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I’ve been using Lose It! for over five years now…TRUTH!

Three Years

September 12, 2014 — 2 Comments

Three years ago today, I went for my first run.

I’d lost about 100 pounds at the time (all without exercising…counting calories worked very well for me) and, according to my doctor, needed to get active if I wanted to keep it off…this time. “Find something you will enjoy,” she said.

Being basically lazy (ok, i am generally lazy) and not having a desire to do the gym thing, I didn’t know what to select that would last.

On my commute one day, I saw a 2011 Silicon Valley Turkey Trot billboard and thought, “Hmmmm, maybe I’ll run.”  [wow, that sounds almost Forest Gump-ish…]

So, I downloaded the Couch -to-5K app, bought some running shoes, and started.

Day One Workout:

  • 1.53 miles, “jogging/walking” at a 14:52 min/mile pace – for a total of 25 minutes.

I don’t recall how I specifically felt after that workout; but, as a life-long (at least that far) couch potato, I bet I was winded, tired, and probably wondering simultaneously: “what am I getting myself into?”, “how long will this last?”, and “Hey, I might be able to do this!”

So, I kept going.

I finished or “graduated” from the C25K program and I ran my first 5K

…and have NOT looked back, checking the 5K, 10K, half marathon, full marathon, and 50K boxes off progressively over the past three years – with a total of 5,347 miles logged along the way.

Fast forward to today’s training run:

  • 10 miler at an 8:35 min/mile pace, for a total time of 1:27:35.

whitespace

Three years ago today, I went for my first run.

Dr. Chang, I think I found something I like…

This is totally late.  Forgot it was sitting in my drafts queue…

2014_MAY

New Equipment & Such:

  • HydraPak Reversible Elite Reservoir.  In February, I picked up a Ultimate Direction SJ Ultra Vest 2.0 and really like it.  In March, after trying several bottle options on the vest, I picked up and really liked HydraPak’s SoftFlask, as it solved the “sloshing” effect encountered with standard bottles and was certainly more comfortable when used in the vest since they conform to my body.  This month, I picked up a 2L Reservoir to enable myself to run unsupported for upwards of 6 hours or more (depending upon the climate.)  I wore the reservoir quite a bit on my weekly runs before carrying it on a longer, trail run…just to make sure about fit and ease into carrying the weight on my back.  Overall, I really like it and carried it on my 4-hour long run with no issues.  I didn’t really notice any adverse affect on my posture or any soreness after my run – probably because I had carried it enough to prepare myself/body.  One thing I did notice was that the fluid heats up based on body temp.  When carrying plain water, it can result in a pretty bad taste.  When carrying water with Tailwind, the taste was actually great.  I probably won’t use/carry this on all runs, but will work it in occasionally to make sure I am still OK with the added weight on the vest and my back.

Training Plan(s):

  • A run-focused training plan:
    • MON: 8-10 mile run
    • TUE: 20 mile bike
    • WED-FRI: 5-10 mile runs
    • SAT: REST
    • SUN: Long Run – 12-26 miles

Race/Ride Reports:

  • 5/18: Bay to Breakers [report]

GIDDY-UP!

April 2014: The build to Big Sur.

Yep, that’s what April was all about – the final stretch in training for marathon number four.  It was a great month of training.  Some quality runs, though none completed on trails.  Based on my Big Sur race, and in reviewing my April training, I need to do more hill workouts.

I also finalized my 2014 race schedule.  With a theme of “Let’s take it to the next level”, it definitely will be a solid 2014 and, for certain, a pretty challenging second half.  Woohoo!

I did have a quick biz trip to San Diego.  I worked in two runs while there: a 21-miler (last 20+ before Big Sur) and a 10-miler.  Both were great!

HIGH/LOW:

  • HIGH: Ran my fourth marathon and finished with a new PR by 18 seconds.
  • LOW: Not really a LOW; but, based on Big Sur, I discovered that my training needs to include more hill work.

