Sunday, August 31, 2008

primal day 1...

Day one and while I have stated that this is a 30 day challenge for the month of September I plan on continuing with it beyond the end. But we have to start somewhere, right?

Personal stats:

Weight: 169lb about 6 pounds more than last month…

Feeling: Good

Health: Good

Legs: Good

Injury: slight Achilles tendonitis


Session 1

Time of day: 5:00am

Course: streets around home (undulating)

Shoe: Mizuno Wave Rider

Distance: 5.5miles easy

Run time: 45mins


Session 2

Time of day: 12:30pm

Course: streets around work (undulating)

Shoe: Adidas Adizero RC

Distance: 6.2miles easy w/ 5 x 20sec fast (1min easy)

Run time: 45mins



Pre-run: black coffee

Breakfast: fried mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes w/ 3 eggs + banana

Snack: carrots (2), handful almonds

Lunch (post-run): chili tuna (tinned), ½ avocado, tomatoes (2), apple

Dinner: roast corned beef w/ green salad

going primal again

With the completion of my goal races for the year I have been less than strict with my diet and training. While I mostly make good choices along the guidelines of the primal challenge (see for details) during my downtime I have also indulged in many a sugar-laden carbohydrate treat. Last night signified that last day before I start on a 30-day personal primal challenge again and I was happy to enjoy three whole servings of self-saucing chocolate pudding, custard and ice cream. While I have more control when I am working towards a goal like a race I am not too concerned about what I eat at other times.

I had a fitness test two weeks ago which had measured my bodyfat levels at less than 8% which was a surprise to me. My VO2 and aerobic condition were all good too. Now I just need to work on my anaerobic ability to get faster at the shorter distances.

Today marks day uno of my primal challenge. If anyone wishes to join me add your name to the comments or drop me an email and together we can help each other achieve our 30 day goals. And for those that read this or followed along on the last 30-day primal challenge and wanted to give it a go….. START TODAY!! What are you waiting for…. you’ll have more energy, feel good and along the way drop a few pounds. Sounds good?!?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

need more sleep...

woke up this morning and was surprised that i wasn't as stiff and sore as i thought i might have been after yesterday's hill rep sesssion. i was scheduled to run for 90 minutes this morning but after a late night and a restless night due to one of the children being in bed with us i hit the snooze button one too many times. got out before lunch for a shortened run and with the wind blowing found it hard to find a good rhythm. feeling good though!

personal stats:
weight: not recorded
feeling: good but a little heavy/bloated
sleep: a poor 4 hours
legs: worked but good, niggles improving

today's exercise:
run: am) 45' easy (6.2 miles) w/ 5x80m strides (1min jog)
pm) another planned easy run

today's diet:
breakfast: scrambled eggs (3), eggplant, spinach, corned beef
pre-run: handful of sultanas
post-run: bowl of oats w/ orange juice and dried fruit
lunch: cold meat (turkey and leg ham) w/ blue cheese, lettuce, carrot, red pepper, black olives and strawberries

tomorrow's run:
planned am session: 6x4min hard w/ 90sec recovery

Monday, August 18, 2008

a new age...

turned 36 yesterday. not a big milestone but it did coincide with some new changes in my life.

after achieving all of my running goals that i had set myself over the last few months i have decided to take the plunge and get myself a running coach. i'm quite excited as he thinks i can improve significantly if i focus on a few areas of my training. he also knows something of me having competed with me at some of the ultra events and has been behind my thoughts of having a go at some of the overseas ultras like western states to see how i would stack up.

well after considering a few things i have decided to take a break from the ultras for a while and try and concentrate on improving my speed across distances ranging from 5k all the way through to the marathon.

i also started a new 28 day primal challenge (ok it's more a paleo modified endurance challenge but primal challenge sounds simpler). i started it yesterday to signify the start of the four week program i received from my coach and well it was my birthday so i thought now was a good time to get back into it.


