Saturday, September 13, 2008

Rain & Spyglasses

It may have been raining all day today and will most likely continue throughout the weekend into Monday, but we all should be very thankful up here that wet is all we get.  Those down in Louisiana and Texas have got beaten down hard over the past 24 hours and the recovery will be long and slow.  The remnants of Ike should be here in the Ohio Valley over the next 24-48 hours.  

However, no rain will stop Saturday morning group runs!  We were thoroughly soaked throughout our very hilly/challenging run through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park this morning.  With 2 weeks to the Akron Marathon, this was our last "organized" group run with Akron Marathon training as the goal.  I knocked out 16.3 miles while others varied from 12.5 to 16.5.  Along with the Buckeye 1/2 Marathon last Sunday, that brought me up to 54 miles for the week.  (my running week calendar runs Sunday - Saturday)  Good news from today is that I felt better, stronger, and faster once I passed the 10 mile point today.  All-in-all, I'm feeling great heading into my next 50K (YUT-C), the Akron Marathon, and Mt. Masochist 50 Miler on November 1st.  I'm still tossing and turning over 2009 and what to fill the schedule with.  Lots of thoughts with zero commitments...yet.

Yesterday morning, I got an e-mail from a doctor from Wellsphere.  The best way I can describe Wellsphere is by picturing WebMD and then add in communities.  The communities can be illness related, health related, and get narrowed down by what you're looking for.  You really just need to check it out to see what I mean.  Anyway, one thing they do is collect bloggers in different subject areas that they've screened and then invite them in.  That's the e-mail I got this morning.  The e-mail was from their Chief Medical Officer who has taught Internal and Emergency Medicine at Stanford and Harvard medical schools for the past 25 years.  He (or his staff) had read my blog and wanted to add me.  They've added me to the marathon community and will hopefully be adding me to the ultra-marathon and running communities.  The combination of healthy lifestyle, writing style, and a particular sport is what they're after.  Not only can you tap doctors in the area you are looking for, there are videos/pictures/blogs to browse as well.  A ton of great info.  Anyway, it was cool to get the invite and I post here, it'll feed into the communities that I'm a part of.

Deep Thoughts from today's run: I found myself alone for the majority of today's run.  There were folks in front of and behind me, but no one beside me.  Thoughts ran (pun intended) on the whole time.  Go with me on this for a few minutes: a few weeks ago, the pastor at my church preached a sermon about the goals of our church.  He used the illustration of an antique spyglass (pictured here).  The spyglass is fuzzy unless fully extended and then it comes into focus.  Extend it less than the full length and it simply doesn't work.  Building on this same analogy but applying it to goal-setting within the world of running, I offer the following:

1. Spyglass Part I: The Physical: Without the physical pounding of the pavement or the trail and thus teaching the body to grow and evolve to meet the demands placed upon it, we can not physically complete the task.  There's no way around this.  Complete the well-planned, well-researched training.  In a nutshell, get out there and RUN!

2. Spyglass Part II: The Nutritional: In order to complete Part I and do it efficiently without injury and proper recovery, fuel consumed in our bodies must be quality and suitable for the task at hand.  Just try an Atkins Diet on a runner and see what happens.  Carbs are a necessity.  Storing muscle glycogen is a necessity.  Drinking gobs of water day in and day out....yes, a necessity.  Staying away from the junk like fast-foods, high fructose corn syrup, enriched bread products are all pieces of the puzzle.  Your body is a machine.  Would you really shove a Big Mac in your car's fuel tank?  Why would you do it to your body?  Ahhhh....deep thoughts, eh?!

3. Spyglass Part III: The Mental: Remember, the whole spyglass needs extended so all 3 parts are needed.  The mental is so very real, especially at the marathon (and beyond) distance.  Envisioning the goal at hand and better yet, actually visualizing bits and pieces of the course are incredibly beneficial.  Take the VR Training Run from 2 weeks ago where we ran 20 miles of the Akron Marathon course.  It was a warm, humid, and difficult day.  For many, they saw that nearly 3 mile uphill portion within the lonely crowd-less Sand Run Parkway for the first time.  Much better to see that on a training run than for the first time on race day.  They also saw what waits for them later in the course and what to expect when the finish is near.  These images can be called upon in the race for motivation and used as tools to get through the "funk."  Many speak of the "Wall" around mile 20 of marathons.  Believe me, the "wall" is mental.  You will surely hit it if you keep telling yourself that you will.  

Taking all 3 together forms the Physical, Nutritional, and Mental Spyglass.  Fully extended provides the view and direction to the finish line.  Close any part of this device and your path will surely be a bit bumpy.  Enjoy the view!

Happy Trails, everyone!

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