Saturday, April 30, 2011

Week In Review (04/23-29/2011)

Week in Review
Saturday April 23rd through Friday April 29th


CONGRATULATIONS

1.  Meg @ Watch MeGo Run and her family ran/walked a 5k in Bell Isle.  I'm just a little jealous of her active family.  Read her awesome race report including all the details on her medal HERE

2.  Kristin @ Bigger Girls Can Run Too hit a new 5k PR at the Running for Life 5k.  Check out her rainy race report HERE

3. Tonia @ Racing With Babes has committed herself to not only being an amazing runner, but to being a true triathlete!  She's got a special goal for 2012.  Check out what it is HERE.

4. Kris @ @Endurance obtained his first sponsor!  Check it out HERE.  


ATHLETIC INFO

1.  Thinking about running Boston in the future?  Mel @ Tall Mom on the Run has some suggestions for you.  Make note of them HERE

2.  Interested in the biomechanics of the elite Boston Marathon runners?  Danny @ A Quest for Running Perfection posted a video of them in slow motion.  It's amazing to see how different everyone runs.  Check it out HERE

3.  Steve @ Steve in a Speedo?! Gross! posted an awesome Duathlon workout, not to mention he seems to be able to crush it like an elite!  Check out his workout HERE

4.  Have you fallen victim to expecting immediate results?  I know I have.  Amanda @ Run to the Finish posted a blog about her own adventures with expecting immediate results and how to avoid falling victim to loss of motivation due to no results.  Honestly, I think everyone should read this!  Check it out HERE

5.  And to follow that up, Big Daddy Diesel posted ten things every athlete (heck, person) should know.  Check them out HERE.

6.  Ron @ Do or Do Not, There Is No Tri had an article published about the ever argued topic of shoe selection.  Check out the link in his post HERE

7.  Marni @ TriMarni - A Blog Dedicated to Exercise, Nutrition, and My Life posted a blog entry covering information about NSAIDs, anti-inflammatory drugs, and their use in athletics.  Read it HERE

8.  Runnergirl Training posted a link to answer the question of "Which should you do first, cardio or weight lifting?"  Check it out HERE

9.  Evan @ Getting Off the Bench And Into The Triathlon asked for two pieces of advice you would give a newbie triathlete.  The comments to his post are a very good collection of thoughts and ideas even for seasoned triathletes.  Check it out HERE.

10.  Steve @ Science of Running goes over the evolution of hydration.  They used to think the more weight you lost during a run, the faster you ran.  CRAZY!  Check it out HERE.  


STORIES

1.  It's that time of year again for annoying bugs!  James @ PowerMultisport has some rather unconventional and hilarious suggestions on how to deal with the pesky deer and horse flies.  Check it out HERE

2.  Fit Bloggin' 11 Conference.  Heather @ Run Faster Mommy put in her name for a chance to go for free.  Check out her amazing post HERE.

3.  Richelle @ Running Towards a Higher Calling went out to run the Jelly Bean Virtual Race and did it in STYLE!  Check out her Easter-inspired running outfit HERE

4.  Test your knowledge on distance running history.  Danny @ A Quest for Running Perfection posted a running article along with questions about the history of distance running.  How many do you know the answer to?  I only knew three.  Check it out HERE

5. EMZ @ If I Can't Convince You -- I'll At Least Confuse You posted a story about how she got two treadmills donated to her 24 hour run after having been ignored by Nordic Track.  It's amazing to see people helping each other!  Check out the story HERE.

6.  What's your thought on triathletes?  Great group of people or the worst bunch of idiots on earth?  Well, Austin @ Enjoy the Ride shared a link to what is becoming quite a popular post from another site that absolutely bashes triathletes.  It's quite an interesting read!  Check it out HERE.  


GIVEAWAYS

1.  Amanda @ Run to the Finish has a Summer Hydration Giveaway HERE

2.  SuperMom @ See Mom Run Far has a Races2Remember Giveaway HERE

3.  Hungry Running Girl has a Sporty Girl Jewelry Giveaway HERE.

4.  Aimee @ I Tri To Be Me has an Auria Exceed Earphone Giveaway HERE.  

5.  Amanda @ Run to the Finish has an Amy's Kitchen food Giveaway HERE

6.  Mel @ Tall Mom on the Run has a Giveaway making use of a LOT of products - GU, Hydrapak, Ryder's Glasses, Pearl iZUMI, and Road ID.  Lots to win.  Enter HERE

7.  Amanda @ Run to the Finish has a second Giveaway for the book Long May You Run HERE


REVIEWS

I GOT NOTHING


Stay fit.  Stay healthy. 

Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday 50/50 - The Finale

As promised, today's post comes straight from Winston Salem, NC.  And as you would only expect, as soon as the 11 hour drive was finished and we got unpacked, it was time for a run.  haha  You have to have priorities, right?

But enough about me!  We have one final installment of Dean Karnazes and Matt Fitzgerald's book 50/50 to get to. 


I've very much enjoyed reading, re-reading, and reviewing the book.  Dean and Matt did an incredible job putting together a book full of great stories, suggestions, tips, and ideas that is easily accessible by any type of runner as well as reader.  And since this is the conclusion of my first (extended) book review, I would very much appreciate your feedback on whether you liked or disliked the idea/execution of the book review. 

But before that, we have a seventh and final installment of Friday 50/50 to get to.

First, have you read the other six?  If not, check them out below.
Friday 50/50 Part I
Friday 50/50 Part II
Friday 50/50 Part III
Friday 50/50 Part IV
Friday 50/50 Part V
Friday 50/50 Part VI


And now onto my final four points from Dean and Matt's book.  ENJOY!


25.  Changes of mind
One thing I was surprised at time and time again while reading this book was the incredible decisions that "normal" runners made.  First off, there were a number of runners that came to a race with the intentions of only running the half marathon.  However, many of those people continued on and ended up finishing the entire marathon even despite having only trained for a half at times.

One individual came to the marathon as many others with hopes of meeting and chatting with Dean.  While chatting with him, he tells Dean "I'll see you again in two other cities for two other marathons."  Being surprised by that, Dean asks how long he had planned on the three marathons.  The guy responds "I just decided right now."  Talk about addiction in action!

