Friday, January 30, 2009

The week in review.....

The early part of this past week was very rough for running. It was cold, with sub-zero windchills, and there was snow and ice on the ground. Uck. Spring can't come fast enough for me.

Even so, a couple of those mornings I had mentally prepared to get up early, bundle up good, and get out there for my runs, only to succumb to the warmth and magnetic pull of my bed. I just couldn't bring myself to leave the comfort of my mattress. Ever have that happen?

Well mid-week it finally started warming up, and I couldn't wait to get out there to run.
After work Wednesday (it was above 40 degrees I think), I rushed home, changed into my running gear and went for a 3 miler....I went at about a 8:40 pace and I felt really was great to be outside again....most of the snow/ice had melted...and I also tried my first GU before this run...I wanted to try it on a shorter run to see how my body would tasted good (Tri-Berry) and I didn't throw up or, I am going to start trying to use them on my longer runs now.....

Thursday after work I went for another 3 miler before my basketball game and it was another fantastic run. I felt great and it was nice to be able to wear shorts outside again.

Midway through that run, though, a herd of 11 deer crossed the road about 50 yards in front of me. They were going from one field to another. I was wishing I had my camera because it was the coolest thing. It looked something like this:

I live in a suburb of Wichita, which is a city of about 400,000. One of the nice things about living on the outskirts is it's close to the city life, but I still get to do a lot of my runs on country roads where there aren't many houses, just fields. It's nice because I don't have to deal with traffic as much as I would in the city.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My Running Advice

My Running Advice

To anyone considering taking up running, or racing in their first 5K, I want to offer some advice from my own experience. Since I have only been running for about 6 months now, I am certainly not an expert, and this list is by no means exhaustive, but writing this list helped me to reflect and think about the things I've learned these last 6 months. This is also part of my submission to the Runner's Lounge book project.

Don’t worry about your pace. In the beginning you will be slow. Everyone is. Heck, I still am. You will see others running faster and be tempted to become frustrated. Don’t. Just take it easy and run at your own pace. Over time speed will come and you will become faster, but don’t make that your primary goal.

Run where you are. By that I mean, make running convenient for you. Don’t make it such a chore that you have to drive somewhere to do it, or have to have someone with you. Just open your front door and start running. Put one foot in front of the other. Run around your neighborhood. You’ll be surprised at the things you’ll learn about your neighbors by just running around. And, you will eliminate some of the excuses for not running if all you have to do is open the door and put one foot in front of the other.

Be flexible. If the run you had planned doesn’t work out due to scheduling or weather, don’t worry about it. Do it another day, or at another time. It’s good to try to pre-plan runs, but if they don’t work out exactly as you had anticipated, don’t sweat it. Life happens and things get busy. Just work in your runs as you are able.

Listen to yourself. That means listen to what your body and mind are telling you, before during, and after your runs. The three things that I really try to pay attention to when running are my body, my breathing, and my mental state. Honestly, I think mental state is probably most important. When my mental state is right, it usually doesn’t matter how my body feels. And when all three things, body, breathing, and mental state, are clicking, then it makes for a great run.

Get the right tools. For me, this meant investing in some high quality shoes, buying some clothing that “wicks” (yes, I had to learn what that term meant), and getting some shiny things to wear when I run in the dark. In the winter here, it is dark pretty much all the time before and after work, so I needed to find a way to run safely on the streets in my neighborhood.

Track your runs. I have two ways that I track my runs. I know, it's probably overkill. I have a paper journal that I write in after my runs. I put down how far I went, how I felt, what the weather was like, and anything else I want to put down. It’s an old fashioned paper and pen journal, and it is fun to look back and read my thoughts about previous runs. I also track my running with my Nike+ sensor through the Nike+ web site, and that has proven to be a great way to electronically track and record my runs. There are also many other websites and tracking tools out there.

Get connected to the running community. Don’t be a lone ranger. Find a podcast, a blog, a website, a friend, or a running group, that you can get connected to. Support and encouragement is very important and getting connected helps with your motivation and continued success with your running. Getting to know others that love running gives you a place to share your experiences, both good and bad, with running. Runners are great people, and very welcoming to talk about running with others. I have learned a lot about running by just asking questions to others.

Get the right fuel. Think about what you are putting into your body. Running and exercise is just half of the equation. Eating right is the other half. If you eat right, you will be well fueled for a good run. And conversely, if you eat wrong, you will pay for it on that long run.

Stretch. This is something that I learned I was not very good at, and took me getting injured to realize it. I got plantar faciitis in my left foot. Every time I got out of bed in the morning, I could hardly put my heel on the floor because of the pain. As I walked around, the foot loosened up and it was fine. But I learned that this was likely due to me not stretching. Your feet and legs take quite a pounding on the pavement, so treat them well and stretch them out. Stretch more after your runs. Do just a light stretch before your run just to loosen up, and then stretch more after your muscles are warmed up, either mid run or afterwards.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Running and Washing....


Saturday I ran 8 miles at about a 10 min plan called for 7 but I like to in the morning was very cold, like -6 with I waited until the afternoon when it was a little bit warmer (at least the sun was shining) and went with my buddy Adam for about the first 7 miles.....

