"Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired in the morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired.”

- George S. Patton, U.S. Army General, 1912 Olympian

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Going Bananas

I eat a lot of fruit. A lot of fruit. My wife is kind of a health nut (in a good way--love you sweetie) and we've made some pretty major changes to our diets over the last few years. As poor college students our diet consisted of refried bean/cheese/salsa quesadillas made on our George Foreman Grill, ramen noodles and macaroni and cheese. I'll spare you the details of the evolution of our diet and skip right to the present. As a family we eat very little meat, hardly any dairy, only whole grains, fruits and vegetables (organic when possible). We use/eat very little added sugar, no high fructose corn syrup, and try to stay away from processed foods and artificial preservatives as much as possible. She and the kids are a little more strict about it than I am, but this is basically what we buy when we go grocery shopping (I stray a little bit when at a restaurant, my parents' house or some other social gathering with food).

My wife has been extremely supportive of my running. I wouldn't do it without her support as it means a little less time with me around the house to help out. She has also sent me to various websites, blogs and online videos talking about nutrition--specifically the diets of elite runners. She's filling the role of nutritionist on my team (making it a team of 2 now). She's been pushing more fruits throughout the day and whatever I want for dinner (taco salad, some sort of pasta dish, rice, millet, stir-fry, etc). Enter the Rule of 10. 10 fruits before I eat anything else that day.

I've been doing it this week and I feel pretty good. Usually I eat dinner and then again later on in the evening, but after eating fruit all day (10 fruits is going to be roughly 1000 calories) I'm pretty satisfied after dinner and haven't needed to eat later. This has subsequently made me feel better in the mornings.

My typical day will consist of 6-7 bananas, 1 or 2 apples and maybe an orange or something else (hooray for on-sale strawberries this week). Very often many of these things will be combined into a smoothie (which is much preferred).

For my long run this morning, I started my day with a #5 smoothie. It consisted of 5 of my daily 10 fruits: 1 orange, 2 bananas, 2 servings of strawberries and some lemon water. 32 ounces of goodness. After my run I had another #5 smoothie (green smoothie) consisting of 2 bananas, 1 pear, and 2 green apples as well as some romaine lettuce. Looks disgusting, but not too bad of a taste. That's 64 ounces of smoothie and 10 fruits consumed in about 3 hours.

We buy bananas by the case, apples by the bushel and pears by the boxful--weekly. But they're simple to eat, my system feels clean and my body feels good. And my pace has been dropping for the last two weeks. So maybe there's something to it...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

"That Cloud Looks Like a Turtle..."

What do you think about when you run? Do you yell and scream at yourself like a caffeinated college football coach? Or do you find inner peace and tranquility as you churn out mile after mile? I came across an article called "Breaking Down the Mental Marathon" over on Active.com the other day.

Researchers questioned non-elite runners in the 1996 London Marathon about their race-day thought processes. Not too surprising, they found four common mental strategies:

Internal association. This focuses on how the body feels while running.
Internal dissociation. This is essentially distraction: examples include playing songs over and over in your head and solving mental puzzles;

External association. This focuses outwardly, on factors important to the race: passing or being passed by other runners, looking out for fluid stations and calculating split times;

External dissociation. This, too, focuses outwardly-but on events unimportant to the race: enjoyment of the scenery, attention to throngs of cheering spectators or glimpses of outrageously costumed runners passing by.

The researchers were focusing on whether, when and how intensely these four groups experienced The Wall during their marathon run. Below is the link for the rest of the story and the researchers results:


I've been paying closer attention to what I think about when I run. I'll tell you which group I fall into after a few more outings. Also, I'll tell you what group I fell into during a particularly tough half-marathon.

Training Schedule Posted--And a Call for Playlist Suggestions

Learned a bit of HTML today. As a result, I was able to post my training schedule and make the recent training runs section a little more legible.

Also, I've realized that my playlist is getting a bit stale. Any good songs I should be adding to my playlist? Email me or post them in the comments section. Any suggestions of Beyonce's "Single Ladies" will be quickly dismissed, however. For today. And always.

From the Experiences of Others

There are plenty people detailing their running experiences in the blogosphere. I've glanced at many people's sites and have found there are a few I gravitate back to more than others. Some are training for their first marathons, like me, while others are regular finishers of 26.2 miles. There's a lot to be learned from other people's experiences. I've certainly come across things that I hadn't considered with regards to my training, race-day prep, what to expect during the actual race and much more. I've linked to a few of my favorite blogs in the right-hand column. Take a look and tell them I sent you. Happy running.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

21 Weeks to 26.2

One of my three known readers recently asked what my training program looks like, how many days a week I run, how quickly I'm adding mileage, things like that. When I set out to find a program that would work for me, I knew up front that running 5-6 days a week, plus cross-training, plus 30 minute pre- and post-run stretching sessions, plus 1-hour post-run icing sessions would be out of the question for me. Simple reasons, really. I like being married. I also like to eat and live in my own home. In short, I don't have 30 hours a week to devote this endeavor. I have a family, a full-time job and a 15-hour a week volunteer church calling.

I'll post some of the various programs I looked at near the end of this post, but the simplest one comes from marathonrookie.com. Very straight forward: Four days a week, increasingly long runs on Saturday, rest days on Sunday, Tuesday and Friday. I had to modify it a tad in that it's only a 16 week program and I had 21 weeks to fill, so I supplemented it with the first few weeks of Hal Higdon's Novice 1 program.

