Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Core Work

Just a quick note to self/blog.

Monday off

Tuesday: 35 min aerobic running, core work, 20 min aerobic Running.

The core work so far is a mixture of Tim's psoas routine, the plank, basic crunches, and some (but not enough!) of the work-outs GZ has posted about recently.

I have to nail this stuff. I have to nail this stuff. If I can drop 12 pounds and come off with a strong running core . . .I will really kick your ass. I'm having fun figuring out tolerable routines (since that's what's kept me from hitting this stuff). I worked-out with my wife the other day, and her core work (strength) was ridiculous. Years of yoga will do that. She kicks ass!

Another resolution that's already started: my heightened commitment to really really hard rock ala B(ring) Y(our) O(wn) B(omb)!

Life is short and we know that evil and fear stalk[s] the land. . .(Great blog title) . . .

Enjoy the holidays.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I love hokey pokey

When we were in Hawaii, I ate so much poke it's ridiculous.
Lunch: Poke and a cold ale.

I'm in the hokey pokey phase of my training. I'm psyched about it.

Friday: 30 minute smoooooth spin (105rpm)on the trainer. Core work/lifting, sauna.

Saturday: 35 minute aerobic run.

Sunday: 1:10 aerobic run, 10 minute spin.

Check-out Simon Whitfield's post. I drove my family to the top of Haleakala for the sunrise and we got stormed-out! I will post some pics soon and a video.

Jack and I are on a two-week break (from school)!

Merry X-mas. . .

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Off Season

That's the title because it's that time of year, so I've been thinking about it, about last season, etc., GZ posted something about it and even asked for feedback, and I actually worked-out for the first time since 12/7. But before 12/7 I was down from that cold so I've kinda been off for a few weeks now. Nonetheless, good timing for the post.

GZ and others like him (let's see, what does that mean. . .oh yeah, nuts) are still going strong. His blog roll is ridiculous btw and a few of those eastern seaboard doods are going pretty strong, too. But it looks like some runners are actually in the middle of a winter xc race series, or something like that. They all seem pretty fast, 5/10kers and they're just hammering away. If you're in the middle of a season, have at it, but a lot of us are in the off season. I suppose it simply means that target races are in the spring summer and fall, so this is a good time to chill and given the holidays, the weather and the fact that we probably just finished a season of spring summer and fall, well, time for a little R&R. But again, the break is totally dependent upon the race schedule.

Lucho has a great post today about this very thing. He's off. He's getting pretty smart about his approach to his races. First of all, he's targeting a 10k in January or Feb I think. I might've been reading the Science of Sport blog and back when Haile Gebrselassie broke the record at Berlin, they wrote a very thorough analysis of the marathon, speculating on the possibility of there being another record in the coming years. The authors basically hypothesized that success at the marathon generally comes via success at the 10k and from that premise they deduced that there really are not many great 10kers today, so, therefore, there isn't a legitimate candidate on the horizon (I'm paraphrasing and read it a long time ago, but one thing is clear: to do "well" at the marathon, one needs to be able to do "well" at the 10k distance). Lucho I think knows that. Tim also talked of the number of weeks one needs to really build and peak for a specific race (~20 weeks). In the end, his point is one does need to and should take time off to be able to really focus and be successful in that block of training. Otherwise, as he says, one reaches the point of diminishing returns.

Hell, read his post. The concept is pretty straight-forward. And he also mentioned one should be psyched to exercise again. That's what this is all about, no? That's why I worked out today, because I absolutely wanted to. That's it. It was meager, but it was nice. I didn't have to.

Now I don't know the science behind this great art of athletic performance (I think so much of it is common sense and rests on one's ability to maintain a good attitude and one's ability to suffer). But most teachers seem to agree there needs to be downtime. Reading Noakes recently, he was going over a forefather's 15 basic principles of training (or something like that), and one of them was something along the lines of "always train." We see people doing it. And it makes sense. I got pretty lethargic in just one week thinking about my hypothyroidism. In fact, from some of the feedback I got, exercise is good for those with such a condition. Hey, those who suffer from depression, or anxiety could certainly help themselves with exercise. My wife, a mental health therapist, is a firm believer in this. Eating and exercise can change the world! But we're talking about over-training. And Noakes, who summarized this gentleman's ancient theory of training, then politely disagreed, presenting some anecdotal evidence to support the current theory that includes a month off for most and in some cases two months. He closed a paragraph explaining how Mark Allen took two months off and then proceeded to spend 3 months in base, reminding the reader that Allen is one of the greatest endurance athletes in the world (Noakes).

