Saturday, January 31, 2009


I am not the most nutritionally sound person. I don't come close to my daily requirements for vegetables or fruit, I almost never get the recommended daily 64 ounces of fluid and I consume too much trans fats. Although I can't quantify its affects, it is obviously having a detrimental impact on my athletic performance. It takes much less effort to eat well than it does to work out every day but I seem to have a mental or tastebud block against doing it. I know if I want to stretch my endurance and get faster and reach level three in all the Petraneks in 2009, I can't keep futiley tapping against this block.

Step one in my nutritional makeover could be PureSport. A former client who now works there recommended that I give it a try. It has the same premise as most of the other sports drink like Acclerade or Kona Endurance (KE that is an example of a company that doesn't know how to market - 20 tweets a day saying we rock is not marketing and offering to sponsor athletes by sending them $200 off coupon if they spend $800 is lame) - there are pre-workout and post-workout drinks that contan lots of electrolytes and protein to help you perform and recover from hard workouts. The difference for me in PureSport is that I know someone who works there, they are a new company without slick marketing (although they have some huge sponsored athletes including Michael Phelps, Nastia Liukin and several other Olympians) and the way you take it is a challenge in and of itself.

Before a workout, you chug 16 ounces of the liquid and after you do the same for a slightly different drink formula. For me, drinking 32 ounces of anything in such a short time is a challenge, let alone right before and after an 8 mile run. Completing the drinking is almost as much of an accomplishment as the workout.

I have tried PureSport once, two days ago when I ran my usual 8 miles. I am coming off a bad cold so I ran pretty slow for me (7.57 pace) and felt pretty tired during the run. Running with the extra 16 ounces didn't really affect me although I did feel like I had a little more energy than I should have had given my cold. The most noticeable impact was how I felt after the run and after drinking the recovery drink. I felt like I hadn't run at all. I do recover pretty quickly from workouts, but this time I felt great, better than I had since I first got my cold five days prior. I don't tend to push my workouts so I don't usually get sore so I can't claim that PureSport eliminated any of my usual soreness, but maybe if I get balls and start pushing it more I will be able to make that observation.

I am doing the Kaiser Half Marathon on Sunday so that will be an even better test for PureSport, and maybe then I can adopt PureSport t-shirts and pants as my new outfit rather than gray t-shirts and jeans.

I might be getting hooked. I ran 6 miles this morning and figured I didn't need to drink anything pre-run. My run was horrible compared to the 8 miles on Thursday. It's definitely residual affects of the cold but I highly suspect the PureSport was also a factor. I felt as good the first 2-3 miles as I did on Thursday but then got really tired coming back. Let's just say I gulped down the recovery drink.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Sleepless in SEA Gate A2

The word rut generally has a negative connotation and most people try and avoid them. It conjures up images of doing the same thing over and over again, day after day in an endless cycle of repetition and boredom. Conventional wisdom is that you should always be trying new things and going on new adventures.

I take a slightly different take on the rut. I do like to go to different places and experience different things, but I like to bring my rut with me. I like to combine going on vacation or a business trip with my daily exercise rut or same bedtime or morning or bedtime read. It puts me in my comfort zone, no matter where I am.

So tonight will be a slight challenge to maintain some level of comfort. I was supposed to meet Ben at Seattle Airport at 9:00 p.m. and we would then hop on the 10:15 p.m. flight to JFK for a fun weekend of skiing in the Catskills. Except Ben's flight from Redmond was canceled due to fog I am stuck waiting for him at the airport until 7:00 a.m. (hopefully). So I am going to try and create my rut at gate SEA Gate A2. I already did my situps before I found out Ben's flight was denied the ability to complete it's full potential so I got that behind me. So I am going to try and escape into a Benadryl-induced sleep as close to my normal 10:00 pmish bedtime as possible, to awake at 5ish to do 500 pushups. If Ben's plane is further delayed then I could be here all day. I'll have to descend into an all day Heroes extravaganza on Netflix on demand - the WiFi connectivity will be better than at Rebecca's or on Colin Northway.

UPDATE: Ben now doesn't get here until 1:00 pm tomorrow. Thinking positive, I could nail 1,000 pushups before he gets here.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Does racing ruin the fun

Part of the purity of running, and other endurance sports to an extent is that you can do them anywhere, don't need to rely on other people to do them and they require no membership fees. Except if you want to enter a race, and those benefits are all eliminated. But you need the race for motivation and to focus your training. I'm not sure I would be willing to do a 15 mile run or 60 mile bike ride unless I had the fear of being unprepared for a marathon or half Ironman.

But even as I have become motivated to qualify for the Boston Marathon, I have grown weary of the sheep like mentality of signing up for and doing races. My inherent issues:

1) Running at 5:00 a.m. makes me feel special and elite. Running a race with 8,000 people isn't special.

