Monthly Archives: August 2009

Race Report

The Spirit of Columbus Race Report – in chapters a la¬†Inglorious Basterds – AKA “Party like a track star”

Chapter 1 – Backstage

Although my OCD tendencies were on full-alert Saturday afternoon, we checked into the elite athlete host hotel without a hitch – names on the athlete room list and keys well-secured. The hospitality suite had bananas, gatorade and a race management team on hand to give us our race packets and any assistance for the day. We took our bags back to the room, dumped them on the bed and started sifting through the piles of STUFF, sorting goods into useable and waste. The waste pile was absurd. Checking the amenity list I realized we had missed the course tour (which really would have come in handy!), but the massages were still being given, however I opted not to take a massage on advice of the other guys I came with and my own reservations of strangers touching me in awkward areas. Finally, we had all settled in, laid out our race clothing for the following morning and were faced with hours of a non-agenda, so we decided to go out for a slow 30 minute run to keep the legs loose for the next morning.

Upon returning to the hotel we began to see runners everywhere, in fact, pretty much the entire wing of our hotel was occupied by elite runners from all over including Africans, Eastern Europeans, Asians and Americans. Little by little we started to realize the magnitude of this field. We knew there were going to be super fast racers here, but we didn’t realize the extent of the field and just how many people were showing up for the prize money. I knew I wasn’t going to be in the running for any sort of placement from the start, so the extra runners didn’t mean much to me except for race prestige by association. Admittedly, it was pretty awesome to be included in the benefits of athletes this caliber, to have my room and entry comped, massages, rides to and from the start line, etc. I was enjoying it all.

After getting cleaned up we still had an evening to kill and a few of us, not wanting to get too restless, decided to go catch a movie (Inglorious Basters) before we called it an evening. The movie was great, but as it drug on and on I couldn’t help but keep checking my watch and calculating just how much sleep I was going to get in contrast to how much sleep I WASN”T going to get. I figured it was too late by then anyways, so decided to just enjoy the movie.

Finally, we left the theater, went back to the hotel and made sure all preparations were in order for the following morning. Alarm clock across the room set and at full volume. Breakfast foods ready. Coffee maker ready to turn on. Jersey, shorts, shoes and socks laid out. D-chip inserted into shoe. Post-race bag packed. Satisfied that I had thought of everything, I finally managed to fall asleep around 10:30 or 11:00.

My phone alarm jolted me awake at 5:15 and I gathered my wits enough to hit the button on the coffee maker and drag my ass to the shower. I went through my pre-race morning rituals, which involves going to the bathroom about 5 times, before heading downstairs to wait for the race shuttles. I put on my headphones and psyched myself up with my usual metal music selection, all the other runners groggily hanging about in the lobby waiting all the same.

The first shuttles arrived and picked up two busloads of runners before carting them off to the start line. Waiting outside with another group of runners, the sun not yet visible but arcing its orange glow just over the horizon, I tried to take in everything that was going on around me. Friendly faced runners were talking animatedly with other runners, a few women were doing some light stretching, a couple people were standing around relatively uncomfortably while athlete bags were spread at our feet. I couldn’t help but appreciate the moment, thinking how just 2 years ago, hell, 2 MONTHS ago, I would never have thought I would be in this position, standing outside of a free hotel waiting to race with athletes who have made running their entire lives.

I thought to myself, “This ceratinly isn’t something everybody does. I’m experiencing moments that most people will never understand or be in the position to experience. This is pretty awesome that I’m actually here doing this.”

The buses finally returned and the group of us piled in and were carted off to the start line. We dropped our bags off at the athlete baggage check and started our individual processes of warming up for the effort to come.

CHAPTER 2 – The Headliner

The wheelchair athletes had been sent off 5 minutes previous and the rest of us stepped forward to the start line, lightly jostling for what we perceived would be the best position to get out and away from each other. I fell in about 3 rows back behind a tightly clumped mass of Africans who would go out somewhere in 4:20 for the first mile, nowhere near what I was aiming for. Learning a good lesson from the Indy Mini, I wanted to start my first couple of miles somewhere near 5:20 – 5:25 and then knock them down further into the race.

By this time my heart was pounding strongly with a mix of nervousness and anticipation, and I tried to take slower breaths not wanting to waste any bit of exertion before it was absolutely needed. Then before I knew it we were seconds out from the start. The airhorn blasts into the air and the mass of runners up front all surge forward like an ocean wave pouring over its breakers. Just as I expected, the mass of Africans in front of me took off like mad as they led the race out and drug the other contenders behind them, while the rest of us tried to settle into a fast but sustainable pace for the coming miles. As we pushed out I found the group of guys I came with (Davis, Little and Poray) as well as some other Hoosier runners that I could be pulled by for a decent pacing. Little, Poray and myself stuck close for about the first 1200 before Little surged (some say “sprinted”) to get with Davis, while Poray and I held to our pace and continued through.

We rolled pretty consistently through the first portion of the race, but unfortunately the race wasn’t lined with mile markers until after the first 5k and so we really didn’t have a good gauge of our initial pacing. I didn’t want to go out too quick, but I really had nothing to base my speed off of and decided to just stick with Poray as I felt like I was taking it easy. This, apparently, was not the case as we knocked out the initial downhill miles that spilled into the 5k at 16:00 flat, averaging somewhere around 5:08 for the effort. Still, I felt just fine, and although I noticed my speed was, well, noticeable, I didn’t want to fall off Poray and risk losing him or any group to run with as I wasn’t sure there was anyone else around us at the time.

