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Updated: 2018-03-05T19:09:39.356-06:00

 



Pivlock V90 Max, one word WOW!

2011-08-18T13:17:08.052-05:00

I wasn't planning on doing  a review of these glasses for this post, but these are AWESOME! I've run and ridden in Maui Jim's, Oakley's, Tifosi's, and other Smith's for that matter, and the Pivlock V90 Max has rapidly become my favorite.

I have never cycled or run in a frameless glass before, but I'm hooked. The field of vision and airflow are stellar. I sweat like a horse, and with the 60 days of 100 degree plus temperatures we've had here in Dallas this summer these glasses have been a blessing. The air flow keeps my sweat to a minimum, and out of my eyes. This has long been one of my pet peeves of running or riding in sunglasses. At the same time I can't go outside without shades for even the shortest time.

They weigh in at less than an ounce, and come with 3 lenses, the main lens, a reddish all purpose/lower light lens called Ignitor, and a clear. The case is impressive, but overly big in my opinion, as you can't carry it very easily on the bike or on a run to change lenses. Changing lenses the first time is a bit nerve racking, because it feels like the lens is going to crack, but it doesn't, and after the first few time it's very easy to change them. For you optical clarity snobs, I find these on par with its competitors. Oakley's, in my opinion win the clarity battle, but the V90 is right there. The rubber nose piece and ear socks keep the glass in place, and they don't bounce around when running, which I HATE! The V90 Max fits medium to large faces. I have a large face and these fit great. For smaller faces there is a Pivlock V90, which is essentially the same glass in a smaller version.

I do have a few cons on this product, first is you have to carry the bag as a portable case, because the case is too big and frameless glasses don't lend them selves well to being unprotected when not in use. Secondly, I sooooo wish these had an available polarized lens!! Lastly, they are a little hard to clean, due to the lack of a frame there's nothing to hold on to while cleaning the lens. It takes a little practice to hold the edges and clean. All in all though, there is little chance you'd get me to trade these glasses for something else when cycling or running. Totally top notch.

Smith's website is here, and they can be found on twitter here.




Food, food, food, and exercise!

2011-08-11T00:18:27.422-05:00

So, I used to be way over weight, I've been battling weight issues for most of my life, except for now. Why the big change now that I'm  in my 40's? Well, to paraphrase a now seemingly genius past president, it's about the food, stupid! Until this not so little point gets driven into your skull your body won't change too fast.

(image) You can do what I did for years, exercise like crazy and not change your eating habits and watch the scale and your clothes not change. You can not exercise, and not change your eating habits and buy new, bigger clothes a couple times a year. Or, you can change the way you eat and exercise a moderate amount and see drastic changes. The "Biggest Loser" type weight loss occurs when you you watch very carefully what goes into your body and exercise A LOT! 

Having become quite hooked on running and cycling I spend a great deal of time talking with people that understand the ratio listed in title of this post. Food is about 75% of the battle, exercise being about 25%. However, I'm a bit in the bubble, and I sometimes don't realize just how many people don't get this. So, if you've heard this over a hundred times you can fall asleep now, but if not read on. Here are a few tips that will make changes in your body with out too much pain:
  • More colors on your plate - Yes, this means fruits and vegetables, get over it!
  • Limit soda - Diet included. Water is what your body needs, diet soda is just plain nasty stuff.
  • Limit sugar - Sugar is terrible for you. Our obesity epidemic and the wide use of sugar coincide, coincidence? I don't think so!
  • Limit fried foods - Fried Snickers, seriously, c'mon!
  • Limit dairy - It's basically liquid beef, and as a protein source there are better choices
  • Shop on the outside walls of the store - If it comes in a box or can, it's processed. Processed means you can't pronounce ingredients, this is never good!
These just scratch the surface, but they will effect huge change in your body without deprivation. Diets don't work, it's got to be a permanent change. It's not that hard really, you just have to be consistent and committed. Can you still have chocolate cake, buffalo wings and beer? Yes, but every once in awhile, truth is as time passes, these foods don't taste as good as you remember. The only person that won't be happy about these changes is your doctor. Of course, you be seeing them near as much so does it really matter?

Eat right, play hard and enjoy life, for a long time!



