Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Server Suicide or American Online Just Sucks

Spent ninety minutes on a brilliant Post about the Bowen Island weekend. Either the Telus Server crashed or once I again I was rectally abused by American Online. Six of one, half a dozen of the other. May try to recreate it tomorrow. The Post, not the assault on my anal orifice.

Passed on the Tempo run tonight. Legs were dead this morning. Did a two mile run, and while my legs worked, it was like I was missing fourth and fifth gear, or had dirty spark-plugs. No horsepower to speak of, none whatsoever, no snap or pop in the legs. Just dead tired. And it rained today.

Monday should have been a rest day, but rent is coming up and I worked until after Midnight. Was a long day.

Went to the clinic tonight - advised all the newbies NOT to behave like me.... Sound familiar?

Will be in bed before 11:00 PM.

Until tomorrow and the rest of the adventure, friends...

Monday, August 29, 2005

The Bowen Island Blow-out


This is one set of Postings to the "Boston or Bust" Blog that you won't want to miss...

The Bowen Island Blow-Out!


Plus, you can also find the Blog at


I ran 26 miles over the weekend and actually gained two pounds in two days!

Who would have thought it? I am filled with both love and loathing for Rachel, Michael, Patrick, Justin, Michelle and Tori! Special thanks to Tori and Michelle for being such great crew.

Ahhhh, back to 1,800 calories per day, now...

And NO MORE alcohol until AFTER I have qualified for Boston in Kelowna!

I fear that the photos I have posted on this latest Blog will have finally ruined what little was left of my tattered reputation.... a confused middle-aged beefy possibly-closeted man in spandex and a Playgirl towel with a fondness for Broadway musicals and young German hotties with "washboard" abs and belly-dancers... It's like a scene out of "Cabaret".

Now, honestly, how can you imagine even MISSING what will transpire at the Okanagan Marathon in Kelowna on October 9th in the MIDST of the Okanagan Wine Festival?????

Vince "Boston or Bust" Hemingson


I need money to get to Boston. If you send money I will send you the photo sans towell. Actually, if you DON'T send money I will send the photo sans towell and tell either your husband OR your wife that we are having an affair... Just send the money, you know it's going to get messy.... Posted by Picasa

I think somebody is ready for bed... And we're supposed to run how many miles tomorrow morning at dawn... We managaed 19.5. This is now know as the Miracle on Bowen. Posted by Picasa

Seven people, many post-race beers, six bottles of wine, a bottle of rum and another of blackberry port. To us and Salvador Dali it all made sense... Posted by Picasa

Is it the Pride Parade on Bowen? Or are the Spandex Boys checking out the belly-dancers...? Did we mention the playing of Broadway musical albums all weekend.... Posted by Picasa

First I steal medals from children, then I feed them candy. Michael's first Sharkie. Sit, boy! Sit! Posted by Picasa

Do a little dance, make a little move, let's get down tonight... An excellent post-race stretching routine. Posted by Picasa

Love those head-lights... More reasons to love Bowen Island. Posted by Picasa

The Fab Five, Michael fourth in age class, Rachel second woman overall, first in class, Patrick, fifth overall, second in class, Justin - a new, by one full minute, Personal Best 10K time, 14th overall, and yours truly, fifth in class, 18th overall - Field of a hundred. Posted by Picasa

I will steal medals from children to qualify for Boston... Justin and I thought that the box of medals was for finishers until a teary-eyed little girl said they were meant for the under-12 racers... Yeah, we gave them back. Posted by Picasa

The big finishing kick, 100 metres to go. Notice sad little teenager behind me eating my old man dust, after saying at 26:00 minute turn-around mark of the 10K as he passed me, "Nice race, Sir." Posted by Picasa

The view from the beach in front of our cabin. Posted by Picasa

Right, Bowen Island is "pretty flat", Rachel. Check out the ascent line, it's like the freakin' Himalayas! Posted by Picasa

Okay, I got the e-mail from Jeff galloway, I said I was going to go for a "stroll" during the Bowen island "Run for the Ferry" 10K. Look carefully at what happens at 26 minutes.... A story of middle-age adolescence will follow. Posted by Picasa

My Wednesday night Nine Hill workout. Boy, I sure feel tired tonight... Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 26, 2005

One Man's Opinion - Jeff Galloway

I have to be honest with you. I agonized over whether or not to post what I am about to post. But then, I wouldn't be any better than the putzes' that I train with who discard their heart rate monitors when they don't like the feedback or data they are getting, or who run through an injury on the theory, hope, wishful thinking or just plain old delusion that the injury will disappear on its own! But all ideas, even if you don't agree with them, deserve to be heard and judged on their merits - and the source from which they come I might add!

And the source of the post is a long-time source of inspiration for me - none other than Jeff Galloway himself.

Remember my plea for help from experienced marathoners and marathoning Coaches regarding getting my heart rate up for hills? Jeff actually answered my e-mail, as he has every time I have sent him one in the past three years.

Here is what Jeff Galloway himself had to say in reply:

Jeff Galloway wrote:


Congratulations on your great achievements in weight control and fitness. You are an inspiration!

After coaching over 170,000 runners to their goals, I've not found heart rate training to be necessary and don't use it. Therefore I will not comment on the heart rate questions.

You are training too hard. When my ecoach clients have similar symptoms I do the following:

1. Run every other day

2. Reduce the length of the hill segments to no more than 150 meters

3. Run slower on long runs: 3 min/mi slower than predicted by 5K times.

Look at my NEW MARATHON book--in the back (prediction chart).

Take a 5K time, see what it predicts in the marathon. Compute per mile pace on the next page.

