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Archive for the month “April, 2012”

A Huge Runcheap Weekend Thank You To… My awesome running friend

I was happy in last week’s post that I got around to thanking some of the people (my spin instructors) who keep me running strong an running cheap. People are obviously at the core of my inspiration and motivation for my running. Above all though, my running friend RD (not sure if she is comfortable with her name being mentioned specifically so thats what I will refer to as) is the most motivating, encouraging, thoughtful, diligent, and well rounded person and runner I know. She is one of those people who you meet in life, who make you take a step back and say wow, Im hope I am half as good of a person- let alone runner- as her.

Thank you RD!

Thank you for being a motivator, an inspiration, a mentor, and a great friend!

Thank you so much for helping me out with my development as a person and a runner!

I first met RD through capoeira several years ago. She was one of my first capoeira instructors and originally one of the only people I would train with. Before I got the lay of the land at the academy, she was one of the only people I really felt comfortable with. This is not to say that her classes were easy. Not only did you learn lots of capoeira but you were challenged from a fitness perspective as well. Classes could be grueling. Once I relaxed into it, I  became friends with her and we had many great capoeira experiences together on road trips, rodas, batizados, and she helped me a ton during our unreal experience in Brazil. I was amazed at her level of dedication. That she could hold down that level of responsibility at the academy, raise a family, and was still a dedicated runner. It was inspiring to me. It constantly made me think  that I could do more as a person and from a fitness perspective.

I love capoeira, it was my first huge step into a healthier world and RD was my first instructor and helped ease me into it until I found my footing and my ginga

I honestly dont think I would have gotten into running without RD. When my fitness level from capoeira training (5, 6 nights a week) plateaued, part of the reason running was a natural progression for me was because of her interest level in it. Every time I would run a new distance, I would text her and get an encouraging response back. One of my first races as runner she was there for. When I blitzed my first half marathon, she was the first person I sent a text to. Same after my first marathon at Disney. All times I get a thoroughly encouraging and genuine response from her.

I texted RD the morning of the Gasparilla Half at like 430 am, whining about the conditions, she responded and it calmed me down. Ended up being my strongest race yet

It hasnt changed. One of the reasons I dont look for a coach is because of RD. Coaches are supposed to motivate and inspire you, and I get that from her more than I ever could from some stranger. When I post on daily mile whether it be a good run or a bad run, she always has a good level headed comment for me. More recently as I have been struggling with a new marathon time goal, I have been consulting with her about it. She help me fix that goal, but as usual has higher expectations for me then I do for myself. I think it is great to know someone like that.

Since RD has stepped away from capoeira, I definitely dont get to see her as much. It makes me cherish the races I do get to run with her even more. Running can be a lonely experience, especially when you have only a small group of friends (who mostly dont run and dont like running). On race days, it always gets the blood flowing to see a familiar positive face out there. During runs she always shouts something positive at me as we pass each other which makes me step up my effort no matter how tired I may be. And it is always nice to decompress after a hard effort with a good friend and discuss.  In fact, one of the reasons Im excited about my ridiculously small 5k on Friday Night is because I know I will get to hang out with my friend afterwards and the group she runs with.

Even though this race was 2 weeks out of the Gasparilla Half, I was excited to run it because I got to hang out with RD her family, and her strider friends at the beach afterward. It was tons of fun.

I remember when I started doing these “Thank You” style postings, I noted that I could write a forever post about  my mother. I probably could for RD as well. Impossible to overstate the importance of good people and good friends. Beyond impossible. I honestly dont know if I could be where I am now as a human being and a runner, if I had not encountered RD. If I leave this area, she will be one of a small group of people who I will thoroughly miss. So on that note, A huge colossal runcheap weekend thank you to my awesome running friend- RD. Thank you so much for being a great friend/ great running running mentor for many years. Keep running hard and running strong.

Enjoy Your Run. Enjoy Your Day :0


Wish List Wednesday.. Night in and Night Out

This Wish List Wednesday focuses on things that should be taking place at night, first in general and then in my life.

My running wish….

I wish there were more nighttime races….

Set Up-  Nighttime Competition

If you have read any of my previous postings, you know Im in something of a race purgatory about a finding a distance longer than a 5k to run until July. It is really frustrating. I get why. Daytime in Florida is just too warm to even consider hosting a race. However, why not try a race at nighttime? One of the best races I have ever experienced is the July 4th Midnight Run and a lot of it was because of the experience of running at night. It was a cool gimmick, but in reality it worked out well for a host of reasons. A predictable Florida thunderstorm had cooled the night off, and although it was not cold, it certainly was not unbearably hot for  10k. So why dont more locations offer 5, 10, or 15ks at night in the Summer down here? I get that the incovneince and technical aspects to setting up a course is probably what precludes this from ever happening. Still, I think if a company were to put together a “Late Night Weekend Racing Series” over the summer in a few different locales, they would clean up and find a willing racing community

This is a great race they run at midnight every July 4th in Dunedin, Fl

The Ideal Wish- Moonlight Madness Racing Series

That there were 9 or 10 races over the summer that took place during the convenient hours of weekend nights. That instead of having to get up early, drag myself up with some caffeine (at cost) and drive drearily to my next race; I could go through the course of my day and be ready for my night time 10k. That I could pop over after work for a little night ttime 5k, 10 k on a Friday evening like I am doing for the Crazy Sombrero. That I could sign up for the newly created “Late Night Fun Run Series” or “Moonlight Madness Racing Series”, and get a reduced price to complete a set of after the sun comes down styled 10ks. That I could experience that unique buzz you get from completing a night time race and then head out for drinks or a movie or a chat with friends afterward

Running at night is a whole different kind of experience, and I mean that in a good way.

