Saturday, August 1, 2009

3 Months to Go...and a Product Review

If all goes well, I will be running the New York City Marathon 3 months from today. Today's 6 mile run completed week 13 of my 26 weeks of training. It's hard to believe that I'm exactly at the halfway point of my training. As I keep saying, things are progressing well with my training. I attribute it to: 1) My running shoes. As I've said previously, I recently bought a pair of Asics GT-2140. They are the first pair of running shoes I've bought that weren't designed for runners who overpronate when running. Thanks to a fantastic podiatrist, I realized I was wearing the wrong shoes, therefore causing more harm than good. I used to have hip and knee pain, and now I don't. 2) Following Jeff Galloway's marathon training plan. I bought his book, "Marathon!" (ISBN# 0-9647187-3-1) and as you know, have become a Galloway addict. The run-walk-runs on the Sunday long runs (Long Ones, as he calls them), have resulted in a good running pace with consistent splits, and most importantly no injuries and a quicker recovery time after my long runs. 3) Hammer Nutrition products, and GU products. The Hammer Endurolytes and Sustained Energy are great. See my July 25 post for more info. about them. Same with the Vanilla Bean GU Gel. 4)Common sense. Even though I'm 53 and still feel like I'm 23, I have accepted the fact that I only need to run 3 or 4 (preferably 4) days a week in training for the marathon. I used to run 4 to 6 days a week, and that combined with the wrong running shoes always resulted in injury. I lost 2 months of training for the Hartford Marathon in 2007 due to groin and knee injuries, and had to withdraw. I had achilles tendinitis at the beginning of this year and had to start from the beginning, running a mile and slowly increasing my distance.
As far as my runs this week, it was a mix of good and not so good. Monday's run is in a previous post. Wednesday I wanted to run 4 miles at a 9 minute or better pace, and was successful as I ran at an 8:49 pace in beautiful 78 degrees temperature. Thursday I ran the "Xtreme Scramble" 5K with my daughter, which consisted of running on blacktop, trails, through the woods, up and down a gravel trail, and through a large patch of mud in 85 degree temperature. As I promised, I stayed with my daughter the entire run, and we finished in a slow but respectable 29:40 (9:33 pace). My daughter has difficulty pacing herself, so when she/we ran the first mile in just over 9 minutes, I knew she'd be in trouble later. Our second and third miles were slower, as the humidity caught up with my daughter and caused her to have to slow down. Overall, we finished 260 of 596 (Corrected 8/7/09...596, NOT 296!) runners, so that's not bad! The free post race Harpoon beer made us feel much better however. Today's run was a struggle. I went out at 7 a.m. to beat the heat and humidity for a planned 6 mile run. It was 69 degrees, a perfect weather day for running. As I started to run, it felt like my legs were lead. Occasionally that happens, and usually once I'm warmed up it goes away. A quarter mile into my run, the small hill I was going up didn't feel so small. It felt HUGE! So I started analyzing why it might be happening while at the same time telling my left brain to shut up, that quitting and walking weren't options. I decided that yesterday's lunch from Randy's Wooster Street Pizza Shop in Wallingford (Yes, that's a shoutout for them) probably did me in. Ordering and sharing the "Killer Dillers" (Thinly sliced pickles, breaded and deep-fried, with ranch dressing); "Boneless Dallas Wings" with BBQ Chipotle sauce; and "Wicked Sticks" (Strips of fried dough seasoned with herbs and spices, served with marinara sauce)was probably affecting me 18 hours later, along with the humidity. I haven't belched and sucked wind (not passed gas!) like that since I first started running. I couldn't even catch up to "pink shorts girl" who ran out from a side street midway through my run. At least she was a good pacer until I turned around at mile 3 and headed back home. My splits were all over the place: 9:22, 9:34, 9:01 (mostly downhill), 9:27, 9:26, and 8:46. My goal was to average 9 minute miles or better, but I averaged a 9:16 pace. Oh least I got my runner's high and didn't quit.
Product review. I feel like a celebrity!! The good folks at POM Wonderful ( were kind enough to send me a free, yes free, 8 pack of 8 oz. bottles of their 100% pomegranate juice. From their website:
"A Taste Unlike Any Other
Slightly sweet. Slightly tart. One sip and you’ll discover a refreshing beverage with it’s own unique personality. But there’s more than great taste inside the bottle: you’ll find more antioxidant power than any other juice in our line. Maybe that’s because the 16 oz. bottle of 100% Pomegranate Juice contains the juice of almost five fabulous fresh pomegranates. Wow.