All this to say, one should take some time off. But, again, it depends on the race schedule. Allen cleaned clocks in October. GZ is supposed to peak in August. . . uh, dude, take a day off now and then! In fact, GZ, if my memory serves me correctly, increased the load very shortly after doing the double. I'm not wrong. In fact, if you want to break 17 for 5k, you should look into a little break, dood!

So, I'm going to work my own schedule back into shape. Of course, I've got some nutrition issues and perhaps some other therapy to research and perhaps incorporate into the routine, but my training will consist of the following, in very general terms:

Almost all work-outs are building base. I will wear a HRM more often than not and not exceed 145 bpm through February. BUT I'm going to do one fun run a week where I wear no monitor and run harder, obviously on a trail. Hopefully I have exceptional company on those runs. An extended base building period is really really key for a long and injury-free season. That's what last year taught me. Build the engine, and proof the chassis. But the one tempo run a week will be important for the fat burning protocol and keeping it interesting. I may alter this a bit, but generally speaking, that's the general plan.

General plan: Gym rat during the week. Tempo and long runs on the weekend.

Today: 35 minutes easy run. A little core work/stretching. 10 min. sauna.

Next post: Racing and pacing in 2009!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Re-fueling. . .Say it ain't so

I'm glad I got a "plan" put to screen regarding my daily food journey, but this journey may get a lot more interesting. You see, I've known for a while that I have some signs of hypothyroidism. When I first got wind of it some lame Dr. I hardly knew was ready to jam the synthetic hormone into my system, "and you'll be taking these for the rest of your life." Ah, what? Hold-on, bud-ball. The worst part of this was when he (Dr. Bonehead) wanted me to get another blood test the following week, to gather more information, but he suggested I be on the meds by then. Well, I didn't start them. The second blood test comes back more normal and I kid you not he's like, "see, the medication is working." First of all, I'm not on them yet you piece of . . .anyways, that was my first go around. I got a couple more opinions and they said just retest in about 6 months. So, that was three years ago. I've had blood work done a couple of times a year.

To make a long story short, I've got sub-clinical hypothyroidism which means I'm borderline. My TSH ((thyroid stimulating hormone) number is a little high. My brain produces that to keep my thyroid working, so my brain is working a little extra hard in order to keep my T3 and free T4 in the normal range. If the T3 and free T4 are good, the thyroid, apparently, is functioning normally. The TSH is a screening test. So, I guess I'm okay, but . . . .

When I was seeing Dr. Jerry Moylan, who was recommended to me by Tri pro Jim Vance via the TriClubofSD message board, Moylan looked at my blood work and we went into a full blown anti-inflammatory diet with supplements, etc. Heavy stuff, not real cheap. After that I retested, and my numbers were super normal and his range (an alternative, non-western guy) is even tighter than, say, Sharp Hospital. So the diet does work, at least it did.

Well, when I sent-out a query on the TCSD message board today I got back a ton of info. A doctor from Sharp actually broke the process down for me and said she would not treat me. And a nutrtionist/accupuncturist who has hypothyroidism gave me some great advice.

I just had some blood work done, and my TSH is a little higher than it's been. My current doctor (cool guy a sorta trust) wants me to start the meds. Instead, I'm going to go to a holistic endocrinologist and see what he has to say, maybe even get some natural hormone replacement, some stuff called Armour thyroid (I got all this from a guy from TCSD) and then work on some nutrition, serious nutrition, which may lead me to . . . becoming more of a vegitarian. I'm just throwing that out there.

It would be such an overhaul. It would probably benefit me big-time. But I love meat! The point of this post is just to point-out that much in the way of research and tinkering will be done to that daily food plan.

And what really got my head spinning was reading Tim Noakes' The Lore of Running last night and stumbling upon his point about hypothyroidism and run performance. It does affect one's ability to throw-down! And the subtlety is what can drive a runner mad! So, I was going mad. On top of that, I've gotten a lot of feedback from people who are on the synthetic hormone, everything from it makes you feel a lot better (more energy in general) to balancing moods, weight gain/loss, etc.