As far as new equipment & such:

  • Altra The One shoes.  With the mileage on my Altra 3-Sums getting up there, I picked up a pair of their The One lightweight running shoes.  They actually are similar to the triathlon-focused 3-Sum and only a half ounce heavier.   I really like The Ones as they do fit similarly to the 3-Sum; however, they seem to be cut slightly different which results in a weird gathering of the upper when I lace them.  I still like the way the feel and run.  These are the shoes I wore for Big Sur and my feet felt great at the finish.  The one change I did make was switching out the stock laces with some Lock Laces that I got free a while back.  The stock laces were too long and I liked the speed laces on the 3-Sum version.  Altra just came out with a new version of this shoe that is getting rave reviews.  I am at 156 miles in these right now, so I will definitely get a pair of The One2 to have waiting in the wings.  I seem to have switched to mostly Altra shoes at this point, using their Lone Peak 1.5 for trail, the Instinct 1.5 for general training, and the 3-Sum and The One for training and races.  Altra has also recently come out with some maximalist shoes that I may try at some point, since I really like the zero-drop/wide toe box aspects of their design.
  • Lock Laces.  See above.  Like them and may use the extra pair I have on my Altra Instinct 1.5s.
  • Tailwind Nutrition.  This is a quick take on this, as I plan to write a review post about Trailwind at some point.  I had been reading about Tailwind on Twitter and Facebook a lot and decided to give it a try, looking at using it instead of my usual gels, salt tabs, and electrolyte drink mix for Big Sur and beyond, if it worked out.  This stuff worked as advertised.  I didn’t miss the gels, salt tabs, and electrolyte drink combo at all.  In fact, even though I didn’t really have stomach issues with the gels, salt tabs, and electrolyte drink combo, I always seemed to have mild diarrhea after a long run or race distances over 13.1 (since I would ingest more quantities.)  I think my stomach just couldn’t handle the combo, though the result was quite a bit milder than some I’ve read about who have switched to Tailwind.  I really like the mild taste (Mandarin Orange is my fav) and it dissolves very fast.  When I did my 21-miler in San Diego and again with Big Sur, I had absolutely no stomach issues and felt fueled sufficiently.  The biggest thing was that I didn’t miss then gels, salt tabs, and electrolyte drink combo at all, which was a concern.  I was nervous about not taking the salt tabs, as the have been good at controlling/minimizing/preventing cramping in my calves; but with Tailwind, I had no cramping on the 21-miler or on Big Sur.  Bottom line, this is a really great product, with a personable owner – they include a note in each shipment and even write your name on the packaging, just for that personal touch.  More to follow about my use of Tailwind in a subsequent post – probably after my June 50K.
  • The North Face Better Than Naked Long Haul Shorts.  My utmost, go to, favorite running shorts have been out of production for a while now: ASICS’ 55 Running Short.  I love having 5 pockets!  I have a good supply of them for training, even a few stashed for the future, but have been looking for an alternative short for a while.  I picked up a pair of TNF Long Hauls and liked them, though they did seem to cause some light chaffing on my left thigh because of a seam on the inner liner – nothing that some Glide couldn’t combat though.  They wear well and the pockets are great.  If I didn’t have a good supply of the ASICSs, I’d consider working these in, though probably only on long runs and races – they are pretty pricey.

2014_APR2

Training Plan(s):

  • A run-focused training plan:
    • MON: 8-10 mile run
    • TUE: 20 mile bike
    • WED-FRI: 5-10 mile runs
    • SAT: REST!
    • SUN: Long Run – 12-26 miles

whitespace!

Race/Ride Reports:

  • 4/27: Big Sur International Marathon [report]

GIDDY-UP!

[so, this is three months late, but here it is…]

My 2014 race schedule is based on a phrase that a colleague of mine uses…a lot: “Let’s take it to the next level”

Since I started running in the fall of 2011, I have deliberately and purposefully taken things slow, working at increasing distance and skill of this this thang I’ve come to greatly enjoy.  I also set the goal back then to run at least one race each month, just to keep myself accountable to a training schedule/plan and to continually challenge myself.

2013 was a very solid year for me: one 10K, eleven half marathons, two full marathons, and a 50K (my first one.)  As I was looking at goals for 2014, I thought about sticking with a consistent core of half marathons that surrounded a couple of full marathons.  There was also the pull to run more trail ultamarathons, as well as having also registered for my first multisport (South Bay Duathlon in March.)  Running ultras was an eventual given and, depending upon how South Bay went, I figured that I would incorporate at least one additional duathlon (if not a triathlon) into 2014.  Finally, in 2013, I rode Foxy’s Century and had blast…should I do it again?  On top of all that, and certainly more important, there was the aspect of looking at home commitments (my amazing wife being #1) – oh, and work too.

So many options.  So many considerations.  What to do…and not do?