The Reality- Some, but not enough

The area is not completely devoid of night time races. The Oldsmar 5k which is famous locally for its connection to a local bar/microbrewery is run at night and trumpets the fact that it is. The Crazy Sombrero 5k in New Port Richey is also run at night, and I think that there is one more that doesnt come to mind at the moment. It is not enough for me. There should be a whole bunch. Nighttime races would probably present something of a logistical nightmare as far as working with townships, communities, and local businesses to set them up. Plus there are other factors like the social and drinking nature of people during the weekends. But their are also plenty of benefits to night time running. Due it in a smart location and runners will stay and frequent the location and spend money. Im willing to bet packet pickup would be more pleasant with everyone alert and more tolerably awake. Plus you might get a chance to involve the runner who cant make it for those morning runs in some competitive races.  Besides, as difficult as it may be, Im sure that “race-able” routes can be found.

Disney has added a "scary" nighttime race, but I need something closer and cheaper

The Possible- Pub Run Saves Again

The Fitniche Pub Run on Thursday night again is my answer here. In the absence of a night time race, I can use this enjoyable experience for whatever I chose. It is the same route every week,  so I can treat it as a clocked race. Plus they frequently have racing deals or promotions going on the store that are fun to check out. Afterwards I can pop over and frequent the local bookstore or head out to Brass Tap for a good hard cider. Besides that, I want to try to do more nighttime running on my own. Right now I run solely in the early mornings, and afternoons. I know safe routes that are runnable late at night, and it would be a good change of a pace to just randomly run post 10 pm. Get that night time buzz on my own. And at no cost of course.

This Pub Run 5k is becoming useful to me

Now onto my nutrition wellness wish…

I wish.. I was a better sleeper

Set Up- Never get enough

My year of student teaching and college in general destroyed my sleeping habits. I never really addressed them until they blew up hugely and dangerously in my face during a trip to Greece several years ago. Back then the problem was the same but different. I wasnt getting enough sleep. Back then I wasnt getting enough sleep because I wasnt eating right, wasnt getting enough exercise and had a horrid anxiety problem. I simply could not fall asleep. That is not the problem anymore. I could put my head down on the desk and pass out right now. Nowadays I am not getting enough sleep because my days are packed the brim to keep me focused, I make poor choices late at night, and because I dont get refreshing sleep on weekends. Too much caffeine, and too long of a commute also contribute to my current sleep dificulties. It has not effected my running yet. I know it will though, the more competitive I get and the deeper I get into this more focused training thing. I need to get more sleep, so that Im not lethargic during my non running workouts, my drives, and at my job. I just cant seem to figure it out and it is costing me tons in caffeine

Yay for sleeping comfortably like a fat, lazy, cat

The Ideal Wish- Magnificent 7

7 hours of sleep is the ideal to me. Whenever I get a full 7 hours of sleep, I feel completely refreshed the following day for whatever I need to do- Running, spinning, driving, couching, working, etc. 8 is nice once in a while, but 7 seems to be that magic number. I wish I could get that magic number more often than once every 3 weeks. To get 7 hours of nice, restful, sleep would be heavenly. It would also save me tons of money on what would I not spend on caffeine products to get me awake and energetic

The Reality- Not so Fab 5

I average about 5 hours of sleep on weekdays and maybe 6 on weekends. When I base build on Sundays, the weekend number goes down down down. Why? The long commutte both ways means the only way for me to integrate a hard running workout in the schedule is do to it at 5 am in the morning. My busy day including weight training, multiple nights of capoeira a week, and other items I am working on-  have cluttered my week a ton. On many nights, its 9:30, 10 or 11 before I get a chance to relax at my place. Not wanting to deprive myself of some healthy relaxing personal “whatever” time, I stay up too late and maybe end up with 5 hours sleep before my next day begins. On Friday nights if I am not being social (most nights) I want to capitalize on my free evening time so I try to stay up and get a lot done around the house, when I should be headed to slumber land early. On Saturdays when I should be sleeping in and enjoying a slight rest day, I get so bored I go on a cross training tirade of 3 hours consecutively. This requires me to get up early to get started. So I lose sleep and buy more caffiene to get me going. Sunday is my huge workout so again sleep gets lost.

Why not nap to make up sleep? On weekdays this is an impossiblity. On the weekends I have tried more of  it of  late but it is difficult to sustain for some reason and the few hours of sleep I may get are not restful. Bottom line, is I am not logging enough hours of sleep.

8:13? Yeah right

The Possibility- Building it in

Much like tapering in running, or slow base building. I will try to bring more sleep into the equation in general. Aim for an hour more a week, and a hour more a weekend to start with. This will require an initial acumulation of my weekend sleep total and habits to get a firmer number. Then I can see where I can throw in the hour, whether it be slight change over the course of several days,  or just one night where dedicate myself to 10:30 lights out. I need to develop a sleep plan and execute it in the same way I do with a workout schedule. I also need to start taking more rest days. Both will help me feel refreshed naturally.

Once again the caveat to this is that my living situation may change drastically in the next few months, so everything might need to be reorganized. When I undergo that change, sleep will definitely be something I have an immediate plan for so I can hit the ground running the following year.

Enjoy Your Run. Enjoy Your Day :0

Race Purgatory!