The course to this point took some serious drops in elevation, but soon started to make up for them with long gradual uphills that Poray and I were grinding out. I was still feeling great as we pushed up the inclines and managed to pull up close, even taking the lead and pulling him on for a bit. Moving past mile 4 and into 5 it felt like we were knocking out a fast, but manageable, speed workout. Dare I say, I was even having fun. I felt not a bit of fatigue, even with the up and downs of the road and managed to recover very well at the top of each incline, rolling even harder down the declines.

Soon enough, we started picking off a few of the Kenyans that blew out at the start as they couldn’t hang with the lead pack and turned the race into a training jog. We continued on into mile 6 and all of a sudden came into the 10k point. I looked at my watch and was taken back. 32:18. A 10 second PR for the distance. I wasn’t completely excited about this though, as I knew this was probably going to catch up with me sooner or later, and like a premonition I felt an odd fatigue pour through my body like some mysterious magic. It wasn’t enough to slow me down, but I knew I’d be fighting it up the road.

Then, as luck would have it, we run smack into a short but steep incline that topped out at mile 7 and sucked every bit of speed out of my lungs. Angry at losing pace I push through after the incline and start making my way up the road, trying to hang onto Poray who was a few strides ahead of me after that hill. It took me a bit longer, but I recovered from the effort and continued on into mile 8, which wouldn’t you know it, also topped out at the top of a steep incline. I don’t think there could be a worse place for those hills in a 1/2 and again the speed was sucked out of me like blood to a vampire. This time, the recovery effort was a much more considerable effort and I struggled to regain composure, fighting my way up the gradual inclines and trying to get into a rhythm back down the hills, but I just felt off-kilter.

I tried all my tricks and although I found myself back in it from time to time, the inclines would knock me off pace again and again. Now usually I’ve noticed I die from mile 10 on and I have to fight hard to keep speed, but this time it came early. Going into mile 9 my breathing was intense and I was struggling to calm my breaths and focus on leg speed. I managed to continue fighting, but it was starting to get real ugly. Somehow I worked my way past 9 and into mile 10, but simply had nothing to make a last 5k effort. I kept grinding out the distance hoping the ever shrinking distance to the finish line would turn things around and give me a second (third? fourth?) wind, but it wasn’t coming.

I ran to mile 11 and really dug deep, looking for anything to get me back on pace as I had slowed noticeably and all of a sudden I found myself moving…and it felt good. I was back on track, knocking out the distance with considerable effort, but at a speed I could accept….then the road rose quickly and I was knocked back out of it. I fought up the incline, made it over and started the process again. This was the pattern for pretty much the rest of the race. I’d fight to get pace and after 50 yards of hitting speed I’d get it ripped right out of me by another incline. All i desperately wanted was a continuous stretch of flat road, but this wasn’t to be.

I made it to mile 12 and told myself to push hard, get that rhythm and at least have a successful last mile, but everytime I thought I was in the clear I’d hit another small, but speed sapping incline and my legs would turn to molasses as I struggled through. I had so little fight in me the last mile that I was passed by 3 guys in that distance. I don’t think I’ve ever been passed in the last mile since started racing, but today was the day.

Then like an oasis, I saw the finish line and started a final surge, right into a small, but visible uphill finish. I hit 13 miles and looked at the clock….

“Oh shit. I’m still in this!” I had .1 mile to kick in order to stay in the 69 minute range and I turned it on. There wasn’t a lot there, but I pushed hard, literally watching both the clock and the distance in front of me simultaneously. My face was crammed with fatigue as I ran to the finish and hit the line at 1:09:46, well within the range and knocking off a 44 second PR.

I almost couldn’t believe it. I knew I was knocking out the miles solidly in the beginning, but I started to die so hard so much earlier than usual that I was sure I bagged it in the end. Ultimately, part of me was absolutely ecstatic that I could now say I am a 69’er 1/2 marathoner, but another part of me was disappointed knowing that If I had run more conservatively and smarter in the beginning that I would have had more fight in the end. I know I’m fit enough to knock that even lower right now, if I just get it in me to run smarter. Still, I can’t dwell on that too much. For now, I’ll just focus on the PR.

CHAPTER 3 – The Finale

I came through the finish line and crouched to the ground as I let the fatigue wash out of me and the sweet relief of stopping fill me back up. I started to stand up when a significant light-headed feeling came over me and I went back down. A race official came over and asked if I was ok, but I thanked and waved him off and told him I was fine. I regained composure and walked over to the group to decompress after the race. We hung out for a bit before going for a 3 mile cool down and came back to wait for the gear check buses and shuttles back to the hotel.

We hung around and replenished ourselves, eating bananas, watermelons, cookies, water and everything else they had put out for us. I felt just fine and although my legs were pretty rocked, all in all everything was normal. Then the shuttle buses were delayed and we spent the next hour or two hanging around talking. When they finally showed up the first bus filled quickly and we were left waiting again. Getting kind of bored and thirsty I decided to look for some water. As the race was pretty much over for quite some time the only thing left was Vitamin Water. This stuff, by the way, is disgusting, but I had no other options.

