Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
(PRLEAP.COM) At the recent Boston Marathon, runners could be seen ingesting large quantities of ibuprofen in the starting area. In fact, scientific research reveals that up to 75 percent of marathoners routinely take anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen before the race and prior to long workouts. The reason for this high rate of use is that many runners believe that ibuprofen reduces the risk of muscle cramping, minimizes discomfort during exertion, and also tones down post-effort inflammation.Research in this area tells a far different story, however. Basically, scientific investigations have suggested that ibuprofen may have a negative effect on the cells which repair bone and muscles after strenuous efforts. The research also reveals that pre-exertion ingestion of ibuprofen does not thwart post-exertion inflammation, and that in fact muscles and tendons often recover more quickly from strenuous exercise when placebo is given to subjects, instead of ibuprofen! Furthermore, ibuprofen is linked with gastro-intestinal dysfunction during exercise; instead of lowering the likelihood of muscle cramping, ibuprofen may actually hike the chances of stomach and intestinal cramps, as well as diarrhea. Importantly, ibuprofen seems to lower protein-synthesis rates in muscles after intense exercise, an effect which would certainly retard recovery.The bottom lines? Endurance athletes are misusing ibuprofen, a drug which has a much-greater "down" than "up" side when taken before exercise.
In my opinion "just don't do it". If it hurts that much to run, maybe you need to make some changes. Try different shoes, cross training, strength training, but stay away from the drugs.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Thestart of the race begins in the Superstitious mountains. They actually bus you to the start and the course runs back to the city of Apache Junction (a point to point course). The marathon is not advertised as a trail marathon, but the first 8 miles are on trail and then later in the race another 2-3 miles of trail. Hey, running trails are what Tanya and I love best, we were excited. But should we wear trail shoes or road shoes? We decided on road shoes.
I thought the landscape was incredible, the Arizona desert is so alive and full of plants and wildlife. I knew the mountains and the beauty of the desert was going to make for a great place to run in the morning.
Tanya usually prepares all of our meals, even when we travel to races. But we decided to attend the pasta dinner being offered by the race. I see why Tanya prepares our meals, the food was less than spectacular, but I tried to think of it as only fuel for tomorrows run. When I say the pasta was over cooked, I mean it was over cooked! I guess the pasta dinner host didn't realise people are running a marathon tomorrow, and would like to get to bed early. I felt like I was at a persons house who did not get much company, and they were doing everything in there power to keep you there. Games, Games, Games, what the hell is going on, I need to sleep Man! I guess I would have had fun if I was a kindergartner. 8:30pm finally out! Time to get some sleep and be up by 4:00am to catch the first bus up to the start.
Morning came quickly, but we comment to each other that we slept well, and felt rested. Eat breakfast, and get mentally focused to rock and roll. Though we had only run the Rocky Raccoon 100 mile endurance run 2 weeks ago, we wanted to push the limit today and see what our bodies had. Tanya had actually run a 1/2 marathon the week previously and placed 1st in her age, so she was primed to see if she could run a sub 4. Neither of us had run a marathon distance race in quite a while. My recovery had been good from the 100 miler, so I also wanted to see what was in the ol' tank and see if I could also push a sub 4.
When we arrived at the parking area to catch the bus to the start, we where surprised at how warm it already was. The ride took about 30 minutes to get to the start. What a nice setting, the backdrop was incredible. Mountains, huge cactus, and the race organisers had mesquite fires burning to keep the runners warm. Which we thought was a nice gesture, but the smoke was a bit overwhelming, just what our lungs needed before running a marathon. So we found some chairs away from the smoke and just relaxed and enjoyed the cool morning and the surroundings. At 6:40 Tanya and I began our warm up, which consisted of us taking an easy jog back and forth on a side trail to the start line. During Ultras the first few miles serve well as a warm up, but in a marathon when going for time you need every minute. So its best to warm-up as close to the start of the race as you can. Like in boxing you want to break into a good sweat.
As we headed to the starting line, we gave each other a kiss, and planned on not seeing each other until the finish. We decided to run our own race, and not worry about the other.
The sun was beginning to brighten the landscape as the starting gun was fired (BAM!) and we were off. It felt good to be running lite, I usually carry a hydration pack or carry water bottles in my hands. But today nothing but a few gels to keep me rolling, and hopefully enough of them.
The course had overall loss in elevation, which I felt lended it self to possibly running a fast race. The first 6 miles were on trail and I felt very comfortable, I knocked off mile one in a 9:08 pace. To run what I wanted a 3:55 I would have to average a 9:00 min pace. The pace felt so easy, the air was so clean and temperature was just right. For the first four miles I stayed right on 9:00 minute miles.
During the 5th mile I saw two runners ahead of me who I had recognised from dinner. They looked like they had a good pace going so I ran next to them and introduced myself. John was a marathon veteran with over 120 marathon finishes, and Lissa was a marathon newbie, this was her first. We began sharing stories and settled into a nice pace, pulling the next three miles off in 8:37's. As we approached mile eight we ran into Tanya, I introduced her to them. I walked through a water stop and then lost those three as they pulled ahead. Back on my own.
