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Archive for February, 2010

I decided to give my Tanita Body Fat / Body Water Monitor a test. Lately my weight has been fluctuating between 117 and 121 within a 24 hour period  which is highly suspicious. Normally I am pretty solid at 118 with a 18% body fat, it can be as low as 16% and as high at 19% depending on how much water I am drinking. The lowest I have ever gotten in the last two years is 14% at 113 pounds, normally a couple of weeks around  marathon time.

If  I am well hydrated the Tanita tells me my body fat is lower. So to put myself in a good mood I drink a liter or so of water, then weigh myself an hour later. My fat will be down, but a liter of water weighing 2.2 pounds  my weight will be up, but that bothers me less.

Because I was born with an obsessive brain I often calculate the hypothetical performance benefit I will have running  marathons at a lower weight. And with Boston  8 weeks away I might want to consider putting aside this bag of pretzels if it will make running easier and faster. So how do I know how much extra fat I am really carrying around and is my scale right? Ah ha! Today I had an appointment at Brooklyn College’s Kinesiology and Sports Medicine lab to be measured in their Bod Pod. The Bod Pod is a funky space pod looking contraption that one sits in wearing weight compression clothing, usually shorts for guys and shorts and sport bra for women or a speedo type swim suit. After a digital reading of one’s weight, you sit in the airlocked  pod. It uses something called Air Displacement Plethysmography to determine the percent of fat, fat free mass, fat mass in pounds, fat free mass in pounds, body mass, body volume and body density. I found it cool to know that if my body was liquified I would fill  51 liters.

It was no surprise that I am classified as “lean with lower body fat levels than many people”   The weight specifics on my scale was right, I weigh 118.517, 94.163 pounds of that are muscle, bone, organs and water or 79.5%;  24.354 pounds are fat which is 20.5.% Hum, that is more than my scale says, 24 pounds of fat? Yuk!  To put it in perspective, to live,  women need essential fat, 12% – 15% meaning I could weight as little as 109-112 and still function. But what is function? Does that mean I can still run 40-65 miles a week? Probably not for any length of time. But what if I lost 3 pounds or 2.5% body fat. I have read in many articles that for a 1 percent loss of body mass, primarily as body fat, there will be an approximate 1 percent increase in running speed. To put this in perspective, if you currently run a 10K at a pace of eight minutes (8:00) per mile, losing 5% of your excess body fat will improve your time to 7:36 per mile (8:00 x 0.05 = 24 seconds faster; 8:00 – 0:24 = 7:36). Consequently, you will run the 10K about 2.5 minutes faster, and your marathon about 11 minutes faster. That is something to think about.

I always want to run faster. I have no problem going out in blizzards, rain, cold, or heat to run. But, especially, after a 20 miler, my body is like a magnet being pulled into the bodega to get a pint of ice cream. Food is much harder to control. But maybe as an experiment, just for 8 weeks I can give it a try. 1% of fat = 1% faster? Well let’s see if I can put away the pretzels.

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I can’t believe that I still have 8 weeks and  350 miles to run before the marathon.That is pretty nice since I am already feeling good about it. Yesterday I had a 20 miler to run and Saturday  I had to move my art studio. One of the reasons I have not posted much is that I had to move out of my studio.  I have been spending my non job, non running time with building a new space and  preparing for the move.  After 8 hours of hauling boxes on Saturday I had 12 hours to rest before my run.

My brilliant idea was to run at the Rockefeller State Park in Westchester, NY just 30 miles north of the city. There is an excellent website by Joe Garland that lists all the trails. I read Joe’s description of the trails and figured it would be an excellent change of scene. Plus running 20 miles on asphalt is not ideal, whereas trails are always super fun. I called ahead to see what the trail conditions were.  I was told the cross-country skiers where having problems because they were hitting dirt patches. How my brain actually processed this information was, “it is mostly dirt and a few snow spots.”

After a 40 minute drive I arrived at Rockefeller and paid my $6.00 parking fee, there are many alternative free parking places as well as metro-north transit. I jumped out of my car and hit the Sleepy Hollow Trail. A nice downhill, 100% snow and slush. After about one mile I turned onto 13-bridges loop. I will spare you all the gruesome details to say, there was no dirt and only about 800 meters of mud in the whole 20 miles. At mile 9 I was so frustrated with the slow pace of slipping and sliding in the snow that I almost quit, but I knew I would hate myself if I did. Joe said in his website, “The Rockies has very few flat stretches. There are loads of little ups-and-downs, often in switch back format.” That did not scare me, I like running hills and come on it is NY how hilly could it be? Well at the end of my run, I had covered 5948 feet of ascents and 5886 of descents. Between the hills and the snow it took me 30 minutes longer to run than it should have. And while 30 minutes does not sound like much time to regular people,  those of you long runners out there, know what 30 minutes means at the end of a 20 milers. Let’s just say I could have completed a good fast marathon in the time it took me to run this 20. Joe was  accurate in describing it as loads of little ups and downs. The other thing is there are no long stretches. You do not get  5-10 mile trails but rather lots of twists and turns sharing 26 trails over about 1100 acres. At one point I ran into a cow barn, and later a pig farm. That was kind of cool. This is a beautiful place to train-when the snow is gone. This would be the perfect spot to run a 5-10 milers, but for me I like nice long stretches rather than running around in circles which I felt like I was doing.

So my goal to save my feet from the pounding of the asphalt was completely sabotaged by the snow. My feet were soaked early on, blistered, and water-logged.  I have never seen them look worse, but today, today they feel great and I am a bit tired but feel strong.

I can’t wait to run there again.

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Way over Due

I am always way over due with posts. Just a quick note to saying training is going very well, 10 weeks to Boston! Last weekend I finally got up to 50 miles, that included 6 miles of hill repeats and an 8 mile steady state run.

I am mostly preoccupied with moving my studio, currently located in Brooklyn back to Manhattan. I am very excited about this. I will only have to walk 12 feet to get from my bed to my studio an 5 feet from my espresso maker to my drawing table. If it sounds like I am working at home that is right. I have designated 50% of my home to my work studio and I am really excited about having a live work space. I think my dogs will like it too.

I will have photos for you soon.

Highlights of 2010
A 10 mile run along the Atlantic Ocean in Iceland and a full day at the Blue Lagoon Spa.
A week in Breda, Netherlands visiting my artist friends with a trip to the Fran Masereel Center, Kasterlee, Belgium
Registers for TransRockies, 113 mile multi-stage race in Colorado
Registered for Tough Mudder, the toughest one day event on the planet (they say)
and looking forward to running a PR Boston!

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