personal stats (starting point):
monday and tuesday:
weight: 168lb (5 pounds up heavier)
feeling: great
sleep: always poor
legs: a few niggles but getting stronger

monday: am) 50' run (7 miles) // pm) 40' run w/ 9x80m strides (6m)
tuesday: am) 75' run w/ 30x100m hills (9m)// 40' run (6m)

monday -
breakfast (post-run): oatmeal w/ honey, cinnamon
lunch: bbq chicken, blue cheese, berries
dinner: chicken & veg korma w/ sweet potato

breakfast (post-run): chocolate milk, powerbar, bananas (2)
snack: apple
lunch: smoked salmon, prawns, blue cheese, dates, berries
dinner: bolognaise w/ steamed veggies

Friday, August 15, 2008

one week after...

it has been a week since i ran my 90k trail run and the physical healing feels almost complete. i had a few short runs last week which all felt painful and difficult but today while i struggled aerobically i feel great now.

yesterday was my last day at work before taking a week off and starting a new one. i had a couple of farewell meals out and can honestly say that i made some good choices.

thursday's lunch out was grilled snapper (fish) with vegetables (no chips) and on friday i chose the 400g grain fed steak with vegetables and salad. of course there were some none primal additions to my week like beer and cake. but when work colleagues have gone out of their way to say thank you for the work you have done you can hardly say no can you?

last week's food choice freedom and rest was exactly what i needed to help restore my somewhat broken down body. next week i plan on resuming my training and will start eating more primal.

i'm getting excited and feel ready to go again. breaks are great to rekindle the motivation.

see you next week... stay primal!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

rest, recuperation and restarting...

it's time for a little rest and recuperation but i'll be back starting next week. as it's my last week at work before starting in a new position closer to home i'll be embarking on some non-paleo food consumption as i attend numerous farewell lunches and afternoon teas.

this week i am taking as an opportunity to embark on a little detraining as i aim to lose a little fitness and condition before beginning on the next cycle of athletic pursuits. i have recently hit a new performance level and i think i need to back off and allow all the gains i have made to be absorbed before laying down the foundations to take it to up another level or two.

with a little down time i am trying to make some decisions on what my next goal should be. my focus will likely change from ultramarathons to faster, shorter races on the roads, trails and in the mountains.

but serious goals? break 35mins for 10k, 2:4x something for marathon perhaps, make a national long distance running team, mountain running....? someone even put the idea on me that i should run an international ultra like western states and see how i stack up.... maybe 2010!

i'll leave you with a photo taken at the start of last weekend's run. enjoy!

Monday, August 11, 2008

race report and a new course record...

Race Report (the long version) - go and grab a cuppa before sitting down to read...

When I started running in 2004 I discovered an online running community and was in awe of people that would run these crazy fatass events (generally long trail self-supported running events). There was one event that really stood out for me. The people that I would see on the finishers list year after year and get to know a little about in their race reports gave them in my eyes a certain legendary status.

Who knew that two years ago when I responded to a message from one of the famed ultrarunners looking for someone to run with on the trails around home could it lead to so much? I have to someone to blame for getting me into this. During a somewhat innocent hill session at Kedumba in preparation for the Western States 2007 assault he mentioned that he was thinking about organising a "Rebel" 12 Foot for himself and other WS participants who were all heading over. Even though I had never run longer than 45km (earlier that year) I thought that I would maybe give it a go. Well that was last year where I amazed myself and finished in 11:10 (6th fastest time). It also got me thinking that a sub 11 hour time was possible but when it came around to run the official 12FT in August I was injured and unable to run. I would have to wait another 12 months before I would get another chance.

This year 2008 has been a roller coaster of highs and lows. The year started with some health issues which resulted in me not being able to compete at 6FT this year as I had surgery scheduled eight days prior to the start. Thankfully the surgery went much better than expected and I was able to resume running a couple of weeks later. I have to say a big thank you to my wonderful wife and friends who helped me though this stage of my life.