I grabbed a lemonade flavored water took a few swigs and then set it on the wall never to touch it again. Like I said, it’s disgusting. Then something peculiar happened.

All of a sudden, without any warning whatsoever, a dreaded feeling overcame me. The feeling of nausea. The flushed face, cold sweat, dizzy, puking feeling. Just like that I felt like hell. I stood up and walked around the wall for privacy and realized I was about to pass out. I dropped to my knees and put my head between my legs. But then I realized I better tell somebody in case I do pass out and no one sees. I tell one of the other athletes before going back behind the wall to kneel down yet again. I stayed there for a few minutes before trying to slowly rise up again. The feeling wasn’t totally gone, but I was well enough to search for some water. Another elite runner who saw me go down came over and asked if I needed anything. He was nice enough to get me some water and I went off to the bathroom as my stomach started cramping ever so slightly. I made it back to the wall and drank some of the water just as the bus pulled up.

Nothing as bad happened from there on out, but I finally felt like I had been run over by a bus as we made the trip back to the hotel. I kept eating once we got there and still felt relatively trashed, but finally, we left the hotel, made it to a Noodles and Company and after a sufficiently stacked plate of pasta and tofu I suddenly felt myself again. I have no idea what happened to me, but it sure took me by surprise. I’m just glad everything recovered and I didn’t pass out, either alone or onto the hard cement. I guess I worked myself a lot more than I realized that race.

Overall, I’m satisfied with the day and my finish time. I learned a bit more about a successful race and had a great time being accomodated for with the elite athlete status. I’m certainly looking forward to more of this.

CHAPTER 4 – The Encore

Spirit of Columbus 1/2 marathon
1:09:46
26th Overall
Successfully stayed conscious

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Party like a track star

There are those that live in ivory towers and well-guarded castles, while the rest of us are shielded from the luxuries and privileges bestowed upon the trust fund babies and corporate CEO’s. Every once in awhile though, we slip through the cracks, or force our way through, and get a small taste of what it must be like to be waited on hand and foot. All exaggerations aside, the elite runner status associated with our group this weekend is affording us a small dose of the good life where others request your presence and pamper you with amenities. This is probably old hat to some, but when I took up running again just over two years ago, never did I ever think I’d get to this point, not to mention did I even realize this sort of attention and catering existed for competitive runners. So starting tomorrow, we’re going to party like a track star.

To fill you in on a world I didn’t know existed, as elite runners we are receiving the following race amenities:

Free race entries
Two rooms at the Elite Runner Host Hotel (Holiday Inn Express)
A race ambassador at the hotel to answer our questions and point us to the running trails in the area
Packet pick-up at the hotel so to avoid the apparent mess of lines at the regular pick up point
Pre-race pasta dinner at the hotel
Massage therapists in the hospitality suite for pre-race massages
Course tours
Shuttles to the start line and back to the hotel (and airport if needed)
Separate tent for elite baggage/gear check

These race directors are certainly taking care of us! Even if I utilize nothing more than the entries, room, and shuttle to the start line…..this is just gonna be an awesome weekend.

And the icing on the cake….this will be my first race wearing the Vegan Dandies Marshmallows singlet. Check it!

Ok, it’s bedtime. Going to get some rest before Sunday. This will probably be my last post until after the race. I hope to have a good race report for you…we’ll see.

Vomitorium

It’s late and I’m not expending the energy to come up with anything entertaining. Instead, I offer you some incredibly intimate and disgusting photos. These are every distance runner’s secret (hidden from everyone, but the most trusted of loved ones)….ugly feet. Yes, I have more hair on my feet than some of you have on your head…get over it…I’m just more in touch with my animalistic, primitive side than you are. ūüôā Anyways, if you are squeamish….click to another webpage. This is about to get ugly.

Right Foot

gross toes_0116

Left Foot

gross toes_0117

Right Foot Aerial Shot

gross toes_0120

Big Toe Callouses

gross toes_0118

Toenail separating from toe

gross toes_0119

No more toenail!!!!

gross toes_0121

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Log

Short set of fartleks – 6 x 2 on, 2 off – staying consistent, but getting rested for Columbus

Diet

Breakfast – English muffin, 1 w/ peanut butter, almonds, flax seed, agave nectar – 1 w/ cream cheese, raisins, agave nectar, coffee
Lunch – Thai Peanut Saute, avocado, water
Dinner – Smoothie, Pasta w/ nutrional yeast, brocolli, and other goodness
Snacks – Orange, coffee, water w/ emergen-C, leftovers (oatmeal, red pepper, cucumbers, chole)

Music

Burnt By The Sun – The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good

Turn your head and say vegan

Suddenly, I’m in the process of transitioning between jobs and I’m required to go through a Department of Transportation physical process. Essentially, this is to make sure I’m fit and capable enough to drive a vehicle for my job. You’d probably assume this involves a hearing and sight test right? Well, it does, but apparently there is a lot more to consider than that, because at the testing facility today I was subjected to a whole slew of tests including a breathaliser, vision test, hearing test, flexibility, weight, height, urinalysis, hernia (Sorry Michelle, I promise I didn’t like it!), back X-rays (?!), and a blood pressure test. What exactly am I getting into again?