Another individual informed Dean while running that he had traveled to run the marathon for his wedding anniversary.  Again, Dean was surprised and remarked how understanding the guy's wife must be.  He responded by telling Dean that his wife was the one who bought the tickets and his registration as a surprise to him.  THAT is an amazing wife!

Lastly, the most amazing decision was of a Japanese couple who canceled their large wedding at home and instead eloped on the beaches of Hawaii in order to make it to the Hawaii 50/50 marathon where the groom was determined to prove his worth to his bride.  This was a very last minute decision by the groom who was completely unprepared to run 26.2 miles.  He barely made it, but he did. 

26.  50/50 Idea Presented to North Face
Dean presented the original idea of doing fifty marathons in fifty days to North Face as a type of family vacation.  He expected to take his family in a Winnebago around the country while he ran, the way they've done family vacations quite often in the past.  Obviously, that didn't quite happen.  It became so much more. However, it didn't even get considered until years after it's first proposal when North Face had a running shoe to put out.

Just another lesson to show that sponsors will only back your ideas - even if they are CRAZY - when they have a benefit.  Dean just wanted to run and had a great idea of how to do it and create a lot of press.  However, without more

27.  Hard Easy Rule
This rule is two-fold.  First, your training days should be patterned so that each hard workout is followed by an easy day or workout in order to provide time for recovery, but allow your muscles to maintain muscle memory.  Second, your weeks should also be patterned similarly.  Dean suggests every third or fourth week to be backed down approximately 30% in volume for the same reasons as alternating your daily workouts. 

29.  Run Home
The final topic I will bring up from 50/50 is that despite the incredible amounts of time put into making sure every detail was covered throughout the fifty days, when Dean finished and completed his interviews in NYC, it came to his attention that they had never arranged his travel home to California.  Now I would find it difficult that Dean couldn't manage a plane ticket, let alone that North Face wouldn't pick it up for him, but can you guess how Dean decided to get home?

Dean bought a running stroller, packed up some necessities and food, and did what he does best, he started running.  Dean ran all day and slept in parks from NYC to the site of his first 50/50 marathon in Missouri.  At that point he felt his overall experience had come full circle and asked for directions to the local airport.  He was ready to be home. 

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Questions
1.  Have you ever seen an incredible change of mind in a "normal" runner/athlete?


2.  What is your ultimate post-race activity?  Do you go for another run or celebrate?
I love the idea of celebrating and then going back out for another run (if my body allowed it).  

Finally...

3.  If you've read 50/50, what did YOU think of the book?  If you haven't read the book, what do you think of the book from these reviews?  
There are plenty of other great athletic books that I could use for future reviews if you like the idea of continuing.  Let me know (and I welcome book suggestions for). 


Stay fit.  Stay healthy. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Little Trip Into My Endorphin Spiked Brain...

I went out this morning for a 6 mile run and since I don't listen to music when I workout anymore, I get a lot of time to just THINK.  Today's topic was...

PERSEVERANCE

It started with my legs felt feeling bit heavy; I felt groggy.  Then a mile or two into the run, my legs had woken up, my stride had increased a little (though I was purposefully holding back just to make it an easy run) and I felt good.  Isn't it odd how sometimes all you need is to get over that initial hump and the rest of the workout is GLORIOUS!

That led to two thoughts...

First, in the book 50/50, Dean Karnazes talks about how he always feels better after a run than before he heads out.  Even on days when he might not feel quite up for a run, he knows that once he's out there, it'll feel better.  I'm the same way, I always feel better after working out; maybe it's the endorphins? 

The second thought I came to was something a female athlete said - "the first five minutes of anything sucks."  If you have the motivation to want to do something, but find there's a bump at the beginning, remind yourself that the first part will suck.  After that, it's great.  I've used that quite a lot lately since I heard it.  I thought that was a great tip for motivation.

Then I went in all kinds of directions...

I started trying to come up with examples of other things I've persevered over, bumps I've run into and overcome.  Today before my legs "woke up" I debated cutting my run short, but I stuck with it and felt great.  It might not be smart, but despite pains, I've pushed through them and finished my workouts.  I pushed through my half marathon with insufficient training and never walked let alone met my outrageous goal.  I've hit countless walls in training and through testing myself, I can always say "just another minute and let me see how it goes."  Well, that minute turns into five, then 20, and before you know it, I'm done.

Then something hit me from the blogs I've been catching up on...

Danny @ A Quest for Running Perfection summed it all up very well recently with a short motto that I believe he pulled from the book Why We Run.

"Stay on Target"

When you lose focus, reset it.  Don't let things distract you.  But the thing I work the hardest at myself is 'know yourself.'  Know what fatigue vs. haven't woken up feels like.  Know how far you can push a pace before it gets into a gray area.  Know how hard you can climb that hill and still push on.  And if you don't know the answer to all the questions, test it!  The only way you're going to know if you can hit that PR is by trying.

If I may say so, you are capable of much more than you think. 



PS.  Tomorrow's post will come straight to you from North Carolina.
That's right, ROAD TRIP!!
Kristin @ Bigger Girls Can Run Too has a college reunion
I'm just pretty much pro at long distance driving (11 hours in the car straight, no problem!)
We'll be leaving at  2AM Friday (that's 11PM Thursday for those west coasters)
So stay tuned for some road trip shenanigans from Team Awesome.


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Questions
1.  What's one example of a time when you persevered?
In training, during a race, at school...?

2.  What do you think about while you're working out?
Does anyone else have an inner motivator in you when you get a shot of endorphins?


Stay fit.  Stay healthy. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What A Breakthrough!

For those of you with kids, I'm sure you'll both A) appreciate this much more than I and B) be thinking "Dude, that's not even the half of what I deal with on a daily basis."  But today, we had a breakthrough and I wanted to share.

For those who don't know, I work for the Girl Scouts.  I essentially get to play with kids from kindergarten up through 8th grade.  Who wouldn't love that job, right?

Yay kids!

Anyways, we kicked off an awesome new anti-bullying and self-esteem program recently for middle school girls.  At our most difficult school, we generally get these girls through our programs, but it's like trying to pulling teeth while policing a riot.  A few flat out don't want to participate, some get bossy with team activities, others stop participating because of the bossiness, and so on.

