All posts by runningdownadream23

My name is Brian. I started a journey of fitness and weight loss back in December 2009 and found a lot of other people doing the same thing including all the usual challenges. When I started I was 75 pounds over weight. Today I have dropped 45 pounds and feel much better. I know people struggle with what to do, how to do it and how to stay motivated when it comes to exercise, diet, fitness, etc, so I started this blog. I do not profess to be an expert on all things fitness and health related, but hopefully as you read you will get to know my sense of humor which is a bit corny at times and learn a little something or see something that will help you in some way. I didn't have any help except me. Now you have me too! Read on!

Vibram Five Fingers

Wow, January has flown by as we rocket into February, 2011! If you’ve been following me you know that I ran my first marathon at Walt Disney World on January 9th! It was so exciting! Now that I’m back from sunny Florida I thought I would devote a blog post to a “new” running craze that’s sweeping the nation, Barefoot Running.

If you are a walker or runner you may have heard about a book called “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall. I got a copy for Christmas and read it cover to cover immediately. The book has been touted to have started the recent craze in barefoot running & walking. The book is excellent and I would recommend it to anyone regardless of their activity level. The writing is great and the story which revolves around a lot of good information is superb. Have I said enough? It’s a good book.

Anyway, in the book a runner named “Barefoot Ted” mentions a type of “shoe” he wears for a little extra protection when he is on terrain where he might run into glass, extreme heat or other hazards. He normally runs without any shoes at all.  The “shoes” are called Vibram Five Fingers or VFFs for short.

Not mine, but these are exactly what I bought.

I did my research after reading “Born to Run” and the information/data I found makes sense to me. Of course, I majored in Movement & Sport Science back in college so I can read the ever so exciting research articles and make an informed opinion a bit better than the average person who isn’t used to the science lingo. I don’t work in the Exercise Science Industry now, but the knowledge is still there. I call it “My Hobby Degree”!

Basically, modern day running/walking shoes do a great job of supporting our feet with stability control, extra cushion, etc. Modern day shoes do this so well that the numerous muscles in our feet as well as the tendons and ligaments don’t have to work as hard as our cro-mangnon cousins’ and therefore become weaker since we aren’t using them or using them much less. Use it or lose it, right?

Backing this up is the fact that since the 1960s-70s when athletic shoes started showing up on the scene (Thank you Phil Knight & Coach Bowerman!) you would expect a decrease in the number of running injuries that plague our activities….nope! Zero decrease in running injuries with the modern day running shoe and its plethora of advances across its 30-40 year history. And here’s a kick in the head for you! There is a direct or positive correlation between the cost of a shoe and the occurrence of injury.  That’s right folks…the expensive ones are related to an increase in injuries. This makes sense since the more support the weaker your feet become.

Now, do NOT take my word for it. Go read, research, find your own research articles and build your own opinion. Feel free to look all this up, but at the root is the fact that modern running shoes allow us to heel strike more which not only slows us down, but also delivers a heck of an impact to our ankles, knees, hips and everything else while contributing to many an injury. Chances are if you are a runner then you will have some sort of running related injury in the next 12 months assuming a regular training schedule the most common being overuse injuries like ITBS. (See my earlier posts on my ITBS issues)

Soooo, am I going to throw away my $100 pair of Saucony’s? Absolutely NOT! I bought a pair of VFFs and I am using them as a training tool the same as I would a dumbbell, spin class, tempo run, or heavy bag. Each week as a part of my normal marathon training program I walk, jog and run in my VFFs to help strengthen my lower legs and concentrate on correcting my running form. With my minimal VFF use to date I find that I can’t heal strike comfortably in them…I have to “run right” or run the way I am made to run which is with a forefoot or midfoot strike.

My suggestion is to keep an open mind, check it all out for yourself and if you decide, buy a pair of VFFs and try them out as a part of your regular training plan following all the recommendations that go along with the product first of which is start slooooow and taper from there. 🙂  Personally, I ran a half mile in my VFFs last week and have walked for 20 minutes on a treadmill in them. I’m slowly building up my endurance and lower leg strength. I even wear them to work sometimes (an option not everyone has, but I do)

I plan on running a 5K this summer in my VFFs and I’m excited to see how they feel!

Happy Training!