Top 10 Holiday Presents for Runners

2010-12-17T12:38:29.229-06:00

To start let me be clear, these are totally biased, strictly unscientific, and completely my opinion. I get asked this a lot by my non-running friends: "What should I get for my (fill in running friend, spouse, co-worker here) who runs?" Excluding the gift certificate to a local running store (LRS), if it my pick these would be my choices, in descending price order:1. Garmin 410 GPS w/heart rate monitor. Yeah, I'm historically a Polar guy, but the improved bezel on this puppy is pretty sweet, add that to all the functionality of the 405, and I'm drooling a little. The price is a bit steep at $375, but a definite under the tree winner! You can see the product here, and you can follow them on twitter @garmin2. Newton Running Gravity. If you want to improve your form and lower your splits, you're barking up the right tree here. throw in the reduction of knee, back and hip injury and it's very hard to go wrong with shoes. Be forewarned, you have to do some work here too, it's not just the shoes. At $175 they are a bit more than a premium running shoe, but last considerably longer. You can see the product here, and you can follow them on twitter @sirisaac3. The North Face Windstopper Hybrid Full Zip. This Flight Series jacket fits true to size, and advertised, keeps the wind out. However, it's got venting in all the right spots to keep from over heating. Awesome when the mercury dips around freezing! At a $135 it's not a bank breaker. View it here, and follow them on twitter @thenorthface4. Native Endo Sun Glasses. I love these. You can run, ski, snowboard, bike, post activity chill out in them. Haven't failed me yet. They look great and work in a wide range of situations. I'm a fan of the Maple Tort, for $109 and a GREAT warranty these are a virtual no brainer! View them here, and follow them on twitter @nativeyewear5. Craft Zero Extreme Concept Base Layer. Seriously, before this top I pretty much thought base layer was base layer. This shirt is unbelievable. It works in a very wide range of temperatures. It can be worn alone or in combination with layers. In all cases it's near perfect at every temperature!! At $75 it's not cheap, but it's worth it; you can read a review by @ironbrandon here, which is spot on. View it here, and follow them on twitter @craftofsweden. 6. Brooks Vapor Dry 3D Stadium Pant. Again this pant gets my nod for versatility and a wide range of use. These can be worn in almost any temperature, and if you add a base layer pant,they can be worn in very cold weather. They also don't look bad in the dropping off the kids at school or as a lounger. For $60 you're getting an above average pant at an average price. View it here, and follow them on twitter @brooksrunning7. Mountain Hardwear Micro Chill Zip Tee. Why get this $55 fleece pullover instead of an Old Navy $9 model? Lots of reasons, loft, feel, pilling, durability, warmth, it's a constant companion on chilly days. View it here, and follow them on twitter @hardwear8. Amphipod RunLite 4 Hydration Belt. This is the only belt I've ever used that didn't bug me while running. Bottles are movable and removable, add ons are varied, one size fits most, and it comes with a pouch that holds a smart phone or like device. $45, view here.9. Runner's World subscription. Love it or hate, we all read it, and it's $12/year. View it here, and follow them on twitter @runnersworld10. Body Glide. The penultimate stocking stuffer for the runner. And if this was in order of value it'd be first! For the price of a movie, it makes going long much nicer. $10 for the big one. View it here, and follow them on twitter @bodyglideI hope this will help someone lower their panic level. Enjoy your holidays, and see you out there in some really sweet gear!![...]



Just the Half...

2010-12-15T15:34:56.157-06:00

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OK, I'll admit it, I've said it. When I'm wearing a marathonshirt people will ask if I ran it. My response, "Nope, just the half". The second it leaves my mouth I kick myself. Yes a half is less daunting than a full marathon, but it's still 13 miles. Seriously, that's pretty darn far, considering that it's a 15 or so minute car ride on the highway.

There was a time when running a 5K was a major accomplishment for me. I have to complete a full marathon, I haven't had the time for the increased training. My first half was done from the couch to a half in 10 weeks. That was not the best plan. It basically turned into a suffer fest for me. I learned a lot in that first half. Mainly that it is a major accomplishment, but with proper preparation a half is an attainable goal. So is the full for that matter. You just have to set a goal, find a plan (there are lots) and be consistent. If you want to get serious, you can reach out to a coach; it also helps to find some running partners. A local running specialty store can point you in all these directions.

I'll do my full this coming year, but "just the half" will always hold a special place in for me. It was my first running goal that truly tested me on a mental and physical level. Don't deny your self the credit for completing a half, don't let anyone else deny you of that either. If a full is your goal, the half is a great stepping stone. If a half is your goal, run it and enjoy it, after all it is "half the distance and twice the fun"!!!



Finding a great workout shirt is EZ!!

2010-05-12T23:40:36.166-05:00

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I don't often get worked up about a technical T-shirt. Like most of you active type folk have a few more tech tees than you need, but how many of them can you wear with jeans and not be "that guy"? Well the Brooks EZ T is the shirt for those of you that demand a top notch tech tee and just like the wicking properties for stuff other than your work outs.

Mine has rapidly risen through the ranks and is an overall favorite. The shirt wicks better than most, drys in record time and allows you to wear it in a non-fitness environment and not look like a dork. Lastly, the best feature is the softness. It doesn't feel as abrasive as most technical shirts. My nipples certainly can attest that this is true.

Most times in life it's the simple things that bring us the most happiness. This little piece of gear has been a pleasant surprise. I had no anticipation it would be my favorite running shirt. For something that you pretty much wear every time you go out it's nice to enjoy wearing it. I plan on culling out a couple of the nasty ones and replacing them. It's always nice to "Run Happy" to borrow a phrase.



Insanity has its benefits!

2010-05-10T21:34:58.955-05:00

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So seriously, as a parent there are multiple opportunities to be driven crazy by the kids we love dearly. That's because the moments of enjoyment kids provide far out weigh the moments of insanity. I wouldn't trade those moments for anything, neither would most parents.

