Friday, December 3, 2010

NYC Marathon part 2

So here I am the morning of the marathon, alarm goes off I get get a taxi and off meet up with KK and we're off to catch the bus that takes us to the marathon start.

As we get off the bus we are welcomed by high school volunteers who are cheering us and wishing us well for the race, this is always a nice touch because it's so positive you can't helped but feel overwhelmed with gratitude.
My next sight I thought was photo worthy it's a few, men, um watering the grass.

I thought I'd share a couple of pictures here because not many people really get to see the marathon village and it is very different than most other marathons you might run considering the amount of runners (approx. 44,000)

Here is KK at the entrance of the marathon village bundled up for our long wait in the cold.
Most runners have to be here about 3 hrs before the start of the race so you most runners bring blankets and throw away clothes but there were a few out here with just running clothes.
The village is also set up with coffee and tea for the runners and some entertainment that was probably more fun for the out of towners than for me. I didn't really care to here some stale blues band before my run, but hey it added to the atmosphere, so why not?

Mary Wittenberg (below) head of New York Road Runners ( being interviewed by NY 1 reporter, I'm guessing she may not be a runner.

Runners from all over the world come to NYC for this massive event which earns more than any other single sporting event in New York.
This group from Peru were smart enough to bring sleeping bags for their wait in the cold.

So I split up from KK and went to to my corral and waited alone for what seemed like forever, with 15 minutes to spare before the race I decided it might be a good idea to go to the porto potty and take care of some last minute, um, stuff. I came out less than a minute later and everyone in my corral had vanished and ran to catch up with them but it was too late they have moved up to the start and I was shut up even before they opened the corrals for the 2nd wave, ugh. Note to self: being in a corral does not mean you will not get shut out of your wave start. Ahh well such is life, whats another 20 minutes or so standing around in the cold.

So as heard Frank Sinatra's voice over the P.A. crooning 'New York, New York' and listened to other runners complain to race officials about missing their start I just stood around quietly frustrated that I was spending extra time on my injured foot but I also vowed to not let this get me down. When it was my turn to start Frank came on the loud speaker once again and I put a smile on my face, after all it's the New York City Marathon and it doesn't get much bigger than this.

As I took the bridge I watched other runners zoom pass me as if they were trying to catch the bus on the way to work, while others posed for pictures on the bridge with their friends, and still others wore costumes to gain some attention from the crowd. It was the start of a spectacle that would last 26.2 miles.

When you get on to 4th avenue you'll hear the non stop cheering the last through the race. When people ask what it's like to run this thing I often like to say that "it's like driving a Toyota Corolla in the Indi. 500" you don't really belong there with these elite athletes and you certainly don't deserve all that fan fare, but there it is and it's pretty amazing at that.

By mile 6 I did a little check in with myself and was surprised I was holding up as well as I was doing, considering last year I was starting to feel achy. It's been said that you'll know how well you'll do in a marathon by mile 6 and so far I find that to be true.

I suppose the real trick for me so far was ignoring the time and how fast I wanted to go and just took in the race one mile at a time, and even more important I made sure I enjoyed it. How? every time I caught myself worrying about my pace or if my injuries were going to act up I focused on my surroundings and thought how lucky I was and added a touch of gratitude and carried on. This wasn't a race for me, I was doing this for the love of running and the marathon and NY in particular. Funny thing how the stress just melts away when you remember why you do these things in the first place.

After passing my old neighborhood (Park Slope) we passed another marathon staple the High School band the plays the theme from Rocky non stop through out the race. It may seem like a silly thing but it's really a great moment and feels really random when you first hear it.

By this point I always run into a fellow runner on the course and friend Lynn Bradley, Lynn and I met while taking speed classes at NYRR. In the speed classes I always managed to be a pace group ahead of her and I often was faster than her in the short distance races in the NY marathon I would see her on a regular basis and we'd run together for a couple of miles or close enough that we'd keep seeing each other. At some point I would burn out (mile 20 or so) and Lynn would keep going and has run a 3:33-3:35 marathon consistently and I would kick myself at the end for not training for this properly and falling short of that by 10 minutes or worse.

More importantly ,the thing I notice about Lynn during these marathons is that she never seems stressed she's always smiling and is actually enjoying the whole process of running. I remember seeing her 2 yrs ago at mile 18 or 20 pulling over to the side to hug some friends and I thought she was crazy wasting valuable PR time but she didn't because she came though the same as always. The point is she doesn't take this too seriously, sure she trains hard but instead of dreading it she keeps embraces it and instead of worrying about her time she enjoys the race and always seemed to be in the moment. I didn't see Lynn this year (probably because of the wave start mix up) but I did think of her often and every time I worried not finishing I remembered Lynn and I remembered to be in the moment and just enjoy myself.

By mile 11 I was close to home in Willamsburg where I knew to expect some familiar faces, or at least some people with NBR t-shirts on cheering on their team. I saw a few members at the hydration stations (NBR volunteers at mile 12 for the past 2 years to support the team and local runners) Sure enough by mile 12 I was able to get a few high fives and one of the runners even ran after me to offer me bananas, which I gladly took.

Here are a couple of friends waiting on me on to show up on Manhattan Ave. (in Greenpoint) but they didn't see me, probably because they were busy posing for these pictures.

Before I knew it I was at the halfway point remembering the previous year and where my I.T. band started to give out. Today though I was strangely o.k.
In Queens I saw friends holding up signs for KK (they didn't see her again fro the 3rd year in a row) I ran over to them and gave them a hug and ran off.

The dreaded Queensboro bridge, many runner have a hard time with this or start to feel achy at this point as I checked in with myself I knew that if I could run the bridge without taking a break I would finish the whole marathon. My goal as I said in the previous post was to have fun but really I would have been o.k. just making over the bridge and then dropping out if I had to.

So what happened? I made it over the bridge onto the roaring crowd of first avenue (my favorite part) I saw KK's parents gave her mom a hug and went off, and unlike last year I felt great it was almost too good to be true, with 10 miles to go I knew I was going to finish this thing.

At mile 20 in the Bronx I ran into Fernando from NBR and we ran for a little as he took off he encouraged me to pick it up and at that point I looked at my watch and realized if I did pick up the pace even just a little I would easily break four hrs. But I remembered I wasn't in this to do any certain time and if I break four hrs or not is no big deal anyway and more important if I start to pick it up and race I would risk my foot, so I just waved him on and was kind of proud of myself for keeping my ego in check.

Then there's this guy, who obviously doesn't care about his time, he's dressed as a snail and he ran beside me almost the entire race.

At mile 24 I was greeted by Cara, Dave, and Michael so I stopped for a few to say hello and take a picture.

I think KK (in Blue) was a little less enthusiastic about running at this point than I was.

Oddly enough I didn't feel any pain till after mile 25 when I started to limp because my foot had swelled up and the injury I was dreading was finally kicking in. I realize now it probably happened because I stopped to say hello and started to run again. at this point all I could do was loosen my shoe laces and just tough it out. Luckily that was the worst of it. I crossed the finish in 4:11 and change (chip time) as the clock read 4:38 and I was just happy to finish and not have to use any of that cab money I brought with me that I thought I'd be using.

So yes, much to my surprise I did actually finish this year. The lesson of the day? 'be in the moment and enjoy every bit of it'

This may not have been my fastest but it was the most fun, and isn't that really the point? I guess it only took 16 or so marathons to figure that out. :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

New York City Marathon 2010 pt. 1.

What another race report? Booooooring. Well what do expect this is mostly a running blog, remember about my exploits of running and life on the run and so on? Oh what is a runner to do?