Add 3 minutes to this time. Add 30 sec per mile for every 5 degrees of temperature increase. Walk break ratios should correspond to pace per mile. See my website for instructions on the walk break ratio for pace.

(according to Jeff's book - and my own calculations to date - I have been planning to run the Okanagan Marathon in Kelowna at a 7:40-7:45 minute per mile pace - which works out - hopefully - to a marathon time of between 3:20 and 3:25. I have been doing Sunday long runs at about an 8:45-9:15 pace, easily within my heart rate training zone of 65-70% - Jeff is suggesting even two minutes per miles slower than that)

I hope you can join us at one of my one day running schools or retreats: Highly motivating with individualized information. Most runners find more than a dozen items they can change and improve as a result.

Best of running enjoyment!

Jeff Galloway - e-coaching to your goals

Jeff is right about one thing. The last two weeks, the Stormy and the high mileage have left me leg-tired. I was scheduled to do a 10K race this weekend, but the race will be an easy jog instead.

The 37K on Sunday will be done at below 60% of my maximum heart rate.

I would love to attend a clinic with Jeff, it is in fact a dream of mine to run in Greece with him one year and retrace parts of the original Marathon route from the Plains of Marathon to Athens.

I'd also love to engage Jeff in a passionate, (if not heated!) discussion about why heart rate monitors are such a useful tool for marathoners, especially new ones. But Jeff is the Man, he has run a 2:16 and been an Olympian. Gotta give credit where credit is due.

I am the first to admit I have been pushing the ragged edge of my training envelope lately.

In my defense - and I have many who can vouch for this - I bailed on my workout last night with my Half Marathon Clinic Hill Session. I actually took the night off and shouted encouragement from the top of the Hill!

And I had already informed my running buddies that the Saturday "Run for the Ferry" 10K Race on Bowen Island was going to be a stroll. And that the Sunday run this weekend was going to be considerably toned down.

I recognized a few symptoms of over training - but my morning heart rate has not been elevated. And my weight loss has not been precipitous. I am wavering these days between 183-184.

Because my diet had been so restricted on weeks where my mileage was getting up there, I have been increasing my fuel load, more carbs, more frequently, and more protein to aide in recovery.

As badly as I want to qualify for the Boston Marathon this fall, I don't want to risk injury or imperil my chances of making my attempt. There wouldn't be any sense in that.

So between Jeff Galloway, and Wayne (Scooter) and Hugh; I have actually been listening. And I hear what you are saying, Gentlemen. I am both lucky and blessed to have so much talent and such great coaches to call on for advice!

I'll let you know how I feel after the weekend.

You all have a good one!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Takin' the Young 'uns Ta School

Takin' the Young 'uns Ta School Posted by Picasa

Was in a world of hurt last night, still had to lead out the 3:30 - 3:45 Tempo Pace Group.

I felt like Julius Caesar, surrounded by a pack of young Cassius' -

" Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous " - Julius Caesar quote by William Shakespeare(Act I, Scene II).

They were hungry, were Patrick, Tim, Kevin and Hugh, Justin and especially young Christina, all lithe and lean. Even Hugh, with almost a decade on me has only a vestige of mercy in him on a tempo run and none in a race.

But, the children had no idea what I had in store for them.

Since Stormy I have piled up a 75 mile (110 kilometres) and a 65 mile (100 kilometres) week, back to back.

Last Sunday we did 29K and then added 6K. We breakfasted, I went home, showered, and then worked from 2:00pm until 2:00am.

Monday I worked from 7:30am until 2:30am Tuesday morning.

All construction, painting and concrete and ladder work. Not much time to rest or a chance to eat according to the new diet.

Woke up Tuesday, on the site again at 7:30am to meet a deadline. Got home at 4:00pm, meant to eat, lay on the couch and fell asleep. Woke up at 6:15pm. Marathon Clinic at 6:30pm.

Scramble out of the house. Choke down a cold cup of coffee. Haven't eaten since 6:00am.

Tempo run. They want me. I can see it in their eyes. Check out the Polar S625X chart.

I figured I could never hold them off after 8 hours sleep in three days and no rest and not much food for twenty-four hours.

I dropped the hammer, took them out at a five-minute a mile pace for the first eight minutes. In my exhaustion forgot to double-lace my runners.

But for the first 1.5 kilometres I owned them. Had to stop for a blown tire and pit stop.

If I was in pain, everyone was going to be in pain. EVERYBODY went lactic, what a run.

The rest finished in 31 -32 minutes. I staggered home in 35:30. Not bad uner the conditions.

Now they all know what the last 1oK of the marathon feels like. Welcome to school, kids...

Cue evil laugh... :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Takes a Licking and Keeps on Ticking

Wayne, my friend,

I have made a career, and a not inconsiderable amount of money, I might add, wagering on my ability to pull off what seems on the surface to be the improbable, the unimaginable and the seemingly impossible.

I have long demonstrated a rather unique life-long ability to absorb what would be otherwise considered debilitating amounts of physical discomfort, abuse and pain, and that if otherwise than self-inflicted, would fall under the pervue of the Geneva Convention for the "something or other" - damn, it's too early in the morning - Treatment of Prisoners of War. "Compassionate", that's it!

I have an ex-love of my life (almost wife) who says to this day (and with no small amount of begrudging admiration) , that she has never met a man with the ability to absorb punishment quite like me - physical, emotional, pyschological, and spiritual. At the point when any other sane, sentient being would have given up, called it quits, given in to reason and gone home, I will give it one more try.

I have a natural tendency to obey Newton's Laws of Physics, a Vince in Motion, tends to stay in motion. Until my fat ass gets in gear, I am an imovable object, once moving, the irrestistible force.