May and June are one those times of year where if you are a distance runner like me, it becomes easy to lose focus and interest. There is not another half marathon on the docket in Florida until October, (which I have to hold of on anyway). In fact the only 10k I see on the schedule is in Midnight Run on July 4th. That leaves several months until my next serious race. It is a bit of a drag. I know why they do it. It does get unbelievably warm down here quickly, and before you know it a cool 5am run, has ceased to be cool anymore. For a wider audience, running a half in the Florida summer might lead to ghastly consequences. Personally, I think they could run 10ks or early starting 15ks (there needs to be more races around at this distance). There is none though, and that leaves very little to stoke the running fire.

What does that leave? 5ks. Only 5ks. I like a good 5k, dont get me wrong. They are excellent ways to build speed, and its good to only have to maintain that mental focus for a short period of time. A release from normal extended distance. The torrid pace reminds me of a lot of track meet races that you see on at the scholastic level. Also, they are everywhere and run neatly and early on Saturdays. Every weekend in Tampa,  for what seems like the next couple of months, there is a 5k. I probably will run in only one of them. Why?

The Secret Service 5k (seriously, not making jokes) is a very popular race down here in Tampa, but clocks in at 25$, so nope.

I have a pricing rule about 5ks. 25= No way, 20= Maybe, but probably not, 15= Most likely, Ill give it a shot. If I run a race for 15, I feel like I am getting my money’s worth in entertainment for the weekend short of 20$. It is almost a bargain to me.  Of course location plays a part in the decision making process as well. Even if the race is 15, if it is far away and I am going to even out on gas, then it is out. And no, I dont care about getting a tech shirt for a $25 5k. Nobody likes a nice running shirt like me, but they are not an incentive to do any race (no matter the distance).

This is one of the many 5k's down here that I wont be running even know it looks interesting

With a little more cash in the pocket, I would probably be running 5k’s all the time this summer, but it is not worth it to me. It is not cost effective, and I could come up with dozens of my own interesting 3.1 routes for free. This leaves me only one race scheduled for the whole remainder of the oxymoronic “Short Distance Running Season”- The Crazy Sombrero 5k.

Yep, you read that total right. I will be running this one, sans sombrero

I believe this is the second year they have run this tiny race in the Longleaf area of New Port Richey, Florida. It meets all my qualifications. 15$, it is run on a Friday evening, and a location that I literally have to pass to get home from work. I believe a local Crossfit gym sponsors the race, and you can also participate in a crossfit style challenge (no thanks) as well as the traditional fun run.

Why is it called the Crazy Sombrero?  They run the race on May 4th. A day before Cinco de Mayo and follow it up with I believe a small Mexican style party. Due to the name, a lot of the participants run or compete in Sombreros (again no thanks). Look it up, and you will find only a few small pics regarding it and participants donning said cultural hats. Look it up, and you will also find out that last year they posted the results by race number on their facebook page. And Not chronologically. No age groups, no real awards to speak of, no idea of placement- You are basically running for fun, a time, and for the small get together afterward. Like I have said before, you get what you pay for.

This New Port Richey Crossfit Gym puts on this race, with proceeds going to charity. Im curious to see how well it gets pulled off

Still, Im interested to see how well I run in the evening, and I know a few others running in this race. Plus lots of social opportunity may present itself following the race. I think it will overall be an enjoyable time.

Short on availability and short on cash my race opportunities are limited. A great option might be to start signing up way in advance for the upcoming year; but I could be in a whole new location the following year so I have to hold up on that too. This again locks me in race purgatory. When you are struck in race purgatory, your training also kind of sinks into that purgatory too. I have clear goals, but when they only race in front of you the next few months is based on a Mexican hat, they start to seem very far away.

Not sure how I feel about the emblem, but $15 is $15. Im ready to run this race as well as I can

Enjoy Your Run. Enjoy yur Day :0

A Huge Weekend Runcheap Thank You To… Early AM Spin Classes

This weekend’s runcheap thank you goes out to a get what you pay for, worth every penny type bargain. That helped get me in shape to be a runner, and is now one of my most vital forms of cross training to keep me in shape for running strong and cheap-Spin Classes. In this case, the early am spin classes that I first started with.

Thank you early AM spin classes!

Thank you for getting me into shape to be a healthy runner!

Thank you for helping me establish that morning cardio routine!

Thank you for providing that perfect bit of cross training!

Thank you to the 2 great AM teachers that I have!

Without spinning their would have been no running. It is as simple as that for me. The only reason that I joined the gym this last time around was because they had spin classes. I was desparate to drop weight that I had put back on and wanted tht HIIT training so badly. At the time I wasnt into running, it was still an “eh” type activity for me. I dont think I was truly in a physical shape to enjoy it. But a friend of mine took me to a gym and showed me a spin class. After one 45 minute class I was hooked. I drove to a gym closer to my house with spin classes, and signed up that same night.

My spin classes are known as "RPM"

I was exceptionally fortunate. My local gym has spin classes at 545 am on Tuesday and Thursday. This fit my workout schedule perfectly. 45 minute hardcore spin at a gym on my way to work, followed by a shower and change and I would be at work on time without a problem. With solid cardio already accomplished!At the time I had been trying to get a solid morning routine going, and once I found these bedrock tuesday/thursday spin classes everything consolidated around it. I enjoyed the routine of being there those 2 days so much, I started to show up at the gym the other 3 days of the week as well. I hit the elliptical for some fearsome interval styled “almost runnning” workouts each of those days. Every evening of the week, I packed my stuff for the weary morning wakeup. Every 5 am, the alarm buzzed off, and every weekday I was at the gym for my morning cardio. What a great feeling it is to get that cardio buzz in before you even get your day started. For the record  I still love it. I still revel that feeling.  Back then the weight started to fall off as soon as I started spinning, tone started to develop, and on the weekends- I started to do something really weird called “running”. It all started with the spin. It has remained with the spin. When the elliptical workouts switched to hardcore treadmill workouts, the tuesday/thursday spins stuck. They still are that perfect counterpoint to running and a terrific low impact workout. Even now, when the treadmill workouts have been abadanoned, for outdoor morning runs of various types on MWF, I still am excited to head out for my morning (Tues/Thurs) spin.