So where do start? I know, how about with my last long run leading up to the marathon?
So this is my last 20 miler leading up to the NY marathon and seeing how I'm from NY I might as well make the best of it and run the last 18 and do another 2 in Central Park.

So I get up one day with my special someone, we travel out to my old hood Park Slope to mile 8 and proceed to do a run I've done many a time before except this time yours truly is a bit on the gimpy side.
I've whined about before about an inflamed metatarsal on my right foot which showed up sometime in June as a result of wearing light weight neutral light weight shoes and trying to improve my running form. Now I have pain and symptoms of neuroma that really threw my form out of whack and effected my left I.T. band making running literally a pain in the ass as well as my leg .
So my training has been only 3 days a week with very mild bike riding in between and barely any walking because I learned that to walk is to say ouch.

So I run this last 20 mile thing and quickly notice that this beast of a marathon is all up hill and to make it worse it's like running on the side of a hill (AKA uneven surfaces), which is a popular way to get I.T. band syndrome according to Runners World. But most of this is only noticeable when you are under trained or injured, and in my case I was under trained because of my injury. Hmmm.
So to say the least that last 20 was hell and I kept thinking am I going to finish a whole 26 miles? this last 20 took just about everything out of me.
Well with my lame leg and f'n foot I needed to do something in the way of cross training I chose doing yoga daily, I mean every fracking day for the last for 2 months (that was for any Battlestar Galactica fans out there.)
But was yoga helping any? yes, and to a point, I feel much looser in my leg, which is so tight I can feel my I.T. pulling it as I cross my legs.
It also helped more with my confidence and being OK with the idea of not racing or maybe even bailing out halfway through if need be.
Anyway my next longish run after that is 13 miles, and guess what? 13 miles is still hell.
And what of my next tapered long run of 8 miles? out of breath and no speed. Mmm, not good.
After that I just went with a last minute plan, run this bitch as slow as I can till the pain becomes unbearable then take the cab home.
So my next few runs were not too encouraging either. my last run 3 days before the marathon was 3 miles and after 2 messages, ibuprofen, ice baths, foam roller, and a couple of visits to the foot doctor guess what?? I was still in pain!
3 miles, only 3 miles I'd have to run another 23 on top of that. It would take a miracle for me to finish this thing. I was so mad at myself for trying to fix what wasn't broke in the first place and hurting myself, I didn't even want to run this anymore and I couldn't wait for November 7th to come and go.
So what happens? I get my friend to do a little acupuncture on my foot and head out to the marathon expo to pick up my race number oggle the running merch or as I like to think of it 'porn for runners.' This years theme 'compression.'
It seemed like there was compression gear everywhere, arm warmers and compression socks and more all different colors with funky styles to make you feel like the dorky super hero you always wanted to be.
That aside there are great deals to be had at these expos, I bought a box of 24 power gels for $15., that's half off. HALF OFF!!! How can you not buy it?

The day before my marathon I set up all my stuff. KT tape to tape up my leg ( my I.T. band strap, my compression gear including a pair of arm warmers I made from a pair of socks (hey why pay for something you can make at home with 2 snips of a scissor?) I also was wearing extra padding for my forefoot, and decided to leave my garmin at home and not worry about my time or splits . After that I set my alarm for 4:30 am. got in bed and began reading Russel Simmons book 'Do You.'

I got to an very interesting part of the book that had to do with 'being in the moment', and it was like a bell went off in my head. Yes be in the moment because when you're in the future you're worried about the outcome of something that may not even happen, when you're in the past you're dwelling on what could have been all the while never being in the moment the right now.

It also helped me to sleep, sleeping the night before a marathon is the worst for me, hell the whole week before sucks. I just have problems sleeping. But that's because I was always focusing on not sleeping and what if I wake up, and if I don't get enough sleep I won't be able to do well. And worse now because I'm injured. But this time I focused on the moment, the breath the quiet around me and soon I was able to remove the chatter from my brain and sleep. And I did it again when I woke up in the middle of the night, instead of thinking OMG it happened again and I'm only getting 2 hrs sleep before the big event I was able to put myself in moment and forget about what would happen if I didn't get sleep and so on.
To some of you this may be no big deal for for me it was huge, I've run many a race and marathon on fumes and let me tell you it's no fun. So waking up at 4:30 and about 5 hrs sleep under my belt I felt great.
I got up and told myself it was going to be a great day and I was going to have fun and that was it, along with finish injury free that was my goal.
So what happens next? aaah, that my friends is to be continued...

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Chris McDougall has a blog in the NY Times which is well worth a read but I need to correct him here. He goes on about barefoot running and now is considered some kind of spokes person for the latest running craze. So before you throw out your running shoes you might want to read my post.

"Hang on — if running is bad for humans, why isn’t it bad for every animal?” Dogs run on sidewalks, elephants trot for miles across baked African savannas, reindeer bound across solid ice on rock-hard hoofs, yet they don’t get shinsplints and Achilles tendinitis. How come every other creature gets along just fine on its own limbs except us?"
Quoted from his blog

Well think about this. When was the last time you saw a dog run 26.2 miles? are these elephants doing speed work around the track bi-weekly? and just how many legs do reindeer run on? Or better yet any monkeys or apes running 26.2 miles? Thats what I thought.

Kenyans run barefoot right? until they get free shoes donated to them and they jump right into them.
What about the story of animal hunters wearing down other animals? Are they running on a track doing? doing tempo runs? or racing every weekend? chances are they are more likely to do stop and go running and something they were raised doing. And lets not forget there lives are filled with physical hard work and heavy lifting, when was the last time you dragged a dead carcase back home from where you killed it?

And what of the tribe in Mexico? they are running sandals that are one inch thick, hardly barefoot. If we're getting injured a lot it's because we're over doing it. Do you treat track work and tempo runs like a race? are you pushing yourself too hard too soon? are you getting enough rest? do you run on an injury?

I'm just dropping this here because many of us (including myself ) are injured runners. Looking for a quick and easy answer isn't the way to go.

And by the way Mr. Mcdougall says he weighed about 240 Lbs. That is roughly 100 more Lbs than I am. Anyone carrying that much weight around is sure to have problems running.
He could have easily had the same results by stronger and losing weight with lifting.

I'm not saying barefoot running is not good for short runs to get your feet stronger but running races barefoot is smartest thing to do. And by the way many of those barefoot runners I do see at road races are the slower runners.
you want to be a faster and better runner? follow Mebs or Paulas training plan not some guy who's selling his book.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

30 Day yoga challenge?

So I gave myself a challenge, you know the one I’m talking about? It's the one all the cool kids on the Internet are doing. One of those fun 30 day challenges.
Well in all honesty this was not really my idea it came from one of my yoga instructors from Greenhouse Holistic. Her practice is called Jivamukti and part of this practice is to set an intention with every practice or as this one went once a month. So for the month of September the intention was, yep you guessed it 30 days of yoga. Far be it from me to ignore a physical challenge, this is right up my alley and well since I’m paying for this by the month I might as well.
Anyway I can be like the ‘Enlighten Up’ dude, well not really because like I said before I’ve been practicing yoga longer than I’ve been running. But this was different and I wanted to see if there were going to be any changes in me, plus I’ve been dealing with IT band and other running injury issues since before the summer and I could use all the help I can before November 7th and the 2010 New York City Marathon.

And Speaking of running I’m down to 3 whole days a week with biking on off days, and of course resistance training as well as 7 days a week of yoga. Some might say I exercise a lot but to be honest I cut down a bit .

