A bend in the road is not the end of the road unless you fail to make the turn....

It's gonna get harder before it gets easier. But it will get better, you just gotta make it through the hard stuff first.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Coaching: Rocky 100 special.

Now that my previous post set folks for the last few weeks before a 100 M race that is approaching fast - and int his case, most of the talk was somewhat geared towards runners preparing for the local Cactus Rose 100 put by Tejas Trails, although any 100 will have similar ideas - I'd like to bring attention to all the other 100 milers around the country, ones that are still far away, and for our local, regional runners - Rocky Raccoon 100 (same awesome race directors). This race is still full four (4!) and half months away, and at this point you only begin your training, having put in the base.

Lets train together.

Lets train right.

Lets make dreams come true.

And because I am local here, Rocky 100 folks are in for a special - first month of coaching gets 30% off monthly regular fee, and then you pick either normal monthly plan(s) or a 3-months one-shot schedule. You can find details of how it works and contact page on my Webpage.

A little bit about myself (for strangers): I have been coaching for over 5 years, and running competitively for 12. I don't possess any special talents, and all my success is purely hard work, dedication and smart planning. I have 2 jobs at the moment (for the last 2 years): 8-4 as a Research Scientist at UT and 5-8 plus weekends as a Licensed Massage Therapist. What it means for you is that I know how it feels to try and squeeze a workout, how to prioritize, how to fail sometimes, what is enough and what has to be made up no matter what.

I had good years, and sometimes life interfered and I took running training easier - but I always knew how to bring myself back. Year 2013 proved I can be in shape of year 2005, older, but wiser.

I also know how to over-do things. There were couple of years I managed to run myself into the ground, and I am especially careful with my clients to watch for signs of it to even appear on horizon.

I know how to stick with routine, and how to shake it up, how to run for pure joy, and how to make workouts happen when you don't have ability to wander in Rocky Mountains or magnificent Pacific North West, and all you got is a road in the neighborhood. I lead Bootcamp for a year and taught Yoga for 2 years, and I am also a certified Personal Trainer. Whatever your needs are - I can help.

Ultra and trail results (most of it but not all).

I have a few clients winding down their training as the goal race approaching, so spots are opening up. I don't set time limits, and don't have contracts. You sign up, you try and see if you like it, if coaching is for you, and if we are a good fit. I believe in not overpricing so everybody can give their dream the best shot it deserves. Lots of folks seem to have liked it (read here).

Dream big. Set the goal, focus on it - and give it all you've got. And if Rocky 100 is not on your calendar for 2015 - come train anyway. As you can see from the result page, I had done pretty much everything there is out there, location, terrain and elevation profile, surface and distance.











Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Are you ready to run a 100 mile race soon?

To all who are in a position "Crap, I signed up for a 100 miler, but not sure if I had done/am doing enough and it's coming soon", or "Here is where I am, shall I risk and sign up now, or better pick another 100 further out" - I wrote a short blurb.



 My latest training included hiking neighborhood streets with a backpack and cause some stares.


                            Visiting my BFF Eman for coffee and cookies and soulful chats.


                                                                          Baking bread.


                                                          Watching Larry lay tile in the bathroom.


                                         And having good friends Henry and Janice for dinner.





Saturday, August 23, 2014

Four new products reviews.

I've been given a handful of product to test out some months ago, but as we all know, my running was drastically downsized, and I normally try to collect as much information about things I am offered to test as I can by using it extensively. But, time goes, and I can't push those things any longer. Since I had at least some exposure to all of the things I'll be writing about, I feel OK with not doing too great of a job of exploring every nook and cranny of these items.

Lets begin with one of the long-sitting around product, but at least now this one is useful for endurance athletes. Meet "Recovery" from AllProScience - a company that makes their product basically all hyped-up stuff-free: High-Fructose Free, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Dairy-Free, All-Vegan, Collegiate-Compliant. It almost begs the question: what IS in there??
 


Recovery product has the following write-up on the website:

Recovery is made with APS protein, you get the benefits of a complex array of amino acids which your body uses to sustain many of its critical parts; from muscles to bones, blood and skin. Our whey protein comes from all-natural grass fed cows which are never treated with antibiotics or bovine growth hormones.  Unlike other sources of whey protein, which may come from cows raised on diets of fillers and corn, grass fed cows are free of unnatural contaminants.
There are 4 flavors (Natural Pineapple Orange, Natural Fruit Punch, Natural Lemonade, and Natural Blueberry Ice), it dissolves quickly and uniformly, tastes pretty good, but I think at 145 cal is lacking a caloric replacement that a real long run would call for (I ended up adding protein powder to my Recovery drinks).
FACT SHEET:
    * 7g of Protein per Serving
    * 21g of Carbohydrates
    * Only 8g of Sugar
    * Vitamin and Mineral Fortified
    * Good Source of Calcium* and Amino Acids*
    * No Artificial Flavors, Sweeteners, or Fillers
    * Hormone-Free Dairy (BGH-Free)
    * Net Weight 24.7oz (700 Grams)

That said, I tried it by now numerous times, and it does work - but not any better or worse than any other recovery drinks I had tried before. If you are an allregic to any of the listed items (gluten, GMO, dairy, etc.) this company avoids when makes their products - this could be your choice. In any other case, just mix 3 parts of simple carbohydrates to 1 part of protein (caloric mass) - and enjoy your recovery, as long as it's within 30 min post-exercise!