I do feel like my metabolism has slowed some. For as much as I run and have exercised in the last few years (1/2 ironman, running, etc.) I should be a little lighter, if you know what I mean. But maybe that's where the diet comes in.

As you can see, I got a lot on my plate!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


  1. Up early! Coffee and work-out (maybe eat a bar)
  2. Post work-out: Protein w/fruits/veggies (eggs, etc) – If I have time.
    1. If I don’t have time (most likely the case), fruit/veggies/protein/supplements (blendered ???)
    2. Cereal/instant oatmeal with some turkey bacon

  3. Snacks include taro chips, nuts, apple/pear.
  4. Lunch – Make a salad or make a wrap: Turkey and veggies, or beans.
    1. Or LEFT-OVERS
  6. Work-out but have bars/recovery drinks planned!!!
  7. Salad with killer ingredients! and/or
    1. Fish
    2. Bean cheese and rice
    3. Home made soups
    4. Turkey burgers
    5. Pasta and veggies
  8. Bed by 10:00pm!

Where I'm at here is the difficulty I have with a good breakfast and good snacks. Most likely I'm in a hurry, especially if I work-out in the a.m. Getting Jack to school, myself to work, etc., adds that bit of stress.

I'm posting this so I can A) get a little feedback and/or B) have a link to it on my blog to keep tabs and make changes.

Monday, December 15, 2008

2009 - Some early thoughts

So, how did 2008 go? A nice organized essay on the topic would be terrific, but I'm blogging and blogging itself sounds pretty sloppy and my own version of it has been pretty sloppy, in fact 2008 turned-out to be pretty sloppy training/racing wise . . . so I'll just ramble a bit.

First of all, I am almost a year into trail running and blogging about it. Last year at this time I was reading blogs and just getting myself healthy from a sore hip/ITB. I was so new and still am. But the blogosphere has given me a peak into this other world that's online and the insight therein that we find so cool, even sickenly so (I can see how people could spend their whole lives online) has certainly given my running a little electricity. I wonder if it's truly made me a better runner?

I have to kinda parallel the blogosphere and the trail running since the two have been side-by-side so to speak, at least chronologically. My emphasis with the blog has to do with those whom I've met, the feedback and insight I've received that has helped me develop as a runner, at least a student of running discourse. So let me summarize the blobbers I've come to know.

1. I have to start with JW. From this guy, I've learned a lot about dedication and the importance of maintaining a playful attitude while immersed in such devotion. I started following his blog in. . . 2006? Yeah, I think so. It's been a while. I've been along for the ride. In fact, an old friend of mine used to train with him and I remember him talking about JW, how new Walsh was eventhough his road results were pretty sick. You can absolutely trust that the guy has maintained a very keen focus on his goals, been very committed but the work never gets goon-like. He's been a great model in terms of how to stay level-headed, healthy and successful. I don't think those of us who read realize the work he does day-in-and-day-out. I can only imagine. He's the champ.
  • Focus on training and diet
  • Be consistent with the regimen
  • Sacrifice for the goals (develop short term that will long term)
  • Have fun
I've said recently that the best beer is the one right after the run. That's JW. Get the work (that's part of a focused program done) and then have had it. Keep it real!

2. Beth, James' twin (I bet they'll have twins some day God willin') is another freakin inspiration. Her skills are crazy. Like JW, I've learned a lot about staying focused and having fun. They're food blog is not read enough. I'm lame. It's a great resource. Given her recent marathon effort, I can only imagine where she's headed. Oly trials? We'll be watching. One of the things that sparked my approach to this review (summarizing my favorite blogs) was what she said in her marathon race report. I paraphrase, but she said it's time to take a break from running and be gym rat for awhile. As I will explain in my own initial approach to 2009, that's what I need to do. Thanks, Beth.
  • Be a foodie
  • Be a gym rat
  • Be focused,
  • Consistent
  • Sacrifice and
  • Have fun!
3. Hang Nine. Great blog IMHO. Talk about consistency. GZ brings it every day. It's like his running and blogging are becoming more and more intense. I remember the nine toe pose infront of the picture of Pikes as his header image. He's got Pikes on the membrane. Following the 2008 journey with his hernia and all, hitting the tready like a hampster and going nuts last winter/spring during the MAF debate. . .he's stubborness is his clarity. They guy knows what he knows and he can tell it like it is. And I think he won the MAF debate although the wrap of said debate is to be concluded hopefully around a fire pit in the desert somewhere perhaps with the Grand Canyon yawning in our midst.