After running a 100km event in May this year my running hit a bit of low point as I struggled with motivation to start getting back into it and picking up the volume. I was eagerly reading everything I could absorb about running and training but when it came time to lacing up the shoes and getting out there I was finding too many excuses to leave it for another day. But things started coming around and I found myself entered in a local marathon. I made up a rough schedule to follow with the thoughts of running my first sub 3 hour. While the training didn't all work out as planned I found myself getting much quicker during my sessions but I couldn't get excited about getting in my long runs. With two long runs completed in the three weeks prior to the marathon I managed to achieve my sub 3 hour goal. But my body paid a penalty.

The two weeks between the marathon and 12FT was a lesson in terms of recovery and running. It took nearly a week of rest before I could start running again and in the second week I found it mentally hard to run slower than the marathon pace I had recently set. I don't think runs quicker than marathon pace for up to an hour were a good thing during a taper but I was finding myself quickly bored while running over the same routes that I regularly use in training. By the time Wednesday came I was worried that my legs would not recover enough to get me to the starting line. Thursday night I considered not running and I even told my wife that this was going to be my last ultra event for a long time.

Friday night before the event I was ready to pull out but I had offered to drive my mate up and he was meeting me at my house in the morning. I was thinking damn I'll have to run now!

After a short, sound sleep I got up early and ate my bowl of oatmeal made with rice milk, berries and dates and followed that up with a glass of apple juice, a banana and a strong cup of coffee. Mty friend arrived on time and we headed up to the start getting there nice and early which allowed us time to organise the last of our gear and catch up with the other runners. I was surprised after two days of rest how good I was feeling and it made me think that I would be able to run close to the goal I had messaged a friend the night before.

After the obligatory photo the race started right on time and we were under way. I was feeling relaxed and was running behind one of the faster runners thinking I would try and stick to him as long as I could (which I didn't expect to be very long). The track was quite wet and 300m from the start my foot slipped out from under me and I came down hard on the rocks. The pain was intense and I was immediately thinking that was it I'm heading back to the car. Runners around me offered to stop to make sure that I was alright but I didn't want to ruin anyone's run by having them wait for me. So I told them to go on. I was feeling crushed and a little emotional at how quickly my race had changed. I started running again and fell in behind just trying to take it easy down the stairs. Every step hurt and all my thoughts were of dropping out. I was thinking that I could at least get to the river and I will then see how it goes from there. This thinking started getting me angry with myself and when there was a bit of room on the trail I decided that I would start running and see if I could catch up to some of the runners ahead. I was mainly thinking that I might be able to catch up with spud and run some of the way with him.

While it hurt to run it felt great being out there again enjoying the day and trail with some other runners. I opened up my stride a little and it felt like I was running with a limp but I was making progress and before the bridge I had caught up with spud. The running between the road and the river was sensational single track at its finest and I was moving fast.

Together spud and I reached the River in 1:24 and we managed to get across without getting our feet wet. I was worried about how I would fare on the climb up to summit as my hill training was limited to a single session during my marathon preparation and I had only been on the trails once since my 100km in May. I was thinking that I would try and run with Spud as long as I could and when I went on ahead of him I fully expected that he would catch me on my next walk break. It didn't turn out that way and as I had made an arrangement with myself that I would take two of my four nurofens at the top that is what drove me on.

It felt like a real struggle on the hills reaching the top in 2:46 but luckily I felt no worse. I was running along the Range with not a lot of speed but I was still running which was a good sign. Moving along it was with some shock that I saw Tim moving up ahead and I could clearly see that he was shuffling and not having a good day. For me it was good to have his company and we ran, shuffled and walked our way to the Cabins. I was struggling a little through here but I told myself that I would be able to have a good walk break and something to eat when I reached the Caves. So with that thought I started pushing a little more and didn't realise that Tim was no longer there. When I turned around I couldn't see him and I while I thought of waiting I wanted to keep moving to closer towards the finish as I could get.