2) I am inherently cheap and paying someone $100 to help me feel tired seems immoral. The thrill of the free shirt has almost evaporated since I don't wear the shirts for fear of looking like a running geek (the truth hurts).

3) My satisfaction from being fit and dedicated to exercise should all come from within. I resent that I feel the need to measure myself versus other people's performance or against a specific race.

4) I feel like I focus more than enough on endurance fitness; races only make me more regimented and unbalanced.

5) I never would join a club that would have me as a member. I find runners and triathletes to be slightly sanctimonious, almost religious in their zeal. And that is a problem.

I'm sure I'll keep signing up for the races but I am not necessarily happy about this part of the fitness bit.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Life without late nights

Late night, loud and crowded parties have not excited me for years. In high school they were novel and exciting, particularly since I never got to completely experience them since my curfew was 11:00 p.m., tops. In college, it was part of being a dude, something I desperately wanted to be (and still do). Post college it was supposed to be the best way to meet women although I don't think I ever successfully did it at a bar or party.

In the last 10 years, the combination of drinking less and working out more (which means going to sleep and waking up earlier) has made me a complete lightweight. The result; I have a window of about 60 minutes between when I start drinking and when I get tired. Never mind getting drunk; it's all about trying to maintain consciousness. And when I do manage to stay up past midnight, it's not like I am missing some deep, meaningful conversations that don't occur at 8:00 p.m or 6:00 a.m. There is no secret to human interaction that gets revealed at 1:00 a.m.

But it can't be doubted that meaningful human bonding occurs late night. For example, I can't participate in any conversation that starts with "remember when we ___ at 2:00 a/m. That was righteous." I am now devoid of that type of shared experience. Is it possible to have meaningful friendships between 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m?

The speedwork yesterday was a huge success - I nailed the halves in 3.27, 3.27. 3.26, 3.25, 3.24 and 3.18. Beyond the actual change of pace from my usual 8 mile slog, I actually felt like an athlete since there was a rhyme and reason to the workout. I actually engaged my brain in deciding to do this workout and was rewarded by exceeding my expectations. But I am still going to keep mindlessly doing pullups with no rest. And I only bonded with myself.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Speed work and treadmills

It is time for my first speed workout in 25 years. With my manic commitment to qualifying for the Boston Marathon this year, I need to change up my moronic training program of running the same pace regardless of distance. This is a formula for a long, slow inevitable decline in performance. Maybe not this year but soon. So I am going to hit Kezar tomorrow and do a short version of the Yasso workout. If I can hit six 800s in 3.30-3.35 I'll be happy. I'll probably feel fat and bloated because I didn't do the usual 8 miles. I certainly can't complain that running on a track is boring since I have done 10 miles on a track and on a treadmill.

That's what I did yesterday. It was slightly rainy yesterday, I was feeling wimpy and I wanted to workout with Rebecca so I went to JCC and did 10 on the treadmill. The pluses - I am comfortable running with an iPod on a treadmill since I don't have to worry about the music affecting my pace. The temperature is a perfect 72 and I can play endless anal math games while staring at the digital readouts. I can amuse myself by people watching even if I am stuck by the door with no mirror like I was yesterday. The minuses - I am not particularly good at letting my mind drift in even the most beautiful outdoor runs so there is zero chance of this happening on a treadmill. And with no wind in a gym, I am soaked at the end of even short treadmill runs. Particularly when I am forced to run shirtless in boxers.

On top of age, the creatine induced weight might now be a major issue on my slightly slower running times. Before getting on the treadmill yesterday I was 183 (180 after). This is the most I have weighed since I hit the scales at 190 in 1990 (after a five egg omelet). The difference now is that I am in much better shape (much lower body fat) but the extra 10 pounds are definitely hurting my running, particularly on uphills. But I have this fear of being the emaciated old distance runner. Plus Rebecca did a 66 second handstand compared to my 65 second. I can't let up.

Friday, January 02, 2009


I aspire to be both a trusting person and someone who can be trusted. The first part is relatively easy for me. I tend to believe that what you see from people is what you get, that most people are inherently honest. I don't necessarily believe that my friends will always be there for me but if they specifically say they will do something, or that they did something, I believe them

On the other hand, given that I am a guarded person, there have been occasions when people have not trusted me. They think that I am holding back information or not giving out all of the necessary information to protect some act of dishonesty. This is a dilemma because I don't like talking about myself that much, so don't necessarily reveal all of the minutia of my life. What seems like unimportant facts can seem like planned omissions or secrets. Being a good friend requires honest, open communication but determining what constitutes necessary information versus trivial is a challenge for me. Do I regurgitate all the events and thoughts of my day and allow the listener to pick and choose what they think is important? Like the Lance observations or top ten best places to get french fries?