Thursday, August 28, 2008

New Haven Road Race, Here I come

So I finally got out for a run last night after days of work-laden torpor, and I frankly kicked ass.

I ran 10.29 miles in 1:32:17. That works out to an average of 8:58 min/miles, 166 bpm, and I burnt 1337 calories.

That's exactly the pace I'm hoping to run on Monday for the 12-mile New Haven Road Race. I think it's definitely doable.

I chowed down on 6 cobs of raw corn fresh picked from the field last night. Fantastic stuff. I had no idea that you could even eat uncooked corn until I went raw. Is it ideal? Nope. But it's great for a treat several times over the course of a summer when you can get it fresh.

Watermelon Disaster

Expletives rang through the air yesterday as I arrived at my garden to pick some of my fresh watermelon. What were probably raccoons slipped under the plastic netting barrier I had erected over my watermelon and cantaloupe patch and ate almost everything. Of 14 watermelons I had growing, four small Bush Sugar Baby varieties survived, and two of those were far from being ready to eat. Most of my cantaloupe are gone too.

What was really enraging is that they didn't even eat everything, and they even wrecked the single watermelon that was growing from the 200-pounder seeds I planted.

They poked their snouts through the rind and ate maybe a quarter of each watermelon. What a waste. The 200 pounder wasn't even close to being fully ripe or fully grown, but they destroyed it anyway.

I'd been looking forward to those watermelons since since April when I started on my Garden.

I'm not really the violent hunting type, so I won't be going after those raccoons with a shot gun, but I'm quite pissed off. I think I'm going to have to erect a strong fence next year to keep out everything.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

No Running and And No Sleep Make Andrew uggggggg

I've been working long hours and I'm exhausted. I worked late last night, didn't get to sleep till 12:45 a.m., and woke up at 6:30 a.m. to cover the first day of school. I haven't gotten a run in all week, and I'm feeling exhausted and wound up at the same time.

I need sleep, then running, then food. Preferably oranges. Oranges would be good.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Andrew's Culinary Delights...And More Running

I've added a recipe space to my website. Right now there's just one recipe, my raw tomato soup- wonderful in it simplicity but delicious in its taste. I'll be adding more later, and I'm hoping that other raw foodies out there will submit some favorites of their own.

After last weekend's 20 miler, I took a break from distance to concentrate on pace. I ran 11.60 miles in 1 hr, 52 min on Saturday. That's an average pace of 9:43 min miles. 1500 calories burnt, and an average heart rate of 162 bpm. I'm going to get this down to around 9 min/miles, and I'll be working on that. I think I'll set my GPS to track speed instead of heart rate and see how that goes.

Friday, August 22, 2008

My Beef With The FDA

The FDA just oked the irradiation of lettuce and spinach. Click here for details.

I don't have time to rant too much, but really FDA, what's wrong with you? Should we clean up the animal feces contaminating our irrigation channels, or should we just say...that's too much work for the corporations that control us. Let's take the easy way out and nuke our fresh food, essentially turning it into dead food.

I love in the article how they cite extended shelf life as an asset!

Here's why is sucks if you're a human being.

1)Food irradiation can result in loss of nutrients, for example vitamin E levels can be reduced by 25% after irradiation and vitamin C by 5-10%. This is compounded by the longer storage times of irradiated foods, and by loss of nutrients during cooking, which can result in the food finally eaten by the consumer to contain little more than 'empty calories'. This is potentially damaging to the long and short-term health of consumers, particularly for sections of society already failing to obtain adequate nutrition.

2) When food is exposed to high doses of ionising radiation, the chemical composition and nutritional content of food can change. Radiolytic by-products are often formed in irradiated food. Very few of these chemicals have been adequately studied for toxicity. One such chemical - 2-DCB - can cause DNA damage in rat colon cells at high doses.

3) Food irradiation does not inactivate dangerous toxins which have already been produced by bacteria prior to irradiation. In some cases, such as C. botulinum, it is the toxin produced by the bacteria, rather than the bacteria itself, which poses the health hazard.

4) Irradiation can cause mutations in bacteria and viruses leading to potentially resistant strains.

Honestly, what's wrong with you FDA. Stop messing with my food!