Well, in an odd parallel, the Insanity workout I have embarked on with my wife is very much the same way. This work out requires shorts, a shirt, shoes and a desire to improve yourself. The workouts are about 40 or so minutes long, and most of the routines end up with me on the floor gasping for air in a puddle of sweat. However, those moments of less than an hour per day have provided me with a 9 pound weight loss and my clothes fitting very differently. All that in a whole 2 weeks.

I have gone from having "Ab" to truly being able to see "Abs" along with assorted ripples and bulges in places that haven't looked that way since college or some ever. The pain involved is short lived for the payout received, so Insanity definitely has it's benefits. Try it with me, you'll be sore, but not sorry!!



The Spring's The Thing!!

2010-04-22T21:44:26.586-05:00

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Running is very cool. It can certainly be addictive, as can other endurance pursuits. They make you feel good on lots of levels. Endorphins are God's little gift to those willing to sweat it out! The accomplishment makes you feel good. The exercise makes your pants fit better, your posture get better, and your head is just plain clearer.

Spring is a great time to re-invent yourself. I've chosen to reduce my running and do some more bike riding. I also want to add some mixed cardio and weight work. I've decided I'm gonna do the Insanity work as well as the 3 day Shakeology cleanse. I've kinda plateaued, so I think this is just the thing to get myself cranked be up again. Looking forward to it actually. For me exercise is about goal setting. Little ones, big ones, ones I know I'll need help to achieve. I used to spend a lot of my time doing fairly destructive behavior. Eating BADLY and doing ZERO exercise, but that all changed in November of 2008 when I signed up for my first half marathon. Can't do with out working out now.

Wanna join me in my "springing" into action? C'mon it'll be fun!



Some of my Favorite Running Things

2010-02-11T11:25:41.913-06:00

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I haven't blogged in a while. There are other demands these days, kids' school this, work stuff that, oh yeah and workout, your basic life minutia (love that word by the way, very fitting). So in talking to some fellow runners/bloggers they had talked about a favorite things blog so I'm flat stealing it. Thanks Lee and Isis, their blog can be found at The Running Couple
Let me start by saying running is a very personal experience and you may think that some of this stuff absolutely sucks, and that's OK. But I have found these things helpful in my running journey. Now that the Julie Andrews song has faded out your head a bit here goes. And these are in order of importance:

1. Body Glide. This stuff is a miracle in a looks like deodorant package. Nothing compares to what you get dollar for dollar from this 2oz container to anything else in running. Bloody nipples - gone! Embarrassing chaffing - gone! Hot spots on your feet - gone! I'm sure this stuff can't be good for you, but it sure works.

2. Brooks Ghost 2's. This is basically about what works on your feet properly. For me it's the Ghost 2. These shoes have made training an absolute pleasure.

3. iPod. Fill in your favorite MP3 player. For me it is about the music when I ran. I used to run without it, but now it seems like a virtual impossibility.

4. Tights. My wife busts my chops about liking running in tights, and yes it jeopardizes the man card, but I like it. Maybe it goes back to being a Batman fanatic as a youth, but Adam West wishes he had my legs!!

5. Amphipod Hydration Belt. I didn't really like running with something on my waist and I still don't like tying a long sleeve top around my waist, but this little baby provides instant hydration of my choice. It comes in very handy since I get fairly ill from both Gatorade and Powerade. This belt doesn't move around and is very versatile with regard to size flexibility and bottle configuration.

6. Heart Rate Monitor. I'm a Polar fan. I have used both, but like the Polar better. It seems more accurate to both distance and BPM (and yes I have worn them both simultaneously) An HRM to me is an invaluable tool to improving.

7. Clif Blocks. I was having all kinds of trouble with on the run nutrition until I tried these. 3 every 45 minutes. ACES!!

8. Advocare Post Recovery Shake. I'm lactose intolerant and chocolate milk shreds me. This product has been awesome in both reducing that, "I can eat the side boards off a manure truck" hunger I get after a longer run, and reducing the little aches and pains that are often attributed to a 10+ mile run.

That's it boys and girls. Remember your mileage may vary, figuratively and literally. Run Happy!!



Polar FT60, a Swiss Army Knife.

2010-01-14T22:07:26.127-06:00

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This is a review of the Polar FT60 heart rate monitor (HRM). I've been using the FT60 for about 4 months. Prior to using this HRM I was using a Garmin Forerunner 305, so I got the FT60 with the S1 foot pod to track my mileage. I was leery of the accuracy of the foot pod versus the GPS. This was quickly put to rest. My experience to this point is that the foot pod is actually more accurate and consistent than the GPS unit on the 305.

The FT60 is easy to use, once through the manual and the watch functions are pretty intuitive. The highlights of the FT60 are these:

1. Can be paired with the S1 foot pod or the G1 GPS unit from Polar.
2. Has a built in training program called STAR.
3. Doesn't look like you father's HRM

The fact that this HRM works with either foot pod or GPS is what makes it so versatile. This HRM can be used to for any outdoor fitness activity. Run a lot, get the foot pod. Bike a lotor are a triathlete, get the GPS.

