"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

Friday, November 26, 2010

2011 is here (even if it's not even December yet)

2011 came more quickly than I anticipated last night when my sister-in-law announced a  March 12th wedding date in Las Vegas (where my in-laws live). Travel time and expenses accounted for, I had to drop plans for one marathon (Salt Lake City on April 16th) but was able to add another (Red Rock Canyon). Fortunately or unfortunately, Red Rock is only 14 weeks away...so much for taking a few weeks off. So here how 2011 shapes up:

March 5th, 2011:     Red Rock Canyon Marathon (Las Vegas, NV)
June 4th, 2011:        Newport Marathon (Newport, OR)
June 25th, 2011:      Seattle Rock 'n' Roll Marathon (Seattle, WA)
July 4th, 2011:         Foot Traffic Flat Marathon (Portland, OR)

I missed on becoming a Marathon Maniac this year by two days. The bronze level criteria is three marathons in 90 days...the Pocatello Marathon (my third) came on day 92. Not in 2011. It's an ambitious schedule but one I don't feel any hesitation about. I know how my body recovers and feel confident in my abilities to run all four of these events. I'm hoping to add a fifth marathon in the fall, but I haven't found one that is economically feasible right now.

As an added bonus, I'd really like to run the local "mini-marathon" in my hometown on July 4th. This is the race that got it all started for me in 2008 and my goal is to run the Foot Traffic Flat Marathon and the Monmouth-Independence Mini-Marathon. Logistically is just might work. The marathon begins at 6:45am and it's about an 80 mile drive down I-5 back to Monmouth, where the 2.6mile race begins at 11:45ish. Maybe it's wishful thinking, but if I can finish the marathon in the 3:45 range (my goal for next year and the Foot Traffic Flat is just that) and all goes well, I just might be able to pull it off. And if not, I'll settle in and watch the parade with aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and friends and then go enjoy the rest of the day (my 29th birthday also) at my grandparents' house in their pool.

I've spent a considerable amount of time thinking about how I need to change my training for the coming year. Coming into 2010, I had very little, if any, running base to speak of. Now I've got a year of consistent running under my belt and could go run 15 miles on any given day and not sweat it. Mileage isn't a problem. Cross-training, however, is a problem. I don't do any. And if there's one thing I think would make a difference between mile 20 and the finish line, it's adding a consistent core strengthening program.

I'm also realistic about my time, or lack of it. I'm not any less busy than I was at this time last year and a four running days per week schedule bordered on too much. For the next 14 weeks I'll be using Hal Higdon's 3-day per week program. I like the principles behind it and feel good about Mr. Higdon's purpose for each run. I'll spend two days a week doing the RevAbs program as my core strengthening component and then I take two days a week, Sunday and Friday, to completely rest. I'll have a few months between Red Rock and Newport so I can adjust things if necessary, but for now this is what I'm going with.

While cleaning some things in my garage this morning, I glanced up at the wall where I put all of my race bibs, finishing medals, pictures, etc and thought about the last 14 months: three marathons, five half marathons, two 15ks, a 10k and a 5k. Who'd have thought? 2011 is here, even if it's only December. It's cold outside. It's wet. It's dark. It's miserable. I dislike all of these things, but for marathon training it's perfect. It separates those who will put in the work regardless of the conditions and those who will make excuses why they can't. For those who endure it, the reward will be there on race days next spring.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Giveaway Post! Contest Ends 11/22/10!

Update: Congratulations to Andrew G., who's sharing of the giveaway post on Facebook won him a brand new RevAbs kit! Enjoy!
As 2010 comes to a close and 2011 race announcements start arriving in my inbox, I look back at my year in running with satisfaction and look forward to the coming year with optimism. My satisfaction comes from completing three marathons, two half marathons (including my first trail race), two 15k races, and a 5k and 10k, where I set new PRs. My optimism comes from knowing I've yet to run my best marathon. I know that I can break 4 hours and challenge 3:45 if all goes right. I'm not there yet. But I will be. My problems always come in the final 6 miles but I don't believe it's a conditioning issue or a mental issue as much as it is a strength issue. I'll explain:

As I've learned to run the last 18 months, I've improved in many areas. At first, I focused solely on distance. After some injuries due to overtraining, I added a nutritional component to my training. Then I developed a schedule that included regular rest days and targeted mileage increases. Shortly thereafter I began practicing various mental-strengthening strategies. One thing I have never done, however, is cross-train. I don't own a bike (both were stolen), I don't swim particularly well and I have neither the time nor the money to join a gym simply to lift weights.