And while you're at it could you ban Bayer from producing the pesticide that's causing Colony Collapse Disorder? The Bees will love you.


Today was a cross training day for biking. 17 miles or so.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Proud Father Of Produce

It's been a poor year in CT for gardens, with too much rain and too little sun, but my produce has been coming along pretty steadily regardless.

I just pulled a titan of a tomato out of my garden and it was ridiculously delicious along with some fresh lettuce, some celery, a bit of avocado, and a whole bunch of other tomato varieties in my giant salad last night.

Some people scoff at my assertion that organic, freshly-picked produce tastes incredibly better than the 1000 miles away, pesticide-ridden, waxed-covered greenhouse produce you find in the stores. I inevitably find that these people 1) Don't eat much raw produce, 2) Rarely bother to taste what premium quality produce tastes like.

One thing I noticed after I went raw and my taste buds adjusted to the lack of salt and spices in my diet was that I could taste whole new levels of complexity in my food.

I'm unabashedly obsessed with tomatoes because all of the varieties have such complex tastes. I've got a dozen cherry, plum, and full-sized tomato varieties in my garden alone. I'll often bite into one and just enjoy the subtle tastes that unveil themselves.

One of the greatest parts of having a garden is that you'll be hard find the equal of your organic garden in any store, and you can have so much for so little cost. Even in this poor growing year, I have a huge bounty.

Unfortunately, the fate of my three watermelon varieties and my cantelope is up in the air, with some of the vines not looking too hot, but we'll see. I think all the rain is effecting them, and some of the larger watermelons have rotted.

Today's Run:

Today I did some marathon pace training. I ran 9.13 miles in 1 hour and 23 minutes. That was an average of 9:08 min miles, and an average heart rate of 158 bpm. I burned 1186 calories, or roughly 11 bananas.

What I'm finding is that I have more than enough cardiovasular stamina to to keep up this higher pace, but my muscles don't like it. I'm going to have to keep training at this speed till they do.

It's actually really annoying because my heart rate keeps dropping whenever there's a hill to go down. Sure I can sprint down it, but this is exhausting for the muscles on the long hauls.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Marathon Pace

Quick Summary:

I was too busy to post yesterday, but I did get some running related stuff done.

I met Ed Bellows of Innovative Massage Therapy in Wallingford Tuesday morning. He describes himself as a muscle medic, and is trained in Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation. Basically he finds the knotted muscles that most people have running through their body, and points of pain, and then works the laundry list until they're all gone.

He was nice enough to take a look at me pro bono and started working on some knotted muscles in my legs and some spots of pain I had in my neck, etc.

Definitely a new experience for me, and quite satisfactory. I don't know if those muscles will stay loosened, but I certainly feel better for having it done.

Later I headed over to OMNI Physical Therapy, and they told me that my stride has come a long way. I've been working on the stretches they've given me to even out my hips, and concentrating on rolling from the heel to the ball of my foot when I run.


Now that I've proven I can go the distance, though I may do one or two more long runs, I'm going to concentrate on speed. I ran six miles at marathon pace this morning. I averaged 9:05 min miles. The key is maintaining that pace over many miles, and that's something I'm going to have to work on.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Your Body After 20 Miles

You've gone 19.70 miles of a 20-mile run, and you've just passed your apartment. You wish you could stop, but you refuse to quit after all that work, so you keep moving and think about how to come up with .30 miles. You turn onto Colony Street.

Your legs sort of stopped responding about a mile back. You're still moving forward at a run, so the signal from your brain must be going through, but your legs feel like a distant blur of sensation.

You turn onto Washington Street, figuring that you can loop around, and then realize that you're running up the hill. Yet another hill. The last thing you needed was another hill.

You keep going. Your run becomes a kind or ragged trot that seems to favor one side. You imagine that someone watching you must think you're doing some sort of pony impression. In your exhausted state, you find this inexplicably funny. Ponies? Are you becoming delusional? Stop thinking about ponies and keep running.

Your GPS watch beeps, telling you you've done 20 miles. You see the back end of your apartment ahead and finish the final bit of distance at a run. It's the principle of the thing. You don't stop for the last 30 feet. You limp up the fire escape and get inside.

