Saturday, April 28, 2012

Out of Hibernation 5K

Out of Hibernation 5K in Portsmouth NH

Originally my plan was to run this race as fast as I could just to see what I could do for time.  Since I started training for the 24K video though I have upped my running to daily (as opposed to every other day) and my knee started bugging me (from a non-running-related injury) so I wasn't too worried about speed.  

I finished in 26:55 which isn't too bad for me, especially considering I was wearing a knee brace and I had run 5 miles the day before.  

The Race

It was an absolutely beautiful day in Portsmouth, NH.  You couldn't have asked for nicer weather for a 5K.  The turnout was decent; around 250 people.  There were some good sponsors, but a lack of presence from those sponsors at the race; which isn't always a bad thing.  

The course was really nice with a few short hills and the bulk of the run being small side roads without any traffic.  There was some serious diversity when it came to the runners in age and ability.  I would say that there were more over 40's than under 40's at the race...the guy who won though was 26 and ran a 5:02 mile!!!!  

If you live in or near the Seacoast you should definitely plan to do this race!  

What have I learned?

Once you get to a certain point in your training, running every day really doesn't matter.  I was worried that I was going to end up doing a 10 minute mile, which is my typical relaxed pace when I'm running longer distances and I'm not concerned about my time.  I ended up running this faster than I had planned or expected considering I was going back-to-back with my running.  

Really, once you get to the point where you can run 5 miles without feeling like you are going to die by the end of it, your body can probably handle consecutive running days.  Once it becomes a daily routine you really, REALLY start looking forward to it rather than dreading it.  

Stats and Stuff

Time from 5K Sports: 26:55 (I think I was a few seconds faster than that, but I'm not complaining)

Temperature: 65ºF

Wind: Slight breeze, nothing to write home about

Gear

Shirt: Reliv TekShirt - Purchased from the company that I distribute for.  This is a really nice light weight shirt which isn't too heavy on the graphics

Shorts: Just some cheapo "athletic" shorts from a department store.

Underwear (because some people may want to know?): Underarmour compression underwear

Shoes: Vibram KomodoSport's - I LOVE these.  LOVE I tell you!  They are SO comfortable and have a touch more padding then the classics.

Fuel

Breakfast: Apple, small bowl of cereal with almond milk
Pre-race: 2oz of 24K (24K Link use VIP code: refresh) - this stuff is really great for both pre-race and post-race.  No jitters, no crash and I felt totally charged.
Post-race: 24oz water, banana.  Yep, that's it.  Did I REALLY want the chocolate muffins and donuts they had out?  YES!  That was probably the hardest part of the race was resisting all the goodies.  


Pictures!!

So here you go, some pictures (courtesy of the OOH 5K Flickr page)





 















Thursday, April 12, 2012

Spring is here!!!!!


So here we are in April.  Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve come up with a new blog post! 

But I changed the background to reflect something more "springy."  Isn't that something?

What happened to the month of March?  Well, for a good portion of March I was fasting (no food or water from sunrise to sunset {Article on the Baha'i Fast}) and as such that ate into (pun intended there) my running time and kept me from doing any races as they are usually held during daylight hours. 
Okay, so April it is!  First up is the Out of Hibernation 5K in Portsmouth, NH on the 14th.  No major journey to get to this race, it’s just over the bridge.  I’m really excited about this race as it’s going to be a fast 5K and relatively flat and ALL proceeds go to the Seacoast Family Food Pantry (http://www.seacoastfamilyfoodpantry.org/). 
After that I’ve got a 5K in Kittery on the 20th of May and I’ll be doing that pushing my 1 year-old in the jogging stroller.  I’ve got a few other events that are tentative and up on the right side of the page if you’re interested in checking them out. 