As usual the run down to the Caves felt long and steep and I was trying as hard as I could to take it easy to avoid killing my quads with the impact as I still had a long way to go. I reached the caves in 4:39 and was amused when I was running down the road towards the tap to fill up my camelbak to see someone taking pictures of me. It was great to meet Kevin Cassidy who had just made it out there to report for one of the running mags. After a brief discussion and a little difficulty turning the tap handle I filled the bladder up about three quarts and said my farewells to start the arduous climb back up.

I actually enjoy the climb from the caves as it allows me time to enjoy my surroundings and eat and drink a little more than usual. Also the pressure of running is removed for some time. I consumed a powerbar, a packet of salt and vinegar chips and washed it all down with a good swig of water. The climb out was long and uneventful and it was great when people starting passing me on the way down to the caves. I passed Tim while he was walking down to the caves and he was not looking good.

About 15 minutes later spud passed me and we exchanged encouraging words and a little after that the slow flow of other runners began passing by. By this time I think I had nearly completed most of the hard climbing and I was about ready to start running again. It's always a fun game to play with oneself trying to guess who the next runner that comes into view will be and today was no different. I expected to see some runners further along than they were and there were some that looked like the were having good days and were further along than I expected. The encouragement from a passing runner is a much welcomed reprieve from the endless hours of time spent alone on the trails.

Running from the Cabins to the campground became a bit of a blur for me and I found that I fully entered the zone where just running along is about all that I notice. I passed a few runners but the time and distance was moving along and before I knew where I was I was running down the Range. The sound of rain falling snapped me out of my trance but then I realised I wasn't getting wet and upon closer inspection I could see tiny balls of ice bouncing off me. Wow it was sleeting. I was thinking that I hoped it would snow.

By the time I had reached the summit before the long downhill back to the river it was about 2pm (6:58) and I realised that I had forgotten to fill up my bladder at the campground. With the cold weather I wasn't drinking much but I knew I was dehydrating and I needed the fluid to be able to take in my main source of calories - energy gels. I was worried being seven hours into the run with no food or water but I spent the next hour running down to the river feeling the best I had all day.

Arriving at the campground at the River I made my way straight to the tank and filled my bladder and started taking in some food, another Powerbar. Everything from my waist down was tight and feeling like it was on the verge of cramping up so I decided to wade straight through the river and see if that would bring my legs back to life.

It was now 8:06 into the run and with the coldness of the water, the food in my stomach and the drink picking me up I had a good run from the river along the single track to the Road and I was even beginning to entertain thoughts of a low 10 hour finishing time. Well those thoughts were quickly diminished when my legs starting seizing up and I was finding it harder and harder to lift up my feet. Thankfully by the time I reached the stairs (in about 9:36?) I still had plenty of light as I wouldn't have liked to have navigated my way up there in the state that I was falling into. I was now forced to use my hands on my thighs to push myself up each step and I was quickly forgetting about finishing in 10 hours and more interested in reaching the top so that I didn't have to take another step. I wanted it to be over and done with. By the time I had reached the car park it had taken me a full 46 minutes to get up those damn stairs and with Kevin and Brick egging me on to break the course record I found myself running again to the finish and the tree. I hit the stopwatch and looked at the time. 10:23!!!!!

Yahoo.... a new course record!

Here is a list of my nutrition for the 90km/10 hours or running:
* 15 Energy Gels (assorted brands and flavours)
* 2 Powerbars
* 2 Muesli bars
* 1 packet Salt and Vinegar chips
* 1 Turkish Delight (small)
* 3 litres of water
* 1 litre of Coke
* 600ml of Gatorade
* 10 Succeed caps

Looking at the list now it doesn't appear to be a lot of food considering how much energy I was likely to have burnt. Someones garmin GPS recorded 57+ miles with over 13,000 feet of elevation gain.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

a quick update...

just a quick update before i get around to writing a full race report for the run on saturday.

finished the 90km run first in a course record time of 10:23. it was tough.

