The perfect recovery drink for runners

I’ve been running now for almost 3 years. Sometimes after a run I’m shot. Exhausted. Breathing hard. Just not feeling great.  

After my last half marathon I had this type of feeing. I pushed hard during the race as I generally try to  do. I figure that I want to look back and enjoy the results. Momentary discomfort is totally worth it when you PR or just know you did your best. There is a need to be wise and not hurt yourself, but the feeling after a hard workout or race is awesome. 

Okay. The drink. I’m sure I am not alone in knowing this, but it took years for me to figure out the best drink after a tough workout. Beer!

So after my last half marathon I wasn’t doing well. I drank Gatorade, water, chocolate milk and after 30 minutes I was still not doing well. I found myself at the beer tent and had my 1 beer that they offered. Within minutes I was back to my old self. My mind was clear and I was no longer tired in the slightest. 

I kept that experience tucked away for 8 months.  Fast forward to the recent increase in my running.  My first long run was tough. Very tough. I couldn’t get myself to relax and knew it was about to become a long day.  I was driving home and decided to get a Gatorade at a local supermarket. I was exhausted. Then I recalled my half marathon experience. I decided to try it. I went to the beer isle at 9:00 on a Saturday morning.  I ended up with the non-alcoholic beer, Odules (it was 9:00 ūüôā ).  I got to the car and downed one before I even put the keys in the ignition. 

In minutes I felt awesome.  Just like my half marathon, I had a 180 turnaround and felt like I never had an issue.

I now try to keep a recovery beer with me on all workouts. I had a really hard workout this weekend while visiting my mom in PA. I ran 13 miles with 2200 ft climb and when I finished… I needed a recovery beer. I took it out of the fridge and in a minute or two my breathing went to normal, my mind cleared and I felt great. 

Once again, this may not be big news to most runners, but it t really is a miracle recovery drink.  

Beer. I knew it was good for something. 

Tom

Running/mountains/life – the good, bad and the…

One thing I’ve learned since I began running in March of 2011… some days you feel like superman and some you don’t.

Yesterday TJ, RS and I went to the mountain to do our weekly run. ¬†If you have read this blog at all over the past several months, you will know that I found this crazy road going up a mountain in our local state park. ¬†I’ve run it many times now. ¬†A few weeks ago, TJ coaxed me into going further past the top of the mountain. ¬†There is a long hill that goes down and then a very steep climb up to the end of the road. ¬†By the time we leave the car and make it back, we run about 7.5 miles on the mountain.

Back to my starting sentence. ¬†Yesterday I didn’t feel like superman. ¬†We started our run (RS likes to run alone, so he left after us) and my legs had no¬†strength. ¬†They honestly felt like rubber. ¬†I kept racking my brain as to why this would be. ¬†I hydrated well this weekend and last week. ¬†I eat well. ¬†I slept better then normal. ¬†Also I walked Friday and took Saturday of. ¬†I should have been smokin!

Not!

I figured by the time we got going my legs would wake up. ¬†They didn’t. ¬†I got to the top of the mountain and felt like I was on mile 20 of a marathon. ¬†I was shot. ¬†What kept me going? ¬†Other then being almost 4 miles away from the car and running with TJ, I kept thinking to myself, “This will help my legs get used to running tired – like at mile 20 of a marathon”.

So I finished. ¬†It wasn’t pretty, but I didn’t walk. ¬†I pushed through. ¬†To be honest, coming down the mountain was the worse! ¬†I had to concentrate to keep my legs from giving way as we pounded down the steep inclines.

Running really does mirror life sometimes.  There are days when you wake up and you feel like you are at mile 20.  It is not only hard to get going, but it can be hard to keep going.  But we have to keep our eyes on the prize and push through.  Every up also has a down and every down has an up.  Life is never going to stay as good as you feel right now or as bad.  Life means change.  When you are tired, just keep going.  When you are happy, be thankful.  When you are sad, know that one day you will be happy again, whether you feel like you will be or not.

Before I sign off I want to congratulate RS who made it to the top of the mountain for the first time. ¬†As we were coming back, we passed him. ¬†I told him he made it and he said, “Really?”. ¬†He didn’t know he had made it to the top! ¬†Hmmm. ¬†Seems like life also. ¬†Sometimes we have everything we ever wanted, we make it to the top of the mountain and don’t even know that we have arrived.

Running/mountains/life.  Gotta love it!