Back to yoga, and as I said my main place I like to practice is Greenhouse Holistic ( And even though I’ll go and try another studio every now and then I always come back to here. Greenhouse has 3 locations, a sauna, massage, and of course top notch instructors which I’ll review in a later post as well as review my favorite yoga DVDs.

My 30 day challenge may be up but that doesn’t mean I’m stopping here. I figured I’d keep going right up until November 7th so lets call this a 60 day challenge and I’ll keep you posted on what happens from here. In future blog post I’ll tell you how practicing yoga has or hasn’t helped with running,the practice itself and how I’m improving with the asanas and just how I feel about life in general. Till then namaste.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bronx 1/2 Marathon

So here it is another Sunday another 1/2 marathon, another day to get up at 5am. BLEH! Lord knows why I run these things, not that I don't love the run itself but everything else that goes along with it. 5 am to run 13 miles at 7 am on a Sunday? that even sounds crazy to me, but even at that god forsaken time my significant other and myself managed to get to the race late thanks to the NYC Subway. Yes folks the train arrived nearly a half hr late and then decided to kick a train packed full of runners out the said train just 3 stops before our destination in order to go express. Why? to make up for lost time of course. I had to wonder if the train would even be a 1/3 as crowded the rest of the day as is was at that moment.
So along with maybe a couple of hundred tired and annoyed runners I arrived at the Bronx half just as the horn went off and started at the end of the corrals which meant lots of weaving to get through the speed walkers and the other 3 hr finishers.
I ran the race quite well considering my injuries the first sign of my endurance slowly returning, I finished in 1:52 not my best but not my worst. That award goes to the recent Queens half in which I hobbled in the near 100 degree weather in 2:16.

After finishing this one up and limping home I decided I needed to see a proper doctor about my foot. Actually I was advised by the doctor in the med tent. She had said that if I had neroma that a doctor could give me a shot of cortisone and it might clear it up. Woo Hoo!! That was enough for me to forget acupuncture for the moment, not that it wasn't working but every time I went for a run it acted up again (though a little less each time.) And to be honest I had something else irritating the side of my foot and I just wanted an xray to be sure I was OK.

Turns out my neroma successfully went away with acupuncture but I did have some serious inflammation. So the Doc jabbed me with a needle between the joints of my toes (where the pain was) and told me this may hurt a little. After letting out a wail that I 'm sure they heard in Kansas the doctor joked and said "hey it didn't hurt me a bit" (it was painfully funny) So after what seemed like an eternity if having having my foot speared with this instrument of torture he advised me to use arnica tabs ( for more info) The other problem on the side concerned him more. As I maybe mentioned before I over pronate so I wear special running shoes for this more than common dilemma. The dilemma within the dilemma is that the part of the shoe that keeps me from over pronating is irritating a bone one the inside of my foot and could cause tendinitis. Greeeeat. What to do? Get new shoes. "But I just bought these shoes less than a month ago and used them maybe 5 times" I cried out in
despair. Who said running was a cheap sport? What's good about this? I have an excuse to get new running shoes. Awesome.

On a side note I did have a discussion about the infamous 5 fingers with him. He was obviously a fan because he was wearing them around the office and said he walks (WALKS) everywhere with them. He did say it made his feet and legs stronger, he also agreed they are not for everyone, especially when it comes to running. Why? well there's a little thing called concrete here in NYC, also it takes some time so build up the strength to wear them. He's had people in his office with running related injuries as a result of wearing these 5 fingers (Ahhh sweet validation.) We also talked about this other shoe craze as in shape ups. He said they were good for ankle strength and balance. Well now off to plan C of my marathon training,which is less than 12 weeks away. Seems like no training is the new training.

" When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don't adjust the goals; adjust the action steps."

Monday, August 16, 2010

Life is a Beach ( written August 14th)

As I lay here on the beach listening to bits of 90s brit pop (in the form of Supergrass) I ponder on my various new found running injuries. These injuries seem to like me. They linger and sort of go away but they return like an old friend when you least expect them.
Just who and what are these injuries ad why do they like me so much?
Injury #1: Left leg.
Yes this one really seems to be making up for lost time, over a dozen marathons and ultra marathons and not one single boo boo, in fact not even a break between running or speed work or anything. But that all ended when I overloaded my training schedule with too many projects and replaced yoga with biking. Which turned into a terrible mistake, but hey I was training for a triathlon. This led to last November me walking the last ten miles of the NYC marathon.
I never did recover from that even though I ran an ultra 3 weeks after, plus a spring marathon and a hand full of half marathons.
Injury #2:Neroma.
This one stopped me from running for a month and I blame switching to light weight trainers. They felt great just over time my weak imbalanced right foot and over pronating gave way to a pain that had me limping while walking . Of course being the trooper I am one month later I returned to running and my 2nd run after a tough 3 miles? a half marathon in mid 90s temperature (hurray for summer) Of course this led me to my worst half ever ( 2:16 ) and a visit to the med tent for ice (which worked miracles)

So what have I done aside of rest? Acupuncture! I started treating my right foot with great results the swelling went down and I was able to run a good 7 miles of that half before I began to really fade (due to the heat) being on my feat that long only aggrivated my foot and brought the pain back but it was still manageable compared to how I felt pre acupuncture.

I write all this knowing I'm not in the greatest shape to run yet another half marathon tomorrow in the Bronx, but you know I signed up for it and thats enough to make a runner risk it all. At least its a healthy addiction.

Anyway I have realized during my time off that being a fast runner doesn't really matter all that much to me, yeah I know there's Boston and all but I already ran it and yes it was fun but mostly because I ran it as a bandit and there was no pressure to 'PR'.
No what really matters is that we are able to enjoy the process of training and running the marathon rather than worrying about satisfying our egos.
I also learned that being injured has made me a better swimmer, from a lap and being out of breath to nearly a mile.

Next year I'll do another sprint triathlon or a few for fun. I've had ambitions for an Ironman but I'll let that happen on its own, why kill myself? Besides I'm never putting yoga on the back burner again it's always going to be an important part of my training. It kept me injury free for nearly 10 years and the moment I stopped taking care of myself I got injured.
Besides, don't we just do this for fun anyway? Speaking of which I'm going to return to the beach and my lovely lady. Adios'

"I don't think anything is unrealistic if you believe you can do it"

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Born Too Dumb

As bloggers go I must say I’m quite lazy. Or is it that I prefer to write when I’m inspired. Just the same, today’s inspiration comes from running injuries. Yes it’s an ugly thought and I don’t like talking about and I don’t like hearing about it but I have one so now you must read my literary whining.

After maybe 10 years of non-stop running and feeling somewhat invincible I became injured, here’s how it started. Last year I started training for a triathlon while I was training for the New York City marathon and while I was training for a random 50 miler I wanted to do after that and by the way I was also going to run the Steamtown marathon about 3 weeks before NYC, but that was OK since it was in my 50 mile training plan to run 26 miles both those weekends.

Now I know some of you might say OMG, “classic over training” Well that’s only somewhat true. I’ve done this kind of roadwork before and it’s worked out fine for me.

What happened in my eyes is part because the bike that I was training on for my triathlon is way to big on me, and I happen to use this as a commuter bike as well. On top of that I one day put in too many miles in central park while running.

It was a raining day and I was to put in 30 miles that day and I did. In Central Park. You know with all the hills and hard pavement, in the pouring rain. After that my left leg was never the same, turned into mild IT band (never had it before) and I never let it recover.

I had to bail on the Steamtown marathon because I had to stay in town but I did those 26 miles anyway and I was already burned out (thanks to all that biking and swimming) By the time I go to the NYC marathon in November I was calm and mentally ready, hell it was only 26.2 miles and I’m ready to do 50.

