This gallery contains 4 photos.
(SOURCE: ESPN Sports Science)
As a young runner with a younger more resilient body, I didn’t pay attention as much to my nutrient intake, feeding my inner beast, as I should have. It was typical to eat a few Air Heads, a Hershey bar, a bottle of water, and gatorade as a pre race meal. This worked pretty well, because of the distance, and what my body could do.
However, as I started running again in my 30s and being around other runners it became clear when to eat, what to eat, how much time, what will maximize my performance, my recovery are questions we all are asking but not always answered.
Hopefully this helps as you prepare for your spring racing season. So remember to not defeat oneself and RUNBEST!
(Created By: Ryan Etrata)
So with 2015 upon us many have made the pledge to get fitter, run more, and live healthier and with that comes the need for some tunes as you logthose miles or reps. For many of us we have some go to tunes but after some while like a marriage or Costco size box of cereal it becomes monotonous. So the fine folks at “The Ultimate Runner,“ have created a weekly running tally of top running songs as voted on be the runners.
So enjoy and keep rolling in this new and at least on the east coast snow year!
(courtesy: NJ Marathon Blog)
A little after New Year’s Eve celebration confetti cleared I was greeted by a message in my inbox saying 100 Days until the 2015 edition of the New Jersey Shore Marathon and Half Marathon. I sat there with yellow snot pouring out of my nose at rate akin to Niagara Falls and thinking I need to get back to training.
The previous edition (2014) was part of the reason this blog was created between my collaborator Mad Dog Matt Parallel Parayil and me. A way to motivate each other, a way to share ideas, tips, and way to stay focused on the race. He did a better job then I did, however. Lets revisit this experience in all its splendor.
Most of my training for the 2014 edition was a mixture of winter hibernation (aka beer drinking) and elliptical machines. Most of my desire to run the race revolved around watching my friends do it and being there to see Heather run a new P.R. The prior year we had dated and during that time we talked about running etc., but never did it, so I never really saw her race, I wanted to see it once. I also again wanted to see my friends Denise, and Matt reach new milestones.
Unlike most people I didn’t take the race as seriously, or think it would provide a sense of accomplishment because of my level of fitness and running accomplishments I had achieved as a younger lad.
When race weekend arrived I started to feel that nervousness and those butterflies I would feel before a big meet or big road race. The feeling was awesome, and it had been so long since I felt that feeling, it was strange and amazing.
I didn’t know what to expect at the race, I had no training run longer then 5 miles, no game plan other then remain relaxed and enjoy the event. While making sure to cheer Heather, while avoiding her, and make sure Matt finishes.
The start felt amazing and what I thought was controlled resulted in a sub 8:35 mile which was not ideal but both Matt and I felt good so we went with and started a steady stream of 8:20 miles. This worked and we were running well under our expected goal/predicated results of 2 hours and 15 minutes for the whole thing. Around mile 9 though, I just become spent. At this point my lack of racing at this distance, or running in my current level of fitness at this point caught up with me. As a young buck little water and no food wouldn’t be an issue but this time I felt like someone took my legs and filled them with concrete.
I saw Matt and the glorious yoga pant ladies continue to pull away while I felt like I was standing in the middle of a bog awaiting an onslaught of hellfire from some George R.R. Romero shit. Instead it was just a road a little aways from the beach. At this time I started think why couldn’t I suffer the cold to go further then 5 miles or brave the wind at least one day.
I continued to move forward and hopes of sub 1:55 half marathon wilted away like a dudes hopes of marrying Taylor Swift when they realized living in their parents basement was a non-starter. Around mile 12 is when it happen I saw the little engine that was Heather pass me with her tunnel vision as she headed to a strong finish. For a second I thought try attach to that hip and follow her to a strong finish but my legs didn’t agree so we continued to move ahead alone.
As we hit the final mile along the beach with the crowd, the glorious son…. and Holy Hell what is that… its the fucking Jersey Shore Wind… it was literally the breathe of might Poseidon himself. My concrete legs were pushed back like pebbles. At this moment I’m like why did I do this, why was I blessed with such incredible height, why couldnt’ I be short like these midgets around me who were cutting through the wind like little human sharks. I continued chugging home thinking at least its only a half mile away, and there my long sleeve t shirt remains.
instead of each step feeling like it was brining me closer to the end somehow Beelzebub insured with his wind I was moving backwards. Finally the race did finish with a slow final few miles causing me to just miss breaking 2 hours and falling about a minute behind Matt and almost 3 minutes behind the Heather Express. I did surprise myself in two ways first how much I enjoyed the experience with its resulting euphoria, and the time I ran with little training.
