Monday, November 26, 2012

IRH Thanksgiving Day Race Results

Distance                 5.0 Miles
Overall Place           80 / 924
Division Place         14 / 55
Gender Place           69 / 485
Total Time           34:47 (6:57/mile)

I felt better than expected during this race considering my lackluster training this time of year. I guess the climbing I've been getting in on the trails has helped my hill running. 

The first mile was pretty crowded, so even though it was flat early on, I only managed a 7:28 mile. 

Mile 2 was all uphill and I was happy to knocking it out in 7:20 while still feeling in control. 

Mile 3 doesn't have any big climbs, but a few rollers. I ran a 6:52 and had lots left in the tank for a quick downhill run to finish. 

Mile 4 is all downhill and while that sounds fun, it's hard to maintain control when gravity wants to pull you faster. I was actually passing people coming down the hill and ran mile 4 in 6:36.

I was still feeling strong, so I decided to increase my pace slightly and then wait until there was only about a 1/4 mile left before going into a full sprint. This turned out to be a good strategy as I passed two guys at the end that pulled the trigger too early when they passed me with a mile to go - they just ran out of juice. I ran the last mile in 6:24. 

I shaved almost two minutes off of my time from this race in 2010, so despite feeling out of shape and slightly heavy, I'm happy with the results. As always, nice job by the Iroquois Hill Runners and Swag's crew.

After the race, Jessica and the kids were pretty cold, so we quickly hopped in the car and headed over to my parent's for a Thanksgiving post-race meal ever!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

IHR Thanksgiving Day Run Race Preview

I love Iroquois Park. I grew up a block away from it and when I first started running, I did the majority of my runs in the park. The constant hills were good training grounds for me. I know the road that loops around the bottom of the park better than any 3 mile stretch in the world. 

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and every year (for the past 32 years) the Iroquois Hill Runners (IHR) have held a 5 mile race at the park. The races doesn't loop around the road that I know so well - it starts on this road, but then heads straight up a huge climb (200+ feet) to the top of the park. You basically run uphill for 2.5 miles, then turn around and run downhill back to the start. Fun times.

Despite my love for the park, I have only run this race once in the past. I did the race in 2010, just a few weeks removed from the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. The weather was horrible that day. It was a little chilly and it rained from the time I pulled in the parking lot until I drove off after the race. I remember being a little disappointed in my time that day; but more than anything, I just wanted to get out of there, dry off and eat some turkey!

The goal tomorrow is to just have fun and get in a good workout. This is an "offseason" race, so I haven't really been training for it and I know I'm far from being in peak race shape. I'm about 5-7 pounds heavy and I haven't done any speed work in months. If I had a goal, it would be to try and set a PR for this course...which is currently 36:36.

One last thing that I would like to mention in regards to Thanksgiving and eating in general this time of year. While I still try and eat healthy and clean even in the offseason, I have given in to a few sweets and second helpings over the last few months (thus the extra 5-7 pounds). I will also be enjoying all of the typical Thanksgiving Day foods that I normally steer clear of. I'll have some rolls and even a few sugar-packed desserts over the next few days. Keeping all that in mind, you don't have to go crazy over the holidays and add unnecessary weight. You can enjoy all of your favorites without going overboard. Here is a link to a post I did last year at this time...Food Guide for the Holiday's.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Trail Running

I never knew what I was missing!

After the triathlon season is over, several of my tri-buds like to run trails. I thought about doing it last winter, but never got around to it. This year I knew that I wanted to give it a try, so I went out and bought a pair of trail running shoes a little over a month ago. The next step was to find some actual trails to run. I figured that most parks around Louisville would have trails...I was wrong. I'm sure that there are some short trails somewhere in Cherokee, Seneca and Iroquois Park, but I was looking for a real challenge. I knew that there were trail races at Jefferson Memorial Forest, so I decided to start there.

After finding some maps online, I headed to JMF for my first ever trail run. I was only planing on doing a few miles, and I had literally had no idea how fast I would be. I ran a trail called the Yost Ridge Trail. It starts off going straight up a heart rate immediately jumped into the 160's and I knew I was in for a good workout. I managed to only go about two and a half miles, but I learned a lot in that 20 minutes.