Well, we decided enough was enough and earlier this week we pulled out our biggest anti-bullying activity; a very serious and quiet look at negative comments and their consequences.  We also laid some new ground rules about negativity.  It was S-L-O-W moving, but we made it through with only one major bump. 

As of early afternoon today, the other facilitators and I were slightly unsure whether many of the girls would show back up

Did we scare them all away?

We showed up and were happy to see a few happy faces come our way.  We didn't have quite the same numbers as before, but as you looked out at the girls chatting you noticed one thing - they were all involved.  No girl was left out.  That felt promising. 

In light of the previous activity, we planned what we consider our funnest activities (really, just an attempt to ring them back in); team building challenges 
Source
I know you don't know these girls, the program, or what the previous weeks have been like (Ok, two of you do.  You know who you are), but my God!  You wouldn't believe the turn around we had.  Yeah, there was some slight negativity at times and a bit of an issue with chatting, but we expect that.  Otherwise, once we explained the rules amongst their chatting, they dived head first.  No bully planning and no shyness at all.  And when we jokingly tempted them with another challenge, they snatched it out of our hands like starving animals. 

It was glorious!  I will guarantee that every girl in our program today had a more positive outlook when they left to go home than when they showed up in our classroom. 

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Question
1.  What was one great breakthrough you've had? 
It can be by yourself, with someone else, through a group, work-related, academic, personal, anything.


Stay fit.  Stay healthy. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What's Your Spirit Animal?

If you had to pick an animal to represent who you are as a person, what animal would you be?  Maybe an eagle for it's magestic nature?  Maybe a raccoon for its mischievous ways?

I am a Lemming.

Source
No, I'm not cute, cuddly, and multicolored.  Check back in June on "multicolored" though.  All other arguments you can feel free to bring up in private after class. (=P Wink, wink.  Nudge, nudge.  Say no more.  Say no more. Name that movie!)

Anyways, I am not a Lemming in the literal, now corrected sense, but more of the 1958 Disney version.  You know, the "Let's all go jump off a cliff!" type.

Source


"Why?" you might ask.  Hmmm... let's see. 

- I have no quarrels with running in the rain, snow, cold.
- I sometimes ride my bike like I own the road despite multiple "almost got hit" situations.
- I quite enjoy rock climbing and since I don't have any safety equipment, I go without. 
- I moved my Ironman goal up from 2013 to 2012 and have even spent a couple days looking up 2011 Ironman distance races. 
- Despite recurrent shin splints, I continue running
- One day after my first Oly tri, I gave blood.  Five days later, I raced my second Oly.
- I get excited by physical challenges. 
- And most currently, despite knee/ITB pain - Runner's Knee - I continue running ever optimistic that today will be the day when it disappears!

I've had a slight case of Runner's Knee lately (completely self-diagnosed) and I'll take a day off here and there, but otherwise have no plans of stopping my training.  Yesterday, after my bike ride, I decided to do a short run to see how my legs feel.  Ten feet later, my knee hurt.  BAD!

I got some exercises from Aimee @ I Tri To Be Me and have done them three times since last night.  Thank you so much Aimee.  Today I feel GREAT!  Now, caution and logic dictate that I take time away from running.  Ha!  Caution and Logic are my annoying back seat drivers.  I'm heading out now for a three miler.  Wish me luck!
 
(*Kurt goes for a run*)
 
3 miles
19:10 total
6:23 pace
ZERO ITB pain

Luck is on my side.  f Yes, I know it's not the smartest thing to do when you have had knee/ITB pain, but what can I say?  I warned you.

Do as I say.  Not as I do.
Pleae don't jump off a cliff after me.
I barely qualify for the responsibility to care for myself let alone anyone else.

Now it's time for another round of ITB stretches and exercises.

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Question
1.  What animal are you?  And why?


Stay fit.  Stay healthy. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

What did I do for Easter? Swam, Biked, and Ran.

Thank you guys very much for letting the Weekly Review slide.  I'll get caught up this week, but before I can do that I had to set myself back on track with training.

While my dad was here, I quite enjoyed our time together.  We fixed my rear brakes and coolant system, had some amazing lobster bisque at the USS Chowder Pot, I got my dad to eat Thai food for the first time at the new (and Incredibly Amazing) Blue Elephant Trail, did some sports equipment shopping, and watched a couple movies.  All in all, it was a nice relaxing weekend and I haven't seen my dad since Christmas, so it was great to have him around for a bit.  But it was also two consecutive days of rest!; OMG.  So today, I had to high tail it into gear (without injuring myself).

I nearly did another pyramid workout, but only did one run instead of two.  Here's the schedule:

Biked 5.4 miles to the gym in 18:18 (mph)
Swam 3000 yards (1.7 miles)
Biked 5.4 miles home from the gym in 19:00 (mph)
Napped (I love naps!)
Ran 7.11 miles in 52:27 (7:22 pace)  Booyah!

Total Easter Day Mileage = 19.61 miles


I hope everyone had an amazing Easter Sunday with the family and friends. 

Source

No, I did not paint those eggs.  Wish I had though.  

Did anyone have an Easter egg hunt as fun as this one?

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Questions
1.  What did you do for Easter?
Dinner with the family?  Any Easter egg hunts?  How much candy did you eat?


Stay fit.  Stay healthy.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Please Forgive Me?

This week's review:

I don't care what everyone else says about you...

You All ROCK!


I apologize.  I'm sorry.  Can you ever forgive me?

This week has been...  well...  hectic.  It's been a normal week day-to-day, but I've been preparing for this weekend and ended up falling behind way behind on blog reading and have no official end of week review.  What have I been prepping for you may wonder?

I get to spend the weekend with this handsome dude!

Meet my father.  And of course, me.

...doing these types of things...

Replacing my rear brakes and fixing various ailments of my car.

Enjoying Hartford's array of cuisine.

We went to USS Chowder Pot in Hartford, CT.  If you ever find yourself in this area, stop over there and get a bowl multiple bowls of the Lobster Bisque!  Heaven in a bowl!!

A little browsing (and doughnut eating).

