Monday, 28 December 2009

then again

I changed the name of my blog to remind me of my friend Rachel. She is a breast cancer survivor. I thought of Rachel every step I took during the Amsterdam Half. I ran with a rose for Rachel.   She is moving forward after finishing 20 radiation treatments. 

I think I have been psyching myself out about LSD.  Rachel was musing about how much work she faced to regain her health and physical conditioning.  A champion weight-lifter mentor shared with Rachel that while he was training for a competition, he would never have completed his training if he told himself he had a lot of work to do. He said,
"I'm not even sure I would have walked into the gym. But if I told myself why I was there and that I could do it one step at a time, one rep at a time, one set at a time, I could get it done. And so can you." 
Today's crappy run didn't have to be. I made it that way. The weather was gorgeous. Financial security is a state of mind.  I can pay that bill. I am healthy. So are my kids.  I just lost my mind for a moment.  I forgot my intention when going out for today's run. I had wanted to look for beauty.  It surrounds me, inside and out.

I can do this. One step at a time.

one crappy run

I never had one of these before. A crappy run, that is.  Well, my lesson learned is this. Do Not Open the mail before heading off on a planned long run. 

I was walking out the door with my sports drink in my fanny pack, listening to my fully-loaded iPod. I picked up the mail from the slot and saw an envelope I didn't recognise. I opened it. The envelope contained a rather large bill that I thought I had paid last year.  I stuffed it into my desk and headed back out the door. I was so upset about the bill I forgot to say good-bye to my family sitting in the living room playing music.  A block away, I thought about turning back to say goodbye, but kept going.

Planning a run that will take me more than three hours takes practice. Yesterday I mapped out a route and felt much better about the run. It's difficult to go out that long along the North Sea in the winter.  There are very few shops and no water. I realised the bike route I ride regularly could get me most of the 27k. But what about replenishing my water supply?  I can carry two water bottles in my fanny pack (1.6l) or a Camelbak.  I feel like a camel though....

I solved the water supply problem by breaking the planned run into two parts. One up and back on the beach with Odie, then drop him home, re-fill and head back out.  You can see the problem already, I am sure.  It's the cautionary mantra of ultra-marathoners: "Beware of the chair."

Well, I got going. Odie was happy. I tried getting my Garmin to go too.  I stood around a bit, waiting for it to pick up the satellites. Then I started the workout - which used a distance-based warm-up as the first interval.  Because the watch wasn't tracking distance, the workout never progressed.  My attention focused on the stupid watch, occasionally getting anxious and irritated about the bill. 

I don't usually enjoy the first 15 to 20 minutes of any run. As usual, my legs felt too heavy.  I felt guilty for skipping my mid-week runs - giving myself no slack about the week before Christmas, the ice fields that have surrounded the house, and my trying to finish up work and buy gifts and be festive, etc.  Real athletes train anyway. I have four months before the marathon, and already I feel behind and ill-equipped.  I can run 21k without batting an eye, but today I felt like a rank beginner.    I'm mildly curious about where that expression comes from. After finishing here, I will go read here and here, thanks to a quick Google search.  If you read the links, don't blame me for your A.D.D.

The GPS signal remained too low for my watch.  Or my watch was just stupid. It required a soft reset later in the afternoon, so maybe it wasn't the satellites' fault.  I was listening to Femi Kuti, Beng Beng Beng and trying to remember how to run before I became Garmin-Stupid.  I took the buds out of my ears, screwed around with my watch, gave up, and looked for a landmark for an out-and-back.  I picked a spot that yielded a little over 8k round-trip from my house.   In hind-sight, I should have just stayed out longer.

Another factor that made the run crappy was that I was too hot. I had three layers, including my new wool Icebreaker from New Zealand.  I've been wearing this jacket since it arrived under the Christmas tree.  If you looked at the jacket link, I do not look like that model. My ears are smaller.

Once I got home, I got cold. And the ambivalence I feel about long weekend runs set in. I like spending time with my kids. I also like sleeping in. Of course I could get up earlier, finish my run before the kids rally, and have more time with them. But I don't get up early. I stay up too late and then oversleep.   Like last night and this morning.

So with the failure of my gear, I don't know my pace. I have a good idea of my distance thanks to a google pedometer map.   Still willing to click? Here's my route. 

