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Wish List Wednesday- Im wishing I could run a history themed race….

This week’s Wish List Wednesday finds me dealing with history and races. Let us clarify first, there is a difference between historical races and history themed raced. Well, at least there is in my mind. A historical race is a classic race that has been put on for decades like the Boston Marathon or even most Turkey Trots. A history themed race is a race that bases itself around an historical event/person/ location like for instance the Pike’s Peak Marathon in Colorado or the Lewis and Clark Half Marathon. It is the historically themed races that the history nerd in me wants to badly get a chance to run.

I wish….. I could run a history themed race!

Set Up- Geeked out for History

Im kind of happily saturated with history these days, between watching the “Hatfields and Mccoys” on the History Channel and my near 3 hour visit to the Tampa History Musuem. Plus I have always been something of a history geek. When I went to college I planned to study history before I was carefully guided into teaching. This did not stop my enjoyment reading druing those days from being books about historical events and happenings like the Battle of Cowpens, War of 1812, and Verdun during WWI. History has always been a central part of my intellectual life and I would love to be able to coalesce that with my love of running.

This beautiful new history center in donwtown Tampa had me longing for a history themed race in the area

In Runners World I have read of several historical races.  Ones that take place across the historic battlefields of Gettysburg and Antietam, or on the trails once used by the “Swamp Fox” Frances Marion for hit and run assaults on British forces in the south.  There is the Battle of Bunker Hill Road Race up in Boston or the Richmond Ukrop 10k along historic monument avenue. Longer races that fit this description might include the Marine Core Marathon or the JFK50 MIler. These are just the ones I know of, but I would be willing to bet if you searched around more online you could compile quite a list. It might make for an interesting website idea. So why cannot I do one?

The Battle of Antietam was a landmark violent battle in the Civil War and every year they do a road race through the national park that now celebrates its history

Well for one reason, I dont think Tampa really celebrates their history. At their history museum the other day I was dazzled and amazed by the level of history pertinent in the area. I was also disturbed that I had lived here for 10 years, actively sought out culture and had found very little. This town has tons of it but does a very odd job of inculcating it from mainstream life so that it is hard to find. Therefore, while Tampa has a ton of races that celebrate the different areas of a widespread variety of communities, it doesnt really emphasize any truly historical themed runs that I have seen.  I would love to run something that commemorates the rich history of the area. Is there one I am missing? Or iss this something I just cant get to until I leave the area permanently since road trips are out of the question .

The Ideal Wish- A city rich in history themed possibilites

That Tampa would have a race to celebrate the copious culture and history. Perhaps something related to the Roughriders and the Spanish American War or something related to the Seminole raid on Captain Dade’s March. Maybe a Cigar City Half Marathon or something celebrating Tampa’s rich connection to shipping and ports. I dont know, people who are for me creative than me could surely develop something. I would run it, I would love to run it. I would love to run a a race that celebrated the history of a town I have lived in for 10 years and may be leaving shortly. I wish they had one so much, that I would come back for it at some cost.

Ybor City, just a short trolley ride away from downtown Tampa, was a famous cigar rolling center between 1880-1920. A history themed race through this area could be fascinating

The Reality- Am I missing it?

I dont think one in Tampa exists. The races in this area tend to take on other themes. They celebrate the areas vast connections with nature as well as its many different runnable areas. Clearwater, St Pete, Bayshore, Temple Terrace, Tarpon, New Tampa are all great places to run and loaded with races. Miles upon miles of run friendly roads and trails only enhance this. Aside from the heat, Tampa’s spread out setting and its flat landscape make it an ideal runners town. The history dork in me would just love it if there are one or two history themed races out there, so that I wouldnt have to find one elsewhere. Especially since I cant really afford to find one in another location at the moment

Bayshore is an amazing place to run, and many road races cover it. It seems to be Tampa’s tradition to celebrate its locational beauty as opposed to its history

The Possible- Down the Line

I have not looked at races up in Tally but Im willing to be that their are one or 2 up there which will fit my history themed needs. Tally has an odd mix of culture and history especially in relation to the Seminole Indians.  I also have friends in different parts of the country and at some point in my life I could link up a trip to visit friends in Virginia with a race in Bull Run or a friend in Pennsylvania with the Gettysburg race. I just have to keep a list of this races handy in case the opportunity arises.

