Monday, May 30, 2011

EricG's Running Tips #20 Get Over It

Run long enough, and there will be a point in time when you are unable to meet all of your training goals, or miss a race for one reason or another.  Family, work, injury and the list goes on.  I am not going to bore you with the details of my most recent struggles which have made running tough of late. Suffice it to say I decided to forgo TNF's 50 miler at Bear Mountain a few weeks ago due to injury and am certain I am under trained for my upcoming 50 at Great Falls next weekend having only run a total of 150 miles or so since Umstead 9 weeks ago.  Dwelling on the past only increases the frustration level and facilitates excuses for not achieving our goals.  As my wife likes to say, "Build a bridge and get over it".  I think this is truly great advice for us runners.  It is rare that things go perfectly for us.  Take things in stride and lets do the best we can.  Look forward to the good things to come.

Hope your next event no matter how you got there is a blast.  I will certainly let you know how mine goes.  Peace

Saturday, May 14, 2011

EricG's Running Tips #19 Hydration

If you have ever been dehydrated in the middle of a race you know how horrible it can be.  One minute you are moving effortlessly toward your goal.  The next, all your energy, mentally and physically have suddenly vanished like a fart in the wind.  In an instant it feels as if you are slogging through a mud bog, relentlessly reminded of your mistakes with each step.

I feel I have learned much this past year as each of the 4 hundred milers I ran brought different results and new lessons.  We can train for months, and be ready to set world and personal records come race day.  All that effort can be for naught if you do not stay properly hydrated.  This was never more evident for me this year than at Javelina (my slowest, toughest hundred, and my most memorable).  I went in prepared to set the land speed record for a human on foot only to be out paced by anything with a heart beat as I lay in self pity for hours.  I took this hard fought lesson with me to Bartram 7 weeks later and despite some rough moments highlighted by awful weather I set a PR.  During this race I focused on fluid (about 30 ounces per hour) and salt (1 s cap every 2 to 2.5 hours).  I still felt my rough patch may have been related to hydration.  Approaching my 2nd Umstead this past April I committed to myself that I would focus on fluids and salt.  I came through, keeping to a steady consumption of approximately 40 ounces and 1 s-cap per hour.  I also kept my nutrition at 300 to 350 calories per hour and nearly all in liquid form (more on this in a nutrition post).  Like any hundred I had to fight and battle through pain, exhaustion and self doubt but my focus on hydration helped me to PR by 3 hours (20:18).

On a side note I have also come to learn that my most reliable clue to being hydrated is (hope you are ready for a visual, think big) urinating at least once every 2 hours.  Once I get beyond 2 hours I know trouble is beginning and I make a serious effort to drink more and if it continues for longer I will increase salt too.

So the tip is focus on hydration, and learn from past races in that regard.  Practice your routine in training and learn what works for you.  I am now a firm believer that hydration, along with preparation is the most important aspect of running long distances.  I still have much to learn in this area especially in the heat and look forward to planning and trying my new found formula during my two summer events where the temperatures are sure to be in the 80s and 90s.  I will be sure to keep you posted on how this goes.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day at Bear Mountain

Happy Mother's Day to all the Moms out there.  You are all awesome!

This morning my family went to Bear Mountain including my parents, brother and sister-in-law for the TNF 5k.  Some of us ran and some watched.  It was a beautiful morning for us all to be together for a fun event on a well deserved day of recognition.

Every distance of the the Bear Mountain race series is tough.  The 5k is technical and has 1,056 feet of elevation change (not bad for a shorty).

Tani kicked some serious butt finishing 9 minutes faster than last year (pretty sick improvement for a 5k).  Plus she crossed the finish line with Isla in her arms capping off a perfect run.
Tani with her girl on Mom's day

Jared our oldest son (12) was amazing, besting about 70% of the field coming in at 34:59.  I love the gasp as he is finishing.
Jared finishing strong

Kyle at 9 years old was simply incredible.  I ran/paced him and he did everything I said while having a blast.  He posed a question for me and the others around us with about 1/2 mile to go.  "Dad"...."Yes Kyle".  "I don't understand how people sweat!" LOL.  Gasping and tired and that's what he came up with.  By the way 39:28.
Me & Kyle after his super fast finish!

Gotta love these family days. Thats what it's all about. Peace

Thursday, May 5, 2011

EricG's Running Tips #18 To Race Or Not To Race

I have shared my thoughts on the matter of running when injured, run down etc. I tell people all the time, “You have to listen to your body”. If you are hurting or just plain tired it’s probably your body telling you to slow the #$!@%^ up. I am swearing because I am frustrated (and because I swear all the time). It’s always great to give advice but it sucks when you have to take your own. Now, before I accept my fate I ask the following question. Does this advice hold true when we are talking about a race? One that is 50 miles that is. That question of course gives rise to many others, because for me it depends:

1. What is the problem and how serious is it?

2. How long has it been and what have you done to treat it?

3. Is this the most important race of the year or your life?

4. Can you realistically finish?

5. What type of race is it? If you are unable to continue are you somewhere safe and easily accessible, or could you be in real danger and would others be needed to help you? My concern here is for those coming to help. Accidents are one thing. Putting others at risk when it was a known outcome? Not sure how cool that is.

6. What are the chances you will cause more damage and how serious will that damage be?

7. Is this race worth sacrificing the rest of your year or worse?

8. How do you feel when you run?

9. Do you give a crap about any of this?

For reference here are my answers to my current situation.

1. Sciatica. The pain increases the further I run. Sometimes to the point where I am no longer unable to run and even walking is painful.

2. Two and a half weeks. Doctor (doesn’t know s..t), x-ray (clean), PT (therapist tried to cripple me), anti-inflammatories (BS), massage therapy (best result), very little running and lots of beer.

3. No

4. I always think I can finish.

5. Technical terrain, with aid stations as far as 7 miles apart and many areas are remote for these parts.

6. No clue, which is one of the things driving me crazy. Hurts like hell so I imagine yes.

7. No

8. I love to run so it feels incredible mentally. Physically it hurts and grows increasingly painful the longer I go. Have not been able to run more than 6 or 7 miles without fairly intense pain.

9. Right now no. But if I lost the rest of my year or worse, I would be pissed.

All the signs which include my family and friends are suggesting it may be a good idea not to race this weekend. Well, maybe a little more than suggesting. If any of you were going through this and asked me what to do I would ask you all those questions. I am guessing your heart would say do it and your mind would say no. Our hearts are filled with passion and strength which is what makes it so hard to listen to our minds.

Long story short, the tip is, ask yourself lots of questions and be honest with your evaluation and answers.  Talk to those who care but also who know you.  You don't want someone telling you not to do it just because they wouldn't.  At the same time you don't want advice from someone who says &%$#!@ it every time either. The minute I told my wife it hurt so bad I had to stop, she knew this was not good.  And she is the one who can push me through anything.

As much as it pains me, I will not be running the 50 on Saturday.  But I am still going to run the 5k with my boys and Tani on Sunday. &%$#@! IT :)
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