I made lunch for everyone. Then they dashed out of the house to go skiing - indoor Dutch skiing. Don't feel jealous.  

Then the final blow - my next love assaulted me. Being home alone.   I decided to blow off the rest of the planned run and just chalk this one up to One Crappy Run.  I sorted kids' clothes, posted a couple of the good items on eBay (I have to pay that bill somehow....).  And baked Christmas cookies.  Photo above. Gluten-free. Meringue and almond meal. Very tasty.  Let me know if you want the recipe.

I wrote an unapologetic report to my coach.  I have to admit to myself I'm ambivalent about LSD.  I hinted at this problem I am having with the very idea of four-hour runs. I want to do the M in 5.5 hours. But do I need to run a half-m or more every other weekend to do that?  I don't know.  He's got a lot of experience. But I put his training plan in "old school."  I'm going to think about it some more.  And eat some more Christmas cookies. 

My promise to myself - do both my mid-week runs, with some drills to help me run faster.  Get back to the gym to lift.  Fill out my blueprint for success in 2010.  Build a solid financial foundation.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

My blueprint for success in 2010

The 80/20 rule means that what I eat produces the greatest effect on my body composition. I can't outtrain a crappy diet.  I am adapting the principles outlined at Mark's Daily Apple. I ordered Mark's book and look forward to reading it.

1. Eat lots of plants and animals

Focus on quality sources of protein (all forms of meat, fowl, fish), lots of colorful vegetables, some select fruits (mostly berries), and healthy fats (nuts, avocados, olive oil). Observe portion control (calorie distribution) week to week more than meal to meal. Eliminate grains, sugars, trans- and hydrogenated fats from my diet.
Start with Protein.  I need nearly one gram per pound of lean body weight. For me, that means between 90 and 110 grams/day.
Add some healthy carbs. My goal is to control insulin and avoid inflammation. I want to use body fat or dietary fat for fuel. To lose body fat, I need to keep carbs under 80 grams per day.
Heavy work out days? eat more.  Add up to 100 grams per hour of heavy exercise. When I reach my ideal body composition, increase to 100-150 grams per day.
The point is to keep good records and analyse the results
Eat lots of colorful vegetables. No sugars or grains. A few starchy veg.
Fats. Fill out the rest of my daily caloric requirement with fats. Keep protein and carbs constant. Fats are the variable.
If I feel like I need more fuel (and I’ve already covered my ases with protein and carbs)? Reach for something with fat. Nuts, avocados, coconut, eggs, butter, olive oil, fish, chicken, lamb, beef, the list is a long one.
100 grams of fats per day would only add 900 calories to my daily average.


Protein: 320-440 calories
Carbs: 400-600 calories
Fats: 900 calories
Total: between 1620 and 1940 calories a day.
Even if the model averages somewhere between 1400 and 2200 calories per day over a few weeks, as long as she pays attention to protein and carbs, her body composition will shift to lower body fat and more desirable lean mass. If she decides to do some walking, a few brief intense weight sessions and a sprint day here and there, that process would accelerate greatly. If she gets to a point where she’s content with her body fat, she can even add in a little more fat to provide energy that she previously got from her stored fat.
2. Move around a lot with pleasure.

Do some form of low level aerobic activity 2-5 hours a week, whether it is walking, hiking, easy bike riding or swimming. Ideally, and when possible, find time to go barefoot or wear as little foot support as possible. Low-level activity is necessary (especially if you find yourself chained to a desk every day). The combined effect will be an increase in capillary perfusion, fat-burning and overall integration of muscle strength and flexibility. Medicine for the mind.
3. Lift heavy things

Go to the gym and lift weights for 30-45 minutes, 2-3 times a week. Focus on movements that involve the entire body and in wider ranges of motion – not just on isolating body parts. Emulate the movements of our ancestors: jumping, squatting, lunging, pushing, pulling, twisting, etc. This will stimulate your genes to increase muscle strength and power, increase bone density, improve insulin sensitivity, stimulate growth hormone secretion, and consume stored body fat.

