"The goal is to become the unique, awesome, never to be repeated human being that we were called to be." -Patricia Deegan

Monday, January 31, 2011

Barefooting, Summer Training Comp, and Ultrarunning Seminar

A few things to update.

First of all, I received this article on barefoot running, which was timely, as I'd just completed a 20k run in my KSO 5 Fingers. Not too much new in the article, but to hear Benno Nigg changing his story after all these years of research and shoe design is interesting.

The Summer Training Competition: I've uploaded 5 training inspirational stories onto my website from January. Look to them for motivation and perhaps a chuckle or two. And send me your stories for February - don't hesitate to get out there and make it good! (Just stay safe, kids!)

I posted my own Saturday long run on the website - a 33k 1200 mtr heat slog with excellent company. Didn't carry the camera, sorry - just couldn't bear the thought of the extra weight on me (no excuse, I know).

I shifted my long run to Saturday because I had been asked to speak at the Ultra Running Seminar at the Western Australian Marathon Club on Sunday afternoon. I was a bit worried I might have one of those "bonus k" runs and end up late! There were 4 of us on the panel - I was billed as the "baby" of the group, which was certainly pleasing as a 41 year old. Here's the group outside on tea break.

There was some great advice presented by some very accomplished ultrarunners - no, I'm not talking about my own talk, but I'm sure it was fantastic, too ;)

I took some notes and tweaked a few things on my website based on my learnings. There's always more to learn. I really appreciated all the scientific questions from the crowd - about nutrition, electrolytes, compression, NSAIDS/pain relievers, supplements.... There was some wonderful brainstorming one-on-one, too, searching for answers to "what are the definitively best poles for trail racing?" and "how do you stop muscle spasms?"

We added a few more names to our trail running group, as well, so hope to see some more lovers of the hills and dirt come out to join us soon.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Euphemisms and a Summer Training Comp?

Euphemism. A substitution for an expression that may offend or suggest something unpleasant to the receiver, using instead an agreeable or less offensive expression. (definition courtesy of Wikipedia)

For example, "washroom" in Canada instead of "toilet." He "passed away" instead of he "died."

Tendinitis instead of tendinopathy. An itis sounds so much better than an opathy, doesn't it? But research I've read suggests that tendons don't (often?ever?) inflame. So you shouldn't use "itis" on them. It should be "opathy."

Still, when it comes to my own personal tendons, I like "itis." That sounds like something I can fix in a few hours. Some ice, maybe a screwdriver. A day off, even. But an "opathy?" Well, that sounds like something you need surgery for. Don't like that at all.

All this musing in the way of saying I'm now working with some opathy in my legs. Martin Fryer, a brilliant Aussie ultrarunner, says he has 3 beings inside him - the mongrel, the hippy, and the scientist. I have 3 as well, but they are - the physio, the coach, and the addicted runner. They have looooog conversations about things like opathies.

For now, I'm still running and working with slight modifications to see if I can fix myself without a month off.

Enough of that - now for the 2nd topic - a Summer Training Competition of sorts?

I've been having some good conversations with runners, sharing our "war stories" of brutal training runs in the WA heat. This sharing has provided a motivation for my own running. I'm wondering if it helps others as well. So, I'm thinking, people should email me with their best training stories for January and February and at the end of February I'll pick a winner. Can't say how at this point. Maybe I'll do a random draw or maybe we'll go by vote. I'll post the stories on a page on my website on an ongoing basis. I've already heard stories about pyramid training midday at 37 degrees and running in the middle of the night to avoid the heat. And then there was the guy who bought a $2500 treadmill to run at work up north that took over a month to arrive, got soaked in the rain, and doesn't work. And I bet there's at least one "running out of water" story from January I haven't heard yet.

The prize? Well, it should be cold, that's a given:

a 4 pack of chilled Hopman's Premium Pale de-alcoholised "beer"
a Cobber cooling neck wrap (you might like this at the WA Track Race in March)
a 6 pack of 1.5 ltr water (to use as caches for those long runs??)
a 1.5 ltr garden mister (like they recommend for Badwater)
a single serve packet of Hammer Heed Electrolyte drink, Recoverite drink, and Perpetuem.

So, send me your training stories from January and keep 'em coming for February :)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Was it Something I Said?

Only two takers today for the Sunday long run. And one of them turned back after 13k.

I advertised today's trail run as 30k. But then I mentioned "grippy shoes" for the "steeper hills." And then there was the part about the run being "various trails" that eventually hook into the Munda Biddi to Jarrahdale, although I'd never actually done it myself.

Maybe it was my warning that we could get lost? Or could get bonus k's?

