Thursday, April 30, 2009

April 30th Pacers - Bagel Run

Time: 52:30
Distance: 5.6
Weather: Cool, but nice
Temp: 51
Time: 5:30 AM
Terrain: Pretty flat until the end, I got the whole hill today!

Comments: Took it all at my own pace and though I felt kinda tired about 3/4 of the way through but at the end as I was going into the 2nd half of the hill, I felt a surge of energy and finished really strong

Days until MCM: 178 days

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

April 28th Pacers - Greenberry Run

Time: 40
Distance: 5.3
Weather: Very warm
Temp: 70
Time: 5:00 AM
Terrain: Pretty flat until the end, luckily Tuesday means only half of the hill!

Comments: I went at a moderately quick pace but I was feeling a little dehydrated/cotton mouthed about half way through. It was the first day of REAL heat and the humidity I so despise in Washington, DC. I finished the run strong, but definitely felt a little tired after. During the day my right shin area hurt a little, let's hope it doesn't persist.

Days until MCM: 180 days

Saturday, April 25, 2009

April 25th Pacers - Saturday Fun Run

Time: 1:15
Distance: 8.84
Weather: Warm and dry!
Temp: 61
Time: 8:15 AM
Terrain: Pretty flat all around

Comments: I went at what I thought was a pretty comfortable pace but I didn't have anyone running in my pace group. I ran bout 9-9:30, I was supposed to run 10 miles but when I got lost I cut about a mile off of my run accidentally. I felt great all the way until the end, but I definitely was ready to stop at the end because it was a lot warmer then I've been used to lately. I'm looking forward to getting to the double digit miles soon!

Days until MCM: 183 days

Friday, April 24, 2009

Another article on caffeine

I feel like I keep reading why I should be drinking coffee to load up on caffiene prior to a's another one I came across yesterday while reading my twice weekly Runners World e-mail!

From the May 2009 issue of Runner's World

No more coffee guilt—caffeine boosts leg and brain power.
By Liz Applegate Ph.D.

Run Longer, Think Faster
In a study done last year, researchers gave cyclists an energy bar with or
without caffeine (equal to one cup of coffee) before and during a long, hard
ride. They found that cyclists who have caffeine ride farther and think faster
on cognitive tests than the no-caffeine group—useful news to runners in
endurance events and adventure races, where quick decision-making is key.

Increase Sprint Speed
Consider drinking a cup of coffee before your next speed workout:
Australian scientists gave fit athletes a 300-milligram dose of caffeine one
hour before running five sets of 6 x 20-meter sprints. They found that runners
who have caffeine sprint faster than those who don't have caffeine. Researchers
think the stimulant enhances reaction time and running speed.

Recover More Quickly
Runners know they need carbs postrun to rebuild their glycogen stores, but
a recent study suggests caffeine may also enhance recovery. Cyclists rode hard
for two consecutive days to drain their glycogen stores. They then drank a carb
beverage with or without caffeine. Researchers found that having a drink with
caffeine rebuilds glycogen stores 66 percent more than a carb-only drink.

Hydrate Smart
Many people have heard caffeine causes dehydration. Most studies, though,
show you can have up to 550 milligrams of caffeine (or about five cups of
coffee) without affecting hydration levels. That means you can have quite a few
caff einated sports drinks and gels while running without risking dehydration;
more than 550 milligrams will have a diuretic effect.

Keep Bones Healthy
A few studies have shown a link between bone-mineral loss and caffeine—but
a close look at the data reveals that caffeine itself doesn't cause the mineral
loss. Many coffee lovers may drink it in place of beverages rich in calcium
(such as milk), and as a result, decrease their intake of this
bone-strengthening mineral.

