Saturday, September 19, 2015

Half Marathon #3: Mt. Angel Oktoberfest Road Race

I completed my 3rd half marathon today, the Mt. Angel Oktoberfest Road Race. I am very pleased with my result overall, I set a PR by 5 seconds per mile. I could have finished even better, but I got a rock in my shoe at mile 8, and had to stop and empty it -- which resulted in major pain in my right hip and hamstring for the next mile after restarting. Other than that, and the typical last mile leg cramps in my calves, it was a good run. Here are the graphs from my RunKeeper app:

You can see that the hills at the end of the race got me again, and then leg cramps took over in the last mile. A 5 second per mile jump in PR is respectable, though; so I'll consider this to be progress.

A new motto I came up with this morning before the race.

Now I will take a break from road racing and get back into a normal training routine until next spring. I hope to come back stronger and faster for next years Volcano half, but mostly, I hope to stay healthy and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Race Review: 2015 Pints to Pasta 10K

I ran my first ever official 10K race yesterday, and I really thought this distance was a lot of fun. It wasn't quite the endurance challenge of a half marathon, but challenging in its own right.

The Pints to Pasta event was part of the Hood to Coast race series, and included either a half marathon or 10K. The half is actually Pasta to Pints to Pasta, but the 10K fits the title; starting on the gradual downhill of Greeley Ave in North Portland, passing by Widmer Brewing (Pints) and crossing the Willamette River via the Broadway Bridge, then following Naito Parkway along the waterfront. That is the end of the flat part of the course, as from there it transitions up a brutal hill to Barbur Blvd. / Corbett Ave., before heading sharply back down hill to SW Macadam Ave. and the finish line at The Old Spaghetti Factory (Pasta).

When Tony, a friend and running motivator, asked if I wanted to run Pints to Pasta with him, I was hesitant at first because I assumed he meant the half marathon, and I was already signed up for a half the following weekend (this coming Saturday). When he clarified that he meant the 10K race, I jumped at the chance. I was a little nervous because I had only done small races, and wasn't sure I wanted to join a few thousand other runners on a Sunday morning -- but I'm glad I did. It was a pretty big step for this routine-oriented stick-in-the-mud.

Since this was my first 10K race, I can't say whether or not it was a PR (personal record), but considering the one grueling hill on the course, I am very happy with what I was able to accomplish -- it definitely ranked in the top 5 times I've done for that distance (depending on how accurate my phone's app was for tracking those training runs). I am perfectly happy finishing at 389th place out of 1649 participants (41/88 for my age group).

It was truly a perfect morning for a run -- cool but not cold, mostly clear, with the sun just starting to peak above the horizon as we started down Greeley. The scenery of the river and downtown was gorgeous, and the bridge crossing over the Willamette was fun; and we got to listen to a good cover band play modern classics as we recovered in the shade along the southwest waterfront.

This was my first time getting beer/wine after a run, but since it was included, I decided to give it a try. I went with a Hefe Shandy (half Hefeweisen beer, half lemonade) and a glass of Pinot Grigio. The idea of eating pasta and drinking beer/wine at 9:00 in the morning, after finishing a good run, seems so strange; but it actually worked. The penne pasta with mizithra cheese was the bomb!

While we had a great experience, it was not a perfect event. The choice of route through old town (just for a few blocks) was incredibly stinky, and probably should be reconsidered for next year. The L-O-N-G hill up Barbur to Corbett was grueling, and could have been worth it if we could have "turned and burned" once we reached the top; but the hills back to Macadam were so steep that we actually had to hold back to keep from wiping out or tearing things up. An approach from Waterfront Park / SW Moody Ave. would really improve things, if that is even logistically feasible (or maybe down the east side to Tilikum Crossing next year?).

Elevation plot of the course. Vertical red line is approx. start of 10K.

The other disappointing part for many was some poor planning by event organizers with regard to parking and shuttle buses. Tony and I made it to the shuttles pretty early, and were on one of the first buses to the start line for the 10K. At about 6:45, they announced that the start would be delayed from 7:30 to 7:45 because of parking issues. It ends up that the 15 minute delay was not anywhere near enough time to get all of the 10K runners to the start line, and in fact many racers did not get started until 60-80 minutes after the "gun".  Apparently race organizers thought 5 buses would be enough to shuttle 1650 people across Portland in a one-hour time-frame -- so it was not just a matter of "not enough parking".