Well by mile 6 I knew I wasn’t going to do any personal best. My mind was telling me I was faster but I’ve been training for an ultra (which makes you slower.) Anyway halfway through I was in trouble and by mile 16 the race was over and I did the stupidest thing I’ve ever done, I walked the last ten miles. Yes I finished the marathon but it finished me as well. My IT band was in terrible shape at the finish, my leg couldn’t even bend and I was in pain, I beat myself up about this all the time. “I should have just dropped out,” I keep telling myself, but what did I know, I always bounced back and quickly. I would go on 24-mile long runs then go to the gym and then yoga after that, and sometimes even bike over to a friends place and hang out only to bike back later that evening.

Things are different now. After NY I bailed on the 50 miler and went and did a 40 mile run instead, oh I limped all the way through it but it felt good to finish.

My big mistake is that I ran through the winter, I should have taken time off but I kept going and my IT was now a problem that I would have to deal with on a foam roller before and after every run (joy!)

After running another terrible marathon in NJ (check my race report for that disaster) and not feeling much pain or agony it would seem that I was OK. But wait, did I mention I read ‘born to run’? Yes I did! And it was awesome; I loved everything about the book except what it left in its wake. The minimalist running movement. Well maybe not so minimalist, runners love their gadgets and toys and useless arm warmers (yes useless, put on a long sleeve shirt you look like a dorky super hero.) So then what does it mean to be a minimalist runner? You should where light weight trainers, racing flats, vibrams, or run barefoot.

I chose the safest of all of those options and wore lightweight trainers, and found out that what I was telling the barefoot people also applied to me. “These are the concrete streets of NYC and the endless pounding is going to catch up with you.” Yes it did, and in the form of neroma. This is when you have a nerve that sort of feels like a pebble in your forefoot, except it makes it very painful to run. So I did the only thing I could do, stop running, and for a month. When I returned to running it was because I had been t acupuncture twice (very helpful) but now I am just out of gas running even 6 miles, plus as helpful as acupuncture was I am starting to feel the pain again and though I would like to rest I signed up for the NYC marathon and would like to start training like everyone else.

I am icing every day, and I’m back in my stability shoes and I curse that ‘born to run’ book every time I go out and see some idiot looking for attention by wearing those silly Vibrams or by putting there bare feet on the filthy streets of New York. Grrrrrr!

P.S. running barefoot doesn't make you a better or faster runner it just makes you look like someone who read a book and is now trying to appear like they know some magical secret to being a great runner. Remember everyone in that book wore something on there feet except 2 runners, the 2 that didn't come close to winning that race in Mexico.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Whole Foods
Eat mostly whole foods with minimal processing. Supplements cannot replace the benefits of whole foods, which provide hundreds of natural ingredients in an ideal mix.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Lack of thirst means you are not properly hydrated. A good indication of proper hydration is having pale yellow color urine. Hydrate before, during, and after physical activity. The proper way to hydrate is drinking less fluid more frequently. The key is not to overload your system.

When to Eat
Fuel your body 2-3 hours before physical activity to supply your muscles with energy and delay fatigue. Focus on carbohydrates, with moderate protein and low fat. Have a sports drink if you’re planning a run lasting an hour or longer. Replenish muscle energy stores by choosing carbohydrate- rich foods within 30 minutes after a run and again within 2 hours. Recovery meals and snacks should be high in carbohydrates, moderate in protein and more liberal in fat (good fat that is).

Sports Drinks vs. Energy Drinks
As runners we all know about Gatorade and why we drink it (for energy and electrolytes to keep us hydrated). Caffeine is a stimulant, not a source of energy. If you’re used to your cup of coffee in the morning it’s fine but keep in mind if you are saving that coffee or energy drink for race day and you’re not accustomed to having it you may find yourself jittery or even running to the nearest porta potty.

Get Some Sleep Dude!
 Endurance athletes need adequate rest so your body can recover.

So You Want To Lose Some Weight
Changes to body composition do not occur quickly. Rapid fluctuations reflect changes in fluid balance. Gradual weight loss or weight gain, about ½- 2lbs per week is ideal.

Don’t Skip It
Breakfast, yes still the most important meal of the day. Eat within an hour of waking up to stoke your metabolism and give you the energy you need to have a productive day.

Calories = Energy
Pre-plan all your meals and snacks so fuel options are available when needed. Aim to eat every 3 to 4 hours and always have a drink available, and I don’t mean PBR or gin-and-tonics.

C.P.F. is a Team
That’s Carbohydrates, Protein, and Fat as well as vitamins, minerals, and water are all necessary to optimize performance and overall health. Your plate should be mostly carbohydrates/ whole grains vegetables and fruit (up to 75% depending on how much you run) with a small of fat and even a smaller portion of protein.

Follow a balanced diet with whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and plenty of fluids is ideal. And if you are a carnivore and like to indulge in eating animal carcass, then remember lean meats and low-fat dairy foods.

Transitional meal options to eating raw

Here are some transitional meal options for eating mostly raw

Organic is best!


Green/vegetable juice

Fresh fruit

Blended raw soup/smoothie

Almond milk nut porridge/granola


Salad with (cold pressed oil) oily dressing, avacado, or nut pates.

Include sea vegetables, raw sauerkraut, herbs, sun dried tomatoes, olives etc.


Please eat only raw food during the day, and limit cooked food to evening meals.

Try at least one small salad with your dinner.

Here are some options…

Organic steamed vegetables-

Broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, spinach, kale, collards , cabbage, turnips, celery,

bell pepper , peas, okra, asparagus, etc.

Top generously with raw tahini dressing or oily dressing or organic cooked marinara sauce.

Soup-homemade is best.

Vegetable based ( no chicken, beef, or dairy). Eat a soup and salad for dinner.

Cooked grains such as quinoa, millet, or brown rice with steamed vegetables and oily dressing. Always begin with leafy green salad.

Sweet potato with steamed vegetables topped with avocado. Begin with leafy green salad.

Occasionally eat sprouted grain or mana bread (if your not allergic to wheat) toasted with avocado and salad.

Occasionally eat small amounts of beans legumes with steamed vegetables.

Lentils, pinto, aduzi, black bean, split pea, kidney, lima bean, garbanzo, tempeh, tofu, (no soy milk)

Snacks or Meal

Fresh fruit, Vegetable juice, vegetables with raw nut butter, dehydrated snacks, raw flax crackers, herbal tea.

Friday, July 16, 2010

how to eat

How to eat? what kind of blog is this?? of course I know how to eat I've been doing it every day of my life! I'm sure most of you are thinking that to yourselves when reading the title of this blog post.
We don't really eat in the way we our ancestors did or cave men for that matter, some where along the line we as human beings messed up. Food should be simple natural and should always be healthy because food is really the fuel to bodies it's what keeps us healthy. Eat the wrong foods and you gain weight, become obese, get cavities, have low energy and even get cancer. Eat the right foods and you avoid all that.
Think of you body like an exotic car, if you drove a Ferrari would you use regular gas in it? would you substitute high grade motor oil for cooking oil or lard? of course not. Then why do it to your body?
I see the way people eat and it makes me think of drug addicts addicted to a substance that they believe to be OK because they bought it at the local supermarket. Some of the stuff labeled as food and snacks are just plain poison. Ask yourself this question " do I want to look the majority of people I see in my local McDonald's?" Pass by any fast food joint and look in the window and you'll see sad over weight people with little or no self control.
So how do we eat? Well lets think back to our closest relatives, monkeys. Monkeys and all animals in the wild for that matter will eat new foods by first smelling it, tasting it (to make sure it's not poisonous) and then eating. Non of these animals cook their foods, think about that for a second, humans are the only living species that cooks food. So whats wrong with cooking food? well for starters if you can't eat it raw then maybe it's not all that good for you cooked, for sure you're losing vitamins and minerals by cooking. Another thing is that if it comes in a can or its pre packaged avoid it, buy your food local and organic if possible, organic to avoid additives and local because local food is truly fresh food , you want to eat produce that gets ripe on the vine (to get all the nutrients) not in a truck. Eat food that is in season, there's a reason why we life certain foods like watermelon in the summer rather then the winter. And lastly eat mostly raw fruits and vegetables through out the day and save the grains and cooked foods and heavy protein for dinner.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The 3 Rules for Post-Race Recovery

I borrowed this bit of advice from elite marathoner Josh Cox. He just ran the Comrades ultra marathon in Aftrica and he posted this recently. Many times we boo-hoo ourselves for not getting a PR , or we jump right into running (guilty) So here is a reminder for myself as well well as you.

