Culinary Design Solutions

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How NOT to run a 20 MILER





HOW NOT to run a 20 Miler!


Portland Oregon                    July 5th 2009


The last month has been really insane and it hasn’t been easy to maintain a proper training schedule at all.  I am in the middle of 4 different large projects for 4 companies.  All who expect my focus. I worked most of the night Friday to finish some stuff that was overdue and grabbed 3 hours sleep.  So when I got on the plane 530 AM Saturday morning for Vancouver I was already burnt out.  Quick change in Vancouver and a hop down to Portland Oregon on a Turbo Prop.  Turbo Props only cruise at 18,000 feet so we were flying beside the mountain peak of Mount St Helens poking up out of the clouds….beautiful.


I land in Portland, get to my hotel shower and find the kitchen.  The Chef is off but has graciously allowed me to use the kitchen for Mis en Place.  Off to the grocery store and get supplies.  Man that Whole Foods has some amazing products.  Problem is as a chef I want things I don’t even need.


I sit with the Concierge of the Marriott Scott Serpa.  This guy is a real Concierge and takes his job very seriously.   In just a few moments he has me booked in one of the areas better restaurants ( even though they are full), he’s set up my run for the next day and recommended several quick and fun activities.  It’s so nice to meet people like him who are so good at their jobs.  There aren’t many who actually love what they are doing and are good at it.



I decide not to do my normal 6km run as im really getting tired so after dinner im in bed by 930 ( 1230 Montreal time)………….up at 530 and I realize I don’t have my water bottles for my running belt, ive forgotten to buy PowerAid, and I don’t have any gel packs nor any anti blister “Glide”    man I am not a serious runner these days.   So I buy 3 water and pour a few sugar packets in them and add a dash of my Cornish Sea salt to each……unfortunately it means I have to carry one in one hand and 2 in a bag in the other hand…Awkward to say the least…I set off from the hotel………………..

Mariott Hotel right on Broadway, left on Glison, Right on 23rd Ave up to Thuries and left until the end where it turns into an enormous Park called the Lief Erikson Trail.


It is a 40 minute run uphill……my heart rates staying at 155 to 162 most of the way…..I have on my IPod until I hit the park and my calves are cramping, im not running comfortably and carrying all that water is annoying.  Its getting hot and I realize its not even enough water.   Im thinking.  Poor Nutrition ( heavy protein last night and no breakfast this morning), hot, not enough water, or fuel.  This is not going to be fun.










Something amazing happens as I enter the Park.


 First of all there is a fountain so I drink a lot of water and im down to one bottle in one hand which I like to run with.  I take off the Ipod and start to run the trail which is packed dirt and very nice on the feet.  The hill is gradual and the woods is so quiet.  My body starts to relax and the run becomes easier and easier.   All I hear is my breathing.  Heart rates down to 142 and im running easy at a strong pace.  Once in a while I pass or get passed by other runners.  The road twists and turns through the mountain gaining elevation all the time to perhaps 2000 feet.  There are mile markers every ¼ which is nice to plan water and timing.


It’s so funny about these types of runs.  I remember why I run.  It’s not a punishment it’s a pleasure, a gift.  It feels so good I fantasize about pulling a “Forest Gump” and just want to keep on running all day.  I turn around at the 15.5 km mark and start back……Oddly enough it still feels like im going up hill!  I run out of water 3 miles from the fountain and its hot now so im a bit concerned.  Im also feeling a bit weak from lack of nutrition and calories.  If my sister Ava were here wed have plenty to eat and drink.  She runs with a miniature picnic.  An assortment of energy bars, chews, and Gel packs.


At the fountain I stop for a quick stretch and fill my bottle.  Now im seriously downhill…..I Pod on full and heading back.  3 miles out from the hotel im suffering a bit but im locked in now.  I get back to the Hotel and realize it was one of the best runs in my life.  


What an incredible difference in the city portion and the trail.  I really need to start doing some trail running.  It feels so good, so relaxing.  I think now that I am also fatigued with the constant bombardment of information from living in a city.


Im quite dehydrated and very hungry.


Now the real test of mental strength……………………………I have to get in the kitchen and cook for 8 hours.  Im not looking forward to standing on my feet for 8 hours after a 3 hour run.  This is the part that as a self employed individual you really have to be disciplined.  It would be so easy to not work and my mind saying wake up early and do it etc.  I know better and before I know it im finished in the kitchen in bed early barely able to keep my eyes open.


I can’t wait to get back to Portland Oregon and run the trail again.



  amy wrote @

Good for you for getting out there and doing it! That is the most important part of running.


  culinarydesignsolutions wrote @

Thankyou Amy. i am feeling down about this Marathon as i really thought i would be in better shape. finding it tough with my 6 day a week, 14 hour a day work schedule. but youre right. Tonight i just went for a run and it felt great. cool blog! at runners lounge

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