will report in more detail later when i have recovered a little. even my fingers are tired!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

gear selection...

with news that it snowed yesterday on the course that i will be running tomorrow i think i will need to be a little more meticulous with my gear selection. it's going to be cold!

my gear i have selected already:
my shoes: inov-8 roclite 315s
backpack: camelbak cloud walker (i did buy a new one for the event but it looks like it won't make it to me in time)
my socks: injinji toe socks
electrolytes: succeed caps
fuel: gu energy gels and hammer
sports drink: gatorade/coke
secret energy drink: hornet juice
shorts: desoto
shirt: regular running shirt
compression tights: skins (after race)
watch: either garmin 205 or polar

other stuff that i'm considering: arm warmers, gloves, beanie, basic first aid stuff (emergency blanket, tape etc), ipod (?), sunglasses, phone.

food: the usual choices are sandwiches either pb&j or vegemite, sv chips, energy bars, snickers, creamed rice, fruit cake, snakes or jelly beans.

friday 8 august...

waking up today i am feeling good but a little bloated with the addition of more than my usual carbohydrates into my diet. in the future i will test my carbo loading principles on some smaller races so that i can find what works and what doesn't.

even with only two days of complete rest i can feel my legs starting to get that springy but somewhat heavy glycogen loaded feeling that is usual in the day prior to race start. i'm hoping with this rest the last of my niggles will work themselves out and when tomorrow comes they will be chomping at the bit to get going. looks like it's going to be fast from the get go.

personal stats:
weight: 164lb (but i feel heavier)
feeling: relaxed
sleep: 7 hours (good)
legs: right achilles still sore but legs starting to buzz with anticipation (and stored energy)

today's exercise:
none complete rest day 2

today's diet - planned for ~600-700g of carbs:
breakfast: oatmeal cooked w/ rice milk, sultanas, nuts, honey, cinnamon + banana + black coffee
snack: fried eggs (2), bacon rashes (2), toasted turkish w/ PB + coffee
snack: banana, fruit juice (350ml)
lunch: chicken breast, egg, veggies, salad wrap, a banana
snack: oatmeal soaked w/ apple juice
dinner: chicken breast w/ veggies and baked sweet potato
snack: blended banana, apple juice and rice milk

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

what i have to look forward to...

i'm sitting in front of my computer at work and thinking about my upcoming run this weekend. i have ran over the same course a few times now but there is nothing that quite excites me like an out and back course with a handful of runners all looking at completing the full 90kms of trails and tracks. while much of the day will be spent alone knowing that others are out there enduring their own private battles makes all the more enjoyable. can't wait!

with the mistake made when i ended up with a plate of rice with my chicken stirfry for lunch i decided then and there to begin loading the carbohydrates. with only 40 hours or so until race it's better to start now and make sure that i have my glycogen stores loaded rather than finding out several hours into the day that i made an error.

this is what i am looking forward to this weekend.

after consulting a few ultra running websites i have also decided that taking two full days of complete rest will leave me in much better shape than trying to run some extra miles. there are no fitness gains to be made now and with the marathon two weeks behind me and the running base behind that i should be ready to go.

i'm feeling quite relaxed now but after my carb feed at lunch i felt like i had just consumed the equivalent of 10 cups of coffee. i was on an energy high! while i was initially concerned about my plans on eating non-primal foods during the carbo load and during the event itself i'm thinking it's better to play it safe and go with what has worked well for me in the past. trial and error can be something i play around with next month.

bring it on!

tonight i will begin packing and sorting through my running gear and try and decide on the details. what shoes, what pack, nutrition, hydration, electrolytes, clothes.....etc???

just heard frrom a friend that it's snowing on the course. need to carefully think about equipment now.

thursday 7 august...

when i woke up this morning and took my first steps i felt like an old man. my legs where stiff and sore and my achilles is feeling particularly tight. time to rest up and allow my fitness to pull me through the next few days. i face the internal struggle of satisfying the animal inside that likes to get out and run for endless hours at a time and the voice of reason which is telling me to rest up.

