Daily Archives: August 26, 2013

New speed record set today

I hate to brag, but today I set a new speed record while running 9 miles(14.8 km) in 1 hour 11 minutes. I managed to break into the 7 minute mile zone, the first time I’ve ever been able to do this for more than a few miles and I felt kind of tired toward the end. It wasn’t so long ago that I could barely do 8 minute miles for more than 2 miles, but then I finally managed to run 9 miles at this pace not too long ago. Today I ran a 7 minute 53 second pace while juggling for 9 miles. I dropped the balls twice.

As I’m sure many of you know, I drank a lot of that new cherry kefir juice(the very low alcohol one mentioned in the previous post) just before I went out for this run. Did the cherry kefir help? I really don’t know, it kind of felt like it did. Cherries are good for runners, but fermenting cherry juice improves it by giving it a vitamin boost(the B family and K family) and a probiotic boost. Interestingly enough, I had just run 21.5 miles(34.6 km) on saturday(this record breaking speed occurred today on monday), and it seems I have already recovered from it(it probably helped that I didn’t run yesterday). Usually it takes longer for me to recover from very long runs like this, and my speed usually suffers for several days after. Is the cherry juice helping that much? And is it the kefir or cherries that are helping more? Even more intriguing is the possibility of unknown biologically active compounds that may be involved in improving my running,

Unfortunately I can’t do a real study, using an alternate reality version of myself not drinking the cherry kefir drink as a control, so it’s difficult to say with confidence the cherry kefir drink is helping. It certainly doesn’t hurt though. I’m wondering how much I can improve, especially when the weather cools down. It was about 74 F(23.3 C) when I ran today, and little on the humid side and cloudy.

One thing’s for sure – the local runners will hate me even more. At least I didn’t have either of my wonderful vegan T-shirts on today while running, that really ruffles the feathers of other runners. I’m even getting cursed at these days. I don’t mean to cause butt-hurt, but it is kind of funny, especially when you consider that some of these people think vegans can’t run or be athletic. I’m hardly the fastest runner around, but I am the only joggler in the immediate area.

Cherry kefir juice update

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Some good news. My post about the cherry kefir juice from a few days ago was only about the fermented cherry juice in jar 1, not jar 2. If you remember, there were 2 jars. Jar 1 spent 2.5 days fermenting at room temperature before I put it in the refrigerator, and it tasted like cherry wine to me, almost bordering on cherry brandy. Almost all the sweetness was gone since all the sugar had been converted to alcohol and acid. I didn’t enjoy the taste since I do not like strong alcoholic beverages and was aiming to just create an effervescent, soda-like probiotic drink with only a hint of alcohol(0.5% to 1%). It went beyond this.

After nearly finishing the cherry kefir juice/wine from jar 1(diluting it with water or regular cherry juice which made for some delicious, complex flavors), I started to drink the cherry juice from jar 2. I left this fermenting at room temperature for only 1.5 days, and then put it in the refrigerator. I put it in the refrigerator earlier to see how different it would taste from jar 1, and because I was going to drink it after jar 1 and didn’t want to leave it fermenting at room temperature for too long.

What a difference 1 day makes! The cherry kefir juice from jar 2 is a lot less alcoholic and sort of tastes like a strong cherry soda or cherry cola. It is a little sweet, but also quite sour. There is a hint of alcohol, likely less than 1%. This is what I was aiming for. It is very carbonated and bubbly, and it feels so tingly on my tongue, and is loaded with healthful bacteria.

So from now on I won’t be leaving juice to ferment for more than 2 days at room temperature during the summer, unless I am trying to make wine instead of a bubbly probiotic beverage.

Are ultra-runners less pain sensitive?

As a runner, I often wonder if ultra-runners are more pain tolerant than ordinary runners and non-runners. We’re talking about people who consider a marathon to be a “short” run, compared to the 50+ miles(80 km) they normally run. Although I haven’t run a marathon yet, I’ve been beyond the 20 mile(32 km) mark a bunch of times and I remember it felt awful the first few times. Actually, it is a little more complicated than that, since you can feel wonderful while at the same time your legs almost feel like they are getting tortured. Everyone has their own unique reaction, and as a joggler I do know my legs feel far worse than my arms toward the end of very long runs.

How some people can run beyond 50 or more miles is mind boggling to me. Do they just not feel pain as much as others, or do they feel it but don’t react to it as much? Or are they masochists? Is this due to genetics or is it the training?

Research into this is complicated by the fact that pain is a subjective phenomenon. It is virtually impossible to measure pain objectively.

That said, I did manage to find some fascinating research that attempts to answer some of these questions. According to the Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, University Hospitals Ulm, Germany, in Ultra-Marathon Runners Are Different: Investigations into Pain Tolerance and Personality Traits of Participants of the TransEurope FootRace 2009:

CONCLUSIONS:

Personality profiles as well as pain tolerance of our sample of TEFR09 participants differ from normal controls and-as obtained in previous studies-probably also from chronic pain patients. Low pain perception may predispose a person to become a long-distance runner. It remains unclear, however, whether low pain perception is cause or consequence of continuous extreme training.

It looks like what many of us suspect about ultra-runners is true – they are mutants! They do seem to experience pain differently, they don’t seem to feel it as much. But we still don’t know if this is due to genetics or training. Or a mixture of both. There is so much more to learn when it comes to the glorious sport of running.