The STAR program is built into the device is kinda cool. It assesses your current fitness level and after asking a few questions it builds a fitness program for you. Every Monday you get a summary of your previous week's workouts, and if you followed the STAR program, you get a trophy on the face of your device. I have yet to attain this, but it something to shoot for.

Some of you follow your own training schedules, but for those looking for a fitness program it is certainly a place to start.

As for asthetics, this watch is sweet. I have gotten numerous compliments on and I even had a non-fitness friend ask me where I got it on the "that's a great looking watch" factors alone. You can wear it working out, casually and even in dress situations.

In summation, as far as HRM's go if you are into all sorts of physical actvities, and don't really know what your want or need in a HRM, this is a great unit. You can just the HRM and then add either the foot pod or GPS later, or both. Can you get a device that provides more detailed or sport specific inforamtion, yup, but if you want a do it all and looks great doing it watch, you have to go a long to beat the FT60.



Endurance Sports Thrive on Social Media... Who'd a Thunk It?

2010-01-06T22:22:48.480-06:00

Maybe it's through the enjoyment of what some would call suffering that thickens the bond amongst those who are endurance athletes. It could be that smirk and knowing nod exchanged between the runner and cyclist both soaked to the skin from plying their craft in the rain when most are knee deep in beer and chicken wings watching football.

Can you blame our non-endurance friends for thinking we're nuts? Well, having been one of those folks not too terribly long ago the answer is short, no you can't. However, after you experienced "it" (fill in the blank with your reason)sitting inside on that same rainy day seems absolutely crazy!

Fear not fellow "loons" there are a lot of us, and they can be found pervasively on sites like Twitter and The Daily Mile, a link to both can be found to right of this post. They will take you directly to my not so handsome face. Click at your own risk. But, if you fancy yourself an endorphin junkie, or want to be and you really want to learn A TON about it in a short period of time then click away. You'll find plenty of support, help, motivation, tough love, sarcasm and even some really cool give aways! I haven't really run across anyone that wouldn't want you to meet or exceed your goals and not get hurt doing it.

There is a wealth of information available to you (most learned the hard way by some very intelligent people) I'll give you a bit of a head start on Twitter with some of my favorites:

@hellasound - He's listed first because this list concept is shall we say borrowed from his 110 people to follow in 2010 list, and because of his rockin' tunes

@coachprs - He was Chi running before it was cool (or called that) and loves to help all levels of folk have fun and train smart

@ironbrandon - He has a passion for endurance sport like few I've ever seen and would help anyone who asks accomplish their goals. His podcast is informative and fun

@alitherunner - She's a regular mom running, and I'm pretty sure we were siblings in a previous life

@bemadthen @krystheilen @ragdoll_inc - 3 girls from San Antonio that should have their own TV show. Very funny!

@shootruntri - She video blogs her runs even the ones in -10 degree days or nights. I think the girl is part polar bear

@kelownagurl - She's Canadian, but will converse with us Yanks anyway. Always there when you need her.

@shutterbitch - She could be the funniest person I've never met. Just started following her, and feel somehow deprived for not following sooner

@landicefitness - They are a treadmill manufacturer that is really doing a good job getting their arms around runners on a personal level and they give away cool stuff

@brooksrunning - They are really good at this social media thing. They are a large company that makes you feel like you're the only one wearing their shoes. Awesome!

There are loads more people out there willing to help, finding them is half the fun. It is great to be reminded daily how social running is, you don't have to do this yourself if you don't want to. We here waiting for you!!



What are Your Goals for the TEN?

2010-01-01T22:15:33.558-06:00

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Well, in running terms I am a newbie. I've been at the consistent running thing for about a year. When I started running I weighed about 270 pounds. I lost 45 pounds in 2009 through running and better eating habits. I went from the couch to running a half marathon. I now have completed 3 half marathons, and I have some big fitness goals for 2010:

1. Run a Half in less than 2:30
2. Duathlon
3. Sprint Triathlon
4. MS150
5. 5k in sub 30:00
6. Race my first 10k
7. Stay Healthy
8. First Full Marathon
9. Represent Brooks Running with enthusiasm

This is the time of year when people do this sort of thing, write your goals down. Your odds go up dramatically when you write down your goals. Don't let another go by before you commit to your goals, fitness or other wise. Time goes by too quickly. What are your goals?



A big few weeks!!