At the end of the day, I decided to focus exclusively on what I really enjoy: running (after completing March’s duathlon, of course.)  I really enjoyed duathlon and can see myself doing more of them – triathlon at some point, as well.  I also really enjoyed riding Foxy’s Century as it solidified cycling as another sport for me.  All that said, training correctly for duathlon/triathlon/cycling events would involve carving out a substantial amount of time from a run-focused training plan and, realistically, would not enable me to take my running “to the next level” in 2014.

So, with all that considered, this is the schedule I’ve planned for 2014 [updated on 5/9]:

  • JAN: Brazen New Year’s Day Half Marathon
  • FEB: Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half Marathon
  • MAR: South Bay Duathlon [International] , Inaugural Livermore Half Marathon
  • APR: Big Sur International Marathon
  • MAY: Bay to Breakers
  • JUN: Big Basin 50K Lake Chabot Trail Half Marathon
  • JUL: The San Francisco Marathon
  • AUG: Tamalpa Headlands 50K
  • SEP: Coastal 50K
  • OCT: Skyline to the Sea 50K
  • NOV: Morgan Hill Marathon, Silicon Valley Turkey Trot
  • DEC: The North Face Endurance Challenge – San Francisco 50K, Brazen New Year’s Eve Half Marathon
  • JAN: Brazen New Year’s Day Half Marathon

The count: one 10K, one 12K, six five half marathons, three full marathons, four five 50Ks, and a duathlon.

So, a solid 2014 on tap and, for certain, a pretty challenging second half.  Definitely a year that will be a blast.  Of course, not all these will be run as “A” races.  Some will be preps for the following race (yeah, I’m learning that more and more); but, all will be run with the goal of taking it to the next level in 2014.  I also have one or two TBD events in my back pocket, but those are not definite enough to list… 😀

Giddy-Up!

March 2014: Completed my first multi-sport and have now returned to a run-focused training plan/schedule.

Yep, I can now say I have tried multi-sport – a duathlon, to be specific.  Not just “tried,” I’m hooked…though I am not planning on doing any others in 2014.  I thought about doing others this year; but, at this point, I have too many other running-focused goals set for 2014 to insert training for duathlons and definitely don’t have time for triathlon training.  I will certainly be back for the 2015 South Bay DU and possibly give triathlon a go.

This month, I also decided on the rest of my 2014 schedule.  I’ll share that in a subsequent post, but it’s gonna be a fun and challenging 2014!

No biz trips this past month – WooHoo!

HIGH/LOW:

  • HIGH: First multisport!  More to follow for sure!
  • LOW: Took a spill/tip on my bike, which bothered me for a few weeks and affected my run on the Livermore Half Marathon.

As far as new equipment & such:

  • HydraPak Softflask.  Last month, I picked up a Ultimate Direction SJ Ultra Vest 2.0 and really like it.  The stock UD bottles are OK, but I’d read where people have used a few alternatives: whether other brands of bottles or soft/bladder-type bottles.  I gave my 20 oz. Amphipod bottles a try on a run and liked them better than the UD stock ones – mainly because they lay flat against my chest.  I decided to give the Softflasks a try and picked up a pair at REI with my annual dividend credit.  The Softflask’s capacity is less than the stock UD bottles (I went with the 500ML size since they would fit better in the vest;) but, since most of my runs/races are supported, that should not be an issue.  I actually like the softflasks best, though it took a bit to get used to them on the vest and how to place them in the vest pouches as I drink liquid.  They solve the “sloshing” aspect when compared with standard bottles, but they still make a rubbing noise on the vest as you move.  That wasn’t a huge deal and one that is solved by cinching the bottle tighter in the vest pouch.  They are certainly more comfortable when used on the vest since they conform to my body.  More to follow on them as I use them during my longer training runs.

2014_MAR

Training Program(s):

  • After completing the South Bay Duathlon, I returned to a run-focused training plan – my happy place!  Actually, since I’ve planned my race schedule through the end of the year, I went ahead and planned my training schedule as well.  I switched things up a bit, swapping my Monday ride day with the Tuesday run day; just so I am doing a longer weekday run the day after my weekly long run (I read about training on tired legs in prep for longer distances.)  So, on a standard week, the program schedule is:
    • MON: 10 mile run
    • TUE: 20 mile bike
    • WED-FRI: 5-10 mile runs
    • SAT: REST!
    • SUN: Long Run – 12-26 miles

whitespace!

Race/Ride Reports:

  • 3/8: South Bay Duathlon [report]
  • 3/29: Livermore Half Marathon [report]

GIDDY-UP!