2011 Walt Disney World Marathon

If I were a book author then this would be the final chapter of the first book in a series. As most of you know, for the past year I have been training for my first marathon which I ran on Sunday, January 9th 2011 at Walt Disney World. In those 12 months I was focused on my singular goal of running 26.2 miles while at the same time becoming healthier. In the picture below you’ll see how I looked a year ago. I’m on the right. As you can see from my aerodynamic haircut I was born to run, but hadn’t realized it yet! 🙂

That’s me on the right weighing in at 232 pounds.

I must say that I didn’t like this picture at the time it was taken, but it now has a place of honor on my refrigerator door! It’s my reminder if I ever ask myself why I’m up at 4:00am to go to the gym during the week or why I’m about to spend the better part of my Saturday running 20 miles. Now, all of that is in the past. Across the last year I lost 50 pounds training for Disney.

All this preparation led me to Marathon Sunday! I had signed up to run with the WDW Radio Running Team which supports the Make a Wish Foundation. The team was fantastic and it was an honor and privilege to run with such an excellent group of people. I must say that if you ever run the Disney marathon or half-marathon then look these folks up and join the team! They do great things and I’m sure they will continue to do great things for Make a Wish. I’d like to send out a personal “Thank You!” to Deanna and Steve on the team as I ran several miles with them before stopping for a photo at the castle in the Magic Kingdom. It was so much fun to run with two other people and the miles just zipped by running with new friends! Of course, a strong support team is also needed so another big “Thank You!” goes out to Mary Jo “Mo Jo” Collins who made sure everyone on the team knew where they were going each day, gave wake up calls/texts, and even called runners during the race for an on the run pep talk if needed! I’m sure Mo Jo didn’t sleep for the entire weekend as she operated the WDW Radio Running Team’s Central Command for the entire weekend! Thank You to the rest of the Running Team as well.  It was fun meeting everyone at EPCOT after the race.

One final “Thank You!” goes to my girlfriend, Kate, as she put up with my training schedule the last half of the year including suffering my training diet and sleep schedule, accompanied me to the race, schlepped from the cozy Hilton Grand Vacation suite to the Disney Value Resort prior to race day and spent 5.5 hours standing in three places waiting to see me along the course during the marathon. Thank you baby! I love you so much!

Now, back to the marathon! The long awaited morning arrived and I had prepared the night before as I always do before a race by pinning my bib to my shirt ahead of time…of course I took a picture and it was the first of many.

My Marathon Bib & WDW Radio Running Team ShirtI didn’t think I’d get my lucky number when I registered for the marathon, but low and behold good ol’ 16,450 came rolling out! (sarcasm!) I had my WDW Radio Running Team shirt and I was ready to go! I went to sleep at 8:00pm Saturday night since I had to wake at 2:30am in order to be on the bus to the start line at EPCOT shortly after 3:00am. I had my usual pre-race breakfast of Fiber One Cereal (Carmel Clusters) and added a banana for good measure. I also drank a bit of Gatorade on my way to the bus.

WDW Radio Running Team before the Marathon!

When Kate and I arrived at the EPCOT parking lot we both grabbed a cup of coffee and met the rest of the WDW Radio Running Team for a picture.

Walking to the Start Line of the Disney Marathon
Walking to the Start Line of the Disney Marathon

Afterwards we all started our 20 minute walk from the parking lot to the Start Line! It was a chilly walk (low 40s and dropping) to the start and we arrived about 45 minutes before the race began. I was in Corral H so I was in the last wave of runners to start. The race started at 5:30am and I crossed the start line a little after 6:00am.

Marathon Start Fireworks
Marathon Start Fireworks (5:30am)

The fireworks went off for the first Corral and my group watched for the next 25 minutes as each group walked up to the start line for their own fireworks laden send off and a salute from Mickey & Minnie in full running gear! Disney definitely knows how to send you off in style! I was able to see the other seven fireworks displays before my own started me on my way!

The first few miles went by in a flash as we ran through EPCOT. The race’s ending takes runners through the World Showcase, but I wouldn’t see that area again for another 5 hours. Still I stopped to snap a couple pictures of Spaceship Earth.

Spaceship Earth on the Run
1st stop, Epcot!

It was amazing running through all four of the parks! I’m a fan of Disney AND an ex-Cast Member too, but this was over the top even for me!