We had just made the transition from the trail to the road, and where heading up a slight incline, when I decide it was time to make a pit stop (pee break). I stepped to the bushes to do my business, but when I started to run again my left lateral knee began to lock up. It was the weirdest thing. It just did not have any strength, and it hurt a bit too. So I started walking, and even that felt uncomfortable, I began to glide and with in a 1/4 mile the feeling went away (whew). My pace slowed to a 9:00 min pace. The way I was feeling knew I needed calories. But I only had 2 gels, I downed one and just prayed they had more on the course.
The next couple of miles I was able to keep the pace up and steady, but if I tried to surge my knee just felt unstable. I needed calories bad. I believe the 11 mile aid station the volunteers were handing our gels. Thank you! I took 4 ate 2 and shoved the other 2 into my pocket.
New man! my energy came back and my pace quickened. For the next seven miles I felt good, I felt strong. Though I had accidentally stopped my watch for about 2 miles, and didn't know my exact elapsed time I still felt a sub 4 was possible. But then at mile 18, I felt a quick and sharp pulse high in my left glute that stopped me in my tracks. It was not painful, I just felt as if I had lost control of my left leg. Every time I put pressure on my left leg it felt like it wanted to give out. It caused me to limp. My mind was buzzing, had I run to hard only 2 weeks out from a 100 miler, had I torn a muscle, what was it? For the next mile I tried to feel and work this unusual feeling out. I changed my gait, and then as quickly as it came it was gone.
Mile 23 almost home, by this time I had made up a little time and caught up to Lissa. She was feeling it but still looked strong. There was a short steep hill at this point called "The Wall" they actually had a fake brick wall at the top that we ran through. Symbolizing just that "hitting and running through the WALL"!!! Lissa and I ran up the wall together, I gave her some words of encouragement; but I was feeling strong and slowly pulled away from her.
The last 3.2 miles where a blurr, I pulled everything together and focused on maintaining a 9:00 minute mile pace. I just wanted to get to the finish line. Keep moving, Keep moving, Keep moving. I turned the corner and there it was push it, push it, push it.
There ahead of me was the official clock, Run through the finish! I had come up short 4:07:07. I had run harder today than I had run in a while, though I didn't go under 4 hours, I was extremely pleased with my time. I learned how much more I have in my tank, and how much faster I can run. Tanya was at the finish line to greet me. She had also run a good run she went under the 4 hour barrier with a finishing time of 3:54 and finished 3rd in her age group.
Tanya and I had a great experience meeting and running with the NBMA members, and we look forward to seeing them and all the others who love this incredible sport of running.
Be safe out there, and run "FOR the HEALTH of IT".
I love riding off into the sunset!
Monday, February 18, 2008
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Loop 1: 4:01:53 My plan was to run as easy and as effortless as possible. My intention was to feel my body out on loop 1 and purposely keep my pace down. I have a tendency at times to go out faster than I want to; then pay for it later in the race. I wanted to start out slow which in the past has allowed me to finish races strong. The race started in darkness so we needed flashlights, and the first 1/2 mile was a slight incline so I walked. A few runners commented "walking already?", but I had a plan. The sun rose quickly, and by the first aid station I put my light away. I was feeling great. The morning was crispy and cool, perfect running weather. My words of the day were "focused fun", which meant to me running with a focus. I wanted to be aware of my body at all times, not falling behind on hydration or calories, etc..; but at the same time having fun. I wanted to talk and smile and enjoy the day doing what I have come to love "running". I usually run with a garmin and monitor my pace, but I decided to wear a timex and just record my splits per lap. This I figured would allow me to just flow and not be to over conscious of how fast my pace was, and later in the race how SLOW it would be. My goal was to run loop 1 in about 5 hours. I ended running faster than I wanted to; but didn't feel it hurt me to much. I still wanted to run loop 2 slower and closer to 5 hours so I slowed down.
Loop 2: 4:28:58 Tanya and I usually run races together, though she is faster than I we enjoy each others company. Today we decided to run our own races, and enjoy seeing each other periodically on the course. I thought about loop 1 and going faster than I had wanted, but we usually run as selfcontained as possible. We carry most of our food and wear a hydration pack, which allowed me to spend minimal time in the aid stations. That allowed me to save time on the loops. I finished loop 2 still a little faster than I wanted to, but felt good about it. My body was feeling good, no aches, just good vibrations. But, the sun was shinining bright and the temperature was rising, and loop 3 would be run in the heat of the day.
