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My Body’s A Zombie January 26, 2010

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I’ve taken three days off, for various reasons. The day after my 20 mile run, I was still pretty sore. (Not to mention how sore I was the day of my 20 mile run.) So I had a scheduled recovery, but figured it would be more beneficial to rest. Monday was another rest day. I’ve decided that at this point, I’ve built up a good base for endurance and strength—it’s not like running 6 miles at 9/min pace will help me that much come marathon day. However, a day of rest to prevent injury would.

Today was busy with work (not to mention it started raining again) and though I wish I could have run, I just didn’t have the time. Luckily, I woke up early to get in a workout of stretching, crunches, and push ups.

Tomorrow I plan on being back. I’ll probably do a light 6 or 8 miles.

Also: I wanted to share my new running anthem. It’s called “My Body’s A Zombie For You” by Dead Man’s Bones. Ryan Gosling is actually the front man for this band. The song came on while I was listening to the awesome KEXP “Music That Matters” podcast (more on that in the future) and I decided that running a marathon is very similar to becoming zombified. For one, when I run I’ve learned to basically put my body on autopilot and let my mind wander. Very zombi-like, if you ask me. Additionally, after a 20 mile run, my body’s so sore that I pretty much feel like a zombie, as well as walk like one, staggering around the house. Anyway, without trying to make zombies more trendy than they already are, I’m sharing this song with you. Enjoy!

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays! December 24, 2009

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Happy holidays to everyone out there!

Foam Roller, I Love You December 16, 2009

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So much for that last post. Turns out the foam roller is the best thing that’s happened to me since my Under Armour leggings.

I’ll just say that my first time on the Foam Roller was enlightening. It did hurt like hell as I was rolling around on the floor, but I was able to hit my leg’s Sweet Spot (read: Most Painful Spot Ever) and really target the tight areas. I didn’t cry as Yasmin had suggested I might, though I most definitely made audible pain sounds like, “Ow Kelly Clarkson!” and “Como se llama!”

What was so enlightening about the Foam Roller, then? Well, as soon as I was finished, I felt like a whole new person. The left leg—the one that was giving me the most trouble—was loose and limber. Any pinching or pain in my glute was nearly gone, about 90% better. My left thigh felt light instead of heavy as a rock. It was wonderful.

Even one day after using it, the results have remained. I woke up feeling refreshed and my leg was still loose and pain-free. Even as the day has gone on, I’ve been without the constant nagging in my butt. (There’s a wife joke here; however, I won’t make it.)

I’m so excited by the prospect of what the Foam Roller will do for me as a runner. It’s always nice to come across new things or pieces of knowledge that change your whole outlook on something. It keeps life interesting and teaches you that no matter how much you know, there’s always more to learn. The prospect of knowledge is exhilarating!

Here’s a YouTube video of one of the exercises I did yesterday. Just watching this video makes me hurt!

Get Ready For Pain! December 14, 2009

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It’s been recommended to me for awhile now, but I just got around to picking up a foam roller. Yasmin over at Pretty Little Steps uses one and both my physical therapists friends told me to get one, first for my IT band and now for my piriformis. With all these upper leg and hip issues arising, I figured it was time to pony up.

I haven’t tried it yet, but I can already tell it’s going to hurt. That thing just looks intimidating. (But look at how much fun the guy on the box is having!)

When Life Gets Hectic… December 9, 2009

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Okay, life is getting a little crazy. A whole lot of busy. Maybe it’s a push for before the holidays, but I’m juggling tons of stuff right now. It only makes things worse that I had to sacrifice my running in favor of more urgent “to do’s.” (well, today, at least.)

I passed by my local Top To Top and they had their weekly run club sign posted. I cried a little tear for myself.

However, Little Ms. GG posted a video up from Coyote Running, who recently ran the LA Marathon course while stopping to EAT some “signature LA food.” It brightened my run-less day.

Among the notables: stops at Burrito King, Sprinkles Cupcakes, and, of course, In-N-Out for a Double-Double. Insane, if you ask me.

But will this usher in a new era of extreme sports, marrying distance running and competitive eating? I pine for the day of the 5k Hot Dog Race, where you eat a hot dog every mile.

Check out the video below:

Sprint Update December 7, 2009

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I’ve been super busy these last couple days, so here’s a quick update:

12/5/09
Distance: 12.04 miles
Time: 101:44
Pace: 8:27

Felt much better! Piriformis be damned!

12/6/09
Distance: 4 miles
Time: 32:01
Pace: 8:00

Ugh, had to run at the gym due to bad weather—which is scheduled to continue all week! Bad news.