Race day arrives. The months and weeks of planning and preparation come to fruition. Some days we meet our goals, some days we fall short, but no matter the outcome, the plan can’t end at the finish line. Follow three post-race rules and you’ll be on your way to the perfect recovery.

  1. Celebrate! You’ve worked long and hard, enjoy great company, great beverages and some great food. If you’ve been depriving yourself of those nachos, or maybe those burger and fries, now is the time to dig in and go for it. I have a ritualistic pilgrimage to In-n-Out Burger for a Double Double, or if I’m feeling daring, I go for a “4×4 Animal Style”, Ryan opts for the ”Animal Style” Fries – if you have a few thousand calories to spare, give them a shot).
  2. Say no to the hot tub and yes to the ice bath. I know, the hot tubs feel good, the ice tub doesn’t. My former coach had a rule, no hot tubs until Wednesday. He was a doctor so we should heed his advice. After races our bodies are inflamed and beat up. Sitting in a hot tub may feel good but it’s only adding to the inflammation and prolonging recovery. At races, most of us stay in hotels. My advice: Give one of the fine hotel workers $10 to fill your bathtub halfway with ice. Top ‘er off with some cold water and take the plunge for 10-15 minutes. The first 4 minutes is horrible, after that it’s gravy. Give it a shot, your legs will thank you.
  3. Run 1-3 easy miles the day after the race… then take 2 weeks off. The run serves as a system check. If you can’t run, walk. Pay attention to little tweaks and pains so you can spend the next 2 weeks rehabbing the injury. Don’t underestimate the beating you took out there between the curbs. When muscle or heart cells are damaged, creatine kinase (CK), levels rise in the blood. After marathons, CK levels in runners are similar to those who have experienced a heart attack. Our bodies need time to repair. Take the time off, recover. It’s best for your body and best for your head. When the time comes to return to the grind, you’ll be ready.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Yoga and Raw Food Expo

So last weekend I made it out for a day at the Yoga and Raw Food Expo at the New York Hotel. I'm a big fan of both but an expo on these kind of things can go one of two ways.
1. An informative learning experience and a chance to be around like minded people. or
2.wall to wall new age kooks who'll buy into anything if it's marketed the right way. Just say it was used by some exotic and magical ancient tribe you never heard of and you'll get a good handful of new agers to claim it will cure everything .
For example 'urine therapy' (brought to you by the kooks who actually think drinking your own urine is some how good for you.)
Well much to my surprise it was a little of both but mainly it was people selling themselves and whatever they had to offer. Even the lectures had people speaking who couldn't resist talking about how great their services were and how it would be a life changing experience , such as colon cleansing, going to their raw food camps, or doing yoga. This is all well and good but they missed the point that they were pretty much preaching to the choir and I don't think anyone needed to be oversold on any of this.

There was the colon woman who runs a colon cleanse clinic here in New York and all she did was talk about the importance of cleansing when she was suppose to be giving a lecture on raw food. That's all well and good and I don't need to hear about these mysterious toxins and all the stuff that may be lodged up in my butt, she would have been more credible if she talked about it being a preventative measure for colon cancer (which it is) rather than it's a must do before you go raw, and by the way I'm located at... If you are interested in this I suggest you visit this website and you can find off the shelf colon cleansing products as well as an informative video from CBS news on there.
Then there was the cancer survivor who wrote a book and runs a raw food retreat. Her claims include that going raw reversed cancer (I don't doubt that part so much because I've heard it before) And that her grey hear went back to it's natural color (as she stood there with her obviously dyed hair and highlights.)And of course lets not forget for the low price of $12000. for 30 days you too can live raw, or you can do it on your own and save 12G and the trip to Georgia.

There were also astrology lectures and lots of other new agey forums, there were discounts on books on eating raw yoga and spirituality that were up to 80% off, and there were tons of yoga classes.
In all fairness with the kookiness aside there was lots of good information but you needed to weed through the nonsense. So would I go again? Sure, I did get something out of it and honestly the yoga alone was worth it, and truth be told even the kooks are fun.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Validation and then some

Is there anything more important to the human psyche than wanting to be validated? Think about it. We all work hard at what we do yet with little support or encouragement. In fact most of the time we get beaten down by the powers that be when we try our hardest but it's not a reason to despair.

Sure we get down from time to time but life is only a roller coaster with just as many ups as there are downs. Maybe instead of looking around the corner and anticipating the next life threatening challenge, think instead of all the great surprises life will have in store for you. Make the best with what you have and enjoy yourself. I have to say that many times I find people with much less in life enjoying themselves more than those who are well off and there is really a lesson to be learned if you look for it.

So wake and smile, embrace the day and be grateful for all of the little things. And as it goes you may feel unappreciated out there but I think of all the strangers and friends alike buzzing around like worker bees doing the best with what life has given us. Though you may not realize it, there are people out there like me quietly validating you.

Here are a couple of tips to help you with your daily struggle:
  1. Meditate: even 10 minutes a day will help you.
  2. Gratitude: Be grateful for all you have and remember there are people truly suffering in this world and you really do have it good.
  3. Exercise: It is so important and I can't stress it enough. Studies have shown that running alone has done more for to relieve depression than any prescribed medicine.
Below is my favorite youtube video which is guaranteed to make you smile.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Secret Of Happiness

“Alright, the secret of happiness is simple: find out what you truly love to do and then direct all of your energy towards doing it.”

~ Robin Sharma from The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

We’ll get right to the point here: WHAT DO YOU TRULY LOVE?!?

And what % of your energy are you putting towards it?!?

I truly love _____________________________




I dedicate ____ % of my energy to doing what I truly love.

How’s it lookin’?

You know what you love?

If you do know what you love, how much of your energy are you investing in it? You need to take more risks and give yourself more fully to the world?!? What can you start doing NOW to invest more energy where it needs to go?!?

Remember Goethe who advised us: “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least.” ( Check out The 80/20 Principle .)

And Maslow. He said, “What you CAN be, you MUST be.” AND, he said, “If you deliberately plan on being less than you are capable of being, then I warn you that you’ll be unhappy for the rest of your life.” So…)

If you don’t know what you love, DISCOVERING it is your primary job. Figure it out. Passionately and joyfully seek to discover your Highest Calling. Read, journal, meditate, contemplate, discuss ideas, take a sabbatical. Whatever you need to do. KNOW THYSELF. Know who you are, what you love, what you’re here to do. And… DO IT!

And, if you’re diggin’ Robin, get his book(s), check out his site (, read all his blogs, etc. As Joseph Campbell says quoting Ramakrishna, “Do not seek illumination unless you seek it as a man whose hair is on fire seeks a pond.”)