You pry off your sodden clothes and look at your right foot, noticing the large blood blister below the ball. "Oh", you say, rather matter of factly.

You do your stretching, which will stop you from being unbelievably sore the next day. You've been doing yoga for six year and your balance is pretty nifty. You can do handstands and arm balances, but today, you barely stop yourself from toppling over as you stretch.

You finish and head to the kitchen and systematically devour a couple thousand calories of fruit. You'll need 5,100 today just to break even. Michael Phelps needs 12,000 a day. How does he do that? you think.

You take a shower and then plop down into your chair. The fruit is already doing its thing and within an hour you feel 70 percent revived. You'll need sleep though, and lots of it, to fully recover.

Your mood feels really really great despite the hell you just put yourself through. This is runner's high. You'll feel fantastic the rest of the day.

"He he he," you find yourself chuckling for no reason. "20 miles, you crazy SOB". Yes, you've definitely cracked, because there's nothing funny about it.

Note: I just did up the map and it said my route was 21.61 miles, though my GPS said 20. I have to think that the GPS is more accurate, but who knows.


This was a tough run. No getting around it. From the very beginning I had less energy than on my previous 18-mile run last weekend. I wasn't getting enough sleep on the previous days, so that might have caused it. Maybe I needed more carbs.I also had some cramps at the beginning of run, which was different than last time.

That's the thing about running. It's half stuff you can control and half intangibles that you're unsure you can control.

Also, I registered for the marathon, so I'm all set.

Sunday I went to the beach to get some sun on my blister and wash it in the salt water. Felt really good to lie in the sun.

Today I decided to go biking for maybe 10-12 miles.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Protein, Protein, Protein....and tomatoes

Of all the emails I get, protein is by far the chief topic of concern. How am I getting it? Why am I not wasting away after around eight months on this diet?

I was reading "Walden" a few weeks back and I was reminded of a quote I had come across earlier by Thoreau on protein.

"One farmer says to me, 'You cannot live on vegetable food solely, for it furnishes nothing to make bones with,' and ... all the while he walks behind his oxen, which, with vegetable-made bones, jerk him and his lumbering plow along in spite of every obstacle."
-Henry David Thoreau

People have been so brainwashed by poor information that they think that meat, dairy and eggs are the sole source of protein, and that we need massive quantities of the stuff to build muscle, when just about every quality piece of science says otherwise.

If you're looking for quality info on protein, check out a recent page I put up at my site, which should explain why plant protein is superior for health, and why you don't neat animal protein at all.

Actually, I was going to write about tomatoes, but I have to get to work on a feature I'm working on.

Last night I biked 16.12 miles to Middletown. Today is my rest day for this weekend's 20-mile run.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Running Shorts

I had to come into work early today and didn't get a chance to run, but I'll be biking after work.

One thing I've been thinking about recently is running shorts..and swimming trunks for that matter.

My beef with them is that whoever designs these things has to be an idiot or physiologically my polar opposite.

They all have these asinine mesh linings. I have no idea what their purpose is, but on running shorts they're often touted for their magical ability to fight bacterial build up. This magical process is not explained. I think the whole concept of the interior lining is some sort of prudish notion left over from someone fearing a look up their shorts.

But when you run or swim, you get wet with sweat or water. The lining of the pants then clings to your nether regions, and if you keep moving, it starts chafing you. Running with wet material clinging to you down their is not fun.

I've bought two pairs of running shorts this summer, each of which I've surgically relieved of their linings.

No more chafing.

Anyone know what those things are really for? Does anyone enjoy them? Do they not cause problems for you?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Gadet For Training

I didn't have time to post yesterday because I was swamped with work, but I did receive my Garmin 305 GPS/Heart Rate/Pace tracker two days ago, so I've been fooling around with that. It's pretty cool, and I'm just figuring out how it all works.

Today was my first morning of training with a specific heart rate in mind.

I ran at marathon pace, which is considered 80-90 percent of my maximum heart rate.

This came out to an average of 161 beats per minute, or an average pace of 9:05 minute miles. Running 5.09 miles took me 46 minutes. It's a faster pace than I'm used to, but it was a good challenge, and I can tell that this gadget is going to be a good training tool.