Hopefully they will improve a few things for next year, as I really thought it was a lot of fun!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Before & After Update

It's been 10 months since I last did a "Before & After" post, so I thought I'd do another, since I have fresh pictures. The first one is from January 2011 at 240 lbs., and the second from August 2015 at 175 lbs. Not a huge difference in the last 10 months, but gradually trimming and toning. 

My body may ache after completing a half marathon, but I find satisfaction in knowing that this temporary soreness was brought about by doing something great. I may have felt pain-free and "comfortably numb" when I was "fat and happy"; but as a whole, the extra energy, added mobility, and overall healthier feel of being fit and healthy far outweigh any exercise induced discomfort. The road I was on had me headed for a rendezvous with one of those motorized "mobility scooters", but now the road I'm traveling has nothing of the sort on the horizon (Lord willing).

Get out there and forge your own road that's headed in a direction you want to go. I see my friends sharing on social media about their progress from eating a balanced, healthy diet; and from engaging in exercise like kickboxing, cycling, crossfit, running, interval training, etc., and it keeps me inspired and motivated to keep going.

All Day Long!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Recap: Canby Dahlia Run - Half Marathon

Today I officially completed my second half marathon, the Canby Dahlia Run. The following is a recap of my experience:

My alarm was set to go off this morning at 4:30, but I was awakened 15 minutes prior by thunder, lightning, and heavy rain. Not a good omen the morning of a road race. The timing was perfect though, because the showers moved through quickly and the rain ended an hour before the start.

I arrived 45 minutes before the start, warmed up, and found my spot in the mass of bodies. I started off with what I felt was the right pace, but for the first mile I was quite a bit slower than I had intended. By the midway point of the race, I had found my groove -- and I knew the photographer was going to be somewhere in the dahlia farm part of the course, so I was prepared to smile for this race photo!

I knew in advance that wind would possibly be a factor, and that was definitely the case. I think the wind was in my face about a mile more than it was at my back, so who knows how it really affected me. The end result was that I did finish with a PR... by 1 second per mile. An improvement, but not quite what I had hoped for. Still, I'll take it.

One thing I would like to try in future half marathons is eliminating the Honey Stinger gel packets that I had thought were helpful for me. Just like the Volcano Half, I started to feel a bit nauseous towards the end of the race, this time before I'd reached mile 10. I've done 10-11 mile training runs with no gels, and never had this feeling.

As far as the Dahlia Run itself, it was a beautiful course, and an event that was very nicely executed. My hope is to continue training through this fall and winter, with the hope of running at least the two events I did this year, and possibly trying a 10K or two along the way.

#10kmbefore10am #ilived

Monday, May 25, 2015

Are You Fed Up?

You really should be fed up with the obesity epidemic that is gripping North America. You really should be fed up with the way our elected government officials, both liberal and conservative, are bowing down to the big food companies and hiding the true dangers of excess sugar intake.

There is big money in processed foods, especially the fast food and soda pop industries, and the documentary Fed Up exposes the big, sugar coated, cover up. I highly recommend watching it, but be prepared to be challenged and outrage by what you see.

I'm not ready to give up sugar in all of its forms, but soda pop is definitely one I do not miss -- I gave it up over a year ago, and will not ever go back on that wagon. I am willing to make the bold statement that sugary drinks, including fruit juice, are the largest contributors to the obesity epidemic in North America. Yes, even 100% fruit juice is a contributing factor.

Of course we should not confuse whole fruit with fruit juice -- whole fruit is actually a form of sugar we should be trying to eat more of, since our bodies can handle the sugar and fiber together. It's when we remove the fiber, and process the sugars that our bodies can't handle the onslaught of sweetness -- it doesn't matter if it's High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), granulated sugar, raw sugar, or fruit juice.

The one point from this documentary that really resonated with me is the fact that big food has prevented the FDA from requiring food labels to list sugar content in the form of a percentage. All foods list the total grams of sugar per serving, but you will not find what percent of the recommended daily allowance that makes up. If most of us were to actually pay attention to those numbers, I think we would probably put a lot of the foods back on the shelves and not in our carts.