Their advertisements around the gym are hilariously overdone, but these classes are a guaranteed good workout, especially with top notch instructors

I spin at lot of other times as well. Its an activity I enjoy 4 sometimes 5 rides a week. A class packed with energy and music every time. A guaranteed workout also.. Resistance training-check, Muscle training-check, cardio intensity-check. Every single time.  Despite being a frequent spinner,  the AM class is still my favorite though. One instructor teaches on Tuesday and a different one on Thursday. They are both great. If I disliked how they ran classes, I probably would go irregularly or not at all. But I like the personality and the connection they make in both cases, so I am a constant attendee. The tuesday teacher packs an infectious energy which no human being should have that early in the morning. She finds a different angle for every workout, and is the right combination of “go get it” motivator and regular human being. The Thursday teacher is different. She focuses on form, creates little games with the classes, and remembers peoples personal stories.It is exceptionally hard to teach anything. I know that from personal experience. To do it well that early and with energy that early in the morning is noteworthy. Both of them nail it every time

Every 5 am weekday, I get up to workout, Tues/Thurs spin helped me get in this routine

My gym membership is one of those few expenses that I allow myself as a luxury. I could probably find a cheaper gym, but Im unwilling to give up my 545 am spin as long as I live where I do. I love those classes that much.  When I go to run on the days following, I know that I am just as strong because I cross trained really hard and really well prior. Over the summer, when I dont work, I still get up early to take those classes (and then head right back to bed of course). They are a core part of my running training, one of the reasons my fitness remains so high, and are an excellent experience each time. They keep me running strong for sure. They keep me running cheap by being worth every penny of my membership. Giving me that extra piece of cross training so that I dont go out and overspend on this program or that, this trend or that. I pay for it for sure, but it is worth it.

I have logged many a valuable training hour on one of these. Happily

Without that spinning to get me started and get that initial weight of, I doubt I every would have become a distance/endurance athlete. I doubt I would have been able to cross that threshold from being that guy who just wants to slim down and whose weight fluctuates, to that being that “healthy guy”. From being a guy looking for aerobics to being a runner. So on that note, a huge weekend runcheap thank you to early AM spin classes! See you there on Tuesday and then again on Thursday!  Thank you Krystal and Julie!

Enjoy Your Run. Enjoy Your Day :0

Wish List Wursday…. Throwaways and Starters

Apologies to the belated post, however Im excited to talk about both of these since they both have been on mind a lot lately. The concept of that throwaway race you just do to well… just do, and the most healthy way to start a meal.

My running wish….

I wish I could run throwaway races…..

Set up-  A host of reasons to race

I read blogs all the time that talk about running a race just for fun, to pace a friend,  or just to take in a new view, etc. You get the idea. Lots of people run races for reasons other than strict competition or to PR. Very often they are bucket list races or small fun races, or even destination races. Furthermore one of the first suggestions for people in a running slump is that they go out and just run a race out of their element and for the sheer enjoyment of it. I find this concept to be awesome. Running for race enjoyment must be fun. Having the ability to complete races as practice, for enjoyment, or to take in a strange locale, or gimmick must be really enthralling. I would love to run the Krispy Kreme Challenge for instance or even the Sarasota 5k that requires you to run entirely on the beach.  I just cant. I can afford few races, and other ones my mother sponsors me for. I run so few races, that to measure my progress they have to be  taken seriously. I wish I could run that simple throwaway race just for kicks, but its not in the budget now.

This would be one of those fun, just do it to do it type races that I cant put on the calendar

The Ideal Wish- Gimmicks, shoelessness, and destinations

I wish that I could run that race for fun. A trail race through the park, a destination halfie, a race with a silly gimmick, or something on my bucket list. Hell, I would even take a regular old 5 or 10k that I could just jog out and see what the pace is as a practice. I wish that every race I ran was not a huge competition, that I didnt have to gear it up every time I toed the line or the gun went off. I wish could take more time to appreciate the scenery of some of the beautiful races around me when I run them.  Instead of missing them staring at my watch for pace because I want to PR or keep a good pace. I wish I could jog a 5k barefoot just to try it out. I wish I could go out and enjoy a race beyond sinking my teeth into that fierce competition. I wish I could run lots of throwaway races and get to experience a wider world and variety of running experiences.

I would love to visit the Outer Banks and run this race, it just looks so cool. It would be my first destination race if I had a chance

The Reality-  Competition all the time

Every race must be a competition for me because every dollar is precious to me. When my mother sponsors me in a race, I dont feel and obligation to run a PR but I feel a need to run well and run hard. I dont want to stop at every rest station and see whats around me, or snap a quick picture from my phone. It is an opportunity to race and I dont get a lot of the them. An opportunity to measure my progress against the clock, to compete and I need to respect that. I wish I had more opportunities to expand what I can do as far as type, variety and intensity of race- but I dont. The reality of my financial situation doesnt allow for that extra race or fun race. Im hopeful that it will down the line-right now- I have to be ready on race day. I owe it to myself.

Im running this cheap, tiny 5k, but it might be my only race for a while so I wont be enjoying whats around me. Ill be looking for a new 5k Pr.