Rain scheduled in Los Angeles for most of the week. Not good. I hate running at the gym. And even if it’s sunny, it’s forecasted to be cooooold.

Visited a massage therapist at the Massage Therapy Center. I really needed some work done on my hamstring and piriformis. Even though I was feeling much better this weekend, it was still tight and a little myofascial release would be the cure. Additionally, the therapist gave me a few new stretches to add to my workout. Highly recommended.

Endless Options! How To Choose? December 4, 2009

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Friday’s a designated day off anyway and I’m happy to take another day of rest before tomorrow’s run with LA Roadrunners. Even though my hip is doing much, much better than yesterday, resting it today will help tremendously.

I spoke with my physical therapist friend Danh, who gave me some good advice to combat piriformis. He suggested I get a foam roller to massage out the tightness, while also working on strengthening my lower abs. So, despite the 200+ crunches I do after my runs, turns out it’s still not enough because regular crunches don’t target my lower abs. Sheesh. I feel like I’m adding training here and there and it’s still not enough! I don’t understand how the regular person who can’t dedicate 8 hours a day to marathon training can do it properly!

I guess the secret is to do whatever training helps you the most. The options are endless, really. I mean, I looked up lower ab exercises and there were literally 10 different ways to work them. So it’s a matter of picking and choosing the best exercises that work for your body and running style. Pick the regime that will target weaker areas of your body—for me, it’s my hips—and do those whenever you can get them in. Until I’m a fully-sponsored marathon runner*, this is the advice I’ll have to follow!

Also, made some black beans—a trusted superfood—with some chicken sausage and kamut and spelt toast on the side. Delicious.


*My goal is not to be a fully-sponsored marathon runner, by the way.

Surviving The Holidays November 24, 2009

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Every year it seems like I’m exercising 10 months out of the year so I can pig out in November and December. That’s not a conscious choice—it’s just sort of how it happens. This year will likely be no different, despite the fact that I’m 11 weeks deep into my marathon training. In fact, with the insane hunger that my training has been causing, I might actually be able to eat more this year. And that’s not a bad thing.

The LA Marathon blog has a post on how to survive the holidays and the barrage of delicious food. Most of their advice centers around not eating too much, but c’mon: it’s the holidays! I can’t resist. On normal years, I usually go back for seconds and thirds and fourths. This year, now that I’m burning calories like crazy, I may hit fifths and sixths. I mean, I ate three breakfast burritos last Saturday after my 13 mile run.

One good piece of advice that I’m definitely going to stick to is this nugget:

Consistency is key to your exercise program. Don’t let the holidays derail you by missing too many days in a row of your routine. Don’t try to make up what you’ve missed by overtraining – just get back on your plan.

I do think it’s important to remain disciplined with my training regimen, even if I cramp up from all the turkey and dessert that’ll be sitting in my stomach. And hey, it’ll be worth it.

Find the rest of the tips here.

Training — Sundown November 23, 2009

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Distance: 4.11 miles
Time: 40:24
Pace: 9:50 mile

I wanted to get my recovery run in yesterday, since I was feeling very sore the day before from my 13 mile LA Roadrunner run. I knew I’d have to take it slow, but getting used to running sore is something I’m going to have to learn how to do.

Since it was Sunday, I decided to run around sundown and I’ve come to the conclusion that sundown is the best time of the day to run. For one, it breaks up a rather lazy day, but it’s also just a great feeling to run toward the setting sun. As an added bonus, I was able to get Chelsee to run with me and it was nice to not only show her a favorite route of mine, but to spend some time walking above the ocean sunset with her.

Half Marathons, Total Goodness November 20, 2009

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LAist has a post up about two new half marathons that were announced for Los Angeles.

The first-ever 13.1 Los Angeles is scheduled for January 10th and runs from Santa Monica to Venice then east to Culver City and back. Or, if you’re more of the visual type: from yoga moms to pot heads to fancy people in business suits.


The Rock N’ Roll Half Marathon starts at Griffith Park and continues along the LA River, through Sunset Blvd., past Echo Park Lake and ends in Downtown LA. The real draw, though, is that they’ll have live bands at every mile playing music to keep the runners amped up. Sounds like fun! I hear that Lou Bega might be singing his classic “Mambo No. 5,” which would mark the first time people are actually running toward him. This race is in October.


Anyone interested in running these races?

And for your convenience:

Off The Road, Into The Kitchen November 19, 2009

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I decided to take an extra day of rest this week prior to the 13 mile run I have on Saturday. I’m still a bit sore from last Saturday’s run in San Francisco, so rather than push myself, I figured that an extra day of stretching would be more beneficial than 7 miles of hills.

