Monday, August 15, 2011

Hydration Blue's

Ok, well this may be a boring one for you folks looking for something other than a “Gear” related topic, but here it comes anyway – the topic is….Hydration.  So if you’ve read any of my entries, you’ll know that I sweat – allot!  And of course dehydration has cost me a number of races to date.  That said, I think I’ll talk a bit (maybe to myself) about hydration.

So last week I tried the “Test” that you read about in Runners World, right next to the part where it tells you to drag yourself along by imagining an invisible “rope” between yourself and the person in front of you.  It was a very hot day, and I weighed myself before I headed out, drank no water at all, and did 8 easy miles on trails, and came back and weighed myself.  6 Pound drop, or about 6*16/1.5 = 64oz/hr.  See the problem?  A human, best I can tell, cannot drink at that rate.  In fact in Indiana I did try drinking one 24 oz bottle per half hour – so roughly 48 oz per hour – no dice, I was sick before long.  Further, I really hate carrying a bottle – maybe this sounds strange, but I feel it makes me “off balance” and stops me from staying in my usual “rhythm”.

So all that said, I pulled out my Nathan (24 I think) back pack with bladder.  I had used this a Leadville and a few other races, and really did like it.  I’m not thrilled with the leaking mouth piece though, but I’ve used it for my last few runs and found it very comfortable; that said, I plan to keep using it up to the “Local 100” coming early September.

My plan is to target no more than 32-34 oz / hour, which brings up another problem – with a backpack, it’s hard to know how much you drank.  Ok, so I plan to purchase this:

Thing is, it’s a CamelBak product, and I don’t think it will work with the Nathan hose, so I may just replace the bladder with a 70 Oz CB, but with a little luck this will keep me on track, at least the best I can.  If the run is cool, I’ll do well (or at least I may do well), if not, I won’t.  Kind of cool , the run starts at 4:00 PM on a Friday, so I’ll have nighttime to get quite a chunk of it – last year I DNF’d (at night) because I hurt my hip at barely 25 in – I literally limped pathetically for a mile to an aide station to get a ride, and didn’t run most of last winter.  Anyway, with a little luck, and maybe even rain, you never know!  Anyway, this is a pretty significant change for me, but I think I’ll go the backpack rout, with both hands free….   Two S caps per hour.  Gatorade as the liquid.  One Ensure every 16 miles, maybe every 8.  Snacks.  There, that’s my secret plan!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

It's a SIGN!

Well, probably best to write an entry that has something to do with running at some point.  As I’ve been saying, I still have a dream.  An idea.  A belief.  Simply put, my belief is that I’m still a decent runner, I’m well trained, and when this 2 month heat wave breaks and I can run in at least semi cool weather, I’ll be back to running as I know I can.  But I have to tell you, this has been hard to hold onto.  For a stretch I had a number of very good weeks, however the last two weeks of long runs have been total busts!  A night run with the Trail Slammer and a group of people did not get me the 31 I wanted, followed by another night run (Trail Slammer again) where I pretty much dragged down the little guy because apparently I could only run for 14 miles.  But you go through these things, and my latest goal of 300 August miles, and wiping the Trail Slammer in overall distance is driving me a bit – and then I had a stomach bug!  It goes from bad to worse…

But yesterday something happened.  Something beautiful, as if a message.  The big thing is that the stomach bug FINALLY seems to have gone away (unfortunately though I think the Librarian has it!)  Well, get this, yesterday evening it rained – hard!  And then the temperature DROPPED to about 70!  Perfect timing, as I went out for my 8 mile Trail run, because I was reminded what I can do if the temperature drops!  For 8 miles I darted through the woods with only an occasion stop for water – keeping a very good sub 9 pace, and very little effort.  I felt light, great spirits, and my form even looked a bit like the Trail Slammers!  (Ok, I rib him enough; I’ll admit that he has pretty decent running form, and I often try to emulate it). 

In a way it reinforced to me that if the weather is cool, I really can run – we’ll see, but I guess that confirms the “Local 100” is on for me.  I do need to get my long runs back to 31 in the next few weeks, but  my weight is down, mileage up, no injuries at all (knock on wood), and no excuses left!

Friday, August 5, 2011

That Puts My Feelings Out!

Well, I’m a bit….  Ok, sad….

Why?  I subscribe to a discussion board on Yahoo where runners talk about Leadville.  Every day I receive emails where runners talk about weather conditions, tips and tricks, and over time you feel the enthusiasm build up, and this year is no exception – the run is in just a few weeks.  The difference this year, is that I won’t be there…  And that, as my first son “Marcus Welby” said when he was very little,  “Puts my feelings out”.