The Possibility- Local fun runs

Absent funding, I am going to plan on using locally organized fun runs through fitness stores and groups to fill my need for that kind of enjoyment running. A local store by me Fitnichhe, sponsors a 5k run through an outdoor mall. Last week there had to be a hundred people there. After the run, people walked over to a local pub for some beer. While I didnt drink, the short run was fun and the time spent with other runners was likewise enjoyable. On the weekends they sponsor a trail run which is becoming popular and I may check out. I prefer to train seriously alone, and these runs are free of charge so no need to take them seriously. Better to just chill out and enjoy the people and places that surround me.

My nutrition wish…

I wish that I liked salad…..

Set up- A vegetable fiend, but no saladifying for me

I love veggies. Always have and always will. Even when I was a kid I loved them. When my brothers and sisters refused to eat simple peas and carrots, I would gulp them down by the spoonful. I even liked green beans growing up. Even when I gained serious weight during my college years and after, I still aways ate a lot of vegetables. Since I have made the switch to being a healthier, more focused eater I have expanded my green vocabulary. I now enjoy broccoli, spinach, sweet peas, asparagus, and a little bit of brussell sprouts (when my mother buys them). One vegetable oriented thing I have never been able to enjoy. Salads. I dont dislike salads. I just dont like them that much. They are plain, boring, not filling, and not enjoyable. No matter how many times I am offered a free one before a meal, I turn it down. No matter how many times, I could hit a salad bar, I skip it.  People tell me it is a cheap way to put together a quick meal, and I argue. Why? I just cant get into them.

I would love to be able enjoy a plate of salad for any purpose, but I cant get into it

The Ideal Wish- Want so badly to like these!

I wish that I loved salads. I wish that I prepared them, had them when I went out routinely, and sought out all different types and varieties of them. I wish that I loved lettuce instead of it not filling me and that it didnt taste like green cardboard  to me. I wish enjoy that I could be satisfied by dumping some dressing or cheese on a salad and having it be tasty. I wish I could incorporate as a quick lunch or pre run race snack. I wish that salads filled me up and made me feel good.

I have tried a variety, and found no enjoyment yet

The Reality- Boring and plain

Salads bore me. Salads dont fill me. Salads seem like wasted calories to me. When someone offers me a salad, I want to request a side of vegetables. I dont want to prepare them or buy them, because it seems a lot of effort for something that wont accomplish that much as far as filling me up and fueling them.

The Possibility- Search and discovery

Im still on the hunt for a good salad and very open to suggestions. This one is still in a search and discovery type mode for me. Im hopeful that my palate will expand enough to include lettuce and tomato being yummy to me. I didnt always like broc or spinach and now I love them. Maybe down the line, the crisp flavors of the salad that everyone enjoys will reach my tastebuds. I hope so, salads seem simple, cheap, and easy to make in great variety of flavors and styles.

Have a gift card for this place, maybe I can put together a good salad here

Enjoy Your Run. Enjoy Your Day :0

Wish List Wednesday Delayed One Day!

I normally write my Wish List Wednesday post Wednesday mornings before work starts and during my planning and lunch. However this week at work, is one of my least favorite weeks of the year. It is FCAT week. The FCAT is the horridly designed, hostilely approached, and dreadfully inaccurate standardized test of the state of Florida. As an educator, Im required to monitor/proctor this test Mon-Wed. This change in schedule this week left me no time to write the posting today. Could I have done it while I was proctoring? That is not smart, and besides its rude to be hunting an pecking and hunting and pecking while my kids are “supposedly” working hard on their tests. Could I do it tonight? Err, not really. Need to get some capoeira training in and then watch playoff hockey later. So Wish List Wednesday will be moved until tomorrow -where for one time only- it will be called  Wish List Wursday. Yep, its lame but intentionally so 🙂

See ya tomorrow.  Here is a hint it about the topic- throwaway races and meal starters

Enjoy Your Run. Enjoy Your Day :0

A Huge Weekend Runcheap Thank You To… My New Balance 480 Sneakers

This weekend’s huge runcheap thank you is a shout out to a pair of running shoes that were my first and are still heavily involved in the sneaker rotation.

Thank you New Balance 480’s!

You were my first running shoe, you never failed me, and you still play a huge role in my training !

Thank you for being sturdy, multi functional and durable so that I didnt need to waste more money on footwear!

My first ever sneaker purchase as a runner. A total success

I have said in previous posts how I am not like other runners who spend hours/days/years/months even pontificating about what running shoes to wear. Just not my thing. Part of it is born out of expense, part out of disinterest.  I find conversations about running shoes particularly uninteresting, although I do admire the designs and colors on race mornings as a distractor. Additionally I should note that I often hear or read about runners cycling through multiple pairs of shoes per year, sometimes as many as three. Wow is what I have to say to that. I obviously dont have the cash flow for that, nor do I have the expertise to know when they need to be replaced. Some people do it by mileage, some do it by changing shoe shape, some people do it by duration of time. Most people who get multiple pairs throughout the year have a system.

I do it more by feel and paycheck. I have the read the articles about suggested mileage but I never remembered the number, and nor do I trust it all that much. I have seen photos of blogs of changing shoe shape and when it is time to change it, but Im skeptical. I have had comfrtable anfd functional shoes for many years with awkward shapes. Besides- ever put on a old pair of worn down shoes and feel how comfortable they feel despite being distorted a little? They are comfortable for a reason, because they still basically work. As far as tread goes, I admit to being confused about how to tell that of a sneaker.