Like the old Timex Commercial, I can take a licking - nudge, nudge, wink, wink, know what I mean, know what I mean - and keep on ticking. I've been one of those dim-witted boys who played hurt, not having the good sense to get x-rayed and finding out several days later that yes, I actually did break that bone. Huge gasp! I have run for ten hours on blisters that when I have pulled my socks off, have made seasoned health-care professionals look away. I have poured blood out of my boots on more than one occasion, leeches off my ass, and fish hooks out of my scalp.

Frankly, I think it because of my gene for red-hair - and I get it from both sides of my stunted family shrub. I think it's what kept those Highlanders pouring out of the glens and the Vikings out of the fjords. Red hair, it's nature's pain killer gene.

All that blather being said, 185 is still to big to be fast for so long.

Respect the race, respect the distance.

Like Bill Rodgers says, "The marathon can humble you."

Anything under 3:30 - requires me to be under 180.

The numbers don't lie.

My porridge is waiting.

I am 184 this morning. On the nose.

Monday, August 22, 2005

A Toast to Wayne

Scooter, I am SO looking forward to you buying the first round in Beantown. Did I mention that we drink pitchers here on the Wet Coast?

Here's to a marathoning Blogger's best friend...

To Wayne!!!!!

It's a Numbers Game

Marathoning is a numbers game.

Scooter (Wayne), in his endless support, enthusiasm and boosterism reponded to my last Blog with:

Vince,180 is a NUMBER! The key is that you're damned close to it, not the 200 lbs. from before. Based on the 2 sec/mile/lb estimate, the 18? lbs you lost will roughly equate to 943 seconds or 15 2/3 minutes in your marathon. Don't be concerned about not making 180, be proud of losing 18 lbs by marathon day! I smell BOSTON! Wayne

Wayne, is of course right. Wayne, is also, of course, wrong.

180 is just a number, but it is also more than a number.

My two best marathons, at 210 pounds - 3:53 and change; at 203 pounds - 3:52 and change.

184.5 - while laudable, as Wayne points out, is good but probably NOT good enough.

As as my good friend Michael (an engineer of course and a brilliant one at that) says, "Vince, the data, does not lie. It's all in the numbers, Buddy"

15 2/3 minutes faster than a 3:52 does not Vince a Boston 3:30:59 Qualifier make. In fact, being generous (as I am ever wont to do), 16 minutes off of a 3:52 marathon works out suspiciously close to 3:36. Which sounds far too close to heartache to even bare contemplating.

Listen, the new 184.5 pound Vince is great. I look and feel MaaaHvelooouusss, Dahlin'. My clothes fit better, I can wear stuff from the back of the closet where it has lain in slumbering hibernation for the better part of a decade. I'll drop my kit in a second a Wreck Beach. I am faster, fitter and most important of all, much healthier. Sheesh, I'm three weeks away from a six-pack! Okay, maybe a four-pack. I am even, heaven's to Betsy, happier. The pretty girls, well, some of the girls, look twice as I walk down the street and I feel confident that I am on the right track.

But 15 and 2/3 minutes faster does not cut the mustard. The numbers, as Michael would say, require that I be 180 pounds or lighter and the single best indicator to date suggests a body weight of 176. Not easy, but not impossible. Doable with a plan and committment and discipline. I am barely going to scrap by 3:30 if everything goes according to plan. At 176, fit, healthy pounds, I may have a tiny extra margin of sped that will scoot me across the finish line in Kelowna around 3:25.

And if I don't make it in Kelowna? It's not the end of the world. I just keep trying. After all, 3:30:59 is just a NUMBER! And I'm going to beat it. If not on October 9th, then some day soon afterwards!

Panhandle Slim Posted by Picasa

Insomniac's Review

It is 1:30am, a ludicrous hour for me to be up. I ran 72 miles last week, the 64 kilometres of the Stormy included.

This morning I got up at 6:30am, couldn't sleep, dogs needed to go out to pee. Cactus Jack is nine months, Panhandle Slim is three months and since my birthday on August 8th has now been here sharing our accomodations for more than a week. Cactus is not quite sure what to make of the new living arrangements. He looks at me like I am some kind of a wanton slut, trying to have my cake and eat it too as I bring my mistress home to live with my wife. Can a girlfriend be far behind?

After running for four hours, trying to slow the pace just a tad to aknowledge the heat of the day and the mileage of last week, I then proceeded to work until after midnight. Painting. I'm beat. The dogs got one brief run in the morning, another late at night. They are not talking to me. Sounds like most of my relationships with members of the opposite sex...

Weight is down to 184.5

I realize that the time to get down below 180 pounds is quickly running out. But the mileage for the next four weeks will be high. My concern is to keep my strength up and really monitor my tempo runs. I really want to run the Okanagan Marathon in Kelowna at 175-176 pounds. I think that gives me the greatest chance for success.

After much consultations, reading of tea leaves and perusing of goat entrails, I figure the key to hill training is to lengthen the hills to 400 metres. That should take care of getting the heart rate into the zone I think I'll be getting maximum benefits from. Can hardly wait to strat doing some interval work. Hopefully 800s on a track.

Had a great massage the other day, made a world of difference. Need to keep doing it. Also time to be thinking of breaking in some new runers for the marathon. Getting very nervous.

Trying to be positive, but thinking of the Las Vegas marathon in the first week of December as a possible contingency plan...

And steady as she goes - between 125-145 beats per minute. Posted by Picasa

Four Hours of 60-70% Maximum Heart Rate Posted by Picasa

Sunday Long Run - 22 miles in 3:58 Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Hill Training Primer

What is Hill Training?