i will attempt to restrain the beast and give in to the voice. i'll save the beast for saturday.

personal stats:
weight: 163lb and holding
feeling: restless
sleep: 6-7hr ok
legs: stiff and sore

today's exercise:
morning thoughts - the beast wants miles but the voice is telling me to rest up. i'll compromise and probably go for something in the middle.

today's diet:
breakfast: bacon, eggs, blue cheese, raisins + black coffee
snack: almonds, carrots
lunch: chicken stirfry w/ salad and rice, apple juice
snack: blueberry muffin, banana + black coffee
snack: oatmeal soaked in apple juice
dinner: some yummy stewed meat dish w/ mashed swede
dessert (i'm running 90k in 2 days so thought why not): chocolate pudding w/ icrecream and custard

while i considered not eating dessert the family were all seated together for a meal and i thought with a big run less than two days away i could use the additional carbohydrates to resupply my depleted muscles. i'm not much of a dessert eater (or chocolate for that matter) but thoroughly enjoyed it as i love ice cream and custard. i do have some food weaknesses but generally when i am focused on a goal i have the motivation and control to make good choices. after the run this weekend which i am planning on being my last long distance ultra run for some time i am going to focus instead on improving my performance at the shorter distances from the marathon down. to achieve these goals i will have to train hard, log the miles and be focused on my nutrition and weight management goals.

while i am excited about the run this weekend i am really looking forward to seeing if i can achieve my athletic potential. of course i will trying to achieve this as an average 36 year old male balancing all my other demands in life - husband, father of many, worker etc....

my wife has given me a vo2max/lactate threshold test for my birthday which i am excited about also. hopefully it will provide some useful information that i can use in my next phase of training.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

wednesday 6 august...

well another primal day has passed and while i have emerged from the cave i was living in for 30 days i am finding it more and more difficult to re-enter the nutritional society that i left behind. i am no longer looking for that quick, convenient snack to get me through the first signs of hunger or to pick me up when my energy has dipped in the daily ebb and flow that was the day-to-day norm.

while i have stuck with my primal way of eating, there have been challenges put in front of me to test my will. over the weekend my wife baked some yummy cookies and while they were considered healthy (pre-primal thinking) they were still full of sugar and grains. the second temptation was when i came into work on monday to find that my favourite vending machine cookie is on sale at the cafeteria. while i was thinking about buying a whole heap to store in my drawer for times of need i realised now that i am no longer needing the quick sugar fix and subsequent high to keep me going. the best outcome of eating primal is that i am always energised.

if you're reading this and haven't gone primal...... start today! what have you got to lose?

personal stats:
weight: 163lb
feeling: good, almost euphoric
sleep: 6hr good (restful)
legs: good but niggly

today's exercise:
run: while i am yet to run i am feeling the desire to go out for a solid 12-14 miler at lunch but i'm sure that it won't do my upcoming race any good. i'm known to do stupid things though. i didn't succumb to the inner voice and kept it short.

actual: 6 miles (40') w/ 5 miles moderate in 32'

today's diet:
breakfast: fried pork mince, bacon (2), eggs (3), mushrooms, peppers, eggplant + black coffee
snack: carrots (2), almonds (12) + coffee
post-run (10' prior): banana + coffee
lunch: herbed chicken breast w/ roast veggies - sweet potato, eggplant, peppers, honeyed carrots, a banana + orange juice (350ml)
snack: almonds
dinner: chicken korma (made with coconut milk) w/ veggies (sweet potato, zucchini, carrot, eggplant)

snack: raisins

i feel great!