We walked out of Cabela's and were literally mesmerized by the smell of cinnamon that we made like human boomerangs and hit up a doughnut stand that was perched right next to the entrance.  Hot, crispy, cinnamon doughnuts!  Delicious!


I apologize for the missing Weekly Review.  I know some of you look forward to it and possibly even rely on it for certain info.  I promise I'll make up for it.

Until then, enjoy your weekend! 

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Question
1.  What are you doing this weekend?

2.  Can you forgive me?

Stay fit.  Stay healthy. 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday 50/50 Part VI

We are now 6 weeks into Dean Karnazes and Matt Fitzgerald's book 50/50.  It's funny to think that time has flown by that fast!  Six weeks in and we only have one more Friday 50/50 to go, next week's Part VII. 

I know, you're disappointed, but have no fear.  After next week's 50/50 finale, we'll move onto Born to Run by Christopher McDougall.

For those who aren't quite caught up on the Friday 50/50 (or those who'd like to go back to browse the previous tips), here are the previous five installments.  
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Part V

Without further ado, here is a bit more of the brain of Dean Karnazes.


20.  Girls on the Run 
Sports in general have long been considered a "boy's activity."  Thankfully my generation never lived through those times and girls are just as much encouraged to join sports as we (boys) are.  On top of this, there are plenty of groups that are for women and girls ONLY.  One such group is Girls on the Run, a national organization aimed at developing self-esteem and camaraderie in girls.  Dean himself sits on the board of the California group. 

There are also races that exclude men.  A couple of my friends are considering running the Divas Half Marathon in Long Island, NY.  And not only is this race solely for women, but at the final mile, they hand out tiaras and pink feather boas.  Then when you cross the line, you are handed a finishers medal by a New York firefighter.  Did I mention that there are additional Divas races in Honolulu, HI, San Juan, PR, and Vail, CO?

21.  Flow
A state of total absorption in a challenging activity - an enjoyable but serious state of absolute immersion in some goal-directed task.

For athletes, this is similar to the description of being "in the zone."  Flow is not 'having fun' during an activity, but having everything click in place perfectly; your stride seems effortless, your breathing relaxed, hills feel like they're flat, and you could run forever.  I never feel flow on my speedy workouts, but when I'm out for an long, exploratory run, I know I have flow when I feel like I could keep running forever.

22.  Marathon Guide
Are you looking for a marathon to race, but aren't quite sure which one is worthwhile?  Check out the site marathonguide.com.  They have a list of every marathon along with website links, previous results, race director's notes, and reviews by people who have actually run the race.  It's the best marathon website out there!

23.  The Ideal Sports Drink
I'm sure plenty of you have at least tried the various sports drinks on the market - Gatorade, Accelerade, Powerade, etc.  The tough question is, which is the best?  Dean suggests these criteria when choosing a sports drink.

- 6-8% carbohydrate (14-19g / 8 oz.)
- At least two types of carbohydrates (increases absorption)
- 120+mg sodium per 8 oz.
- Avoid excess fructose (can cause GI issues)

Does your drink of choice fit this guideline?  Unfortunately, from my research, the only sports drink to pass each of these criteria is Gatorade Endurance.  Furthermore, I have read a few studies which tested Gatorade Endurance or similar sports drinks against higher sodium content and found that the best results come from 2-3x as much sodium (roughly 4-600mg / 8 oz). 

24.  Runabouts
Jeff Galloway is a legendary running coach and has coached more people to their first marathon than anyone.  His unique training - separate from most anyone else - includes not only distances exceeding 26.2 miles, but walking breaks.  Jeff's athletes admit that the walking breaks make strenuous, long distances quite manageable.  Dean makes use a similar workout he calls "Runabouts."

After you've built up a good amount of endurance and fitness, pick a Saturday (or any day when you have plenty of free time) to head out the door with a backpack, credit card, cell phone, water, some snacks, and maybe a GPS if you want to be tech-savvy.  Pick a direction (say, North) and just start running.  When you want to take a break, take one and jog, walk, or hike; just try to stay on your feet.  When you feel like running again, do so.  If you run by your favorite store, stop in and buy a cupcake and eat it on the run.  Make a day of it by trying to stay on your feet.

Dean does Runabouts by leaving before sunrise and coming home after sunset.  You may want to start with a couple hours or maybe 6-8 hours first, but have fun no matter where you end up.  The idea is not to count the miles, but to have fun and stay on your feet.

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Questions
1.  Have you ever done a Women-Only race?  If so, which one and how was it?

2.  Have you ever felt "flow"?  If so, how do you know you have it?
Usually a mile or so into my long runs my breathing is relaxed, I've started exploring or examining the area I'm running through just as if I was hiking and I get this feeling of being able to run forever, that my legs will never tire.  

3.  Do you have a sports drink of choice?  
I always go for Gatorade Endurance when they have it offered at my races, but for training I've never used any sports drink.   Maybe I should start testing them out. 

4.  Are you tempted to do a Runabout this weekend?  Don't they sound amazing?!
I can't wait until I get enough base built up to do one.  The moment I read about them, I wanted to strap on a backpack and start running.  I guarantee you it will happen this summer!


Stay fit. Stay healthy. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tag, I'm It! Stylish Blogger Tag!


I have now been hit with this award three times, so I can't fail at following through this time.

Thank you, of course, goes out to Amanda @ 5 Miles Past Empty and Monica @ Brunette on a Mission for naming me for the award back in January of this year.  Sorry it's taken me so long to follow through.  Also, thanks goes out to Richelle @ Running Towards a Higher Calling for honoring me three weeks ago (I know, I'm slow!).  I'm happy to know and continue to learn about each of you.

So let's see.  What do I have to do?!


Stylish Blogger Award Rules
Once awarded, you must...
1.  Share seven random things about yourself.
2.  Give away the reward by tagging other Stylish Bloggers


Hmmm...  Pretty simple, right?
Let's get started!



Seven Random Things About Me...

1.  I was named after my mother and a horse.  When my grandmother was pregnant with my mother, her and my grandfather decided that if it was a boy, they would name it Kurt.  Well, she popped out and wasn't a boy, so that name went back into the mix.  When I came around some 25 years down the road, my mother pulled it back out for me. 