So when I saw the email stating a 100 Days, I perked up. I have been training this winter and prior to the bought of the Osaka Flu… i call it this because I had sushi prior to the flu. I had hit 22 miles in 3 days and ran them relatively easy. I also started to lift regularly two things not done the last time. This time there is a plan, no more winging it, my intent is not to just participate but to run it.
As many people have moved past resolutions into creating New Year’s goals, I would implore you to do the same and make the NJ Shore Half Marathon a goal. Its a great event, a good size, good people, fun activities, and just something that helps a part of the state to continue recovering from Super Storm Sandy. If this becomes one of your goals or not, I wish you a happy new year and please give me some shoulder room if you see me on the road…
100 Days till Sachi storms the shore!! RUNBEST!
As distance relay races grow in popularity through the Ragnar Race series as well increase in fame with races like Hood To Coast there is a good story written around the Japanese Ekiden.
I first became aware of this race when another locale runner and a friend of my roommate Ray Biersbach was participating in it as part of an Ivy League All-Star Team.
I became curious and was fascinated that it was a relay race, and the Ivy League runners were like an all star cross country squad. A fan of the Dream Team and NBA All Star Game this concept was just awesome.
Essentially its one of the closet things you get to college or highschool cross country. However, its a series of stages ranging in distance but closer to 10Ks rather then an 800m, and you work with your team to run across Japan. Where you aren’t running for yourself but for your teammates, its why I find greater enjoyment in putting in 18 miles at Hood to Coast versus 26 at the Victoria Marathon, cause I’m running for Will, Diem, Roberto, Ramon, Mark, etc… not just for me.
So please read this article from The Japan News. Its really an interesting read on why this race came into existence and it has parallels to why U.S. Basketball started creating the “Dream Team,” to counter previous Olympic short comings. I hope this stroy can help motivate you as the cold weather starts to sink in with most of America as the holiday malaise passes. RUNBEST!
It’s official, this will be the first week I’m back to exercising in earnest. I’m hoping to keep it up. I’m currently working my way through the P90X program. The first time I got through the program was back in college. I saw results despite skipping some days and really not keeping up with the diet. Today will be my fourth day back on the program. I’m cutting sugars back to a level that seems almost drastic to me. 37g! How do people survive?! But then again the last five years my sustenance has been based entirely on pastries and cakes (a side benefit/curse of developing an interest in baking after college). Today will be a tough day for me, as it has been for every prior Thursday on P90X. Today I will be doing Yoga X. One and a half hours of uncomfortable and slightly offensive poses. As I usually do in times of uncertainty and stress, I turned to Google and found this helpful article. I wanted to share it with those of you experiencing the same level of agita in their hopes to RUNBEST!
Why do I run? It’s a question I constantly ask myself after every excruciating mile and after every weary step. Well as a friend best put it, I’m a fat man too cheap to buy a new suit. Growing up I’ve always been skinny and regardless of what I ate the weight would just stay off. Nowadays it seems I pay the price the next morning for the midnight big mac run. Yet I find myself constantly struggling to stay motivated to run. I haven’t been running regularly since the last Half Marathon in March. The more I run though the more I recognize how fitness is a lifestyle and not simply a goal. I found this article recently that helped me in getting back into running after a long hiatus. Remember it’s not how often we fall but how frequently we jump back up and RUNBEST!
I put this blog together to share my journey as I return to running, Heather’s goal to become more serious about the sport, and Matt’s goal to remain sexy. To keep me motivated and some encouragement, I signed up for a marathon and it was an experience. So here is what I learned from my first marathon experience.
- When you run your first marathon familiarity is crucial, I didn’t follow this
- You should create a checklist of all items need, and review it with others
- You should practice eating before the marathon, its not a 5K, you need energy
- You should research races better including bathrooms and water
- Your going to be out there for sometime, reduce reliance on the organizers
- Carry water in addition to food sources
- Its not like training for a 5K or even a half marathon, its serious
- I was stubborn, I didn’t ask for advice or listen
- Run for yourself and not to overcome emotions it won’t do it
- Understand that this is an emotional experience and weird things happen
- This will hurt, you have to manage the pain
- Don’t start hot, do everything it takes to settle into your goal place immediately
- But again reduce variabilities you aren’t use to sleeping, eating, etc.