Tom

Fast slow run or Slow fast run

I decided to walk yesterday as after my run on Tuesday my back was not happy.

However, as I got about a half mile into my walk, I was feeling fine and thought that I’d try running slowly and with little pounding.

Confession: I have a hard time with a LSD (Long Slow Distance) or any slow distance. ¬†I don’t say this to brag, but to confess a weakness. ¬†When I run, I do run to feel, but after a bit I am running faster then I should on an easy run. ¬†Of course I have the faster runs down, but doing a fast run everyday is bad, not only for my body, but also for my mind. ¬†If I am running hard everyday, then I am always pushing myself and never just enjoying the run.

So my goal is to slow down, especially now that it is getting hot out.

Back to yesterday. ¬†I achieved my goal… sort of…

I managed to run about a minute a mile slower then my normal runs have been over the past month. ¬†It felt really good. ¬†I wasn’t huffing and puffing. ¬†I wasn’t tired. ¬†In fact I received a call about 2.5 miles into my run and answered in a normal conversational voice.

I have been reading about bloggers who are going beyond the marathon.  You ultra marathon runners really impress me.  A coworker had a friend in NY who ran 50 miles last weekend.  That would be a cool goal.  If I could just run at a pace that was comfortable and run longer, that would be awesome and maybe one day I could do something beyond what I have already accomplished.

My goal for the time being is to slow down, especially for the summer. ¬†I’ll keep running my mountains and doing faster runs and workouts, but on my normal average day, I will try to develop a running style that has much less impact and will allow me to go further with less effort.

Sounds like something I should have figured out before now… huh?

Tom

One of the best runs I’ve had!

I’ve looked forward to writing this post all night.

My run yesterday was… unusual to say the least!

It began by being asked by a guy in a truck to look for his missing dogs.  Sure!  No problem.

Then a dog about the size of my (new) Brooks PureFlow2 came running straight at me.  Seriously.  He was like a Kamikaze.  He got right up to me and then ran behind me barking.  I was afraid I would step on him and hurt him (or worse).

Then I ran by a house that has a dog that is always chained up in the front yard. ¬†He barks at me like I am his worse enemy. ¬†Each time I run by he comes running after me and then gets yanked by the chain. ¬†I wave and move on. ¬†HOWEVER, this time there was no chain. ¬†He ran at me, through the yard, into the street and looked like he was going to take me down. ¬†I was shocked. ¬†I just slowed down and told him “Stop”. ¬†He ran past and back into his yard. ¬†Talk about hair standing up on my head. ¬†Why didn’t these people have the dog tied up!!!

On the the good part of the run.

For some reason my phone kept switching from GPS to the accelerometer.  It did it 3 times in 2 miles.  Sadly when it was on the accelerometer it would measure my pace at walking pace.  So by the time I got to 2 miles, I was at a 9:00 average pace and I know I should have been around 8:20.  I finally stopped, rebooted my phone and then started again.  It did the accelerometer one more time and then finally kept with the GPS.

As I hit the middle of my run I started feeling great. ¬†My legs felt great, my new shoes had spring and I was moving. ¬†Since I don’t run sprints or and type of speed runs, I will race cars, buses and other runners to get my speed in. ¬†It is a psychological thing. If I hear a car coming up behind me and there is a stop sign ahead, I’ll try and beat it¬†to the sign. ¬†This gives me random moments of sprinting without having to make it a formal thing. ¬†Yesterday I beat 2 cars and ran by one (slow) jogger (who sped up as I passed. ¬†Seriously, I knew he wasn’t in great condition. Why speed up as I run past? ¬†Like a car on the interstate. ¬†You go to pass and they go from 60 Mph to 80. ¬†So annoying). ¬†Sorry for the rant.

Finally the really fun part. ¬†I know I was moving fast. ¬†I ended the last¬†two miles at my 5K pace which is usually reserved for races only. ūüôā

As I was on the¬†last leg of my run, I saw a young runner ahead of me, so my goal was to try to catch him. ¬†I honestly thought I couldn’t, but I wanted to try. ¬†As I was catching up he stopped to stretch. ¬†Ha. ¬†I caught him and was running below a 7:00 pace. ¬†As I passed, he looked at me and started to run with me. ¬†He asked how far I was going and I said I was just going a half mile. ¬†He asked if he could join since he only had that much more to run also. ¬†I said that would be great. ¬†I have never run with anyone in my neighborhood before other then my kids. ¬†We ran at a 7:00 pace and talked a bit. ¬†He said that he is going back into the military and trying to get back into shape. ¬†I got to tell him I weighed almost 300 lbs just 3 years ago and am getting ready for Nashville.

