Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Chia Seeds

I was recently "reintroduced" to Chia Seeds from a few ultra-runner friends of mine on a long drive home after training in the mountains. They raved about the health benefits, and more importantly, the sustained energy during long runs from these tiny seeds. As you might of guessed, I went out and bought them immediately.

If you're not familiar, Chia is an edible seed that comes from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family that grows abundantly in southern Mexico. Chia is very rich in Omega-3 fatty acids (30% of their oil is Omega-3), even more so than flax seeds, and it has another advantage over flax: chia is so rich in antioxidants that the seeds don't deteriorate and can be stored for long periods without becoming rancid. Unlike flax, they do not have to be ground to make their nutrients available to the body. Chia seeds also provide fiber (4 grams of fiber per tablespoon) as well as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc.

The chia seeds are great for athletes because they are highly hydrophilic, which means it absorbs large amounts of water. Chia Seeds can absorb over 10 times their weight in water making them a great enhancer in hydrating our bodies. They absorb the water we drink holding it in our system longer. Studies also show that eating chia seed slows down how fast our bodies convert carbohydrate calories into simple sugars (there's the sustained energy).

I've been trying to find liquid alternatives to solid food while running, and the Chia Seeds have become a nice edition. Pre-training I mix 1 tablespoon of Chia Seeds, 12oz Almond or Rice Milk, 1 banana, and Chocolate Greens Powder. Doesn't sound like much I know, but this held me over and kept my body hydrated during an 18 mile run through the desert in 90+degree summer heat.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Deer Creek 06/27/10

Deer Creek Trail Run/Hike
Mazatzal Wilderness
Tonto National Forest
Mileage 8.29
Time 1:44
AEG 1422ft

Matt Kalina and I were both suppose to head North this weekend to Buckskin Gulch with our hiking group, neither one of us could make it though. I called Matt Saturday night to see if he wanted to take a leisurely trail run somewhere outside of town to escape the heat. We decided to head East towards Payson and just pick a random trailhead along Highway 87. We stopped at Deer Creek and decided to give it a go.

The trail didn't look like much when we first arrived, as we ran further in towards the mountains, a few surprises awaited us. The relatively flat desert terrain gave way to a large stream bed with several large trees and ever-changing landscape. Taking the lead through the trees I was startled by a small heard of cattle that seemed just as surprised to see us as we were to see them. The trail hovered above the creek and the sound of flowing water kept our minds off of the quickly climbing summer temps. We could have traveled much further up the mountain, but we were taking it easy today and turned around after 4 miles. Pretty fun little trek.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Two Peaks 06/23/10

Two Peaks via Mormon Loop
South Mtn Regional Park
Phoenix, Arizona
Mileage 7.78
Time 1:10
AEG 1593

This week's schedule has had some ups and downs, that's life I guess. Today was the first day back on the trail since Saturday, and it felt good to stretch the legs. I chose a route close to home since I had to go into work early. I started at the Pima Canyon trailhead, ran the rocky climb up Mormon Loop past Two Peaks, down to the 24th St trailhead and back again. The rocky terrain (typical of South Mountain) and somewhat steep climbs gave way to a much slower pace than normal (9:12/miles), although it seemed like I was traveling much faster. The heat is definitely becoming a factor as daytime temps are now near 110 degrees.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Pemberton Trail 06/19/10

Pemberton Trail Run
McDowell Mtn Regional Park
Fountain Hills, Arizona
Mileage 15.32
Time 1:44
AEG 800ft

My friend Renee organized a small group of runners for an early morning run on the Pemberton trail (home of the Javelina Jundred and Pemberton 50K). We headed out a few minutes after 5:00am in order to avoid the summer heat, and what a nice clear and somewhat cool morning it turned out to be. Watching the sun rise over the Superstition Mountains and seeing the desert come alive is well worth getting up before 4:00am. Now back to the run. I took the previous week off to recover from last weekend's 50K, such a huge difference it makes giving the body a little rest. Today I was able to shave 6 minutes off of my previous best on this course, running an average of 6:47/mile with the final 7 miles right around 6:05/mile.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

National Trail 06/05/10

National Trail, Trail Run
South Mountain Regional Park
Phoenix, Arizona
Mileage 12.09
Time 1:36
AEG 1365

I am one week out from the race and my legs feel good. I will do two lighter runs this week in the 5-8 mile range, and rest up on my "off" days. Good timing too, it's suppose to be 112 degrees here tomorrow! Thankfully the race is in Flagstaff, which is typically 20 degrees cooler than it is here...what a relief that will be. Today's run was good, despite all the obstacles or should I say mountain bikers on the trail. My average pace was exactly 8 minute miles with the first five miles gaining over 1000ft.