Final thoughts, I want to dedicate this race to learning, my family, and my friends. In my initial post, I talked about feeling alone but when I got back to our house on the island, there were emails and texts wishing me well, or congratulating me (Heather, Sister, Mom, Dad, and Matt), as well as my other runners (Mark, Diem, Chris, Will, Nadia). With all the emotions I described the texts for heather wish me well, congratulating me, and then saying other nice things, even if it was over 3000 miles away, and only digital but it meant so much to me. This is the person I had hoped to marry, the person I envisioned at all my big moments, to share highs and lows so her texts meant a lot. I also was so happy to get them from my family especially my sister, because of her this experience was possible and because of her support during my lows in Washington DC she stepped up to help me out. I finally felt loved and so happy for doing this and I wouldn’t really change anything of this experience, I felt loved!
(COURTESY: Victoria good life marathon)
So I already covered the race, the emotions before, after, and during the race but I have yet to speak about the race. Well Sunday came faster then anticipated, not only was on east coast time but an accelerated work / wake time. It was 4am and I was up with little to do, so I showered, stretched, ate a few bananas, and waited… well and waited.
I started getting hungry but I’m not comfortable eating too much before running.. this proved to be a mistake later on. Now the other runners stirred, walking in various layers of spandex, various amounts of vaseline, and lots of weird smells.
Now after some more waiting in the early morning Northwest cold with some last minute prep, bathroom, bag drop, I lined up for the start. Again some more waiting and then the siren signaled the start.
My goal was to run a 10 minute pace which would be slower then my training pace, factoring in the fact I only went as a far as 16 miles at a much faster pace. However, this idea blew up as quick as the race started. First I had to go to the bathroom really bad, then I was hopped on way too many emotions, and finally the cold. I ended up hitting the first 5 miles at around 8 minute per mile pace. As I was here, I so thirsty, but also I needed a bathroom so badly, my only other experience of a long, large race, they had bathrooms every 3 miles, nope not here, the bathroom finally appeared at mile 10, and after the 1st beverage at mile 1, the first reasonable beverage station also at mile 10. I ran in took a leak, grabbed water and all of sudden my body started to seize from the sudden stop.
The first 12 miles was a gradual uphill, with a short down hill and then another 4 miles of gradual uphill. Now the new trouble began, my right calf froze and my quad became tight. Even with these set backs, I set a new personal record for the Half Marathon granted I’ve only run the race twice.
The cramping continued, and became more frequent but some rubbing was helping me continue and I hit mile 17 a shade under 10 minutes a mile pace. Now my goal changed from running sub 4:20 to just making sure I finish before they shut the race down.
Around mile 23 the gramping just became awful, and as i shuffled slower then people walked, my right leg gave out and I took a slight spill. I just wanted to stop, but I paused with medics finally asking do you need help, I said YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS. They are like do you want to sit, where I was hoping for fluids, or heat, or stretching but nope. Finally a bystander is like I have gatorade and i was so grateful.
For the next 3 miles I tried to at least do a a slow jog but that became harder and harder and a stiff walk was all icould muster for long stretches, sipping on the gatorade. With no one along the course, other runners sparse, I began to just hallucinate for an italian sub sandwich intertwined with the hope of finishing before they removed the finish line.
Then with 600m left, one of my Friends appeared, one of the reasons I signed up for this race, and he started to jog along me. It felt so good, at that moment a lot of the pain left, I couldn’t go any faster but I felt awashed with happiness and I kept limping along. I asked him if he achieved his goal and that made me smile then I had to wish him a good trip since he was flying immediately down to LA for a funeral with only those few words to celebrate. then with finish line chute appearing, my other friend, the person who introduced me to the greatness of the Pacific Northwest appeared. He ran alongside me into the finish as the announcer called my name in a perfect British accent. No matter anything I finished!
Immediately after i was taken to the medical tent which was in the process of shutting down, and provided a luke cold ice bag and nothing else for my cramping. After that I got my medal, jacket, photo taken, and proceeded to get food, but nothing was left save for a single chocolate milk. Now the rain started falling in earnest.
I still had to get my bag, and with the rain falling, the temperature dropping and in tremendous stiffness my mind had become numb. At this point I was not suffering fools, and well this race had many fools. I got into an argument with the bag drop people. Afterwards I hobbled over to my prepaid massage where finally i felt better, and met some nice people who gave tips about food and all things victoria.