Most organizations that are genuinely interested in health recommend that a maximum of 10% of your daily caloric intake come from sugar. That means that for an adult male with a recommendation of a 2000 calorie diet, the maximum intake from sugar per day should be 200 calories, or 50 grams. To find the percentage, just look at the food label and muliply the grams of sugar by 2, and that is the percentage.
For example, the imitation maple syrup (that I'm ashamed to admit lives in our pantry) has 44 grams of sugar in a 1/4 cup serving; which means one serving contains 88% of your recommended daily allotment of sugar. A 12-oz. can of Pepsi has 41 grams of sugar, or 82% of your RDA. So a small amount of syrup at breakfast and one can of pop at lunch puts you at 170% of your daily allowance. Incidentally the real maple syrup has 50 grams of sugar per 1/4 cup serving, but at least it's not HFCS, right?

Throw in everything else in a typical American diet that has sugar added to it, and it's not hard to see how easily our diets end up containing 300-400% of the sugar we should be ingesting. It made me go through my pantry with a Sharpie and convert all the sugar content into percentage, just so I have a better idea of how much I'm eating.

Now, I'm not ready to give up the 3 teaspoons of raw sugar I have in my coffee every morning, but I am willing to look at how much I take in throughout the day, and continue cutting back if needed. There are 4 grams of sugar per teaspoon, so that puts me at 12% of my allotted intake right at the start of the day, but if I can keep the rest of the day under control, I'm fine with that.

ARE YOU FED UP? Watch the documentary, and make changes in your own life.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Two Weeks of Faster Running, But Why?

In the few weeks since running the Volcano Half, I have been able to put together a nice string of training runs, with personal records (PR’s) set on several occasions within that time-frame, at distances ranging from 4 to 9+ miles. So why the sudden onslaught of faster runs? I wish I had a definite answer to that question, but all I have is theories…

After finishing the half marathon, I set two goals for my next race of that distance: finish faster, and finish stronger. In my research of how to accomplish these two goals, the common suggestion for both was strength training. I had been doing push-ups and sit-ups fairly regularly, but that was the extent of my strength workout. You would think that running would strengthen leg muscles on its own, but the consensus opinion is that running simply isn’t enough – so I had to come up with ways to better strengthen my legs and my core, and joining a gym or CrossFit group was not an option.

I came up with the following routine utilizing body-weight or light free weights, repeating 3 times:

  • Calf raises on a piece of 2x4 (eventually with added free weights)
  • Bicep curls, with free weights
  • Normal slow crunches and/or bicycle crunches
  • Bodyweight squats, with added free weights
  • Push-ups (alternating triceps push-ups)
  • Lunges, with free weights
  • Triceps curls, with free weights
  • Torso twists, with free weights
  • Forearm curls
  • Planks

I have not yet found time to do this more than once or twice a week, but I think it’s already helping my running times. I know from past weight-lifting experience that strength training can help endurance as well as actual strength, so I’m hopeful that I will be able to perform better at my next half at the end of August.

An additional benefit to the added strength training has been stronger muscles and tendons in my feet – which means greatly reduced arch pain, even with the faster pace. This factor alone is sure to shave a few seconds per mile off my run time. If I can make it through 9.5 miles with zero pain in my foot, then I can go all out at the end without feeling the need to nurse my stride.

While researching ways to improve running times, I also found considerable support for not stretching at all before a run, but instead warming up with a 5 to 10 minute walk, which is something I do anyway. I had been stretching both before and after my runs, but read that stretching cold could actually put extra strain on the muscles and lead to injury. So, the other change I made was eliminating pre-run stretching – now it’s just a warm-up walk, and stretches after the run.

The other option is that all the training I’ve been doing the past few months is contributing to a faster pace, but as stated above, running on its own isn’t a reliable way to strengthen leg muscles, so I really don’t think this is the case.

At this point these two tweaks seem to be making a difference, so I plan to continue in the foreseeable future. 

What strength training exercises do you regularly do? If you run, what have you done to help you run faster?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Product Review: Nathan QuickShot Plus Insulated Flask

Staying hydrated is a vitally important task for anyone engaging in prolonged physical exercise. With most organized road races, there are hydration stations set up periodically throughout the course, so it's easy get your water or sports drink fix. But with longer training runs, or shorter runs on hot days, staying hydrated means carrying water with you, or planting water bottles along your route.