2009-11-18T22:29:57.457-06:00

Well, for me it was an exciting few weeks in my short running career. I was preparing for my second half marathon and was feeling extremely prepared to have an outstanding run. And I was accepted in the Brooks ID Member Program. Here’s what Brooks says about their ID Program: Brooks I.D. stands for Inspire Daily. These two simple words guide the principles of the program. Brooks I.D. is made up of over 2,000 members who are active in their running communities and share a passion for the Brooks brand. They are runners who are winners in their own right: Winning their age divisions, accomplishing their personal goals, pushing their own limits, and, by extension, encouraging others to do the same. They are coaches, mentors, and leaders. I applied for this on a whim. I certainly like to think this statement applies to me, however, I truly thought that a company like Brooks was looking for someone that performs at a more elite level. Seriously, I’m not even a threat in my age group… yet! That said I have been inspired by their choosing me to be a grass roots representative of the company. I have never been more passionate about a hobby, and being an ID Member makes me very proud to be a member of the running community. These folks stick together. Do you know why? Because weather your marathon time is 2:10 or 5:10, the road to get to the finish line is the same for an elite or running enthusiast. You can’t get there without doing some hard work. Thank you Brooks for choosing me, and if you’re reading this I ask that when shopping for your running please keep Brooks in mind. No other company is as concerned about the “regular” folks as them, and no other company is as environmentally conscious as them. I’m proof they listen to their end users on level where a 10 minute for 26.2 is still a great goal. Now for the inspiration, I started running consistently last December. I have lost 70 lbs, and have never felt better. Before you say, “I can’t do that” it just takes a few simple changes, consistency being chief among them. Just get started 30 minutes (that’s giving 1 bad sitcom 3 days a week) a week 3 times a week. You’ll see a difference. I promise. Now, back to that second half marathon, I felt really ready. I was going to hammer this run. My training went great, my food was spot on, my weight was down. I felt bullet proof. BUT… Texas weather is always fairly unpredictable, and my wife and I were enjoying the San Antonio sites in the warm south Texas sun. We were both really hoping that it would cool down for the run. It didn’t. That morning it was warm and humid. I had no idea how warm and humid, but it wasn’t going to be a banner day for a PR. I found out after the race the humidity was over 90% and temps were touching 80 degrees. I hit my first split dead on and was close on the second at 10k, but after that is was pretty much the death shuffle. Brutal. But running for me has become an analogy for life. Not every run is spectacular and not every endeavor in life is successful. But, if you keep at you will have success. Every failure leads one step closer to success. History is on my side. Almost nothing great was achieved by trying it once or even twice. Running is indeed more forgiving than life, and your mistakes can be erased in a matter of days not years. This bad half marathon will be a memory, probably after this weekend’s long run. I’m already looking forward to running another half, because I know I can do better and I expect better. And again much like life putting one foot in front of the other and inching my way closer to my goals makes me feel like a better person. So until the next starting line I’ll be a regular guy running. [...]



Muddy Buddy plus a Dozen

2009-11-04T20:09:57.252-06:00

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My wife and I ventured out into the pre-dawn cool that often pervades a Dallas October morning, with a bit of apprehension. We were on our way to Cedar Hill Park south of town for our first ever Muddy Buddy race. It seemed like a good idea when I signed us up for it, but now that the day was here it was kind of an after thought. We are also in the midst of training for a half marathon, and that has taken center stage in our athletic endeavors.

Only one day earlier we had run our longest scheduled training run of 12 miles. Both of us were feeling the effects of that. The training run was the important thing this weekend. We both had a real need to see where we were in our training for the half. The run went well, for the most part, and gave us both an indication that we were thankfully on track there.

Now that the 12 miler was out of the way the Muddy Buddy was going to be a have fun thing, with no expectation. Just before we pulled into the park we had passed a number of convenience stores and my made the suggestion of stopping for a bio break. Did I listen? That'd be no. Well, as we pulled into the park, then drove another 5 miles to the parking area, we were both ready for a porta-potty. Which by the way were about a 15 minute walk fro where we parked. NICE! So after the pit stop we headed to the start line which goes off in waves based on combined. The sun was just starting to peek out which would have made the weather perfect, then clouds rolled at light speed and kept it pretty cold during the event. Which was fine until the mud pit. The mud was COLD!! George Castanza type shrinkage!!

Being Muddy Buddy rookies we didn't dress in a silly costume. Not tragic, but I'd recommend it. Yes it's a race, but it's a fun thing more over. We wore older workout gear. Again, not a tragedy, but throw away clothes are better. See silly costume. I liked the Muddy Buddy, and I might do it again, but I could take or leave it. I'd rather do the 12 mile training run, just saying. However, if you are a thinking about doing one, here is my don't be a total rookie list:
  1. Enjoy the spirit of the event and wear a costume.
  2. You WILL get muddy!!
  3. Bring WARM water to rinse off with. (one gallon is not enough, 2 might work, but more is better, this per person)
  4. Be prepared to toss your clothes (you probably won't have to, but...)
  5. Be prepared to toss your shoes (you probably won't have to, but...)
  6. Take a bio break prior to event site entry
  7. Bring a trash bag to put clothes and shoes in
  8. OLD towels to dry off with
  9. Stronger runner start running first
  10. Stronger biker start biking first
  11. Old blanket to cover car floor/seat when changing, or be used as a curtain
  12. Take off any jewelry you don't want to lose, wedding band and engagement rings included
  13. The packet pick up requires both participants to be there
  14. Keep your mouth closed in the mud!!
That's it. Now you won't be a complete n00b!



Training With Purpose, or Shut Up and Listen to Jeff!

