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I guess I have an entirely different perspective of running than you do, Ryan. You see, it’s heart that brings me out to run every day. Check out my sig; “The triumph of hope over experience.” Experience says, I should be in the weight room, powerlifting myself back to Beast-mode. Hope says I can go completely against my genetic grain, as it were, and complete these endurance-based trials. It’s common knowledge that the more you prepare for something, anything, the easier it will be. This holds true outside of sports and permeates almost every facet of life itself. You can’t plan and prepare for everything, but you can do yourself a big favor by doing all that you can beforehand.
And then, sometimes I decide to just do something. It has nothing to do with not wanting to train; it has everything to do with not wanting to miss an opportunity. I had dismissed the idea of running the half-marathon I ran every year (save 2003, thanks to a car accident) since I got into LD running in 1999 this year, due to being 380 pounds, until March 2nd; the race was on March 14th. I didn’t think I could do it anymore. All of the sudden, something transformed inside my mind. Training for a half-marathon with literally 10 days and no training worth mentioning in the previous year and a half is a ludicrous idea even to me, but it most certainly was sheer determination that carried me through that event. No, it’s not a full marathon, but you’re not almost 400 pounds either.
I was well aware that I could have waited to do it until next year, where it wouldn’t have been such a shock to my body. But you know what? Sometimes you need to shock it. Going from 3 miles at best to 13.1 made all the difference. Yeah, I felt like crap afterwards. My feet were full of blisters, my quads and hams on both legs felt completely destroyed, there was some rather unfortunate chaffing… it was all I could do to stand up the next day. Torture story? You bet. Worth every damn bit of pain? Absolutely.
You would have told me to wait, citing a barrage of logical and rational reasons ranging from poor conditioning to the stress on my joints to getting some level of enjoyment out of it and probably a hundred other things I’m not even aware of. And if I had listened I would have robbed myself of one of the most important events of my life. Nothing in the arena of running that I will ever do, including this full marathon in October, will come close to the difficulty of that race not four months ago. It was because of heart; not training, not preparation, not anything you can learn beforehand, that got me from the cannon to the finish line. Now I know what I’m made of, whereas I might go into that event questioning myself.
I realize I’m not on the level of almost every other poster here. I don’t have the experience, the conditioning or the body type to know what it is to be a truly great marathon runner, and I probably never will. But I know what it is that takes me out on the road every day and I’ll thank you to not dismiss it so easily, whether it’s me or someone else.
In the end, I guess I come from a different breed. I’m not interested in what’s reasonable, logical or rational when it comes to running. I’m interested in what will get me across the finish line in the best time possible and will do whatever it takes, in training and in the race itself, to make sure that happens. I’m interested in throwing down when the odds don’t look good and coming out on top, not for anyone else, but just for me because I know I can. “How can you come out on top when you finished dead last?”
Because reasonably, logically and rationally, I shouldn’t have even been there to beginwith.
Yeah, you’ll be fine if you don’t screw around from now until then, I’d wager. I’ve mentioned before how much I frown at the general caution the running community tends to exhibit sometimes. Measure the condition of the heart, not the body.
- Ryan wrote:I believe I saw this article you are referring to and I did not see it as objective. The article ignored a lot of facts of the case and heavily relied on what the athletes and their lawyers were saying, ignoring the fact that the USADA, as it is obliged to do in its operating procedures established with significant input of athletes, has not stated what evidence it even has.
I’m not referring to an article, I’m referring to what Kornheiser reported on PTI (Pardon The Interruption) yesterday.
We don’t even know what evidence the USADA has. Before we criticize them for not having enough objective evidence, let’s wait until we know what evidence they actually have. It’s easy for Montgomery and his lawyers to say there isn’t objective evidence when the USADA is not allowed to publicly show what they have. From some reports I have heard, it is very possible that the USADA might have some very solid objective evidence.
The only evidence I can accept as objective is a positive drug test for all known forms of banned or illegal performance enhancing drugs, regardless of the USADA or WADAs policies. It would be an outrage to ban someone for life with anything less. Sworn testimony doesn’t guarantee that the testimony is factual, we’ve certainly learned that in the last ten years with such high profile cases as the OJ Simpson trial and Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky. If people think they can lie to protect themselves in a media-magnet such as this, they will. It may turn out that Victor Conte is simply trying to deflect any heat from the government onto these athletes and that’s why Barry Bonds is so livid at Montgomery’s testimony. I don’t believe that, based on what we know, but it’s possible.