4. Run really fast every a couple times a week
Do some form of intense anaerobic sprint bursts several times a week. This could be as simple as six or eight (or more) short sprints up a hill, on the grass, at the beach… or repeated intense sessions on a bicycle (stationary, road or mountain bike). These short bursts also increase HGH release (HGH is actually released in proportion to the intensity (not the duration) of the exercise).

5. Get Enough Sleep.
6. Play
7. Get some sunlight every day.
8. Avoid trauma.
Eliminate self-destructive behaviours. Solve problems.
9. Avoid poisonous things.
Chemicals, bad foods, sugar, processed food, mercury.
10. Use my mind.
Be inventive, creative, read, write, play a musical instrument.  Be sociable.   Learn something. Work with my hands.   Happy at home. Happy at work.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Time for a little LSD

I want to get leaner and stronger in order to enjoy running more. Today I've thought about diet and supporting my athletic performance. I need to be sure to eat enough even while I try to get leaner.

I'm a little nervous about tomorrow's long slow distance run. I've never run 27k before. I'm nervous about the amount of time it will take. I wish I ran faster. I suppose I have it backwards. I really enjoy running long distances. And if I ran faster, I would have a shorter run and less fun. I can change the way I think about LSD (that is, long slow distances).

Yesterday, I listened to a podcast on Two Fit Chicks and  a Microphone.  The episode featured a discussion about marathon training and running in general. One of the guests worried about getting bored while out on a training run. That's never happened to me. I have never gotten bored. Mostly I run out and back. That leads to two middles - and sometimes I get a little impatient and ready to be "done" on the way back in. But I'm never bored. I enjoy the time alone. I listen to interesting podcasts or music or my own thoughts.  Sometimes I have peak moments of transcendent joy. Sometimes I have a lot of those moments.

I felt sad for the wannabe runner who was afraid of getting bored. It could be that she's simply spent too much time on a treadmill, which is indeed mind-numbing. And running on a treadmill doesn't work all your muscles anyway.

So I am going to reframe my thinking about a five hour run.  Slow means  more time in joy.  No need to hurry. I have all the time I need.

Friday, 25 December 2009

What will 2010 hold?

I'm reflecting on 2009. Five successful races. I learned valuable lessons from each. I'm looking forward to 2010.  Registering for a race motivates me to train regularly.   I like the crowds and vibrant energy at events. 

I registered for the NYC marathon lottery.  I've already registered for the Rotterdam marathon in April.  I'm looking around at the other possibilities for next year.  I'd like to race the City-Pier-City again, but I'm unsure how to work it into the training schedule for Rotterdam.  I will run Amsterdam again. And perhaps Berlin.  Who knows. The Hague Road Runner club looks like it might be fun to join up with, and I also found a local Dutch Triathlon group.

I would like to compete in triathlons again in 2010. Some months ago I mused about becoming Iron Fit. Then I looked at my finances and decided the first step would be to do some "foundational training" in that department before incurring travel expenses and race fees for an Ironman.  The other issue is a planned trip to the US during the summer, which competes with the Iron calendar in Europe.

2010 will bring me better fitness and health.  I will continue to get leaner and stronger. I can do this.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

about shoes

I liked running yesterday in my new shoes. Mizuno Wave Rider 12(W). Women's size US 8.5/UK 6/ EUR 9. Model 8KN-90368.  I am recording the numbers for the shoes because I'm tossing the shoe box.

In The Netherlands, these shoes cost 140 euro, plus VAT.  They're cheaper on Amazon UK.
Present advertised price: 70-120 US (sale 84 -100 US on selected models)

I prefer to support local shops, but I'm also a cheap-skate.  I ordered an extra pair from Amazon. Because I messed up the order, I ordered two pair. Hopefully I continue to like this model!

Bottom line is I prefer barefoot running.  I still got a small friction blister yesterday. I will try a plaster in advance of next week's 27k.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

14e Mackrel Hardloopen

1. Distance assigned: 16k race on the coast. The 14th annual Mackerel run from Scheveningen harbour south to Kijkduin.

I had a great race today. The temperature was below freezing - -3 (c). It snowed here earlier this week and has been quite cold. So the run was also cold. Places were icy and snowy.