So, I took the time to brush up on my culinary skills. I mean, if I’m not going to burn calories, I might as well eat calories, right?

I was craving cookies, probably a result of me not eating enough carbohydrates and sugars during my training, so I made my spelt chocolate chip cookies. These are probably my new favorite recipe and, best of all, they’re whole wheat-free. Without going too much into it, a few years ago I cut out wheat, but not gluten, and found that alternative grains like spelt are much better for me.


On the cooling rack.

Out of coincidence (or maybe she subliminally put the thought into my head to make wheat-free cookies), Yasmin over at Pretty Little Steps wrote a post today about going gluten-free. She’s been doing it for three days and says she has been feeling pretty good. Very cool.


Ready to eat.

After the cookies, I wrapped up my fortnight long project of making homemade hard cider. I discovered the idea over at The Paupered Chef and followed their method. In short: take a gallon jar of Whole Foods apple juice, pour in some lager yeast, put on an airlock, place the jar in a dark, cool room, and check back in 10 days. And, like that: hard cider.


Had to take the first drink out of the pint glass from my favorite bar: Del’s Saloon. That place is awesome.

I must say, it turned out okay. I’m not a big cider drinker; to me, it was fine. I’m not going to be picky over homemade cider, okay? But my wife, who drinks cider fairly regularly, said it was pretty good and very strong. Even better. A homemade cider that’s strong? Now that’s something I could get into. And just in time for the holidays.

It’d be nice to refine my cider skills, or even move into brewing beer sometime in the future. But every time I think about it, I’m reminded of that famous quote about brewing:

Give a man a beer, he wastes a day. Teach a man to brew, he wastes a lifetime.

I could see how that would be true and right now, I don’t have the time, really. I have a marathon to train for.


P.S. This just turned into a food blog. I think everyone secretly wants a food blog and so do I, I guess. But I’d say that 87% of blogs out there are about food. That’s hard to compete with. However, probably less than 1% are about marathon training. So I have a marathon blog that just happens to mention food every once in awhile. That’s sneaky.

Simplicity November 18, 2009

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Since I’m always a proponent of simplifying, I’ve made it easier to find this blog. My new URL is simply:

www.fullsteammarathon.com.

I got rid of the “dot-wordpress” part because it added unnecessary text. Plus, it’s a lot easier for me to tell people where my to find my blog without having to have the confusing “dot-wordpress” tag. So, from now on, visiting the URL above will redirect you here. Also, there’s no need to change your bookmarks or RSS readers.


P.S. You can still type the “dot-wordpress” part, if you want, but it’s not necessary.

Rod Dixon, Circa 1983 November 8, 2009

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The LA Marathon posted a video of Director of Training Rod Dixon winning the NY Marathon in 1983. Apparently, it’s one of the more spectacular finishes in race history. Dixon was trailing the leader and, in the video, describes his strategy on how he planned to gain ground and win. The video has some great archival footage and, even as a first-time marathoner, the way he closed the race to win is pretty amazing.

I’m glad, too, that Dixon decided to shave off the mustache he had in 1983. As legit as it is, I imagine it caused some mean wind resistance.

Monday Night Linkage November 2, 2009

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Just wanted to give a heads up about these blogs you should read:

Caroline on Crack has a great post about the Nike+ Human Race from last weekend. Good photos, as well. The coolest part is that she says Nike gave her some free gear for covering the race. When will I get to that status? Caroline mainly writes about the Los Angeles “scene,” whether it be food, events, or general going-ons.

carolineoncrack

The Vegan Anti-Hero, who compares herself to Leopold Bloom from Ulysses writes about her training, as well as other stuff like comparing the Black Eyed Peas to Aqua:

Rambling #2: Black Eye Peas “Meet Me Halfway” sounds awfully similar to something Aqua would sing. Think Barbie girl. Think 1997.

theveganantihero

My trusty East Coast marathon training partner at Pretty Little Steps features photos of her daily meals. Reading her blog makes me hungry. I mean, check out this homemade granola!

pls_granola
Homemade granola from Pretty Little Steps.

And fellow LA Roadrunner Little Ms. GG writes about her experiences training for the LA Marathon here. What’s nice is that she gets photos I don’t, like last weekend when runners were in tutus.


Fellow LA Roadrunner. Photo by Little Ms. GG.

Marathon Care Package! October 27, 2009

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Moms are awesome. Especially my mom. And not just because she reads my blog.

I received a second care package today in the mail packed with goodies. She sent two varieties of my favorite food bar, Clif Nectar, and some BioTone massage creme for my aches and pains.

Sweet.

carepackage_2