Hiding water bottles ahead of time is not an option with the route I typically run, so I decided to give the Nathan QuickShot Plus Insulated Flask (pictured above) a try, since I like the idea of being able to strap it to my hand instead of physically holding the bottle. One nice feature about this strap is the hole at the top which allows your thumb to fit through -- it really makes it easy to strap to your hand and forget about (almost). 

The reflective, insulated bottle holds 8-oz. of water, and the small zippered pouch is large enough for about two energy packs, Kleenex, and a few pieces of ID -- there's even a tighter fitting netting pocket that holds credit cards, etc. There is velcro at the bottom of the strap that allows for adjustment, so it will fit different sized hands. 

I do find that I need to move the bottle from my right hand to my left hand after about 5-miles to change things up, but after about a minute I usually switch it back -- and repeat every few miles after that. Some people may never be able to get used to it, so before you purchase one, you may want to try carrying a similarly sized item in your hand during a run and see if you resist the urge to throw it into the weeds.

After a month of extensive use, including two 13.1 mile runs, I can find no faults with the product itself -- it does everything as advertised. It doesn't leak, the zipper pouch is easy to access on the move, and it's easy to get the right fit on your hand. The only real question is whether or not 8-oz. of water is enough for your individual needs.

On my initial 13.1 mile run using this product, temperatures were quite cool, with a pretty good downpour of rain midway through; so the capacity was more than adequate. It was also up to task for the 8.5 mile run I did in warmer weather a week before the Volcano Half -- and in both of those cases I downed a single Honey Stinger packet midway through the run. 

On the day of the actual Volcano Half, temps started to climb into the upper-60's with full sunshine, by halfway through the race; and I definitely had to rely on the hydration stations on the course -- I would have needed to rely on them even more if I had decided to take two of the Honey Stinger packets during the race, as each packet needs to be ingested with a few decent gulps of water. 

I would recommend an alternative source of hydration if doing longer training runs during warm weather conditions, or for any hydration-supported road races longer than 13.1 miles. Other than those exceptions, I am very happy with my QuickShot Plus, and would highly recommend it.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

My Journey, Captured In One Image

I'm not proud of this photo. I really wish I would have seen the camera so I could have smiled. But I feel this photo accurately sums up my journey to this point, in all of its brutal honesty; so I will post it anyway.

This is what sheer willpower, grit, and determination look like. It isn't pretty. It isn't glamorous. But it is who I am.

12.5 miles into a 13.1 mile race, on an uphill grade, fighting off leg cramps and nausea. Despite the pain I was feeling at that moment, there's nothing that could have stopped me from reaching the finish line. Looking back from the other side, it was all worth it!

As I post here and on social media, I hope that those reading realize that I post not to boast or brag about anything that I have done (this photo should be sufficient evidence of that), but that I post to create a public journal of my progress; and hopefully show that if I can do this, anyone can do it! The journey isn't always going to be easy and fun, but I can guarantee that there will be satisfaction as you reach your goals.

I make no claims that I am somehow doing something extraordinary on my own, but daily ask God to give me strength to continue down this difficult path of healthy living. He has blessed me with resilience which has allowed me to stay the course through pain and bad weather, and for that He deserves all the glory, not me! I'm just a slow runner who has managed to shed a few pounds... and build up enough endurance to complete a half marathon -- there's nothing boast-worthy about in that.

[Edit: I was just looking over the final results, and they list my average pace at 9:33.8 per mile -- no wonder I was exhausted! My previous PR at 13.1 was 9:50 pace! With a total time of 2:07:57, that puts the volcano course at 13.38 miles longAfter alerting race officials to the error, they have since recalculated, and my pace was what I had originally figured: 9:46 per mile (still a PR).]

By the way, this photo was taken by GCC Photography, the official photographer for many Run With Paula events.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

2015 Volcano Half Marathon... I did it!

I have finished my second official race, The Volcano Half Marathon!

And here's my second official race photo... no finish line shot, unless the race organizers got one. I was sore, tired, hungry, and thirsty; but glad to be on the other side of that finish line! 