Hill training is a method of running up hills to increase muscle power and strength.

Hill training is very demanding at first because you work muscles that you don't use very often while running.

However, the more you hill train, the easier it becomes.

Hill training is an effective way of buliding aerobic power and strength. It is a great form of resistance training for runners because as you run up a hill, you are fighting the resistance of the slope.

Hill-training workouts should only be done once, or at the most twice, per week.

Is Hill Training Only Beneficial to Runners?

No. Hill training is ideal for athletes who depend on high running speeds.

Benefits of Hill Training?

The most common benefits of hill training are: strengthen hamstrings, calves, glutes, hip flexors and achilles tendons. Hill running uses more upper-body muscles than flat running.

Hill Training

- helps develop power and muscle elasticity

- improves stride frequency and length

- promotes strength endurance

- develops maximum speed and strength

How Does Hill Training Strengthen Muscles?

When compared to runing on flat surfaces, hill running forces the some muscles to contract more quickly and generate work at a higher rate.

When the muscles contract more quickly and work at a higher rate, they become more powerful.

While hill training, the muscles can develop two to three times as many muscle fibers than running on flat surfaces.

Reduce the Possibility of Injury while Hill Training

To reduce the possibility of injury during hill training, the athlete should stretch before running, stay properly hydrated, and hill train after the athlete has developed a solid base of strength and endurance.

Short, Medium, Long Hills

The benefits of short, medium and long hills are different.

Benefits of Short Hills

A short hill is one which takes no more that 30 seconds to run up and has an inclination between 5 to 15 percent grade. The runner's energy source on short hills is entirely anaerobic.

When running short hills, the runner should focus on a running technique which has vigorous arm drive and high knee lift, with the hips kept high, so that they are 'running tall', not leaning forwards.

Medium hills

A medium hill is one which takes between 30 to 90 seconds to run up. This is the length of hill is a good distance for the middle-distance runner. This length is good for middle distance runners because it combines the benefits of the short hills with the stresses on local muscular endurance and tolerance of lactic acid.

Long hills

A long hill is one which takes from 90 seconds to three minutes to run up. The energy used to run a long hill comes from aerobic sources, but if parts of the hill are steep and the runner is running hard, there will still be an accumulation of lactic acid. On long hills, the runner will not use as much power per stride as the shorter hills.

Hill Training Tips

- Start with an easy 15 minute warmup on rolling hills

- Take your time. Do not exceed your training level.

- Good hill running form

- Run with a slightly higher knee lift

- Pump arms viourously

- Lean slightly forward

- Keep head up

- Cool down with a 15 minute jog on level or gently rolling ground.

- Jog slowly on each decent.

If you want to run hills on a treadmill, for each change in altitude, run at a 8 percent incline for 90 to 90 seconds with 2 minutes flat recovery jogs.
Do not hill train when you are injured.

For those who want to disect Hill Training down to the nitty-gritty... I offer you - http://www.brianmac.demon.co.uk/hilltrain.htm

Friday, August 19, 2005

The Heart of the Matter

Most of my Blogs are me pontificating on me.

Now I'm putting out a clarion cry for help to other marathoners far more experienced than I for a little assistance and a little coaching insight.

As of this moment I am a little stymied by the results and bio- feedback I am getting in my Hill Training work outs. Here is the situation -

Lately during Hill Training - multiple Hills of a good grade for several hundred meteres - I am running until I'm almost ready to throw up and I have nothing, I mean, NOTHING, left. At the top of the hill I am left bent over at the waist, hands on my knees, gasping for breath and fighting off waves of nausea.

I tend to do the Hills in sets. Easy, Medium, Hard, Easy, Medium, Hard and then two Hard Hills back to back. I allow my heart rate to recover to 130 or below. I usually take 90 second breaks between Hills, never more than three minutes. (We started off doing 4 Hills and our training schedule calls for us to work up to a dozen before we then switch to doing intervals in preparation for an October marathon. In my case the Okanagan Marthon in Kelowna on October 9th)

And yet even after 8 hills my legs and lungs give out before my heart rate gets much up over 180. If that!

When I do 8K tempo runs with Hugh and Patrick - in the 31 -34 minute range, by the end of four kilometres, if I wanted to, I could get my heart rate up to 180 easily, and in the last 500 metres I can crank out 190 and above.

I am doing my Hill Training the day after my tempo run. Am I not allowing enough time to recover? Should I allow two days before doing Hills?

Just two years ago I would see mid 190s all the time during Hill training.

Three and four years ago I would see over 200. It was these hill work outs with my Polar Heart rate monitors that led me to believe that my maximum heart rate was around 205.

An important note to point out is that when I started training for my first marathons five years ago, I weighed 220 pounds and what must have been a body fat percentage of around 30%. This spring I weighed 203 pounds and had a hydrostatic measured body fat percentage of 22%. As of right now, I weigh 185 pounds and I think my body fat percentage is around 14%. Is this possibly efffecting my heart rate in training?

Oh great marathoners out there in the void I beseech you to hear my pleas - What do you think is happening?

Some research I've looked at on the internet says that as you become fitter it becomes harder and harder to approach your Maximum heart rate, but I am now a little bit concerned about my heart rate training zones - especially as I am getting so close to trying to qualify for Boston.

I look forward to any words of wisdom or proffered advice.

Cactus Jack after one too many mescal... With a name like his, you'd think he could hold his cactus juice! Posted by Picasa

Butterball, Chili Conchita, Cactus Jack and Panhandle Slim crossing the Rio Grande... Posted by Picasa

The latest addition to my family, Panhandle Slim. He rides the the Sonora Trail between Texas and Mexico with me and Cactus Jack, and although he can't hold his tequila, he's pretty good with a pistolero and the Senoritas... Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Cool it, Baby!