This concluded my first marathon, I’m glad I did it, it wasn’t what I expected but I can say I did it.
An earlier post I alluded to some of my feelings running a marathon, running the Victoria Marathon in British Columbia, Canada, and some of the motivation in running this Marathon. In this entry as I continue to document my first marathon, I want to talk about the trials and tribulations I faced to reach the starting line.
After securing a flight out of DC and having everything packed, I was excited at how quick and smooth everything was going. I should have known this was just the calm before the storm. As I settled into my flight, I got to Oregon with little issue enjoying some extra space on the flight and finishing some training.
I was excited to land at #PDX one of the better airports in America. Upon landing I quickly grabbed a local beer from the #RogueGuy Brewpub enjoying a sampler. The sampler was happy hour priced and there was free #wifi. Who could ask for anything more, since my friend was going to pick me up after work, I decided maybe its time to go get my bag and then settle in to finish some work while I wait for him. Luck would have it, my bag was already off the conveyor belt waiting for me.
My luck got even better, the airport had a soft opening for their indoor food truck court including #PokPok with their mix of Thai, Korean, and south Asian street food. As I started to do some work it dawned on me I’m headed to Canada and that requires now a passport. I realized I didn’t pack my passport and now panic washed over me. How the hell to I plan this, spend this money, and travel so far and forget my freaking passport. Worst part how do I get it, at this point I prepared how to tell my friend, I won’t be going with him. I started looking at hotels, rental car options, etc.
This happened once before when I was dating someone and we were headed to Canada. However, in that instance we were driving, and it just caused us to loose a couple of hours, nothing like the case I had created. I just started to think what the heck, how am I so stupid. On top of that, my manager had announced to everyone I was running a marathon and in the process all were excited for me. How would I face them, how would I face my Oregon friends? This time there was no one to console and say its okay, like there was for my girlfriend when she forgot her passport.
I then said I need to figure something out, I started scouring the web, calling customs officials from San Francisco up through the Canada. The one thing I learned, its no problem getting into Canada, the problem is getting back into the US at which point I need to claim asylum as a citizen of the United States. I was like okay thats not to bad, I can make a go of this route. Then the other shoe dropped it can only be done by foot and would require a car entry and the one thing about the Pacific Northwest, driving can equal an add another 4 hours of travel versus a boat. I was hosed all over again, at this point I texted my ex-gf just saying how stupid I felt, and she said some soothing things helping me think more clearly.
I realized I could fed-ex the passport, and half the concierge let someone in. After identifying a fed-ex office, and fighting with my inept building management everything was in place, save for the #Transporter (my sister). I called, I facebooked, I texted, I emailed, I gchattted, with no luck. A new emotion swept over me, frustration. It turns out she had misplaced her phone at 7pm EST she was able to reach me and said okay what do I need to do and a sense of relief appeared, I told her, said no cost is a concern I ‘ll pay her back, and I’ll wait until she calls to say its successful.
(“All this took about 2 hours)
At this point my friend showed up, who I told my predicament and he said okay. As i prepared to meet his new dog, his gf, and find a spot to sleep and eat, my sister’s adventure began. She ran a mile to my apartment, argued with the front desk, got a key, and finally got my passport. At this point she ran another mile to the fed-ex office who promptly told her we can’t do this time frame. She asked who can and was told it would be the airport across town, which closes at 10pm and at this point it was 930pm. She got in a cabbie, explaining the situation, and the driver was sympathetic to our plight. He raced across town, possibly breaking speeding laws to get her to FedEx at 955pm on the dot. She was able to get the package filled and shipped before the 10pm deadline.
The package arrived the next morning at 745am sharp! I was ready to enter Canada. Now the matter of getting there, this became a new adventure. With a patient friend, an indecisive gf, and a weary traveler. We drove through actual sasquatch country of Washington State, the Olympic Peninsula. We suffered many set backs during this trip, a sick passenger, lack of food, over heating, rain and finally got to our ferry just in the nick of time. Once on the boat we suffered some of the same issues while driving, rain, motion sickness, and food shortage. It was my own version of the Oregon Trail. Once in Canada the crush of humanity for the race caused lack of suitable eating establishments, and mis printed directions tried to derail our trip, but with some guile we were able to final reach our destination. This amazing house booked by another friend with our own bedrooms! We had finally arrived after a two day ordeal similar to foraging for our own buffaloes and fashioning our own harnesses.
Part 3 The Race!! COming soon