Edit: Race results are now in, and I did indeed set a PR for this distance! My final time was 2:07:57, and they have my pace at 9:33.8 per mile -- no wonder I was exhausted! My previous PR at 13.1 was 9:50 pace! That puts the volcano course at 13.38 miles long After alerting race officials to the error, they have since recalculated, and my pace was what I had originally figured: 9:46 per mile (still a PR).

I don't have official race results yet, but based on my RunKeeper app, I should have set a PR (by about 3 seconds per mile). While my overall pace was better, I think the change in routine and crazy early wake-up helped contribute to approaching the dreaded "wall" once again. I also may have pushed it too hard on mile 11, as that was my best mile of the entire run -- which led to me fighting off leg cramps and the feeling that I was going to toss my bananas on mile 13 -- which ended up being my slowest mile of the run.

The course was gorgeous, meandering through Oregon farmland, and there were spots where I felt like raising my arms and letting out a "woo-hoo!" roughly half way through -- but the last mile was hell.

But I got 'er done, so I won't complain too much. 

I'm pretty sure I'll do another one, possibly at the end of the summer... but I'll wait and see how I feel on Monday before I sign up for it. Monday edit: Signed up. :-)

All day long... barely!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Running A Better 13.1

Today was another long run day in my half marathon training, so I decided to do a complete rehearsal, except for the time and venue -- I'll have to just roll with those variables on race day. I knew I could complete the distance, since I accomplished that two weeks ago, so my goal for today was to do it better!

The first part in the process was hydration and carb-loading, which commenced on Thursday. Carb-loading seemed a little strange since it is almost the opposite of my normal diet, but for a few days I can handle it. The rest of the improvement process would happen during the run itself, in the form of drinking water every few miles, and consuming a gel energy packet around the five mile mark. 

After getting good advice about hydration from one of my nurse friends who also runs, I opted to try out a Nathan QuickShot Plus Insulated flask, complete with wrist strap and pocket for an energy gel. The flask only has an 8-oz. capacity, but I figured that was better than the ~2-oz. I quickly chugged mid-run last time. I'm still not sure if I want to carry the flask during the actual race, or rely on the hydration stations.

While perusing various running blogs, I kept reading that a boost of carbs part way through the run would provide extra energy towards the end, so I decided to try a gel packet. Some said that the packets made from honey were easier on the stomach mid-run, so I opted for Honey Stinger Gold gels, as they are 95% honey. I'm happy to report that it tastes like honey, as advertised, and seems to have made a performance difference.

Here are the graphs from today's run:

I tried to start off at a slower pace than I did last time, keeping it right around the "all day long" pace I had been training at, and then stepped it up after about 11 miles. I don't know if it was the hydration and energy gel, or if it was the downhill stretch at the end, but obviously I was able to accomplish a better 13.1 mile run all around. I finished this run at 9:50 per mile, down 9-seconds per mile from two weeks ago; and there was no "hitting the wall" this time!

Now I rest for a week, train for a week, and then do this all over again for the real deal. I will be very pleased if I can repeat this performance on race day!

All Day Long!

Monday, April 6, 2015

1-Year Check-In: Pre-Diabetic, No Mas

Today I had my 1-year check-in with my doctor, who happens to be a runner himself (and he's running a marathon the same weekend I'm running my half). He was thrilled with my progress, and I have to admit it felt good weighing in 36-lbs. lighter than just 12 months ago.

It's obvious that what I have been doing has made a physical difference, and I know that I feel tons better with the weight gone, but the real test was going to be how my lab results came in this time. My doc didn't order any cholesterol numbers today, as those were under control a year ago.

The main concern was with the A1C numbers, as they are an indicator of average blood glucose levels over the last two or three months. As I discussed in a previous post, obesity can stress your bodies cells to the point that they won't allow insulin to efficiently transport glucose into them, and you end up with excess glucose in your blood. Since I have family history of Type II Diabetes, I am even more at risk. 

Here is a breakdown of where my A1C levels have been the last two years, including today's visit. Note that anything 5.6% or below is considered normal, and anything between 5.7% and 6.4% is considered pre-diabetic.

2013: 5.7%
2014: 5.8%
2015: 5.6%

I am no longer considered pre-diabetic!