So, when it came time for the blood pressure test I was curious if my levels would illicit any sort of reaction from the nurse as I expected my heart rate to be abnormally slow at rest from my running regimen. She propped my arm up on a stand, wrapped the self-inflating cuff around my upper arm, turned on a machine that did all the work for her and walked away to fidget with something else. The machine started inflating and as I felt the clogging and surging of blood through my veins I was surprised myself at the infrequency of the beats. The machine released its grip as my blood surged back through my arm and then all of a sudden it started chirping out a series of beeps that sounded relatively alarming to me. The nurse walked over with an annoyed look on her face, pressed some buttons and shut it up.

“Am I dead or something?” I jokingly asked.

“No, it’s just that when the machine gets such a slow pulse it doesn’t know how to read it and starts freaking out…like, ‘What’s going on here?!'”

Then without prompt she says, “Do you run?”

Hah! Just what I expected!

I smothered the proud and self-righteous tone in my voice and calmly replied, “Yes I do.”

“I could tell” she responded.

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I received another care package in the mail from my dudes at Chicago Soy Dairy. You can order all these on their site. http://www.chicagosoydairy.com/store/

chicagovegandandiesdandies backmean mugbuttons

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Log

10 miles – easy, but pushing Noah in the jogging stroller as he played batman motorcycle and kept telling me to let go and push him ahead. Easier said than done with a stroller that pulls severely to the left. Still, it was fun.

Diet

Breakfast – Oatmeal (w/ peanut butter, raisins, almonds, flax seeds), coffee
Lunch – Thai Peanut Saute noodles, water, smoothie
Dinner – Smoothie (too full from snacking all day)
Snacks – Water, coffee, banana, orange, post-run smoothie, leftover soy yogurt, chocolate soy milk, tea

Music

A Perfect Murder – Unbroken, Cease To Suffer

The last of the international playboys

Michelle, as I’ve reiterated many times, is awesome. For many many many reasons that will ultimately be repeated long into the future she is fantastic, but to summarize her awesomeness, I offer you these photos.

awards_0096awards_0097

This is our living room and what amounts to essentially a shrine to myself. Who but the most supportive of girlfriends let’s something like this occur? Like I said, Michelle is the best.

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I am a different runner. Undoubtedly. It has really only been 2 or 3 months since I’ve started running with the Tuesday Night Terror guys, but I can already feel the difference in both my workouts and solo runs. On Sunday, when I should have been taking it easy after a consistent 20 miles on Saturday, I found myself absolutely killing the last 6 miles of a 15 mile run….probably running near 5:15 / 5:20 pace, and holding back at that. It was one of those superhuman moments that is the motivation of my running. Then today we knock out a few 400’s below 68 seconds each before launching into 3 miles at 10k or so pace. We come through at 15:30 on the dot and I wasn’t even at full bore, but add another .1 to the distance and I surely broke my 5k PR. I mean, breaking a PR during a workout, on unrested legs at that….I am certainly NOT the same runner I was just a few months ago. And I’m not the only one. Blake, our “mouth from the south” (that’s not his real nickname – he doesn’t even talk alot, but he IS from the south – I just like how it sounds) was running a 16:00 flat 5k just a few months ago, and that was at 100% effort, and today he runs 15:47 for a workout. We are refined machines, upgraded and better than ever. And it only gets faster from here.

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My interfriend James from the UK and veganfitness.net sent me an interview for a site he created for a running club out his way. It was real fun and I’ve posted the content below along with a link to the site which has photos as well. Check it out….thanks James!

http://satclub.webeden.co.uk/#/scott-spitz/4535253774

1.    Hello Scott, can you give us a quick introduction please.

Hi friends. My name is Scott Spitz, Im 33, and I live in Indianapolis, Indiana in the U.S. of A. I’m a distance runner and vegan of 15 years, but there is certainly a lot more that defines me as well.

2.    When did you start running? Can you tell us a bit about your running background?

I started running around 6 years old when I chased my mom.after the start of a 5k she had entered. I ended up finishing that race and went on to run competitively in middle school and high school. I took a 13 year hiatus after high school before picking up running again in the summer of 2007.

As far as my background goes, my whole family ran in some¬†form or another, whether my parents were doing community¬†5 and 10k’s or my sisters running competitively through high¬†school. It’s certainly in our genes. Cross Country was certainly¬†my preferred sport in high school and I ran track only because¬†that is what cross country runners did during that season. I¬†was never the top runner on the team, but now that I’m older I’m holding my own in both age group and overall levels.

3.    You are currently in hard training for your first Marathon on October 11th in Chicago. How is the training going and how does it differ from usual training? Can you give us an example of a typical week?

I’m pretty excited about how well my training is going. I’m avoiding injury and recovery quite well after some pretty intense and strenuous workouts. This is extremely encouraging. My training up to this point has been a general and slow progression of distance and variety of speedwork, but ever since committing to the marathon I’ve just put it all out there. My mileage has increased from 50 – 70 miles a week to 80 – 100 and the intensity of my speed workouts have been maybe the toughest I’ve run ever.

A typical week is a variety of easy to moderate pacing and distance for Sunday and Monday, usually between 10 and 14 miles. Tuesday evenings are the full on speed workouts with a group of amazing runners. It’s always super intense, but even more fun. Wednesday is an easy recovery of 10 or so. Thursday is usually another tough workout, often hill work or speed or some mix of both. Friday is another recovery between 10 and 14. Then Saturday is always a 20 miler or more either straight through or with some quality added in. It’s basically an up and down of intensity with recovery.