Mocha-Madness Recovery

The combination of carbs, protein, and caffeine (about 100
milligrams) in this shake will help boost muscle recovery after a hard run.
2 ounces espresso (or very strong coffee)
8 ounces low-fat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons sweetened ground chocolate
1 banana
5 ice cubes
Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth
and frothy.
FAT: 6.5 G

Measuring Up
Just how much jolt is in that gel, soda or
CHOCOLATE MILK (8 ounces) - 5 MG
35 MG
BOTTLED ICED TEA (16-ounce bottle) - 40 MG
DIET COKE (12-ounce
can) - 45 MG
CLIF SHOT BLOKS (3 bloks) - 50 MG
- 58 MG
RED BULL (1 can) - 80 MG
ESPRESSO (2 ounces) - 100 MG
DRIP (8 ounces) - 130 MG
STARBUCKS CAFE LATTE (16 ounces) - 150 MG

Thursday, April 23, 2009

April 23rd Pacers - Bagel Run

Time: 48:00
Distance: 5.88
Weather: Dry all around!Temp: 45
Time: 5:30 AM
Terrain: Pretty flat, until the end

Comments: I went a little bit harder than normal today. I tried to keep a slightly faster pace and felt it near the end as I was on the hills. I don't have an exact time but I think I finished about 30 seconds to a minute faster than normal. After the run my legs were a little sore but nothing that won't go away by tomorrow morning, probably should ice tonight. I think it's time to pick it up to 3 days a week Tues-Wed-Thurs and then a weekend run as well!

Days until MCM: 185 days

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Top Boston Qualifiers

So I just read an article about qualifying for Boston, though I have no plans to be able to get a BQ this's a list of races with the top qualfiers, excluding the Boston Marathon itself.

1) Bay State, Lowell, Mass. (34.1%) Oct. 18
2) Mohawk-Hudson River, Albany, N. Y. (33.4%) Oct. 11
3) Inland Trail, Elyria, Oh. (29.7%), Nov. 1
4) Last Chance for Boston, Columbus, Oh. (27.8%), Feb. 14, 2010
5) California International, Sacramento (26.6%), Dec. 6
6) Tucson (26.2%), Dec. 13
7) Newport, Ore. (24.8%), June 5, 2010
8) Tallahassee, Fla. (24.6%), Feb. 7, 2010
9) Run for the Red, Poconos, Penn. (24.5%), May 16, 2010
10) Wineglass, Corning, N. Y. (24.2%), Oct. 4

I'll have to look into which ones I might want to race...or maybe I'll do another one that's somewhere fun!

April 21st Pacers - Greenberry Run

Time: 44:12
Distance: 5.31
Weather: Wet roads but dry weather
Temp: 51
Time: 5:00 AM
Terrain: Pretty flat, until the end

Comments: I took a nice and easy pace throughout the run. As I got to the hills at the end I started to feel tired but someone trailing behind me came up and helped push me along to the finish which helped me finish pretty strong. It was the first day I could comfortably run in shorts and a t-shirt! woo hoo!

Days until MCM: 187 days

Monday, April 20, 2009

Boston Marathon

So today was the Boston Marathon and I got lucky and with my large monitor I was able to watch the whole thing and still do work! How great is that? So a quick recap from what I saw, Ryan Hall set a fast pace early fast as a predicted finish of 2:03 but then it slowed up a bit and he fell off a little at the end, but not because he was dead, just because the Kenyan and Ethiopian up front sped up a bit. He ended up finishing 3rd and I thought it was great for an American to reach the podium! In other news the Women also had an American up front, Kara Goucher, she lead most of the race or was in the lead pack but at the end the two other women (Also Kenyan and Ethiopian) raced for the win while Goucher finished just a few seconds behind. Great race for the Americans this year, here's to hoping next year an American tops the podiums for the men and women!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The legal stimulant....CAFFEINE

Lately I have been on a quest to reduce caffeine from my diet as much as possible in an attempt to use it to my advantage on race days. I just had coffee this morning (my 2nd cup in 3 days) so I figured I should remind myself of why I am trying to get rid of it. Just remember the no. 1 rule, "nothing new on race day"
Personal Best

WELDON JOHNSON first tried caffeine as a performance enhancer in 1998. He was not a coffee drinker but had heard that caffeine could make him run faster. So he went to a convenience store before a race and drank a cup of coffee.

For the first time in his life, he ran 10 kilometers in less than 30 minutes.

“I remember being really wired before the race,” he said in an e-mail message. “My body was shaking.”

From then on, he was a convert.

Mr. Johnson, a founder of, would avoid caffeine, even in soft drinks, for a few weeks before he competed in a race, wanting to have the full stimulant effect.

