Monday, November 30, 2009

Ghost of Seattle Race Report

The short: Opted for the half-marathon and was slow as hell, clocking in at 3:10:51

The long: After the bout of the flu and the chaos that was this past Thanksgiving weekend, I went into the event to just get as much time on my feet as I could have allowed myself without screwing up too much and to see my friends during the event. Doing the whole 26.2 miles was a mild pipe dream due to the fact that I hadn't had run anything longer than 12 miles and that my conditioning levels for strength were okay, but I was on the downside for aerobic capacity compared to before (should have gotten that flu shot when I had the chance.) I also decided to go a bit minimalist and run in my Crocs. I wanted to maintain my form as best as I could and there is no better way to do that then to run minimalist.

As I said before, it's the Thanksgiving weekend and I was busy as hell. Even though I had a 4-day weekend away from work, home and family took over like mad and I got just as little sleep as I would have during the work week. Rest is important and I gave it the finger.

On race day, I scrambled out the door in my cold-weather gear and got to the race location later than expected. No parking spots near the start/finish for me. Even though I was supposed to early start with everyone at 7am, I ended up 10+ minutes past. Lucky for me, Scott Krell (the RD) was cool enough to let me just keep my own time. Wasn't like I was going to break any records or BQ anyway.

So with Crocs on my feet, I set off along the trail. It was a cold and windy day, so with my construction bag/body-bag poncho I made up the night before, I was kept nice and warm while the winds that came off the waters of Lake Washington doubled as an invisible hill. The bag acted like a parachute when running into the wind and as a sail when the wind was on my back. Yin and Yang baby, gotta love that.

My feet/legs were feeling good for the first 8-9 miles and I was running at the pace that I'd be grooving at (sub-12 minute miles). However, my hamstrings gave out on me at mile 10 and I ended up practically slow walking most of the last 5k to the finish line. I tapped out and opted to take the half-marathon finish. Funny thing is that from the waist up, I was fine. I wasn't winded and felt like I had the energy to keep going. But from the waist down, those hamstrings weren't cooperating and a blister on my right foot (4th toe) wasn't helping things along, even after downing two AC&C pills to ease the pain.

So what did I learn? Well...

1.) My running form has improved, but it's not there yet for a longer distance yet.
2.) I need to run more and get my long runs longer and more frequent.
3.) I need to hammer on my hamstrings more. I've neglected deadlifting and other exercises that targeted the hamstrings.

I've got about a month before the Pigtails Flat Ass run, but I'm more optimistic about that one to finish it and do much better time wise on a minute per mile basis than I did at the Ghost.

Do I consider this a defeat? Nope, just another learning experience. I figured out my faults and will start beating the crap out of them before I test out myself again for the next event. Onward!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Food for Thought: "All the 'Cool Kids' do it!"

I had referenced this link on the CrossFit boards when someone posted up about CrossFit Endurance (specifically doing CrossFit and an ultra-marathon).

The article is more of a thought from Matt "Wiggy" Wiggins and it was addressed to the MMA crowd. However, his words go well beyond Mixed-Martial Arts and hits anyone who does any sport. Strength & Conditioning (or training for anything) is very diverse. Diversity is a good thing. What isn't good is to have the mentality of "My shit is better than your shit." Why? Because if you fail at any event, people can easily point to your program. Also, discounting other S&C programs isn't a good thing either. All programs have some type of value if you look objectively. But making sweeping statements about your program being superior over everyone else's just doesn't do you any good and makes you look like an ass. Also, if the program you used to train with didn't work for you, you have to face facts and consider that just maybe you may have flaws within your training (even if you were successful with it the first time using it, you might have gotten lucky!)

I've developed my own program specific to me. I'm experimenting with myself and I have no qualms with saying that if I succeed, then I know my program contributed to it. If I fail, then it's on me and also the program I made up - which I would then re-analyze on what went wrong and fix whatever needed to be fixed.

Questions are: If you fail at your respective sport, are you going to make excuses for your failure or will you point the blame at yourself and the things you did that got you to that failure? Will you actually learn from your failures and use that to fix what went wrong with your training or will you keep insisting that your methods are flawless and there is no room for anything else?

Never stop learning. Never stop growing.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Mild Reset

Due to getting my ass kicked from the flu for over a week, I have to modify things a bit. Sucks too, since I was doing so well.

The first two weeks of Strength-Endurance training was going pretty well before the flu hit hard. I got up to doing 30 second rests in my 75 lbs sandbag clean & presses and my 150 lbs sandbag back squats. The clean & presses really messed with my CNS though and it took a few days for the feeling to pass with each workout. The back squats rocked and the combo of both workouts really reflected well in my runs, my speed picked up and so did my stamina during my long runs by a few minutes.

So what's up now? Well, I have to get back into the swing of things right. This means I need to do a benchmark test and see how much I can lift and then use that as my metric to continue the rest of time during this strength-endurance phase while still completing the Seattle Ghost Marathon next weekend.