I thought those were selling features, not something to scare them away :)

So the approximately 30k run was 42.5. Close.

1311 mtrs elevation. Now that's a beauty!

It was so good, in fact, I think I'm going back next Saturday. And then I'll do the marathon club's 5k/10k hill race on Sunday for a little mental training/speed work on the tired legs.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Q&A last week in Colorado with Krupicka, Roes, et al

Some guy got a video of the Q&A in Boulder. Cool.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

More on Heat Training

It's definitely a topic coming up often in emails and during runs these days. How do we keep up the training in WA's summertime (alternatively, I know people in western Canada right now trying to manage their training in extreme cold and with ice and snow making terrain treacherous for cars and feet alike).

Since I'm here in WA, I'm certainly more focused on how to train in the extreme heat. Questions arise like:

"How do I motivate myself to get out the door?"
"Is it safe to exert myself much in midday heat?"
"Is it counter-productive in any way to train midday or do I need to be going out at 5 AM?"

There are other questions like "Why?" but they can probably only be answered by philosophers.

Well, I found a couple interesting articles today that have helped my motivation. Both of these are from the Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise from 2008. If you're not a stats detail person, cut to the chase highlighted in orange. I'm going to start trying to chill my hydration bladder from now on - I never do!

Cold Drink Ingestion Improves Exercise Endurance Capacity in the Heat
Lee, JK, Shirreffs, SM, & Maughan, RJ.
pp. 1637-1644

Purpose: To investigate the effect of drink temperature on cycling capacity in the heat.
Methods: On two separate trials, eight males cycled at 66 +/- 2% VO2 peak (mean +/- SD) to exhaustion in hot (35.0 +/- 0.2 degrees C) and humid (60 +/- 1%) environments. Participants ingested three 300-mL aliquots of either a cold (4 degrees C) or a warm (37 degrees C) drink during 30 min of seated rest before exercise and 100 mL of the same drink every 10 min during exercise. Rectal and skin temperature, heart rate, and sweat rate were recorded. Ratings of thermal sensation and perceived exertion were assessed.
Results: Exercise time was longer (p <0.001) with the cold drink (63.8 +/- 4.3 min) than with the warm drink (52.0 +/- 4.1 min). Rectal temperature fell by 0.5 +/- 0.1 degrees C (p < 0.001) at the end of the resting period after ingestion of the cold drinks. There was no effect of drink temperature on mean skin temperature at rest (p = 0.870), but mean skin temperature was lower from 20 min during exercise with ingestion of the cold drink than with the warm drink (p < 0.05). Heart rate was lower before exercise and for the first 35 min of exercise with ingestion of the cold drink than with the warm drink (p < 0.05). Drink temperature influenced sweat rate (1.22 +/- 0.34 and 1.40 +/- 0.41 L/h for the cold and the warm drink, respectively, p<0.05). Ratings of thermal sensation and perceived exertion (p<0.01) during exercise were lower when the cold drink was ingested.
Conclusion: Compared with a drink at 37 degrees C, the ingestion of a cold drink before and during exercise in the heat reduced physiological strain (reduced heat accumulation) during exercise, leading to an improved endurance capacity (23 +/- 6%).

Thermoregulatory Responses to Constant Versus Variable-Intensity Exercise in the Heat
Mora-Rodriguez, R., Del Coso, J., & Estevez, E.
pp. 1945-1952

Purpose: To compare the thermoregulatory responses between constant (CON) and variable-intensity exercise (VAR) in a dry-hot environment (36 degrees C, 29% relative humidity, and 2.5 ms airflow).
Methods: In a random order, seven endurance-trained heat-acclimated subjects cycled either at 60% VO2max (CON) or alternating 1.5 min at 90% VO2max with 4.5 min at 50% VO2max (VAR). Total work output (915 +/- 100 kJ) and exercise duration (90 min) were identical in both trials.
Results: Net metabolic heat production was not different between trials (394 +/- 12 vs 408 +/- 11 Wm for VAR vs CON). However, heat storage (60 +/- 3 vs 48 +/- 4 W.m), the increase in rectal temperature (1.6 +/- 0.1 vs 1.3 +/- 0.1 degrees C), and final heart rate (HR; 147 +/- 5 vs 141 +/- 4 beats/min) were all higher for VAR than for CON (p < 0.05). During VAR, averaged forearm skin blood flow (SkBF) was lower, whereas whole-body sweat rate (1.23 +/- 0.1 vs 1.11 +/- 0.1 L/h) and dehydration (2.8 +/- 0.1 vs 2.5 +/- 0.2%) were higher than during CON (p < 0.05). Final blood lactate during VAR was higher than during CON (3.5 +/- 0.4 vs 2.1 +/- 0.3 mmol/L; p < 0.05).
Conclusion: Ninety minutes of variable-intensity exercise in a hot environment increases heat storage and fluid deficit in comparison to the same amount of work performed in a constant-load mode. VAR increases not only thermal (i.e., heat storage) but also cardiovasculaar (i.e., heart rate) and metabolic (i.e., blood lactate) stresses, which makes it less advisable than CON when the goal is to minimise physiological stress.