Every time I slowed down unconsciously it gave me the most annoying beep, and continued to beep every few seconds until I picked up my pace.

After a bit of cursing under my breath, I definitely ran faster.

"I'll be damned if I let that SOB beep at me," I was thinking.

So after awhile I kind of learned what a certain heart rate feels like and just did my best to maintain it.

Running at this pace should theoretically bring me in under my four-hour goal for the marathon.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Smashing Through 18 Miles


I smashed my way through over 18 miles on Saturday. It was hands down the best long-distance run that I've done so far, and I really feel like I've made a huge breakthrough.

Running 18.5 miles is going to be tiring no matter what you do, but I finished feeling like I could have pushed myself to do more.

What did I do differently? I've really been working on my stride, trying to make sure that my steps land correctly and roll from heel to toe. I'm probably did that for about 3/4 of the run, which is good considering that I'm forcing my body to relearn a very basic motion.

This took a good portion of the strain off my knees and ankles.

The other huge breakthrough was fuel. Previously, I had stopped half way through my run to drink my banana/celery drink (lots of water, 1-2 bananas, a few stalks of celery). I felt good after that, but I my energy gradually dropped as I did the second half of my run.

This time, I started off with my water bottle full of the mixture, and I took a sip every few minutes. This provided a pretty consistent level of glucose and fructose as well as critical sodium, which kept me feeling good. On my last 16-mile run I was starting to get a headache towards the end, probably because my body had shifted off sugars to running on fat, a highly inefficient process.

I'd actually like to have eaten some more calories and gotten a bit more water, but I did well enough. I'll have to examine new ways to get more fuel.

I did take a 15 minute break in the middle to stretch, mix up more drink, and eat a bit before hitting to road. After this, I felt like I was back up to 80-90 percent of my starting energy level, with just a bit of muscle fatigue.

I won't have this opportunity to take a break in the actual marathon, so I might want to experiment with going without it.

That being said, I'm pumped. I feel like I'm going to do really well in this marathon, and completely bypass this wall everyone talks about.

Youthful hubris? Perhaps.

We'll have to wait and see.

Until then, bring on more bananas.


I took a quick run around Hanover Pond this morning. -5.38 Miles

Friday, August 8, 2008

Cross Training

Today was my rest day from running in preparation for my 18-mile run this weekend.

I took a bike ride up the mountain to Hubbard Park. I was up early, and the mist hanging along the peak over the reservoir was quite beautiful.

The ride up that steep road to Castle Craig is a good challenge. One day I'd like to run it.

The castle was shrouded in fog, but in the distance I could see areas lit up by patches of sunlight. Nice effect.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Greens Do The Body Good

Someone emailed me recently in awe of the volume of food I eat. I was trying to put it in perspective for him, and told him that the amount of salad that would fill a platter meant to serve a SAD family of four is generally about what I eat every night after my fruit meal.

I took a picture of the salad I made last night for perspective, which is above.

What you're seeing is spinach and lettuce leaves, sliced cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, and a "dressing" of blended tomatoes and celery. I can't emphasize enough how amazingly good that dressing tastes once your taste buds are off processed junk, salt, etc.

It was a nice cool morning for my run, and I headed up to Giuffrida park.

If anyone is wondering, the reason my weekday runs have been a bit shorter than I was doing is because OMNI has suggested that Iput my primary effort into my distance days, but also to work on shorter runs that maintain a good pace.

I feel like I'm kind of a slacker for not doing at least nine miles during the week, but I guess it's for the best. I'll be attempting 18 this weekend.

I've been working on my hip stretches and my stride. The stride is starting to feel more normal, but it's still awkward. I still find myself running and realize that I haven't been doing heel to toe for the past five minutes.

I'm looking forward to getting this Garmin heart rate/GPS system so I can track my stats more definitively.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Lap Around The Lake

I took a pretty easy run around Hanover Pond and the surrounding area this morning. I was concentrating on my stride and trying to got heel to toe. It's surprisingly hard to do steadily.

One thing I don't like about it is it shortens my stride, forcing me to take more steps to cover the same distance. It's also almost impossible to run up hill while hitting your heel because you land midfoot. This is going to take some getting used to.