Hey, if they’re guilty of cheating, I want them gone. If the USADA can’t actually say that they have positive tests when they do, that’s fine, but so far we have an organization who seems to be shrouded in secrecy as to what it has, how it got it and what it plans to do with it in terms of the lifetime bans, and some of the athletes in turn screaming foul. What we know for sure is that Montgomery lied to *someone*; he and his lawyer are currently claiming that he never took anything (of course, who hasn’t made that claim under these circumstances). However, he allegedly testified that he took a supplement from BALCO, also implicating Bonds in the process. He either lied then, or is lying now. This doesn’t look good, but I hope the USADA has something better than this contradiction if they’re going to ban him.
Guh, somehow I got a double post here, sorry about that.
- Ryan wrote:Sure, people are claiming it is a witch hunt. They don’t want to admit guilt until absolutely forced to do so.
The man who did so has nothing to do with any of them. He’s a sports writer for the Washington Post and one of two hosts on PTI with an objective point of view. If Montgomery claimed it was witch hunt, yeah, he’d be blowing smoke. As much as I believe someone like Barry Bonds used THG (among other substances), I’m queezy about the precedent it sets to punish someone without a positive test or some other kind of hard, objective evidence. It’s something of a circular argument to claim that we can’t catch them when we can’t test for drugs that have just been designed and to base a ban off of that kind of “evidence” is scary, at best.
Wow, this got hot in a hurry. Seems someone leaked Montgomery’s supposedly sealed testimony last year where he allegedly implicated Barry Bonds. Bonds responded in quite a fluster:
Prepare for the firestorm, folks.
PTI on ESPN reported that the USADA is seeking lifetime bans on four of them, including Montgomery (and I assume Jones). Tony Kornheiser called it a “witch hunt”… I don’t know if I’d go that far, but it does seem odd that the IOC seems to be silent in all of this.
Bart raises a valid point. Proving a negative is usually impossible in all fields (it gives me headaches in Philosophy when someone claims that you can’t ascribe any attributes to God; they’ve made a negative claim and there’s really no way to argue them because they’re saying what can’t be done with no objective means to prove otherwise).
It’s tough for me to evaluate this topic without considering my opinion on performance-enhancing drugs. Steroids and steroid-clones have been blown so out of proportion by the media that the average person, who has likely not even done any research into the matter, automatically believes steroids are unhealthy or lethal under all circumstances. Not that there aren’t idiots out there who have given that perception by overdosing like an uncontrolled rhinocerous, but quality steroids used under control and in cycles are not anything like what you hear about in the media. I think it should be up to the individual if they will use these products and I believe the recent banning of ephedra/ephedrine and pro-hormone supplements is just the beginning. Follow the money trail; pharmaceutical companies are lining the pockets of every politician to get them to ban supplements so the pharmaceutical companies can move in, develop similar products and mark the price up under the guise of prescription by hundreds of percent. It’s asinine.
That being said, the law of the land in every major sport is that certain substances are banned. If you compete in those associations, you have to abide by the rules or else you’re cheating. I find Jones’ defense deplorable, even though we can’t prove that she’s guilty. The line, “I didn’t know I was taking X…” is utter nonsense; no elite athlete is going to put any supplement into their body without at least a cursory knowledge of what it is. I completely agree with Ryan on this, she needs to come up with something better if she wants public support. If she then says, “I don’t care what anyone thinks, I never took anything/tested positive for anything”, she needs to clam up. If that were true, she wouldn’t have made such an outcry over this. Generally, the louder you shout the more guilty you are.
The one point I have to credit her in is that, assuming she’s guilty, she took those substances before they were being tested for. The supplement industry has exploded in the last five years in innovations for items that act like, look like or feel like steroids, yet somehow “aren’t”. That line is very gray, and it’s not going to get any clearer in the future. I don’t know how those who police this matter can stay ahead of the trend, aside from having operatives work for companies like BALCO. The only thing I can come up with is to either legalize everything or ban it all. Even with my liberal perspective on steroids, I’d rather have everything banned because there is an awful lot of crap out there that can and will hurt you, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. Unfortunately, intelligence can’t be legislated.
I know this goes against the grain of wisdom, and it’s probably inexperience that’s led me to this belief, but I feel the faster I start out, the better off I am. It takes me a half-mile or so to get into a rhythm for a run and it seems if I shoot out of the blocks I’m going to have a better time than if I run at a normal clip. However, I’m still half-in and half-out of the mindset that I have to always run faster than the last time I did a certain distance. I’ve recently realized that such a thought process is killing my weekly mileage because maximal efforts at three or four five-mile runs in a week put me on the shelf for a couple days.
The other thing I forgot to mention was that I got my monthly body fat percentage test done last Saturday, it came back at 31% (101 pounds of fat at 327 pounds overall). The last test I got had me at 34% (118 pounds at 347) in May, I think. I’m shooting for 10% at 250 by the end of the year (25 pounds).