This is for the clown who just e-mailed me and took me to task for chastising the people in the clinic who snuck out of the cool down.

Christ!, you'd think I WANTED to play nursemaid amd mother to a bunch of spoiled brats.

What I want is for everyone to have a fun, enjoyable training experience where we try and keep the aches and pains to a minimum.

There is nothing worse than struggling through a training clinic with an injury that not only HURTS!, but that keeps you from getting the full enjoyment and satisfaction out of the experience. Trust me, I speak from experience. I have been there. I wouldn't want anyone to have to suffer what I have suffered through.

I want everyone to get to the start line of their race happy and healthy.

I want the race experience to be one that you will treasure and cherish all of your life - one that you will share with your family and friends and tell them about until their eyes glaze over and they pass out from boredom!

And most importantly, I want your running experiences to be so positive that it becomes part of your lifestyle and is something that you do for the rest of your life.

And don't just take my word for it.

Here is some good advice on how to be a happy and healthy lifetime runner!


Warm up and Cool Down!

There is no doubt that time spent on warming up and cooling down will improve an athlete's level of performance and accelerate the recovery process needed before training or competition.

As a result the coach must encourage the athlete to regard the warm up and cool down as an essential part of both the training session and competition itself.

Warm Up

Muscle stiffness is thought to be directly related to muscle injury and therefore the warm up should be aimed at reducing muscle stiffness.

Warming up should at least consist of the following:

5 to 10 minutes jogging - to increase body temperature
10 to 15 minutes dynamic stretching exercises - reduce muscle stiffness
10 to 15 minutes general and event specific drills - preparation for the session or competition. e.g. for a runner
Lower leg drills
Leg drills
Technique drills
4 to 8 easy run outs over 30 to 60 metres - focus on correct running technique (Tall, Relaxed, Smooth and Drive)
Dynamic stretches are more appropriate to the warm up as they help reduce muscle stiffness. Static exercises do not reduce muscle stiffness.

What are the benefits of a warm up?

Performance may be improved as an appropriate warm up will result in an:

Increased speed of contraction and relaxation of warmed muscles

Dynamic exercises reduce muscle stiffness

Greater economy of movement because of lowered viscous resistance within warmed muscles

Facilitated oxygen utilization by warmed muscles because hemoglobin releases oxygen more readily at higher muscle temperatures

Facilitated nerve transmission and muscle metabolism at higher temperatures; a specific warm up can facilitate motor unit recruitment required in subsequent all out activity

Increased blood flow through active tissues as local vascular beds dilate, increasing metabolism and muscle temperatures

Cool Down

Warming down should consist of the following:

5 to 10 minutes jogging/walking - decrease body temperature and remove waste products from the working muscles

5 to 10 minutes static stretching exercises- decrease body temperature, remove waste products from the working muscles and to increase range of movement.

Static stretches are more appropriate to the cool down as they help muscles to relax and increase their range of movement.

What are the benefits of a cool down?

An appropriate cool down will:

Aid in the dissipation of waste products - including lactic acid

The process of lactic acid removal takes approx. one hour, but this can be accelerated by undertaking an appropriate warm down which ensures a rapid and continuous supply of oxygen to the muscles.
reduce the potential for DOMS

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)

Muscle soreness that occurs some 24 to 48 hours after intense exercise usually involves eccentric contractions. This causes increases in intracellular pressure that irritates the nerve endings, producing swelling and local pain. The soreness can be an indication of potential muscle adaption to follow, but if it persists or is debilitating then it could indicate over training and large muscular tissue damage.

An appropriate warm up and cool down may help to avoid or reduce DOMS.

Reduce the chances of dizziness or fainting caused by the pooling of venous blood at the extremities

Reduce the level of adrenaline in the blood

The Bugs in the Band

It's just like clockwork. There are significant numbers of people who move up from the 10K Clinic to the Half Marathon Clinic and those who graduate from the Half Marathon Clinic to the full Marathon Clinic that exhibit some form of "shin-splint" or calf pain symtoms just before the halfway point of the clinics. This is more common on athletes making significant increase in speed and especially mileage for the first time. For these people, it's undiscovered country. I adressed the concerns of those folks last weeks.

Now comes the "band" people. And hopefully it won't be the "Last Waltz" for them. As we ramp up mileage, speed and workout load, it is generally some of the more seasoned athletes who get twinges in their ITBs. In fact two of the most talented athletes I run with are just on the edge.

So without further ado, here are three of the best articles I could find on the subject.


Knee Pain, Knee Injuries andIliotibial Band Syndrome

A Guide to the Treatment and Preventionof Knee Injuries and Iliotibial Band Syndrome!

Knee pain and knee injuries, as a result of Iliotibial Band Syndrome, can be an extremely painful and frustrating injury that puts a big strain on both the knee and hip joints.

Knee injuries are very common among runners and cyclists. However, they doesn't usually occur in an instant, like a hamstring strain or groin pull, but commonly starts off as a twinge or niggle, and progress quickly to a debilitating sports injury that can sideline the best of us for weeks.
For those who aren't familiar with Iliotibial Band Syndrome, let's start by having a look at the muscle responsible for the problem.

The iliotibial band is actually a thick tendon-like portion of another muscle called the tensor fasciae latae. This band passes down the outside of the thigh and inserts just below the knee.