We got to the end of my run, shook hands, introduced ourselves and he turned to run home. ¬†I looked at my phone and I was at 7:03 for the last mile and only had .15 more to go to finish the mile. ¬†So I started running again. ¬†I watched my phone and my run wasn’t registering. ¬†Suddenly the dreaded words! ¬†“Switching to Accelerometer”. ¬† NOOOOOO. ¬†I stopped my run and looked. ¬†My 7:03 pace was now 7:18 and I didn’t finish the mile, however my overall pace dropped from 9:00 average at mile 3 to 8:21. ¬†I felt great! ¬†I love my mountain and ACV!

Here is a pic of my splits (oh and if you managed to read this whole post Рthanks.  I usually try to keep them short!).

IMG_1253

Riding the run

photo

As you can see, my run yesterday went really well. ¬†It was a bit different then most of my runs, and here is why…

First, I was messing around with my pebble watch and my iSmoothRun app. ¬†The app allows you to set any info on your screen for your run. ¬†It also allows you to set laps, so as you can see above, I pressed the lap button after the first 1.36 miles and my app showed me the laps after I finished. ¬†Honestly my watch messed up and stopped showing me my time. ¬†I hit a button by accident and couldn’t get it back. I was annoyed, but in a way it helped. ¬†I just ran to feel and ignored my watch. ¬†As you can see my last two miles were under an 8:00 mile and that includes several steep up hill runs. ¬†So I was very pleased when I finished.

On to another reason my run was different. ¬†This one was not good and reminded me of my marathon training. ¬†I had just gotten started running in my new¬†old shoes (the ones I found after I cussed the hotel for stealing them). ¬†Then the bone on my left foot that goes to my big toe started hurting. ¬†This happened on my last longish run with @BigBigGeek a week before my marathon. ¬†So annoying. ¬†I couldn’t tell if I tied my shoe too tight or what was causing the pain. ¬†So I stopped several times to loosen my shoe. ¬†Finally I just kept running and tried not to overdue it. ¬†I kept wondering if I should stop or keep going. ¬†I kept going.

Ultimately it¬†didn’t hurt my pace and as soon as I got home and took off my shoes my foot was fine. ¬†It was very strange as I couldn’t have loosened it any more then I did.

Oh well. ¬†Here’s hoping it doesn’t happen again this afternoon.

All in all things are going really well. ¬†My legs are getting stronger then they have ever been. ¬†Running sometimes feels like I am just riding the run, if that makes sense. It is like I am sitting on these “bionic” legs that are moving me forward. ¬†It is all pretty cool and exciting.

Feet, don’t fail me now…

Tom

 

A strange, dog rolling, race runners, mountain run day

It was quite an adventure.

TJ and I went to the state park to run up the mountain that we ran up a few weeks ago.  

As we started running the road that leads to the mountain road, suddenly 200 runners were coming at us. ¬†A race started the same time we started. ¬†Being understanding of not getting in anyone’s way, we had to run off the road and down an embankment. ¬†Finally we got to the end of the runners and continued on the road to get to the mountain.

Then something happened that I have never witnessed before…

We were running on the left side of the road facing traffic. ¬†A car went past us on the right. ¬†It wasn’t going too fast as the speed limit was only 25. ¬†The back window was down and a small dog was looking out it. ¬†Suddenly the dog jumped out the window. ¬†I couldn’t believe it. ¬†It landed on its legs and tumbled about 3 times, got up and walked to the side of the road to relieve itself. ¬†I was in shock. ¬†The car stopped and I went over to make sure it didn’t run away and the owner came over to get it. ¬†He said, “she’s never done that before…” ¬†The dog was fine, they got back in the car and kept going. ¬†Very strange.

Finally, TJ and I got to the narrow road that goes up the mountain. ¬†We did this once before so I knew what to expect. ¬†It is a 2 mile, 800 foot climb that takes you to the top of the mountain. ¬†Beautiful view, but hard to get there. ¬†The nice thing about this run is that I don’t normally run hard enough to get my heart racing. ¬†I mean, I was breathing as hard as I could. ¬†We got near the top and I checked my pulse. ¬†95. ¬†Wow, I am pushing as hard as I possibly can and my pulse isn’t even over a 100.