Their were 2 battles of Bull Run, which is probably why they can celebrate the history with an ultra sized 50 mo miler. Yikes, but I would train up and try it if I lived in the area

Enjoy Your Run. Enjoy Your Day :0

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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

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

I just want to run. Put the obstacles aside please

I had the following conversation with a buddy of mine a few months ago:

“When are you going to be a real man and run the race I am running?” He asks me. I smile back, tryng hard not to be mad. We were just talking about me getting ready to run a marathon when he unloaded this gem to me.

“What race is that?” I ask back

“The Spartan Race” He responds

“Thats what one of those obstacle style course races, yeah? I hear they are cool, but just nor for me”

“Why not?”

“Too expensive” I fire back, trying to end this conversation because I know where its going. usually telling people something is too expensive is a good way to get them to back off. “Its like 80, ninety bucks”

“Well I find a deal and got it for 60. You should do it”

“I dont have that kind of cash dude, thats not enough dollar per mile” I say, tying to make a joke. It goes over like a lead balloon. I can see him start to get testy. I think about how to defuse the situation and end it amicably. Too Late

“You’re so negative man. I dont even want to sit next to you. Sometimes you just have to live a little and…” I stop listening at this point because I have heard this tirade/lecture several times before. Im already composing the pissed off text Im sending to my friends. Finally, Im pissed off enough t say something directly.

“Look, why I am negative just because I dont like the same things you do. Even if I had the cash to pay for that race. I would rather spend it on another half marathon/marathon man. Sorry”

Im sure my friend killed this race and that it was really challenging. I just wish it was easier to make people understand why I would just rather run

The conversation ends at this point. He goes on thinking Im negative. I go on knowing Im not. Knowing that what I finally told him at the end was the exact truth. Give me a hundred bones to run any race and I am not running any obstacle course race. Im going running. Im hitting a halfie, Im finding a doable trail race, Im searching for a full. Hell  $100? Im looking for the next ultra. Obstacle course race? Uh, just not for me.

Obstacle course races are everywhere these days. Just flip through the pages of any running magazine, look at the advertisements on any running site, skim the races on active and they are freaking everywhere. Their titles are so much fun to say out loud- The Spartan Race, Warrior Dash, Tough Mudder, Mud Crusade, Monster Challenges- that they draw you right to them.

On several separate occasions I have had people feel me out about my interest about one. I always tell them no on the grounds of expense. This is true, unless you sign up really early or in a big group (dont really have one) they tend to be pricey. With reason, the set up for these races must be crazy. But expense is honeslty half the reason. I just dont have a strong desire to compete in these races. Although they are certainly amazing challenges, I just dont find a strong attraction towards them.

I love to run, I absolutely love to run. I think sometimes people invite me to these races because they think that my passion for running is only about fitness or accomplishment. In other words, they think the only reason I run is because I am trying to stay in shape and trying to do well in races. Nobody really likes to run do they? Its so boring? Its long? Its so… It so… Woudnt you much rather compete in an action packed afternoon of ferocious fitness obstacle challenges to prove you are in shape. Isnt tha really more fun then 13.1 miles as a hot sun rises?

The answer for me is no. Most certainly no. I would simply rather run. While fitness is a big part of my running and accomplishment is also a piece of why I love running, they are far from the only reasons I run. Somewhere along the line at the beginning, I realized how much I truly enjoyed the overall experience of running and that it had moved beyond being a hobby to keep into shape into a full fledged passion. I remember thinking during the Dunedin Midnight 10k how much fun I was having because I was RUNNING. I was not surviving the distance, I was weaving around people, enjoying the race, breathing hard, and totally enjoying myself. That was the first time I felt like a runner, and not just someone who runs occasionally. Every since then, my dedication to running has shot into the stratosphere. With it my desire to compete in those obstacle style races has disappeared.’

Who doesnt love a good run at midnight?

