Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Are You Drinking Antifreeze, Too?

If you have ever been bored enough with the taste of water that you added an “enhancer” to it, perhaps you should read on. There was a conversation at work today that went something like this:

Dan: What are you squirting into your water bottle, Kelly?

Me: It’s a water enhancer.

Dan: Let me see what’s in it.

Me: OK (as I hand over the bottle of purple stuff)

Dan: (after scanning the label) Look, the third ingredient is propylene glycol. That’s antifreeze!

Me: That can’t be. I’ll google it. (time passes after visiting Google machine) You’re right. Wikipedia says that antifreeze is made of either ethylene glycol or propylene glycol.

Dan: Ha, you are drinking anti-freeze.

Me: Ya, but it’s only the non-toxic kind, and it tastes good.

As of this post date Wikipedia lists many uses for propylene glycol, including food coloring/flavoring and nontoxic antifreeze. Brilliant!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Inspiration from Ben Davis

About a year ago "Marathon Talk" podcast did an interview with a kid named Ben Davis.

There may be an outside chance that you've heard of him, or perhaps seen his youtube video. As of this post, it's been viewed 1.3 million times. Go ahead and give it a watch, but beware, have a tissue handy:

In the interview Ben described why and how he wanted to change his life. He gave credit to his 180 degree lifestyle change to several things.

One, he had a support system. Ben started the journey with his brother. They trained together. They raced together. They raced with their dad.

Two, he made himself accountable, not only to the people in his life but also by recording the experience on his blog.

Three, he set personal goals.

Most importantly though he said that if you are really going to stick with it, you gotta find a way to make it fun, to make it your own. Running isn't always so fun, but if you do the things mentioned above, then it can be a bit of a game, something to look forward to.

Thanks Ben for the inspiration and for having a good time.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

World Record Prediction

I suppose it's human nature that when something or someone in your life is gone, that's when your appreciation is really revealed. I can think of a few examples in my life.

Now that I stopped running, again, I'm thinking a lot about running. I'm planning a spring marathon, something to look forward to assuming my body is in a condition to run it. I'm listening to the podcast "Marathon Talk" obsessively. I'm currently up to episode number 41. This is THE SHOW for marathon news.

Speaking of marathon news, a new world record was set a few weeks ago at the Berlin marathon by Patrick Makau from Kenya in 2 hours 3 minutes 38 seconds. That's an average mile pace of 4 minutes 43 seconds. Putting this into perspective my 1 mile personal best was 4 minutes 39 seconds. It was on a flat track when I was 17 years old. This time wasn't anything special. In fact, I placed third in the race. But yet, it was my best effort and I only did it once for 1 mile. I can't imagine running that pace 25 more times in a row.

Last year I analyzed the history of world marathon records to predict when a sub 2 hour marathon would be achieved. I was curious. I did this by putting the record times and dates from Wikipedia in a spreadsheet and fitting the data to an algebraic function to extrapolate the trend curve into the future.

Source: Wikipedia 2010

The data and trend curve are shown in the graph below. It shows that a sub 2 hour marathon should be achieved by around 2060, perhaps a few years earlier. So mark your centennial calendars.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Cookeville Middle School XC Region Championship 2011

Definition of Injuried Runner: One who spectates more races than runs.

Congrats to both the girls and boys of Cookeville Middle Schools for qualifying for the Tennessee State Championship Race in Knoxville in two weeks. Enjoy.

Ryan Burnett 5K

I'm a bit late editing and posting this vid of the Ryan Burnett Memorial 5K from last weekend. Most of it was shot from the aid station with Ben D. and Nathan N.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Runner Down

Last January, I felt an acute pain in my groin while running an interval sprint session hard. It was after doing a lot of core work and I was fatigued. It caused me to stop running from February to May. During that time, I saw my family physician because I was concerned that I might need a surgery to repair a hernia. But the doctor said it probably wasn't a hernia, rather a muscle strain.

By June the pain was gone so I went back to running. In the months following, the groin pain would come back, off and on, especially when I ran hard interval sessions. Last week after nine months of dealing with this injury I saw a physical therapist specializing in endurance athletes. His name is Mick Larrabee of Optimal Performance.