From GZ I'm learning about focus (the guy has "Pikes on the membrane") and consistency. His family values are awesome, so he's an all-around great read. I was drawn to trail/mountain running because of that kind of spirit. GZ embodies it all, pure of heart and a little nuts. He's definitely keeping it real. He makes his own ale. Are you kidding? He's got the mountain spirit in a bottle. Ask for some and he'll pour.
  • Focus
  • Consistent mileage
  • Train to run (these work-outs are going to be big in my approach to 2009)
  • Training (GZ talks a lot of running discourse. He's got a plan. He's tinkering)
  • Just do it!
4. Lucho. I think he changed his name, but he's still, for now, Lucho. This guy is going big. His spirit is climbing higher. He's buying house in the mountains. He's going to be a mountain runner whether he wants to or not. I love this guy's love of hard rock. With his speed and quickness of mind, the guy is Tony Iommi, not George Benson. He's ripping.

His blog provides readers with a ton of info. His new lay-out is exceptionally helpful. He is a talented writer and thinker. He's a generous coach and friend although I hardly know him. Based on the conversations that go down over yonder, you can tell his generosity and character are big with the endurance efforting community.

He's taught me a lot about training. About HR training. I rebelled last summer. I got frustrated. This week I'm strapping the monitor back on for some weekly runs. I didn't really get injured this year, my first year of trail and mountain running. Sure I wasn't running 50 milers, but I was consistent and did a handful of half marathons on very hilly terrain aside from a lot of mountain trail running. I'm pretty sure the MONTHS of aerobic training had a lot to do with that. I wasn't cross-training. I was just running. I've never run that much in my life. I averaged 50 mile weeks for a few months in a row. Didn't get injured. I owe a lot of that to Lucho. Thanks. Reading his blog can be a regular lesson in exercise physiology/science. Indelible stuff.

And the man's family values are impeccable. He's got it (and I think my favorite post of all was that one about his favorite things --the boots, the tatoos, the lotion. . . .)! Lucho has style.
  • Study the science (read the Noakes book you checked-out you idiot. Read a chapter!)
  • Push the training (Tim talks a lot about the stress of over-training, the benefits)
  • HR training. Especially at the beginning, in Base. Nail it. It pays-off down the road
  • Family values. Get them, keep them. Build on them. Perfect them.
There are many others, but I've got to move on.
ChuckieV, Kerrie, Trevor, Simon Whitfield, Scott Dunlap . . . and many more.

The blogosphere has been killer. Now what about the running in 2008?

I remember talking to Tim about 2008 back in the early spring. I was in the midst of my HR training with Temecula Xduro on the horizon. He said just train right through it. He asked me what my goals were back then. I said I turn 40 in Dec. so being competitive as in Masters would be cool. He responded that 2008 should then just be a base for that. In other words, my entire 2008 season should just be laying down a base from which I can build in 2009 and beyond.

When I think about that, 2008 doesn't seem so unsuccessful. Ironically, I won my age group at Temecula and probably decided to run Hawaii based on that. I don't know if I would have run Worlds if I hadn't qualified. I felt a little justfied. With the way things turned-out here at season's end, I felt initially like 2008 was a bit of a let down. BUT if I remember what Tim and I talked about, 2008 was simply an extended training period. I'm going to go with that.