Here's how each week sets up:
Monday: The shortest run of the week. More than anything I'm looking to shake things out a bit and get comfortable after my long run the previous Saturday. Nice and easy for the first half and increasing the pace on the 2nd half of the distance.

Tuesday: Rest day. Some light stretching throughout the day, but not much more than that.

Wednesday: Build-up day. This is where miles are starting to build towards Saturday. I try to get loose as quickly as possible so I can keep up a pretty good pace for as many miles as possible. My goal here is to maintain a pace rather than peak somewhere in the middle of the run and struggle to finish. If I'm not spent at the end of this run, I haven't run hard enough.

Thursday: Lungs-bursting day. Typically the distance is the same as Monday, but coming off of a longer run the day before, this becomes the most difficult run of the week. Knowing that the distance is a little shorter I'm pushing the pace right up to my threshold and trying to maintain it. Again, I'm looking for a consistent pace, not peaks and valleys. I know Friday is a rest day, so I'm not too concerned with going too hard.

Friday: Rest. Prep for long run Saturday morning.

Saturday: Long run. For the first month or so, these runs are pretty short, relatively. By week 10, I'm running 10 miles on Saturday and then it ratchets up from there until I peak at 20 miles in week 18. As the distances get longer my goal is to find a pace I can maintain and settle into. It's not a sprint; it's a marathon, right? Mentally I have to tell myself that I'm not going to finish a 2-hour run in 20 minutes. So sit back, relax, find a good groove, and just go.

Sunday: Rest day. Minimal physically activity. Mostly focused on replenishing my system with nutrients, getting ready for another week.

So here I am, in week 3 of 21. I'll try to post the program I'm using here somewhere. In the meantime, I'm posting my recent runs on the right-hand side of the page.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Let's Get Serious

I'm in. This morning I paid my non-refundable $65 for an entry into the 2010 Newport Marathon. The waiver and disclosure statement I agreed to was three pages, single-spaced, 12-point font. What could possibly have been in that statement after "I understand that participating in this event is potentially hazardous...blah blah blah...you, your heirs or executors can't sue us.....?"

This is one of my favorite Sports Illustrated covers (it's the 2007 MLB playoffs preview edition). Why post it here? For one, I'm a huge Red Sox fan and it's being reported today that Sox management has finally used its collective brain in deciding to pay Mr. Papelbon what he's worth next season. But also, because it's about that time. June 5th is less than 20 weeks away. 26.2 miles isn't going to happen on it's own. Let's get serious.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

There's a lot of catch-up work to do here and I'm going to try to to it in one post or less.

EWEB Run To Stay Warm Half-Marathon--Eugene, OR--November 21, 2009

This was my 3rd half-marathon in a 9-week span and looking back, it may have been a little much. I finished. And my pace wasn't too far behind Champoeg in September, but a wrong turn at about the 7 mile mark turned my race into a 14+ mile half-marathon. The course was beautiful though, running along both sides of the Willamette River, past Autzen Stadium and through the Eugene trail system, which the city has seemed to have perfected, perhaps even better than Portland (ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION SALEM?!?--Let's see, a winding river--check; developed parks on both sides of the river--check; easy access from one side to the other--check; connection between the four--FOUR!--parks along the riverfront.....City of Salem please check in...where are you city of Salem?)

Making a wrong turn and then having to backtrack was an interesting experience. The mental effects were far more disasterous than having to run an extra mile. Up to that point I was feeling very good. Good pace, breathing was normal, one mile at a time, good thoughts going through my head. When I realized I was off course, those thoughts instantly turned negative. Mostly I was frustrated at myself for being a moron (I turned where the 10k runners were going rather than continuing on). My first thoughts were about how far off my pace I would be now. These were followed by wondering/worrying about how much further I would have to run and if I would be able to do it. These thoughts inevitably led to heavy-feeling legs, sore knees, laborious breathing and all the rest. Was not an enjoyable final 6 miles.

After the disappointing experience in Eugene, I scaled back my runs (distance and frequency) for a few weeks to let my body rest. My legs felt heavy, my knees hurt and though I felt good about what I had accomplished a few short months of running, half-marathons were never the goal. The goal was/is to run the Newport Marathon on June 5th, 2010 and looking at the miles I'll be putting in between now and then, I knew December was a month I needed to rest and recover.

First Run Portland--Portland, OR--January 1, 2010

This was a simple 5k that went off at midnight. Pretty good setup. Big party at the World Trade Center in Downtown Portland, around 1000 or so runners, a simple out and back on the main road along the river. Covered pavilion area, lots of bathrooms, decent food and long sleeve T-shirts included. All in all, a good time. I think my time ended up being in the 23:15 range or so. This was my first attempt at a night run, and it wasn't so bad. Getting home and going to bed at 3am didn't do wonders for me the next day, but sitting around all day waiting for midnight to come didn't have too much of an effect (for someone who is usually going to bed around 10pm, though, the day just seemed to go on and on and on)

So that's pretty much it. I've been running a lot of short runs the last few weeks, 3-5 miles at at time. I feel pretty good. The weather has been suprisingly good for these parts. Two bitter cold, but dry, weeks at the beginning of December have given way to occasional rain, but warmer days and nights (45-55 degrees). Seems like there's been a lot less rain than in recent years, but I'm never going to be one to complain about that.