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This Weekend’s Huge Runcheap Thank You To…. The PUB RUN

Pub Run’s are something that I have often talked about doing but missed out on for a variety of reasons. When I was still hardcore into capoeira I worried about missing training, when I was losing weight I fretted about calories, consumption, and my last line of resistance was about the actual distance of the run. I stayed away for a while, but more recently I have found myself going to one on a consistent basis. I love this run. It is my shortest run, my fastest run, my most envigorating run, and the only run on my weekend calendar that leaves me with more energy going out then coming.

Thank You Pub Runs!

Thank You Wiregrass Fitniche 5k!

Thank You for putting on a fun run, a chance for speedwork, and a great social experience for one and all- at zero cost!

Description:

My pub run is a 5k takes place starting from a local running store in the are called FitNiche. The route shoots down the road of the Wiregrass Mall (An outdoor style mall) and down a path along side a well traveled State road. You hit a turnaround spot with a water station  (at around 1.5 or so) and then head directly back. Afterwards runners walk over to a local beer-drinker type place called “The Brass Tap” to cool down with a beverage or 2. Runners of all abilities and ages run it. It draws a relatively big crowd that includes those walking their dogs, parents pushing strollers, to high school track athletes. Also, both experienced runners and newbies are out there for the Thursday night weekly fun.  Finally, there are also usually promotions and reps from local races there every week before and after the run.

This outdoor style is fairly new to the area but has become a popular hot spot. Im pretty sure the 5k route goes by this intersection but Im not 100%

Why it is awesome, why Im thankful for it:

1. Good “friendly” competition– There are a group of runners who run in the 20 to 22 minute range every week.  This is my typical pace and allows for good friendly chatter. Before the run you talk about what your strategy is for tonight and how you feel. After the run, you compare splits and talk about other races. It is a social piece in my life that is important, costs me nothing and is hard to find elsewhere. It gives me that before and after social high which I otherwise can go days without. Also from a runners perspective it is a chance to test my ability to keep up with faster runners in a race like simulation. Best of all, nobody takes it too seriously. There is a general attitude of fun in the air

The social part of my life comes and goes do to a lack of cashflow. This evening offers the opportunity to chat with fellow runners before and after my dash. A lot of people like to jog out the simple 3 and chat with their friends. You can make whatever social experience you want out of it

2. Close to my house– Wiregrass Mall is maybe 5 miles from house. It is a super short car ride there, so no wasted money on gas

3. Speedwork– I can let it go on this race. I have been working on speed on the treadmill, but it lacks some of the spice of this run. It is hard to “speed motivate” when running alone on the road as well. The group run pushes you by giving you that race vibe and adrenaline rush.

4. Energy– By Thursday Im usually dead tired. After my spin class on Thursday morning, I have now gotten up for 4 straight days at 5 am for exhaustive cardio workouts. In the evenings I hit it hard too. By Thursday Im pretty beat. Yet I get a good dinner in and then explode into this run and I feel terrific when Im done. Endorphins and adrenaline are going off like wild. Im already on board with my exhaustive Friday morning workout and in good spirits about the upcoming weekend. I feel physically engaged and mentally energized. Again, all at little or no cost to myself

Fitniche is a true runners’ store. I like to look around before the run begins or mill around with other runners and work off some of that nervous anticipation. Usually a pretty good crowd is out there and in good spirits

5. Pub of the Pub Run– I really like Brass Tap. It is a “sit a chill” type bar built for beer experts, snobs, and aficionados. Im none of the three. I have my one cider (I dont like beer after running) and glass of water and just unwind. If my buddy ME cant make it for post race, then I chat with new runners or just watch whatever game is on. If he is there, then we have tons of really thoughtful intellectual conversation as well as your basic guy talk. It makes for a pleasantly simple evening. Perhaps the best part- I seldom spend more than 5 to 8 bucks.  Ultimately it is ultra inexpensive for a little bit of a runners night out.