The diagram to the right shows the anterior (front) view of the right thigh muscles. If you look towards the top left of the diagram, you'll see the tensor fasciae latae muscle. Follow the tendon of this muscle down and you'll see that it runs all the way to the knee. This thick band of tendon is the iliotibial band. Or iliotibial tract, as it is labelled in the diagram.
The main problem occurs when the tensor fasciae latae muscle and iliotibial band become tight. This causes the tendon to pull the knee joint out of alignment and rub against the outside of the knee, which results in inflammation and pain.


There are two main causes of knee pain associated with iliotibial band syndrome. The first is "overload" and the second is "biomechanical errors."

Overload is common with sports that require a lot of running or weight bearing activity. This is why ITB is commonly a runner's injury. When the tensor fasciae latae muscle and iliotibial band become fatigued and overloaded, they lose their ability to adequately stabilize the entire leg. This in-turn places stress on the knee joint, which results in pain and damage to the structures that make up the knee joint.

Overload on the ITB can be caused by a number of things.

They include:
Exercising on hard surfaces, like concrete;
Exercising on uneven ground;
Beginning an exercise program after a long lay-off period;
Increasing exercise intensity or duration too quickly;
Exercising in worn out or ill fitting shoes; and
Excessive uphill or downhill running.
Biomechanical errors include:
Leg length differences;
Tight, stiff muscles in the leg;
Muscle imbalances;
Foot structure problems such as flat feet; and
Gait, or running style problems such as pronation.

Immediate Treatment

Firstly, be sure to remove the cause of the problem. Whether is be an overload problem, or a biomechanical problem, make sure steps are taken to remove the cause.

The basic treatment for knee pain that results from ITB Syndrome is no different to most other soft tissue injuries.

Immediately following the onset of any knee pain, the R.I.C.E.R. regime should be applied. This involves Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation, and Referral to an appropriate professional for an accurate diagnosis.

It is critical that the R.I.C.E.R. regime be implemented for at least the first 48 to 72 hours. Doing this will give you the best possible chance of a complete and full recovery.

Ongoing Treatment and Prevention

Although the pain may be felt mainly in the knee, the problem is actually caused by the muscles that support the knee. Namely the tensor fasciae latae and the large muscle at the rear of your upper leg, called the gluteus maximus.

Other muscles in the lower back, hip, backside and upper leg also affect the function of the knee, so it's important to pay attention to all these muscles. After the first 48 to 72 hours, consider a good deep tissue massage. It may be just what you need to help loosen up those tight muscles.

Firstly, don't forget a thorough and correct warm up will help to prepare the muscles and tendons for any activity to come. Without a proper warm up the muscles and tendons will be tight and stiff. There will be limited blood flow to the leg muscles, which will result in a lack of oxygen and nutrients for those muscles.

Before any activity be sure to thoroughly warm up all the muscles and tendons that will be used during your sport or activity. For a detailed explanation of how, why and when to perform your warm up, visit


Secondly, flexible muscles are extremely important in the prevention of most leg injuries. When muscles and tendons are flexible and supple, they are able to move and perform without being over stretched. If however, your muscles and tendons are tight and stiff, it is quite easy for those muscles and tendons to be pushed beyond their natural range of movement.

The stretch to the left is one of the best stretches for the tensor fasciae latae.

Stand upright and cross one foot behind the other. Then lean towards the foot that is behind the other. Hold this stretch for about 15 to 20 seconds, and then repeat it 3 to 4 times on each leg.

To keep your muscles and tendons flexible and supple, it is important to undertake a structured stretching routine. For a comprehensive reference of over 100 clear photographs of every possible sports related stretch, you can't go past The Stretching Handbook. If you're interested in stretches for the upper legs, hips and backside, The Stretching Handbook has detailed photographs of 36 different stretches you can do. Order your copy now!
And thirdly, strengthening and conditioning the muscles around your knee and upper leg will help greatly to reduce the chance of knee injury and knee pain.

If you are in too much pain to resume normal exercise, consider swimming, deep water exercise, or maybe cycling. Otherwise, the following web site, http://www.thewalkingsite.com/knees1.html has a list of simple, easy strengthening exercises for the muscles of the upper leg and knee. To keep your knees in tip-top condition practice these regularly.

If you enjoyed this month's issue of The Stretching & Sports Injury Newsletter, please feel free to forward it to others, make it available for download from your site or post it on forums for others to read.

Please make sure the following paragraph and URL are included.
Article by Brad Walker. Brad is a leading stretching andsports injury consultant with over 15 years experiencein the health and fitness industry. For more articles onstretching, flexibility and sports injury, subscribe toThe Stretching & Sports Injury Newsletter by visiting



Iliotibial (IT) Band Friction Syndrome

The iliotibial (IT) band is a tough group of fibers that run along the outside of the thigh. It begins at the hip and extends to the outer side of the shin bone (tibia) just below the knee joint. Iliotibial band syndrome is due to inflammation of this band. The IT band acts primarily as a stabilizer during running and may become irritated from overuse. The pain is generally felt on the outside (lateral) aspect of the knee or lower thigh, and is often more intense when descending stairs, or getting up from a seated position.


It band friction syndrome is often predisposed by overuse, training errors or faulty biomechanics. It is more common in runners than other athletes and may be linked to running only on one side of a crowned road.

Because most roads slope off to the sides, running in the same direction leads to the outside foot being lower than the inside foot. This in turn, causes the pelvis to tilt to one side and stresses the IT band.

The biomechanical abnormalities that may lead to IT band problems include: excessive pronation of the foot, leg length discrepancy, lateral pelvic tilt, and "bowed" legs. Muscle tightness or lack of flexibility in the gluteal or quadriceps muscles may exacerbate IT band injuries.

