Monday, February 18, 2008

Sea, sand, sun... and a marathon!

A belated race report this is. On February 9th the whole Kulak clan got outta Philly just as the 15F, snow, ice and rain descending upon the Northeast. A few hours later we had our t-shirts and shorts on enjoying the balmy Gulf Coast weather on sleepy little Anna Maria Island. A few hours later I woke at 3:45 am and drove 60 miles north to run the Tampa Marathon. With a 6am starting time, this is the first time I've ever started a marathon in the dark. It actually stayed cool and dark until almost 7 am. Any early season race and kickoff to a week vacation. A real treat.

From the start the pace was just right to meet my pre-race goal of 3:10. I hit the half in 1:30 on the nose and felt comfortable. At mile 20 I started feeling confident I could finish in 3:05 - 3:07. I"M ON TOP OF THE WORLD!!! NOTHING CAN STOP ME!!! Then reality hits. I should have known! Mile 24 I cramped... hamstrings, calves, arms, brain... everywhere. Dismantled. I hobbled through the next 2 miles to finish in 3:11:26. Ouch! I took my twitching body through he food line for some home-style cajun rice and seafood, grabbed a water and headed for the car. An hour later I was in the backyard playing with the kids in the pool. The 2008 running season has begun!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

ATP ----> ADP + energy + Pi

English translation of post title: Adenosine Triphosphate produces Adenosine diphosphate + energy + inorganic Phosphate

My translation: The above compounds represent the breakdown of energy in your muscles at the cellular level during exercise.

So we don't feel good after running an ultramarathon. Legs are tired, lungs scorched, body drained. Duh. But do we really have a true understanding of why? Has what is going on inside our bodies after running for 10, 15 or 20+ hours (besides turmoil) been critically studied through a means of scientific process? Fortunately for us endurance junkies some (really smart) scientists have attempted to study the various impacts to the human body pre-, during and post ultramarathon.

The attached document ( is an executive summary of research articles on the physiological, psychological and medicinal issues associated with ultrarunning forwarded to me by my sister, Jennifer Kulak, Phd. She was kind enough to provide a short note of scientific translation for my less then nimble mind. My summary is as follows:

- Loading up on antioxidents such as Vitmain E and C provides little to no protection against muscular damage.
- Ibuprofen (aka. Vitamin I) is bad for you during races. It's probably not very good post-race either considering your liver and kidney's are working overload.
- Ego aside, the longer you're on the course the more you will hurt.
- Wear sunscreen.
- Your brain really does turn to mush during an ultra. I'd wager a bet that most politicians have exercised induced cognitive impairment.
- Your body chemistry and genes force you to crave beer, burgers and ice cream post-race (any race, any distance). This data has been compiled through my 14 years of dedicated, exhausting, tedious research on the topic of post exercsie fluid consumption needs.

The human body is an experiement of one.

Monday, February 4, 2008

January run off...

"Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired." - Jules Renard

January was off to a better then normal start to the running year. This time of year I frequently end up doing more cross-training then running to get ready for spring training ( Usually I can't get motivated until at least February but the unseasonably warm tempertures in the Northeast have given runners the opportunity to stay in shorts and enjoy unfrozen ground through January. I have actually managed to get outside four Saturday mornings in a row for 2 to 4 hr. runs with some friends. It has been great seeing lots of people on the trails enjoying the outdoors at a time of year when most are in the midst of cabin fever. Personally, I miss the snow. But since I can't shake the clouds to make snow fall out of the sky I'll take advantage of the clear streets and trails while I can. Tampa Marathon this upcoming Sunday is a good start to the race season and February's training!