Its been 13 days since the Olympic Trials and I have only run 3 miles since the very painful finish of the marathon. Those 3 miles were run with a group of runners in Santa Rosa in conjunction with a very successful Steps Foundation Fundraiser. I have no more planned runs until I run a couple of easy miles with the kids who will be at the ING Miami Marathon on Sunday. They will have to take it easy on me as I am sure my form will be poor by that point. My plan is to take 3 weeks completely off before beginning my preparations for the Olympic Marathon, which will take place on August 12th.
Reflecting back on the trials it was a very different marathon than any of my previous marathons. Never had a felt so good in the final few days leading up to the race. I was really pleased with how easy the first few miles felt. In comparison to the Chicago Marathon, my effort level felt very easy for the opening miles and I was optimistic that I could maintain that opening pace throughout the race.
As in any marathon there were obstacles that came up along the way and things got increasingly hard as the race unfolded. By the time Meb, Abdi and I shot free with a lap to go we were all hurting. I hadn’t done a good job of finishing my bottles along the way as a result of some stomach issues I was having and so the dehydration and lack of calories was beginning to take its toll on me. I have never felt like I did in the last three miles of the trials. My energy was extremely low and I felt like I was beginning to have an out of body experience. I was starting to get concerned that I may pass out. I was glad I had a lot of people praying for me because it was these prayers and the thought of walking into the opening ceremonies at the London Olympics with Sara that got me to the finish line.
Looking forward, I have never felt so optimistic about a marathon as I do feel about the Olympic Marathon. I have a strong since of destiny about this race. I believe God has been preparing me until now for these next 7 months of training and for the race that will unfold on August 12th. I am not sure exactly what the results will be but I know I will walk away from the games and this experience forever changed.
Ryan is thrilled to have punched his ticket to London on Januray 14th on a cool morning in downtown Houston, TX. After setting a quick pace, Ryan secured himself in the top group of contenders early on and continued to lead most of the race. He is excitedly planning his training for the Olympics while enjoying a much-deserved break from running! His first stop will be celebrating at the Hall Steps Foundation Charity Dinner in Santa Rosa, CA on Saturday, January 21.
Ryan and Sara are answering random questions from our Facebook fans and Twitter followers. Just tweet your question with the tag #HealthSteps or post a question to our Facebook wall, facebook.com/thehallstepsfoundation.
Our goal is to help you with better health and faster PRs in 2012, but as you will see from question 5 this week, nothing is off limits! Post and tweet anytime you have a question as we are constantly collecting the questions and sorting through them.
1) How do you stay injury-free? Can you share a few post-run stretches that may help?
Staying injury free is the name of the game! We do a lot of little things to prevent injuries. To prevent soft tissue injuries, we do a lot of self massage using tools like a foam roller, softball, golfball, whatever you can use to get directly on the tight area and get blood flow to it. We also try to prevent stress fractures by doing as much running as we can on dirt or softer surfaces than pavement, and making sure we get plenty of calcium from food (dairy, leafy greens, sardines are some of our favorite).
2) Running 90 miles a week and am ALWAYS hungry. How can I meet my caloric needs eating healthily?
This can be a challenge, especially when doing marathon training! We would recommend getting in lots of healthy fats, they will satiate you and also help keep your blood sugar stable throughout the day. Nut butters, especially almond and walnut, are great (we like adding agave nectar to ours!). Lemon Flavored Cod Liver Oil (it just tastes like lemony oil, no fishy taste) is the most healthful option!
3) I live at sea level, but will be running a marathon at altitude. How can I prepare for it? How do I adjust my pace on race day so that I don’t bonk too soon?
Wow, that’s a tough one! We’ve heard it’s best if you can arrive less than 24 hours before the race, as 24-72 hours is usually when you feel the worst if you haven’t lived at altitude. Depending on your pace, it would be wise to start 30 sec slower for every 4 minutes you run- so if you run 8 minute miles, start out running 9:00 miles, but if your pace is 12 min/mile, start at 13:30.
4) How much cross training do you do a week?
Not very much. We both have pretty durable bodies, so we prefer to do running over supplementing with cross training. Because Sara is doing shorter, more power events, she will lift weights twice a week (full body, a series of squats, core, etc.) and occasionally take a spinning class, but if we are healthy, we think the best way to become a better runner is to run more.
5) Will the epic beard be making a comeback?
I don’t want to give anything away at this point…. but I’ll give you a hint to say that it’s been in the high 60s in Redding all winter, unlike the usual snowy winters I’ve had in the mountains in year’s past. I’ll leave you to guess!