4.    What time do you think you are going to run? (Sorry for putting you on the spot!)

Well, seeing as this is my first marathon, It’s really a shot in the dark as I’m predicting from a point of extreme naievity, but I’m looking for anything between 2:25 and 2:30. I’d be happy with anything under 2:30, but if I’m feeling good I’m going as far under 2:30 as I can. But then again, who knows what will happen and I might not even break 2:30. It’s going to be a learning experience regardless.

5.    You work as a janitor in a high school. I imagine this is a fairly labour intensive job. Do you find it difficult combining this with running 100mile weeks?

It’s funny you ask that at this point in my job. The past week has been super laborious as school is just starting and I’ve been on my feet all day doing all sorts of lifting, pushing and pulling. I knew it was going to affect my running so I decided instead of looking at it as tiring, to view it as strength training. It certainly took its toll this past week, but I’ve been able to come through it all right. Although at times I’d really, really, REALLY prefer a desk job of some sort, I think being able to do this sort of labor and continue running is only helping me get stronger. Still, I plan on taking most of the last week of work before Chicago entirely off.

6.    You are being sponsored by Chicago Soy Dairy at Chicago (those marshmallows and cookie dough ice cream look incredible!). How did that come about?

First off, the ice cream and marshmallows ARE incredible. All bias aside, I really think both product are the best out there. Specifically I’m sponsored by Vegan Dandies Marshmallows which is Chicago Soy Dairy’s newest product. The guys who run CSD used to live by me and we ran with the same musical subculture comprised of music and politics. We stayed in touch for a bit as they are all athletes and take part in adventure racing and other sorts of events, so after discussing my running performances I posed the idea of sponsorship to them and they were all about it. We are currently working on getting team singlets printed. I know it’s a bit odd, a distance runner being sponsored by a marshmallow of all things, but there is a deeper reasoning behind the relationship, wherein we both prove the possibility of veganism without compromise.

7.    Tell us a little about the running scene in Indianapolis.

You know, I don’t have a good point of comparison with other areas and I haven’t had a lot of experience with other running cultures, but I have been quite surprised by the level of talent we have here. Our terrain is predominately flat, but we have a lot of great natural areas to run in and so we have a decent sized running community. As far as competitive running goes, our numbers aren’t very big, but I think we make up for it with quality. One of the guys I run with made the olympic marathon trials, and a few others could certainly qualify with the right circumstances. Oddly enough, we have an interesting history though. We have one of the best tracks in the nation (which is going to be torn down for housing development) where the nationals have been held numerous times, so we have the privilege of seeing all the top runners race here. We also have Bob Kennedy’s running company, which just happens to be my store of choice. I’m friends with some of the staff and so I see Bob hanging out in there from time to time, which is nothing special anymore, but I try not to take that for granted. So yeah, we are typically midwest – understated and humble, but we can still hold our own when it comes down to it.

8.    You are involved in anarchist culture. What does anarchy mean to you personally?

Anarchy is the expression of my most fundamental humanity. It is the most honest expression of my desire to be trusted to make my life as I see fit, as well as to let others do the same. It deeply informs the decisions I make on a day to day basis.

9.    Tell us a bit about those stickers you designed. I believe there was a big demand for them?

Hah, yeah, well sometimes I come up with ideas that I can’t get out of my head until I make them physical. I was driving down the road one day and the phrase “Fuck this. I’m going running.” came to me for some reason or another. I just really really REALLY wanted a bumper sticker that said that, but I also knew those probably haven’t ever been made….so I did the only practical thing to do and made them myself! The varied responses have been fascinating. Either people freak out over them and want multiples for friends or people get so offended that they make a point to tell me how bad of a person I am or simply rip it off my car (this has¬†happened twice now). Fortunately, since I made the stickers, I have plenty to replace the stolen ones with. Anyways, I still have more if anybody wants one! (I still have a few too – JM)

10.    Like myself, you enjoy loud music with lots of shouting. What are your top 5 hardcore albums?

1. Trial – Are these our lives? (this would make my top 5 – JM)
2. Botch – We are the Romans
3. Earth Crisis – Destroy the Machines (this too)
4. Propaghandi – Today’s Empires, Tomorrow’s Ashes
5. Portraits of Past – (forget the album name)

I always blank on that type of question.

11.    Do you have any plans for after the marathon in Chicago?

Yeah, 2 or 3 weeks after Chicago is a local marathon/half-marathon. Depending on how I feel I’m doing one of those distances. I won the 1/2 marathon last year, so I could always defend my title, but I’d also be curious where I’d place in a local marathon. It’s all going to depend on how I recover from Chicago though. Then I have a trail race that is the last in a series I’ve been running (currently I’m the points leader). And then just more consistent running through the winter and deciding where I go from there.

12.    Any other comments?

Imagine your utopia and fight every day for it. Read lots of books. Go vegan. Respect your body. Respect others even more so than you do yourself. Look at modern life as civil war. Inspire others whenever you have the opportunity. And run fast…then run faster.

Thanks Scott.