“It may have been a huge placebo effect, but I swore by it,” Mr. Johnson said. “Having a cup of coffee exactly one hour before the race was part of my routine.”

Or maybe it was not a placebo effect.

Caffeine, it turns out, actually works. And it is legal, one of the few performance enhancers that is not banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

So even as sports stars from baseball players to cyclists to sprinters are pilloried for using performance enhancing drugs, one of the best studied performance enhancers is fine for them or anyone else to use. And it is right there in a cup of coffee or a can of soda.

Exercise physiologists have studied caffeine’s effects in nearly every iteration: Does it help sprinters? Marathon runners? Cyclists? Rowers? Swimmers? Athletes whose sports involve stopping and starting like tennis players? The answers are yes and yes and yes and yes.

Starting as long ago as 1978, researchers have been publishing caffeine studies. And in study after study, they concluded that caffeine actually does improve performance. In fact, some experts, like Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky of McMaster University in Canada, are just incredulous that anyone could even ask if caffeine has a performance effect.

“There is so much data on this that it’s unbelievable,” he said. “It’s just unequivocal that caffeine improves performance. It’s been shown in well-respected labs in multiple places around the world.”

The only new questions were how it exerts its effects and how little caffeine is needed to get an effect.

For many years, researchers thought the sole reason people could exercise harder and longer after using caffeine was that the compound helped muscles use fat as a fuel, sparing the glycogen stored in muscles and increasing endurance. But there were several hints that something else was going on. For example, caffeine improved performance even in short intense bursts of exercise when endurance is not an issue.

Now, Dr. Tarnopolsky and others report that caffeine increases the power output of muscles by releasing calcium that is stored in muscle. The effect can enable athletes to keep going longer or to go faster in the same length of time. Caffeine also affects the brain’s sensation of exhaustion, that feeling that it’s time to stop, you can’t go on any more. That may be one way it improves endurance, Dr. Tarnopolsky said.

The performance improvement in controlled laboratory settings can be 20 to 25 percent, Dr. Tarnopolsky said. But in the real world, including all comers, the improvement may average about 5 percent, still significant if you want to get your best time or even win a race.

For years, researchers believed that you needed about 5 to 6 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight. An 80-kilogram, or 176-pound man, for example, would need about 400 milligrams of caffeine, or 20 ounces of coffee.

Now, Louise M. Burke, the head of sports nutrition department of the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, reports that athletes get the full caffeine effect with as little as 1 milligram of caffeine per kilogram of body weight. Instead of 20 ounces of coffee, a 176-pound man could drink 4 ounces of coffee, or about two 12-ounce cans of Coke.

It’s also possible to get diminishing returns.

Terry Graham, chairman of the Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences of the University of Guelph in Canada, found that at 9 milligrams per kilogram, athletes actually did worse.

Many athletes and coaches are not caffeine fans. Mr. Johnson said he has tried to spread the word and gets frustrated when runners don’t use caffeine — so much so, he said, that when he sees the team his brother coaches at Cornell, he thinks, why aren’t they all going to Starbucks?

Mike Perry, a friend who is a sculler who has competed nationally and internationally, said that, with one exception, the rowers he knew did not use caffeine.

“People would have psychological issues with using it,” he said. “They would see it as against the spirit of the law, even though it’s not against the law.”

Still, Mr. Perry wondered whether caffeine would help him. When he retired from rowing last July, he decided to do a randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled experiment on himself.

He noticed that the 200-milligram caffeine pills look exactly like Vitamin Cpills, allowing him to code the pills so that he would not know which one he had taken. For eight months he tested himself once a week, taking two pills an hour before working out on a rowing machine. Then he worked as hard as he could for an hour, recording the results, also recording his guess about whether the pills he took contained caffeine. Mr. Perry, who also is a runner, said that an hour on the rowing machine is the equivalent of an hour of very fast running on the road.

When he finished his study and broke the code late last month, he was astonished to see how much the caffeine had affected him. He was stronger — his power output was 3 percent greater — and faster. In fact, he said the average speed for his tests when he used caffeine was faster than his fastest speed when he was not using caffeine.