My middle name is Justin.  My mother is a HUGE fan of horses; she actually bought her first horse with money from her paper route as a kid (if that's not dedication, I don't know what is!).  When I was a kid, my family had four Morgan horses, my mother's favorite.  I came to know later that the owner of the first Morgan horse was Justin Morgan.  And that's where she picked that out.  I sometimes wonder if my dad got any say in child naming. 

2.  I was in a band for five years.  In my junior year of high school, some friends and I decided to start a band.  As with most bands, we switched our members around a bunch at first, but finally settled into a five piece and if I say so myself, had quite a good thing going.  Our name (after many changes) was The Full Connor.  After two failed attempts to set up touring schedules in 2006 and 2007, we opted to go into the studio and in 2008, we completed a studio album; listen to it HERE.  That was however our last move as a band before three of our members went off to post-graduate work in CT, NC, and DC while the remaining two members were still in NY and OH.

I personally took piano lessons as a child and after starting the band taught myself to play guitar.  I played mostly guitar in the band, but we did add some piano parts for the album.

3.  When you think of tomato soup, what do you automatically think goes with it?  For me, it's peanut butter sandwiches.  Everyone seems to find that incredibly odd, but I grew up with it and it's delicious.  Campbell's healthy request tomato soup and a set of pb sandwiches to dip in it (yes, dip!).  Then once the sandwiches are eaten, bring on the saltine crackers!

4.  I used to be a Boy Scout, but after earning Tenderfoot and being one step away from Second Class, I quit.  Why do you ask?  I was falling behind all the other kids.  My parents didn't let me go to summer camp the first year and wouldn't allow me to go to ice camp at all, so I didn't have as many chances to earn the badges.  At the time I was becoming much more serious about swimming, so in my mind I quit scouts in order to focus on swimming.  Every other scout in my troop moved on to become an Eagle Scout and I deeply regret quitting, but I would never take back my dedication to swimming.

5.  I enjoy experimenting with my hair.  It has been "normal," straight-razored, seven inches long, cut into a mohawk (twice), dyed blond, black, red, and blue, and had eight or more designs dyed into it.

In middle and high school I was the kid who hated leaving the house without his hair in the perfect place.  I got my hair cut every three weeks and used DEP level 9/10 gel all the time.

In February, however, we had championships for the swim team and we shaved our heads, buzzed and straight razored!  I did that for four years and then finally realized I didn't like my hair that short or the phase of growing it back in.  In my last two years, I got a shorter than usual cut, dyed it all blond and got blue tips (my school colors were blue and gold).  My favorite things about the haircut was when the roots would grow in and I'd be half brown, half blond.

After a haircut in late Spring my senior year, I let my hair grow out in hopes of being able to pull it back into a pony tail.  It got JUST long enough (seven inches) and I was sick of it.  My hair is extremely straight and is quite greasy.  When I got home that summer, I cut it back down to 1" and had an asterisk dyed into it (This - * - centered on the cowlick on the back right of my head).  I redid this down the road with half of it red.

Since then, I've had an offset halo, random lines, polka dots and a racing stripe, half a checker board, and the above pictured repeat of the asterisk (I may be forgetting some; not positive).  In all that time, I've also done a mohawk, twice; once in college, once in grad school.

My last "fun" hair do was the 2010 Cruella Deville; I dyed half my head blond.  That one I did myself (with some help from my sister, but no professionals).  That grew out this past fall and due to potential job searches, I've avoided having fun with my hair.  That'll change come June though.  Muah-ah-ha-ha-ha.

Here's the proof (I'm sad to realize I don't have each style documented!)

 6. I do not watch TV.  I do own a tv, a 32" projection that I picked up free from craigslist, but since I've been in CT (August 2008), I haven't had cable and I didn't have it in Boston for four years of undergrad either.  The only shows I semi keep up with are House & Glee (both on Hulu).  I much prefer life without TV.

7.  I was a ballerina for one season and performed in Tchikovsky's The Nutcracker.  My parents tried very hard to allow my sister and I to try any sport or activity they felt we were sincere enough about.  I played soccer in a YMCA league, I played baseball until I was afraid of the ball coming at me that fast, I was of course a swimmer, but before that my sister joined ballet.  Well, after a year or two of that, my parents asked me if I'd like to give it a try.  I was nine years old and thought "Hey, why not?"  There were three boys in my class including myself.  I picked things up the fastest, so I got the "lead" boy's role.  I did one season and then decided I liked swimming better and never looked back.  I honestly miss the ability to do a split.

Now it's time for me to pick seven bloggers to honor with the Stylish Blogger Award.

I will do my best to keep from honoring people I know others in my blogging network have already named.  We don't want things to continue going around in circles for years to come!  So here goes, my seven choices for the Stylish Blogger Award.


So get your thinking caps on and start thinking of random things about yourself.  Heaven knows it took ME long enough.


Stay fit.  Stay healthy.  

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My New (Famous) Running Buddy

Ever get a song stuck in your head that you have no idea where it came from?

I got up this morning and for some reason I was silently singing to myself...

 "And I promise you, kid, that I give so much more than I get
I just haven't met you yet"

Recognize the song?  It's Michael Buble.

I have no idea where it came from.  I am a fan of Michael's stuff (personal favorites are "Me and Mrs. Jones" as well as "Cry Me A River"), but I haven't listened to Michael in awhile.  Oh-well.  It kept me entertained without annoying me (usually songs stuck in my head drive me crazy!!).

So I got up, got dressed, and headed out for a 5 mile run shooting for a 7:30 pace with my running buddy Michael Buble.  I managed a 7:33 pace!  Thanks Michael.

For you enjoyment, here is Haven't Met You Yet by Michael Buble.
video


Question
1.  What was the last song that you got stuck in your head?

2.  Have I succeeded in getting Michael Buble stuck in YOUR head?
I hope so.  =P

Stay fit.  Stay healthy. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dear Track, I Apologize for My Location-ism

I have long dreaded the idea of inevitable track workouts.  Running around in circles seems like such a bore; much like how I could never see myself as a NASCAR fan (Oh, look!  They're turning left...again!). 