I ordered a Garmin 305 to monitor my heart rate, pace, etc, so I should have that by next week. It's an expensive gadget, but I can use it for my biking and running, so It should be useful.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A Few Stretches To Grease The Hip

As I mentioned before, I've been told that my right hip is higher than my left. Today I met with David Harper of OMNI Physical and Aquatic Therapy in Wallingford, and he gave me a series of exercises that will hopefully loosen up the muscles keeping my right hip tight and off kilter.

He also gave me a strange exercise that I do with a tennis ball which forces me to breath in a new way. It feels good and....expansive, if that makes sense. I've been doing yoga and breath exercises for a long time, and this is definitely in a different category.

We also went running together, and he explained some of the training he wants me to do.

One of the things I need to work on is rolling from my heel to my big toe as I run. I find doing this uses a whole new series of muscle in my leg. It also seems to reduce some soreness I had been getting in my ankles, but it's too soon to say for sure.

I have to mentally force myself to consistently do it or I forget and revert to my old stride, which falls in the middle of my foot.

I'm not exactly sure how far we ran, but I I think it was somewhere around four miles.

I'm interested in testing my heart rate, and was loaned an old HR monitor to do this. I just need to rustle up some batteries.

I actually think I was under guessing on my speed earlier. I may be going significantly faster than 10 Min Miles, but I'll have to do a real check to be sure. I used to be able to maintain six-minute miles for 20 minutes on a treadmill in college, though I would be quite tired afterwards.

This is way too fast for an endurance race, though.

Anyway, I'll post more tomorrow.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Victory Over My Leg

16.52 miles........check.

After being stopped at mile 13 or 14 by my rebellious left leg on my last attempt, I reran the route on Saturday. This time I kicked its ass. I bookended the run with days of rest, and I'm feeling good. The only lingering effect is slightly sore calves

On my return trip the skies opened up on me, soaking me completely. Arcs of lightning lit up the sky and thunder rumbled. Fantastic time to be running, I thought.

Actually, I came to really enjoy it. There is something elementally powerful about being caught in a lightning storm. You're so soaked that you don't care about being more wet, and so you just run as electricity flies through the sky. I happened to be running back up the Quinnipiac Gorge Trail when this was happening, and there wasn't a person to be seen. The rain was smashing into the pavement, and it was peaceful. An interesting experience.

Unfortunately, I did get a blood blister. I've never had a blister from running, and I was wondering if it might have been caused by my sodden socks and shoes. I wasn't sure if I should run with it, so I just biked this morning, but I'll be back on the road tomorrow.

Saturday's Run:

Monday's Bike Ride:

Friday, August 1, 2008

Today's Article, Salad, and The Weekend.


First off, you might want to check out the video just posted to the sidebar. The online crew filmed it and put it together, so a big thanks to them for that. I understand that they're going to try for a few more later on.

Veggies and Salad

I've gotten some email asking about salads. They want to know what I do if I'm not eating oily salad dressings. Well, after your taste buds adapt, you come to like greens and veggies as they are.

The kind of dressings sold in the store a extremely fattening and devoid of just about anything nutritionally worthwhile. Oil is 100 percent fat, and even if it's vegetables fat, it's not something you want added to your salad. A huge salad might be under 300 calories before dressing, but over a thousand after it's added.

If you're just a dressing fiend, though, then add my favorite healthy dressing. Take a bunch of fresh, juicy tomatoes and a few stalks of celery. Put them in a blender and mix to desired consistency. (Some like it dicey, some like it liquidy like real dressing). Throw that on your salad you you've got a great taste that's great for you.

Lime or lemon juice is another healthy option.

Finally, you might like throwing on some fruit to add flavor.

If if you eat a raw diet long enough, all this stuff will become pleasant additions. Your taste buds get a rest from the stimulants and let you taste the real flavors of your salad.

The Weekend:
This weekend I'll be reattempting my 16 miles run. I've given myself plenty of rest, and I feel extremely ready. Wish me luck.


This article ran in Friday's Record-Journal:

Pounding away on a treadmill at OMNI Physical and Aquatic Therapy in Wallingford, I was informed that my right hip is higher than my left, which throws off my stride and keeps me drifting to the right. It’s some of the best news I’ve heard since I started this endeavor.

