First, thank you for all the congratulations and kind words about my 50-miler! I sincerely hope you all got the message that it’s something I really believe you could do, if that’s what you decided you wanted.
I’m no great runner. I absolutely hated running until I got to college, and even when I did decide to run a marathon, I couldn’t stay healthy and it took me almost five hours the first time. Nothing wrong with that, but there are people who break three hours or qualify for Boston in their first marathon.
My point is just that I’m not a “natural,” and fortunately, the thrill of accomplishing this stuff isn’t reserved for “naturals.” I’ve had to work my butt off to do it, and you can do the same thing if it’s worth it to you and you decide to.
3 New Experiments
Training for the 50 took a lot of work. It also took a lot of being careful. I didn’t want to try anything new, for fear that the slightest injury or change in diet might make hauling ass for 50 miles impossible. (Or at least miserable.)
So here they are, the three new things I’m really excited about that I just couldn’t do during that preparation time for fear of screwing something up.
1. Strength training.
Lifting weights was something I intended to do in preparation for the 50. But after I procrastinated for a few weeks on getting started, I didn’t want to introduce it so late into the training.
While I’m not so sure it’s worth it for most road races, I’m coming to believe that having more strength to power up those hills would “outweigh” the cost of carrying around a few extra pounds of muscle. Some of the dudes at the front of the pack during this race were straight-up jacked.
I’ve been reading Robert Cheeke’s new book, Vegan Bodybuilding and Fitness (he sent me an autographed copy!). I have no interest in building muscle just for the sake of building muscle, but I have found the information about how to do so on a vegan diet really useful (and inspiring).
I think posting pictures from my race recap sent some family members into a tizzy thinking I’m too thin. I don’t really care about this, because I feel better than I’ve ever felt, but I do think I’m on the low end of where I should be. I think a focus on strength training and some corresponding changes to my diet might make a big difference in my running.
2. A liquid cleanse.
I realize that drinking only liquids for five or ten days would be counterproductive with #1. It will surely cause me to lose a little more weight, and I won’t dare do it until I’ve put back on the weight I lost during the 50.
But I can’t deny that I find the energizing promises of the alkaline diet (which I’ve been reading about in the pH Miracle) fascinating. I’m sure some people will criticize this, whether silently or with a comment. But I’ve decided that the alkaline diet (and a cleanse that accompanies it) is something worth investigating, at the very least.
I’d be embarrassed about completely buying into something like this and throwing all skepticism to the wind. But I’d also be embarrassed about dismissing something completely just because it seems a little out there and there’s not much evidence to support it yet. Lots of ideas that we now consider self-evident started out as heretical ideas that the establishment violently opposed.
As long as I become convinced that it’s not dangerous, I think I owe it to myself to try anything once, and to evaluate it based on results, not speculation.
To learn more about the whole alkaline thing, check out Alkaline Sisters, one of the blogs whose ad I’m featuring (for free) in the sidebar this month.
3. Running trails in Vibram Fivefingers.
This one will probably be less controversial: I want to start running real trails in my Vibram Fivefingers.
Right now I do track workouts in my Vibrams, and occasionally a run on a gravel trail near my house in them. But for the most primal, connected-with-my-running-roots experience possible, I want to wear them on the hardcore trails in the woods. I want to run through mud in them, cross streams in them, and feel every rock under my foot in them.
It will probably hurt a little. I might bruise the ball of my foot when I step on a big rock and have to take a few days off. But my next 50-miler isn’t until late September, so I can afford to take this small risk.
Other Vibram notes:
- Erica from Itzy’s Kitchen sent me this article about an increased frequency of barefoot running injuries that are popping up in doctors’ offices. Surely part of it is due simply to the fact that more people are running barefoot or in the VFF’s, but still the article has some interesting perspectives.
- My wife, Erin, just got a pair of the new Vibram Fivefingers Bikila, the first model to be designed specifically for running. (The originals were designed for general barefooting and even boating.) The Bikila feature a little more cushioning shape, so they do depart ever-so-slightly from the barefoot ideals that made the original Fivefingers so popular. I’m working on Erin to try to get her to write a review for us.
So that’s my deal (yo). Lots of new, exciting things to try out. And you can expect to read about all of them in the coming weeks and months.