Tough Mudder

The BIG one that I’m REALLY excited about is the TOUGH MUDDER!!!!!!  That’s right, I’ve signed up, registered, paid, and it’s DONE!  I had planned to do the Tough Mudder in VT in May (on Mudder’s Day…no, I didn’t make that up, they did).  When I went to the website to sign up it was sold out.  Much to my surprise when I was showing a co-worker (who didn’t believe me) that it was sold out it there was yet ANOTHER race in VT, this one scheduled for July.  I immediately signed up.
If you have never heard of the Tough Mudder definitely check out the link I have on the right; they have some GREAT videos. 
The Tough Mudder is strike one for me to SERIOUSLY amp up my training.  12 miles, obstacle courses, potential July heat (not too worried about that one).  But wait….here comes strike two!

24k Video

I’ve been taking and distributing Reliv (reliv.com) products for a little while now; more on that later.  I’m going to be dedicating a page on this blog to Reliv.  I was contacted a few days ago by a Reliv representative, and they have asked if I’d be willing to star in a well produced video chronicling my Reliv story and shooting some video of my running.  Of course I said I would be happy to do it, it sounded like a great opportunity, etc. etc. 
Then I got to thinking….wait a second here.  Here I am, going to be in a HIGHLY publicized video online…running…and I DO NOT look like I should be on the cover of Men’s Health.  Well, it’s okay I have some time before they do this video.  Let’s see….when did they say they were going to be shooting…oh yeah, May 10th-11th!  So I have a month, one whole WHOPPING month to get as fit as I can. 

What am I going to do?

Um….well…I guess I should run?  Yep, that’s right.  This is a blog about running after-all.  I have a relatively slow metabolism and as such I’m going to go with the old math solution for getting rid of the last bits of gut.  Burn more calories than I consume.  Pure logic folks – if you eat 2000 calories (really, who does that these days?) and burn 2500, it’s hard to put on any more fat (notice I didn’t say impossible nor did I say weight). 

In order to get trim fit and looking like I should belong in a video advertising a product that helps improves one performance I’m going to do the following:

   1.       RUN LIKE CRAZY!  I’m going to try to up my running routine to at least 25-30 miles per week.  Maybe more if I can hack it. 
   2.       Eat like I want to live forever.  What does that mean?  No, there will be no bacon for breakfast (and I will cry; lots).  Vegetables and fruits will be my primary foods with nuts and beans mixed in for good measure.  Some eggs or fish perhaps, but probably no milk or cheese.
   3.       Strength training.  Check this out: Dumbbell Shovel you can’t get too much more of a complete strength workout than doing these.  I’ll also be doing pull-ups, push-ups, and anything and everything that will make my core HURT. 
   4.       WATER!!!!  I’m going to TRY to chug at least 4 liters of water a day.  That might be annoying on my 2 hour commutes, but I suppose I could get creative. 

That doesn’t sound too hard does it?  

PS: If anybody wants to check out 24K you can go here: my24kvip.com 
PPS: If you want to try some 24K and get a wicked good discount use my code: refresh

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Ragged Mountain Run

"Dear God, what have I signed myself up for?"

I believe those were the first words uttered out of my mouth when I saw Ragged Mountain in Danbury NH.  As I'm driving up I can see the ski lift disappear over a ridge, so from the base of the mountain you can not see the summit.



Why was I doing this?

One of my co-workers, we'll call him Jim V., volunteers at Ragged Mountain on the weekends.  He had heard about this race or rather a series of races called Winter Wild.  In this series they have runs at many of the major ski slopes in the New England region.  Next year I will probably try to complete them all, this year....just one will suffice.  Jim V. encouraged me to sign-up for the race, which I did (he did not).

In looking at the pictures online and the course map, it looked like it would be fun.  My training runs have been closer to 5 miles as of late with a bit of hill work, so how hard could 1.5 miles up a mountain be?

The Plan


It was easy.  I was going to get some Kahtoola Micro Spikes, put them on my sneakers and run up a mountain.  Certainly I wasn't crazy enough to think I could run the WHOLE way, so I'd use my heart rate monitor.  I would run until it started pegging out, then I would walk, get my breath back and run again.

How hard could it be?  (see what I'm doing here?)