Monday, August 4, 2008

tuesday 5 august...

the legs are starting to feel a little better after putting them through their paces today. decided to i need to put in some intensity but i wasn't sure what i was going to do until i started.

i'm also trying to keep my weight steady with the big run this weekend and i am going about that by making sure that i take in a big post-workout feed of carbohydrates to keep up my glycogen stores. i'm trying to add any more stress to my system than is necessary. i still haven't worked out how many carbohydrates i need to take in after a session but as i either run with a garmin or polar hr monitor i am using the calories used as a guideline and trying to replace about 50-75% of my energy output. how much fat would i use to fuel an hour workout at say 70-80% heart rate max. i'm sure there is a formula or calculator out there somewhere. i just don't have the time to find it right now.

personal stats:
weight: 163-164lb
feeling: good
sleep: 8hrs broken but good
legs: about 90% (hamstring better but right achilles still sore to touch)

today's exercise:
run: 7 miles (53') incl. 2 x 1600m in 5:50-55 (1' rec), 2x1000m hills @ 10-15% gradient in ~5:30, 4x200m in ~:37

today's diet:
breakfast: rump steak, mandarin, carrot + black coffee
snack: banana + coffee
post-run: wholegrain oatmeal (1 cup) soaked in apple juice (250ml) w/ greek yogurt (175g) and banana
lunch (late): chili beef, carrots (2), apple (1)
snack: almonds
dinner: bok choy stuffed with pork

primal challenge results...

Here are the results of my 30 day primal challenge that i forwarded to Marks Daily Apple...

Wow! The month seems to have flown on by without me realizing. The main reason I hadn’t noticed was because nothing has really changed since the challenge finished up. I have continued along eating what I have been eating while following the primal challenge and even though I have given myself the freedom to choose to eat whatever I wish I still choose more primal options. I can’t seem to bring myself to eat the usual processed sugars, pasta, rice, bread etc that was a big part of my diet prior to the 30 day challenge.

My diet prior to the challenge was the typical of the endurance athlete diet consisting of cereal and toast for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, pasta and rice based dinners and throw in the several snacks spaced throughout the day that I consumed when feeling hungry or prior to or after a run. Snacks of course were of the processed variety and included sports bars, muesli bars, meal replacement snacks, pretzels, chips, cookies, chocolate etc.
With the challenge my diet drastically changed to include more fruit and vegetables but the biggest change was in the amount of protein and fats that I consumed at every meal.

While losing 10 pounds was an added result of the challenge, what I really discovered (almost day one) was that my energy levels where high throughout the day and replacing the fluctuations of low energy periods following my usual high carbohydrate feeds. I also noticed a reduction in post-run muscle soreness and enhanced day-to-day recovery. My legs almost felt like they were buzzing.

The last week:

Starting weight: 172 pounds
End weight: 163 pounds
Exercise total: 49 miles (including race 26.2 miles)
Marathon finishing time: 2:57:10

I followed the old school carb depletion-loading scheme which was popular amongst marathon runners a few years back. It made following the primal challenge easier during the depletion stage but I had to make some small departures in the form of added oatmeal, sweet potato and additional fruit (mainly bananas and dried fruit) in the days leading up to the marathon. I viewed oatmeal and sweet potato as being a good compromise.

Of course during the depletion stage the main challenge was getting in my runs and resting up for the race on Sunday. Actually stopping myself from going on long runs on the trails was my biggest challenge.

I stopped focusing on weight goals this week with my whole focus on being ready to go on race day. My weight probably dipped a little during the first four days when I eliminated nearly all carbohydrates but during the 24 hours leading up to the race I tried to top up my glycogen stores by adding in enough carbohydrates. The day before this ended up being around 600-700g of total carbohydrates.

Race day came and I woke 4 hours early for a good feed of oatmeal w/ honey, a banana and some apple juice (usually I eat two English muffins with jam and PB before a race). Two hours before I started drinking some sports drink (for the electrolytes) and just before the race I consumed the first of five gels. On the race I either drank water or sports drink.

I felt great at the start. Well rested and ready to run fast but by about 9 miles in I was thinking that I tapered a little short and was still carrying some leg fatigue. It didn’t get any worse and I was able to embrace the pain and fatigue over the final 6 miles to bring home a sub 3 hour marathon.

