Friday, June 24, 2011

EricG's Running Tips #22 Focus

I am often asked how I run such long distances.  I always wish I had a short answer, and until now, I didn't.  After all there is so much that goes into it.  Training is endless, there is nutrition, hydration, gear, support, physical issues, mental issues (lots of mental issues) and so on.

Last week I had the pleasure of running with Phil McCarthy who recently covered 257 miles in just 48 hours, a new American record.  Prior to our run we were having a conversation with a few other runners in the parking lot.  Of course the record came up and even though these people were accomplished runners in their own rights, including sub 3hr marathons they were in awe of Phil's accomplishment (aren't we all?).  They asked him the same question I hear all the time, "How do you do it?" and his reply was perfect.  Phil held his hands up on either side of his eyes and simply said, "You just focus".

He said in 3 words what could take me an hour to explain.  In the end, we all have our own little details about how we get to where we get and why we do it.  What it all boils down to truly is focus.  I know Phil was answering this question specifically as it related to his record setting run but it's true all the way through.  From the moment we choose to do something until the moment we actually succeed we must focus.

There are many things that will come up along the way and try to knock us down.  The ability to commit and focus all the way through our goals is that little something extra.  It is often the difference between success and DNF.  Marshall Ulrich spoke of his extreme foot pain during his run across America and how the pain got so bad there was no way he could continue with that foot.  For a man as tough as Marshall that must have been excruciating.  So what did he do?  He disowned his foot.  I love that, he actually had the mental focus to be able to tell himself that the foot attached to his leg was not his.  Extreme for most of us?  Perhaps but it certainly proves the point.  Focus, concentration or commitment, call it what you want.  Master or at least improve your ability to control your mind and you can accomplish more than you ever imagined.  I for one am going to pay more attention to my focus.

What ever it is you want to do, focus and go get it.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

EricG's Running Tips #21 Fueling

Just like a car, run out of fuel and you are done.  Too much or the wrong fuel, you choke.  I remember my first marathon in NYC back in 2001.  I had absolutely no idea what I was doing and when I look back on it I think it's a miracle I even crossed the finish line.  As I recall I drank a total of 40 ounces of water, 1 cup of Gatorade and 2 GUs.  That does not equate to much more than 250 calories and is less than half of what I would drink in that amount of time today.  The effects were obvious although I thought it was only because I went out too fast when it happened.  7:40 pace through 18 miles which rose quickly to 8:11 by mile 26.  Not bad but that translates to somewhere around a 9:30 pace for the last 8 miles, a huge crash in my mind.

Fast forward to 2011, I have gained significant knowledge in what fuel works for me and more importantly, I respect the importance of it.  Although I am still working on the right mix and will certainly learn more during my next endeavor the Catskill 155 which will take me significantly farther than I have ever gone before, I feel like I have a good handle on it.  Up to 100 miles that is. 

Hydration is probably number 1 when it comes to fuel and I discussed my thoughts on that in my Tip #19.  Nutrition however, I have found to be nearly as tricky, particularly in the longer distances.  One wrong move and you can be puking all over yourself or better yet on the person next to you.  Or perhaps slowed to a crawl with severe cramps and so on. 

"The Devil"
I would like to share my first lesson learned, a little bonus tip if you will.  Nearing the completion of my first 50 miler in 2009 I had been cruising along, actually way ahead of my goal pace when I came upon an aid station around mile 44.  One last orange slice and I was home free.  Then, there they were singing to me.....GUMMY BEARS.  I love gummy bears.  I instinctively grabbed a handful, shoved them in my mouth and off I went running, chewing and happy as a clam as they say (whoever that is).  And then within a few minutes I wanted to die.  I did not puke but I wanted to.  The cramps in my stomach were so bad I was forced to walk most of the next couple of flat miles.  Lesson learned?  Never take anything you have not used during training.

Here is my general race plan when it comes to fuel, always subject to change on the fly of course.  Consume approximately 300-350 calories per hour and try to keep it in liquid form.  I will grab the occasional orange slice, banana or potato at an aid station but otherwise I mix perpetuem and gels.  I rotate every hour as follow.
  1. One serving orange vanilla perpetuem and one vanilla hammer gel mixed with 20 ounces of water (360 calories).
  2. Three servings of hammer gel (usually huckleberry) mixed with 20 ounces of water (270 calories).  Every now and then I will only mix in 2 gels and eat an espresso for a little caffeine and to have something a little more solid if I feel hungry.
Anyway, as always keep trying new things to find out what works for you.  I hope these suggestions and stories are helpful.


Friday, June 10, 2011

Reaching Running Milestones Together

Tani finishing strong
We are now about one week removed from last week's The North Face Endurance Challenge, DC.  Still not sure why they say it's in Washington, DC when it's actually in Sterling, VA.  Regardless I really like their events because it can be a real family affair with so many races to choose from ranging from a kids 1k race to the 50 miler.

With that said, a big shout out must go to my amazing wife Tani.  Not just for the unwavering support she has always given me and my running, but for her own achievements.  And I am not talking about those legs:)  Nice huh!  T started to catch the running bug a little before we decided to have another child and when she got pregnant I think she felt lucky to be able to make it to the bathroom in time let alone run.  Last May, just 3 months after our daughter was born she ran a 5k.  Now 1 year later she set a PR of 1:06 in the 10k this past weekend.  I barely had time to get the camera out because she told me she was hoping for 1:20.  Great job Babe.  You rock.  Oh by the way she has already signed up for her next race, another 10k at Rockefeller in 2 weeks.  Can you say "half-marathon in the near future"?

1st smile in about 3 hours
I also ran, competing in the 50 miler on Saturday.  I had not gone into this race with much expectation as I had done very little training due to sciatica.  Since the Umstead 100 in April I had logged about 150 miles as I recall and my longest run was around 22 miles. I had decided to take my own advice as posted my Get Over It tip.  There was nothing I could do about the past so I decided to relax and just enjoy the weekend.  We arrived at Diana's and Tom's house Friday evening.  Always incredible hosts, we ate a great big meal, drank way too much beer and went to sleep way too late with a 3:30am wake up.  A recipe for disaster you say?  Hmmmm, how about a 50 mile PR for yours truly (9:09).  Perhaps I have discovered some new pre-race techniques that I will need to share in my running tips.
Great start to Diana's 1st 10k
I have decided to skip the usual race report and rather re post a slide show that shows you a little more of Great Falls.  Race or no race I love to run here whenever I am in Virginia. Peace

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Announcing "The Catskill 155" for MMRF

Continuing the Journey for a Cure

On August 12, 2011 Eric Gelber will set out on another adventure, pushing the limits of human spirit to raise awareness and funds to cure cancer. He will run nearly 6 marathons in less than 2 days. 155 miles on foot, non-stop through the Catskill Mountains. All funds raised will be for the benefit of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. Click here to donate.
Thank you to:

My crew Tani, Rich, Cheryl, Iman, Matt, Sean and Tony.   Each has selflessly agreed to give up 2 days to help me.  I could not do this without them.

Drymax for providing me and my entire crew with the greatest running socks around.

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