He listened to me talk, then had me bend my legs in all sorts of funny angels and make measurements. He then said he was pretty sure it wasn't sportsmen's hernia or Gilmore's groin. He said there were multiple problems. He thinks I have a torn muscle in my groin that wont heal because my right SI joint is rotated back and causing strain on the muscle. Curiously a lot of friends have also seen Mick and successfully fixed running pains related to misalignment of the SI joints.

He wasn't sure if the torn muscle caused the SI joint to be out of alignment or vice versa, but he said however it happened, the muscle wouldn't heal as long as the rotated SI joint was straining it. So he realigned my SI joints by resisting my left leg while I pulled up, then resisting on my right leg while I pushed down. He said this torqued the joint back to proper position, he made measurements again and said it was better. He said the torn muscle should heal now that there isn't constant strain on it. But he told me to stop running and gave me easy core exercises to do.

Ugh. Stop running. Words that runners don't want to hear. But I'm glad for the diagnosis (rather than blindly "dealing with it") and I'm glad Mick gave me a plan to make it better. So we'll see how it goes. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Podcast: Marathon Talk

Podcasts can be addictive. I just discovered this fact earlier this year, even though the format has been around for many years. This is simply because I'm not an Apple user of any kind, no offense to the late great Steve Jobs.

But for those of us, the few of us, who don't have an IMac or IPod or IPhone or IPad, podcasts can still be enjoyed by downloading the MP3 file to a PC and then sync to an MP3 player via Windows Media Player. This is how I do it. I was addicted to a podcast show called "Livin La Vida Low Carb" with Jimmy Moore. I listened to about 60-80 one hour shows from March to August.

Very recently, I discovered "Marathon Talk" with Tom Williams and Martin Yelling. I can't recall how I stumbled onto it, but it doesn't really matter. Of course, the central topic is marathon running. Apparently, this is a very deep topic as the two guys from Great Britian have made over 90 one hour shows to date. The weekly show format is consistent: recap of running in personal lives of Tom and Martin, recap of global running news, Tony's Trials (comedic reprieve), guest runner interview, winner of the week, look forward to next week's running events.

I suppose one of the attractive elements of the show is that the hosts are British. They speak proper English, brilliant, brilliant. I thought Great Britian was apart of Europe who we all know use the bloody metric system. But these blokes talk about running miles, not kilometers. And when the topic of bodyweight comes up (as it usually does among runners), they speak in stones, like "I dropped a stone and a half after 2 months of running". At first, I thought the guy had a kidney problem. I had to Google it. There are 14 pounds in a stone, just like there are 16 ounces in a pound. Brilliant. Fantastic.

And Martin and Tom know running. Their first guest was Liz Yelling, who is an olympic teammate of Paula Radcliffe, and oh yeah, Martin's wife. Another early guest was Hayley Yelling, two-time European Cross Country champion, and oh yeah, Martin's sister. It appears that Tom's family are slower runners, as their are no guests with the last name Williams. But there are plenty of guest who I easily recognized like: Jeff Galloway, Greg McMillan, Paula Radcliffe, Scott Jurek, Barefoot Ted McDonald, Bart Yasso, Ryan Hall, Tim Noakes and Dean Karnazes.

After listening to a few of these shows, I decided I wanted to go back to the beginning episodes in early 2010 and listen straight through. One of the early episodes was very interesting, about a documentary film maker who wanted to become an olympic marathoner. His name is Alex Vero.

Alex was an occassional overweight runner in college weighing 16 stones (about 224 pounds), and whose personal best marathon was 4 hours 21 minutes. That's almost 10 minutes per mile. To be an olympic marathoner, his time would have to drop to 2 hours 15 minutes at least. That's just over 5 minutes per mile.

before and after of Alex Vero from his website

Long story short, Alex didn't realize his olympic dream. He did however make impressive strides forward. In 2 months he lost 20 pounds and went from run/walking in 400 yard intervals to completing a half marathon in 1 hour 35 minutes. He joined a running club, ran a lot of interval sessions and in 18 months was able to improve his half marathon time to 1 hour 13 minutes. His fastest marathon time was 2 hours 57 minutes. Here's a trailer of Alex's documentary.