More good news. 100% Pomegranate Juice:

* contains no added sugars, preservatives or colors
* is a good source of potassium
* is gluten free
* is flash pasteurized to retain both flavor and nutrients
* is available in 8 oz.(limited distribution), 16 oz., 24 oz., 48 oz. and 60 oz. sizes (237ml, 473 ml, 710 ml, 1.4 L, 1.7 L)
* is certified kosher"

My review: First off, other than getting the 100% pomegranate juice for free, I have absolutely no pressure to say anything good about this product. I wasn't asked to say "nice things" in exchange for receiving the juice. If I had been, I would have turned down their offer. The juice was sent to me by them to try with the hope I would write about it in my blog. Fair enough! So here goes...My first thought as I opened the bottle was to do the "smell test." I wanted to have an idea what it would taste like before I actually drank it. My initial impression of its smell was "wet mowed grass"... a very faint smell of wet mowed grass, but wet mowed grass nonetheless. However, strange as it may seem, I do like the smell. I've since had a second bottle, and now that I'm more used to the smell, it smells less like mowed grass. I was hesitant to taste it, probably due to what I just explained. I honestly had already formed a negative opinion beforehand. I thought pomegranates grew in the ground (wrong). They grow on trees...I knew they were healthy, so how was I going to like a healthy ground growing, probably tastes like dirt drink?! Well, I like it. It tastes like a less tart version of cranberry juice. It's easy to drink, and I was drinking it like it was a fine wine and savoring its taste. I didn't want it to be finished, and was wishing it was a larger bottle both times I drank it. Speaking of the bottle, it looks cool too:

I wish I was able to sample the Blueberry, Mango, Tangerine, and Cherry Flavors also. I'm expecting them to be as good, if not better, than the 100% Pomegranate flavor. My only negative comment is the calories. An 8 oz. bottle like I sampled had 180 calories, so a 16 oz. bottle would have 360 calories. However, as a runner who burns calories quickly and rather easily (lucky me), its health benefits I believe outweigh the calories. As their website says, "A final word: maybe you’re on a diet (who isn’t?) and are worried about the calories and carbohydrates in pomegranate juice. Just remember that the carbohydrates are from naturally occurring fructose and glucose found in the fresh fruit. And that a single glass of delicious POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice won’t make you fat…but may help you be healthy." Actually, as a runner, I like the fact that a 16 oz. bottle contains 40 carbs. I'm definitely using POM Wonderful whenever I carb load before a marathon or any long run. Lastly, I'm not positive, but the feeling of euphoria that I'm currently feeling I believe is in part due to having consumed POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice. In conclusion, please read the information on their website, and if you think you'd like to try it, I can forward the e-mail address of the person who contacted me. I'm guessing that they would like to have more running bloggers try it and review it. FUNDRAISING UPDATE: I have raised approximately $1700, meaning I'm now $900 away from my goal.


Lisa said...

Your training sounds like its really coming along, nice job! It's encouraging to read that after your injury you had to start from ground zero and work up to your current mileage. I'm at ground zero right now. I just need to remember to be PATIENT. So are you up for some more fried food?!?!

RunnerMom said...

Wow, reading your last three posts almost convinces me to try the Galloway plan!

I'd love to try that juice and blog about it---my contact info is pittmansfiveatgmaildotcom.

lindsay said...

i had troublesome runs this weekend too, and didn't think to 'pull back' and look at the 'big picture'. sigh. i still ran, just not as far as i should have. what i'm trying to say is, i know how it feels to be off. hopefully we both get back 'on' it this week! well, minus my teeth extravaganza later this week...

i recently tried pom too and liked it! price is a bit steep though...

Lisa said...

Hey Rick, I wanted to let you know that I gave you a shout out on my blog today. See the 8/8 entry.