Dont get me wrong- sign me up, and pay for one thats close to where I live and Ill go and give it a whirl. Provided there is no real running race that is available that day. Also dont get me wrong, Im not implying that these events are not fun are worthwhile. People really enjoy themselves at these events and seem to revel in the thrill. I cant imagine how difficult it is from a fitness standpoint to. It must require tons of strength, power, agility, and speed. Go for it then. Do all of them I say, if thats what you like. Just dont be incredulous when I turn down  the offer to join you. Please do believe me when I tell you I would rather just be running. Please do believe me when I tell you  that I find the mental and physical challenge of endurance race a way more enjoyable thrill than those races. Please please please belive me when I tell you how much I enjoy running.

This is the latest one near me that people seem really hyped for. I wish them well, not my thing though

Ask a hardcore basketball player if he wants to do an event with an obstacle course on the court or just plain, ball. Most basketball purists and players would select to just to play the game. I feel that way about running. I dont need the obstacles. A good endurance race has it challenge built into its distance, its elevation, its twists, its turns, its field, its temperature, etc. Its all there for me. There are thousands of running races out there. I havent even begun to scratch the surface of whats available to me. Each day I find out about more and more. More and more go in the bucket list. So many great footraces, so little time, so little freaking money. See my point? There just is no space in that bucket for hyped obstacle courses with some running on the side. When it comes to races, I need to focus I what I want to accomplish. On what I love. That is running and only running

See the course of Pikes Peak Marathon? I have so much fun just thinking about doing that race. Tough Mudder? No thanks, I would rather climb a mountain.

Enjoy your run. Enjoy your day :0

Wish List Wednesday… Of songs and soil

Today’s wish list deals with my lack of spice so to speak. Both in adding some flavor to some of my training runs with music and in adding homegrown spices for my food.  So on that note, onward.

Today’s running wish is….

I wish I had a functioning IPOD to run with….

Set up-  Just stopped working… GRRR

I dont remember when my IPOD Nano departed me. It was sometime during the summer when I was base building for my first marathon. Like all electronic items that I seem to own, it simply stopped working for no reason. Quite literally, one day it worked and the next day it didnt. There was no discernible incident between the last time I had used it and this time. It just ceased to operate correctly. It happened on a training run too. An LSR of all things. It would simply play for 5 seconds and turn off. Play for 5 seconds and turn off. It was annoying, and I knew it was charged correctly so I was concerned. Ugh, I had to complete a whole LSR with no music! I remember thinking how absurdly dreadful that run was. How colossally boring! Running without music!  Argh. I accomplished my long run that day and was proud of myself  for doing it sans tunes. When I returned to my house, I set to work on fixing the problem. Surely this was a simple problem. A quick fix. No  worries. I had problem solved IPOD problems before. But it wasnt. It was dead, beyond repair. It would not hold a charge either and even when plugged in it would turn off without prompting after only a few seconds. I still physically own that IPOD. Everyone once in a while, I get bored and try to revive it. No go. Its gone, and I dont have the money for any other.

I miss my portable music

The IDEAL WISH- Just a replacement

This was one is simple. I just want another version of my exact same IPOD back in order with functioning headphones. That is all. I dont really want to use it for LSR’s anymore ironically. In the interim- without the music- I have really learned to enjoy my long runs and being outside with nature (even boring Wesley Chapel/Lutz/ and Land o Lakes have their charms).  I also dont want it for races. I have run so well in races without music, that I dont want to go back to using it.  Nope, I wish I had my functioning I POD back for my gym treadmill runs in the morning on Mon-Wed-Fri. That I could jam out to that running playlist I worked so hard to develop. That music could help with that morning self motivation. That I could tune out (literally and figuratively) the annoying people in the gym when Im lifting or rowing. That I could put on whatever music Im feeling for my workout- whether that be really hype techno, hard metal, poppy nonsense, or even in depth listening intellectual music- and let it go. That would be more than ideal. I miss music driven gym workouts, and the extra good feeling I get when Im working out with some tunes.

I dont need a fancy new one, just another version of my broken one

The Reality-  Please Change The Rotation!