Beer drinkers love this spot because of the wide variety it houses. You dont need to be a beer snob to enjoy it though. Inside sitting is nice or if the weather works out, you can relax outside on the deck. It is an ideal spot for a pub run get together

6. Free Stuff– After ten runs, you get a free tech shirt. There are also giveaways, chances to demo gear, and raffles. It is almost a little more than a run. It is more like a weekly happening. You can bring you entire family and your pet if you like.  No money required, just your presence and a willingness to do 3.1 however you feel like it. That is a runcheap type experience

Once again then, thank you for the pub run. A huge runcheap weekend thank you goes out to the Fitniche 5k/BrassTap PostRace for putting together a short runners’ delight on Thursday evening. One which allows a solid social experience, a slice of fitness, and tiny bit of competition at no cost.

Enjoy Your Run. Enjoy Your Day :0

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Finding Value

I think an important part of my philosophy of trying to run as cheaply and as cost effective as possible, this idea of finding value in race/run experiences. These means 2 things. Firstly, carefully spend your money on your racing experiences so that have maximum value to you as a person and a runner. Secondly, look for that added value by being positive about your racing experience. I think I do a good job with the first,  but maybe not as good a job as a good with the second as I would like. This Friday was one of those times where I  started to see progress with that element of the run cheap experience.

I ran the Crazy Sombrero 5k  on Friday and it was not the most well organized and most well executed race. It was cheap ($15), and done wit a good spirit though so I found added value in it all over. I had a great racing time for little cost.

My little course correction meant I had to pass the same person twice

Here is where I found added value:

1. Personal Time– The race took place close to where I work, very close. It also went off at Friday at 7:15 at night. This meant a lot of time at work after school had ended,  all to myself. A school clears out of students and teachers quickly on Friday.  Quickly is actually an understatement. By 3:30 the building was desolate. It left me lots of quiet time to take care of some necessary emailing, clean out garbage from my car, listen to the radio, clear some school paperwork, and not be in a rush to get to my race. The added value was in the personal relaxing alone time, and the lack of rush. I got to sit there and enjoy my dinner in peace and quiet

2. Longleaf Gazebo– The race took place in a small New Port Richey Community of Longleaf. They have an open space  with a Gazebo, there that they use for Farmers Markets and other small events. It is very pleasant spot. I got my bib and packet by 5:20 or so, so these left 2 free hours until race time with nothing to do. I just relaxed in the Gazebo and people watched. The added value was in the mental space of the moment, and the ability to slow down my day even before I sped it up.

3. The Race– They had to have the most ridiculous system ever for this race. Firstly, the 5k course was a 4 loop x 1250m route. Seriously? Talk about neighborhood small. It was almost like a cross country type course as far as design. Secondly, in order for the race organizers to follow what lap you were on, runners had to grab a tiny sticker on their way past each loop and place it on their bib. The organizer promised us that it would not be difficult or slow down our times. It was both. I missed the sticker the first time entirely, causing me to go the wrong way on the turnaround and a few seconds of my time. The second time, I got the sticker, but they had failed to block off the back road connecting the turnaround and I almost got hit by a uhaul turning onto the street. Not joking, true story. The third time through, I grabbed the tiny sticker but got distracted and almost ran over a wheelchair/handicapped participant. Colliding with people nearly occurred a 100 times during the race. Faster runners and slower runners had to occupy the same space so constantly you were lapping and passing the same people. They were for the most part not listening to “on your lefts” or “space” calls. It was hectic. Several people who I passed whispered out loud angirly at me that “This was a fun run”.  Like I needed to feel badly for running fast or something. I finished 8th overall and with a good time. Despite everything I said before,  THIS RACE WAS A GREAT EXPERIENCE. The added value comes from the small time hilarity of the race. That because it was legitimately crazy, you just have to laugh it off and do the best you can. You have to embrace the small time nature of the run, and just celebrate that you now have some interesting racing stories to tell. You just have to relax and take the experience for what is worth.

Not that many people ran this race, but the course was hectic due to the loop system

4.  Small but growing– This race has the potential to be a great race. It is only the 2nd or 3rd time they have run it. They got a decent size of people for it, and the packet pickup was well organized and the race bag was fairly cool. They had tents, events, bounce house for kids, water slide, and a little dance party for children after. All excellent ideas. I dont believe in pulling the wings of flies. Meaning, I dont believe in carping on something which was done with good intentions. Cutting something off before it grows. In this case, I expect that a few years from now this will be a much more signficant race. For now, it was a cheap but clearly getting bigger. I wish this race well and find signficant added value in talking about it and contributing to a growing race. 