The Drive


Because this race was starting at 7AM (before they open up the trails for skiing) that meant I had to leave my house at 4:30AM to ensure I had enough time to pick up a friend of mine in Concord NH, and get there with time enough to pick up my bib and survey the situation.  So all told it was about a two hour jaunt. I have to say, traffic at 4:30AM heading West is pretty much non-existent.

The Race


This is where things get interesting.  So we get there and I have a slight panic attack.  You see, I've never been to a ski slope.  I've only seen mountains with snow off in the distance.  So seeing Ragged (which is not a very big mountain in the grand scheme of things) scared the Red Bull out of me!

I got my bib and wandered around out on the snow trying to get a feel for things.  I had brought both my Vibram TrekSports and my sneakers with the Micro Spikes.  I didn't think I was really crazy enough to try to scale a snowy mountain in my barefoot shoes...but that's what I did.



I ran around a bit in the packed snow and my happy little toe shoes actually had remarkable grip.  My feet were a little cold, but not unbearable.  I was thinking then that I'd put my sneakers in my bag and run up with them on my back just in case.

Two minutes before the start, I ditched the bag.  If I was going to do it, I was going to do it all the way.

The turnout wasn't too big, but it was a committed group.  The loop was fairly simple.  Up the slope following the chair lift, across the top, down the slope right next to the lift.  Runners stay on the left, skiers and boarders stay on the right.

I started running up with the pack and pretty much universally we all stopped and started walking around the same time.  There were not going to be any records broken that day by this guy....I knew it and as such brought my camera so I could take some pictures while running/walking/crawling.

There were spots on the way up that were so steep all I had to do was reach forward and I was touching the ground.  Amazingly I never slipped on the way up and stopping to take a few pictures was all I needed to catch my breath.  My plan for doing a combined run/walk following my heart rate?  Didn't happen.  My HR never went back down enough for me to feel comfortable to start running up the slope.

At the top it felt SO good to break into a run though.  I took off, grateful for the change in gradient.  Then it started to get steep.  This is pretty much how it went:

Way up: "Okay, this is cool."  "Wow, this is really kind of steep."  "Oh, so you can't really see the top."  "Okay I'll just slow down for a bit, catch my breath."  "This was really, really stupid."  "Why, why do I put myself through this stuff!"  "Oh thank God there's the top!  Wait, what, that isn't it??? NO!  There's still more?"

Way down: "That feels SO much better."  "Hey look at me, I'm running pretty fast."  "Hey...I can't stop running...not....okay.....kind of scary."  "I'm going to die."  "I'M REALLY GOING TO DIE."  "Dying any second now, sure of it.....don't think my legs are supposed to feel like this."  "Hey, that wasn't so bad."

So enjoy the pictures!  If you are a running type and have never done one of these I highly suggest it.  Just take it easy.  My final time was a sluggish 38:08 (Coolrunning Results but it's less if you watch the video).  Next year my goal will be for something less than 30:00.

Big thanks to my friend Werner who came along with me.  He took a few of the pictures I'm posting as well as the video.  I also must say that if it weren't for a comment of his, I would have been in great pain the following day.  He had pointed out that some of the skiers who went UP on skis are probably going to have some seriously sore groins.  This had reminded me that I too went up a good portion of that mountain duck footed and immediately stretched accordingly.  So Werner, you have now been named Savior of the Groin!














                                    



                                     



video












Saturday, December 31, 2011

Polar Bear Dip & Dash 2011

Today was the first race I've done since I have started this blog.  While I'm a little disappointed with my time I'm hoping that it will be a nice benchmark for all future races.

The Race
This was the Polar Bear Dip and Dash hosted by the NRCM (Natural Resources Council of Maine).  The race was in Portland, ME right on the water.  You can see the course here: http://www.mappedometer.com/?maproute=55749

With better weather I'm sure this would have been a beautiful race; more on that later though.

So this is a 5K put on to raise money for clean energy support and global warming awareness.  I thought it was certainly a worthy cause and was happy to sign up.

Compared to other races that I've done the turnout was small, just over 100 runners, most of whom took the splash afterward.

