Monday, June 28, 2010

"Earn This"

In the movie, Saving Private Ryan, Ryan was told to, "Earn this", by Tom Hanks as he was dying. The squad that was tasked with saving him were all killed, but Ryan lived. At the end of the movie Ryan went to the cemetery where Tom Hank's character was buried and told him how he had tried to live a good life and "Earn", the sacrifice that those men made, that he should live.

We all have that opportunity to earn our place in this world. We must earn the right to have words like; courage, honest, honor and kind, describe us. We adult athletes have the means to show our courage, when we choose to go on, in a long race or training walk/run, when we have nothing left we prove our courage and determination. We can't go out and slay a dragon to prove our courage but we can darn sure go the distance.

To a soldier honor is one of the strongest life goals. You are prepared to give full measure for your country. To live without honor is unthinkable. Most of us don't go to battle each day but we go to work. In this day of bad economy having a job is never a sure thing. I'm a firm believer, however, that a man/woman with honor will find work, because to not work is unthinkable. It may take a little time to think it out but they will keep moving forward.

We all need to remember to respect each other. When we are there for others, then those others are there for us. I'm living proof of that. When I was beaten down by a bitter divorce, the people I needed to help me were there for me. Thank you my friends, I shall never forget your kindness and support.

There is no greater disrespect for another than to lie to them. When we lie we live without honor, we live without honesty and we live without courage. An honest person is one who can be truly at peace. We must all strive to live with and promote honesty both to others and ourselves.

Thanks for reading.

Rambling Panda

Friday, June 18, 2010

Free Form

Today was, I believe, a turning point in my training. It was hot, 82 degrees with high humidity. My plan was to have an LSD to start acclimating to the heat of summer and working on endurance. Then I had one of those moments. The song lyrics, on my iPod, were, "Freedom comes when you learn to let go". Wow, talk about a Revelation, the light bulb came on and I realized something I'd been missing.

I went into free form mode. Suddenly technique was natural not something I was forcing my body to do. Because I just loosened up and let it flow. Now this was my first long distance on a really hot day this year, but the pace was easy, my body was responding to the rhythm. My original plan was 10 miles but by 9 miles I'd had plenty. It was an amazing workout but I didn't force it, I went with how I felt, my body performed well, but when I started running out of steam I stopped.

I had a couple of rough spots, the first when I hit where my normal long distance walks stop, six and a half miles. Then when I passed a fence with a large angry pit bull behind it. My heart rate soared there and finally when I was nearly run down in a cross walk by a couple of guys smoking and drinking beer. The driver had to swerve the old Buick wide to keep from hitting me.

I can't wait to get to the track next week and practice what I learned today about letting go and letting the motion flow.

Thanks for reading.

Rambling Panda

Monday, June 14, 2010

Heat Training

I have spent a lot of my life in hot climates. Four years in Southern Louisiana, nine year in the Las Vegas desert and five years in Okinawa. All these places were very hot and in the case of Vegas, although not as humid, very extreme temperatures. I leaned a lot about training in the heat from my years of running in these climates.

To start with we were designed to not only survive but to thrive in these temperatures. Human civilization, according to what our best scholars can figure out, started in the hotter climates. We only later branched out to the other areas of the planet.

I learned that you need to stay hydrated all the time, keep a drink handy all day so you can drink some several times an hour. The old rule of thumb of 8 eight ounce glasses of water is a minimum. If you exercise in the heat every day that's not enough. Remember this: It's an old American Indian saying, "it's the water in your body that does you good, not the water in your canteen". Basicly that means if you are heading out into the heat for a hard workout you need to have all your required fluids in you not in a bottle you are going to be sipping during the workout.

I don't drink during a 5K and I will only occasionally take a drink during a 10K. But I will go into the race well hydrated and start drinking again as soon as the race is over. During a 10 mile or longer race I will hit all the aid stops and drink the Powerade or Gatorade, I drink that for the fluid but also the electrolytes and calories. Since you burn a 100 calories a mile, the calories from the sports drinks helps you feed your cells with easily digested sugars. Solid food takes to long to digest to do you any good. That's why Goos and Gels are so popular. Fruit will digest quickly also so a lot of longer races will have bananas and oranges on the course for the athletes.

Another observation I've noticed over the years is that sometime after the heat of the year starts that I will have a workout where I feel the heat really bad and I get a dizzy feeling. I will stop working out when this happens and cool down with water and shade or air conditioning if available. But after this happens once, my body handles the heat much better. It's like I'm feeling my body acclimate to the heat. This has happened many times and I've learned that untill it does I need to stay close to where I can get water and cool down. Once it happens I can start doing longer walks where I cover a lot of distance.

Heat is dangerous but heat is also not a reason to stop training. It just needs to be respected and you need to be prepared for how you will react to heat training. Stay hydrated and untill your sure of how the heat will affect you, stay close to help.

Thanks for reading.

Rambling Panda