet. She hits the nail right on its little head when she discusses the fine line between recording progress and obsessive practice of a routine:
3. Obsessive, Perfectionist Thinking

The ability to monitor and track your performance can be a force for Evil as well as for Good if you have perfectionist tendencies. Food and exercise journaling takes long-term goals (like getting to a healthy weight, or running a marathon) and turns them into daily sources of pride or shame.

This is of course awesome when you're doing really well.

But you won't always be doing well, and you need to be prepared for that.

Depressing news comes out of the New York Times. GlaxoSmithKline is on the verge of developing a drug that transforms you from couch fungus to a model of muscular envy. But this isn't the effortless drug some might hope for. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him swim laps. The pills works in conjunction with exercise, not in its absence.
Researchers at the Salk Institute in San Diego reported that they had found two drugs that did wonders for the athletic endurance of couch potato mice. One drug, known as Aicar, increased the mice’s endurance on a treadmill by 44 percent after just four weeks of treatment.

A second drug, GW1516, supercharged the mice to a 75 percent increase in endurance but had to be combined with exercise to have any effect.

And finally, something that has been on my mind recently - trail runs! provides newbies like me some advice on trail running. Usually when I read these articles, I shrug off the guidance. After a couple years, I consider myself a bit more than a novice. But reading this has given me some perspective. I really don't know much about trail runs. And the points they make are valid, especially, "Think Time Not Distance":

Tough terrain and hills can double the time you need to cover a mile. So consider how long you want to be out. "Experienced trail runners cover about six miles an hour," says Scott Jurek, seven-time winner of the Western States Endurance Run. "Less-fit runners should target four."

Hear that?

That's the sound of expectations being adjusted for the Sept. 28 Pt. Mugu Trail Run.