These guys made a good effort to run a great race, they need to change a couple of things here or there, but basically they did an okay job

5. Getting Cheered– I sometimes run or hangout with a running group based out of New Port Richey called the Suncaost Striders. The Striders run this route quiete frequently and one of them even lived along the race course. There was a whole crowd of them running and a bunch not running. The non-runners in their group cheer everybody on loudly. Those who knew me, even cheered for me. I have never really had that experience before. Seeing someone you know during a race and have them urge you on positively. I count that as a race highlight and all kinds of added value.

6. Party on The Porch– The Striders hosted a post race party following the race that I had the good fortune to be invited to. It was right along the race course, so I was thrilled to attend. The party exceeded my already positive expectations. I got to talk with other runners and joke/laugh about the ridiculousness of the race set up. I got to chat and hang out with my only close running friend, RD. I got to meet new people and talk about running and racing in general. I also got to grub down on some delicious home made goodies. Im no really sure what half of the food I consumed precisely was (most of it had a Mexican theme to it) but it was all yummy. To sum up, it was as good of a time as I have had at a party in a while, in every way imaginable.  Added value to the maximum

Added value is everywhere, you just have to be positive and look for the best in your experiences when you can. Thats true about running especially. Try to make the best out of a run. Try to make the best out of every race.

Enjoy your run. Enjoy Your day :0

Wish List Wednesday… Changing Minds and Changing it Up

A common theme in some of my posts is need for companionship and friendship. Another common theme is my need to change things up somewhat with my cooking. Both are addressed again today.

Todays running wish…

I wish I could change one of my non-running friends into a running friend!

Set up- “I only run when I am being chased”

This is not something that will necessarily save me money, but it will add quality to my running without adding expense. No seriously. Most peole hate running and I am well aware of that. They think I am a weirdo for the multiple workouts I do and the fact that I seem to enjoy the challenge of long distances. My friends may admire my dedication to my passion and my achievement, but they still regard it as something that doesnt interest them at all. Running is hard work. Running is boring. “I only run when I am being chased” are common lines I get back from my non-running friends. The thing is- most of my good friends are fairly healthy people. For example- one of my good co-worker teaching friends is in tremedndous shape, she is a smart eater and does an intense dance class at her local gym. A mother of 2, her fitness level is outstandingly high. She could run. She hates it. There are more examples like it. I guarantee you if I could introduce one or 2 of them to some light running, they would enjoy it. They would find it enlightening, engaging, enthralling, and be hooked by that runners high. After all, I went from hating it to loving it in a very short period of time.  It doesnt seem to be a skill Im good at- translating my interests to others. I would like to try though. I would love to be able to jog it out with a close friend and enjoy the day.  A different kind of running achievement accomplished- value added (to my life and running and others) at zero expense

Im pretty sure that this is how most of my non-running friends think there experience will end 😉

The Ideal Wish- Just get to a 5k

That I could convince just one of my non runner friends to jog with me a few times and then maybe run a 5k with me. For as much as I hate paying for races, I would pace a friend of mine to a nice finish in a 5k if it meant solidifying their interest in running. It would be worth the 20$ to me. I do like running with people, but I prefer to spend time with those I know well and it would just be enjoyable to jog with a buddy than jog by myself or with strangers. Yes I have bonded with new runners who I met after pub runs and 5ks, but it isnt the same. To already have a good friend and to get them into something that you love, would be a thrill that would really make me ecstatic about my running passion.  There are not many options out there that can add a fun component to your running without additional $$$$,  and this really could.

I think a 5k is totally doable for just about everyone out there, including my non running friends

The Reality-  A series of non-options currently

I cant see this happening any time soon in time. Its sad, but a combination of busy schedules, lack of interest, and various injuries have prevented any interested parties from lacing it up. My friend HS is super busy and has her own interests. I tried to convince her to do the 5k I just ran (she expressed some interest) but not so much with the follow through.  My friend ME who stays with sometimes loves to hear stories about my running and even has expressed an interest in being into it. However he has a couple of serious back injuries and I dont want to shove him headlong into something when he is not healthy. Those are my 2 best options. There was a guy I trained capoeira with who tried to get into it.  He wanted to do a 5k, and I was game to help him out. Then his schedule changed and I dont get to see him any more. Another capoeiraista who I was just becoming friends with starting jogging to lose weight, but then quickly hurt himself and gave it up. I guess the reality is that it is difficult to get into running and sustain it as a habit until the point where you actually enjoy that. Compound that with the fact that Im not the persuasive person in the world, dont have the best social skills, and like my group of friends small and that means it will be difficult to get anyone I know currently into running.