This is the news I wanted to hear, and one of the main reasons I have been working so hard. Now my goal is to maintain what I started, and see if I can gain a little ground in the blood glucose level department. If I can help it, I WILL NOT let this disease catch me!

To everyone who put up with all of my fitness posts over the last year, and those who encouraged, supported, and joined me in this battle for improved health: Thank you!

For those who are just now stumbling across my blog, I hope you have found something to inspire or motivate you in your own battle to 'Thrive'. My doctor told me today that since I seem to have figured out the keys to good health, I need to share with others, and encourage them to start their own journey to healthful living. So I hope to continue to post updates periodically -- especially with my first half marathon race quickly approaching.

Live well. Be well. Thrive.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

All Day Long

As I look back on the last four years (off and on) of trying to improve my health, I can remember the things that have inspired and motivated me. Sometimes it's a song lyric or beat, sometimes it's a saying, and sometimes it's an event.

I can remember having a head cold and thinking I couldn't go out and run, and then watching Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks play through an NBA Finals basketball game with similar symptoms; and I can remember getting off the couch after the game and going for a run. Nowitzki's incredible performance inspired me to get out and move.

I also found inspiration in the very first song that came up on my running playlist in 2011 when I first started running: "40" by U2. It's a song that has moved me since I first heard it back in the eighties, and it's a song about looking to a Power greater than yourself to pull you up from a pit of despair, and the lyrics are pretty much straight from Psalm 40:

I waited patiently for the Lord
And He inclined to me and heard my cry
He brought me up out of the pit of destruction
Out of the miry clay
And He set my feet upon a rock, making my footsteps firm
He put a new song in my mouth
A song of praise to our God
Many will see and fear and will trust in the Lord

Sometimes it's just a piece of a song that motivates me as I run, like "Every day, every hour; turn that pain into power" from the song "Superheroes" by The Script. Sometimes it's a combination of beat and lyrics, like "Marchin On" by OneRepublic -- there's no way I'm going to even think about giving up and walking when that song comes on Pandora.

During the short time that I have been doing half marathon training, a new phrase has been running through my mind, "All Day Long". This is a phrase that the Sensei at my son's karate dojo uses to inspire the participants during belt tests, and now it has become my slogan. All I have to do is find that right pace, breathe, and keep putting one foot in front of the other; and I feel like I could go all day long.

So, what motivates and inspires you? What helps you make it through when things get tough?

Saturday, March 28, 2015


13.1 -- that's how many miles I ran this morning. 

No, I didn't run in an official half marathon, although I am registered to run my first one on May 3rd. Today was just a trial run to see if I could actually do it. I was going to follow a more gradual lead-up to the 13.1 mile mark, but I changed my mind for a few reasons:

Reason #1: I felt really good in the 6-7 mile range, and I just decided to see how far I could take it. By the time I got to 12.1 miles, I was already a third of a mile away from my starting point, so I decided I may as well finish it.

Reason #2: In the week since I registered for the Volcano half, I have done quite a bit of research on how to prepare for the race. All of the running websites and blogs say, "Never try anything new on race day!"; so why would I want to run 13.1 miles for the very first time *on* race day? #logic

Reason #3: Many running articles also talk about "hitting the wall" during a distance race, so I went searching for it. Again, why would I want to hit the wall for the very first time on race day? At first I wasn't sure that I had found it, but after looking at a graph of my pace, I think maybe it reared its ugly head right around mile 11, which would be where I had to do some stopping and going due of heavier street traffic, which caused my legs to start feeling a bit crampy -- which meant I had to slow my pace and shorten my stride to keep going. Here's the graph from my RunKeeper app:

I was able to keep a steady pace between 9:51 and 9:54 per mile for most of my run, but hitting the wall quickly pulled me back to a final average of 9:59, which is about what I expected. I would hope to better that in the race with some real carbo loading, but would definitely happy to hit this pace again. I finished this morning in a total time of 2:10:58, and I burned a total of 1824 calories, according to RunKeeper. This explains why I have been hungry all afternoon, despite my constant eating.

Now the plan is to back off a little on my once a week longer run distances, and keep working shorter runs during the week -- 6-7 mile runs on Tuesdays, and shorter / faster paced runs on Thursdays. I may even take a few days to rest about 2 weeks before the race -- that seemed to do well for me the first two weeks of March. My foot seems to be holding up fairly well considering the mileage I have put on the last two weeks (22.2 last week, 24.3 this week), but I think it could use a break in there somewhere.