The Epcot Holiday Tree at the entrance to the World Showcase

I had to stop for a quick snap shot of the Holiday Tree. All the parks were still decorated for the December holiday season which was nice since I usually don’t get down to Disney this time of year.

The next thing I know I was leaving Epcot and passing the 4-mile marker where my girlfriend, Kate, was waiting for me with a small group of spectators. She had made friends with three other individuals and they stayed to cheer for each of their four runners before moving on to the next viewing spot on the course! It was great to see her and I felt energized as I took off for miles #5 & 6!

I was amazed at how quickly the miles started flying by at that point!

The clock time is for the beginning of the race, not my race time.
Three more miles down! 17.2 miles to go!

By now I was approaching the TTC. That’s the “Ticket and Transportation Center” for you non-Disney folk.  😉 I had run the Disney Halloween 5K back in October so I recognized this part of the course and knew that I was not far from the the Magic Kingdom (MK). I had finally found Steve and Deanna at this point so we were really putting away the mileage. I text Kate who was waiting in front of Cinderella’s Castle to see me to tell her that I’d be there soon!

Deanna had already passed the camera. This is Steve & I running thru MK!

At the castle I left Deanna and Steve. I wanted to get a picture in front of it and how often do you get the chance for a picture sans crowds at the Magic Kingdom?!?!? I ran over, gave Kate a kiss and was back on my way. Next stop, Frontierland!

Splash Mountain in Frontierland!

The castle was at about 10.5 miles and there were no more stops for me to see friends and family for the remainder of the race. The best part though is that I felt great! I took a little extra time for pictures getting out of MK and continued on my way.  I was impressed at the entertainment Disney put on whether it be live music, a DJ, characters or other ways to distract runners from the mileage ahead.

Crossing the Train Tracks at MK I ran into a Cast Member most people don’t get to photograph!
Entertainment came in many forms to keep runners’ minds off the mileage.

At last I was at the half-way point! I ran 4 half-marathon in 2010 so when I reached this point I was happy that I was feeling good and was in no pain.  I was dialed in and enjoying the run!

A little past this marker was the half-way point. I’m surprised I didn’t take a picture!

Again, the miles started to fly by after passing the half-way marker. Still, I took the time to stop for the occasional photo opp!

The Tree of Life!
Expedition Everest!

Running through The Animal Kingdom reminded me of the Inaugural Wine and Dine Half-Marathon I ran in October, 2010.  The route here was similar though it was day time for this race rather than night time like in October. Much better photos this time around!

20 Miles! The farthest I’d ever ran in training…oh boy….

During my training for the Disney Marathon I had ran 20 miles a couple times as the schedule had dictated. Now that I was at this point again I wondered what another 6.2 miles (the equivalent of a 10K!) was going to feel like.  I trudged on and continued drawing energy from incoming texts from friends and Kate as well as reading comments on Facebook from the photos I had posted while on the run. It was like I was running with a group of people the entire time and it felt great to have the support behind me!

I was slowing down, but feeling good at this point. Just 4.2 miles to go!

At 22 miles I was hurting a bit though I was still smiling! Kate had arrived at the Finish Line way ahead of time and was texting me.  With only 4.2 miles left I knew it was no problem to finish so I just kept at it and soon I was running through MGM Studios (oops, I mean Disney Hollywood Studios). 🙂

Running the course of the Backlot Tour was fun!

A portion of the race course for MGM was running through the Backlot Tour Attraction. This was awesome as we ran past the original Disney Airline Plane, a few Japanese Zeros from Pearl Harbor and through the Costuming building. I was happy we avoided Disaster Canyon though! If you’ve ridden this attraction then you know what I mean!  🙂

3.2 miles to go!
Just past Mile 23 were tables of chocolate bars being handed out by volunteers!

Mile 23 came and went, but Disney had one more surprise for runners heading into the last 3 miles.  After I passed the marker I came across tables full of mini-chocolate bars!  A great tasting energy source to help get me through to the end!

The last few miles were good as I pushed forward to the final park run-through in EPCOT!  The run from MGM to EPCOT was great as it followed the path along the waterway with great views of the hotels.

The Swan & Dolphin Hotel
So close! 1.2 miles to go! 

Once I reached mile marker 25 I felt great!  I was as little as 12-14 minutes from the finish line for the last 1.2 miles! The course took us around the World Showcase countries. I got to see Lou Mongello and the rest of the WDW Radio Running Team supporters as I ran into the UK Pavilion. It was great to see a group of familiar faces cheering for me before that last mile plus push to the finish!