With no “science” to back me up,  I chose to buy shoes when I can or on my arbitraty “its time” type moments. This has happeened twice in my short lived running career. About a year ago when I decided I was seriously getting into running, I deicded to go buy a pair of actual running shoes. Kind of an official recognition of my new interest. I went to Dick Sporting Cards with a gift card and purchased an on sale pair of New Balance 480 Running Sneakers for 60$ (well only 10 with the gift card). I knew they werent the best, I knew they were on the middle to low end of the cost spectrum for a reason. At the time I didnt understand why because I was too lazy to do actual research about sneakers beforehand.  But they looked right and when I put them on my feet, they felt right. I walked and then jogged for a tiny bit  in the store and then they were mine. The whole process probably took 20 minutes.

Those shoes have served my admirably well. They gave me such confidence as a slowly built up mileage approaching my longer races later in the year. There were literally zero problems with them. They debuted on on Midnight July 4th Race where I ran really well for me at the time. With them on my feet, and with no Garmin at the time, I smoked my first Half Marathon- the Blue Moon Half in Palm Harbor with a 1:42. Way better than I ever expected. Then I had back to back 10k PR’s in them in November and December. I knew I put a lot of mileage on  them by this point and that it was probably time for a change. However I held onto them for one more race.

The New Balance 480’s closed out their tenure as my 1st tier running shoe with my first full marathon at Disney in January. I knew it was a time to switch to something new, but it is poor practice to make drastic changes that close to the race. So I waited until my 1st 26.2 was done before buying my new pair of running shoes. I have to admit that I did it with a fair amount of sadness.

The replacement pair. Saucony Shadow Genesis, a little lighter and also a great shoe.

There was nothing particularly wrong with them (I wanted to try something a little lighter for races), which is one of the reasons I still use them. The NB 480’s are now my gym shoe. I lift weights in them, spin in them, take group fitness classes in them, cross train in them, and most importantly run on he treadmill in them. They take a beating because I use my gym all the time. Still, no worse for the wear. A year later and plenty of use and they are still reliable, usable, and comfortable. Thats a good shoe.

Without a lot of extra money to buy different types of sneakers, it is most important to me that a sneaker is durable. These ones have been. As a result, I have only had to buy 1 new pair of running shoes this year. This is a methodology which I will continue no matter what anyone says. The NB’s have sold me on this. They have saved me a bunch of money and allowed me to train healthy and injury free for close to a year now. They have most certainly kept me running strong and without a doubt running cheap. So again, thank You New Balance 480s for keeping me on the road and in the gym every day, upright and training hard.

Enjoy Your Run. Enjoy Your Day :0

Wish List Wednesday… Swimming and Slowing Soreness

This Wish List Wednesday will be a little different. The first part again will deal with running/fitness but the second part will take a different tact and and deal with wellness as opposed to nutrition. In a sense both items are things that will help my overall health, my overall fitness, and therein my overall running.

This weeks running/fitness week wish is….

I wish I lived near a large pool/swimmable body of water……

Set Up- A Great Alternative

If last weeks post dealt primarily with a low stress form of cross training in bike riding, this one deals with the other big low impact exercise for runners, swimming. I love to swim, although I am admittedly a terrible technical swimmer. Swimming is an exhausting, muscle taxing, fatiguing workout, but one that is low impact on the joints that get stressed while you run. To be able to swim just 1 day or maybe 2 days a week, would be a great way to do another endurance workout. It would also be a a great way to keep fit, rather than spinning or group fitness (which I love but do to much). Sadly, my community has a small pool and doing laps in it would be something of a joke. I also live surprisingly far away from swimmable water.

They always used to have public pool lap swimming at my community pool growing up. That doesnt exist in Florida

The Ideal Wish- Early Morning Laps

I would love to have a lengthy pool in my community that I could lap swim on off running days or as a follow up to a hard running workout. As much as I enjoy an early morning run in the darkness, I enjoy early morning swims as well. There is something refreshing to swimming hard laps in the morning and then getting ready for work or wherever you are going. I did it a couple of times when I was in a different situation and it was delightful. I wish I could have that again. I wish that at night to wrap up a hard day of working out, I could just jump in the pool and peel off a few laps. I wish that there was a nice pond/lake near where I live (animal free) that I could grab a swim in. I wish that I could use swimming for a happy, keep fit , low impact, alternative to boost my fitness and endurance so that when I pound the pavement the following day I am a step (or stroke better) than I was before.

Okay my community pool is bigger than this, but not by much 🙂

The Reality- Nowhere to dive in

My community pool is a jole, doing laps in it, is a lot like the scene in Austin Powers where he attempts to get the golf cart out between two objects. He ends up going back and forth over tiny distances and looking ridiculous. This is my community pool. But I live in Florida right? There is water everywhere around you! Ugh, Yes and No. The closest beaches to me are an hour away. To get there early enough to swim them would require getting up at the monk like time of 3 or 4 am in the morning. I am pretty dedicated about my fitness, but not that dedicated. And lets add also, Im not that willing to spend a lot of gas money driving to the beach consistently. But Florida is full of lakes and ponds? Yes, and they are full of alligators. I have a personal alligator avoidance policy that has served me well. No swim is worth that risk. But you belong to a gym? It has no pool, none whatsoever. Some of the YMCA gyms have pools but membership there is not convenient, more expensive than my current ones, and the locations are not close to my house (again gas money). So any attempt to incorporate in a fun swim into my workout week is all for naught.