So we got to the top and started back down.  On our way I asked TJ if he thought it would be harder to run up the mountain or to ride a bike up.  As we were starting to head back down we passed two guys pushing their bikes up and a runner passing them by.  I guess it is easier to run up the mountain.

All in all, it was an 8 mile run and we finished 3 minutes faster than last time. ¬†We ran this run Saturday morning and I am still sore. ¬†It is a good sore though. ¬†I used muscles that I haven’t used in a long time. ¬†Our finishing pace was 8:50 which is really good for me.

So it was a satisfying day and a strange, dog rolling, race runner day.

It was a good weekend overall.

Back to work.

Tom

Running up a mountain

Top of the mountain

Top of the mountain

We ran… Up and up and up. ¬†Where was this road going?

TJ and I decided to run at the state park. ¬†We took a beginning route like @bigbiggeek and I ran the day before. ¬†But as we got to the end of the road, we decided to take the narrow “road” to the left rather than turn around.

It was nice.  Running in the shadow of a mountain up and down and around.

But then the downs went away and it was just up.  We ran up one hill that immediately turned into another hill and then up another.  It went around curves and then continued upward.  I looked to my right and the small drop off became a steep fall.

We reached about 2.5 miles of running and so far this one “hill” was 1 mile long. ¬†I had to stop and take a breath. ¬†Then back to running up the hill. ¬†1 mile up became 1.5 miles and then 2 miles. ¬†I had never run up hill for two miles straight. ¬†It became obvious that we weren’t running in the shadow of the mountain, we were running UP the mountain.

Finally the ups became more flat.  We were at 3.5 miles out and I wanted to get to 4 miles so that I would have an 8 mile day.

The picture above was one taken at the top.  We still had to run about a 10th of a mile to get in 4, so we continued on and then turned around to head back.

Cool trees

Cool trees

As we began to head back, I saw these cool trees overlooking Birmingham.  What a great view.

Heading back down the mountain

Heading back down the mountain

Finally we began our decent.  On our way up we saw no one.  No cars, no bikes and no runners.  On our way down we saw several cars going up and a few bikers heading up the mountain.  We flew down the road and around all the curves and to the bottom of the mountain in record time.  My legs felt like mile 20 of my marathon.  Shot.

We finally ended at the bottom of the mountain and got back on the road that would lead us to our car. ¬†I hadn’t realized how many hills we ran down in the beginning of our journey. ¬†So we had a mile and a half to go and it seem to be mostly uphill! ¬†I told TJ, my legs were shot. ¬†But then I thought of my marathon and that I needed to make my legs run, even with nothing left. ¬†So we pushed on. ¬†In fact that last mile we ran near my marathon pace.

Back to the main road

Back to the main road

Finally back to civilization.  TJ told me that we had just .5 miles to go.  I was never so happy to see the road and the park.

So I had a couple of unexpected firsts in the run yesterday with TJ. ¬†First we ran up a mountain which I never thought I would do, but it was an amazing experience. ¬†What a feeling of accomplishment for me to look out over the city while realizing I just ran 2 miles up hill. ¬†Second, I got in 8 miles which is the most since my marathon last fall. ¬†My hip wasn’t perfect, but it made it through and I feel fine today.

So the rest of the day was filled with football and burgers.

What a great day for a run.

More “Voices” from another run blogger!

More voices…

It is amazing how many people have had the same experiences as I in dealing with “The Voice” that continually speaks negative thoughts during a workout or run.

Another blogger, Mimi’s Getting Fit, just posted a great post talking about the same issue. ¬†When you get a chance, go read the post and also peruse her blog, you will be inspired and motivated after you see all that she has accomplished!

Yesterday, as I sat at the Chiropractor’s office waiting to be seen, I began pondering… ¬†“What, for me, would be the best way to stay positive about my workouts and long runs?” ¬†Good question, I answered. ūüôā

Hmmm. ¬†What really excites me about a particular run is the feeling just after I finish. ¬†As I sit on the back porch, throwing a stick to “The Dog” and look at the stats of my run; that is the best feeling. ¬†It is the feeling of accomplishment. ¬†The feeling of beating the odds. ¬†I never thought I’d be a runner, let alone one who likes his stats!

For instance yesterday, I ran hard hill workouts in 108 heat index and humidity. ¬†I only ran 4 miles overall, but they were good miles. ¬†I got home, soaked in sweat, and sat outside in that same 108 heat and felt great. ¬†The run wasn’t easy, but that feeling of accomplishment was so powerful.

