Saturday, October 23, 2010

A lot of interesting info, really

I will try to keep this post as short as possible without my usual blahblahblah.

Tomorrow is LA Rock 'n Roll 1/2marathon. The one I started training for in May and ended one month later because of ITB...

Nevertheless I decided to go to the expo for an hour or so to pick up some free stuff. I was mostly interested in running magazines. It was a pretty nice expo as far as I can say since I saw only 3 expos in my life.
But unfortunately they did not have any magazines there:( But those 33 miles I did to get there and back were worth it. (I biked there of course, buses are for pussies (what a nice rhyme) or for people who have some kind of responsibilities like kids and therefore cannot afford to get hit by car and die).

So 1 hour I said. Ok, I have spent almost 5 hours there!!!!
I pretty much ate enough bars, gels and whatever to keep me energized for a month or so. (I was hoping to try some Gu. I have an impression from blogs I read that everybody eats Gu during runs or races. Honestly, I had no idea what Gu was until like 4 months ago...But there was no Gu tasting at Expo:() and I have a backpack full of bars and other stuff that should last me for couple weeks. (Ok, I know myself and it will be probably finished by the end of next week)
Now back to focus because I promised to keep this short and do not deviate too much. I am sorry but I am such a poor writer and I have no idea how my applications essays got me into business school.

As I said, it was all worth it especially because they had some guests there speaking. They had Matt Fitzgerald (I think people know who he is, a sport scientist dude, he talked about an ideal racing Weight), Deena Kastor (everyone knows who she is, right?), Frank Shorter (won Olympic marathon gold medal in 1972) and Greg Meyer (last American to win the Boston Marathon in 1983).
There were discussions with them and it was sooooo interesting. I was a dork taking notes:)
So here is a couple of info I consider the most interesting:

62% participants in this year's LA 1/2 are women!!!! Isn't that just cool? Clearly we are behind times when people thought that anything longer than 800m will lead to uterus falling out...

Sport drinks are reproduction of human sweat. Sounds nasty but the scientists did research on human sweat and then tried to recreate it in a drink so that the drink provides all salts that people loose by sweating. FS said that those first drinks really tasted like sweat and not your own, but somebody else's:)
Different people have a different composition of sweat therefore some prefer Gatorate to Powerade and to other drinks. Everyone should try to find drink that suits her the best.

Barefood running: Everybody knows that Abebe Bikila won the marathon in 1960 running barefoot so people think that it is good. However, do people ever think about the fact that in 1964 he ran in shoes and run a faster time? He was a person who trained all his life barefoot and then when he put shoes on he was faster...

Carbsloading is not that important before a 1/2 because human body has enough glycogen in muscles and liver to last for a half (well, this was said by FS, so he might be little bias and be talking about people who run a 1/2 in 1:10...). However, for the marathon carbsloading is important.

Matt Fitzgerald (I thought he was an old dude, but he is pretty young actually) talked about an ideal racing weight. It was pretty interesting. he said that there is no formula or anything to calculate one's ideal racing weight, you can only estimate it but it is almost never exact. When you ask an elite runner or biker what his racing weight is, he knows the exact number. That's because he tried racing at different weights and then determined what his ideal weight is. You would know your ideal weight retrospectively.
He also talked about balancing energy sources. Older saying is that you should get your calories from carbs/fat/protein in this ratio: 40:30:30. However, each person is different and training methods are different. For example, an average American runner gets 40% of his calories from carbs, but an elite Kenyan runner get 78% of his calories from carbs!
Also nutrition timing is important. One should synchronize his caloric intake and expenditure. He talked about "front loading"- get enough energy before workout, do not eat a lot after. Because if you do not have enough energy for a workout body goes into saving mode and stores calories you eat afterwards as fat.

Deena Kastor talked a bit about 2008 Olympics when she broke her leg 3miles into the race. Because she is very prone to skin cancer she avoids sun so she did not get enough D vitamin and therefore did not absorb enough Calcium and developed osteoporosis that she did not know about, which lead to the fracture. And this is an elite marathoner working with the best coaches, nutritionists etc!!!!