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Log

3 mile warmup
3 x 400 w/ 200 recovery in between (68, 65, 66)
3 miles – 15:30 flat (5:10/mile)
3 x 400 w/ 200 recovery in between (68, 66, 65)
3 mile cool down

Diet

Breakfast – Oatmeal (w/ peanut butter, flax seeds, almonds, raisins), coffee
Lunch – Chickpeas w/ rice and peas, sweet corn, water
Dinner – Chole, cous cous w/ brocolli, water w/ emergen-C
Snacks – Banana, coffee, clif bar, bumble bar, poorman’s mocha, gatorade

Music

A perfect murder – Unbroken, Cease to Suffer

Hi friends. My name is Scott Spitz, Im 33, and I live in Indianapolis, Indiana in the U.S. of A. I’m a distance runner and vegan of 15 years, but there is certainly a lot more that defines me as well.
2.    When did you start running? Can you tell us a bit about your
running background?
I started running around 6 years old when I chased my mom
after the start of a 5k she had entered. I ended up finishing
that race and went on to run competitively in middle school
and high school. I took a 13 year hiatus after high school
before picking up running again in the summer of 2007.
As far as my background goes, my whole family ran in some
form or another, whether my parents were doing community
5 and 10k’s or my sisters running competitively through high
school. It’s certainly in our genes. Cross Country was certainly
my preferred sport in high school and I ran track only because
that is what cross country runners did during that season. I
was never the top runner on the team, but now that I’m older I
‘m holding my own in both age group and overall levels.
3.    You are currently in hard training for your first Marathon
on October 11th in Chicago. How is the training going and how
does it differ from usual training? Can you give us an example
of a typical week?
I’m pretty excited about how well my training is going. I’m avoiding injury and recovery quite well after some pretty intense and strenuous workouts. This is extremely encouraging. My training up to this point has been a general and slow progression of distance and variety of speedwork, but ever since committing to the marathon I’ve just put it all out there. My mileage has increased from 50 – 70 miles a week to 80 – 100 and the intensity of my speed workouts have been maybe the toughest I’ve run ever.
A typical week is a variety of easy to moderate pacing and distance for Sunday and Monday, usually between 10 and 14 miles. Tuesday evenings are the full on speed workouts with a group of amazing runners. It’s always super intense, but even more fun. Wednesday is an easy recovery of 10 or so. Thursday is usually another tough workout, often hill work or speed or some mix of both. Friday is another recovery between 10 and 14. Then Saturday is always a 20 miler or more either straight through or with some quality added in. It’s basically an up and down of intensity with recovery.
4.    What time do you think you are going to run? (Sorry for putting you on the spot!)
Well, seeing as this is my first marathon, It’s really a shot in the dark as I’m predicting from a point of extreme naievity, but I’m looking for anything between 2:25 and 2:30. I’d be happy with anything under 2:30, but if I’m feeling good I’m going as far under 2:30 as I can. But then again, who knows what will happen and I might not even break 2:30. It’s going to be a learning experience regardless.
5.    You work as a janitor in a high school. I imagine this is a fairly labour intensive job. Do you find it difficult combining this with running 100mile weeks?
It’s funny you ask that at this point in my job. The past week has been super laborious as school is just starting and I’ve been on my feet all day doing all sorts of lifting, pushing and pulling. I knew it was going to affect my running so I decided instead of looking at it as tiring, to view it as strength training. It certainly took its toll this past week, but I’ve been able to come through it all right. Although at times I’d really, really, REALLY prefer a desk job of some sort, I think being able to do this sort of labor and continue running is only helping me get stronger. Still, I plan on taking most of the last week of work before Chicago entirely off.
6.    You are being sponsored by Chicago Soy Dairy at Chicago (those marshmallows and cookie dough ice cream look incredible!). How did that come about?
First off, the ice cream and marshmallows ARE incredible. All bias aside, I really think both product are the best out there. Specifically I’m sponsored by Vegan Dandies Marshmallows which is Chicago Soy Dairy’s newest product. The guys who run CSD used to live by me and we ran with the¬†1. ¬† ¬†Hello Scott, can you give us a quick introduction please.
Hi friends. My name is Scott Spitz, Im 33, and I live in Indianapolis, Indiana in the U.S. of A. I’m a distance runner and vegan of 15 years, but there is certainly a lot more that defines me as well.
2.    When did you start running? Can you tell us a bit about your
running background?
I started running around 6 years old when I chased my mom
after the start of a 5k she had entered. I ended up finishing
that race and went on to run competitively in middle school
and high school. I took a 13 year hiatus after high school
before picking up running again in the summer of 2007.
As far as my background goes, my whole family ran in some
form or another, whether my parents were doing community
5 and 10k’s or my sisters running competitively through high
school. It’s certainly in our genes. Cross Country was certainly
my preferred sport in high school and I ran track only because
that is what cross country runners did during that season. I
was never the top runner on the team, but now that I’m older I
‘m holding my own in both age group and overall levels.
3.    You are currently in hard training for your first Marathon
on October 11th in Chicago. How is the training going and how
does it differ from usual training? Can you give us an example
of a typical week?
I’m pretty excited about how well my training is going. I’m avoiding injury and recovery quite well after some pretty intense and strenuous workouts. This is extremely encouraging. My training up to this point has been a general and slow progression of distance and variety of speedwork, but ever since committing to the marathon I’ve just put it all out there. My mileage has increased from 50 – 70 miles a week to 80 – 100 and the intensity of my speed workouts have been maybe the toughest I’ve run ever.
A typical week is a variety of easy to moderate pacing and distance for Sunday and Monday, usually between 10 and 14 miles. Tuesday evenings are the full on speed workouts with a group of amazing runners. It’s always super intense, but even more fun. Wednesday is an easy recovery of 10 or so. Thursday is usually another tough workout, often hill work or speed or some mix of both. Friday is another recovery between 10 and 14. Then Saturday is always a 20 miler or more either straight through or with some quality added in. It’s basically an up and down of intensity with recovery.
4.    What time do you think you are going to run? (Sorry for putting you on the spot!)
Well, seeing as this is my first marathon, It’s really a shot in the dark as I’m predicting from a point of extreme naievity, but I’m looking for anything between 2:25 and 2:30. I’d be happy with anything under 2:30, but if I’m feeling good I’m going as far under 2:30 as I can. But then again, who knows what will happen and I might not even break 2:30. It’s going to be a learning experience regardless.
5.    You work as a janitor in a high school. I imagine this is a fairly labour intensive job. Do you find it difficult combining this with running 100mile weeks?
It’s funny you ask that at this point in my job. The past week has been super laborious as school is just starting and I’ve been on my feet all day doing all sorts of lifting, pushing and pulling. I knew it was going to affect my running so I decided instead of looking at it as tiring, to view it as strength training. It certainly took its toll this past week, but I’ve been able to come through it all right. Although at times I’d really, really, REALLY prefer a desk job of some sort, I think being able to do this sort of labor and continue running is only helping me get stronger. Still, I plan on taking most of the last week of work before Chicago entirely off.
6.    You are being sponsored by Chicago Soy Dairy at Chicago (those marshmallows and cookie dough ice cream look incredible!). How did that come about?
First off, the ice cream and marshmallows ARE incredible. All bias aside, I really think both product are the best out there. Specifically I’m sponsored by Vegan Dandies Marshmallows which is Chicago Soy Dairy’s newest product. The guys who run CSD used to live by me and we ran with the sam

