September
27
Posted on 27-09-2011
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

Last week was a little better in terms of consistency from the week before:

Monday: 6.5 miles (with a few threshold pace miles catching up to the varsity boys)

Tuesday: 3 miles easy

Wednesday: 5 miles easy

Thursday: Off

Friday: 12 miles

Saturday: Off

Sunday: Off

Total: 26.5

Still a pretty small total all things considered. I was planning on doing a 3 mile shakeout on Sunday, but it rained all day. The 12 miles on Friday morning was about 24 minutes faster than the previous week’s run with Sandy, but I completely bonked in the last 2 miles. I was down to running a quarter/walking a quarter in the last mile.

So, with the Wine & Dine half marathon coming up I’m not sure what I’m going to do. I think I’ll just shoot for a 9 minute mile pace and see how I feel. If I’m feeling good at 10, then I’ll kick it up for the finish. Given the shape I’m in now, it’ll be my worst half-marathon time even in the best conditions so there’s no pressure at all. I’ll be able to focus on helping the rest of the team and if anyone else needs a pacer, then I’ll be happy to do that!

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September
26
Posted on 26-09-2011
Filed Under (Food) by Brian

Recently, I had the opportunity to try PR bars, part of the Fastburn nutrition system. The idea behind the Fastburn nutrition program is to enhance your body’s natural ability to burn body fat while maintaining or increasing lean body mass. PR bars contain a special protein blend, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, low glycemic carbohydrate sources and quality essential fatty acids that help you burn fat.

When I first received the PR bars, I was a little dubious. At first glance, they closely resemble a certain energy bar that I’ve always found to be dry and virtually impossible to consume without an extended effort. Despite their appearance, the PR bars have an excellent texture and taste quite good. In fact, the iced brownie flavored bars could pass for a respectable dessert.

I tried the PR bars at various times throughout the day. They’re best used as a quick recovery snack immediately following a run or as a midday snack. The Fastburn nutrition program recommends having one with breakfast and one with lunch or dinner. I preferred to use them as a standalone snack.

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September
22
Posted on 22-09-2011
Filed Under (Inspiration) by Brian

I recently came across a great post on the Lonely Planet blog called “How to Plan a do-nothing” vacation. Although I’m a budding quasi-provider of “do something” vacations, I have to say the post sounded quite appealing.  I was especially fond of tip #4 – what to bring…at least 4 of the following components:

  • Swimsuit weather
  • hammocks
  • body of water
  • lots of towels
  • reasonable food within 200 meters of your bed
  • cocktails in primary colors within 100 meters of your bed
  • a vista that’s better than most TV shows
  • a large variety of reading material in the following genres: humor, adventure, sci-fi, teenage wizards, biographies of people who didn’t die in an especially tragic way, superheroes being awesome, and horny vampires

My dream vacationI should note that the background on my computer’s desktop is the view from the bedroom of one of those bungalows that sits on stilts over a lagoon in Bora Bora. So, upon reading the post and looking at my desktop, I was immediately inspired for a do nothing vacation.

Of course, being in charge of a bootstrap start-up company leaves me lacking in the cash required for such a vacation but I made do with what I had:

1) Body of water within 4 m of my bed (bathtub)

2) Swimsuit weather (I do live in Florida…and it’s a nice 76 degrees in the house)

3) 1 towel

4) The unabridged Sherlock Holmes collection (not exactly as mindless as suggested, but short stories don’t require the commitment of a novel and the Holmes stories always seem to take me away from my own problems for 30 minutes).

It was actually pretty rejuvenating and a few hours later, I was sleeping soundly in my bed after having one of the most productive evenings in recent memory. So, don’t forget to take a “do nothing” vacation every once in a while – even if it’s a mini do nothing vacation. I’m still holding out for Bora Bora though!

 

 

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September
18
Posted on 18-09-2011
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

On Friday night, I ran 12 miles with Sandy, who I’m training for the Disney Wine & Dine half marathon in two weeks. We wanted to get a nighttime long run in because it’s a nighttime race. When I run with Sandy, it’s usually between 10 and 11 minutes per mile. Since I’ve run a half marathon at sub 6:50 pace, I assumed the 12 miles with Sandy would be no problem.

I was wrong.

I felt pretty good on the way out. I still had some aches in my left knee from foolishly racing the high school boys on the cross country team in 100 m pickup last week. We ran with two other people and the conversation was good. There was nice scenery and great smells coming from the restaurants downtown. Near the ten mile mark, my legs really started to protest. It was then that it occurred to me that I couldn’t remember the last time I had run 12 miles.

