Some adventures in road and trail running.
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Friday, January 30, 2009

Time to Race: Boot camp towards the Surf City Marathon


For the last 6 weeks I have been doing a bootcamp with Sledge Athletics.
So what is a bootcamp and how can it help a runner?

First some history.
Both my wife, Trisha and my friend Ronda had done the bootcamp with Mark at Sledge Athletics.
Both became what I call "leaner and meaner": increased lean muscle body composition, decreased body fat composition, increased muscle tone and
 increased muscle strength. All of these were improvements that I could see had impact on their ability to push and stress their bodies beyond their previous limits during "tests" such as 10 kms, half marathons and ultra marathons. PRs dropped like flies. Without trying too hard Trisha removed 6 minutes from her half marathon best last weekend.

I was convinced this stuff worked so I was really eager to incorporate the training in my next attempt to get under 3 hours for the marathon. I had targeted Surf City as my next attempt after the California International marathon (where I ran a 3:13 with GI issues). Starting the bootcamp 1 week after the marathon ensured I could get in most of the 6 week program before February 1st and Surf City. My amazing wife gave me the bootcamp as an early Christmas present and I was all in.

Mark gave me a fueling plan that at first I was skeptical of how it would work for me. I LOVE to eat and I LOVE to eat A LOT.
A little bragging but I think there are few people who can out eat me :-)
So putting me on a regimented, some would say "strict", fueling plan seemed initially unnatural to me.
I was wrong.

First the unwritten "commandments" of the fueling plan:
no snacking
no diary (did I mention I LOVE cheese)
no wheat (I added this one myself to reduce/eliminate GI issues when running
no processed food
Like the ten commandments from the Bible, the point is not the listing what you cannot do. It is all about giving you the freedom to choose a lifestyle or diet that will be the most beneficial to you as a person or athelete and allow your training to have the greatest impact on your body.

I have easily adapted to a diet where I consume ~2200 calories a day.
I have been really happy living on 6 meals a day: breakfast, 10 am , noon, 3pm, 6pm, 8pm.
Each meal is ~350 calories with the correct balance of carbs, fat and protein as determined by Mark.
Lean turkey burgers and sausage, salmon, cod, tuna, flank steak, eggs and egg beaters have been providing my "meat".
Yams, Sweet Potatoes and oatmeal have provided the bulk of my carbs.
Peanut butter, peanuts, olive oil the additional fat.
Spinach and broccoli have been my "greens".
Blueberries and bananas are additional treats.
Multivitamins and calcium have supplimented the whole regime.
I look forward to each meal and have become quite the spice master to liven things up. Just because food is fuel does not mean it cannot taste good as well! Almost all of the stuff I bought I could get at good prices in bulk at Costco.
I would prepare enmass on the weekends and bring in LOTS of tupperware containers to the office to parcel out during the week. Pretty quickly I knew how much of this or that equalled the specified amount for the meal. And it became pretty easy to substitute on the fly with a special dinner such as sushi or dim sum.

Unlike Trisha, Ronda and others I have talked to who have worked with Mark, I have had zero issues on consuming all the meals. But on the other hand I have never been "starving". I will say that if I miss a meal or slip the schedule by anything over about 20 minutes, I do crash fast with a lack of energy/calories. But I have always had a tendancy to this even when I was on my old fueling of about 3000 calories per day.
I still use gels etc. during races but in self-supported longer runs I have turkey sliders (lean turkey wrapped around olives or avocado) and sweet potatoes/yams included in my fueling strategy.

On Mark's fueling plan and the workouts, after the first 4 weeks I dropped about 7 pounds while maintaining my lean muscle mass. Body fat from 8.5 to 7.4%. Mark does 2 week checkpoints to access how things are going and make any necessary adjustments based on your progress.

I did not start the bootcamp to lose weight...though I do strongly believe this can only improve your running if you are not sacrificing muscle mass.
My real goal was to improve my core strength and flexibility. I really feel this is a key to strong running.

Mark's program is great in that the majority of the exercises can be done at pretty much any
 location with just your body weight or a small set of free weights.
So why would you pay to do a bootcamp then?
I can not tell you how much harder I have pushed with a coach there calling out the duration or reps. By myself I would do one or two reps after it became uncomfortable.
With Mark, half the reps are after you have forgotten the pain and you are just focused on the next breath to complete the motion. Pain is a feeling Mark likes to say...it will pass :-)
Note this is not injury pain but rather the pain your body experiences when it is breaking through its previous fatigue limitations. I lean towards the theory that fatigue is something your brain injects to proactively prevent overdoing it. How else can you explain the finish line sprints of athletes who half a mile previously were "completely" fatigued?