He also guessed right most of the time about whether the pills he took were caffeine or vitamin C. Mr. Perry said he is now sorry that he never used caffeine when he was competing. “It would have been a pretty harmless way to do better,” he said.

Others, including my son Stefan, disagree. I urged Stefan to try caffeine and he did. Once.

He took a caffeine pill before a track workout that involved running a mile very quickly, resting briefly, and running a mile again, repeatedly. Like Mr. Johnson, he was wired and shaking. But, Stefan said, he could not recover between miles. His heart was pounding and just would not slow down. He said he has no desire to experience that again.

Then there is the problem my running partner Jen Davis and I have. We love coffee and probably have caffeine in our blood all the time except during the middle of the night (it lasts for hours).

SO would we do better if we weaned ourselves from caffeine and then took a pill or two before a race?

I asked Dr. Tarnopolsky. It turns out, he said, that you get habituated to two of caffeine’s effects right away. Caffeine can make you urinate, but only if you are not used to it.

“Athletes do not get dehydrated from caffeine,” he added, “contrary to popular myth.”

And caffeine does increase the heart rate and blod pressure in people who are not regular uses. “But after three or four days, that potentially negative effect is gone,” Dr. Tarnopolsky said.

The beneficial effects on exercise, though, remain. Even if you are a regular coffee drinker, if you have a cup of coffee before a workout or a race, you will do better, Dr. Tarnopolsky said. “There is no question about it,” he added.

He puts the caffeine research to use when he trains and competes. Dr. Tarnopolsky is an elite triathlete, ski orienteer and trail runner who has competed at national and international levels. And, he said, he loves coffee: “I love the smell. I love the taste. It’s heaven.”

And before a race? He always has a cup.

So after reading this article again I guess I will revise my strategy just a little bit, I won't be cutting caffeine out completely but I am going to probably go out and get some caffeine pills and experiment with them prior to running. I already stick completely to the GU's with favorite is actually Vanilla, the kind almost everyone else hates! So here's my new equation! New PR's

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Weekday Run Elevation Charts

I just posted an elevation chart that I managed to get from todays bike ride and figured I would post the elevation chart from my weekday runs...Now you'll know why I hate the end of the runs...especially the Bagel Run

(Greenberry Run 5.31 miles)

(Brooklyn Bagel 5.87 miles)

April 18th - Bridgewater Bike Ride

Time: 45 Minutes
Distance: 11
Weather: Sunny and gorgeous!
Temp: 72
Time: 11:45 AM
Terrain: Pretty flat, until the end

Comments: So I decided yesterday to come to New Jersey since Erin had to come up for a Shower and I figured I could come and borrow her mom's bike and go for a ride. It has been a long time since I've really gone and rode a bike, and the first time that I was doing it to truly get a workout and cross train. After the first mile I had a brand new respect for people that ride bikes as my legs hurt more from just a short amount of time on the bike than when I run 5-6 miles...but I think that has to do with working a different muscle set. I kept on going though saying to myself, if I ran a marathon I can take a stupid bike 11 miles! In all Liz claimed it was a pretty flat route I was taking, but those hills seemed to be insane and I would definitely not say that was the case, but maybe if I rode more often and at a slightly lower intensity maybe I would've done better over the hills! After it was over I was happy to have the workout over with and a nice glass of Orange Juice...but I wish I had a bike to ride more often! OH and if I rode more often I would definitely need a way to get more butt padding...THAT HURTS!

Days until MCM: 190 days
(this isn't the actual bike I was a black Sobe Cannondale)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

April 16th Pacers - Bagel Run

Time: 51:20
Distance: 5.9
Weather: Wet roads but dry weather
Temp: 40
Time: 5:30 AM
Terrain: Pretty flat, until the end

Comments: I took it pretty slow and had the end had plenty of energy and really killed the finishing hill. After the run I had some gatorade and a protein shake...tasty! During the day I started to get exhausted but I think that's mostly just because of stress from work, not so much from a long run. I also ran to and from the add about 1.5 on top of my run!