My legs started getting so tight that I actually sped up over the last two miles to lengthen my stride and stretch them out. I was very glad when it was over. It goes to show you that no matter what kind of shape you were in, what really matters is what kind of shape you’re in now. I tend to forget that sometimes. I’ve been dwelling on the memories of my 2010 Walt Disney World half marathon performance a lot lately. It brings to mind a certain Bruce Springsteen song.

[youtube]6vQpW9XRiyM&ob[/youtube]

After the 12 miles, I stumbled back to the car and drove straight to Little Caesar’s where I purchased a large pepperoni pizza. I then headed to Publix for a 20 pound bag of ice. I set the pizza on an upside down bucket next to the bathtub, grabbed two beers and hopped into my ice bath. I sat for 20 minutes, soaking in the extremely cold water, chowing down on pizza and enjoying a couple of brews. How was your Friday night?

Looking back on the week, it was pretty feeble. My only excuse is that I was resting my sore knee:
Monday: Off

Tuesday: 4.5 miles easy

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: 2 miles easy

Friday: 12 miles

Saturday: Off

I’ll probably run 3 miles today to shake my legs out. I will say that the ice bath worked very well and though my legs felt a little heavy yesterday, they certainly weren’t sore. I think I’m 17 weeks out from the Goofy challenge and I ran less than 20 miles this week. That’s not going to cut it. I think instead of tapering down to the Wine & Dine half marathon, I need to treat it as a training run and run another 12 miler next weekend, and I need to get my weekly mileage consistently back over 30 miles and then keep increasing up to about 60.

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September
13
Posted on 13-09-2011
Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Brian

I just thought I’d drop a quick note to let you all know that I’ll be hosting the #FitBlog chat tonight at 9 PM ET. #FitBlog chats happen via twitter and focus on staying healthy, blogging and blogging about staying healthy. Tonight, we’ll be discussing “Running: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly”. You can learn more on the FitBlog website.

If you’ve never participated in a #FitBlog chat, it can be a little overwhelming. I recommend using the handy application on the FitBlog website to monitor the general conversation. It allows you to pause and slow down updates to the conversation so things are easier to follow. In a separate window, use twitter.com’s @reply tab to monitor responses directed toward you.

I hope to see you all there. This is my first time hosting, so go easy on me!

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September
12
Posted on 12-09-2011
Filed Under (Gear) by Brian

As a Saucony ProGrid Kinvara groupie (I did actually sleep with my Kinvaras during the Florida Keys Ragnar Relay), I was quite excited when the Hattori was released. The Hattori is Saucony’s most minimalist shoe and an answer to Vibram’s FiveFingers. Unlike the FiveFingers, the Hattori fits more like a slipper (or mitten) than a glove. There are no individual holes for each toe and that makes finding a good fit quite a bit easier.

The shoes are fastened with two velcro straps – one secured over the ankle and the other behind. I’ve found the one behind the ankle tends to be loose. Perhaps my ankles are just bony, but its loose fit always makes me a bit nervous when I set out for a run. I know now that my nerves are unfounded as the front strap provides the snug fit I need.

Inside, the shoes feel surprisingly cushy. They really do feel like a familiar pair of slippers and I wouldn’t mind wearing them around the house all day. The hard impact cushioning placed strategically on the bottom of the shoe makes me a louder runner than I am in the Kinvaras but it does prevent the shoes from wearing out too quickly.

How minimalist are they? I’ll say this: The first time I ran barefoot on the beach, I was surprised to find a few blisters on the bottoms of my feet. The first time I ran in the Hattoris, I found blisters in the exact same spots. They give a true feel of the terrain without the pain one sometimes encounters. If I step on a sharp rock barefoot, my foot adjusts but it hurts. If I step on a sharp rock in the Hattoris, my foot adjusts and it doesn’t hurt.

The main negative I’ve encountered is the tendency for the Hattoris to rub the back of my heel raw. For whatever reason, this happens primarily on my right foot and only when I wear socks. I think it’s best not to wear socks with them. They are, after all supposed to bring you closer to the barefoot running experience. The only reason I’ve worn socks with them is because I was afraid of smelling them up. I have, however, found them remarkably easy to wash. During a run in the Chicago suburbs this summer, I was forced into a muddy ditch by an approaching car. When I got back to my hotel, I ran the Hattoris under the bathtub faucet to wash the mud away. Because of their aqua sock like construction, this worked like a charm. I set them on the balcony in the sun and they were dry and looking almost new in less than 3 hours.

Overall, the Saucony Hattori has a little less stability than I like. If you truly like the barefoot experience, then I think you’ll love the Hattori. There are certainly days that I like to slip them on and let my legs churn through a fast run, but I don’t think I’ll be breaking up with the Kinvara anytime soon!

***Disclaimer: The shoes were complimentary, but the opinions are solely mine.***

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