Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My First Ultra Marathon- Yes im probably a Retard!

So yesterday started off my official training day in an attempt to complete an ultra-marathon. The course I have chosen is a 50 Mile Trek on the southern most part of the Appalachia. The technical level is 4 0ut of 5 ranking and the scenery is 5 out of 5.
Ultra Marathons; why would any one want to abuse themselves like this? I don't know. But there is one thing for sure; the lure to running a 50 miler is sooooo appealing to me. I don't know why because, I actually hate running. But sometimes when the calling comes you have to engulf yourself in it. So here I am day 2 of training feeling good and a bit tired. Looking forward to some much needed rest and definitely looking forward to tomorrow resting all day tomorrow. Prior to considering if I want to run the 50 miler. I have been doing tons of research on the subject of running ultras. There is so much information on the web about the small but growing elite group of ultra runners, that it was enough for me to formulate and concoct my own training schedule. My wife thinks im crazy. She asked if it was a two day race. The course cutoff is 13hrs. Im trying to do in it 10hrs. Im a big endurance guy and I will see what my body is made of.
From what I gather, Ultras are not about speed like a full marathon. Ultras are about endurance on the cellular level. Training for this race is not so much about training for how fast and long I can go; rather it's about how much I can increase my Mitochondria and make them stronger so they can support me over the long haul. There are many trains of thoughts on how to fuel yourself for the race. Im under the persuasion to use fat as fuel source more than carbs. The trick is to train at a level over a period of time slow enough that your body switches from using it's glycogen stores to using the endless supply of fat and yes skinny people have an endless supply of fat. Me on the other hand I can probably run around the earth 4 or 5 times on my fat reserves. But that's another topic, the point is, fat is a source 0f energy that is waiting to be used and there is no better way to tap into this resource than to train for an ultra marathon. Ok thats a snippet of my .2 cents on this subject. I figure I start posting about my adventures leading up to and finishing this race since there is not alot on the subject from people who have never even ran a marathon before. So im paving new roads. Ohhhh how much my feet are going to hurt;(

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Grow Muscadine Grapes on your Urban Homestead

Muscadine Grapes also known as Swamp Grapes are native to the south. Ironically, the conditions for which these grapes grow are considered too harsh and destructive for other sorts of grapes that are more common. But there is a caveat to this and it is; what does not destroy you makes you stronger and the muscadine grape has proven to be a true champion in this arena. If your walking around the Georgia Brush on some hot summer day you may just walk up on a cluster of extremely dark grapes that are sooo sooooo sweet. A variety of the muscadine that many refer to as the scuppernog has a very thick shell with very sweet flesh inside. This thick skin that the Muscadine has developed causes it to develop under the harsh conditions the Southern weather exposes it to. Tons of research have been done on the benefits of grapes and in-particulary the health effects of red wine that are used by grapes. It is said the darker the grape the more health benefits it has. Many people are raving about the studies associated with Resveratrol, this is one bi-product of red grapes that seem to show some promise for anti-aging along with many other health benefits. But there is some caution that should be adhered to because most if not all of the studies have only been in pre-clinical trials using rats and mice. it will take some time for Human clinical trials to produce some real satisfying results. As for now the research has shown that dark red grapes harbor the qualities of Resveratrol. The longer the grapes skins ferment in the mixture the more Resveratrol seems to be extracted. But there is one grape that has been reported to have an overwhelming amount of resveratrol and that's our very own Swamp grape the Muscadine. Growing up my fathers, father who definitely learned the technique from his fathers, father who probably was running barefoot around Georgia at that time made potent concoction that they called Kick-a-boo Juice. Well it's no secret that a swig of the Ole "kick" would probably feel like you have been kicked by a mule. But Dad and his brothers to this day have fond memories of the thick shelled grapes that grow rampant in the south. My muscadine vine is in it's second season and has started to grow strong. There a self fertile vines and female only vines at this point they have to just grow and I will scale them back until I get the main beams to run along the fence line. Hopefully in a couple of years I will harvest enough grapes to make myself blind:)