However, Sunday I had my first track workout and I admit that I actually enjoyed it (*gasp*  Call the newspaper!).

Chelsea had asked me early last week if I wanted to do another workout with her Aunt Mona.  I've never done a speed workout, but I figured it could be useful.  However, I was unable to get in my long run the prior Saturday, so I got up and ran 5.7 miles before heading to the track; Mona didn't think so highly of that move.  haha

After walking to the track, Mona told us to do an 800m to warm up at our natural pace and keep a constant pace.  I hit the 400m around 1:35 and didn't even do the math until we stopped and walked for a bit.  I had hit a 6:20 pace 800m.  W-O-W.  Then we did a set of 4 x 400s.

Mona had talked to us about how marathoners look to the 10k as their speed work distance, so she gave us 400m splits based on target 10k times.  Since my best 5k was a 6:16 pace (94 second 400m), she gave me 92 seconds as a slight challenge.  The goal here was to guesstimate your pace on the first lap, check your time and adjust until you hit the pace and keep it up.  Also, you only take enough time between 400s to clear your watch and start again; no catching your breathe!

My first 400m was 87 seconds (5s too fast & a 5:48 mile pace overall).  I pulled back on the speed just slightly and hit 400m at 1:32 (perfect!).  Then Mona told me to do the last 2 consecutively.  I picked off the third 400 in 92 seconds and the last in 93.  I had just run a 6:08 mile (minus the 10s of rest I had in total) and felt GREAT!, even after having ran 5.7 miles that morning and having ITB pain.

The advice we got was that speed work is not generally implemented until a month into your training and sometimes doesn't even come up until 5 week prior to your race.  We were advised to use it once a week and integrate it right into the day's workout.  If the day calls for a hard 5 miles, do an 800 warm up and cool down with sets of 4 x 400s or 4 x 800s to fill up your distance needs.  But don't drop your pace until you can hold it for 4 x 800s or multiple sets of 4 x 400s and not be out of breathe!  And only drop by 2s once you can hold a given pace; otherwise you risk major injury. 

The point of speed work is to get your muscles used to your race pace.  If you run constantly at 8 or 9:00 pace, you can't expect to pop off a 7:00 pace come race day.  So while your long and recovery runs are at a slower pace, speed work is an attempt to get closer and closer to your goal pace and then habituating your muscles to it. 

Overall, the track workout was fun!  While I enjoy slower runs for the ability to see how far I can go and "explore" my neighborhood in a way, the track workout is fun to test how fast my legs can move me and where I stand on speed.

I not only am unafraid of track/speed workouts now.  I'm quite enthusiastic about them!


After taking Marathon Monday as my rest day (my legs thanked me for the time off), I went out this morning (Tuesday) and clicked off a 3.15 mile run in 20:08 (6:23 pace).  Speed feels great!


Questions
1.  Do you make use of speed work?  If so, what made you start doing it?

2.  Are you better mentally at long exploratory runs or short speedy (left turn only) runs?
I like a known path for testing speed, but if I head out to run anything else, I like new paths to explore.

3.  Any NASCAR fans out there?

How can you watch it?


Stay fit.  Stay healthy. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Things I learned & thought while watching the 115th Boston Marathon...

Today was AWESOME!!  And I didn't even run.  Just think how much better it's going to be to actually RUN the Boston Marathon!  Ironman first, but then Boston.

Anyways, during my six solid hours of the Boston Marathon - listening to WBZ-TV radio and watching the live coverage both on Universal Sports and CBSBoston.com - I learned (and felt) a few things that I thought I'd share.  Please feel free to chime in with your own thoughts about the race.

In no specific order (Ok, there is an order.  The order I think of them and write them down)...

Rick & Dick Hoyt
- Shortly after the hand bicycle division left the starting line, I realized that Rick & Dick Hoyt were racing.  I had no idea that they were racing.  I still have been unable to find their time, but they certainly are an inspirational pair!!

Kara Goucher
- Kara Goucher, one of the U.S.'s hopefuls, took time off recently to give birth to Colt, her son.  And she went running the day she went into labor.  How many people even do normal exercise during their pregnancy let alone actually train?!  I love athletes!

-  Kara Goucher may have never been in position to be a real contender, but she got a PR and still vows to be back until she wins!  Read about it HERE.

Ryan Hall
- Did anyone catch the video of Ryan Hall's entrance to Boylston St. I believe from last year?  He started doing the airplane and running back and forth between the crowds.  Today's race showed the same personality - he's just out to have fun!

- Ryan Hall, the U.S. hopeful (and all around "happy guy") has a gluten intolerance.  Apparently diet issues side-tracked him a lot this year.

- Ryan Hall has published a book called "Running With Joy: My Journal to the Marathon."  After seeing how much fun this guy looked like he was having, I'm tempted to check this book out! 

Joan Samuelson
- Olympic Gold Medalist and two-time Boston Marathon Champion Joan Samuelson ran today!  And not only that, but she had originally geared for a 2:50 time!  I didn't catch the whole story, but I thought a training mishap or something kept her from being fully ready.  Either way, she ran with her daughter who was running her first Boston Marathon.  Anyone know how Joan or her daughter finished?

Men's Wheelchair Division Battle
- In the wheelchair division, Ernst van Dyke broke away early and looked to be an easy win.  Then out of nowhere, Fearnley cut through that lead like a hot knife through butter.  It was incredible to see how Fearnley put himself into contention - on an uphill no less - and then how Masazumi Soejima came out of nowhere in the last mile and ended up taking the win.  Goes to show you how it's anyone's race at any point in the game!

Desiree Daville
- Obviously, the final miles of the Women's race was thrilling!  But I can't say enough about how different Desiree Daville looked compared to the Kenyans Cherop and Kilel.  Daville looked like she was out for a short training run; perfect and relaxed.  Cherop and Kilel looked like they were Mrs. Potato Heads and their limbs may fall off with any footfall.  And after the finish line, it showed.  Both Cherop and Kilel needed assistance to walk.  Daville walked on her own without a problem.  Way to keep the pace up Daville!!  Check out the plan behind Daville's run today HERE


Geoffrey Mutai
- They talked about how Mutai, today's Men's winner in world record time, was self-coached.  If that's true, that's absolutely incredible!!

