Thursday, September 18, 2008

Thursday 24 miles.

am) 13 miles.
pm) 11 miles. I had to run back and pick up my wife's car. I experimented a little with my diet today- as I often do. I ate 3 scrambled eggs after my morning run. An apple for lunch (ya- I know) and then 40g of soy protein (powder in water) before the evening run. My energy levels were steady and high for all of the second run which was 11.3 miles ( measured) in 1:14:21 (with all the stop lights and intersections again). 6:32 pace and it felt very easy. I wanted mostly to see how the soy protein was going to work and make me feel. I am considering trying to make that my breakfast before the marathon. We'll see.

This morning's run turned in to a heated (as mine always are) debate with Bob in regards to mental strength in races. Bob has a ton of experience (40+ marathons) where I do not. My point was that I need time to develop my mental strength and my goals are 3 years from now. Bob was saying that each and every race I run needs to be with the thought in mind that "there are no other races, there are no past workouts". I need to treat each race like it is my last and not limit my race based on my training performances. In a round about way I eventually got his point. Coinciding with the discussion, I am half way through Matt Fitzgerald's book "Brain training for Runners". I am eager to learn as much as I can about running- both from the physical and the mental side. Bob also thinks that I put too much thought in to the physical process. I disagree with that simply because the foundation that will allow my body to perform and to hold up over the next several years is my physical structure. I admit completely that I am weak mentally and my body will never perform to its potential with out the mental capacity to exploit it's strength and fitness. The mental side of sport, I believe, is far more difficult to master than the objectively based training, ie: track workouts, long runs at X pace, tempo runs at X pace and X HR... These are simple numbers based workouts. Part of our development as runners is based on what we see in training and it has to play a critical role in the development of strong mental capacity. If you have never run a 6:00 mile in training- then you wouldn't start a marathon at 6:00 pace!
Fitzgerald's book brings a whole other thought process to running- which I love. I'm a thinker, and the book is based on thinking. Not necessarily thinking about numbers but thinking about what you're actually feeling and how your brain works, basically, at the time you start to suffer. I have a strong innate sense of survival- this is partly why I never get injured. This same sense of survival is what holds me back in races and training. I don't think I have neared my potential in training volume or intensity. My brain holds me back from ever truly pushing the training envelope. In races I ease up when I near that 'wall'. Anyone who has ever seen me the day after an Ironman can attest to how hard I actually went in the race. The day after Kona in 2000 (where I ran 2:55) I was playing frisbee on the beach and body surfing. That's a frustrating thing. Peter Reid said he always had this dream (goal) of completely collapsing and passing out at the finish line unable to even stand. That's now my dream.


GZ said...

As I led up to my first Pikes Marathon in 07, I kept repeating a Steve Jones quote ..."if I am still standing at the end of the race, hit me with a board because I did not run hard enough."

I said in part to prepare me for the sufferring that I knew I was going to encounter. I also said it as a bit of a joke, because expecting that I was going to be physically broken ... in a weird way ... made it funny that I would push myself to that limit.

I really did not expect to be on the ground when I was done, but I was ... until I got an IV post race.

Anyway ... I have wondered if by setting this as my mantra made it so that I could physically get there.

kerrie said...

"Bob" is starting to concern me. Hope you didn't get any funny looks on your run today during your "conversation" with him!

Der Kaiser said...


Glad you are reading Matt's book and talking about it here. It is a truly outstanding work. I bought it yesterday for a colleague at work. He's a 4:30h marathoner and will do anything I tell him to be a better runner.

I think you should never underestimate the influence you have on other people. It is vital for you to have lofty goals. But don't be too hard on yourself if you "fail". I have said it before: with your blog you are achieving more for others than you ever would by running a 2:19h.


p.s. I _never_ really questionned your honesty about your runpace. I was only using this to make my point. Just to make that clear.

FatDad said...

Hahaha....thanks Kerrie. I'm glad i'm not the only one who had concerns about 'Bob'!

JP Flores said...

I am certainly not the athlete you are, Tim, but one thing I can say is that I'm not afraid to take it to the limit in races. I've passed out, puked, gotten IV's, been unable to walk the day after...due to leaving every ounce of myself on the race course. Or maybe it's because I'm undertrained! :-)

Seriously, I think a lot of it is simply taking yourself to the limit in training (on occasion)to get accustomed to the suffering. I totally agree with simply cannot think about the next race or the next day. The finish line is the end of the world. There is nothing beyond it to save yourself for. At least that's the mindset you have to be in.

Brett said...

Mentally, I was unbeatable in high school (there was this one time, at band camp). If anybody was anywhere near me I would kill myself to finish in front. I was a mid 4 miler in high school and in several races ran under 60 seconds on the last lap just in those situations. Many times I was so spent my legs were locking up at the line and I literally could not walk for 10-15 minutes I had so much lactic acid in my system.

Now, when I am in races, I find myself making secondary goals: "forget that guy up ahead, I can slow down and still not lose a place to that person way back behind me" etc etc etc. I am a wus. I don't know what the excuse is. Its not age, because the pace is irrelevant - its the competitiveness.

Its one of the major things I need to improve.

Brett said...

*** sorry I meant I was a mid 4 minute miler (4:30-4:40) in high school.........

RunColo said...