So, what will happen when you put all your energy into that which you love? Per Robin:

“You will wake up every morning with a limitless reservoir of energy and enthusiasm. All your thoughts will be focused on your definite objective.. You won’t have time to waste time. Valuable mental power will, therefore, not be wasted on trifling thoughts. You will automatically erase the worry habit and become far more effective and productive. Interestingly, you will also have a deep sense of inner harmony, as if you are somehow being guided to realize your mission. It is a wonderful feeling.”

OK I borrowed this Post from my hero/guru Brian Johnson, the guy just rocks and he full of good energy. I just wanted to share this one with you.
Check out Brian on

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Why be a Vegetarian or Vegan ?

I've been a vegetarian for longer than I can remember, I've also been known to go months at a time eating nothing but a raw food vegan diet. I still lean toward raw food but I must admit it's easier not to be, so out of sheer laziness I will forgo the raw food and eat whats convenient. But just the same I thought I would add this in here to help those out who are looking for direction.

A few good reasons to be Vegetarian or Vegan

  • Shed extra pounds, yep on an average vegans and vegetarians are up to 20 lbs lighter than meat eaters
  • Every vegetarian saves more than 100 animals a year
  • A Vegan diet is great for your health, vegetarians are less likely to develop heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or high blood pressure than mean eaters and that's a fact.
  • Meat is often contaminated with feces, blood, and other bodily fluids all of which make animal products the top source of food poisoning in the USA. In fact scientist at John Hopkins Bloomberg school of Public Health tested supermarket chicken flesh and found that 96 % of Tyson chicken was contaminated with camplylobactor, a dangerous bacteria that causes 2.4 million cases of food poisoning each year.
  • It takes tons of crops and water to raise farmed animals in fact it takes 16LBS of grain to produce 1LB of animal flesh! All that plant food could be used more efficiently if it were fed to people directly and help feed the world.
  • Adopting a vegan diet is more important to than switching to a greener car in the fight against global warming because the meat industry is the cause so much pollution and waste.
As for B12...

It is true that very low B12 intakes can cause anemia and nervous system damage.

The only reliable vegan sources of B12 are foods fortified with B12 (including some plant milks, some soy products and some breakfast cereals) and B12 supplements. Vitamin B12, whether in supplements, fortified foods, or animal products, comes from micro-organisms.

Most vegans consume enough B12 to avoid anemia and nervous system damage, but many do not get enough to minimize potential risk of heart disease or pregnancy complications.

To get the full benefit of a vegan diet, vegans should do one of the following:

  1. Eat fortified foods two or three times a day to get at least three micrograms (mcg or µg) of B12 a day or
  2. Take one B12 supplement daily providing at least 10 micrograms or
  3. Take a weekly B12 supplement providing at least 2000 micrograms.

If relying on fortified foods, check the labels carefully to make sure you are getting enough B12. For example, if a fortified plant milk contains 1 microgram of B12 per serving then consuming three servings a day will provide adequate vitamin B12. Others may find the use of B12 supplements more convenient and economical.

The less frequently you obtain B12 the more B12 you need to take, as B12 is best absorbed in small amounts. The recommendations above take full account of this. There is no harm in exceeding the recommended amounts or combining more than one option.

Recommended movie: 'Food Inc.' See the meat industry behind the scenes.Why? because you are what you eat and maybe you'll rethink your diet for the better.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Running Times with Karno vs Scott Jurek

Running Times wrote this article on Dean Karnezes titled 'Dissing Dean.' It ask the question why are there so many Dean haters out there? And while I agreed that there was no need to hate on Dean the writer went on to say "when people like many - time Western States winner Scott Jurek (she doesn't know Scott) say nasty things about Dean it makes the whole sport look pissy. No one hates Scott Jurek. He's Vegan,for petes sake. But no one is going to put his scrawny figure to sell magazines or pay him to give business advice. So why is he bother to dis Dean?"

Let me say I was pretty pissed off reading that, the writer basically admitted that it was more important to look the part of a champion than be one. What if say Denis Rodman had gotten all of Michael Jordans credit for being the greatest baller ever because he looked cooler? What if the Monkees got credit for all the Beatles songs? Yeah they'd be pissed and you would be too. So here's the letter I wrote Running Times which may appear in a future issue.


"I enjoyed your article on Dean Karnazes and I feel you made some valid points: hey, Dean inspired me and a few friends to run ultras (no 100 miles for me though.) But I thought it was a little hypocritical on your part to go on and disrespect Scott Jurek, I have met both men and both were really nice and genuine people.
In Scott’s defense, here you have someone who is basically the Lance Armstrong of the sport breaking every record in sight but acts like it's no big deal, and then sits around after each race to cheer every last finisher, a guy who also volunteers for many races himself if
he's not running them and has not made or asked for a penny out of winning any race he's done. So from his perspective you might be a little annoyed that someone is getting all the credit that, by and large, is due to Scott.
Like I said I think Dean is great and he inspired me many people to go out there and do it but let's give credit where credit is due: Scott is the real champion.
It's not about stunts to keep you in the press but it's about the love of the sport."


By the way, unlike the writer for RT I have met both runners on separate occasions and like most runners they were extremely nice to say the least. What Scott had said about Dean was a couple of years ago and when asked about Dean and his publicity machine (probably for the jillionth time)he said, in so many words he had said "it's getting old" And from his perspective it would be, Scott with all his accomplishments in the sport of ultra running hasn't even made the cover of Runners World or Running Times. Imagine if Lance Armstrong had never made the cover of a cycling magazine and your biggest write up is buried in 'the weight loss issue' of Runners World? Now that's being dissed.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

I'll always remember Mothers Day 2008

Two years ago today was the last time I saw my mom. It was mothers day 2008 and my mother was dying of cancer though I was in complete denial. When I saw her she down in Florida that day she had gained weight and was puffy looking, a result of the medicine she had been taking. We spent the day watching an old Joan Crawford movie called 'Mildred Pierce' and we talked and laughed about her childhood. It was a typical day with my mother and maybe the best day of my life.

When it was time to leave we hugged each other and she told me something that will always haunt me " next time you see me It will be different." She was trying to tell me that she was dying and that things were worse than they were which was difficult for me not only to see (since I live in NYC and she was in Florida under the care of my older sister) but it was difficult to understand.

When I left I took one more picture of her on the balcony and thought about what she had said about things being different and then I felt like I may never see her again which I brushed off because she was my mom, strong and stubborn, nothing was going to take her down.

Two weeks later I saw her again but it wasn't her, it was just a shell of my mother lying in the hospice, hooked up on an I.V. and doped up on pain killers. She couldn't speak and she barely knew I was there and to be honest I felt like I was looking into her coffin, it was awful. On my birthday I got news that it was official she was going to die and on July 8th she was gone.

The irony of us watching Mildred Pierce on that day was that the story of Mildred Pierce was basically a mother going to extreme lengths to protect her child from danger even though she had to suffer for it. My mother hid from me the fact of how sick she really was, she didn't want to be "a burden" to her children. She put herself in front of me to the end trying to protect me from the pain even though she knew she was dying and was most likely scared out of her mind.

When she did pass my siblings and I had to go back to her place to pack her belongings. As we walked into the condo and looked around we saw what everyone else saw when they walked in wall to wall photos of of us, her children and grandchildren. No longer were they the tacky pictures we saw with embarrassed children's eyes but these photos were like sheer love radiating through the room. We became aware instantly of something we took for granted for so many years, no one will ever love you like your mother does and we'll never have that again. It was a hard pill to swallow.