Speaking of running through pain, one of my favorite running blogs that I stumbled across, Shut Up and Run (aka SUAR), just did a blog entry that says it better than I ever could. I don't know who she is, but I love her straight-forward writing style. Here's the article on running through pain: Running Hurts Like Hell, But Why?

The first SUAR blog post that I came across was one that really made me want to read more of her writing -- the honesty in this post is so refreshing! How To Not Crap Yourself On the Run. I'm happy to report no close calls in this department today.

And now I am really tired... no more running until Tuesday!


Sunday, March 22, 2015

"I don't have time!"

One thing I’ve learned in life is that we all manage to make time for the things that we consider to be priorities, and we make excuses for not doing the things we really don’t want to do. I do it, too. Often times when we say, “I just don’t have the time for that”, we are really saying, “I choose not to make that a priority, and would rather be doing something else”.

A couple weeks ago, as I was doing some stretching after going for a run, I overheard some parents at the karate dojo lamenting the fact that neither of them can find time to do any exercise. Never mind the fact that I had just knocked off a 6-mile run in the time they had been sitting there (complaining about everything that is wrong with the world).

Sometimes it just takes finding the right slot in your week to make exercise happen, and sometimes it takes eliminating other less important activities to make time. But regardless of when you fit it in, I pretty much guarantee you will need to stop making excuses. Stop saying, “I don’t have time for that”; and instead say, “I’m going to make time for that”. Otherwise, “I don’t have time for that” can really be translated to, “I don’t really care enough about my health to make exercise a priority”.

Do you watch TV in the evenings? Plant a treadmill in front of it and walk for half hour to an hour. Do you have a Wii? Get Wii Fit and do a “step” workout while you watch your TV shows. Do you have a sidewalk that runs in front of your house? Go see if you can find where it ends. Do you have a dog? Have Fido help find the end of the sidewalk. Prefer to pedal? Get on your bike and ride. Don’t have much time during the day to leave the house? Try a High Intensity Interval Training program. Hanging out at your kid’s sports practice? Go walk or run – you don’t really need to watch every minute of the practice.

Stop making excuses. Start making priorities. Send those extra pounds packing.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

10km before 10am

My new Saturday morning slogan is 10km before 10am.

Since my last update, I have decided that I don't need to start taking in more calories as a New Year's resolution, but actually need to stay vigilant for a while to try and burn off extra Holiday calories. I have also stepped up my running game, and am trying to run at least 6.2 miles (10km) per run, but really have been trying reach 7 miles when time allows.

On Saturday mornings, I have a full two hours to run while Noah does karate, so that is prime time to break the 7 mile barrier. My routine is to get up around 6am, drink two large cups of French press coffee with my Schwan's Sausage Egg Biscuit and banana. Noah and I are out the door by 8:00, and I hit the streets by 8:30. After a 5 minute warm up walk, I find my stride with the goal of running 10km before 10am.

My body has mostly tolerated the increased mileage, although burning 1000+ calories at one time can really wear you out. It has also caused a few flare-ups of tendinitis in the instep of my left foot, but the pain has been manageable, for the most part. Getting in a 6.5-7 mile run in on weekday afternoons is especially challenging, as my body is a little more worn out after a day of work, etc. -- it's still a good feeling to get a long run in then, but not quite as exhilarating as gettin' it done by 10am.

I have thought of registering for an actual 10k race sometime in the future, but I'm not really doing this for competition purposes. The only real race I've done was a 5k back in September 2011 -- I had just completed the Couch to 5k program, and weighed about 200-lbs. If I run a real 10k race, I will definitely have to work on my finish line pose...

If you are still looking for your own Glutton Free lifestyle habits, I recommend getting up early on Saturdays (or whatever your day off is), and getting a workout done by 10am. It's a nice feeling to accomplish something early in the day, and it gets it frees up the rest of the day for other things. Obviously you can't just start out running 10km at a time, but just adjust your motto to fit your workout routine. 5km before 10am? 1km before 10am? T25 before 10am? C25K before 10am? Whatever it is... get out there and move, and git-r-dun!