Being such a Disney fan I have walked around the World Showcase dozens of time…so many times that I knew it wasn’t much further after leaving EPCOT and heading toward the EPCOT parking lot before I would see my final mile marker!

The final mile marker! 0.2 miles until the finish line!

Seeing the final mile marker was bitter sweet for me.  I was happy to accomplish my goal and see all the hard work from the last year pay off. However, there was that little part of me that was having so much fun that I didn’t want it to end. Of course, then I thought of Kate waiting for me at the finish line AND all the fun I was going to have in the parks that evening which spurred me on to the finish line!

Kate snapped this picture just before I crossed the finish line. She was just a few feet away!

At last I approached the finish line and saw Kate just a few feet away.  She was right there for a great photo finish!

My finishers medal!

Shortly after crossing the finish line a volunteer awarded me my finishers medal. It now rests in a place of honor with my other medals.  It is the largest one I have, my only full-marathon medal (so far) and I will always cherish it as my first 26.2 mile adventure!

Of course, a 26.2 mile race is cause for a celebration if there ever was one so Kate and went back to the hotel, cleaned up from the day, took a nap and headed back to EPCOT for fun, food, and refreshments. Our first stop was the Mexico Pavilion where I enjoyed a cerveza and churros!

Churros & Dos Equis!

After a couple weeks of rest from running (still working out though) I am getting ready to start training for my next race (a half-marathon) which will take place in Kansas in April. I get to run this one with a good friend of mine so I am excited to travel to see friends and run a race with them!


Not training as intensely as I have for the past year is probably the most excruciating thing I have experienced to date. When you train regularly you have a lot of energy! Now it’s taper time as my 1st marathon at Walt Disney World is just a couple weeks away.  And yes, I’m full of energy!!!  It’s time to cut the training down a bit though. It’s all about resting more and waiting. The upside is that all those little aches & pains that come from running a lot of mileage are starting to go away with the increased cross training and lower weekly mileage.

I had a plan of dropping 10 extra pounds before the marathon. I’m half way there! At 185lbs I’m feeling good. Having maintained that weight thru Christmas dinner at mom & dad’s house as well as surviving all the treats my GF makes thru the holidays I am even more excited to still be on track!

This week I only have one 45 minute run though I’m hitting the elliptical three other days for a good calorie burn and non-impact cross training. I’ll do a 7 miler on Sunday at slightly slower than race pace.

The week before I head South to see Mickey, I will have a couple 30 minute easy runs and then it’s time to wait the last few days until January 9th and my first 26.2 mile magical adventure! In the mean time I’m prepping with a Gear Checklist!

The Gear List:

  • Running Shoes & Socks!
  • Waiver and Bib Document for the Disney Marathon
  • Cold Gear tights
  • Cold Gear shirt
  • Running Shorts
  • WDW Radio Running Team Shirt
  • Knee brace (better safe…)
  • Running belt for GU
  • Body Glide
  • NSAIDs (for a few hours after)
  • GU (Carrying 8 to cover 5 hours)
  • EAS protein (for immediately after the race)

Optional Gear to Prepare for potential Weather during the Race

  • Sun Screen
  • Flippers
  • Snow Shoes
  • Snorkel & Mask
  • Parka
  • Snake Bite Kit
  • Scarf
  • Boogie Board
  • Skis
  • Poncho
  • Ice Melt
  • Umbrella Hat
  • Life Preserver

Whatever you’re training for have fun and I’ll be writing about my 26.2 mile magical adventure soon enough!

Happy Training!

Numbers Don’t Lie.

I love food.  A great burger. An awesome cup of coffee. A sweet dessert. A hearty chili. A good dark beer. A succulent filet. A fine fillet o’ fish.  Anyone hungry now? All can find their way into my diet and in moderation can really be enjoyed!  I used to reach for a Snickers, Kit Kat or Hershey’s if I had a sweet tooth craving. Now I reach for 1-2 squares of the darkest chocolate I can find. It takes a lot of discipline not to pig out one day a week until I started keeping a food diary for a while. It’s on the desktop of my work laptop so it’s always staring me in the face. Not only did I keep a food diary, but I kept it on an excel spread sheet broken down by meals and snacks.  So I guess it’s more of a calorie diary than a food diary. Remember, I was 65-75 pounds over weight at the beginning. From writing everything down, I found out that numbers don’t lie.