It’s going to be weird when I get there. I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself and, honestly, am a little worried. The Transformation is something I’ve been trying to put together for three or four years and am finally well on my way towards achieving it, but in my mind I’ve built it up to be the crowning achievement of my life since I’ve been 300+ pounds since 9th grade, almost ten years ago. I’m sure I’ll find something to keep going after, but it’s unnerving to think that improving my body composition will no longer be the driving force. The timing will be good though, as the half-marathon I run every year is in March so I’ll definitely be training to cut upwards of an hour off my time this year .
I got lucky on the lightning, actually. There was one hideous display that seemed like it was just a mile or two away as I was walking towards the track. A thunderous roar followed and then nothing but the downpour afterwards. I figured that I might have to run a race under the rainy conditions someday so I stuck it out (probably a mentality held over from football… it basically took a tornado to cancel practice).
Yay, another neuromuscular geek! 🙂
Once again, I’m down with pretty much everything Evets said, with one addition. I’ve found a good anti-catabolic/anabolic protein mix works well when ingested both during and after longer runs for avoid cramps and soreness. You get some hydration from the mix if you dilute it well enough and also get a shot of BCAAs to replenish glycogen mid-exertion, in addition to all the good muscle-protecting proteins (whey-protein hydrolysate — never, ever use a soy product). I highly recommend using Biotest’s Surge. It was originally developed for bodybuilders as a PWO supplement, but the translation to endurance training is remarkable considering runners were the futhest thing from Biotest’s objective when they put it together. You can check it out here:
Take the ad with a grain of salt, it’s a bodybuilding website and quite full of itself, but the product is great. At $21/bottle (you get 10 servings out of it) it’s also quite affordable considering your 32 ounce bottle of Gatorade is about $1.50 or so. Although granted, you don’t usually have to pay for shipping for gatorade. 😉
I’m hardly qualified to speak on the merits of running multiple marathons per year, but I’m with Evets on the typical recovery lines you might hear. My primary complaint about the running community is that I think its too cautious, in general. I’m not referring to the people on this site, per se, just what you might hear from the “average runner”.
By no means am I saying you shouldn’t listen to your body; in fact, that’s exactly what I’m advocating. If you honestly feel good a couple days after a race, why would you wait the prescribed one-day-per-two-miles-raced or whatever other formula is floating around out there? Same thing if you feel like crap after a week.
However, you’ve got a couple goals in mind so I think it really comes down to what you want to do. Maybe you can pull both off, who knows!
‘America’s Alliances’ don’t seem to mean a whole lot when those alliances back down in the face of war. I have the utmost respect for Tony Blair right now because he’s following the lead of a man who is not afraid to make an unpopular decision for the good of not just the nation, but the entire world.
I’d rather have one ally who will have my back than 10 who just say they do.
Talk is cheap. A cliche to be sure, but I find most cliches have a good measure of truth to them. How many times during the Clinton administration did Saddam turn away weapons’ inspectors from his country? You can see where diplomatic negotiations would have gotten us, there. As for North Korea, we’re talking about nuclear weapons development in the hands of a tyrannical dictatorship who doesn’t seem to notice or care that his country is starving. You don’t play nice in that situation and hope for the best, you stick it to him. All that stalling NK did while claiming the US was being unreasonable about *where* and *with whom* to discuss the situation has me nervous. Doesn’t it seem like an incredibly petty thing to stall over?
I don’t understand what the advantage is in negative splitting. It seems to me that if you’re continuously improving your splits, you’ve got something left in the tank over the course of the run, however I’m acutely aware that a large majority of the running community is after the negative split. Why?
As for running at maximum speed, I tend to do that on most runs. I have little regard for pacing except to say beforehand, “OK, I want to run X miles at Y pace,” and judge whether I was successful or not off of that. It certainly is draining though, and probably has something to do with why I struggle to put more than three days together before needing a day off. However, 300+ pounds might also have a hand in that. 🙂
Ed, for god’s sake man, go to the doctor and don’t leave until they give you something or send you somewhere for tests!
I dunno where you got the 70% number for runners in Carbohydrates, but that’s patently false except for carb-loading pre-race, and even then you want something more like 50%. Runners need protein just like everyone else who doesn’t watch TV all day; the suggested mix is about 50/50 between high quality protein post-race and BCAAs (ideally, you’d be getting this during the race to replenish muscle glycogen).
All Atkins amounts to is the pendulum swinging the other way. The FDA told you to base your diet on carbs in the early 90s; couple that with the proliferation of fast food chains and the consequent spike in diabetes and it’s pretty easy to see that someone was going to cash in by going the other way. Go with the FDA and don’t leave the house, Type II Diabetes. Go with Atkins and don’t leave the house, heart attack/total renal failure; take your pick. The simple answer is the old-fashioned one; eat less, work more. However, it also *looks* like the hardest so people will try to circumvent it as often as possible.
It’s a pity that we can’t even muster enough willpower as a society to control what and how much we eat over the course of our lives.