My strengths
  • Consistency - I demonstrated that I can consistently put together some weeks of decent mileage. I fact months.
  • Durability - I was never laid-up because of running injury. In fact, I was never really sick until this last month. My ability to train consistenly can not be overlooked. Like I said, I think the MAF (base building) running was key to this health maintenance. Jump-roping helped too, as did some days on the elliptical and the stair-master (actually I didn't hit the s.m. really at all). Lucho and ChuckieV are pretty much the Base masters. I don't think one can deny that approach early in a season (on a side note, I noticed Angela is doing some hiking these days). In a world where anaerobic efforts seem to pay the most, the aerobic work-out can be hugely beneficial.
  • Enthusiasm - I definitely want to train and get better. I want to travel and race. I went to L.A. a couple of times, Vegas, and Hawaii this year, not to mention Temecula. I will put in the planning and set aside the time to race. This is a life-style I only want to improve, refine, grow. I want to meet more people involved, build those relationships. I've already met a bunch of folk. The community and its goals drive me to train and become better. This is a good thing.
My Weaknesses
  • Discipline - Although I was consistent, so I got the work-outs in each day/week, I still wasn't very disciplined. Discipline touches on a several fronts.
  1. I need to get to bed earlier. I'm writing this post at nearly 11:00 at night. I'll be asleep at 12:00 just because. I have to stop that. I have to be under the covers by 10:00. Even though that seems late for some, that's a start. I have to do that. Which will address another aspect of my life that needs discipline: training.
  2. I need to train in the early a.m. According to my diet plans, my first meal is affected by my early morning work-out which I have to do. Even if it's doing core work in my living room, I have to get work done in the a.m. (ideally before others are up!) GZ, JW, Lucho are all good examples of that. That's part of the dedication and sacrifice that have to be present for this work.
  3. My diet is horrible! I have to be much more focused and CONSISTENT on what I eat. I'm going to post and querry feedback on this front. I need better snacks (Beth and JW). I need easier mealing so I don't fall back on some plate of crap! Come on now!
  4. Core and strength work. This is a huge focus for me early on. I'm following Beth into the gym-rat mode. I have to get more "fit." I don't mean fit as in, hey you're running well, you're fit. I need to get more fit, as in, wow, Matt, you actually don't fit those jeans anymore because they're too big. I am not being weird. I am pudgy, which is a really nice way saying I'm fat. I am. Even if I'm carrying 8 lbs. too much. Go for a run carrying an 8 lbs. dumb bell. I ran Hawaii about 15 lbs. over-weight I kid you not. I was eating like I was 10. I threw in the towel. Just ask the mud pie at Duke's on my birthday (my wife ordered it without my knowledge, the staff sang, and we all dove in.). My point: get in the gym, lift, do core work, and get ripped. I have to look like a runner. I look like a beer soft-ball league guy. Mountain running? You're kidding. This is my biggest peave right now about myself. I am a gym rat starting now.
  • My other weaknesses which include speed and climbing, a refined training program, etc., will be addressed if I'm more disciplined. I have people to model, to whom I can ask questions, etc. I have books to read, and training plans to download. What I need is discipline. Going back to JW, the guy is nails on so many of these fronts. And the results speak volumes. It's D-day.
Okay, this is long. But I have to get it out there. And more to come.

Right now the focus is Long slow distance, and core and strength work. That's it. Races? I'll post later about that and more specific thoughts on food, etc. Good night.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Part Two

We got back last night and today was fairly lazy other than getting the X-mas tree and pulling some boxes out of the garage. Back to work tomorrow. . . . What a trip. I did a lot of reflecting. I turned 40, I ended "the season," which was pretty anti-climactic not only because I was sick and didn't get to really train the last three weeks before the race, but frankly I have to say I wasn't really "ready" to do a race like that. Taking my almost 5-year-old and watching him enjoy so much great scenery and festivity and such was a total kick. Reflecting on "him" was terribly interesting. My wife and I have been really thinking about another pregnancy for a while now and we were able to sit back and enjoy his little creative soul, reflecting on life with perhaps just this one child. It's all good and I probably just said more than I need to say about that. But the reflection is exactly what has to happen on a trip like this, unless one is creating the memories the reflection of which will occur later. . .

Fire Rock Pale Ale. As you can see, the view was nice, so for the weekend on Oahu, we used this perch to put things into perspective.

The race was on the east side of the island. The idea was to rent a car just for the day, drive to the race, cruise up around the north shore and head back to Waikiki mid-afternoon. Although the race started at 9:00am, I wanted the car the night before just so I wasn't haggling and stressing out in the am. When I called the day before, the hotel's concierge said, "no cars." The race and general tourism might have had something to do with it, but up on the north shore there was a little event taking place that probably had some impact as well.
The guys weren't actually competing at Pipeline that day, but it was cool to check-out the beach, the surf and the whole set-up. We stopped at Sunset where part of the Triple Crown was contested the day before. It was over-head the day we saw it but I guessed we missed the "big" day when the doods were throwing down. The map has a good visual of where the race was. We ran on Kualoa Ranch where the map shows Kualoa Beach and Chinaman's Hat. That's pretty much where I letter all hang out.