The day after my article in the paper announced that I’d be taking on the Hartford Marathon on a raw diet, and I admitted that I hadn’t the slightest clue about how I should train, I came into the office to find my inbox and voice mail flooded with generous offers of assistance.

I’ve heard from grizzled veterans of dozens of marathons and relatively new runners. Many recommended good books or just gave a few pointers. I’ve heard about the dreaded “wall”, which can leave a strong runner virtually prostrate after 18 miles because they pushed too hard and didn’t take in enough sugar.

At least forty people have contacted me over the last two weeks if you count my blog, some from across the country, and I simply couldn’t answer all the messages. City officials and random people on the street have stopped me to ask about my progress and wish me luck.

But the best opportunity that’s come my way because of this is the offer from the OMNI staff of owner Frank Forte, Exercise Physiologist David Harper, and Chiropractic Physician Dr. Richard Powers. I caught their attention with my article, and they’ve offered to walk me through the training process and hopefully correct any problems I might have before they become injuries.

I’ve been running a few miles a day for years, but I’ve never really pushed myself, and it’s always been with the tentativeness of someone who’s never had a running coach.

So to have someone firmly tell me that I need some work, and who’ll walk me through the nesecarry exercises and running techniques to get my form in good order, is actually something of a relief.

I’ll be meeting with Harper soon to work out the kinks.

Forte has been running marathons for years, and he had a good deal of information for me. We covered everything form the best way to handle water on long runs- do a large figure eight route around your car so you can periodically refill on calories and water- to how to handle the wear and tear on your body.

“The rest is almost more important than the running,” he said, which is something that I’ve been starting to realize over the past couple of weeks.

Following my attempt to run all the way to Cheshire and back to Meriden, a trip of about 16 miles, I slept 12 hours. I also think I’ve been adding to the load of my leg muscles too quickly, which was probably behind my left thigh locking up on mile 14 of that trip. I went from averaging 20-25 miles a week before my training to 45 or so miles last week. I’m determined to ramp up my mileage at a slower rate from here on out.

One of the things that Forte suggested as a reasonable goal to shoot for was a sub four-hour marathon, which is considered pretty respectable for a first timer. I like the challenge, so I think I’ll give it a shot.

He told me that I had a thin build, which will help me out. “You’ve got the genes for it,” he said.

I now find it interested to hear all this talk of good and bad genes. People are plagued by illness because of their genetic misfortune, you hear.

When I was 220 pounds at age 17, I cursed my bad genes. Now that I’m 163 at age 23, have my genes changed? I remember my youth football coach talking to my father when I was 10 or 11 and saying that I was such a big guy, yet I could run down the field pretty fast. I must have good genes, he said. Now I’m thin, but I’m probably not fast enough to distinguish myself sprinting. Now I’m average speed. Did my genes worsen?

All the backaches, headaches, and regular head colds that plagued my early life have vanished since I stopped eating processed food, meat, dairy and eggs four years ago. Things have only gotten better since I started eating just fruits and vegetables six months ago. Did my health genes improve?

No. It’s all contextual. I could probably become a fast sprinter if I demanded it of my body and gave it the right fuel.

I’m determined to run this marathon and do the best job that I can. Plenty of people run them, of course, but it’s going to be especially rewarding to me because of the absurdity of me doing it previously.

Almost every time I take to the road I remember this particularly miserable run I made regularly on that youth football team. It was hot, I was wearing all my equipment, and my lungs were laboring for breath. I was miserable. I hated that run, and I dreaded it. Looking back, I realize that the distance couldn’t have been more than a quarter of a mile!

Now I look forward to my daily runs that cover the breath of the city and beyond. The endorphins are pumping, I’m feeling great, and I don’t feel like my ability to breath has the slightest impact on my ability to run. Running is a joy, even if it’s a joy that sometimes beats the crap out of you and steals your wallet.

I look around on these beautiful summer mornings and wonder why more people aren’t out on the road with me. People complain about the heat, but one of the benefits of this diet is that you run several degrees cooler than the average person. The heat doesn’t really get to me.

Anyone crazy enough to join me? All you need are some bananas and a pair of running shoes.

For daily updates on my training and maps of my routes, check out my blog at:

For information on my diet, check out my site: