Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Things Learned During My Early Morning Runs...

I like to run in the morning...most of the time I run around 6am...sometimes as early as 5am.....I've learned a few things during my early morning runs....

*Most of my neighborhood is asleep in warm, cozy beds while I am out running in the dark and cold
*I love running by houses that have motion sensor lights on their garage doors and tripping them on
*I regularly see school buses, the newpaper delivery person, and a lady walking her dog
*About 0 out of 10 kids waiting for the school bus ever wave to me, even though I usually wave to them
*Not many morning runners in my neighborhood.....I've only seen one other runner in the last 6 months during my early morning runs, although I have seen some later in the day or evening
*It's hard to see large stones or sticks in the dark....and if there is one in my path, odds are that I'll step on it
*It's amazing how many stop signs are run in the early morning...
*Unless I'm going to run more than 5 miles, I dont' need to eat or drink anything before my morning runs
*I always try to go to the bathroom before my morning runs, so I don't get "stuck"
*It takes my body and mind at least a mile to wake up/loosen up
*Morning runs make me feel more energized for the day

Sunday, March 29, 2009

121 Laps = 11 miles

Yesterday was supposed to be my long run, 11 miles, but we got 7 inches of snow here, so my workout yesterday consisted of shoveling the driveway twice, building a snowman, and beating the boys in a snowball fight.

Today I decided to do my long run indoors, at the YMCA.  It's a short little loop track, and 11 laps equals a mile.  I needed to do 11 miles, which meant 121 dizzying laps.

I have never run indoors before, but I kind of liked not having to deal with traffic, the wind, or hills.  And the soft rubberized surface was a nice change of pace for my feet.  

 I felt really good and if the distance is accurate, I was going at about a 9:20-9:30 pace, faster than my pace outdoors.  I felt really good until the last few laps, when I could feel a blister on the back of my heel.  I was running in some new shoes.  Well, not new technically, they are my Asics that I got at the first of the year, but I hadn't run in them for a couple months since I was testing some New Balance.  

Well I sent the NB back this week and returned to my Asics, with a new insert, and I think the insert raised my foot just enough to cause it to rub on my heel.  I didn't really notice until the last mile or so, but now it's really bugging me.  I will have to see if I continue with the Asics or go back to my Nike's, which I still really love.

By the way, I really love the Orange Burst GU as long run fuel.   I have tried a few GU flavors and decided this one is my favorite.   Hopefully they have some at the OKC race in April.

Side Note:  Just a side note to those that have been asking how I kept track of the laps. I actually didn't.  I kept track of my time.  I timed my laps about every five laps to tell what pace I was on, and ran for an hour and 45 minutes, based on the avg per lap I estimate I ran 11 miles, or 121 laps.  Not an exact science, but pretty accurate I think.

Friday, March 27, 2009

TGIF Foto Friday

Here is my contribution to Nikemom's foto friday.

This is my 6 year old Bryden.  A week or so ago I taught him how to blow a bubble and he thought it was the coolest thing in the world.  We literally spent an hour just blowing bubbles together while watching the Wichita State vs. Pepperdine baseball game.  I like this pic because he is standing next to a mirror and it looks like there are two of him blowing bubbles.

Got a good midweek 7 mile tempo run in on Wednesday and a couple of easy 3 milers.  I have a 10-11 miler planned for tomorrow, but the weather forecast is calling for between 6 and 16 inches of snow in the next 24 hours, so we'll see.  Yeah, blizzard conditions in late March.  Happy  Spring everyone.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Meet Christian Smith....

You may never have heard of Christian Smith, but his story is worth telling. He is a middle distance runner, and graduated from Kansas State University in 2006.

While at K-State, Smith was the NCAA champion in the men's mile at the 2006 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships, and was also a 1500m All-American in 2006, a four-time Indoor All-American (in 2003, 2004, 2005, & 2006), collegiate record holder in the indoor 1000m, and he also holds the indoor 1000m school record and the outdoor 800m and 1500m school records.

But his true fame came because of what he did to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Christian was running the 800m, and was listed by one track and field resource as the “least likely to qualify for the team.” Only the top three places qualified for Beijing.

In order to get that 3rd place spot on the team, Christian had to dive at the finish line. He literally laid out his whole body to edge out pre-race favorite Khadevis Robinson by .06 seconds

Smith’s dive across the line to secure third place epitomizes what the Olympic Trials are all about. He entered the meet with 29th best seed time (he wasn't sure he was even in the race until Alan Webb opted not to run the 800); his 1:45.47 was his best time since 2006. Even more remarkable was that Smith had a burst appendix the previous year. Not appendicitis but a burst appendix. Simply unreal.

I followed Christian’s blog while he was in Beijing (he didn’t make it past the qualifying round), and it was really cool to see a hometown Kansas kid make it to the world stage. His drive and determination during the Olympic qualifying run should be an inspiration to all runners.

Missy Maintains is having a giveaway, if you like free stuff check it out

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Double Digits Baby!

After barely missing my first double digit (10 mile) run last weekend, I was motivated to get it in this weekend.  And I am happy to say that I did!   I did this run as part of the Hooray Spring Six Miler, even though I went ten.

I'll call this run my Tri-City Run since technically I ran into three different cities.   My son had a soccer game in neighboring Valley Center this morning (they won 5-1), so I started the run right after the game, ran into Wichita, then over to Park City.   I knew it was going to be right around a 10 min/mile pace and would at least be 10 miles (didn't want to short myself again).   As it turns out, it was 10.81 miles, in 1:47:10, a pace of 9:54, right about where I thought I'd be.  

With my first half marathon coming up in about a month, getting some double digit runs in will really boost my confidence I think.   I will say that the last 2-3 miles of this run, the bottoms of my feet and toes were killing me.  Everything else--legs, breathing, mental, etc--was great, except for my feet.   Not sure if it's the inserts I'm using or the shoes I'm testing for New Balance, or maybe I just haven't conditioned my feet to take that kind of pounding yet.  They were really sore by the end of the run.   I immediately plopped myself down into an ice bath:


Looking forward to going to a concert tonight with my dad and brothers, just a guys night out.  We're going to see a guitarist named Tommy Emmanuel.  I've never seen him but I've heard he is amazing.   

Happy Spring everyone!

Thursday, March 19, 2009


My training plan called for 8 miles today, including 4 miles of speedwork (or in my case, slowwork)......I hadn't done any speedwork or intervals for a while, and the workout today kicked my butt.......I got up way early because I knew I needed to get 8 miles in before work....however, I adjusted the training plan a bit and did 7 miles, including 2 miles of speed work and 2 miles of fartleks...

I had never done fartleks before, but my buddy Isaac has suggested them to me a couple times, and he's much faster than me so I decided I'd better listen to him.......Anyway, I ran them in the dark this morning and kind of liked them.....I guess there are different kinds of fartleks, but I just went from telephone pole to telephone pole alternating between running hard, jogging, and walking....if there are other variations of how you do fartleks, I'd love to hear about them......

For some reason I just kept thinking about what a funny word "fartlek" is...how did it get that name anyway?  "fartlek, fartlek, fartlek" kept going through my head....Last night I gave my son a toy called "Dr Fart" that makes farting noises when you press a button....of course he thought it was the best present in the word....anyway, maybe we should invent a Dr Fartlek that does these workouts for you when you press a button...

Taking a rest day tomorrow and then doing between 6-10 on Saturday as the Hooray Spring 6 miler

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Greetings from the Big D

The Big D

Lisa and I go home tomorrow, but we've really had a good time in Dallas.....the weather was absolutely beautiful and we did a lot of fun stuff--IKEA, Mavs game, Dave and Busters, Dick's Last Resort, shopping, the zoo, etc, etc.... Our hotel was a very trendy type of hotel, called aLoft, and it didn't even feel like a hotel. It felt like an apartment, very hip and trendy. It was great. It was right on the freeway, but I was able to run each day behind the hotel into a corporate building area. The first day I ran, I created a 3 mile route that I ran each day. Most of the path was on wide roads without shoulders or sidewalks, but a portion of it went through a parking lot of one of the corporate buildings, and another part of it was on a dirt trail. I loved the looks I got on the second day when I ran right past the outdoor smoking area of one of the buildings. All the smokers were out there, maybe on a break, and the look on there face was like "what the heck are you doing?" It felt good to get some runs in, and I felt extra healthy running past those smokers.

The Zoo Experience

Lisa and I love going to zoos. Whenever we take a trip somewhere, we always try to go to the zoo. We have been in many zoos all over the country. So, we decided to go to the Dallas Zoo on St Patricks Day. Evidently, about half the city of Dallas also decided to go to the zoo as well. I've never seen a zoo so busy. The exit off the highway to get to the zoo was backed up about a mile, and we were stuck in bumper to bumper traffic for about 30 minutes just exiting the highway. Then, once we exited and went about a block to the zoo, the parking lot was full, so we were directed to the overflow lot, and we were at the very far end of that lot. We had to walk about a mile from our parking spot to the entrance. Then, when we got to the entrance, the lines were crazy busy and long. Literally we spent an hour and a half just exiting the highway, driving a block, parking the car, and walking to the front of the zoo. We almost turned around and left a couple times, but we had already invested too much time. Plus, it was a nice day to walk around at the zoo. So after spending $30 between toll charges, parking, and admission, I was really looking forward to seeing what the Dallas Zoo had to offer......but after walking around for awhile, I started noticing a trend. See if you can figure it out:

And these are just some of the exhibits that were closed due to construction or whatever. I was really disappointed that the otters were off exhibit, I love the otters. And, of the exhibits that were open, the animals were either laying in the shade taking naps or hiding in caves or underneath bushes or something. With so many people at the zoo, I was surprised that so much of it was closed. It seemed like we saw more zoo workers than animals, seriously.

Anyway, it gave me a whole new appreciation for our zoo back home, it's pretty great I think. Hope everyone is having an awesome spring break week!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

My Longest Run Yet.....

The long run
Today I had planned to do an 8 miler, which is the longest distance I've run previously.  I did that distance twice about 2 months ago and then I injured my foot and had to stop running briefly.  Since I started running again, the longest I've gone was 6.  So, I thought I'd stretch and try to hit 8, especially with my first half marathon coming up in just over a month.

But as I went out the door, in the back of my mind I think I wanted to try to hit double digits, as in 10 miles.  It was a pretty nice day out, although just a tad chilly.  There was not much wind, and I was feeling good.   When I finished the run, my Nike+ said 10.55 miles--yep double digits.  Woo-hoo, I thought.  However, not always trusting my Nike + when it comes to distances, I pulled up MapMyRun and discovered I only went 9 miles. (I really need to get a Garmin)  I didn't get the double digits like I thought, but I still achieved my longest run ever, so I felt pretty good about that.  (yes, I realize that for many of you, 9 miles is a not that far, but for me it was an accomplishment)

The last couple miles of the run, I was really feeling how out of shape I still am.  I was struggling, and took a few walk breaks.  I should have taken some water or gu or something, I was seriously lacking energy.   And I was sweating like a pig at the end because I overdressed and it warmed up.    I like to weigh myself after my runs, and I literally lost like 3 or 4  pounds.   Don't worry, I'm sure I'll gain it back by the end of the day.   (For some reason I like to weigh myself after my runs, does anyone else do this?  Psychologically I think I trick myself into thinking I'm losing weight (and maybe I am a bit).)

The Big D
Tomorrow after church my wife and I are dropping the boys off at my parents and heading for a 3 day getaway to the Big D (Dallas).   It's the first trip of this length we've taken without the kids and we're looking forward to some alone time and doing some fun stuff and just hanging out together.  We are really looking forward to it, and thankful to my folks for taking the kids.  I'm hoping to get in a run or two while there, depending on where the hotel is located.  We really have no plans other than going to a Mavericks basketball game, and going to IKEA.  

Friday, March 13, 2009

TGIF Foto Friday....

Here is my contribution to this week's Foto Friday by Nikemom.  

Yes, these are my children.  Can anyone say "too much fun with markers?"

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Hello Darkness, and Coldness, My Old Friend....

Dark and Cold Again
So just when it was getting light outside for my early morning runs, and I was starting to not need a running light (or at least turn it off mid-run), Daylight Savings Time says "psych!" and has me running in the dark again....

And just when I was starting to be able to wear shorts and t-shirts for a few of my runs, Mother Nature says "psych!" and brings on some more chilly weather.....

Just when I think we are on the verge of spring,  when I can start stripping the layers for my runs, I had to bundle up in the darkness again this morning....

Despite the cold and dark, I did get in an easy 4.5 miles this morning and felt pretty good....I feel like my training is getting back on track after being sidelined 3 weeks with an injury and my legs are getting stronger....    

New Music
I downloaded some songs from the new U2 album to listen to during my run, and really like "Magnificent" as a running song.  When the full band kicks in (after the long intro) it's really great.  Check it out if you're looking for some running music, or if you like U2.   Some of the songs on the new album will have to grow on me, but U2 is still one of my favorite bands.    I also downloaded some new warmup/cool down music, Griffin House.  Really cool music, in the vein of Jason Mraz or Jack Johnson.    Griffin House is great music to just have on in the background when you have friends over, just cool chill out music.

Basketball Update
First off, we didn't win the championship game last night.  Second off, we SHOULD have won.  We were up at halftime and it was back and forth the whole game, very close.  The other team went up by two with 6 seconds to go, so we had one last shot at it, but the referee called a very lame charging foul in the open court, something that should have been a non-call, and they made two free throws to win by 4 points.  It was heartbreaking, but still a lot of fun.  We had tons of fans there (they had to bring out extra chairs even), there were 3 referees, a scoreboard, and an announcer. It felt like a real basketball game instead of just a bunch of old guys trying to relive their glory days.  

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Nice day for a mud fight.....

Today was a beautiful day....warmer than yesterday, not nearly as windy, and the sun was out all day.  It was such a nice day out (after huddling in the basement during last night's tornado warning), that I decided to get out the hose and clean out the gutters on the house.   Somehow it turned into a mud fight for my boys....here is some of the aftermath........

I also decided to go for a run, and got in about 4 miles....Overall it was a good run but my legs were a little tired towards the end, probably from the resistance run against the wind yesterday.  It felt nice today to run without any wind...well, there was a breeze, but nothing like yesterday....I haven't checked the weather forecast but I'm hoping for a week of nice weather....

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Wind, Wind, Go Away

I went out for my 6 miler Saturday morning and just about got blown over.  This is Kansas after all, and I know it's windy about 390 days out of the year, but I was really looking forward to a good run and the wind just put a kink in my plans.....the first 3 miles was pretty much straight into a strong headwind....there were a couple times where I felt like I was standing still even though my feet were moving.  It was brutal and no fun. And I was exhausted the rest of the day, not so much from the run, but from the wind, it just drains my energy for some reason.

I was planning on doing 8 miles, but after I got out and started running in the wind, I cut it down to 6.  It was still a decent run, just windy, and slow.

Might do an easy run tomorrow depending on the weather (we're in the middle of a tornado warning right now...again, welcome to Kansas).  Or, I might rest and save my legs for a big basketball game Monday night.

My basketball team ended up finishing 2nd in the league and we are in the championship game of the postseason tournament on Monday night.  Looking forward to a good game.   The team we're playing lost to us and beat us, so this is the tie breaker.  Wish us luck!

Friday, March 6, 2009

TGIF Photo Friday....

Here is my contribution to Nikemom's TGIF photo friday.   Last summer we took a trip to the Omaha Zoo, and had a great time.   This was one of my favorite pictures from the trip, even though it's not at the zoo.   We were down near the river walking around and my wife snapped this picture of me and our boys walking across a bridge holding hands.    I just love the shadowing and story that it tells, "daddy and boys."

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Excuses, Excuses.....

It's easy to find a reason not to exercise. But if you face up to what's holding you back, you can make it happen. Below are some of the biggest roadblocks people hit when trying to get exercise – and the best ways to get past them!

I'd like to get started on my exercise plan but I can't find the time. The only way to find time to exercise is to make it a priority. Think of it this way: The time you spend exercising may add years to your life. You may need to make some sacrifices now to fit in exercise, but in the long run it's time well spent. Here are some tips on fitting exercise in:
*Schedule your exercise time in advance and keep to it!
*Talk to your family and friends to make sure they know your exercise time is important.
*Exercise instead of watching TV! Or find ways to keep yourself active while watching your favorite shows. Exercise bicycles and treadmills allow for TV-time exercise.
*Break your exercise session into smaller parts. If you don't have an hour to exercise, schedule two 20-minute sessions.
*The early bird gets the workout! Try waking up 30 minutes earlier and begin your day with your exercise session. Instead of feeling tired from losing the sleep, you may actually feel more energized from your workout.

I feel overwhelmed when I go to the gym. How do I know what to do first? Aside from hiring a trainer, here are some tips for maximizing gym time if you're on your own:
*Find a fitness buddy! A partner at the gym can help motivate you, can act as a spotter when weight training and can help keep the experience fun. If possible, find someone who has a bit more experience at the gym, so you have a fitness mentor!
*Have a plan! When you get to the gym you should know exactly what you want to accomplish that day. When weight training you can alternate upper and lower body exercises, when doing cardiovascular workouts alternate between exercise machines and running. The important thing is you have a plan you can stick to.
*Turn on the music! Using headphones is a great way to keep motivated and focused.

I seem to have hit a plateau with my training. What can I do? A plateau is a point in your training when you don't feel that your body is responding positively to exercise. If you've hit a plateau, or want to avoid one, use this checklist.
*Change it up! The first step when you've hit a plateau is to get new forms of exercise into the mix. If you generally run, try cycling, swimming or another activity. The key is to keep pushing your body in new ways.
*Check your diet. Are you providing your body with the nutrients it needs? If not, your body may not respond as well to exercise.
*Get some sleep! Not getting enough sleep can also lead you to hit a training wall. Shoot for eight hours per night for optimal training. If you've been pushing yourself hard, take a few days off. Plateaus can often come from overtraining.

I can't afford a gym membership. How can I get into shape? You can keep yourself in shape without joining a gym. That's why I love running. The key is creating a routine that you can stick to. Some tips:
*Create an "exercise space" in your home. Even if it's just in your living room! Lay down a mat to do flexibility and strength exercises.
*Research home exercise videos. They can help you get a great cardio workout at home. Again, make sure you don't get distracted!
*Create a neighborhood walking/running group. Get some friends together and plan two or three sessions per week.

I have children, how do I find the time to exercise? This is a tricky one. Making time for anything when you have kids is difficult. It's easy to let exercise go. But if you get creative you can make it happen. Here are some ideas:
*Take turns with your spouse watching the children while the other gets exercise.
*Try to find a health club that offers daycare. There are many options out there, be sure to research the facility and talk to other parents who use it.
*If you have young children, looking into "running strollers" that let you run with your child.
*If your kids are a little older, get them involved! Find fun ways to exercise with your kids. You can get a good workout playing catch, swimming together or just taking a brisk walk. If you're more adventurous, plan a trip and go hiking or skiing together.

I travel a lot. How can I maintain my current fitness level while on the road?Don't use traveling as an excuse to ditch your workout! Here are some ways you can stay with it on the road:
*Plan ahead! Select hotels that have fitness facilities on-site or have a relationship with health clubs in the area. Going to the gym while on the road is a great way to reduce stress and exercise muscles that have gotten tense during your travels.
*Can't get to the gym? Do some basic strength and flexibility exercises in your room. Each morning take a run or a brisk walk to keep up with your cardio fitness.

I'm ready to start an exercise program. How do I get started?Getting started is the hardest part of getting in shape. At the beginning you may want to start slow. Find small ways to get more active. Walk more often. Eventually you can work up to a full-scale fitness routine. Here are some things to keep in mind when getting started:
*Get informed. Do some homework on the various types of exercise programs that are out there. Pilates? Yoga? Kickboxing?
*Decide what type of exercise best suits you and your fitness goals. Areas to look at are cardiovascular fitness, flexibility and strength conditioning levels.
*Set short-term, attainable and measurable goals. The more goals you achieve, the more motivated you will be to keep going.

A Virtual Run -the Hooray Spring 6 Miler

Running Laur is hosting a Virtual Run on and around March 21st to celebrate the beginning of spring--the Hooray Spring 6 miler. Check it out and sign up!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Running By the Numbers.......

In case you were wondering..........

(These fun facts come from the Runner’s World blog of Dean Karnazes the “Ultra Marathon Man” who ran 50 marathons in 50 consecutive days last year for a good cause)

- In 2007, there were a billion pairs of running shoes sold worldwide

- Estimates are that there are upwards of 75 million total runners in the USA (includes all levels and abilities)

Of the 8,000 dedicated runners surveyed in the 2007 National Runner Survey:
- 53% of these runners are Male, 47% are Female
- 94% are college educated
- 93% run at least 3 days/week, 64% at least 4 days/week, 35% run 5 or more days/week
- 35% have never completed a marathon, 64% have finished at least 1 or more, 33% have finished at least 4 or more, 17% have finished 10 or more marathons

Those are the macro trends, here are some of our personal preferences (always more interesting). In the last 30 days, 28% of us have had 5 or more glasses of red wine, 26% have had 5 or more regular beers, and 23% have had 5 or more light beers. Only 16% have had 5 or more mixed drinks.

What do we think about when we run? Food, sex, work, in that order.

- Half of us listen to music while running

- 15% of us use a GPS device

- 17% of us buy our running shoes online

In the last 12 months, we’ve purchased an average of 2.9 pairs of running shoes.

Guess what our favorite restaurant chains are?
1. Subway (61%)
2. Olive Garden (43%)
3. P.F. Chang’s (35%)

Interestingly, McDonald’s came in at 20%.

When it comes to shoe brands, Asics dominates with 32%. Nike comes in at 14%, Brooks and New Balance are locked at 12%, and Saucony isn’t far behind at 11%.

Although we’re running in Asics, we’re wearing Nike. Nearly 60% of us own Nike sports apparel, almost double the closest competitors (Asics, Under Armour and Adidas all came in around 31%).

The half-marathon is our favorite distance (40%), followed by the marathon (18%), and then the 10K (15%). Only 1.8% said the ultra-marathon was their favorite distance.

As for race size, the largest races in the world are as follows:
1. JPMorgan Corporate Challenge: Frankfurt 3.5 Mile (60,000 finishers)
2. Atlanta Peachtree 10K (55,253 finishers)
3. Sydney City2Surf 14K (54,900 finishers)

The largest marathons are:
1. ING NYC Marathon (38,607 finishers)
2. London Marathon (35,701 finishers)
3. Berlin Marathon (32,530 finishers)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Meet Mitch Richmond....

If  you don't know who Mitch Richmond is,  let me enlighten you.   Mitch Richmond is probably one of the best basketball players you've never heard of.

He played basketball for my beloved Kansas State Wildcats in the late eighties, leading them to the Elite Eight round in the NCAA Tourney.  

 He went on to play 14 season in the NBA with the Golden State Warriors/Sacramento Kings/Washington Wizards/LA Lakers and made the All Star team six times, including All Star MVP honors in 1995.   He also earned a championship ring with the Lakers in 2002.

He was the 1989 NBA Rookie of the Year, and earned Olympic medals with two USA Dream Teams, one gold and one bronze.  

He is one of only 7 players in NBA history to average at least 21 points a game in his first 10 seasons.  The others are Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabar, Shaquille Oneal, Oscar Robertson, and Allen Iverson.   Pretty impressive company to keep.

Why do I tell you all this?  Because he is one of my favorite K-State athletes, and we got to see him get his number retired (#23) at the KSU-Nebraska game last night.   Here is a picture I took of him, kind of blurry.  He was great player and a class act.  Addressing the crowd at half time,  he said "Once a Wildcat, always a Wildcat."  

In case you can't tell, I bleed purple.