2. Pace Assigned: "take it easy" (since I've been a slug lately) ran: average pace 8:35m/k Fastest 1k was the last. The second half was mostly faster than the first half. total time: 2:17
3. Walk breaks assigned: you had recommended 1:1 ran: I didn't take regular walk breaks after warming up. I ran 4:1 for the first 15 minutes or so, then took walk breaks every half hour when I got something to drink. Generally I just kept a steady relaxing pace.
4. Speed work: none.
5. Aches & Pains: nope. liked the new shoes. I rode my bike to the start, and crossed an icy patch on the road. The bike slid out from under me. I went down hard on my hip and arm, but did not hurt myself. I saw it coming. I felt very lucky not to hurt myself half a kilometre from the start!.
6. questions: nope.
7. Next week 27k

Anyway, I had loads of fun. At the finish, there was freshly fried fish and Snert (dutch-style pea soup with slices of kielbasa type meat). Delicious. The lifeguards were there and wonderfully helpful. The race was low-key and comfortable. I would guess about 750 runners?

I haven't been able to convince my older son to try running. Next year he'll be old enough. It would be fun to run together. Next year, I'll take ,y dog Odie. One or two other runners brought their dogs, and there were plenty romping on the beach too. Odie was very excited to watch me dress for the race, since he didn't realise he was getting left behind.

I ran & finished last. Very early in the race, I was completely alone in the back. It was fine. I like running by myself. I got lots of cheers and encouragement throughout the race (and a private escort from the lifeguards). Especially at the end, the other runners were cheering me on.

Maybe I'll be faster someday. But I don't really mind either way. I ran an enjoyable pace, faster than my 16k Paris race - but that had heat and elevation. The nice thing about starting running races in middle age is I am always having a Personal Best!

Sunday, 13 December 2009

back in the groove

1. Distance: assigned 6k ran 7.5k

2. Pace Assigned: none ran: average 9:40 min/km total time: 70 min

3. Walk breaks assigned: none ran: typically 4min run:1min walk. sometimes the breaks were further apart

4. Speed work: none.

5. Aches & Pains: no. Bought new shoes on Saturday - mizuno wave riders. they seem like they'll be nice for longer distances. they were a little squishy on the beach.

6. questions: I finished my lower calorie food plan after losing 9 lbs. over the last month. Back to maintenance/training level eating. I felt pretty frozen by grief over my friend's death. I didn't run at all the last two weeks. Today I felt pretty good, although my heart rate was higher than usual for this pace. I assume things will come back to normal soon enough. Should I skip the race next week? My plan is to just take it easy. It's an informal race on the beach. The following week assignment is 27k.

7. Next week: 16k race in Scheveningen

So I finally broke the deep freeze of grief from my friend's death. My last run was two weeks ago, just after she was killed. I ended up crying at the end of the run. *sigh* I went out on the beach for 7.5k at a very leisurely pace (about 8:30 min/k). The weather was clear and cold and sunny. My dog enjoyed the run with me. He lost his tennis ball fairly early in the run and spent the rest of the time trying to steal from other dogs. Sometimes it was funny. Sometimes it slowed me down. Then he lost sight of me and ran off the other way, looking to "catch up." *grumph* I stopped my timer and hollered for him. And he found me.

Yesterday I bought a new pair of running shoes - mizuno wave. I liked running in them today. They were a little squishy on the beach, but they'll be nice on the concrete and pavement where I race. Vibram comes out with a racing/running model in the Spring. I saw them in Amsterdam at the Marathon expo - they were sweet. Of course, the gal at the running store (which sells shoes....) pronounced them impractical since most folks don't have the committment it takes to rehab their feet. I prefer them, but my feet have been getting cold when I run.

I was glad to get moving again today.

Friday, 11 December 2009

December - where did you go

I can't believe it's been since last month that I've run. My friend Nancy's death filled me with grief. And I've been warned off some of my favourite running routes due to a serial rapist. Seriously, the police put out a warning for women to refrain from going to these certain areas alone at any time of day. The particular roads happen to be the route I take when I run home from work. So I have felt discouraged. 

Plus, last weekend I needed to prepare for a presentation on Monday. So I skipped my usual long run.  Before, I missed only due to illness. 

So I have a 6k on the schedule for this weekend. I will jump back in the saddle. I need a new pair of shoes and some go-gel for next weekend. I can get my mojo back.