Then there is the accountability of showing up for 1 hour, 3 times a week for 6 weeks. This is beyond what I can or would do myself. Having friends there pushing themselves to new levels is inspiring as well.
There is also the addtional benefit of ensuring you are doing each exercise with the correct form. Let's just say I have real trouble not arching my back :-)

In terms of making me stronger athletically I think my $350 investment in bootcamp is the best
 I have ever spent.

Mark partners with his girlfriend Gretchen to include yoga/pilates/stretching into the program as well. For the last 3 sessions I have been working mostly on improving the flexibility of my body. A slight increase in range in motion within a critical running component such as the hamstring or IT band can have great impact on a race of any distance but especially those half marathon or longer.

So consider throwing a bootcamp into your training calendar to push your body to cool new levels of fitness or leading up to a race. I plan to do 2 more 6 week programs throughout 2009 to peak at the appropriate times throughout the season. I feel "peaked" at the moment and I am excited/scared of the possibilities on Sunday.

And, isn't it about time that runners stop being known for their scrawny arms and tight hamstrings ;-)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Day around Mt Hood: Tubing at Summit Ski Area


Last Thursday I took a day off work and joined Cole, Brian Wiggs and his boys, Jon Knapp and Michael Miller from the Micah Project for a day of fun in the sun up on Mt Hood.
After spending a bit too much time driving around the mountain looking for the best tubing (most of the hills were unfortunately closed :-( ) we made it back to Summit Ski Area and some tubing.

The driving around was not a waste however. We got to spend time talking and experiencing some of the breath taking views around Mt Hood. The pictures hardly do it justice.
The tubing was fun and the temperature was unseasonably warm. Once the snow warmed up the tubing got pretty slow so we decided to hit the van again.
video
We took Michael up to see Timberline Lodge and more great views of the mountain. Reminded me of the PCT 50 run last July...there was almost more snow up on the mountain then.
Then we jumped back in the van and headed to Calamity Janes in Sandy for a early dinner. Now on my boot camp program pretty much nothing fit my fueling plan. And the item Cole picked, hot fudge and marshmallow hamburger, will likely never be part of my diet. Cole loved it, snarfed it all down with the only comment being the fudge and marshmallows did not go well with his fries!!
Family, friends, fun and food...good day!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Goals and Races: All part of Training


We are into the exciting and nerve racking taper for the Surf City Marathon on February 1st.

Last weekend we had a wrapup party for the 2008 Christmas
 Camp. Ronda provided the coveted 
"finisher" hoodies that were earned by pounding out the 100 miles and various other punishments over the week. We also threw out our "stretch" goals for the year. What did we hope to achieve that would be cool and fun but also force us to push our bodies just that little bit harder. My main one remains the sub 3 hour marathon. Trisha's is our "Rim to Rim to Rim" of the Grand Canyon in early June...a ~42 mile distance! All of the goals are inspiring and help get you out the door for a training run or push a little harder during a race. I highly recommend having a goals party with your athelete buddies and setting up for a great upcoming year.

Towards our goals, today was a checkpoint on our training with running the Vancouver Lake 1/2 marathon.
Trisha and I went out with the goal of approximating our marathon pace for the 1/2 marathon. One last good hard tempo run. 
I stuck to my goal. I ran somewhat conservative for the first 8 miles and then picked up the pace to finish feeling really strong at 1:29:30 (6:49 pace). Fueled and hydrated well.
Trisha blew her goal out of the water...as I knew she would. She posted a 6 minute PR with a 1:51:30 (8:30 pace). Hmmmm...I smell a Boston qualifier attempt coming for this girl (3:45:00 for her age group)!! :-)
Ronda won her age group with a PR and was too close behind for me to run back and snap some pictures...nice!
My running buddy Ryan Altman is getting into training towards Boston and it was great to see him back in the groove.
Everyone was pretty chilled at the end with the surprise snow on the ground making for cold wet feet. But I will take snow over wind and rain on this course that has long straight stretches where a head wind would be brutal!
We hung around for some time "pressing flesh" and advertising our first events for Reason To Run in April. I usually dread talking to people I don't know but almost all runners like talking about the race they just finished (good or bad) and the planning towards the next one so I ended up really enjoying talking to a good chunk of the finishers.
Full results for the race will by available on Timing by Zornick shortly.

Yesterday was a recovery run for me so I had the fun opportunity to take my friend Jon Knapp out on the Forest Park t
rails for the very first time. We did a nice but not easy 7.5 miles from the Zoo to Pittock Mansion and back on the Wildwood trail. This is arguably the hilliest section of the trail and Jon did awesome. The trail is amazingly dry for this time of year. Also happy to report that the section threw the arboreteum is fully open with finished renovations. Make sure you get out and enjoy it...who knows when the rains will return!