Yeah lake or pond swimming in Florida? Not so much

The Possible-  Summer and School

Once again I rely on my parents. My parents have a community pool which is 50m long. I dont know if thats Olympic length or anything, but it is close enough. Swim teams practice there. On certain days my mom does water aerobics there and there are usually free lanes to swim in. I hit it up a couple of times last summer, but inconsistently. I teach and my mom takes the class in the morning so it is really only available to me during those summer months I am off.  I will need to be more consistent this summer about getting it in 1 time a week. Also, if I end up going back to grad school. One of the universities I select will inevitably have an available pool that might have time for some lap swimming. At least thats what Im hoping. Swimming is just one of those activities that I will know will make me a stronger runner down the line.

Have to get my laps in during the summer

Now onto my first wellness wish..

I wish I could get a massage…

Set up-  I do love the soreness but…

I am impossibly sore. I love it. I love post run healthy soreness. I love sore achy muscles after a good lift. I love the tired legs after a great spin workout. Some soreness is good for you, it lets you know that things are getting done in your body. Nothing wrong with that. But I would love to be able to take the time to relieve all that soreness and let it go with a nice long massage, so that I can feel fresh for maybe one day. To be able to get the tactile muscle soreness release and feel the comfort of your body just letting go of its exercise stiffness and soreness. I have never had a massage. I am always jealous of people getting the post endurance race massages. I am jealous of all the friends who I know who have had deep tissue massages and talked about them in the most spectacular terms. I would really like one but I cant afford one.

These must feel great after a long race

The Ideal- Only need one

Just one, only one full, deep tissue massage is really all I want. One time to relieve all that residual soreness, and all that huge stress that comes from  a complicated life. One time to know what it is like to feel the releif wash over you and to feel that physically relaxed emotion. Beyond that I would take what I could get the rest of my life. However, just that one time I would like that experience.

The Reality- $$$$$$$$$$$$$

Yeah right. A good massage, a really good soreness/stress relief one, is well beyond any cost I can afford. It really gets no more simple than that. Im sure I could find a crappy one or a half good one for cheaper, but what is the point? This is one of these all or nothing things to me. I want it done well or Im not paying anything. That wont be happening any time at all.

The Possible- Home remedy and appreciation

2 small options:

1) I have an issue of Runners World which teaches how to correctly and individually massage certain muscles used in running. I am thinking once or twice a month going strenuously through those might relieve some of that muscle stress and soreness. Most of the methods suggests used household items, making this low/no cost. It certainly isnt anywhere in the galaxy of what I am hoping for, but I probably should make the effort for health’s sake. Removing excessive soreness is a trait of a good runner to me. Right now, I eat foods that help with that, but I feel like tactile release would be more useful.

2)  Teacher Appreciation Week- TAW is a week where various local restaurants dump fatty unhealthy foods at you, useless gifit certifcates are pushed your way,  and administrators offer you halfway thoughtful gifts. Usually during this week, a local person comes in for quick 15 minute free massages. I missed mine last year because I was busy. If it is back this year, I wont miss it.

Doing some home, self massage is my best option

Enjoy Your Run. Enjoy Your Day :0

Race Day Dilemma

This weekend I ran the Hare Racing Experience 5k in Tampa on the University of South Florida’s Campus. It was a tremendously fun experience for a small off road race, but one that left me with a little bit of runner’s dilemma.

I chose this race for all of the obvious reasons. It is extremely close to where I live, my friend Becky was running it and of course it was super cheap at $15 for a 5k. Fifteen is really cheap for a 5k in the Tampa area where most 5k’s cost about $25 . The night before the run I also learned that it was an off-road/cross country style race which was an added bonus. Finally, who doesnt appreciate a good pun titled race?

Get it? Hare because its Easter, Racing instead of--- Nevermind, you get it. I love a good pun

On race day I was excited to let fly on this course. 5k’s are cool alternatives to the distance tests I usually run. They are all about speed and just letting go. I love the hard heavy breathing and burning sensation in m throat as I reach for the line. On this course it was no different, plus the trail and grass running added a technical side to the course which made passing and pacing a new challenging type experience. If it was a street 5k, I would have been disappointed with anything above 20. This was not a race for that kind of speed for me. I was ecstatic to come in at 21:09, and then to enjoy the well sponsored post race spread of bagels, classic cookies, bananas, and muffins. This is where the dilemma began.

The race finished on the perfect USF Track, where I clocked in at a solid 21:09

My friends and I stayed for the post race awards. My friend Becky was sure that I had placed in top 3 in the age group I run in. I was not that sure but I know that not that many adults placed ahead of me (The teenagers dusted everyone), so I stayed. When they read the top 3 of my age group (with no times), my name was not mentioned. I was surprised, and disappointed. Seriosuly I was disappointed. It was almost embarrassing. I was disappointed about a measley little 5k? Why? Seriously? Why?

Was it vanity? Well partly. This was a tiny race, and I ran it really well and I really was hoping for some small measure of recognition. When you train that hard, you just want to do well. Pus, with my sister leaving Tampa for Austin this weekend making me feel a little depressed, it could have been a small lift I really needed. Was it accuracy? Somewhat, they announced no times to go with those guys who beat me. As crowded as the small double loop course was, I didnt remember that many people in front of me. What were their times? How much did they beat me by? Was it competiveness? Probably. No one likes to lose and feel mediocre. Especially in an event they should do well in. Yes, I had the personal satisfication of knowing I ran a great race, that I killed that course but still I felt I should place. It was all that with a fair amount of self-confidence doubting that had me leave that race with more than a twinge of disappointment in my stomach

Winners got there picture taken with a life sized Easter Bunny. I didnt have to do this, but should I have?