And it does – it does put my feelings out.  Why?  Because I absolutely LOVE that race!  Ok, right off, I ran it last year and the year before, and both missed the cutoff at Winfield – but no matter, I covered the entire course, and frankly it may well be one of the most AWESOME experiences of my life!  In a nutshell, I was counting on this course being cold, grey, and rainy as it usually is, but as Tony Kaputula said in his blog, by mile 65 he was on track to set a course record, but by mile 70 the record setting heat of the day combined with sun and altitude had dried him up! 

Well, that got me both years, and both years looked almost exactly the same – ran very well around Turquoise, barreled up, and down sugar loaf, started to cook by Power line, and coming into Twin lakes I knew I was firing on about 3 of 8 cylinders, although I was still very mid pack – so what next?  HOPE!  The climb from 9,200 to 12,600 feet absolutely destroyed me both times, and I struggled into Winfield a shell of a man, barely able to extract any oxygen out of the thin air.  Now in hindsight, if I “just wouldn’t have spent so much time on top of Hope taking pictures” or “just would have picked up the pace a little bit up that mountain” I might have made the cutoff – I really wasn’t that far off.  But sometimes it just is what it is, and I just tell people that each year I finished the “Leadville 50”.  And I have ABSOLUTELY NO REGRETS!  Seriously, I made 50 miles of very high altitude mountain running, with the best athletes in the world!  How bad can that be? (In fairness to myself, I sometimes don’t suck at this as much as I make myself out to…)

And as I sit here, knowing that the event is coming up, and somehow they actually “sold out” before I got my application in, well, it puts my feelings out.  If they hadn’t sold out, would I go, like right now?  Hmmm….  YES!  That simple.  I’m probably better trained then I was last year, and just maybe it will be cool this year.  I miss it, and I will go in 2012.  End of story….

But my feelings are put out….  :(

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Ok, But Why No Meat?

You know, I really try to sneak the vegetarian thing under the radar, because it seems a lot of people give me crap on this!  “Come on Doctor, it’s NATURAL to eat meat”, or “Well, where will you get your PROTEIN”, and most importantly, “WHY do you not want to eat meat????” 

Well, I’d like to take the easy way out, and talk about health benefits.  I’d like to talk about how Ultrarunners like me and Scott do just fine without meat (except I don’t), but the real, honest answer why I don’t want to eat meat is simple, and admittedly corny.  BUT, I believe it to the bottom of my heart.  Wanna’ hear it?  Fine, I’ll tell you.  Since in all honesty I lost what was left of any sense of pride, self esteem and humility at mile 78 in Vermont two years ago, I’ll just lay it out there:

I believe that God, or whoever you believe set up this entire “life” system, made a terrible mistake by requiring that many animal types have to cause great pain, serious harm, and likely death to other animals to survive.  Be it a coyote eating a rabbit.  A shark eating a seal.  Fill in whatever example you want here; this is the ultimate violation of one’s self, even if that one is an animal.  And don’t tell me “Well that’s just the way it is”, because that’s what someone says when they either choose to ignore an issue, or not fully consider it.  Personally, it brings me great pain to think of any living thing being eaten by another, and yes, I do blame whoever designed this system.

Now some animals eat only vegetables, and do not harm others; rabbits, cows, etc.  So the fact is that animals can be designed that don’t need to harm others just to survive.  So what about humans?  Do we REALLY need to slaughter millions of animals for food?  The simple answer is NO. In fact I believe that if humans are around 1000 years from now, we’ll look back and tell our children “there was a time when we actually bred animals for slaughter….  To eat!”  I believe at that point we’ll all be repulsed by the idea.  Don’t believe me that it can become socially unacceptable to eat animals?  Well how about as we speak, the idea of cannibalism in our society is repulsive – we would NEVER consider our fellow humans as food; why could we not as a species evolve to the point where we would never consider other animals as food as well?  I believe we can, and will.

So now we go to McDonalds, and frankly that Big Mack looks nothing like a cow.  Sausage looks nothing like a pig, and really KFC barely even looks like chicken!  Yep, it’s easy to disassociate what you’re eating with the actual animal – it’s a very distant thought.  And frankly, a big steak or even a burger tastes GREAT!  No question there, we’ve been brought up as a culture to totally accept that (Although some cultures have been brought up to believe that Cat tastes GREAT.   Hmmm, if we in our culture can believe that Cat’s are not something that we would want to eat, then why can we not evolve to thinking that any living creature is something that we would not eat?)

So there you have it; this is my belief, and I plan to keep working at the vegetarian approach.  I think that if we, as a species, use the intelligence we have to realize the truth behind our everyday meals, and further call on the compassion that will help us evolve as a species, that eventually I won’t be in the minority on this argument.

There you have it.  Oh, the Trail Slammer took me up on the challenge, even though I have to give him 8 miles credit for a 1 hour Stair Stepper walk, and I get nothing for Yoga’ing!  10 Hard tonight……