Now we essentially rest and stretch with some shorter marathon pace tempo runs in the mix leading up to Surf City next Sunday. For both bootcamp sessions next week I am working with Gretchen to stretch out the always tight hamstring, IT and hip flexors. Eke out a little more range of motion to help on race day. 

With good weather in Huntington Beach and smart planning I will be striving for that sub 3 once again. I can hardly wait!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Refreshing honesty

I was playing around on Map My Run for our Reason To Run spring races maps (say that 10 times fast :-) ) and I was pleasantly surprised by this menu:

I just loved the refreshing honesty presented in this menu of choosing which version of the mapping tool to use. 
Even though, imho, the mapping tool is still not fast, when presented with those options I felt like it was faster and I was getting the latest and greatest.
And as any UI designer will tell you perception, not reality, is what is important.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Announcing Reason To Run: What's yours?


Trisha and I have been runners for several years. We enjoy training, running for fun and adventure as well as racing.

We also really enjoy helping people to discover that they have a passion for running. And pointing out new areas to explore on foot.

Trisha and I are excited to announce Reason To Run.
With Reason to Run we are runners who organize several races in the Tigard, Tualatin and Beaverton communities to give you the opportunity to run close to home or to explore and experience some new running locations.

Our first event is in the spring, specifically April 11, 2009.

We are planning three distances:
All three will be in Cook Park, Tigard, Oregon where we took these pictures this past weekend. I am happy to report all of the trails are in great shape.

The Reason to Run web page is at http://reasontorun.com/

Reason To Run will be keeping a blog as well at http://blog.reasontorun.com/

Other ways to get to stay in touch with us can be found at http://reasontorun.com/contact.html

Races should not be the only reason that you run...but they do give you a target, a goal, a line in the sand. Or "just" an excuse to have fun with friends on a Saturday morning.

A race gives you another Reason to Run.
We look forward to you having fun, enjoying time with friends and, if you like, challenging yourself at one of our races.
Please don't hesitate to tell us what you would like to see at a race. Especially make sure to share your reason to run.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Eclipse Ant integration and Google Summer Of Code 2009

We proposed an idea for Google Summer of Code in 2008 but did not get any interested students. I was late in putting up the proposal last year so I am being much more proactive this year.

I have put up an abstract to the Eclipsepedia page for a Google Summer of Code (GSOC) project proposing to work on improving the Eclipse Ant integration by facilitating Ant buildfile refactorings.

To see some ideas of the refactorings that could be supported have a look at bug 89938.

For information on Ant itself, check out the Apache Ant site.

The schedule and deadlines for 2009 GSOC applications has not been set yet but it is a good time to start preparing now:
So please consider submitting to work on the Ant integration enhancement or any of the other Eclipse based ideas.

Learning about the inner workings of Eclipse and Ant are skills that will augment the skill set of any student.
Adding the refactoring support will also make you the friend of Build Meisters and Releng wizards everywhere. These are very good people to be friends with :-)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Powell Butte and Leif Erikson: great weekend of training

For a Black Saturday workout I ran with Ronda, Steve, Micheal and Susan at Powell Butte Nature Park.
I had never been there before and it is a great place to run. A little bit of hills (we were doing about 1200 feet of climbing per 6 miles) interspersed with nice trail downhill and some good flats to stretch the legs out. The trails were only slightly muddy which was a good sign for this time of year. Apparently the park is about to be radically changed with an addition of another buried water reservoir but I do plan to go back. We parked at the main parking for the park but you can also easily access the trails off of the Springwater corridor.

I mapped out our run as shown in the picture. Actually I could not tell you if you paid me where or how we went to get my approximately 16 miles with ~2000 ft of climbing. Steve led most of the way but it really is impossible to get lost long term in this park as eventually you will either hit the butte summit or return to the parking lot / restroom area. This map has a pretty good representation of the park trails.

Continuing the build week of training it was off for 20 miles of fun on Leif Erikson before church.
Just a little note...it is still dark at 7am! The first 2 miles were a little tentative with the lack of light but after that I am really happy with how this tempo run went. The trail is muddy but in quite good shape.
I fueled and hydrated well with only a little bit of issue with my gut.
I have been introducing PowerBar chews that I picked up at the Y2K9 race. I can say I like 'em! I do need to try the Cola flavor but the lemon is not bad.
The legs felt great and I was even about to really pick it up for the last 3-4 miles. Now in fairness these are more downhill than not but I will take it :-) I had been worried about the legs after the bootcamp workout with lots of wall sits taking the quads to fatigue. I did have trouble biking in to work on Friday! But the legs were back and happy today.
10 miles heading out: 1:16:01
10 miles heading in: 1:08:35 Wahoo...negative split!!