Fortunately, I was able to get a car the morning of. The night before, we ate a killer restaurant in the Pacific Beach Hotel just down the street from where we were staying. There is a three story aquariam, so Jack had a ball (and we had a ball getting him to pay attention to the food on his plate!). While we were there a diver was in there feeding the fish, which was pretty cool. We got a kick out of this giant manta ray coming around and going eye-to-eye with Jack. He was beside himself. And the food was ridiculous. Seafood tapas. The ceviche was perfect, the sashimi nice, scallop, crab cake, you name it. I had a salad too. I definitely don't get too worked-up about eating before a race. And again not feeling 100% kinda let the wind out of the ole sail. In bed by 9:00 and slept great but wanted to sleep in and lounge all day. Not good.

So I got the car and we were on the road by 8:00 with plenty of nibbles and bevvys for the road.

On the stretch of highway that crosses over to the east side.

I didn't pay much attention to the race description. I'm such a visual learner that I sorta discount/ignore the non-visual more or less (perhaps I was a little frustrated too, leading to a kind of childish disregard). No elevation map. But besides, you figure that one's writing about the course is going to do little justice to the "nature" of the beast. Carried one bottle and three gus. Gun went off and "there they go." The first mile and a half is a nice climb. This kinda knocked me down pretty good. I have to admit, although I wasn't feeling great, had phlegm to share with all willing runnners, I had a fleeting hope that all the training I'd done this year would magically carry me to a fine and dandy result. After this climb, the hope had one wing. As the race progressed, so did I. I just kept after it. I didn't feel great but I certainly wasn't going to start walking or tip toeing. One wing don't fly. The up and down was fairly constant. It never let up. As we moved to an adjacent valley the climbing really kicked in. In short, we summited at the back of the huge valley where the race was sorta housed (I posted pics a while ago of "the valley," where they shot, I guess, some of "Lost" and "Jurassic Park"). As we summitted I had reached some pretty good runners. I talked with a guy from Vancouver for a while. Told him to come to Cali, that I wanted to go to Canada (was I actually thinking about a house swap for month, say, in July?? No but I shoulda - a lot of Canadians in Hawaii by the way). Any way, as we dropped back into the valley, it was a mud slide. There was a rope along the path - we just kept our feet, used the rope to avoid slip and slide and just got to the harder surface below to letter ride. And I did. I felt okay but just didn't have that fire. Totally lame. So, I/we figure pretty much a run back through the valley to the finish and all done? Well, I didn't read the description. We run back through the finish (wife's taking a picture, son is reaching up to grab me) but have to keep going to do the first 5k loop again. I knew by the Garmin that we were only at mile 10, but stranger things have happened (they had 2 porta potties for 700? runners). That mile and a half climb that started the race met us on this last loop. It was pouring rain (not a big deal) but I was totally over it. I ran better than I thought I would, but still sucked. I walked some of the last climb. Healthy and fired-up and trained according to my program, I would have broken 2 hours. I know it. Instead, 2:05 and change. Oh well. It was still fun and Jack had a great time. He ran a little race himself.

That night, the xterra after party was at our hotel (total coincidence). We shared a table with Ben Bruce and his girl (he finished 2nd - he's a pro) and got to talk shop a little. He was waiting for his buddy, Max King who won the thing running just sub 6:00 pace. WTF???? Got to meet him. In my next post, I'll reflect on the year (what a killer year) and loook ahead to 2009. I think the reflection and thank yous will very much explain the year to come. I have a lot to talk about. Here are some more pics.

Are we having fun yet?

Someone got leied. . .check out the kid's form!
We had dinner at Duke's. This is our Duke.
When we were done with this place. . .
we made our way to this place. . .

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Part One

I'm in Maui. I finished 8th in my age-group. It was brutal. Here are the results. Pictures, for some reason, won't up-load. That's all I have for now, but I have more.

I'm fat, sick and really need this break. Hawaii is genius. Ya'll be cool.

to be continued. . .