If the numbers don't add up I don't lose weight
I can tell about how many calories I’ve taken in as well as the work I’ve put in and the pounds I’ve lost at a glance.

Obviously, I needed a change and I made those changes. As of today I am quickly approaching 180 lbs which is a far cry from the 245 lbs at which I started! One of the amazing things I found after starting this food diary was the effects of one meal on my week. Numbers don’t lie. If the little dial on the scales didn’t go down then I could look back at my spreadsheet and know why. I recorded calories burned as well so I really got into it. After a while I even started changing the font color to red for high calorie meals.  This was a visual indicator of what stopped me from being successful in my goal that week.  Now if you’ve read my other posts you know that I plan for holidays and enjoy the foods that go along with them.  I used to work for the Walt Disney Company so I know all about indulgence!  🙂  But aside from the 10-12 weeks a year when it’s okay (for me) to splurge I try to keep on track with a fairly controlled diet which includes all sorts of foods…foods that support my current training goals whether it be for a marathon, dropping 5 pounds, maintaining my current weight, gaining muscle, etc. I found that if I had a meal that was 800 calories for lunch and I burned 500 calories in exercise then a lot of time I was just going to the gym so I could have french fries that day. Totally not worth it for me since the numbers didn’t add up. Why? Because numbers don’t lie. Eventually I had to discipline myself to change my behavior and my perspective on what constituted a meal. I was way out of whack on my perspective of what size a “meal” should be. Did I need an 800-1000 calorie lunch? No, I didn’t. Did I have to have a salad every day? No, I didn’t. I just needed to make different choice and explore my food options a bit more. Recently I hit a weight plateau so I went back to my calorie diary and started keeping track again.  Sure enough, it took me a couple weeks, but the pounds started to come off again.  Bam, down another 5 pounds.  Numbers don’t lie. So the moral of the story is know what you’re eating, how much you’re eating and the consequences of it all. I found there is a fine line between indulgence & gluttony. If you’re not sure where that line is just look at the numbers because numbers don’t lie. Happy Training & Happy Holidays!

Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Run!

Hello race fans! Saturday morning was a balmy 39 degrees here in Indianapolis as several hundred people all showed up at the same place to run a 5K known as the Jingle Bell Run!  This event supports the Arthritis Foundation.

My gf and I headed downtown to Conseco Fieldhouse where the event would start and finish.  My gf was the Volunteer Coordinator for this year’s run/walk so we arrived at 6:00am to start getting the volunteers checked-in and sent to their assignments. I was in charge of volunteer t-shirts and lanyards and pretty much at my gf’s beck & call for a few hours.  It was a good time helping get this awesome event underway!

My girlfriend and I at the Volunteer Coordinator table. She was easy to spot with that Christmas tree on her head!

With a 9:00am start, I ventured to the start line around 8:50am.  If you read my blog regularly then you know I ran The Drumstick Dash with a buddy of mine on Thanksgiving and did great!  So for this race I lined up with the 9-min/mile pace peeps and even stepped to the front of the group.  It was chilly, but with Under Armour and gloves it was no big deal. It felt really good being an entire corral closer to the start line than “normal” too! It’s amazing what becomes normal since almost 12 months ago to the day I couldn’t run a single mile and started at a 12 minute/mile pace when I did run.

I flipped on my iPod to a little “Flo Rida: The Club Can’t Handle Me” as the race started.  The first bit of the race was grueling as the wind picked up and the chill crept into everything.  After I rounded the corner off Pennsylvania Street the wind was gone and things improved.  The cold air was a challenge as it always is for me but I felt good as I finished Mile #1.  Mile #2 whipped past in no time and the next thing you know I was crossing Penn again to head toward Monument Circle.  After a quick three blocks or so I was rounding another corner onto Pennsylvania again and could see the finish line.

About that time “How Far We’ve Come” by Matchbox 20 kicked on the headphones and I took off.  I could see the clock had just crossed the 27 minute mark and I really wanted to beat 28 minutes.  As I approached the finish I realized I could potentially beat 00:27:30 so it was a race the last few feet to cross the line before the big three-zero went by.