I learned that trail running is NOTHING like road running. Sure, you put one foot in front of the other just like you do on the road, but on a trail, you better keep your eyes firmly planted on the misstep and all kinds of bad things can happen. Tree roots, rocks, fallen limps...these are all things that require you to make split-second decisions and plant each foot very carefully. The hills on trails are like nothing I have ever encountered on a road. Some inclines are so steep (15% grade) that I literally have to use my hands to help me crawl up. I also learned that you can throw pace out the window when running on the trails. A 9 minute mile would be a slow jog for me on a road, but on a trail, it's about as fast as I can go. My "speed" up some long climbs is closer to 12-13 minutes per mile. Coming back down the hills is actually harder. The trails I have been on are very technical and narrow. There's no time to "open it up" and run down the hill fast like you can on a road. I have a couple of ankle sprains and a head-first wipe out to prove it! The uneven nature of a trail enlists some muscles that are not used while running on the road. Stability in the ankles, feet and knees is very important. Ever since my Grade 3 sprain back in December of 2010, I have incorporated some ankle strength exercises into my routine. I thought that this had given me strong ankles...I was wrong. Any trail run I do now includes some kinesio tape on my right ankle for added support.

This time of year, actually seeing the trail is pretty tricky. Fallen leaves cover the trail, so there are lots of times when I'm just running...assuming that I'm still on the trail. They have white dots painted on trees next to the trail every so often (see image above), so it's always nice to see one of those and know that you are still on course.

After only four trail runs, I can honestly say that I love it! I look forward to my Sunday afternoon trail runs more than my road work during the week. I love a challenge, so I've run on the difficult Siltstone Trail the last two weeks. Check out this elevation chart from my run this past weekend:

4700+ feet of elevation change over the 6.2 miles!

I have my first trail race coming up in a month. It's an 8 mile run at Otter Creek that is supposed to be very challenging. I have no idea what this trail looks like or how fast I am on trails compared to others. That's part of the excitement of trying something new! Hopefully this new form of running will benefit me come triathlon season!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What is Prop 37?

Yesterday was election day here in the United States. Everyone was focused (rightly so) on the race for the White House, but there was a bill on the ballot in California that had my attention.

Proposition 37 would have required that most foods containing genetically modified ingredients carry a "Made with GMO" label on the box. Whether you know it or not, genetically engineered corn and soy are pretty prevalent in processed/packaged foods (as much as 80% contain them) these days. The dangers of GMO (genetically modified organisms) foods is a highly contested. GMO's are designed to be pest and drought resistant and produce more crops. They use labs to create foods that are a mix of genes from different organisms in combinations that would never naturally occur in nature. Supporters of GMO's claim that they are safe and are needed to solve global food production problems. Not surprisingly, the main supporters of GMO's are not farmers or consumers (even those in areas of the world that are facing food shortages), but Big Agriculture. It's no surprise that most GMO's have been banned in European countries...just like artificial coloring.

A quick Google search will turn up several studies that link GMO's to significant "organ disruptions" or organ failure in rats and mice. GMO's also have insecticides IN them. This alone should be enough for you to be concerned. They are new enough (most developed in the last 10 years) that no one has a clue to their long term effects on humans. Bottom line is that these are foods that the human body was not designed to digest and use as fuel. What you put into your body determines how you feel and look not only on a daily basis but also long term.

So back to this Prop 37 measure. It was defeated 53% to 47%. Why wouldn't people want to know if a food they were eating contained GMO's? Because they believe what they see on TV. Big Agra spent $46 million in advertising to insure that they would not have to label their packages. Here's a complete list of companies that forked over the cash. They include Pepsi, Kraft, Bayer, Nestle, Coca-Cola, Kellogg, General Mills, Del Monte, Mars, Hershey, Campbell Soup, Sara get the point. The biggest contributor on the list was Monsanto...the biotech company that makes the GMO seeds!

So what did the ads say that scared people into voting no to the labeling? They were told that their groceries would cost more and that GMO's were safe. Here's an example:

So there you have it. Companies don't want to tell you what's in the food they are producing for you.  This is just another example of how big money talks. If nothing else, I hope this Prop 37 draws national attention to GMO's and people will think twice about buying ANYTHING that comes in a box! So what else can you do to avoid GMO's? 
  • Look for foods that are labeled "GMO free"
  • Shop organic. If they have an organic label, they must contain less than 5% GMO products)

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