I've also learned that focusing on leg strength isn't enough to get me to where I want to be. The body uses an incredible amount of energy to create the motion needed to move the legs--motion that begins in the core. In each step we take, we must first ask our bodies to rotate from left to right or right to left. Over and over again, hundreds, thousands and tens of thousands of times during a run we ask this of our bodies. When the core muscles are the weak point in the body, they become a burden to the whole structure, throw other muscles and energies out of balance and can eventually lead to poor form and ultimately injury. And no one likes being injured.

This winter, with four marathons in view for 2011 (see the side panel for upcoming races), I'm committing myself to strengthening my core muscles. I know that by doing so I will become a more efficient and effective runner.

Now there's an opportunity for your to do the same -- for FREE! 

RevAbs: Your 90-Day Ab Solution
I have in my possession for one lucky reader a complete RevAbs kit from BeachBody. BeachBody, the creators of the wildly popular P90X fitness program, along with Brett Hoebel, a sought-after fitness, strength and nutrition expert in New York and Los Angeles for 15 years have developed the RevAbs program using Brett's biomedical science background and expertise in the Afro-Brazilian martial art capoeira.
Created and designed to burn fat and earn you (not give--you'll certainly work for it) six-pack abs in 90 days, simplicity is the name of the game with RevAbs. For me, as a person who thrives on structure, RevAbs does not disappoint. Out of the box, the RevAbs kit is a complete step-by-step workout and nutritional program designed to maximize fat burning and six-pack creation.
Separated into two 45-day programs, RevAbs contains 9 different workouts on 7 CDs. The accompanying RevGuide guides you through each daily workout, so you never have to worry about or wonder what's coming next. Each workout lasts 15-45 minutes, about the time it takes to watch a lame episode of Survivor (shaking head), Fringe (great show) or The Office (ehh). The workouts are fast, efficient and don't mess around and you'll start to feel the burn almost instantly 

In addition, the RevAbs kit contains a 45 minute Rev It Up Cardio workout. Why spend time being bored on a treadmill when you can spice up your workout and burn fat off your whole body? Do a lot of traveling? Take the Anytime, Anywhere Abs workout with you. It's a 5 minute workout you can do anytime, anywhere. 

The RevAbs Kit: 7 CDs, RevGuide, Nutrition Guide,
Rev It Up Workout, Anywhere Abs,
Wall Calendar & Fat Calipers, 
Also included is a fantastic Nutrition Guide, featuring Brett's 14-day Jump Start Plan, simple, easy to prepare and delicious meal by meal recipes and all the nutritional information you'll need to stay on course. Regular readers of this site know how I feel about nutrition, but I will say this about the RevAbs system: the principles, if followed, will be an improvement in diet for probably 90% of Americans. Each meal is customizable and contains real food. Not fake food, or worthless supplements or platters full of cauliflower (forgive me if cauliflower is your thing). 

A wall calendar, professional fat caliper and free 24-hour online access to the RevAbs web site where you can chat with Brett and other fitness experts, and meet other RevAbs customers round out the kit, which retails for around $80. But...

...for being one of my readers, I have one complete RevAbs kit to give away for FREE! Entering to win in simple:

One Entry: Simply check out the RevAbs website and leave a comment below telling me what one of Brett Hoebel's nicknames is.

Two Entries: In additional to leaving a comment below, put a link on your blog (if you have one) to this contest page OR become a twitter follower of @mobmarathon and retweet the contest announcement (if you're already a follower, just retweet the announcement). Don't use Twitter? That's fine, just spread the word by sharing this page on Facebook instead using the button at the bottom of this post.

Three Entries: Just do all three! Twitter (or Facebook), Blog/Site link and Comment. It's easy!

Please let me know in your comment how many entries you've qualified for if more than one (honor system). It will save me the time and effort of matching up your Twitter account name with your Facebook page with your name on your comment (read: I'm not going to spend the time matching up names. Just tell me how many entries in your comment).

Hurry and enter! Contest closes at 8pm EST on Monday November 22nd and will post the winner will be posted on Tuesday November 23rd by 11am EST. I want to make sure I get you the RevAbs kit in time to start working off that Thanksgiving Dinner!
(fine print disclosure: BeachBody, the makers of RevAbs, has provided me with a complete RevAbs kit to review and an additional kit to give away. I have not been compensated in any other way by Beach Body nor am I affiliated with them in any way. For more information about RevAbs and BeachBody, check out their Facebook and Twitter pages).