For a while throughout the day, I let it go. I went for a cool down jog elsewhere, and then out to the park and had a tremendous time playing capoeira with my capoeiraista buddies. Something which restored my good mood and had me raising questions in my brain about the results. By the time I got back to my computer, I desperately wanted to see the results again. I had the gut instinct that a mistake had been made.

I was right. The race results as posted on place me in 2nd place for my age group of 30-34. This was curious, even more curious was that they had isted my time as 21:32. This is some 23 seconds later than I finished. Im not getting the time I had from my Garmin. I am getting it from the clock I saw when I crossed the line. 21:09, my accurate time might have put me in first place overal if the other results were posted correctly. Not only had they failed to announced my name at all, but my place was also in question

I confess to being mildly angry, but I was still torn about what to do next. Yes I knew in my heart of hearts that I had come in either 1st or 2nd in my age group for real and that should have been enough. However  the results should be recored accurately (there were no chip times), but did I want to make a deal out of a small 5k and hassle people after a fun race. Did I want to be that guy?

The race was for a supremely good cause and I was happy to contribute to it

Well, yes and no. On one hand, the race was run by volunteers who did a damn good job for the most part and it was for the really good cause of epilepsy support. Furthermore, I didnt want to create any drama for a race I would gladly run again (and will if I am still in Tampa next year). It was a cheap race adventure, and I was grateful for it.  So why be a hater? Fair question, but there are 2 sides to everything, On the other hand, every dollar I spend has value. $15 is $15. I dont have a ton of money so any race I do, I like to race well and competitively. There are no throwaway races for me, no matter how small. I dont have the money for that luxury. So when I pay money for a race, I want the results to be recorded accurately. Like I said , I work hard at my training. Plus, if the reward was a small gift card or gift certificate somewhere , I could honeslty use that. I dont have extra spending cash, and every little bit helps. And if I earned it, I do want it. Yep, I was really torn. I wanted to stand up for myself and my cash, but I didnt really want to be that particular person

Not a huge Panera fan, but if the reward for winners was from this place, Einstein Bagels, or Sweet Tomatoes- I would have gladly taken it and used it.

Ultimately, my friend Becky told me to write the race director if for no other reason than to let them know there were some flaws in the recording of their race results and that they might want to improve on it. On these auspices, I penned him an email. I emphasized all the positive qualities of what was a super enjoyable race but pointed out the small flaws in the recording problems. I hope it was taken in the helpful spirit it was intended.  That is how I am lookig at it, a fun story to tell people about a race I would easily recommend again to any interested runners.

Enjoy Your Run. Enjoy Your Day :0

This Weekend’s Huge Runcheap Thank You to…. My Backpack

This weekend’s huge runcheap thank you goes to the longest standing piece of equipment I own, something that has been with me since high school when I was a fake runner.

A Huge Weekend Runcheap Thank You To My Jansport Backpack!

Thank you for lasting since high school, surviving my cats, surviving multiple usages, still being functional, still in perfect condition, and allowing for the perfect race day portable storage system!

I dont remember when I got this particular backpack but it had to have to been sometime around freshman year of high school which would be around 18 years ago in good ole 94. In reality, I most likely took the Jansport Backpack (JBP) with me to Winter Track Meets that I ran throughout 4 years of high school. I guess you can say JBP was with me during my pseudo running days then. I was a terrible winter track athlete. I only ran winter track because I was too small and untalented to play basketball and they didnt cut anyone from track. The  word “ran” is probably a little bit of an exaggeration also since I was huge and out of shape . I also didnt care about it much either, and dont have very many positive winter track memories. Still I went to the meets and most likely brought my homework with me in the JBP.

The JBP survived me well during my days at Walt Whitman High School, including my moments as a winter track "athlete"

The JBP then survived several years of abuse in college, has been my reliable stand in soccer bag, is my backup gym bag, is one of my cats favorite sleep options, and was once the only thing I brought with me for 2 weeks of travel to Brazil (where I jogged along copacabana beach incidentally).

The JBP was with me for 2 weeks in Brazil, I was told to travel with little so I stuffed it to the gills for my couple of weeks there and brought nothing else

It is still in perfect condition and I am currently happily using it as my running bag. Prior to every race, big or small, I pack it with whatever I will need to survive race day. For lengthy drives to races it will be crammed with all sorts of things- sweatshirt, change of clothes, flip flops, extra gels, last minute food options, post race diet soda for the drive home, an extra bottle of water, vasoline, etc. It always has extra pins for when I drop the ones given to me and cant find them in that pre race darkness. It always has extra ties for when I accidentally tie the chip incorrectly and cant fix it. If the GPS directions are wrong, it always has an extra handwritten set stuffed in its back pocket. Reliability.

As my race day bag, the JBP has served as the perfect organizational system/sanity manager 🙂

More than anything else it has been a wonderful object of consistency in my life. I know thats weird or way overthought but to be honest, in a life that is constantly moving and in which I constantly break and buy new things it is terrific to have one thing that has sturdily stood the test of time. Nice to have it in the car seat next to me on my way to every race, knowing that everything I need is in one place.

JBP’s reliability has not only saved me time, it has also saved my sanity several times (by preventing race day emergencies). Additionally, utilizing it has saved me from last minute emergency purchases a myriad of occasions and its durability has prevented me from having to go out and waste money on another bag to travel with or use. It has kept me running organized, steady, and calm for a number of years and will continue to do so for a number of more years. Thanks JBP, for being reliable since high school and my most durable piece of running equipment.

Enjoy your run. Enjoy your day :0

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