A lot of beginning runners ( I know of) give up early when they develop a small injury and never try again. Disappointing but understandable

The Possible- 41 x 40

Make a new friend, and get them into running. In fact I have decided to add that phrase specifically into the 40 x 40 list I just created. A 40 x 40 list is forty things you want to do by the time you are forty.  I compiled mine just last week and it is full of the ridiculous, the challenging, the sublime, and the simple. This wish can be become a reality if it is put on the list and it will be. So now its a 41 x 40 list. I think with the new direction in my life, there will be plenty of opportunity to get it done.

Now onto my nutrition wish….

I wish I knew I how to grill….

Set up- Nothing like some grilled food

Holy crap do I love grilled food. Grilled chicken, grilled pork,grilled fish, and even now grilled veggies. You name it, and you put it on the grill, and I love it. Done right, it add such flavor and quality to your food. My dad is a stellar grillsmith, my mom, my younger sister, and even my brother. I never learned how. I have never been comfortable around grills. I dont particularly like being responsible around large tanks of propane, nor  am I comfortable with large amounts of charcoal and lighter fluid. Plus I hate cleaning up and maintenance which are 2 things that people who grill a lot have to do. Finally my house (townhouse) is not the ideal spot for grilling. There is a lack of space for it for sure. Still I have seen my neighbors swing it, so if I was better at it I could make it work. If I was halfway decent at it, I could probably use my parents range as well.  I would love to be able to grill. I would love to be able to have that flavorful variety to my cooking at only a smaller additional cost. I would love to spice up my cooking with some lovely grill marked meats and veggies

That just looks delicious. I can practically smell it right now- but could I make it?

The Ideal Wish- Become that grillsmith

That I was a grill master. That I would take lovely marinated or rubbed pieces of chicken, pork, and beef and slap them down in that grill and hear that sizzle. That I could enjoy the fun experience of stepping outside and smelling that delicious cooking grill smell which is unlike any other in the entire world. That I could bite into that juicy goodness that is a perfectly grilled piece of food and savor the flavor. That I wasnt intimidated by the gas tanks, charcoal, and fluid- elements of fire- that a grill causes.  That I could enjoy a cooking option which is healthy and allows me to to use simple ingredients which ultimately dont cost that much, and which I largely had already. That I could cook well in the semi primal way.

Grilling offers so many possibilities, and healthy ones at that

The Reality- Lack of space, experience,  and $$$

Firstly I dont really have a lot of money to afford a nice grill or even a small hibachi style for that matter. I probably could make the smaller one happen, but I want some practical experience doing that before I own and I have none so far. Like I said, I dont trust myself around machines that could cause an immense fire. I also know myself too well. I dont like cleaning stuff up. I ruined my George Foreman grill fairly cheap these days) because I was a slacker about cleaning it off, and finally and begrudgingly throw it out. So with a regular sized grill would I be much better?  Im not sure, so I dont know if it is fully wise to invest in a grill. I feel like I would enjoy it the first few times I learned how to do it and slack on the upkeep and end up ruining it.

I loved my Foreman when I first got it, but I was pathetic about taking care of it. It is one of the reasons that I never bought a grill when I moved into my townhouse

The Possible- Practice first or back to the Foreman

I would like to try supervised grilling a few times on my parents grill or a friends grill. Under the guidance of an experienced cooker and in a relaxed environment so I could get some of the basics down and just feel more comfortable. Then possibly I would get a small hibachi, and make it a point to grill out once a month. If I simplified it to that a little, I could make more of an effort to be responsible about it. Or– I could get another George Foreman grill and use it a lot and make a deal with myself. If I can maintain that, then maybe I can advance myself to getting a smaller grill and doing the once a month thing that way. Either process is a possibility these days.

