Sunday, November 30, 2014

Week 35 - Burning River 100 - Core Strength.

An Awesome Morning Run in Ute Park
 After I signed up for the Burning River I went and bought a gym membership. Why would I join a gym to run 100 miles? Well it is certainly not for the treadmill! I’ve never been much of a gym rat but since I’ve been working on an exercise science degree I’ve discovered the importance of core strength not just for running but for all sports, as well as everything we do to include aging. Balance, posture, stability, and back health are all related to core strength.

So what exactly is the core? For the longest time I thought a strong core meant having six pack abs and didn’t see how that had anything to do with running or cycling. In fact, the core is every muscle in our trunk; back, chest, oblique’s, glutes - pretty much everything but the limbs. All movement and power either originates or transfers through the core.  How many runners have you seen all hunched over when they run? Or their back bent in a bow? This is all due to weak core muscles. During running, stability and posture problems put stress on joints at odd angles eventually causing injury to ligaments, tendons, or worse. Do this day in and day out and injury is imminent (approximately 60% of runners experience an injury per year). During a long run as the body gets tired the posture gets worse and the on the joints, tendons, and ligaments become more exaggerated causing even more potential for injury. Do this for 100 miles and any posture, stability, or compensation issues are exponentially magnified.  I don’t have enough fingers to count the runners I’ve seen at 75+ miles in hundred mile races leaned over side-ways, or hunched over, or limping along because their core muscle gave out on them.

So what are good core exercises? My favorite and apparently one of the most effective is the good ol push-up.  Sara Klein in the Huffington Post  even goes so far as to say the push-up is the greatest exercise in the world! James Herrera the US National BMX National Team Coach and friend of mine recommended years ago to do 100 push-ups a day. When done right push-ups work the abs, shoulders, torso, chest, and lower & upper back. That’s a lot of territory for one exercise! So to do a 100 push-ups, I like to do 5 sets of 20 throughout the day at work. Just get up from my desk knock-out 20 push-ups and go back to work. When I go to the gym I do sets of 20 between other exercises.

The list of core exercises can go forever. Some of my favorites are below:

Rowing works almost all the muscles of the core and is a good warm-up

The Push-up Down Position

Push-up Up Position

Side Plank (30 - 60 sec each side)

Ball Crunch

Ball Rotation (Side to Side)

Torso Rotation

Lat Pull

Back Extension Down Position

Back Extension Up Position

Sitting Row
Week 35 Burning River 100 Training Summary

                                 AM                                          PM
Mon:                                           Ride Home from Work   7.5 Miles

Tues:     Run 8 Miles                  Ride Home from Work   8.8 Miles
             Ride Work 8.5 miles

Wed:     Run 6.2 Miles                   Core Strength Workout (Gym)
             Ride Work 8.5 Miles

Thurs:   Run 10.3 Miles
              Mountain Bike 30 Miles

Fri:        Hike 5 Miles
              Road Bike 28 Miles

Sat:       Run 15.2 Miles                          Road Ride 22 Miles
             Core Strength Workout (Gym)

Sun:      Run 7 Miles
             Mountain Bike 46 Miles

Week Total
Run – 46.6 Miles
Bike – 159.3 Miles
Total – 205.9 Miles

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Count Down to Burning River 100 – Week 36

As I mentioned last week I committed to running the Burning River 100 with the goal of having Ben, a young man who has been bravely battling cancer the last two years, run the last mile with me. With that, his mother and I have decided to raise money for a non-profit of Ben’s choice that will help kids and their families that are going through this ordeal. It’s not a pleasant subject but one we are going confront head on throughout this adventure. I've seen some videos of the hospital staff and how they dedicate their lives every day to helping these kids and making what they are going through just a little easier. They are true heroes; more on this and the non-profit in a later post.
Max Patiently Waiting for me to Catch Up

So the countdown has begun as far as training, week 36 in the books with 35 to go.  I am actually using now through February as a time to prepare for training and not really specifically training for the BR 100. So the mileage appears quite low for someone training to run 100 miles! But I feel:

1)      I need to work up to the big miles
2)      Mega mileage all year long is not sustainable.

 I’m also spending time working on core strength which is essential for helping the body hold out for hours and hours of running. That will also be covered in another post. So my philosophy is to work on overall fitness to include cycling, strength training, and running over the next couple months then start getting more event specific starting in February – about 6 months from the start. The strategy is to not get injured. One has to get to the starting line to have any chance of finishing!

First Footprints in the Snow this Morning!

So with that said my first official week of preparing for BR 100 went well. Very early morning runs Tues – Thurs, commute to work by bicycle every day, and good core workouts at the gym. A good mix and a good start! 

Training Week 36 Burning River

Mon: AM - Ride to Work ~ 8 Miles
          PM - Rid Home from Work ~ 8 Miles
Tues: AM - Morning Run  7 Miles, Ride to Work ~ 8 Miles
          PM - Ride Home from Work ~8 Miles
Wed: AM - Morning Run 5.3 Miles, Ride to Work ~ 8 Miles
          PM - Ride from Work to Gym ~9 Miles, Strength Workout
Thu: AM - Morning Run 9 Miles, Ride to Work ~8 Miles
         PM - Ride Home from Work ~8 Miles
Mon: AM - Ride to Work ~ 8 Miles
          PM - Rid Home from Work ~ 8 Miles
Sat: AM - Morning Trail Run - 13 Miles, Strength Workout
Sun: AM - Morning Trail Run - 7 Miles, Bike Indoor Trainer Ride 23 Miles

Run 41.4 Miles, Bike 102 Miles

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Burning River 100!

I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since my last entry. As they say; (whoever they are) time flies. It’s been an incredible year filled with mountain bike races, trail building, coaching high school kids, a mountain bike trip to the Mecca (Moab), a bike tour of Colorado,  going to school and getting ever closer to that Exercise Science degree.  Of course at the core of all this is my job and family. I thought as we get older we are supposed to slow down…

So with all that said I just signed up for the Burning River100 Run  next summer. It will take me back to where I grew up in Akron, Ohio. The race follows the Cuyahoga River from Cleveland to Akron and is called the “Burning River” because in the 1960s the Cuyahoga was so polluted it caught on fire. This brought national attention to the rate at which we were destroying our planet and was a turning point for many environmental policies. It has since been cleaned up and reportedly has a beautiful trail system that I will have the opportunity to run.

I quit running this year and focused on mountain biking but started back up in July to pace a friend in the Leadville 100 Trail Run. I’m really enjoying the running and am completely motivated. Training is going well and Max, my training partner seems to be up for the challenge.

After a 17 mile run last week the first thing Max did was chase all the squirrels and Rabbits out of the yard and then wanted to play ball. I think he's up for the challenge!
There are many reasons I chose this particular run. First and foremost I have been inspired by a friend in Kent, Ohio who experienced something no mother should ever have to experience. Her son, Ben was diagnosed with cancer two years ago and they both have been bravely fighting it with all the positivism and love that I have ever seen. They are both a true inspiration. Ben is recovering and it is my dream and mission over the next year to finish those 100 miles with Ben running the last mile at my side. As I said, they are a true inspiration and I am on a mission. It will also be nice to come home and see family and friends. This will be only the fourth or fifth time I’ve been back since leaving in 1977.

So I’m firing up the blog to document this new adventure. As with the Leadman Blog of years gone by, I’m hoping that my experience will be of benefit to anyone else who decides to pursue a similar dream. Hopefully my training and experiences can be a learning tool for others crazy enough to take on such an endeavor

I love being the first out after a fresh snow, making the first foot prints... Judging by Max's smile, so does he!