I always forget about those few seconds between the official clock start and individual time based on crossing the start line.  Official Time ended up being 00:27:04.8 which was good for a new 5K PR! I beat my last 5K time by 2 minutes and 39 seconds.

Next stop, The Disney World Marathon January 9th!

Happy Training!

Almost Taper Time!

I just completed several days of rest over the weekend and I’m looking forward to my final looong long run for my marathon training program coming up this Saturday.  It’s a 20+ miler.  My actual program is for a 26 mile run, but I’ll be happy with anything equal to or over 20 miles.  I’m just going to see how I feel when I get into the upper teens. That morning is also a 5K Jingle Bell Run in Downtown Indianaplois so my long run will be broken up a bit as I first complete my final race of the year and then head over to the gym to finish up later in the day.

I have been struggling these past few weeks to get my training in as I’ve suffered from the common cold, a sore right knee, a sore left glute, finishing up two graduate classes, studied for the GRE to complete my graduate school application, took the GRE exam last Monday, also trying to write two final papers of double digit length (12 pages & 30 pages) all the while attending multiple Thanksgivings (3) and still fitting in “Date Night” so as not to end up sleeping on the couch!  😉

Priorities priorities!  Or balance as my gf would say! Regardless, I am very much ready for the tapering in training that will begin after this weekend! I leave for Florida and the marathon venue (aka DISNEY!) four weeks from today and I couldn’t be happier about it!

After Disney I will have earned some time off from the daily running.  I’ll still keep a bit of running mileage after I recover from my 26.2 mile magical adventure, but cross-training & weight loss will definitely be my prime focus for a while.

My trainer has already told me I have to go to Spin Class with her!  Spinning will be a welcome change I’m sure!  If I don’t fall off the bike…..

Happy Training!

Training during the “Cold Season”

Yes, it’s cold outside here in Indiana as we move into December, but that kind of cold is not what I’m talking about. Over Thanksgiving I was able to spend time with friends and family which means being around a lot of little ones, lilliputians…aka, kids. Ahhhh, they can be so cute in their little holiday sweaters. That is until they sneeze on you.  That was not the case for me though, no! I was the victim of a rhino-viral terrorist attack.  You see the kids LOOKED healthy but hid a dark secret within. As I spoon fed pumpkin pie & chocolatey cake goodness to my GF’s niece & nephew I took a couple bites myself and that is where I made my mistake. Way back in the day I worked fast food and I remember something about transferring germs or something…lesson lost.

So the Saturday after “The Attack” I started to have a little bit of a sore throat. My GF who is way smarter than me let me in on the whole rhino-virus formula of 3 days in, 5 days to stay, 3 days out. So Saturday was Day 2 of the arrival. Lesson RE-learned!

This is a good time to let you in on a secret.  I had childhood asthma. As a matter of fact, as an infant I spent a lot of time in an oxygen tent. This may explain why I’m not a fan of camping to this day. Growing up on a farm my parents barely let me outside as a small child during the harvest season due to the extra amount of crop dust in the air. The asthma contributed to a recurring theme of upper respiratory infections including but not limited to bronchitis on an annual basis until I was well into my teenage years. It was rough, but I survived to run four half-marathons this year. 🙂

So why mention all that? Well, I am very sensitive to any type of upper respiratory issue including the common cold so I tend to take a proactive approach (Big Surprise There!) when I feel a cold coming to visit and that day Mr. Rhino-virus was knocking at my door.

My Plan of Attack when I feel under the weather:

  1. Sleep (9 hours/night if possible, but an extra 90 minutes at least)
  2. OJ (Vitamin C) – Morning, after work and before bed.
  3. Yogurt (Helps the immune system) 1-2 servings/day
  4. … training or limited training. I know, I know….horrible to say, right?
  5. Finally, I take Zicam or a generic version of Zicam if it’s a common cold getting me down. Your decision though!

Why no/less training with an illness? Ever had a cold that lasted weeks or seemed to last for weeks? I’ve had that and it’s horrible! A single bout of exercise does effect the immune system.  Immune response drops or is less after a single bout of exercise. Now if you are a regular exerciser  your immune system most likely is stronger than Joe Couch Potato, but the dip in your immune system that you get from a good run may just be enough for that rhino-virus to stick around longer than me at a buffet last year…too long!

During the onset of a cold may be the perfect time for you to get a little extra rest and come back recharged after your exercise hardened superior immune system sends out the hunter-killer drones for ol’ Mr. Rhino.