I run in the morning on the treadmill to whatever programming on the TV has and listen to whatever dreadful musical choices my gym blares on the loudspeakers. It is just awful.  And they dont change the rotation ever it seems like.  I have learned to enjoy songs that I cant stand, just because its always on their early morning rotation. They also run the same commercials again and again and again and again as well. I hate them. That is not a word I use lightly, but when you run 3 mornings a week at your gym and have your head assaulted with the same terrible nonsense repeatedly… well.. I hate them. I also dislike having to listen to others chit chat while I lift. This is a personal choice. Strength training is a good relaxing step out of the world for me.  I really just want to chill out, go at with the weights and enjoy my afternoon or evening. I dont want to have to listen to other people talk or grunt or whatever. Without an IPOD I cant do this.

The Possibility- Hand-Me-Downs To The Rescue?

Im limited on this one. My sister has recommended buying the smaller IPOD Shuffle. A cost she describes as “Only  50 dollars”. Thats too much to justify to myself for something that is a luxury. Thats money that can go a bunch of other places. Others have suggested buying one online for cheaper, but I dont trust buying something used. Plus the deals that others find online dont end up being actually deals for me. I could also take it to the IHospital. Thats one of those neat places that are sprouting up to fix your mac related problems. The workers there even wear scrubs to sell the gimmick. I have used it before for the same IPOD when I had some problems and extra cash. They were friendly, quick, and convenient. It also cost me $65 to fix. So not so much on that. I guess all that I can hope for is one of my family members getting an upgrade or getting sick of one of their older ones and offering it to me. If hand- me- downs work for clothing, why not for electronic devices? I would love to just splurge and get one, and thats what I used to do, but music while I workout is an extra so Im holding off.

Inheriting an older shuffle is probably my best bet at this point

Now onto my nutrition wish….

I wish I could grow my own spices/ have my own home garden…

Set up-  Grow Your Own

I wrote to one of my favorite bloggers recently about trying to save money and run cheap while living healthy. She wrote back with a huge helpful list of suggestions, that I am trying to implement slowly but surely into my life. One of her suggestions was that I attempt to grow my own spices/plants. I was intrigued by this idea. I am fascinated by people who grow their own veggies, spices, and fruits. It seems so cool to eat something that came from a plant that you grew and nurtured. If you do it right, it is probably also a huge money saver as well. I would love to try to grow even some smaller things like spices. That might easily eliminate some of the blandness from my food. Plus spices are expensive. I cant really do it though, and for a variety of reasons

I would settle for something half of this size.

The Ideal Wish- From My Own Garden To My Own Plate

I wish I could simply plant a few vegetables, fruits, and spices in a small plot near my house. That I knew about how to garden, how to plant, how to use soil, and how to use the proper techniques to get results. That I could prepare a plate of food that at least partly came of my own making. That my bland chicken could be spiced up with oregano, garlic,  or basil or something that you spice chicken with. That I could eat my own straberries, use my own limes, top stuff with nice small tomatoes, even make my own guac from fresh avocado… You get the point

Lovely fresh veggies would be a nice addition to my meals

The Reality- Friendly Feline Destroyers

I live in a townhome. A triplex town home and the only access to the outside I own is a tiny rectangle concrete porch outside of a small sliding door. Its barely enough to even sit a chair and read a book on. I own no actual grass. No land for planting. I could just do a small planter on what counts for my porch right? Not really, lots of outdoor animals roam my neighborhood and I dont want them near my house. Plus in Florida the weather is so unpredictable they could be ruined in a flash. So at least I could grow plants inside you say? Spices grow well as long as you give them adequate sunlight and with the right spot you could get something going indoors. Nope, cant do that either for 2 reasons. They go by the names Denny and Morgan. My 2 tabby cats who are ultra curious and nosey and would probably destroy plant life out of sheer playfulness then anything else. I can see their incredulous faces now as I stare down at a mess of soil on a floor in my house

An older picture of my older tabby, Denny. His pal Morgan and him are curious about everything in the house and planters, soil, and plants would be too much fun to resist.

