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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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Wish List Wednesday… Competition and Downsizing

I am personally undergoing a period of personal transition and progress in my life. With the possibility of a major move nearing closer than I would like to admit, Im starting to both downsize my life and my house. Im finding the experience oddly liberating, to dispose or donate items that I have accumulated in 10 years of living in Tampa. While I was doing so, I stumbled across my old pair of soccer cleats and shinguards which is what prompted me to write this weeks posting about missing that edge of athletic competition. 

Downsizing to me means to pare down. To strip my life of the things I really dont need so I can maximize what I actually do. This is why these WLW postings will now only focus on 1 wish and a couple of updates.  That way I can focus on that one and avoid postings which may be too too long.

Onto this weeks wish….

I wish that I had athletic competition…..

Set up- Seeking friends

Back when I first moved to Tampa, I got lonely really fast. I was depressed beyond belief and desperate to meet people and I hadnt yet settled into my new job or area. Fortunately I came across a flyer for TBCS. Tampa Bay Club Sport, as I found out, is a locally run organization that organizes leagues of different sports and different ability levels for the purpose of fun and social interaction. Soccer leagues, tennis, kickball, flag football, volleyball and others were on the list back in those days. This was a revelation to me and I instantly signed up for the next availble season. For the next few years, I played in one league or another on and off. I loved the camaraderie of soccer followed by beers afterward or the relaxation of a good hard game of beach volleyball. In the later years I got to play soccer with my sister in a coed league which allowed us to bond in a whole level and connect socially as adults as a full time.

I used to love hitting the soccer fields for TBCS. When I first came down here, this was some of the only socialization and physical activity that I was getting

Sadly it has been a couple years since I stopped playing in these leagues. Why? While the leagues were always fun, I was never able to make it into a new social circle (always stuck on the fringe), the lengthy drive was getting to me, and I was starting to get more into capoeira. Capoeira was offering 5 nights of week of intense physical training, and close friendships. We were going out wednesday night every week for drinks following class with huge groups, and hanging out on the weekend. My physical shape was starting to improve significantly as well. The academy was alive and vibrant and I so dove headlong into it. Sports fell by the wayside. A few months later I tried to get into a game of pickup soccer with a friend from capoeira and ended up with a torn meniscus that required surgical repair. After that point, capoeira became my focus until running came on the scene.

Capoeira’s intense training and intense friendships caused me to fade away from sports. The torn meniscus in soccer didnt help either

I miss sports badly. I used to play sports all the time in high school, and I want that edge again. Success as a runner and a new found physical fitness have spurred my desire for that basic competition. Plus capoeira has been reduced to only 2 short nights a week of training availability. I spin, I run, I lift,  I run, I run, I take classes, but I would much rather fill ONE of those nights with a game of tennis, a well played soccer game, even a sandy mess of a beach volleyball game.  Get my workout in, and get my sports fix as the same time. Sadly, both the time and the money are currently lacking for this type of deal.

The Ideal Wish- Get back into sports

That I could join other sports league and have a regular soccer game. That I could have a weekly scheduled tennis set with a good friend. That I could go out and play a game of volleyball with some semi competitive people and then chill at the beach afterward. That I could take the “best of shape of my life” fitness and apply it again to sports. That I could take my new found personal confidence, built on my running, and meet friends again and make deeper connections. That I could achieve that lovely edge of competition that running has sparked in me again.

Beach volleyball can be fun, competitive and one of the best workouts you can get. The fact that it is along the beach doesnt hurt either

The Reality- Too far and too much 

For as much as I loved TBCS, the leagues were not cheap. Something like 55 to 65 bucks per season. Even though capoeira has cut back, I still have to pay for that and my gym membership. This leaves that much of an investment (plus the cost of gas to get to games which are not close) as simply too much. I toyed with the idea a couple of times, but the expense was just too great. On top of which, the strong possibility of relocating shortly would make commitment to a league somewhat senseless.

The Possibility- College competition 

Hopefully when I relocate to grad school, opportunities for this competition will arise on campus. The school I would be attending is a massive state school and there has to be available leagues for me to enjoy. I havent done the research but I am hopeful. That being said, I dont need to be drawn into anything I dont need during the beginning of my classes. I need to focus on my academics, adjusting,  and of course my running. Once I get settled there and things calm down, I plan on seeking out some competition and using my new level of running based fitness for sports.

A not so subtle hint about this fall 🙂

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Wish List Wednesday Updates

Wish- I wish I could turn a non-running friend into a running friend

Update– My friend ME who has back problems came out for me this am and put in 2 miles. I dont see him being a runner, but I think he heard the passionate way I talk about the topic and the level of workouts I put in and wanted some of that cardio. I count this as a huge success. It made this mornings interval workout feel really awesome

Wish- I wish I could like salad

Update– I dont see myself making salad anytime soon. Yesterday I used a free pass to Sweet Tomatoes and filled a plate with a bunch of their salads and greatly enjoyed myself. I dont think I would put forth the effort to produce high quality salads (and yummy soups and baked goods) like they have, but all their salads were super tasty and I didnt go home unsatisfied. So, some progress there.

Enjoy Your Run. Enjoy Your Day :0

Wish List Wursday…. Throwaways and Starters

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

My running wish….

I wish I could run throwaway races…..

Set up-  A host of reasons to race

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

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

The Ideal Wish- Gimmicks, shoelessness, and destinations

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

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

The Reality-  Competition all the time

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

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

The Possibility- Local fun runs

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

My nutrition wish…

I wish that I liked salad…..

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

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

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

The Ideal Wish- Want so badly to like these!

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

I have tried a variety, and found no enjoyment yet

The Reality- Boring and plain

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

The Possibility- Search and discovery

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

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

Enjoy Your Run. Enjoy Your Day :0

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

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