I can't believe I lost my best girl. Thank you mom for all your love and sacrifice, you're always in my heart.
Happy Mothers Day.

Friday, May 7, 2010

So now it's Yoga for runners?

OK folks let get one this straight here, ALL yoga classes are suited for runners. I've been doing yoga longer than I've been running (really.) What I've noticed is that yoga tends to market itself to whatever is style or fad is popular. But really it's all the same poses structured more or less the same way. Yoga is beneficial to runners mostly because it strengthens the core. In fact yoga will not only strengthen your core but it will teach you focus, discipline, calms your mind and stretches your your body in a way most stretching routines don't, this is all very helpful to runners.

So next time you see a something labeled 'Yoga for .... '(you fill in the blank) know that it's a marketing tool for beginners and novice practitioners unsure of how yoga benefits them. In fact it seems kind un-yogi to me to fool the public with gimmicks and nonsense.

By the way there are a bunch of DVDs out on the market also labeled 'yoga for runners', 'yoga for pregnancy' (OK this is a good for gentle yoga practice to do while you're pregnant), 'yoga for kids', 'nude yoga', 'Hot Yoga' or 'Bikram Yoga' etc. all the same poses just a different label.

Remember in order to get any lasting benefits from yoga you must practice at least 3 times a week.

P.S. Favorite Yoga studio:

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

2010 NJ Marathon: The Race Report

Ahhh the race report, there comes a time in every runner/bloggers life when they feel the need to share their experience about some long distance race that no one really cares about. We do this because we secretly think we're more important than everyone else and dream to have someone from some running magazine or something notice this and then throw us copious amounts of money and turn your hero/blogger into the next Dean Karnazes. Well far be it from me to reject such a glorious fate so here I go.

May 2nd 2010, a day that will live in infamy (or maybe just till after the Brooklyn half in 2 weeks.) With temperatures in the mid to low 70's at the start you begin to have a hunch it might be a warm one today. Lining up with me are members of the North Brooklyn Runners A.K.A. NBR. Out of maybe 300 members about 20 had said they were going to run this race out of that 20 there were about eight that remained including first time marathoners Allison, ( designer of our team shirts and pick up truck driver.) Marie (the school teacher who needed a medal to show her class that anything is possible) Christine (jewelry designer and Kombucha bootlegger) and there were the veterans Sherry R., Beverly W., Erin P., Markus and myself who was running because last years race was held in the freezing rain and I demanded retribution and that PR I so rightly deserved.

Like I said weather started out in the low to mid 70's with a cool breeze on the beach and Bruce Springsteen's greatest hits blasting in the background , it felt like it might be a good race after all. So with 'born to run' blasting in the background and some dude dressed as Mini Mouse blasting past me I knew the race had begun.

Now here's my reactions to the first few miles.
Mile 1: “wow I feel great,I only have to do this 25 more times but I'm going out a little too fast better slow down”.
Mile 2:” OK that's it I'm right on pace to reach my projected goal."
Mile 3: "man it's getting hot around here.”
Mile 4: “hmm I'm 30 seconds behind,I can still make it up or just go with this pace and still have a nice. PR”
Mile 5: “Holy crap it's like being inside a clothes dryer!”
Mile 6: “I have to do 2 laps of this and is that a guy passed out on the side of the road or is he taking a quick nap? ”
Mile 7: I hear people cheering me on and it's NBR, and it looked like 20 of them but I think I was hallucinating at that point so it was hard to tell, I picked myself up ran over to them and high 5'd the group and ran off thinking about how crazy it was that they took the train for over two hours to cheer us on. These are seriously nice people who clearly have a warped idea of what fun is.

OK now that I threw any ideas of a PR out the window because it was just too hot to care. I had to run into a friend who was running the half and listening to the weather on her headphones, "it's 88 degrees". Awesome, and did I really need to hear that? Let's face it that's hot for any race not just a marathon and mind you Tuesday night while running it was in the low 40's with a wind chill that made it feel like mid 30's.
With the sight of more runners laid out on the side of the road I thought it would be best to throw in the towel before I became road kill as well. Besides who needs sun poisoning? So I picked it up and decided to run to the halfway point and go to the beach and jump in the water, but not before losing my chatty friend who was slowly making me nuts so I ducked into a Porto potty to lose her. After realizing that 5 gallons of Gatorade in the last hour just sweated out of my pours before it had time to reach my bladder seemed like a sign I was making the right decision by ending this thing.

Then of course it happens (drum roll please) I reached the beach and it was 20 degrees cooler. It was as though someone turned on a giant air conditioner and just like that I felt awesome all over again. I think to myself, "wow, I will finish this thing".... until I came to the halfway point and see that it had taken me 2 hours to get there, my jaw must have dropped, I don't think I did my first half marathon (also in the extreme heat) in 2 hours. So it was a crushing blow to my ego. At that point the whambulance came out and all these tiny little people played their tiny little violins for me then handed me a tissue to wipe my tears and with their tiny little feet gave me a kick in the ass and told me move on. Actually the whambulance was Kristy and she gave me a big kiss and a Probar and after 5 minutes or so, convinced me to keep moving. How could I let her, or the team down for that matter?

And so I went on and about a quarter mile later it got hot again. But I ate my Probar and realized i was more than halfway done. At mile 17 I saw Jennifer from NBR and wondered if she had a stop watch on to call out our splits (no, but she later paced injured Allison for the last 9 miles.) By mile 18 I started thinking about Badwater. In case you don't know Badwater is a 135 mile ultra marathon that runs through Death Valley in July, it can get up 135 degrees. So there I was thinking about this and I started to realize that in the scheme of things this is nothing. Badwater is the distance of 5 marathons in more extreme conditions and I only have another 8 miles to go. No big deal just get in ultra mode and realize time and PR's don't matter today it's just the challenge of the course. Suddenly 18 miles into this I began to lighten up and have fun.

Meanwhile around me people are still dropping like flies, some guy fell right in front of me and people rushed from their homes to give him water and help him out. The 3:50 pacers that sped by me 2 miles previous were in the medical tent up ahead drooling all over themselves. I never did see any other pacers besides the 3:30 (which I was originally following) aside of that all I did see were pace flags on the course left in cones. Also on the side of the road away from the carnage was NBR, Matt handy with orange slices and Chris along another part of the course again cheering me on. Amazing.

By the end at the end Beverly caught up to me we ran together for the last half mile to the sounds of people calling out our names that were printed on out NBR shirts. It made it fun and I'm glad she caught up she also confided that she wanted to quit halfway but she didn't want to let the team down, I agreed. Beverly encouraged me to speed up to the end and so I did, my chip time was 4:20 which put me in the top 25% of finishers Beverly's time was actually 4 minutes faster even though I came through first (she kicked my ass) Markus finished in the top 10. As for that PR "I so rightly deserved" I was 35 minutes slower than last year but they'll be other marathons.

After the race we laughed about the conditions, talked about how awesome the locals were for hosing us down like 1960s protesters and just how great it was that people came down to support us and that the team scattered themselves along the course to cheer us on, we are not the fastest runners on the team (except for Markus) but they treated us like rock stars anyway. Thanks guys.

As a side note I'd like to add the lessons I've learned.
1. It's just another race enjoy the run for what it is.
2. Over doing it makes you road kill
3. Be grateful for all the things that did go right
4. S Caps rock
5. PRs will take care of themselves

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

How to Run

As a personal trainer and a running nerd I often get asked about running form. Although I do not claim to have the perfect form myself (I'm working on it) I do know the principles and I use them when I can.