The Possibility-  Off-Housing My Planting Needs

This one I am working on directly. I brought it up to my mom who is a skilled home gardener. She grows lots of different plants outside on her lanai. She grows tons of spices, limes, lemons, tomatoes, and other things that dont come to mind right now. She has volunteered to teach me how to set it up, care for,   to let me pick a few plants of my own,  and grow them at her place where there is space and a dearth of feline creatures. I would be responsible for their care and take home their output. It will be a fun and productive arrangement. This way I will learn the skill, get the product, and gain myself some important knowledge that will save me some money both now and down the line.

My mother grows lovely scallions in her "Lanai Garden"

Enjoy your run. Enjoy your day :0

Wish List Wednesday… Hilling and “over”filling

On Today’s Wish List Wednesday, Ill deal with my desire to improve my running through up and down  terrain and my inability to handle those buffets and potlucks.

So…………

Today’s Running Wish Is…….

I wish… I lived near more runnable hills

Set up- Horrible Helpful Hills

Hills improve your running in every way imaginable. They build muscle, improve your cardio, and can be used as an important  tool to build speedwork. This is to say nothing of the fact that a lot of the courses that I hope to run later in my life have lots of terrain. Unfortunately I live in pancake flat Florida. Seriously, one  of my favorite parks in Florida to run in is called Flatwoods Park in New Tampa. It lives up to its name and then some. In fact any good place to run in the Tampa area is similarily plagued by flatness. If I want to run hills outside, it requires some driving which means more time and money that I dont always have, or a treadmill.

The IDEAL Wish- Must Repeat, Must Repeat, Must Repeat

I want a couple of things here. I want a big a gigantic hill near my house thats good and long with a nice huge incline so I can ran some quadricep bursting hill repeats. So I can feel the pain of pushing through #9, when I can barely feel my legs. So I can run hell hill mondays for real and barely be able to walk home. I also want a nice long hilly course with some severe  enough up and down to make a real difference. That has specific miles that I dread running and horrible hills that I can give fun hateful nicknames too.

I would love some sort of big hill right near where I live

The Reality- Treadmill trudges 

I have to run most of my hillwork on treadmills. The hill setting on my treadmill sets you up on repeats through 4 increasing sized inclines, each for a minute, with a minute flatter section following.  I typically run it for 50 minutes and the level of inclines I select depends on what I am training for. The 50 minutes generally means that I will complete 4 sets of 4 hill increases, discounting time for beginning and end.

Ocassionally, Ill pop up to a little town about 20 minutes or so away from where I live called San Antonio.There is a college there called St. Leo University, and I will leave my car there (semi-legally)  and hit some hills. In particular there is an 8 mile loop with decent hills that goes around the area. The run is pretty, and I would do it often but there are problems. Firstly, its not a runnable course. There are no shoulders on the side of the road to run most of the course on. Stepping off onto the side of the road is fine with me, but thats not any better. Ruts, branches, leaves, unstable grass are all characterize any off road running you must do and I dont want to injure myself in pursuit of good hills. Secondly, if you stay on the road, get prepared to dodge traffic around blind spots. Youre running on (and I mean on) 2 lane roads in a rural town and cars do not slow down and do not really want you there, so it can get really dangerous. Of course, its also a 20 minute drive so it means more gas and mileage on my car.

I trained hard for hills (in my way) before Gainesville. I had the treadmill on a super high setting every Monday and I ran San Antonio a few times in preparation for that course. Still, it felt like I was making an effort to run hills, rather than knowing how to run hills. It showed on the back half of that race which didnt have huge hills but steady uneven terrain. If I had consistent hills to run whereby it would be second nature, I would have killed that course.  But I didnt, and I flamed out in the back half.

The Possible-  More of the same

In this case, the possibility is also the reality. Hit the treadmill at a hard incline setting.  Or maybe just put in a extra hill workout (I dont know where) on the treadmill thats a straight climb where I put it on a slow speed for a long time at set incline which I could increase from week to week. Other than that, a move further north (somewhere in Florida possibly) to a place with some terrain would be helpful. It might be on the horizon for me.