Happy Training & wash your hands!  🙂

I Feel the Need…The Need for Speed!

I am a fan of The Biggest Loser.  I watch that show every week that it’s on and find it inspiring.  Those people put in a lot of effort and get amazing results.  Now I realize that if I had two professional trainers, a full medical staff including physical therapists and athletic trainers at my disposal while doing nothing but training 5-6 hours a day 7 days a week I could get some amazing results too.  But I’m not writing to minimize what those contestants go thru. They are all amazing and inspirational to a lot of people around the country including me.

What amazes me about The Biggest Loser is the contestants that make it into the finals and run the full marathon before the finale.  They’ve been training for several months by that point, but have not really been training for a marathon.  Add in that many of them are still obese and I am once again amazed and inspired.

So what does The Biggest Loser have to do with “A Need for Speed”?  I remembered one contestant last season, Daris, who not only finished the full marathon, but crushed the time record for the show by running the 26.2 miles in 4 hours & 2 minutes. Seriously!?!? I ran my 20.75 miles in 3 hours & 52 minutes.  So Daris is obviously faster than me. This got me thinking a lot about speed.  I’ve read in articles that running for more than 4 hours is something you don’t want to do on a regular basis.  I know I know….people DO do this all the time, but rest & recovery between sessions is a huge priority for them I’m sure.

My trainer has also been on me about speed work and I’m beginning to see why.  Yes Tatum, sometimes I need you to draw me a picture!  🙂 Suddenly I flash back to high school and all those skinny people wearing their clever track shirts that say, “The faster you run, The quicker you’re done.”  It’s a completely true albeit obvious statement that leads me to the point that I need to cover more ground in less time or speed my butt up! I currently run a 10 minute mile comfortably and my half marathon race pace has been closer to averaging 09:45/mile. The Drumstick Dash taught me that I am capable of a faster pace so now I just need to increase my longevity at that speed.

So if you read my post on “Refocusing” then you’ll recall my running schedule of Monday, Wednesday, Saturday. As a part of this plan Jeff Galloway recommends running during the week at a pace 30 seconds faster than race pace to get out of your comfort zone so for me a pace of 09:20 to 9:30 would be about right for the two 45 minute runs on Monday & Wednesday.  Obviously as this pace becomes more comfortable then I will push the speed up a little. The fastest I’ve ever ran one mile back in college was 8 minutes and I weighed 175 pounds at the time or 15-20 pounds lighter than I do now.

So besides getting into the gym all 7 days a week (or just working out all 7 days) I am also adding in some mile repeats on Saturdays when I’m not doing a super long run & possibly some sprints during the week. Jeff Galloway suggests 1 mile repeats with a 5 minute walk rest between to recover before going again. Remember this plan is for 1st time marathoners not seasoned veterans so there is more recovery.

The pace I’ll run for the single mile will push an 08:50 min/mile pace.  This of course will help my 45 minute runs feel easier and I’ll push faster which will help me push the Saturday repeats faster as well as improve my overall long run time.  Each workout supports the next one and the recovery time between workouts supports them all.

I write all the time about having a “complete & balanced” program.  Everything supports everything else! Nutrition supports recovery and the workouts.  One workout supports another and everything prepares you for the big day when you pin on a race bib. For me, that’s January 9th!

Happy Training!

The Drumstick Dash

Happy Thanksgiving! (For Yesterday)

Thanksgiving morning I ventured out for a 4.5 mile race/fun run with a buddy of mine before scooting up to the dinner table for an awesome turkey dinner prepared by my girlfriend and her sister. BTW, these women can cook and this fact is NOT helping my efforts. Luckily my GF is very supportive of my running habit!

The annual Drumstick Dash takes place in Broad Ripple, Indiana and is a great event that benefits The Wheeler Mission Ministries. Every year, Wheeler provides more than 226,000 nutritious meals to hungry men, women and children.

A little History about “Chasing the Drumstick”:

1,300 people signed up the first year
2,000 the second year…
2,500 the third year …
3,700 the fourth year…
5,010 for the fifth year …
7,022 for the sixth year…
9,250 for the seventh year…

This year…drum role…11,300 pre-registered and believe me they all were there!

Pre-race meal: Cereal, juice and a Gu Pack (why not)

Weather: Rain, rain, rain, a bit of wind, 48 degrees and more rain…like “flood warning” rain…I saw a guy in an arc.