Loop 3: 5:31:53 After loop 2 approximately 40 miles I decided to redress my feet and change socks. It was a good idea. I also took off my Moeben sleeves which are incredible. I tend to run hot, and these sleeves really help me control my body temp. If I get cool, slide them up. If I get hot, slide them down, simple as that. I also decided to put ice in a bandana and wear it around my neck, man did it help. Did I mention the race is called Rocky, but the truth is it should be called Rooty (is that a word LOL). Roots cover the course, big ones, small ones and hidden ones. It was on this loop that I got up and personal with one. I was in a nice rythem heading to the Far side aid station, and bam before I could react I was on my back like a turtle looking up at the pine trees. I'm fortunate it happened so quickly I didn't try to stop myself from falling. A few runners stopped to help me to my feet, I wiped the dirt off. Then like a ultra soldier I was back to the task of finishing loop 3 . To those that helped me to my feet thanks, also all day runners were saying hi Marc, and I often didn't know there names. I'm sorry for that; but I do appreciate the LOVE!
Loop 4: 6:07:14 Tanya and I joined forces somewhere between the end of loop 3 and the begining of loop 4. We stayed together through the night. It was getting close to the point in the race where I called it an early night in 2007. I was feeling great, I had been hydrating well all day and eating consistently; my overall attitude was good. I had only one concern, that was finishing loop 4. I knew in my heart if I get loop 4 done; there was nothing that was going to stop me from finishing this 100 miler. Tanya was also feeling great, so she took the lead and kept us moving forward. This loop was run completely in the dark, and when I say the night was pitch black I mean it. We placed our hands over our headlamps to just see how dark it was and we literally disappeared from sight. We stopped a few times when we would hear rustling in the brush alongside the trail, then shine our flashlight towards the sound. To our suprise we spottd armadillos, kinda funny loooking animals, but cute also. Towards the end of loop 4, I started to feel the fatigue set in, the night was not as cool as we expected, and I had to actually take off my long sleeve shirt. My feet began to ache , I planned on changing socks and shoes at the begining of loop 5.
Loop 5: 6:37:29 It is around 3 am and we were about to start our 5th and Final Loop" Praise the Lord"! I rested at the Lodge, and redressed my feet, put on new socks and shoes. A new man! But as we pushed out in to the night, that good feeling did not last long, and my feet went from sore to extreme pain very quickly. By the time we made it to the Dam road aid station my feet were srceaming and my pace was slowing. Though I did not like this section out to the Far side aid station (those 2.9 miles felt like forever), I knew when we made it back to the Dam road it was only 7 miles to the finish, and I was dammed if my feet were going to stop me. After a short break we headed toward the Far side, and my feet felt like they were on fire. Every step felt like needles being jammed into the ball of my feet. I talked to my feet, not tonight, I'm not having it, and some how I was able to block the pain and we knocked that 6 mile section out in 2 hours 3 mins. The aid station volunteer commented that 2:03 was probably the fastest time anyone had covered that section at this point in the race. Those words pepped us up a little. Only 7 more miles to go! Tanya was ready and raring to finish strong, and I was a walking/running zombie. I wasn't tired. I wasn't energized. I was just there moving forward, kinda floating. I just felt like that for the next 3 miles, then we started passing people, that always has a way of picking up my spirits. It didn't last long, we passed the last aid station, and I was exhausted. Tanya had kept us moving most of the night, and she wanted to rock and roll to the finish. But I was in a real low period and began to bitch about her going to fast. I knew she would stay with me if I wanted her too. I didn't want to hold her back, so I told her to go ahead. I started feeling sorry for myself, only 3 miles to go, but I couldn't get my feet or my mind moving. I was just dragging, I had lost my "focused fun" then an important person in history came to my mind, it was Harriet Tubman. Harriet Tubman was an escaped slave herself, who led hundreds of slaves to the free north by way of the underground railroad. I regained my focus, and said to myself, I choose to be out here tonight testing my limits because "I'm free to". Many african americans in the not so long ago past had to travel by night thousands of miles not because they wanted to, but because they had to. They had an innate desire to be free and were willing to risk all, even their own life to achieve it "Freedom". All of a sudden my feet didn't hurt so bad and the last 3 miles didn't seem so challenging. I took a deep breath, sucked it up, and jogged to the finish. I recieved my buckle, and though I was hurting, I never felt so good. Finish time: 26:47:28 100 mile PR by 2 hours 3 minutes
Tanya finished in 26:32 so she was there at the finish waiting for me. She grabbed me a chair and I sunk into it. Then she gave me a big kiss and gave me a recovery drink. I had gotten the "Monkey off my back". I had improved my ratio of 100 mile finishes. The 3 previous had ended in DNF's; but not today. Jeannette congratulated me, but her run had come to an end at mile 80, she hadn't made the 6am cutoff. Disappointing, she'll be back, she's a trooper.
I want to thank the RD and the volunteers, they sure know how to put on a race. The aid stations had the happiest and nicest people. Nothing but words of encouragement, all day and night long. It was evident they took pride, the stations where always organized and clean, the food was fresh, and the home made dishes (soup, spaghetti, beans and rice, etc...) where great. Anyone reading this report, who has contemplated running a 100 miler, come on down to Huntsville, Texas and run the Rocky Raccoon 100 you'll be glad you did. Oh yea, they have a very generous time limit on a 50 mile race too.