- As Mutai crossed the finish line, they announced the "new world record," but you may be interested to know that the Boston Marathon is not a certified course for international records.  Therefore, Mutai's time today is not technically acknowledged as a WORLD Record marathon time, but only a BOSTON marathon time.  Read about it HERE

Kim Smith
- Who else thought Kim Smith's pace out of the gate was going to be her downfall?  Everyone?  Who thought the same when she crossed the half-way point and was still increasing her lead?  No one?  I don't care what happened - injury or cramp - that girl's got balls!  She may look emaciated and have form that's hard to look at, but if it wasn't for whatever happened to her on the hills, she proved that she was a true contender!  Props goes out to her!  If anyone knows what the official word is on her injury, let me know.




Questions
1.  Any other thoughts you had while watching, listening to, or hearing about today's Boston Marathon?

2.  Do you plan to attempt qualifying for Boston in the future?
After tackling the Ironman, Boston is on my list (among many other things). 


Stay fit.  Stay healthy.  

Boston Marathon Coverage & Ongoing Updates

Looking for where to watch the Boston Marathon or keep track of the stats?

BAA.org is the official Boston Marathon website.  You can find each runner's 5k split there.

Source
That site also lists all the following information...

Television
- Boston's WBZ-TV (channel 4) is the only local channel covering the Boston Marathon.
- The Universal Sports Channel will broadcast the coverage nationally.

Online
- CBSboston.com will broadcast the WBZ-TV coverage online, but is only available in the New England area.
- www.universalsports.com will broadcast their coverage online for a fee of $4.99.

Radio
- I am currently listening to WBZ Radio via the CBSboston.com website and have been since 6am (Yes, I was up at 6am)



10am: I am at a friend's watching the Universal Sports coverage on the TV and CBSBoston.com coverage online. 

Source
If you want to keep up with your favorite runner's times, check BAA.org.  I will attempt to update the 5k splits for Mel, James, 

Running Bloggers

Mel @ Tall Mom On The Run.  Race Bib # - 14576
5k - 26:02 (8:24 pace)
10k -51:56 (8:23 pace)
15k - 1:18:26 (8:26 pace)
20k - 1:47:24 (8:40 pace)
Half - 1:53:28 (8:40 pace)
25k - 2:16:19 (8:48 pace)
30k - 2:46:46 (8:58 pace)
35k - 3:18:18 (9:08 pace)
40k - 3:48:30 (9:13 pace)
Finish - 4:01:26 (9:13 pace)

James Daniel @ PowerMultisport.  Race Bib # - 4148
5k - 22:50 (7:22 pace)
10k - 45:29 (7:20 pace)
15k - 1:08:26 (7:22 pace)
20k - 1:32:51 (7:29 pace)
Half - 1:38:24 (7:31 pace)
25k - 1:58:18 (7:38 pace)
30k - 2:24:50 (7:47 pace)
35k - 2:53:13 (7:59 pace)
40k -3:20:42
Finish - 3:32:29 (8:07 pace)

Tom (Ali @ See Ali Eat...See Ali Run 's "manfriend")  Race Bib # - 4355
5k - 21:58 (7:05 pace)
10k - 43:06 (6:57 pace)
15k - 1:03:58 (6:53 pace)
20k - 1:24:39
Half - 1:29:08 (6:48 pace)
25k - 1:45:21 (6:48 pace)
30k - 2:06:52 (6:49 pace)
35k - 2:29:00 (6:52 pace)
40k - 2:51:42 (6:55 pace)
Finish - 3:02:13 (6:57 pace)


Congrats to EVERYONE who raced!!



Question
1.  Are you watching, listening, or checking in on the marathon today?

Stay fit.  Stay healthy. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Ooooo... Shiny!!

I thought I'd take my lazy Sunday (despite the fact that I have no intention of this week's Sunday to be lazy) and clue you into some new (shiny) things going on with the blog.


Before I do that though, 
I want to let all my new blog friends 
and remind the "old" 
that unless you'd prefer not to, 
please send me your email address if I don't already have it.  
99% of the time I reply via email 
instead of blog comments 
and I feel bad if I really want to respond, but don't have your address.

Thanks!!

Now onto shiny new things!!

First, on my home page (and everywhere else for that matter), you may notice that I have a new icon next to the URL; it's called a "favicon."  Thanks to Dion @ Favicon Fixer, he hooked me up with a custom Favicon.  Now, I admit that I changed the icon that Dion sent me, but he was the one that hooked me up with the info on how to do it.  So if you'd like a free favicon - who wouldn't?, it makes your page look THAT much more professional - head over to Dion's site and let him work his magic.  Check him out HERE

Second, moving on down the page, I added a couple new pages; "My Reviews" and "Injuries"

The "My Reviews" page HERE links to all the reviews I have posted in the past as well as lists the reviews that I am currently working on and plan to put out in the future.  As I've mentioned, I have a review of the Blackburn Trakstand Mag 3 Trainer and the Sigvaris Athletic Performance Socks, but I've also listed the book Born to Run, the UTag I.C.E. bracelet, and Road ID. 

The "Injuries" page HERE links to all of my discussions about various injuries.  Both of these pages were created simply to make searching my blog a bit easier (for both you and me). 

Third, you may notice at the top of the sidebar that I have three new colorful buttons.  Before I tell you what they are, let me just say that these... were... FUN to make!  I used to do a lot of HTML coding for myspace accounts back in college and I forgot how much I love doing it.  Ok, that's all I wanted to say!

The beautiful blue one links to my Facebook fan page (which is also new).  Feel free to "like" me on FB in order to follow my daily shenanigans more closely.  The overly orange one links to my DailyMile page.  Feel free to friend me there; that will certainly keep you up to date on my specific training.  The glowingly green button is a link to sending me a direct email at becominganironman@hotmail.com. 


Questions
1.  Do you have any other suggestions for the page? 
I've got some other things I'm working on, but I'm always open to thoughts and criticisms!