2009-10-17T10:17:10.622-05:00

Ok, so my wife and I are training for our second half marathon. This one will be a Rock and Roll race in San Antonio. Neither of us have ever done a Rock and Roll event, but I have heard good things. We're both pretty excited about it.

So after having done our first half in February and feeling seriously ill prepared in hind sight, I set out to find a new and improved training plan for this one. I looked at Jeff Galloway, Hal Higdon, FAST, Marathon for Mortals, Runner's World, Ryan Hall, well I think you get the idea. So, after much discussion we decided on a modified Galloway plan and we headed into the sun rise with our confidence high and our running shoes tied tight!! A few weeks in, however, I got the nagging feeling I've been here before and was getting that chill down my neck about being under prepared, which wasn't on my list things to do. Having trained from the couch to a half marathon in 10 weeks was no easy task. I did a lot of work. I also saw, in my opinion, very poor results. I finished in 3 hours, my expectation was about 2:30. It has bothered me since. Taking some of the accomplishment away from finishing.

Through a set of slightly unusual, but not crazy circumstances, a gentleman named Jeff Kline and I stumbled upon one another. Jeff is a endurance training coach, who I highly recommend. His website is here, Anyway, we started trading emails and the next thing ya know we had signed up for his beginner half marathon plan.

The mileage went up, the purpose of each run was spelled out, strength training was introduced and I saw ALMOST NO CHANGE in performance... for a month. Then it happened on a Sunday long run, I didn't feel particularly different. I didn't eat or drink anything special. No new shoes or gear or music, but I was running almost 2 minutes per mile faster and my heart rate was only a tiny bit higher. So after about a week of calling BS on Jeff's grand plan, I actually stood in the walk way to my front door after running 9.5 miles and not breathing hard, I said out loud to no one, "Jeff is actually right"

I walked inside and felt none of the prior tiredness and exhaustion of my previous long runs. It in short it felt great. For the first time since starting this round of training I actually thought I'd run a time close to my goal. I've got a month left to train and I'm really looking forward to training on purpose!!



Running ... again, FINALLY!

2009-05-14T22:31:19.128-05:00

It's taken a bit, but I have finally gotten back to it. After running the Cowtown Half I lost a BUNCH of motivation. I didn't have a good run on the day of the half. I did it, but after that, I can't claim much.

I have FINALLY started running regularly again. Two miles at first, slowly, but 2 miles. Then that feeling I'd been missing for months crept into my body. Gotta love endorphins! I'd missed that feeling. I'd forgotten how much.

This leads me to another point. Something I'd never dreamed I'd ever say. I am a runner. There I said it. Now, there are those of you that have known me for sometime that are catching your breath from the fit of laughter you have either just finished or are still in. It's OK. I understand. There are days when that guy wins. The Buffalo wing eating, beer drinking, couch potato guy wins. He just got done with a two month stint of winning. But, it's the running guy's turn.

Yeah there will be days when it's raining and I won't want to get up early and run before my kiddos wake up. But, there will be no more two month stretches of doing nothing. I miss it too much. I need to do it. My family needs me to. They like me better, I like me better. So, thankfully, I am once again a regular guy running!!



WHEW!!

2009-03-02T09:30:18.370-06:00

It was almost 90 degrees on Thursday, of course, that was 2 days before we ran the Cowtown half marathon. DFW weather is unpredictable, 90 degrees is far too hot to run any kind of run with a PR in mind.The weekend was supposed to be cooler, mid to high 50's, perfect! My first, half with absolutely perfect weather. I was a bit freaked out, it being my first one and all. My wife, Debbie was much calmer. We would be fine. Saturday morning 4am, I didn't sleep well, too nervous. I had been awake for 10 minutes before the alarm went off. I took the dog out and was met with a 30 degree morning and a 30 mph wind. Maybe, hot would have been better. We got our gear into the car and made the nearly hour trek to downtown Fort Worth. We met some friends and worked our way to the starting area. 17,000 runners had decided to brave the cold blustery morning to join us. The Star Spangled Banner was sung, the horn sounded and we were carried off in the wave of humanity that headed out of downtown. It was a total rush! I had not been a part of a run that big before. It was wild to look down a street normally bustling with cars into nothing but people running across all 4 lanes for about a half a mile. Very cool! We were off!! I felt really good! It was warm. This was going to be great. Well, the wind was at our back so I couldn't feel the cold, and I got a caught up in the adreniline of the start. As we settled into the rythm of the run I still felt awesome, but the cold and the wind were starting to creep into my bones a bit.By mile 5 everything felt like normal for a run of this length. My air was good, my legs felt fine, but I still hadn't warmed up like I thought I was going to. By mile 7 the conversation with my wife had gotten less frequent and the hills were getting longer and the wind seemed to be in my face more often. Debbie was starting to dust me on the hills. She was doing great. At the 10 water stop I drank a cup of red Powerade. My stomach turned to knots, and I couldn't get enough air. My running slowed way down, plodding, turned to walking. Every hill seemed like Mount Everest and every breeze Hurricane Katrina. For 2 miles this went on, 2 miles that seemed to take hours. At mile 11 I ate a banana, a real banana, not some gel block banana, not some sugar gooey stuff that tasted like banana, but a real banana. I started to feel a little better by 11.5 miles, and by mile 12, other than for the first time in my life I wished that I was 5'7" and 140 pounds, I started to run longer than walk again. FINALLY. Then, there it was as if out of no where the finish line, 3 hours later I crossed the line and felt relieved. Happy, but relieved. Debbie was waiting there, she would have done better had she not waited for me. I felt bad about that.Overall, I was disappointed in my performance. I know I should have not had any great expectations, but I feel like I didn't have a day anywhere near the one I had envisioned. Never the less, my first half marathon is under the bridge. I'm a little less sore today than yesterday, and I know a lot more than I did just a day ago. And I'm looking forward to our next half. Ya know there's this run in April...[...]