Monday, January 17, 2011

A New Partnership

I've just come home from a meeting with the fellows at Montane and we seem to have hit it off well. Their motto of "Further. Faster." definitely works for me!

Montane clothing is carried at Mainpeak. Their Venture jacket was part of my gear at the Espresso 24 Hr AR last winter and for the one day 46k Stirling Ranges Ridge-Top-Walk. Montane also sponsors some epic races such as the Atacama Crossing and the Yukon Arctic Ultra (I was going to do this one in 2008, but got accepted to come to Oz, so couldn't do both). We're now in the process of sorting out the nitty gritty details, as I plan my 2011-2012 calendar.

I'm going to need that 2 hr run later today just to burn off all the excitement-energy!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Rest Month

I survived. One rest month complete. Since the 6 Inch Trail Marathon, my weekly totals were 50k, 70k (the one that started to get away on me), 48k, and 51k. I found it a little easier to keep the mileage down this past week, as I was in a retreat and could only run from 1 PM - 2.30 PM, during peak heat. 8k of trails was a monumental effort and I found myself several times cowering in a patch of shade, trying to cajole myself into moving on.

I'm still sorting out a few niggles with all the experts, but nothing has been holding back my running at this point.

This week I'll be sitting down to finish hammering out the 2011 race calendar (as much as one can ever predict the future). I've got a template built and it's getting close. I'm very excited!

Friday, January 7, 2011


Okay, it's still a work-in-progress and I'm incredibly nervous about sharing it, but it's time to provide the link.

I started building this for two reasons. One is that my blog seems to be getting a bit crowded and I thought a website would index some information better (or maybe it's just that I don't know how to use a blog well enough yet). The second reason for the website is that I wanted a more "librarian" style means of sharing some of the information I've gathered over the past few years.

I'm doing it myself, which is why it looks like a 5 year old built it. So you're welcome to critique content, but not design ;)

For all you local guys under 40: Don't forget about Joanne's research study at Edith Cowan Joondalup - she's still in need of 4 endurance athletes (running for at least a year, 40 k/wk minimum). Perks are (1) that altruistic helping feeling (2) getting your VO2max (3) finding out whether you have leg strength imbalances and (4) bragging rights about being electrocuted while doing resistance work!

Office phone: (08) 6304 5819

Email: j.trezise@ecu.edu.au

And, no, I didn't get swimming this week. But I did get a great run in the sand on Wednesday - and with the incoming tide, I was almost swimming a few times :)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Swimming Challenge

While enjoying fantastic company in a fantastic location, running along the Bibbulmun Track on Sunday, there was some banter about people who raise money for charity by doing some sporty thing-or-other.

I said there was no way I could ever raise money for charity with my running, because people already expect me to do silly things. They'd just say, "Yeah, you would have done it anyway." And they'd be right.

So one of the guys offers a sizeable donation to charity if I swim to Rottnest Island (that's 19 kms away. In the ocean. With jellyfish. Ewww. Forget the sharks, it's the jellyfish that creep me out. At least with a shark you're dead). And then there's that small part about how I can't swim.

Considering perhaps the excessive danger of it all (for me, that is - lots of talented people can swim to Rotto), he offered an alternate: swim 20 kms in a pool.

Now I can't put the darn idea out of my mind. Hurdle 1: Find a pool willing to stay open 24 hrs. Hurdle 2: Find out how you avoid turning into a prune by being submerged 24 hrs. Hurdle 3: Swim 800 laps of a 25 mtr pool.

It's really just a track race, right?

In other news, I saw the Assn of Cdn Ultrarunners accepted and posted my 6 Hr W40 record. I'd love to have a crack at a 100k now, but the timing seems all wrong with the heat of Oz summer on us. I need cool weather to try to maximise chances of success.

On Saturday I did trail maintenance on my section of the Munda Biddi - so there's 10k where you shouldn't brush up against any parrot bush. I had one embarrassing going-too-slow-in-the-thick-pea-gravel spill - very rusty after garaging the bike since the Espresso AR.

Now, enough writing...let's all get back out there to enjoy our training in the 40 degree heat (well, those of us in WA, at least)! Remember, it's altitude training :)