Next week is very similar: total of around 70 miles with some good tempo thrown in to keep things honest.
Then it is taper week towards the Surf City marathon and another go for a PR. Trisha is also training hard for Surf City and I know she will blow her PR out of the water.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

EclipseCon 2009: So Much in so Little Time


If the tacky title didn't grab you maybe a Wordle picture will. The graphic is a great representation of the diverse and interesting topics within the sessions that will be presented at EclipseCon 2009.

I would like to highlight the Committer and Contributor category presentations that we have put together.

This year, our category gets credited with a KEYNOTE: The Social Mind: Designing Like Groups Matter!!
Wahoo...Here Comes Everybody to use the StackOverflow :-)
I can hardly wait to hear what Clay Shirky and Jeff Atwood will say.

Outside of the keynote, we have 2 short and 2 long talks and an amazing tutorial.

We have organized a UFC like-event in the form of a long talk panel. Some real heavy hitters from the Eclipse Architecture Council will be sitting up on the stage ready to take on your most intriguing questions. Bring your best moves. Will your question cause a verbal tap out? :-)

Our other long session is with Janet from the Eclipse Organization. Just go...everyone always can use an overview or refresher on IP policy.

The two short talks are grouped into a 50 minute session that will make you a better person!(Results atypical, your mileage may vary, guarantee not valid in most countries). Seriously, pencil in this session to beef up your skill set dealing with WikiText and Mylyn Connectors.

Our Mylyn tutorial will make you a better person as well. Again, OK, maybe just a more efficient and productive programmer.
And remember, all tutorials are FREE with your all All Access Pass.

Some other new developments for EclipseCon 2009 is we have bravely waded into the whole social networking scene. We are on Upcoming, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and we have a blog.
Yahoo! Upcoming
Linked In
Facebook
Twitter
Blogger

Stalk the progress towards EclipseCon 2009 via your favorite portal. Ensure to go beyond passive watching and instigate some discussion, propose ideas and help make things happen. This is the open source way.

Another great social opportunity when actually at EclipseCon will be the proposed EclipseCon Exercise. It was a great success in 2008 and there are few other events were you get to sweat quite so much and have it socially acceptable.

The EclipseCon program committee has done an amazing job of pulling together a top notch program. I am proud to be part of it.

Have you done your part and registered?
EclipseCon 2009

Sunday, January 4, 2009

ORRC Y2K9 race: Guaranteed PR


ORRC has been running a race out in Forest Grove on the first weekend in the new year for quite some time. This year it was the Y2K9. From what I can figure, since Y2K, the race has been getting 10 meters longer each year . For example, last year to this year: 20.08 km --> 20.09 km. This works out great as each year you get to try a new distance and are guaranteed a PR for that distance :-)

This year was the first year that I have made it out to the race. It was tough, fun and a good checkpoint for how my training has been going. I really like how strong my legs felt just 3 days past a 100 mile week. The bootcamp training is definitely making me stronger...likely both mentally and physically. Still need to work on the tempo towards Surf City to reach that 3 hr goal. I see some good hard tempo runs in the next 2.5 weeks to get the lead out!

I started out fast on the downhill but it was fun and didn't feel too taxing. The first few miles were quite slippery with ice on the road and sidewalks. After about mile 4, the ice became much less of an issue. It was still cold: I think we were at about 25-28 F. I was very happy to have my gloves and embedded hot shots. By about mile 9 my face was pretty much numb. Man, I am really getting wimpy living on the west coast! The course is well marked and there are 3 aid stations spaced out appropriately. Portions of the 20 k are shared with the 10k. Made for a nice boost to have people to try to pass.

The course is rolling with some nice ups and downs to make you mix up the muscle groups. I think I did really well on the uphills but I need to work on the downhill turnover and speed. I was able to get in a nice groove on the flats.
Yet again I went short on fuel. My pace and path up the last grunt hill around 12.1 miles is something we all would laugh at if it made it to You Tube...I am sure I looked drunk :-)

20.09 km (12.48 miles) - 1:24:02
Splits:
Mile 1 - 6:20 Mile 7 - 7:07 Last little bit - 3:29 (my drunken hill!!)
Mile 2 - 6:34 Mile 8 - 6:26
Mile 3 - 6:50 Mile 9 - 6:47
Mile 4 - 6:38 Mile 10 - 6:49
Mile 5 - 6:42 Mile 11 - 6:52
Mile 6 - 6:45 Mile 12 - 6:38


Full results are up at the Timing by Zornick site.

Good fun for the first race of the year with a first place in my age group and seventh overall.
Ronda kicked butt taking second overall and first master woman.

I will plan to do this race again next year and get another PR!