In Case You Were Wondering.... Being Sick SUCKS!!

2009-02-23T21:10:01.929-06:00

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OK, so taking a week off of running just before the half marathon you're supposed to run on February 28th is not the necessarily the best idea. On the other hand having the family shut down for a week with strep (especially Mom being totally out of commission) can put a kink in any training program.

I ran 4 miles today, my first run in week. And ya know what? I felt pretty dog gone good doing it. I was just cruising right along. In fact it was the best run I've had in two weeks. Which is always pleasing when you're over 40. Actually, any physical endeavor that leaves you feeling unaffected when you are over 40 flats out ROCKS!! Don't get me wrong I'm still fairly freaked out about running a half marathon this Saturday. Wait, did I just say this Saturday? So, maybe a touch more than fairly freaked, but I've run 11.5 miles so I think I'll be OK. My wife is ready, which for as sick as she was is kind of amazing. But, as I have said, she's in better shape than me, which is still annoying.

After this run is over three things are gonna happen: 1. I'm going to drink some beers for the first time since the Super Bowl. 2. I'm going to eat some really greasy, nasty bar food. 3. I'm going to ride my bike for a while. As for now I'm to going to just be a regular guy running. See you in the beer tent!!



OK, so I can do this, or 13.1 miles is REALLY far.

2009-02-10T11:30:01.267-06:00

On Saturday I ran as far as I ever have run for any reason, at anytime for anything. 10.65 miles to be exact. I have a longer run this Saturday. WOW! First, I never thought I could do any of this. Second, my last 3 runs have been TERRIBLE!! They hurt, a lot. But as most anyone who runs will tell you, base runs are like money in the bank. They are always there when you need them. And in 3 weeks I'll be using some of those savings!!

Fortunately for me, my wife has also decided to take this journey with me (she's in better shape than me, which is kind of annoying) and she talked me off the ledge during my last long run. I was done mentally. I couldn't do it, I wasn't ready, my feet hurt, the sun was in my eyes, you get the picture. She calmly reminded me to slow down, walk a bit, collect myself and start running again. Thank you for that, because it worked, although it still hurt, I finished the run.

For an inexperienced runner I believe a training partner(s) is essential. For experienced runners is certainly nothing less than beneficial. Accountability, motivation, and support all rolled into one handy package. The fact of the matter is 13.1 miles is far. And I need all the help I can get. I have never run a 5K in sub 30 minutes. What business do I have running a half marathon? Well, 10 weeks ago, NONE. But, now there has been progress made. I can go run 5 miles anytime right now. Unheard of for me 2 months ago. I can also eat like pretty much anything I want right now and not see it on the scale. I do, however, feel it when running. Bad food equals bad performance plain and simple. To believe otherwise is foolish. Athletes are made not only in their training, but in their kitchens as well. Gotta have both to see the drastic improvements. I've lost only 5 pounds during this escapade. I should have lost more, but my eating has been far from perfect. I'll take the 5 lbs!! Besides my clothes fit better.

So, if you are reading this, and you can't see your shoes (Shibes!) and you want to, just start moving. Motion is the potion. Be consistent, with at least 3 times a week of exercise. Get a training partner, and before you know you'll wonder what happened to the old you. Yeah you'll have bad days, they come and go, but in the end you'll feel better and in fact be better. Hey, if a balding (ok so I'm most of the way there), overweight, 40 something, white can do it so can you!!