Maybe Ill get one of these little guys down the line once I know what i am doing

Enjoy Your Run. Enjoy Your Day :0

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

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 coolrunning.com 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

Cost of Doing Business

***Warning hideous foot approaching*****

This past weekend I completed 2 races. One short one I more or less did because my boss asked me to, although it was local, well run and for a good cause. This was the Spring Sprint For Autism 5k. I ran 3 miles in 19:37 and would have probably finished at something like 19:55. However, the finish line was confusing so I stopped at the wrong place and walked a fair part of the last .1 before I realized my error. This was a huge grr moment for me (I paid 25$ for this race, hate screwing it up at cost), and jacked up my time significantly. On Sunday, I completed the delightful Florida Beach Halfathon in 1:39 38. Not my best half, but my nasty cold and the Florida heat got me, and I was happy to roll in sub 1:40 (Top 50, wohoo!), and happier still post race to chill at the beach with some running friends.

One of these friends became the third person in recent weeks to point out the rather nasty nature of my right foot when I changed into my post race flip flops.  They are quite noticeably gross, and it doesnt take a runner to notice them. The left side is caked with an improperly treated blood blister which has deteriorated into peeling pieces of hardened skin. The 2nd toe (next to the big toe) has a huge black thick toenail on it and is starting to develop another blood blister on it. It also appears to be drifting off course for a lack of a better way to say it. Any time I wear my flip flops all of these rather nasty runners delights are visible, it just takes honest people who you know,  to comment about them.

I should state before I go any further that none of these visible “wounds” physically bothers me at all. I mean that. I feel no pain with regards to either. Not while I run, not while I lift, not while I spin, and not while I go about my day to day experiences at all. They cause me zero pain.

In fact I didnt even know I had the blood blister until after I took of my running shoes following the Gainesville marathon. At that point it was huge and bright red, and frightening. I dont know where it came from. The first hilly distance race I ran, poor striking and running gait, not tying my shoelaces correctly, first race in new shoes, bad sock choice- all or none of those things could have done it.

The toenail has been festering for some time. I had them on both of my feet but managed to trim it off the left. The one on the right has gotten so thick I dont think pliers could get it off. Its nice and dark and black. I know “runner’s toenail” is common, but Im pretty sure its supposed to fall off or go away or something. It hasnt.

When my friend Becky saw my maladies post race even she – a running and capoeira veteran of many years – was a bit grossed and concerned. She gave me helpful runners suggestions for dealing with them which I will employ since they are low cost. Thankfully she didnt say what she really knew she should. Neither did my teaching friend this morning when she saw them. My mother on the other hand has been saying it for weekes. Everyone’s least favorite medical related expression -“You should get that checked out”.

The blackened toenail doesnt ail me, but its level of grossness is concerning to me

I cringe when I hear that. I dont feel like going to a doctor, and then have them refer me to a specialist. I have a busy life and I dont want to spend more time at places I dont want to drive or go to. I really dont want to pay the co-pay to the first doctor to refer me to the foot specialist to whom I would have to pay an additional copay. I also dont want to risk the possibility of “follow up” appointments and tests and whatever else costs may come up. I dont want to pay for whatever ointments or devices they want me to use to protect against…whatever. You see my point? However this is an interesting point for me.

Preventive care is important to well…prevent injuries. Any good athlete knows that they should always expend the extra effort to make sure their body is functioning on all cylinders and do whatever is necessary to keep them there. Part of that is getting problems in check before they become colossal. I agree with this whole philosophy. This doesnt even get into how physically unappealing it looks to someone who wears flip flops often and is well… hopelessly single

This is really attractive. Imagine it bright, pulsing red like it was at the beginning

The problem is I just cant afford it right now. I have decent insurance but even if the doctor notices something small that they may want to fix- its going to cost me money that I could use elsewhere in my life. So I am leaving it unaddressed for now-at least medically speaking. Its a risk for sure I know, but it doesnt weigh on my mind that much. As my life goes now financially and logistically, I can only fix big problems that are essential to core areas of where I am headed. Smaller stuff gets addressed in due course, and down the line stuff rarely gets noticed. Run the mile thats in front of you in runners speak I guess.  Im lucky I notice extra stuff like this at all. In this case its only because its so grossly visible that this one became apparent. But there is no pain, so I just have to leave it alone. Running battle scars for now. Or as I told my friend Heidi this morning, when you are a runner, just the cost of doing business. Ugly and probably not healthy skin on my feet.

Enjoy your run. Enjoy your day

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