2. How has your weekend been?
Super relaxing or incredibly busy?


P.S.  I can't wait to see who's going to put me "over the hill" for number 50!!
EDIT:  Special thanks to Shelby @ Post Script for quickly solving that mystery for me!  haha  Welcome aboard.  And let me just say, she did it with STYLE.  Check out the image in her blog's header HERE.  Now that's what I call S-E-X-Y!!

Stay fit.  Stay healthy. 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Week in Review (04/09-15/2011)

Week in Review
Saturday April 9th through Friday April 15th 


CONGRATULATIONS 

1.  Sam @ Run With Sam did a "Li'l Local Low Key" DC 5k on Saturday.  Congratulations!  Check her out HERE.

2.  Runner's Fuel got up and instead of driving to the gym to workout, she ran.  With gas prices going up, I'm happy to see more and more people making use of alternative transportation.  Check her out HERE.

3.  Stephanie @ My Thorns Have Roses took a big step this past week towards being an all around happier person and quit her job.  I wish her all the luck in the world though I'm sure she won't need much.  Check out her story HERE.  

4.  Chloe @ Running With A Bottle of Wine did the Red Hills Sprint Triathlon this past Saturday.  Check out here race report HERE

5.  Richelle @ Running Towards a Higher Calling competed in an indoor triathlon.  Check out her results HERE.  

6.  Kristin @ Bigger Girls Can Run Too also made a move to save some gas and ran to her choir rehearsal.  Three cheers for active economics!  Read her post HERE.

7.  Dawn @ Racing Dawn can just about smell success at this point.  She is on her way to twelve marathons in twelve months and recently finished number eleven, the Skyline to Sea Marathon in CA.  Read her race report HERE.

8.  Megan @ The Daily Sweat ran the Seahawks 12k race this past Sunday.  Awesome job!  Check her out HERE.  



ATHLETIC INFO

1.  After a race on Saturday, Chloe @ Running With A Bottle of Wine has some recommendations for transition setup in triathlons.  If you're new to the sport or still a beginner, she has some great tips on how to cut time on both T1 and T2.  Check it out HERE.

2.  I wrote a post covering the injury of Runner's Knee since I've been going through it lately.  Check it out HERE.

3.  Ali @ See Ali Eat...See Ali Run posted a story about her run in with Hip Bursitis and how she's avoided it since.  Check it out HERE.

4.  Looking for another race, but short on cash?  Jess @ Run With Jess is running a FREE virtual race called The Jelly Bean Virtual Race.  Check out the sponsors (who are providing the prizes) and enter the race HERE.  The race is April 18th-25th

5.  Ali @ See Ali Eat...See Ali Run has a degree in Nutritional Sciences and started a series of posts about nutrition for endurance athletes.  Check out her first post HERE. And the second post HERE

6.  I REALLY want to know everyone's opinion on this.  Runnergirl Training posted an entry about negative splitting and it's benefits to racing.  I've seen this pop up multiple times now and while the philosophy makes sense logically, I think saying it's "negative splitting" and not "maintaining pace" is a bit skewed.  Please check it out HERE and chime in.

7.  Ever "hit the wall" or "bonked"?  Runnergirl Training posted an incredible article from Runner's World that looks at the sports nutrition side of the question "Why do we bonk?"  Check it out HERE.

8.  With the Boston Marathon coming up, Mel @ Tall Mom on the Run (who is running the marathon herself) put up a list of everyone she knows who is running the race and those who are volunteering/spectating.  Check it out HERE.

9.  Following up Mel, we've got Triathlon Benchwarmer who put up another post of this weekend's upcoming racers cleverly entitled "Who's Who..."  I really like the title!  Check it out HERE.  


STORIES

1.  When did you consider yourself a runner?  Katherine @ Forward Foot Strides asked the question this past weekend and it greatly interests me.  At what point do you stop simply participating in a sport and mentally become a member of it?  Check her out and read some great answers HERE.

2.  It's always fun hearing about people's other talents.  Of course you and I are all amazing athletes, but what else can we do?  Jo @ That Girl Who Sang the Anthem shared a video of her singing the national anthem at a hockey game.  I'm quite impressed!  Check it out HERE.

3.  You know how much I like people who remain active into older years.  Caroline @ Canadian Runner in Exile posted about a Canadian runner named Ed Whitlock.  Check him out at 80 years old setting records HERE.

4.  Where do you stand on the use of performance enhancing drugs (PED's)?  Danny @ A Quest for Running Perfection calls into question the views, restrictions, and guidelines for PEDs and makes (in my mind) a good argument for change.  I would love to know where you lie on the matter.  Check it out HERE.

5.  Need some ideas about how to cool off during a race?  Danny @ A Quest for Running Perfection takes a look at some methods used by other species that are quite interesting!  Start cooling off HERE.

6.  Everyone knows the love you have for a grandparent.  Unfortunately, Megan @ The Daily Sweat said goodbye to her grandmother earlier this week.  Megan, we're sorry for your loss and hope you and your family are doing well.  Check her out HERE.  


GIVEAWAYS

1.  Heather @ Run Faster Mommy has a SONY Walkman giveaway going on until April 25th.  Check it out HERE

2.  Mel @ Tall Mom on the Run has a giveaway hosted by Gone For a Run going until April 21st.  Check it out HERE.

3.  Sam @ Run With Sam is doing her very first giveaway, the Ugly Race Photo Giveaway.   This ends on Sunday April 24th.  Check it out and enter HERE.

4.  Katherine @ Forward Foot Strikes has a giveaway hosted by Sof Sole.  Check it out and enter HERE.

5.  Attention Ladies!!  Amanda @ Run to The Finish has a Zensah Sports Bra giveaway going through April 22nd.  As much as I'd love to win this just to make it ironic, I'll abstain.  Enter HERE.

6.   Jenn @ A Runner's Road posted that if she can get 25 followers by Marathon Monday, she will have a giveaway.  So if you want a chance at something awesome from the Boston Marathon Expo, stop over and follower her!  Check it out HERE


REVIEWS

1.  Megan @ Watch MeGo Run reviewed the Road ID elite bracelet.  Without question, she picked a pink one!  Check out her review HERE.

2.  Attention Ladies!!  Amanda @ Run to The Finish reviewed the Zensah Sports Bra.  You might want to check it out, HERE.