Now my food/nutrition wish…

I wish I could control myself at pot lucks and buffets

The Set Up- Willpower now departing

For whatever reason I always seem to end up at a lot of potlucks/buffets. My capoeira group has them with surprising frequency and they are fun, cheap entertainment to go to. They are packed with delicious food choices, ranging from yummy salty snacks, to delicious dinner treats, to to decadent baked goods. Bring something to one of these events and you have fair game to go to town on the humongous spread of food that is ineveitably there. I have a problem with this. I can never determine how much is good enough, and I want to try anything. Besides the food is just sitting there for free, waiting to be eaten. What ineveitably seems to happen is that by the end of the evening, Captain Willpower has left the galaxy, and the eating frenzy commences. It can get worse with buffets that I pay for. I just want to go to these things and not leave feeling gypped or stuffed to the point of embarrassment and disoredered eating.

Temptation is hard in this case for a couple of  reasons. To begin with both of these situations are fairly low cost.  So of course I want to get as much as I can for whatever I spent. Plus in many cases its food I will not be able to produce on my own (cost and talent)and may never see again. So I indulge too much.

The Ideal Wish- Satisfied but not stuffed

That I could attend a potluck, and try a small sample of all the home cooked stuff and savor it slowly and just move on. That I could enjoy the worthwhile food, that came from the many talented home chefs I know and not touch the store bought crap that appears on the same pot luck table. That I could walk away and avoid picking at smaller things the whole evening. That I could leave one of those events feeling like I had a good time, and satisfied that I enjoyed and not consumed the food (which is a line that I cross far too often). Or that I could go to the buffet, isolate a good variety of things I want to try and have a couple of small plates of dinner, than maybe one or 2 dessert treats and walk away. That I could feel like getting my money’s worth was not an excuse to eat six consecutive plates of food goodness.

The Reality- Fixing the smaller percents

I am a healthy eater pretty much 90 to 95% of the time. I count calories, eat colored meals as often as possible, and eat the right mix of foods as often as I can. Whole grains, carbs, lean proteins, fruits and veggies are regular parts of my diet that I enjoy and I eat routinely. I work out really hard and really often so if an opportunity for an indulgent meal comes up on the week or weekend I dont pass it up. I definitely have earned it and I am smart enough to know that a return to healthy eating consistently and my workout pace will prevent me from sliding down an unhealthy path. I am also smart enough to know, that being healthy doesnt mean you need to deprive yourself of tasty and decadent foods once in a while. Good food is meant to be eaten, albeit smartly.

The problem becomes when I attend these situations and I lose self control. I feel justified – due to expense and effort – to just go to town and binge badly. Thankfully, they dont happen THAT often. Still they do occur. Last summer I went to Asian buffet and ate so much that I felt no desire to eat anything for close to the next 24 hours. As recently as a week ago,  I was at a capoeira event with a pot luck where I ate plate after plate after plate after plate. The food was so good, everything home made, unique,  and scrumptious. I couldnt get enough. It was deliciously bad.  Probably about once a month and half an indulgent meal becomes an eating fest. Thankfully it has not effected my running or training, but I would still like to get this under control.

The Possibility- Self Control and Strategy

This one is also tricky to correct. I enjoy food a lot, especially new types of cuisine from home cooks. I dont get the chance to eat what they offer that much. I dont get the chance to try new foods that much. I just dont have the time or the money to experiment with new foods.  So I overcompensate by taking advantage of these situations too much. As far as pot lucks go, I plan on writing a list of strategies down on an index card which will be reminders of why binging is a bad idea. I also plan on trying to not be that hungry when I am there, maybe eat a small meal beforehand. Also, I plan on bring a super healthy snack that I can pick at the whole night and stay by. I have completely cut myself off from all buffets. After I went on the cruise with my family, I knew there was no other option.

I guess the more intrinsic thing to do would be to develop more self control. Thats still a huge work in progress. Healthy eating habits are a constantly developing challenge. Finally, learning how to cook with more variety and more flavor would probably also temper some of what happens on those days. No need to over experiment, when I can do it myself

I might need to carry this around in my wallet

Enjoy your run. Enjoy your day :0

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