And one last idea that I consider really interesting and that made me think (I was so absorbed thinking about this that I missed my turn on my way back home and prolonged my ride by 3 miles...). They talked about taking risks. GM was not an excellent runner in college (never NCAA champion or something similar) but he took a risk after college. He had refused a job offer (which freaked out his mother) and decided to only train for couple months and see where it can get him. And obviously it has paid off.
I have always wanted to do a triathlon. Since I was a kid. I do not know how old I was (sixth/seventh grade?), I read an interview with two guys from Czech Rep who did Kona. They talked about how hard it was, how they ended up getting blood transfusions at the end but they said that it was incredible. Then I told to myself that I want to try that when I am older (not necessarily Kona, but any Ironman). I am from a small town, plus back than nobody did triathlons in Slovakia, so of course I could not join a club or something similar so I just continue running. I love running, and have always been a runner. But maybe it is time to move forward and really go for triathlons. But I cannot decide. I still want to see whether I can run sub-18 5k (and I think I have found a person to help me get there). But I want to do an Ironman in the future. Should I take the risk of maybe never being able to run sub-18 5k and stop being a pure runner and move to triathlon training? In my mind you cannot combine those two things (fast running times and bike/swim/run training), because I do not think I am talented enough to be able not only run and still run fast times. Or aren't they mutually exclusive? I should probably ask someone who actually knows this stuff. Any triathletes out there? Or suggestions who to ask?
People say that when you are old you only regret things you did, there is only few things you did you regret.
But ok, I am "only" 26 (soon). I can still do a triathlon when I am 40, right? (But what if I am a triathlon prodigy and then it will be too late? Just kidding.)

I just do not know. But I think I will decide next year after I know what I am going to do after I am done with school in June.

Oh, and I almost forgot. I did an easy 6 miler today.

And tomorrow back to my usual nonsensy writing. I have so much Expo trivia to talk about but I cannot because I promised to keep it serious for today:(


  1. OMG sprots drink that exactly mimics human sweat sounds like such an irritating marketing trick. It won't make any difference in people's performance. Plus it tastes like sweat?! Ok - MAYBE in a 24 hour race or 100 miler it would make an ever-so-slight difference, but NOT in a ½ marathon. People really do need to focus more on training and less on spending money.

    Whew. Sorry I got so mad there.

    As far as ideal racing weight, I think it can change in the same person depending on what their diet is. I think you can "get away" with weighing less if your diet is close to ideal.

    I won't argue with anything else - it was interesing info. Thanks! I'm just sad you're not running :(.

  2. Thanks for all the info. I had no idea about frontloading, makes a lot of sense to me:)

    So, my 2 cents. I think you are young and should focus on shorter distances (so get your sub 18 5K) in running and triathlons. You can run fast and swim and bike. Meb Keflinsky bikes a ton, for ex. Some say swimming improves your VO2max. Give it a few years and then think about marathons and ironmans. You could certainly do marathons now, but I do believe you only have a certain nr of marathons in your legs. You are talented and have a coach, so listen to her/him and move up gradually into the longer stuff. You have plenty of times. And about having regrets, I believe in being proud and OK with all decisions you've ever made. Regrets don't help

  3. SLG, I have never thought about sport drinks and what exactly they are supposed to do to you because I have never used them so I found that info pretty interesting. But it makes sense, doesn't it? To reproduce what goes out with sweat so that you get it back in a drink. I should pick one in a store next time to see what the nutritional values are. SF only mentioned that because someone asked him and then he said that if you eat right, no need for sport drinks. He said that taking a tortilla, spread a peanut butter on it and wrap it around a banana gives you the same nutrients (salts). I actually tried that this morning before my bike ride:)
    But I completely agree that some people should concentrate more on their training as a way to improve and not on whatever they see in commercials that manufacturers claim is magically going to help them to run faster.
    I have no idea about racing weight. I am not really interested in that, but maybe I should be....I have mentioned couple months ago that maybe I should try to loose some weight and see what it gives. Well, guess what? I love chocolate and candy way too much:)
    And do not feel bad about me not running. I am doing a 5k race next Sunday and I am sure I will enjoy that more than a 1/2marathon.

    Running and living, it sounds reasonable, you are probably right. I still have time for long stuff and should concentrate on shorter races. But don't you have to train for years and years before you can actually do a decent Ironman and not die?
    But I am worried that if I start doing more bike and swim and stop concentrating on running only, then I can never run fast. Hm, but I will never know until I try, right?