I say all that to say this… Each day I am going to reach for that goal. ¬†The goal of enjoying the results of my runs. ¬†So when I head out to run (after getting up at 2:30 AM, working 10 hours, running to the store on the way home, then finally heading out in the summer heat to run) I am going to begin by thinking of the end. ¬†Thinking of the point of exhilaration I experience after a good workout. ¬†Thinking of the positive. ¬†SILENCING THE VOICE!!!

Everyone has a reason(s) they run, workout and or exercise. ¬†Everyone has a voice telling them at times that today just isn’t going to be a good day to go out and they need a break.

Recognize “The Voice” and defeat it with the very reason you run or exercise. ¬†Your motivation. ¬†For me, ¬†it is that feeling of, “Ahhh, what a great workout” and playing with “The Dog”!!!

My Kryptonite

Making running a habit has been the one thing that has kept me consistent and allowed me to do as well as I do running. ¬†Habits are amazing things. ¬†They can be great to get you up and out when you just don’t want to go or feel to tired to get out. ¬†I run 6 days a week and rest/walk on the 7th.

Yesterday my habit worked against me.

A nasty storm came over our neighborhood right as I began heading out to do my workout. ¬†TJ and I debated if we should run or wait as the storm approached. ¬†Finally we decided to run, but stick close to home. ¬†I got a half mile into my run and looked in the direction on my house and a huge bolt of lightening flashed down right in front of me. ¬†I’ll run in any weather – but I will not run with lightening close by. ¬†So I headed home and decided to go out with “The Dog” as I waited to see what the weather would do.

Here is my daily habit:  I run.  I get home.  I go out with the dog.  I drink my Gatorade.  I take a shower.

Essentially, by doing all but the shower, I crashed my day for running.  It was like Kryptonite to Superman.  I sat with my Lovely Wife as I waited to see if the storm would pass.  15/30/45/60 minutes.  Finally it passed, but all my strength was gone.

I see now that by doing my normal post run habit, I unintentionally messed with the fragile balance I have created over the past 18 months.

But I have a blog to write.  I have to overcome.  I psyched myself up after the storm was over and went out to run.  I ran another 1.5 miles, then the Gatorade hit.  I decided to head home to use the bathroom.  I got inside and that was that.  My kryptonite got to me.  My hair was cut.  I had no strength.

Sometimes life doesn’t give you a happy ending for your blog.

Running isn’t everything. ¬†I had a good night watching TV with my kids and Lovely Wife. ¬†I got to sleep early and slept well. ¬†Today I will work, ¬†go to the chiropractor, head home and then another chance to change the world through running. ūüôā

The great thing about this sport is that every day is a new day… a new start… a new race… Every day is NEW!

Did running in compression socks make me dizzy?

You might be able to tell from the title of this post that it was a rough run yesterday.  I was so excited to try out my new compression socks that I got from a local retailer and see how they would help my running.  Specifically I want to try and help my legs on long runs to have better endurance.  The sales guy from the local store said these socks are made for running and specifically long distance runs like a marathon.

Here is a list of several things that may have contributed to my difficult run:

  • Hottest day of the week. ¬†Monday it was in the high 70s and Tuesday in the low 70s. ¬†Yesterday it was back up in the high 80s.
  • I didn’t drink as much water as usual. ¬†I drank 64 oz of water rather than my goal of 96 oz.
  • I had a bad night sleep. ¬†I woke up at 1:00 AM and did manage to get back to sleep, but it was not a very restful sleep.
  • Low carb eating. ¬†I was at my lowest weight ever (176 lbs) and have eaten very few carbs. ¬†Usually if I get below 180, I have difficult runs.

That said, I have NEVER felt as I did yesterday.  I ran a bit fast in the beginning which was not good.  Then as I hit the 3 mile mark, I got light headed and felt really strange.  It was almost like I was in a dream as I ran.  I tried to keep going and did for another half mile, but I got weak and really tired, so I gave up on the run at that point.  After I got home and rested, I felt fine.

So it could be a coincidence that I got so dizzy in my new compression socks. ¬†I know others who swear by them and several other bloggers have suggested I try them. ¬†I will say that my legs felt more relaxed and it seemed to me that I didn’t need to put as much energy into my legs in order to run. ¬†At least that was my impression.

So did my compression socks cause this problem or was it circumstantial?

I have a 7 mile run today and I plan to use them again, so I guess I’ll find out the answer… maybe.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Have a great weekend!