My thoughts: I hope my knee is up for this run since this is the first stress I’ve put on it since the 20+ miler!

As I said before, I ran with a buddy of mine who has also made great strides across the last year to drop weight (60+ lbs) and take up running. We were rockin & rollin on the first two miles at an 8:50 pace!  We registered at a 09:45/mile pace so this was awesome! We should have been one more corral up for the start! We know for next year!

Except for the rain it was a perfect day for running an event like this. We both were soaked thru to the bone by the end of it. My knee felt good and only let me know it was there a few hours afterwards with very mild stiffness which eventually went away…possibly due to the nice chianti we had with Thanksgiving dinner, but it didn’t return.

The official results were as follows!

  1. Time: 00:41:43.2
  2. Pace: 09:16

I know that running with my friend really helped me to not only push myself past the 9min/mile pace for the beginning of the race, but to maintain a good split for the second half. Running with a partner for a race can really help as I led him sometimes and he set pace for me at times too. We may be tackling a half-marathon in May together too!

I couldn’t be happier with the results and I’m looking forward to my final event of the year, The Indianapolis Jingle Bell Run on December 11th, 2010 which supports the Arthritis Foundation.

Happy Holidays and Happy Training!

They tried to make me go to Rehab…I mean recovery

Holy cow what a run this past weekend!  I hit a distance PR of over 20 miles and was so happy!  I did the run on a treadmill at the gym so I’m sure I was getting weird looks from the people around me since I didn’t leave for nearly four hours.

Hopefully, my trainer won’t tell on me since there is a 20 minute limit when people are waiting…to my knowledge no one was tapping their foot behind me!  🙂

I had come prepared with two 32oz bottles of Gatorade, several GU packs and kept running forever it seemed like.  It was well worth the mental training as well as the physical training. Thank goodness for Sports Center on the TV and NCAA football!

Sunday I found that my right knee was a bit stiff and if you know what you’re looking for you can see a little inflammation on the outside edge of my right knee as compared to my left.

Sunday was all about ice, heat, ice, heat, ice, heat all day long as well as about 9-10 hours of good sleep Saturday night!  Monday is a continuation of recovery from the long run.

When starting to recover from a long distance run I try to start immediately after I’m finished running and by immediately I mean the very instant I stop running.

My Loooong Run Rehab/Recovery

  1. Recovery Nutrition: Within 30 minutes I have a whey protein shake.  I use EAS, but any brand will do. 20-25g of whey protein.  Whey protein absorbs the fastest so it’s a good choice for getting protein to muscles quickly. I usually have this waiting for me in my car or have it in my gym bag for immediate consumption. Time is a factor for getting nutrients to your muscles immediately after exercise.
  2. Hydration: I continue to hydrate even hours after my runs.  I try to take in a good 32oz of water in the hour following a run.  I keep hydrating even after that, but that’s a good start for me.
  3. Ice Bath (optional): Some say yes to an ice bath, some say no, but I draw a tub of cold water and dump my entire ice bin in it from the freezer.  I soak my ankles, knees, legs and hips for 20 minutes as soon as I get home to limit inflammation. It works for me.  I DO NOT submerge and I watch the clock. Usually follow this up with a nice hot shower too!
  4. Ice: If you don’t like #3 then at least put some ice on your knees & ankles to limit a little of the inflammation. If I have any pain I ice it.
  5. Heat: I have a heat pack I can throw in the microwave I like to use on any pained areas. I will alternate the heat and the ice pack after I’m finished in the ice bath.
  6. Hydrate: I’m still sipping my H2O!
  7. Elevation: I prop my feet up and relax while I’m icing and heating for an hour or as long as I’m on the couch!  …so quite a while.
  8. Rest: I take a nap for 1-2 hours if I have the time or just sit and relax.
  9. Movement: By now I’ve been finished with my run for several hours.  I like to get up off the couch and just walk a bit to get the blood flow going to my legs. Nothing brisk, just movement so the lactic acid can be on its way.
  10. The next few Days: I ride the bike and continue to ice/heat any achy joints.  I also make sure to get a little more protein than usual to help rebuild muscle and of course I continue to hydrate!

Your recovery is more important than even your workouts because the recovery period is when your body becomes stronger, faster, more agile and conditioned.