First thing you want to remember is that running is more like a controlled forward fall, lean from your ankles about 10 degrees without bending at the waist (hold that core straight.)

Next you want your eyes gazing down at the road ahead of you. I like to look at other runners feet while racing to keep this position, be sure not to tuck your chin to your chest you want your head and neck nice and relaxed.

Breathing. This was a challenge for me when I first started running. I just couldn't figure out how to breathe right. Really the only trick to this is breathing through your mouth only and relax as much as you can and it will come naturally.

Most runners don't realize that your upper body also plays an important role in your form so let's look at the shoulders. You want your shoulders low and relaxed. To help you get the picture right now you should raise your shoulders toward your ears then let go. Which feels better? Low, of course, but most runners tend to tense up during runs and this tension is wasting energy that you can be using to run faster.

Arms: you'll want to hold your elbows in at a 90 degree angle with your forearms parallel to the ground, swing your arms forward and backward in a straight line and avoid swinging your arms across your body which will again slow you down. You want to drive your elbows straight back when you're picking up the pace with your hands reaching the side seam of your shorts.

Keep hands slightly cupped with thumb and index finger resting on each other and push down with your hands and elbows while in motion.

And now for everybodys favorite part, your feet!
Yes there are a few different type of strikers out there, heel, mid foot, and forefoot. Here's the skinny on each one.
Heel strikers can be injured if they land too far back on their heels because the position over flexes the foot but even more common is that heel striking can hurt your over all pace because you are literally breaking as you come down on your foot.
Forefoot strikers put extra stress on their calves which can cause a host of lower leg injuries.
What I think works best is to strike on the mid foot, it enhances stability through your stride and promotes more turnover so your feet stay on the ground for the least amount of time.
Changing your form takes time, I have been heel striking for some time and changing to mid foot is taking a lot of effort, but the better I become at it the better my race times become.

Marathon Training

So where do I begin and what brought me to this point and time right here? well the marathon of course 26.2 miles of glorious hell and then some. Including a few ultras I've done 15, a lot for some not much to others it's more of a hobby than an accomplishment.
It all started of course in NYC 2005 my first marathon which I ran in an unseasonably warm day, it was my first so of course I was nervous but I ran it and went through all the emotional turmoil that goes on while running it, I loved it, I hated it, and I just plowed through it.
New York is a hard course the second half being mostly hills bridges and a steady incline that you don't even notice while you're running it but it tends to take it's toll add the weather in the mid 70's and humid it along with the non stop screaming of the crowd and it becomes overwhelming.
Along 5th avenue bodies of runners lay on the side of the curb like war casualties, some on stretchers some fell right in front of me the whole time I thought to myself just let me get through this, and I did under 4 hours which was my goal. As I crossed the finish i swore never again,that lasted 10 minutes when I spoke to my sister who asked me if I had decided to run the Rock n' Roll marathon with her in 2 months, as if I had already forgotten what pain I was in I accepted.
Marathon #2 just 2 months later raised a few eyebrows from some experienced marathoners but what did I know? just do it and that's all there is. Turns out my sister got injured and couldn't run it and decided to be my cheer leader, OK no big deal I figured it was an excuse to see AZ anyway. 2 Things I will take away from this marathon, 1. it was hosted by PF Chang and they had coupons for runners which i learned the hard way was the wrong way to fuel up before 26.2 the next day, unless you like multiple porto john stops, 2. I was on my feet the day before computer shopping with little sis. bad move and 3. I was running in the desert and though at the halfway point I remember being glad for running it by mile 16 the sun had come out and knocked me on my butt, still I finished in 4 hrs great
The next time i ran NYC I still had no expectations and was still kind of a rube at this, i ran according to how I felt and and finished in 3:38 awesome, I felt great it was effortless and I just ran for fun, but most important had hadn't any expectations what-so-ever and mind you my shorter distance races were no where near as quick as they are now.

By this time I started to do ultras and more back to back marathons trained non stop and you can say i probably over trained for any of my regular marathons trying different training plans doing lots of miles and so on. Because I was becoming competitive and I saw my race times and my endurance getting better I just assumed I would do well in marathons, errr, maybe not.
One of my problems with running marathons is sleep, I'm a light sleeper and I wake up a lot at night so when i having something pressing to do the next day it becomes challenging to fall back asleep because my nerves get the best of me, yes this is my runners excuse and every runner has one. I could have run a .......... but my leg cramped, but my toe hurt but, but , but oh I hate the runners excuses, the only real excuse is I didn't train right.
Great marathon excuses and the real story behind these lamo sob stories.
1. I didn't get enough sleep A) start going to sleep earlier and get into a routine most people don't sleep well before the big race so just own up to the fact you had too many late nights. Translation: you didn't train right.
2. I had a cramp A) waaaah, my heart bleeds for you, but did you not eat right leading up to this? did you hydrate before & during this or did you go out too fast? Translation: you didn't train right.
3. I was on pace for XXX but my I.T. band , my knee, my back, acted up A) you went out to hard. Translation: you didn't train right
It's not rocket science just listen to your body and train right.
Other factors include the weather which yes will slow you and everyone else down but a sour attitude while running will waste too much energy and keep you further from your goal than you need be.
In 2009 i ran the NJ Marathon and it rained and rained and rained, I simply blew that because of my attitude and my lack of confidence. I trained better than I have trained for any other marathon and I was miserable because of the rain I didn't enjoy the run and every step i took in my rain soaked Brooks felt like torture. Another uninspired time. Mean while my girlfriend PR'd and had the greatest run ever, the difference? she didn't agonize over every little thing she just ran, stayed focused and kicked ass and that's all there is to it.

Next I decided to train for the JFK 50 which unknown to me had sold out, the thing about ultras is you never concern yourself with a PR because really who cares ? so few people do them and the ones that don't only think of the distance and not the time, in other words there's no pressure, awesome.
Not so awesome, it sold out so i decided to do the Knickerbocker 60K in central park 2 weeks after the NY marathon, no big deal the marathon was part of my training run and I had run 26 mile runs 3 times before NY so no big deal right? WRONG!
Just how many times can i get this wrong?? yes I went out too hard in NY expecting to be as fast as I was in the spring with double the endurance which clearly was not the case. Within the first 6 miles my I knew my goal time (there's that thing again) was out the window I made it past the first half but damn why did it feel so hard, I've run this course dozens of times leading up to this and today it's going to be a problem? well actually yes. By the time I made it to the 59th street bridge runners that I knew that were not as quick as me were passing me, oh my ego once again bruised and tarnished. By mile 16 it was over i saw girlfriends parents and they encouraged me to move on which lasted a half mile and then I walked all the way to the finish expecting to run again at some point. By mile 20 I saw my pretty girlfriend Kristy running along and I cheered for her, she offered to walk with me but I told her to run her race best she could, she could take 10 minutes off her time for hanging with me. As for me, I finished in 5:30 got my medal and went to the medical tent.

Though I couldn't walk for a week just 2 weeks I ran that 60K, not just that, I actually ran to it and put in 40 miles that day, my intention was really just to do half that if I could but it seemed easy to just run a few loops around the park plus my good friend Lynn Bradley and he boyfriend were there cheering me on, and they waited for my to finish so I ran it in and thanked them for being so kind.
It's not all bad though, as I said I've run shorter distance races and picked up my pace considerably. My pace for a 4 miler was 7:04 per mile which is now down to 6:52, my last half marathon I ran as a bandit and without the pressure my overall pace was 7:34 per mile which of course led me to believe my latest marathon would have me in my goal time of 3:29 seems like I'm right on target doesn't it? well I'll have to do a race report on that one another time.