Weather Conditions
Well at least it wasn't snowing?  I don't know, maybe snow would have been better.  The morning greeted all of us on the Seacoast with a healthy amount of freezing rain.  As we were driving up to Portland and I had the wipers on full blast I started to get cold just thinking about it.  Bad, BAD Ju Ju!

The first 2-3K of the race took place on a trail that hugs the bay.  Unfortunately most of that trail was covered with ice or slush.  As I wasn't wearing my spikes and instead had worn my Vibram Five Fingers (VFF's) that are best on pavement or smooth trails, I had to keep to the grass and the street on either side of the trail to keep from ending up arse-over-tea-kettle.  

The trail changed to a mostly paved trail and while there were still some patches of very slippery stuff it was mostly okay.

During the race the rain eased off to a constant light drizzle; much better than a driving rain, but still very damp and dreary.  It was that wet cold that just sinks into your joints and makes you feel more like starting a fire and drinking cocoa, not running around like a loon.

So here are the fine details on the weather which will directly relate to the next paragraph:
Air Temp: 31°F or -0.5°C
Wind: 5MPH
Humidity: 78%
Ground conditions: Mostly wet with patches of ice or sleet
Precipitation: Light drizzle

Gear
This may be useful for anybody considering running in similar weather:
Jacket: Columbia Titanium - this is a soft shell running/sporting jacket that is fairly weather proof, good for wind and light rain or light snow protection
Shirt: Generic short sleeve compression shirt
Hat: Eastern Mountain Sports nylon ball cap - this hat is great for keeping the water off my head but not over heating me like a knit skull cap
Gloves: Generic light weight running gloves - picked up some light weight gloves at Target a while back
Pants: No frills Adidas track pants
Shoes: VFF Komodo Sport with Injinji toe socks

Even though it was right around the freezing point, most of my gear was very light.  The only thing I would have changed out of all of it is my shoes and socks.  I would have chosen my VFF Trek Sports (better on changing terrains) and my wool Injinji toe socks.  My feet got very wet and the cool thing about wool is that even when it gets wet it still keeps you warm; at least warmer than cotton or synthetics.

By the end of the 5k I had taken off my hat (due to heat) and pushed up my sleeves on my jacket a bit.

Results
So finishing 40th out of 111 isn't too bad, but I've done better with time on similar distances.  28:52 was my time.  Maybe I could have done better had I been working my core muscles during all the Christmas festivities rather than eating sugary treats...but that didn't happen.

Also, I got to the race without much time to spare so I didn't get much a chance to do any warming up.  My last race I had a decent warm-up and my time results greatly improved.

The Dip
In case anybody out there wanted to know.  The North Atlantic on December 31st is cold.  VERY cold.  Not unbearable (for a few seconds), but certainly cold.  I hope that this resolves any curiosity that anybody may have about this subject.

After the race, I took off my gear and put on my board shorts and waited for the count-down.  At that point a whole bunch of us ran into the water like complete idiots.  In the video that my wife shot, I noticed that a few people ran down TO the water and crouched real low to get themselves damp.  When I noticed this I was originally thinking "You wimps!  Seriously, I grew up in Antigua and I'm here jumping head-first into this."  After a few moments of rational thought I realized that these folks are probably a WHOLE lot smarter than me (but they're still wimps).

Enjoy the videos! I'm definitely going to be signing up for this one next year!



video
video

Sunday, December 18, 2011

How This All Started


I never liked running, EVER.  As a child and teen I preferred water sports and computer games. When I joined the Coast Guard I had no problem with any of the swimming trials, but I only just squeaked by on the qualifying run; something like 11:20 for a mile and a half.


So why did I start running?  Well after the military and on my second corporate America job I had noticed that I had gained quite a bit of weight.  As a matter of fact, both my wife and I had put on the same amount of weight when she was pregnant with our first child.  Then she had a baby....I didn’t.


When it got to the point where I needed to buy the next size up in pants I drew the line.  There was NO way I was going to be buying the same size pants that my father wears (sorry dad), while I was still in my 20‘s!!!