One mistake I did make was that I probably didn’t eat enough carbohydrates during the post-run window to help speed up my recovery in the days after and I suffered a little more than usual. Will rectify next time around.
As an endurance athlete it makes me aware that I still have a lot more to learn. While much of my learning will come from sites like this one and from books like the Paleo Diet for Athletes (although haven’t read it yet I plan on buying it) as an example I think much of the learning will take place while experimenting and finding what works best for me. So looking beyond this challenge I am going to continue on and for those that are interested I will continue to post my results and discoveries on my
blog. It will be an interesting journey as I get back into running what I hope will be 100+ mile weeks with my end goal of running a 2:40 marathon.

Thanks everyone for sharing your results during this challenge. It has been great that to read how others are going and knowing that other people are reading with interest or even taking part in their own personal challenges makes sticking to my challenge easier. The changes I have made to my diet have been taken up by friends and they are all experiencing good results also.

Good luck everyone.


And finally for those who have stumbled across my blog I encourage you to give it a go. Take it from me it works. I was able to lose some weight while training intensely and long in my build up to running a marathon. Which I completed successfully and achieved my goal of breaking 3 hours.

For others who are already following paleo (primal) eating and undertaking endurance training and activities feel free to email me at primalrunner at gmail dot com to ask questions and to exchange ideas and information. I will try and post regularly but I am starting a new job in a few weeks which may mean less time at the computer and thankfully more time to do what I enjoy most which is to train.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

several days on...

several days have past since the primal challenge was completed. i can safely say that i have largely stuck to the primal eating diet that i have adopted. although during a dinner party last weekend i did eat a bowl of homemade apple pie and ice cream. mostly it was easy to keep primal while at the dinner party and safely eat from the cheese and nut platter, avoiding the chips and crackers. dinner was a nice lamb stew with steamed green beans and i avoided the bread. but when it came to the pie i was always going to eat some. i also enjoyed two glasses of great red wine.

post-primal challenge i am allowing myself to eat without guilt as long as i largely make good choices throughout the week. the odd compromise whether within guidelines or not will be included when i feel the impulse. mostly i will try and live as close to 100% primal as possible with compromises to be able to train as an endurance athlete.

it's funny though when i weighed myself in the morning following the dinner party i was a full pound lighter. i think i have found the eat more, lose weight diet plan.

personal stats (4th august):
weight: 163lb
feeling: great
sleep: 7hr good
legs: a little niggly (right hamstring and achilles are tender)

today's exercise:
run: 60min moderate - 9 hilly miles

today's diet:
breakfast: fried bacon (2), eggs (3), tomatoes (2), mushrooms (6) + black coffee
snack: carrot and 100% natural peanut butter
pre-run: coffee
post-run: chocolate milkshake + banana
lunch: salmon (tinned), asparagus, greek yoghurt, avocado w/ turmeric + apple
snack: carrot w/ PB
dinner: chilli beef w/ fried veggies (peppers, squash, zucchini)
snack: raisins, grapefruit

was a bit sceptical about today's run prior to heading out but about 5 minutes into it i was moving quicker than usual at an easy effort. looking at the garmin i was seeing sub 6:30 per mile pace. i'm finding it hard whether physical or mental to run slower than the marathon pace that i have been working on over the last few months. it also appears that with the reduced training volume due to the taper and post-race recovery allows me to run at a quicker daily pace. when the volume returns the pace on most of my runs will slow down as i accumulate training fatigue.

as i think it is especially important to recover from my runs at the moment so that i can back up and run more often i am focusing on what i have picked up in the research. like today i had a chocolate milk post-run to aid recovery. i will probably buy some protein powder and make my own fruit smoothies to consume after long and intensive runs but at the moment i am going with what's available to me....chocolate milk.

Day 2: Early start

After discovering that my wife's bike had been stolen from the bus stop where I had chained it up for my ride home last night meant that...