Trail Toes...what can I say. John Sharp (our local guy) had talked about it a lot when he did his 200M Solo Texas Relay, as well as Lisa Smith-Batchen in her summer 2014 Badwater Quad (!!!) crossing. Basically, it is a Hydropel-like blister and chafing prevention creme. I don't put things on my toes - I use Drymax socks, and the only blisters I do get are a) lost toenails from pounding downhills with my leaping gait, and b) on the bottom of my balls of the feet when I walk too much at the end of a very long race (re-distribution of weight not supported by trail running shoes). But I am human, and I do chafe - occasionally, but do. We ARE in Texas, after all, and summer is here with 95% humidity runs, or, shall you choose less humid afternoon (only 60%) - you'll be met with 105F. So, my weak spots are armpits and upper thighs, as well as parts where the pack rubs the body.


 I'll be short on that product, but, for a change, very positive: it works, it works, it works. Easy on, slime gets off wiped from the fingers fast (important for re-applying during a race), stays on in the weather described above, and when you look like shit (see photos below) - you still have your skin intact. Kudos!

Here comes the newest product I was given - Energybits! Most recent, claimed to be most needed - I was emailed numerous times (I know, took me a few weeks to form an opinion I could share), and something I don;t think I, personally, will use - but who knows, let see! You can read the details on their website linked to the name, but in short, it is Algae-based energy, also all stuff-free, butt even more so, it's like EVERYTHING-free!



Algae is a food that grows in the ocean - basically, a seaweed. It is claimed that Algae per gram has 1,000 times more energy and also a bunch of good benefits on vessels and cell wall (a scientist in me is fascinated). The side effect is - well, it tastes exactly like a seaweed. And unless you're a big fan of it (how many Americans on SAD are fans of that stuff?) - well, you might be better off either swallowing a few tabs with lots of water ahead of your run (bike ride/whatever), or avoid altogether. I did that - and seem to have processed it OK with no belly aches, but also no visible energy increase. I tried to swallow a few prior run, than a few instead of a gel - and the bonk was ensured.


Then I decided to try it couple of times to dissolve in water and carry with me consuming on the run. Only when the water was ice-cold (like, first 10 min of Texas running) was it manageable to drink - once it warmed up, the "green", "EARTHY" flavor was overwhelming. May be we all get tired from sweet taste of gels and simple maltodextrine/fructose combo, or hate Taurine bitterness, but Earthy flavor did not do it for me. Once you are able to get past that issue - the next comes: it foams! 5 tabs in 16 oz bottle created a volcano, and while it did NOT explode the bottle (unlike NUUN or Fizz that always do) - it looked disgusting, and when I was trying to re-full the bottle, I couldn't top it off, as the foam kept rising. Not a good thing for a race-related short stop at an aid station.

My conclusion - a no-go for me, no positive effect on my run, no extra energy (whether with addition of gels or the lack of them), and yet a bunch of negative side-kicks. Sorry!

Last one on the list - an item that has been sitting the longest - and honestly, has very little to do with running but rather with living (even if outdoorsy), and definitely NOT with living in Texas (may be few of the winter days we do happen to have).

Free Country is a clothing company which apparently has been around since 1990. It originated in NY - as I learned through their history page, and has been trying to merge style, originality and functionality. They have a lot of variety clothes to offer, from swimwear to heavy winter jackets, and I wish I could get my hands on some tank tops or something, but somehow they sent me what is called Lightweigth Softshell Jacket. I did explain that my wear and tear on it will be rather limited, so here we go .




My friend Cris is modeling it for me - the feel of a jacket did not go well with me, harsh, not bendy and didn't seem it would breeze. I took it to a couple of trips, and felt it took too much space in my luggage, as well as on my body. It was warm, but not functional, if the company is claiming to be "outdoors wear design".

It has a few pockets, but the zipper is stiff too. It probably IS good for skiing - but mostly for sitting out in the Ski Lodge, I'd say, as when I ski, I like my movement to be completely unrestricted.




I ended up giving it to Cris's daughter Alex, and the girl enjoyed it as a "regular cold weather" jacket. Below are here words:
"The jacket is great at being water resistant and keeps you warm if you’re WALKING but if you are biking it gets EXTREEMLY drafty. Overall I like how it has convenient pockets everywhere and is soft on the inside. It also keeps the warmth in if you going on a walk in 27-degree weather for example: going to watch the tree lighting in the capitol. It offers immediate warmth for example; if I’m in the house that is 62-64 degrees and walk outside to walk to the bus stop and it is 32-34 degrees out it keeps the warmth that it had gotten from the house and keeps me warm for the rest of the day. With a light sweatshirt or long-sleeved shirt the jacket is form fitting and a bit drafty at the sleeves."
Bottom line - it's ok, but not for a seriously active style people.

These photos below just as an add-on to the post to make it more personal, so to speak, from my last 2 long runs: I still feel OK, I even pretend to train to some extend, and I might be able to finish my 2 100M races this Fall on a handful weeks of 45 miles with longest run being 20. Ha! Good luck!