Saving Money on the Run

2009-01-22T22:00:15.522-06:00

"These are the times that try men's souls" - Thomas Paine, The Crisis, 1776Well, Mr. Paine wrote this at the beginning of the American Revolution, a time that may or may not be looked back on as more turbulent than these, but certainly we've all felt, in some way, the effect of this country's economic woes. We are, as President Obama said, at the dawn of another new era for America. Which leads me to a more light hearted subject of how to save some money on the this addiction/hobby/fitness thing called running.Running is often referred to as one of the cheapest sports to enter into. You just need a decent pair of running shoes and away you go, right? Umm.., yes and no. You could certainly trot yourself of to Sports Authority or of its many competitors and grab yourself a pair of Nikes that are on sale and go out and jog a few. You'd probably be fine. However, if there are any aspirations of do more than that do yourself a favor and go to a reputable running specific store and find out which shoes is right for you. Here in Dallas we have two great ones. Luke's Locker and Run-On, their links are listed to the right. These stores also will allow you to run in your new shoes for a few miles to make sure they are right for you. This has been invaluable in my experience. Definitely worth the few extra dollars you spend at one these stores versus online. There is a ton of information on the Runner's World website pertaining to running style, but there are three basic types of foot mechanics, Overpronator, Neutral, Supinator, there are shoes for each of these types and more. They take into account your weight, your sex, your running conditions... and the list goes on. The important thing is though is to know which one you are. This is hard to do on your own, especially as a beginner. I have some favorites at these stores for foot type diagnosis. Luke's Dallas, would be Duncan, he's super passionate about getting it right and knows TONS of stuff, Luke's Plano, would be Patton or Marty, Run-On Richardson, would be Lear. These folks all want you in the right shoes, and will try on as many as it takes to get you there (I have tortured each one personally).Bare Essentials: Shoes - For obvious reasons (approx $100)Running specific shorts - Or face the wrath of the chaffing gods (approx $30)Shirt - Preferably one that is made of a wicking fabric like polyester (approx $25)Running Specific Socks - Or enjoy your shiny new blisters (approx $10)That's it. $165 for a new you. Damned cheap these days. You can't even learn how to buy real estate for no money down for that price!! From there you can spend as much as your little heart desires. There are a few things I would add to this list as needed, but not essential: Heart Rate Monitor (approx $100)The book Heart Rate Training by Sally Edwards (approx $15)Map My Run (free)Active Body (free)Now to the heart of the matter... Saving the dough!! Get a second pair of those $100 shoes. What, you say, I thought I was supposed to save money, and you will my young apprentice. If you get a second pair of shoes, preferably from a different manufacturer, it does two things. First, rotating between two pairs of shoes will extend the life to that of almost three pairs (you just saved a cool hundo). Second, being in two different shoes will avoid small (or potentially large) injuries, by not allowing your foot to land in the same "grooves" over and over, ala carpel tunnel. The body will adapt to each run in a fresher way.Wait. The end of the model year for shoes will provide major discounts. This has actually become easie[...]



Running can save your life in more ways than one!

2009-01-19T12:13:27.976-06:00

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I had planned on getting a little less emotional this week, however I read this story in the current issue of Runner's World magazine, and could not shake the power of this story.

So I'm not going to talk about how I'm a little freaked by the increase in mileage this week in my half-marathon training plan, which is only 40 days away!!

Instead I want to tell anyone willing to listen about this story. You see, the fact that it is running related is coincidental to the fact it deserves to heard by others. The young woman pictured here started an organization called Back On My Feet

This organization goes into homeless shelters and offers to take some homeless people for a run. They offer some running equipment in return for a commitment to a running program. Above that they offer other support programs after members have shown a commitment over time. The program intro from the BOMF website:

"
To solve any problem you have to get at its core. We have all been on rocky roads in life and some people have unfortunately found themselves on a road without a home. BOMF does not provide food for the homeless nor does it provide shelter. While those are very important basic needs that all human beings deserve, we provide a program that teaches people to believe in themselves because it doesn't matter if you have 20 homes or 0 homes; if you don't have confidence in yourself it's very difficult to move forward. We use running as a vehicle to show individuals they are capable accomplishing goals...but it's not going to happen overnight - it takes hard work, dedication and perseverance."

There are no guarantees in life we all could be a little kinder and helpful to one another. You never know when you'll be staring up from the bottom. In these uneasy economic times anyone can end up here for any number of reasons, but without people reaching out a hand like Anne the lost and forgotten would remain lost and forgotten. This is a fate very few human beings deserve.

I'll end with a quote from Anne's CNN Hero acceptance speech. Kinda makes you feel a bit like a jerk when over come with anger for getting cut off while driving or losing two space in a reservation list for dinner.

"It makes me wonder where we went wrong when treating others with respect, caring, and kindness is considered heroic." Anne Mahlum, CNN Hero acceptance speech. Which can be viewed here.

Next week a little more nuts and bolts of how a slightly fat, mostly bald forty something guys trains for a half-marathon!!





Why I Run...

2010-02-11T11:05:12.831-06:00

It is simple actually, both my parents died of diabetes, my mother at 68, my father at 75. My mother was taken quickly and overcome by her lack of activity. I watched my father's decline for years, the hero of my childhood, bound by his own habits to a walker, chair or bed. The words on his death bed still ring in my ears, "if I'd have known I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of myself" Now, I have two beautiful young girls 5 and 2, I cannot let myself say those words to them. I need them to see me sweat and enjoy this body God has given me. I have no aspirations to run an Olympic marathon, but every time I come in from a run or bike ride I hope I'm building a foundation for my family. I also hope to be able to advise them well into their lives, side by side, arm in arm, Dad to daughter for a very long time. That is why I run.This question is posed on Ryan & Sara Hall's website and without much thought at all the above answer was in my head. I thank them for this.Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. - Hebrews 12:1 [...]