Days until MCM: 192 days

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

April 14th Pacers - Greenberry Run

Time: 46:28
Distance: 5.31
Weather: Rainy/Misty...and a little wind
Temp: 45
Time: 5:00 AM
Terrain: Pretty flat, until the end

Comments: I went at my own pace for most of the run, and it felt great to really feel like I'm in control of my pace and not how my knee feels or anything else. I had enough left in my body at the end to really go after the hills at the end...made me feel good

Days until MCM: 194 days

Thursday, April 9, 2009

April 9th Pacers-Bagel Run

Time: 48 mins
Distance: 5.9
Weather: Dry, great running weather
Temp: 41Time: 5:30 AM
Terrain: Pretty flat, until the end

Comments: I started at a comfortable pace but about half way through I started feeling so good I sped up a bit...big mistake by the time I got up Marine Corps Memorial Hill I was DEAD...overall I felt great though!

Days until MCM: 198 days

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

My running shoes

So I just switched to a new pair of running shoes last week...I just passed 20 miles on them today, and they feel great so I figured I'd throw in a plug for them.

I used to run with Brooks Defyance shoes but the new model hurt my foot for some reason, now I'm going with the Mizuno Wave shoes

Finishing your race strong

This morning after my run, I got my weekly Runners World e-mail and they had an article about finishing a race strong, and some training to do so that your still strong at the end.

Fatigue Intervals Instead of your normal 15-minute warmup before your long intervals, run 50 to 60 minutes. Your legs will likely feel tired, so don't worry if your interval splits fall off by a second or two per lap. Running fast while fatigued forces your body to recruit muscle fibers that might otherwise go untrained. Do this workout every third or fourth interval session.

Fast-Finish Long Run In the last third of your run, drop the pace by 20 to 30 seconds per mile. Concentrate on holding good form, which will help you stay relaxed as you push the pace. Make every second or third long run a fast-finish workout.

Mile Breakdown Do a two-mile warmup, then a mile at 5-K race pace, 1200 at one second per lap faster than the previous mile, 1000 at two seconds per lap faster than last mile, 800 at three seconds per lap faster, 600 at four seconds per lap faster, and 400 at five seconds per lap faster, with recovery equal to the time of the last interval. Incorporate this workout into your long interval rotation, and do it the Monday or Tuesday before a Sunday race to prime your speed for competition.

Step-Down Tempo Workout Start this 10-mile run at 1:20 per mile slower than your usual five-mile tempo pace. Every two miles drop the pace by 20 seconds per mile (your progression would look something like this: 8:05-8:05-7:45-7:45-7:25-7:25-7:05-7:05-6:45-6:45). While only the last two miles are at your normal tempo pace, the fact that you ran eight descending miles beforehand will make the pace feel more challenging. Replace your usual tempo run with this step-down approach about every third threshold workout.,7120,s6-238-244--12651-0,00.html?cm_mmc=training-_-2009_04_07-_-training-_-TRAINING%3a%20Finish%20Strong

April 7th Pacers-Greenberry run

Time: 45 mins
Distance: 5.31
Weather: Dry but VERY windy
Temp: 41
Time: 5:00 AM
Terrain: Pretty flat, until the end
Difficulty: Moderate

Comments: I started off a little fast but then the wind hit me hard so I just slowed up and left my group to run on my own pace. Went through the whole run with no pain in the knees. I also went at the Marine Corps hill hard, and felt great after!

Days until MCM: 200 days

Monday, April 6, 2009

Purpose of this blog

OK, so if you know me I'm not REALLY into blogging, but I am trying to work on a new way to track my running progress and keep some running commentary on how I'm doing. Therefore, the overall goal of this blog is to help me leave some data on my runs to come back to and some commentary on that run HOPEFULLY by the end of the day that I ran said run. So if I felt like crap at the end of the run, I should post that, if I felt great I will obviously put that here as well.

If you decide to follow the blog...great, if not oh well it's not really intended for you anyway :)

Here I am with the Greenberry runners after a 5 AM run

Where I am now...

2008 Marine Corps Marathon (PR)
Chip Time: 4:05:53
Overall Place: 4770 / 18279
Gender Place: 3608 / 11129
Division Place: 362 / 826
Overall Mile Pace: 9:23


Current Goal: 3:45:00 2009 Marine Corps Marathon
Future Goal: 3:10:00 (BQ)