I love those classic pictures of Roger Bannister after he broke the four minute barrier, people are holding him up, etc.

RunColo said...

I also agree with Bob "Tyler Durden" when he said

"This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time."

Don't wait to kick ass in 3 years, do it now!

Lucho said...

Kaiser- Thanks for the good word and the recommendation on the book!
I said that for fun.. but based on my race results compared to my training I can see it myself. That's partly why I busted out the GPS.

GZ- The mantra thing has never worked for me? I tend to be the same as Brett and hoping to someday be like JP!

Runcolo- Yep..

Kerrie- we are doing a track session on Saturday and guess what! Bob is out of town... During my second run today I had a creeping thought that I may be schizo. If I am, then having a pretend training partner may be a good thing. I think BJ and Lis met him... I think.

beth said...

yeah. i ran with "Bob" today too. he is killer. i told him i was going to wear my HR monitor and he told me, "the things you own will end up owning you" i took it off.

also told me he wasn't heading back to boulder anytime soon. sorry, lucho.

Lucho said...

Bob's first rule of running is to not talk about running!

GZ said...

Two thoughts ... if your instinct to survive is strong ... can you visualize what you would do even if survival was not an option? I know you can. Now can you trick yourself into thinking you are facing those circumstances in a race?

... second thought ... BOB WHO?!

Brett said...

A while ago you mentioned you might legally change your name. In keeping with the spirit of this thread (competitive finishes in races) and that topic, I thought of a few names you might think about changing your name to, in order to help motivate you at the finish...just imagine a Race Director yelling your name as you race someone else to the finish line:
* Ben Dover
* Keith Myath
* Adolph Oliver Beaver
* Mike Rochurtz
* Hoof Hearted
* Arrrrr

BRFOOT said...

Okay,so this might go over like a fart in church but.....So what!!! At this point if you don't win, did you make progress? are you having fun?? (other than stressing about not winning). Are you taking care of your body so that you live a long healthy life to be there with and for the ones you care about?? Now don't get me wrong I hate losing at anything. And I totally understand being disappointed in yourself if you feel you did not live up to your potential. But the world, your family, your real friends really don't give a shit if you win or you lose. And even though when we see the the guy/girl crawl accross the finish line we are all amazed by their determination. We almost always think/say to ourselves or others "what a nut job" or "that person is crazy", "that can't be good". Personally I would rather be able to say " I got 15th at Kona and was playing frisbe the next day" rather than "I got 10th after crawling accross the finish line". Point being that having the mental capacity to push yourself to brink of total failure for something as trival as a race is not only not rational but also not required. Running like this may be your last race ie: you could die tomorrow. Think about that another way. If tomorrow is your last day how would like to spend today??? running to total collapse or running well then taking Ben for a walk on the beach???

Lucho said...

Great point Brfoot.. and I am living that way. I think in this context we are talking more about pushing to a performance limit rather than a life threatening limit. I've never had an IV.. and I never will- I'll simply drink. There is of course risk in racing a marathon to your limits, but (I hope)I'll never loose at least the critical semblance of my survival instinct.. because as you say- that would be selfish. I want to succeed as a runner- but my time with Ben and my wife is priceless.
I wonder how Ryan Shay's widow is doing? Or what Alberto Salazaar's cardiologist thinks of all this.

Lucho said...

Brett- I already changed my name- it's Wolverine.

jameson said...

ok... I going away from the theme of the previous comments... what kind of diet experiment is that? To see if you can starve yourself (joking)?

why soy protein? Soy is crap (in my opinion).

read this, but I am sure you already know all this.

take it easy dude... and eat a steak!

Ward said...

Whenever I hear someone talking about pushing yourself to your limits.. I always think back to watching the 1996 olympic marathon trials in North Carolina.. Bob Kempainen blows chow a couple of times on live tv around mile 21 or 22 then casualy wipes off his chin and proceeds to drop Coogan and Brantly with a 4:42 and 4:43 23rd and 24th mile.. that's guts!

Lucho said...

Jameson- The diet experiment is for marathon race morning. Skipping breakfast and just drinking the soy. In order to do that I needed a fairly long fasting period to mimic sleeping. Rather than wake up at 4:00am to eat so my blood sugar stabilizes by gun time- I'm trying the soy. Half of why I choose soy is the less nitrogen released into the blood stream vs. whey. The other half is that this is exactly what Luc Van Lierde ate for breakfast before he rocked Kona with a 8:04 and Germany with a 8:50. ;) I'm also trying to loose a few extra pounds for an upcoming race.
Is it healthy? No. I would NEVER tell an athlete I coach to try this. In order for me to find what works I need to experiment. I had terrible GI issues at Austin and stopped at a porta-john at mile 13. That can't happen.
I use whey for recovery and soy during and before.

jameson said...

Thanks for the reply Lucho... it makes sense. Over my first couple of season I tried everything for my pre-race meal and the timing. I definitely struggled dialing it, but things started to click last year and I haven't deviated from my pre-race nutrition plan since... it seems to be working!

I alwasy eat 3 hours out from the gun. It sucks to have to wake early on race morning but it's worth... and most of the time I'm jacked and ready to get out of bed and race.

thanks again... good info as always.

Anonymous said...

great bloag and even better post re: the mental side. Im struggling with this myself right now. I'll have to check out this book.