The Spirit of Columbus (whatever that means)

This coming Sunday is the Spirit of Columbus half-marathon and 4 guys (Davis, Little, Poray, and myself) from our Tuesday night sessions are going out to race. I’m pretty excited about it for a number of reasons, though a bit wary of succumbing to a Dude Fest Summer Send-off! I kid, I’m actually looking forward to a weekend road trip dedicated entirely to racing with others of the same perspective. On the other hand, this will be the first race that Michelle will not be at as she will be photographing a wedding in Northern Indiana and will not be able to make it. That means no one to decompress the race with (she’s probably thrilled about that) and no good action photos to add to Flickr. Good with the bad I guess. Speaking of Michelle though, she has literally been to every single race I’ve run since we started dating….she’s just undeniably awesome.

This race is exciting for a number of reasons, the first being that I haven’t raced a half-marathon since back in May at the Geist 1/2 and so I’ve been antsy to test this distance again. For whatever reason, I feel extremely comfortable racing 1/2’s and am very suited to the distance more than any others, that is unless the marathon proves otherwise. I like the endurance factor of a 1/2 coupled with the ability to move fast almost the whole way through without the risk of total breakdown.

I’m also extremely curious to see how quickly I run this distance after the increase in mileage and intensity of my workouts. The math dictates that I should be in greater fitness than I have at any other 1/2 I’ve run, but then again, there is always the reality that I’m still in the process of “overtraining” for Chicago. There is always the potential that my body won’t respond to the effort in the midst of sore and non-reactive muscles. I’m still gonna go for it though. And although I would rather run a more legitimate course, this point to point race is comprised of a consistently descending grade, which although will generate very fast times, will also necessitate a qualifier if I set another PR. That’s annoying. I want my PR’s to be based on my own efforts and not any external aids. Running is about honesty, not circumstances.

Then there is the field. This particular race is extremely deep with speed as the prize money is quite substantial, which means that although I won’t be anywhere near the front pack I will certainly have a number of runners to pace me to a PR if I’ve got it in me. This field is potentially faster than the Indy Mini field and that caliber of racer can only help my performance.

Finally, this race is going to be a great gauge of pace for all of us running Chicago. Pretty much everyone in our group is running this to get a better estimate on our total marathon pace, the formula being our 1/2 time doubled with 6 – 9 minutes added. So a 1:10 1/2 PR amounts to a 2:26 – 2:29 marathon finish. Those in our group looking to make the Olympic Marathon Trials are hoping to get somewhere near 1:06, but not being in that group, I’m just looking to run my ass off. I’m also going to try something new….fuel.

The last time I tried to drink water, let alone gatorade, during a race was the Chicago Distance Classic just over a year ago. I remember it well as I came through mile 5 at personal record pace, grabbed a cup of water, tilted it to my mouth and immediately started coughing and gagging as it inhaled into the wrong pipes and came spraying back out. I coughed like a middle schooler trying to smoke weed for the first time. It was quite embarrassing and I’ve literally never touched a cup of water in a race since then. But this is the marathon we are training for and there is no skimping on fuel when racing for that long. Precious fluids taken early into the race can save your ass big time as you hit wall after wall towards the end. I do NOT want that to happen, so in my head I’ve been preparing to start practicing fluid intake during my training runs, even having a good friend offer to set up a race simulation for me soon. In the meantime though, this race is going to act as a trial run for determining just how much fluid I can get down while running at a fast pace, with my heart trying to leap from my chest and my legs on autopilot. I know the tips, grab gatorade AND water if you can, pinch the cup so the fluid doesn’t come flooding into your throat, regulate your breathing to get as much down as possible in sips, prepare to go into oxygen debt for a little bit, follow up with water before throwing the cup to the ground like a drunken irishman and get focused back into the race. Easier said than done though. We’ll see how it goes.

