LA Marathon and Beyond


Thanks to everyone who followed along on this blog with my LA Marathon training. I’m sorry I haven’t had time to deliver the full wrap up. I went straight from the marathon back to work, travel, and training for the next race…

But here’s the brief:

Four Sundays ago I woke up at 3:15am, unable to sleep, made some eggs, and started my ritualistic preparation for the LA Marathon. It was truly an adventure including a delayed shuttle downtown resulting in a ride from strangers, hunting down my friend Scott at Dodger Stadium the old school way (both of us intentionally left our cell phones at home), and applying Nicole’s “Bodyglide: For Her” on my nipples in corral B just before takeoff.

The run was great. It was, honestly, a blast. I ran with the 3:25 pace group led by Jim Chaney. Jim led us in to finish just ahead of pace and my chip time was 3:23:40. My goal was to break 3:30, so I was stoked.

Big ups to EVERYONE who lent support throughout the training: to Pablove for the inspiration to sign up to begin with, to Lucinda for being my so patient in the stroller over these last five years, to Julie for tolerating me waking her up before 6am most every day to train, to Nicole for being my marathon co-worker, to Nicole’s running team The Coyotes for the ride, to Flea for getting me into Corral B and being the bounciest, most smiley member of our pace group, and to Scott Campbell for being my new long run compadre.

MOST IMPORTANTLY THANK YOU SINCERELY to everyone who gave to Pablove in support of my marathon training. I set out to raise $2,000 and with your help we raised $14,000!!! HOLY SHIT. Seriously. I really appreciate the love and support. I bought a huge stack of thank you cards from Hatch Show Prints in Nashville and you should be receiving one in the mail over the next month or so. Please let me know if you don’t so I can re-send!

I should also share an update on The Whole Life Challenge, the 8 week diet and exercise challenge Chris Carlson and I recruited 14 people in our office to join. Here’s how it worked: you get 6 points per day. Three come from: 1) 10 min of exercise, 2) 10 min of stretching, 3) Taking fish oil. Check. Easy. Now for the hard part: you start each day with 3 food points, and lose a point each day you consume any of the following: grains, sugar, alcohol, soy, corn, or dairy. I didn’t rock a perfect score by any means but I definitely changed a ton of habits over the course of the month. Many I’m keeping. Here’s where I am post-challenge:

  • I can do without grains and dairy most days. As a general rule, I’ll skip the bread and cheese, thanks. I’ll have a little something now and again, but I’ll try to avoid the chips, the bread basket, and order the grain and dairy free options.
  • Generally I eat the same thing every day. Eggs for breakfast (see below), apple for mid-morning snack, salad with protein for lunch, grapefruit and maybe some sliced turkey as afternoon snack, lean protein and veggies for dinner.
  • A while back I changed my breakfast from cereal to oatmeal to avoid added sugars. Then I moved from oatmeal to eggs, greens, and a piece of Ezekiel bread to avoid the morning carb bomb. Now I’ve gone to just eggs (one egg, two egg whites, pasture-fed) and greens as my morning breakfast. Delicious and feels great.
  • I tried making my own sweet potato Gu and it worked on a long run, but it’s not that practical for me. After reading the excellent book Paleo for Athletes I went back to a few supplements. My supplementation or lack thereof looks something like this at the moment: Morning run of less than 8 miles or swim of less than 2 miles — no food, I do the workout fasted; morning run of 8 miles or more, banana and Gu Roctane; long run with more than 2 hours between wake and run, two eggs, banana, and 12 oz Accelerade; During a run of 2 hours or more, one Gu Roctane per hour; post exercise and before a strength workout (particularly when the exercise was fasted), goat whey protein powder + fruit + water smoothie; post-long run refuel, Endurox R4 (and usually an IPA later in the day).
  • The hardest for me is eating out for biz dinners and traveling. I am coming off a week of travel, eating out for dinner, drinking too much and just generally indulging and I feel like I need a detox. I do pretty well on the main course ordering, but that burrata appetizer and the dessert get me 7 out of 10 times. Also I enjoy the beer and wine more than would be ideal. Keeping to one glass of red wine with that biz dinner is my goal, usually unattained.
  • My plan post-challenge is to “eat clean”* 90% of the time. Considering 21 meals/week that means two meals a week can be off-plan. Maybe I should make little weekly pass cards for this new plan? Hrm… I think I will…

* For my purposes, “eating clean” is going to mean living by the Ben Greenfield Food Pyramid. Print this and hang it on your fridge. It’s great stuff, very practical, and Ben does his best to support his work with science.

If you have suggestions for further dialing in my nutrition please leave them in the comments. I’m always looking for improvements.

Back to the Whole Life Challenge — dig this — out of the HUNDREDS of people who took the challenge, our homey and original inspiration Chris Carlson WON THE WHOLE DAMN THING. Read the congratulatory post and see his six-pack abs here.

So what’s next?

I’m officially an endorphin addict (and as you can see above, probably a “disordered eater”, too). Here’s what I’m aiming my training at now:

A team of 12 of us are running Ragnar Relay So Cal next Friday. 12 people running 3 legs each totaling 200 miles over about 24 hours. I’m really looking forward to it. Follow our team on Twitter for updates. I’ve been following the training program on the Ragnar site the last few weeks which meant running three separate five mile runs while in Vegas for the ACM awards last week. Pretty fun.

This summer I’m getting back to 5 and 10K training, trying to get my speed back to where it was last summer. I’ll run whatever I can find, starting with this Pajama Run in Long Beach in May. Any suggestions?

I registered for the California International Marathon in Sacramento in December. My goal is to break 3:15 in this one. I’ll be 40 then (I roll over the decade August 29th this year) and who knows, maybe I can qualify for Boston this time around.

I’m also starting a more Crossfit-oriented total body conditioning program. After self-prescribing the Crossfit Open workouts (and sucking pretty hard at them) I started to think about how I might train to do better next year. My friend Andy Petranek at Crossfit LA has been kind enough to help me put together a program aimed at improving my performance year over year in the Crossfit Open next year. I’ve been starting to get a sense of my baseline now by trying out the baseline Crossfit WODs. I have a lot of work to do. I’m stoked to see how much I can improve here.

Thanks again to everyone who gave their support around my training. I really appreciate it.

What are you doing fitness-wise this summer?