Many physical therapists use Video tape analysis to uncover such biomechanical problems.


Treating IT band friction syndrome includes: R.I.C.E.. Rest, ice, compression and elevation as needed. It is also important to address any biomechanical or training errors, and perform flexibility exercises. (see below).

Proper footwear is also an important factor of treatment and prevention. Reducing mileage and being alert to the signs of overtraining syndrome can help you identify potential risk factors in your personal training style.

If you have an IT band friction injury, you will need to rest in order for the inflammation to decrease. This rest, along with a low-impact cross-training activity can lead to a faster recovery. Anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS may also be prescribed by your doctor to reduce painful inflammation.

PreventionPrevention of the IT band syndrome consists of the following:

Proper Strengthening Exercises

Strengthening the external hip rotators may also help reduce the risk of IT Band injuries. The best exercise is doing sets of one leg squats in front of a mirror. Make sure your pelvis does not drop on one side.

Proper Stretching Exercises

How To Stretch The IT Band

Cross your right leg over your left leg while standing, and extend your left arm against a wall, pole, chair or other stable object. Lean your weight against the object while pushing your right hip in the opposite direction. Keep your right foot anchored while allowing your left knee to flex. You should feel the stretch in the iliotibial muscle in your right hip and extending down the outside of your right leg.

Selecting Proper Footwear

Orthotics may also help for chronic IT band inflammation. (See Foot Facts).

Avoiding Overtraining

Cross training

Allowing plenty of rest and recovery in the training program.

Running on a soft, level surface or alternating directions on the road

IT Band Friction Syndrome does not have to be a chronic, or debilitating problem.

A little bit of prevention and careful diagnosis of the cause can lead to a complete and full recovery.


ITB - iliotibial band syndrome - the BIG 5 - common running injuries

Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Definition: Pain and inflammation on the outside of the knee, where the iliotibial band (a muscle on the outside of the thigh) becomes tendinous, and results in a friction syndrome by rubbing against the femur (thigh bone) as it runs alongside the knee joint.


Initially, a dull ache 1-2 kilometres into a run, with pain remaining for the duration of the run. The pain disappears soon after stopping running, later, severe sharp pain which prevents running pain is worse on running downhills, or on cambered surfaces pain may be present when walking up or downstairs.Local tenderness and inflammation


Anything that causes the leg to bend inwards, stretching the ITB against the femur overpronation (feet rotate too far inward on impact) tightness of the ITB muscle lack of stretching of the ITB incorrect or worn shoes excessive hill running (especially downhills) and running on cambered surfaces overtraining .


Stop running, especially in the case of severe pain if pain is mild, then reduce training load and intensity, and avoid downhill running and running on cambered surfaces.

Take a course (5 - 7 days) of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen/voltaren/cataflam/mobic) available from your general practitioner or pharmacist.

Apply ice to the knee (for 10minutes every 2 hours) in order to reduce the inflammation

Self-massage, using arnica oil or an anti-inflammatory gel, to the muscle only (along the outside of the thigh). Do not massage the side of the knee where you feel the pain, as this will only aggravate the friction syndrome stretching of the ITB.

Stand with the right leg crossed in the back of the left leg. Extend the left arm against a wall/pole/chair/other stable object. Lean your weight against the object while pushing your right hip in the opposite direction. Keep your right foot anchored while allowing your left knee to flex. You should feel the stretch in the ITB muscle in the right hip and along the outside of the right thigh. Hold for 30 sec. Relax slowly.Repeat to opposite side. Repeat stretch 2 - 3 times per day.

Remember to stretch well before running

Return to running gradually

Full recovery is usually between three to six weeks

Medical treatment:

Physiotherapy, if injury doesn't respond to self-treatment in 2 to 3 weeks

Orthotist or podiatrist for custom-made orthotics to control overpronation

Orthopaedic surgeon - if injury does not respond to physiotherapy treatment, a cortisone injection into the ITB, or surgery to release the ITB may be indicated.

Alternative exercises:

Swimming, pool running, cycling (in low gear) "spinning" Avoid any exercise that places strain onto the ITB, specifically, avoid stair-climbing

Preventative measures:

Stretching of the ITB, quadriceps, hamstring, and gluteal muscles. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds, relax slowly. Repeat stretches 2 - 3 times per day.

Remember to stretch well before running.

Strengthening of quadriceps, hamstring and calf muscles.

Correct shoes, specifically motion-control shoes and orthotics to correct overpronation

Gradual progression of training programme

Avoid excessive downhill running, and cambered roads (stay on the flattest part of the road)

Incorporate rest into training programme !

The Hills Are Alive With The Sound of Moaning

The Hills Are Alive With the Sound of Moaning Posted by Picasa

Seymour, our trusty and fearless leader couldn't make Hill Training last night so he left the training session in my dubious hands...

As you can see from my Polar S625X, we did eight hills and lovely hills they were. This has been a heavy workload week for me (over 100K - 65 miles), and I must confess, I am surprised that my level of recovery has been as good as it has been. But I died on the last two hills. I had nothing left but lactic acid and the desire to throw up. I even thought I coughed up a piece of lung or two... Gasp, Gasp, GASP!

I have suffered very little chronic lower back, leg or neck pain at all through all of this. I have had what would have to be considered an acceptable degree of muscle stiffness, almost all quads, and that would be primarily I think from all the downhill breaking I had to do during the 64 kilometres of the Stormy.