In all, I’m super excited about this road trip and ready to throw down come Sunday. I REALLY hope to come back with a race report that ends with a PR, but there is certainly no guarantee in running. Regardless, I’ll try my hardest.

Oh! And I almost forgot! If everything comes together with the printer, this might be my first race running with the Vegan Dandies singlet! The vegan power will be unleashed upon Columbus! I’ll make sure to get some personal photos at least, but they won’t be as good as Michelle’s of course. Send many encouraging thoughts my way.

——–

Log

12 easy miles – picked up towards the end

Diet

Breakfast – Oatmeal (w/ peanut butter, raisins, almonds, agave nectar), coffee
Lunch – Stir Fry w/ tofu, sweet potatoes, water
Dinner – Chickpeas w/ rice and peas, water
Snacks – Banana, tea w/ agave nectar, tortilla chips, coffee, soy mocha, Bolthouse Farms Vanilla Soy Chai

Music

Maroon – Antagonist

A good problem to have.

I don’t run solely for exercise. I don’t run for fitness. And I certainly don’t run to lose weight. But that doesn’t stop my body from shedding pounds (ounces?) after putting in mile after mile after mile.

I’ve always been a skinny kid…really skinny. I got all the typical comments as a youngin’, “skin and bones”, “chicken legs”, etc. and I suppose there was reason for it, but it was always just a part of my biology and not some attempt to be and remain skinny. I actually began to worry as I got older and didn’t develop the muscle mass that “real men” are supposed to develop. It didn’t help when after going vegetarian I started to hear the usual comments, “That’s why you’re so skinny!” and “If you ate meat you wouldn’t be so thin.” Blah, blah, whatever.

Ultimately, I just accepted my biology for what it was and stopped worrying about my weight and strength as they never seemed to create any significant problems for me, aside from childish mockery by others. Then oddly enough, after I went vegan I actually gained weight. It might have been from eating junk during my initial college years, but regardless, I did gain some weight. Nothing excessive and nothing that ever removed me from the “skinny” category of life.

Then my son was born and I took up running….a lot. Personally, I never noticed one drop of fat burning away from my body, but after not seeing friends for a few months, they would often make comments about my losing weight. I ran into one friend at a race and he stated in a supportive dismay, “You are probably the only person I know who had a kid and actually LOST weight!” Then on vacation that summer my mother asked me if I was eating enough as I had obviously lost weight. Like I said, I didn’t see it, but everyone else did.

Then I started to notice something.

I bought a knotched belt before I started running and when I strung it through my belt loops it fit snugly on the second to last hole of the belt. I kept to this hole for awhile, but periodically dropped it to the very last hole in the morning before I had eaten breakfast. As my stomach filled with food, I would loosen it back to the other hole. Then suddenly the second to last hole went unused and I could only keep my pants up with the last hole on the belt. I was a bit taken aback. Then after pounding out more and more miles I noticed something else. My pants would not stay around my waist. I struggled with the last hole in the belt before finally throwing in the towel and took my cordless drill and put another hole further down the belt. There, much better. I then did the switcheroo routine between these two holes. The newly drilled hole in the morning before breakfast and the last hole after eating during the day. Then, unbelievably, I was only using the newly drilled hole. If I even tried to use the last hole in my belt I’d probably get a detention at work for my pants hanging below the dress code requirement. I was both surprised and pleased, knowing that I was shedding any dead weight that would take its toll and weigh me down during longer races. But it didn’t stop there. In the past few weeks I’ve noticed that I am continuously pulling my pants up at work, sometimes even checking to make sure my pants button didn’t come undone or something. But nope, I think it’s just time to drill another new hole. This is getting kind of ridiculous. And today was the final straw. I picked my jeans up off the floor and pulled them on….which is when I realized that not only was my belt still in the pants, but it was still looped closed!!

I don’t think I’ll ever feel like I have to lose weight, but I never thought that I would inadvertently lose enough weight to actually notice it! Short of drilling more holes, I think the next step is to buy skinnier pants! And I haven’t even started my consistent 100 mile weeks yet….but that’s coming soon.

Again, I don’t run to lose weight, but I suppose there could be worse problems to have eh? And come about mile 20 on October 11th, I’m sure I’ll be grateful for every non-existent pound on my body!

—————-

Log –

20 miles on Eagle Creek trails and roads. Felt pretty good considering how tired I was from this week of running and work.

Diet –

Breakfast – English muffin w/ peanut butter, coffee
Lunch – veggie burger and black bean burger, sea salt crackers w/ hummus, water
Dinner – bean salad, Not dogs, Peanut noodles, cous cous w/ brocolli, watermelon (cookout at a friends house)
Snacks – gatorade, coffee, soymilk, banana, water

Music –

Bring Me The Horizon (pandora station)
Coldplay – Parachutes