One of my co-workers would always go out run during our lunch break at the office and I thought to myself “well, he’s got a good idea here,” as I, like him, didn’t have a lot of free time before or after work.

Jack (my co-worker) was running around 3.5 miles 3-4 times per week.  So I decided I would tag along and see what I could do.  And what could I do?  Not much.  Not much at all.  There was nothing I could do to keep up with a man nearly twice my age.  My first run I think I made it about 1/4 of a mile and that was it, I was sucking wind.  I alternated between jogging and walking for the remainder of the distance.

Jack was relentless though and as soon as he realized that he had a quasi-running partner he was on my case every day he went running: “Did you bring your gear?  We going today?  How are the legs?  How are the lungs today?”

So I got better and after a few weeks at it I talked myself into signing up for my town's 5K.  I remember thinking, “Holy crap, does this make me a runner?  But I don’t even like running!”  When I shared this thought with my wife she half-joking, half-serious said “yeah, yeah, you’re probably going to want to start running marathons soon.”  I’m sure I shot this notion down, but this blog is yet another way in which she was right, and I was wrong.

Well, I ran that 5K and didn’t do too bad (or so I thought shortly after crossing the finish line).  I managed just over a 10 minute mile, finishing in somewhere around 31:12 I think.  As I’m enjoying the revelry  I started talking to this older gentleman who informed me that he was 68 and that he had just finished the 5K in 25:18.  This old guy was averaging between 7-8 minute miles?!?!  I think it was at that point that the running bug really bit me.  How could I possibly live with myself knowing that some retired old guy beat my time by several minutes in my own town?!  Truth be told there were a lot of people who were older than me and some that looked like they were in worse shape than I, crossing that finish line before me.



Moving On

After reading Christopher McDougall’s “Born To Run” I really started to feel like not only was I doing something good for myself by running, but that I had been missing out on something amazing that was always right in front of me, but I never saw it.  It is this feeling that has made me want to run an Ultra.

Why not just be satisfied with a marathon?  Well that’s just it, I don’t want to be “satisfied.”  I don’t want to get to that point and say, “Okay, I did it, I’m going to move on to something else now.”  By setting this goal I’m pushing myself beyond a normal and easily recognizable comfort-zone.


Why Running? 
 
I’ve been asked this before, and it’s really an easy answer.  Even though when I started I hated it, running is arguably one of the easiest sports to get into.  Lets look at the facts:

Supplies: You, shoes (optional), clothes (for the love of all that’s good NOT optional), outside (treadmill for inside).

That’s it!  What if it’s raining?  Snowing?  There’s a saying that goes something like this:  “There’s no such thing as bad running weather, just bad running gear.” 

You set your own pace, there are no strict rules, you don’t need a membership, you can spend as little or as much money as you want, you can do it just about anywhere at any time.

So there you have it!  The next post is probably going to be on Vibram Five Fingers and minimalist (natural) running.  There will be some cool videos and pictures to go along with that one!

Monday, December 12, 2011

What's this all about?

Well, that's easy enough.  I have decided to create this blog for several reasons.  So lets list them out:

  1. I wanted to create a blog to hold myself socially and publicly accountable for getting in shape, staying in shape and reaching my goal(s).
  2. To share with others the things I have learned on this journey; techniques, diets, products, etc.
  3. To give others an opportunity to learn from my experience and hopefully inspire others to set their own life goals, big or small, and try to reach them however possible.
So this is what I'm going to be putting up on this blog:
  • Pictures:  There'll be pictures of me running and other running related shots, trails, routes, and I may do that thing where I take a picture of my body once a week, or every day and come up with a rather grotesque montage.
  • Products:  I'll be posting about the stuff I'm using, where I got it from, why I'm using it, things like that.
  • Training Schedules and Results: So that'll be what I'm up to and how well I did it.
  • Perhaps the occasional randomness, and maybe even a video or two.
In the posts to follow I'll be going into some of my personal history and an outline discussing how I came to be a person who loathed running (we call these people "sane") to what I am today (sometimes I think sanity took a vacation).  

Enjoy!