My Tempo Run on Tuesday left me shaking my head. I had NO loss of leg speed. Thank you to Hugh for making me run a sensible pace to prevent an overtraining mishap. I simply can not imagine a serious endurance athlete training without a heart rate monitor. Hugh has a 610 and wants to upgrade to the S625x, Justin just got one - the S625X that is - for his birthday and I KNOW Patrick is doing everything in his power to get one. Right now he's using an older S210, and has been fascinated with someof the information he's been gathering. Kevin is a 625 man himself and we are having a great time comparing notes.

If you look at my Hill chart you can see I was successful in getting a minimum 40 beat swing on the hills, recovering to around 130 and then pushing myself up over 170. My current level of conditioning is making it exceedingly hard for me to rev up my heart rate like I used to be able to a few years ago. To get over 90% of my maximum heart rate and especially to get close to 95% requires an enormous effort on my part, usually at the end of an 8K or 10K race where I am going full out over the last 500 metres.

Everyone in the clinic has improved by leaps and bounds. Heard a few moans and groans about the length of the warm-up and cool-down runs, but there are no short cuts to excellence and I want to do everything in my power to prevent any injuries on my watch. After a hard, hard workout, it can be tempting to ease off, and the next thing you know, your legs have stiffened up and you end up with cramps or worse yet, a muscle strain or pull.

Unfortunately we were joined by a bit of a class clown last night, who thought it was funny to skip out on the cool-down portion of the hill training workout and take a short cut back to the Running Room. Fine for him, everybody has free will. But he took a bunch of people with him and the end result was of course that their work out was compromised by the actions of someone who wasn't thinking with a full deck of cards...

What seemed like a lark last night won't seem quite so funny at the 32K point in the marathon this October, when they are all beginning to wonder why their speed has abandoned them, their legs are cramping up, muscle spasms have set in, and they can't seem to keep their shoulders from slumping over... And then it will hit them. They still have 10K and an hour to go to cross the finish line.

Maybe they'll take the next Hill workout a little more seriously...

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

All Systems Go

8K Tempo Run three days after Stormy 64K Posted by Picasa

After keeping my heart rate below 150 BPM or approximately 75% of my maximum heart rate for most of the seven hours and forty minutes it took me to finish the 64K of the Stormy Trail Race on Saturday, I was very curious to see how quickly I would recover. Nothing like a run to test out the legs!

Frankly, I'm going to have to get off my ass in at least one area. The work load I am putting my leg muscles through these days (and for the next eight weeks) is really demanding that I begin a regular routine of massages. My stretching regimen really helps, but there is no substitute for deep tissue manipulation to aide recovery. Unfortunately that usually costs a minimum of $65 an hour.

I'm either going to have to start a relationship and beg, plead and whine for a rub down once in a while in exchange for doing dishes, laundry or vacuuming from a significant other, win the lottery so I can afford a couple of sessions per week, or enter into a sordid S&M/B&D world where I alternate some kind of twisted rituals of mutual beatings and thrashings with what passes for a sort of "rub buddy". The things you have to do to resort to qualify for Boston on a budget.... But I digress.

Last night was the Tuesday night Tempo run, and as you can see from my Polar S625X heart rate chart, I didn't spare the rod any (see, it's that S&M/B&D thing cropping up already). I did feel some leg stiffness, mostly quads, and I took extra care to warm up, but once I was a few kilometres in, I felt great. Even surprisingly so. I revved my heart rate up from the low 160s to 174 after about 20 minutes and I could quite easily have continued from there to the finish.

However, Hugh, in his wisdom and experience, advised me to take it easy and I backed off with about two kilometres to go, wanting to keep my eye on the ultimate prize and not risk injury. Right now, it's Boston, Boston, Boston. We did just under 8K in 35 minutes and change. If there had been money on the line I could have run a 32 minute 8K. I was shocked, frankly, at just how good I felt, and the value of training with a heart rate monitor was never more apparent to me.

Now for Hill Training...

And maybe that friend with a fondness for leather and spanking...

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

A Blast From the Past

I was cleaning up my office this afternoon and was digging through mounds of dusty detrius when I unearthed an old fitness assessment and found an old MAX VO2 Test I had taken when I was 34 (over ten years ago!) that I had completely forgotten about. I produced a 64.6 ml/Kg/min at 14% body fat. I weighed 202 pounds. The test was marked, "Excellent".

I am now even more intrigued to retake my MAX VO2 test up at the John Buchanan Sports Medicine Clinic at the University of British Columbia in late September when my goal weight is 176-180 pounds.

At 8-10% body fat I should be able to get a MAX VO2 number in the high 60s...

I hope!

In March of this year, Michael calculated my MAX VO2 at 57 at 22% body fat at 203 based on my UBC data and my maximum heart rate of around 200.

Actually, I'd give my left nut to crack 70... At age 45 no less. Makes me wonder what I might have done in my early twenties... That 36:10 10K time when I was 28 years old and only weighed 178 pounds certainly makes sense now!

Oh to be young again!

New from the Front - Stormy in Squamish

Direct from Rich -

The 5th running of STORMY took place on Saturday, August 13th, 2005 through the forests and over the ridges above Squamish, BC. Results for this year's race are now available at


Revised results with Powerhouse aid station splits will be posted after I get some sleep :-)

The story of the day had to be Lisa Polizzi's blistering run to overall victory. She covered the 64 km course in 5 hrs, 9 min, 43 sec.

Photographs, stories, and comments from the event continue to pour in.

Send them here...



We'll be posting these soon too.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
STORMY 67 km solo ultramarathon and 3-person relaySaturday, August 13, 2005

Race Directors: Wendy Montgomery and Rich Rawling


Monday, August 15, 2005

This is it, me at the Stormy Trail Race Finish, 7:41. A full two hours faster than last year... Posted by Picasa