I'm finding that it's nice to have someone to run with on long runs....we just talk throughout the run...and when I first started running about 6 months ago, I never would have thought that talking and running at the same time was possible....I guess it is...
I had some frost/ice in my beard when I got done with the run....let me just say that I am very ready for spring/summer weather to get here.....

Sunday was either a rest or crosstrain day and I had planned on doing some core work, but it turned into a lazy family day (rest day) and we had a Wii and pizza night......

Penguin Sport Wash

I was sent some samples of Penguin Sport Wash to try out and review. It's a laundry detergent designed for athletic apparel. I've heard of several laundry detergents lately that are designed for runners. I had no idea there was a niche market for detergent for athletes/runners. Anway, I tried it out today on some of my smelly running gear. First let me say that the sample seemed really small, and the amount of detergent in the pouch didn't seem like it would be enough to get all my clothes clean, even though it said "one load" on the package. It turned out to be plenty, and has me thinking that maybe I am using too much detergent on my regular laundry. Maybe it doesn't take as much as I think. Anyway, the clothes turned out soft and clean and fresh, so the Penguin Sport Wash did the trick. However, I am not convinced that it anything different than my regular laundry detergent.

Since I couldn't tell any difference from washing one load of laundry, let me at least leave you with the company's explanation from their web site:

"Outperforming your performance wear? If you are washing it with regular detergent, then you are. Residues left by regular detergents trap moisture which cause odor, and block ther performance-enhancing features of your gear.
Penguin Sport-Wash is no regular detergent.
Its residue-free, non-allergenic formula is deisgned to keep high-tech fabric at peak performance and odor-free by washing away residues left by regular detergents, removing dirt, neutralizing bacteria, and restoring breathability, moisture-wicking, and factory applied waterproofing (DWR). "

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Moment in Time....

I found the coolest picture online ---a 1,474 megapixel photo of the innauguration
I honestly have never seen anything like this.

If you click on this link  you will have an opportunity to see a moment caught in time like no other.
Faces are crystal clear.   Zoom in and you can probably see what is caught in Obama’s teeth and the lady in the 354th row sleeping.

What interesting things can you find in the picture?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Let's Just Walk Everywhere, part two....

Okay, so remember when I said we should just walk everwhere? Turns out I was right.....

I am seriously thinking I should move somewhere that allows me to walk to work, my kids to walk to school, my wife to walk to the store, etc, etc....

Cars are from the devil, as proven by the $1500 repair bill for my wifes van today, just two weeks after a $600 bill. And I still need at least $500 worth of work done on my car.....

So either I need to start walking everywhere, or become a mechanic, and I don't think I have a mechanic future (just ask my wife).........

I ran an easy 2 this morning and have cross training tonight, playing basketball...our team is undefeated and so is the team we're's the battle of the unbeatens...I might just take out my car aggression on that other team......

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Blah Run is Better than No Run......

Today was a "blah" running's why:

* Today was speedwork day, which always kicks my butt
* I had side cramps throughout the run
* I had to go to the bathroom for the last 3 miles
* I felt like I didn't have any energy, and my legs were heavy
* My headphones kept popping out of my ear
* I just wasn't mentally into the run like I should have been
* I didn't find any money

Ran 5 miles total, including 2 miles of speedwork, but I was glad when I was done.....

Monday, January 19, 2009

It Pays to Run...Literally...

So I went for a nice easy 3-miler this morning in the dark, and about halfway into it I ran past what looked like a pile of money on the ground...there was just enough of the street light hitting it that I wasn't sure....I kept jogging but my curiousity was getting the best of me so I turned around and went's what I found:

In all, 44 pennies (including one wheat penny and one Canadian penny), and one dime. Hey, in this economy I'll take 54 cents. That's enough to buy an apple or a banana.

My kids were so excited that I actually found money on my run. They couldn't believe it. Maybe I can convice them to come running with me now.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Today's Long Run

Today the training plan called for 6 miles, but it was so nice out and I felt so good I went 8.  No stopping, at a nice easy 10 min pace.  It was a great run, and I think I am going to sign up for the Oklahoma City half marathon today or tomorrow.  That will give me a target date.  I had been looking at possibly the Abilene half or the St Louis half, but due to family scheduling activities I think the OKC one will work out best.   Plus it's only a couple hours away.  

Barking mad...
The excitement on today's run happened at about mile 6 when two dogs, a pit bull and a St Bernard, charged out from a house and started barking and nipping at my heels.....I had to speed up and cross the street, but they chased me for about 100 yards.   It  was just a little scary. My wife said I should call animal control, but I think I'll just try to avoid running by that house.

There's a snake in my boot!

Last night we didn't have anything to do, so we went to the rodeo.  Actually it was the PBR (professional bull riding) event.  I have never been to a rodeo, despite living in Kansas for all of my life.  I'm more of a city slicker.   The kids were excited and had fun.   They put on their cowboy hats and boots.  I put on my Dallas Cowboys jersey.  Throwback retro Troy Aikman.   

Here's a pic of the three cowboys:

PS -- The rodeo was quite a cultural event...... I don't think I've ever seen so many pickup trucks, camouflaged shirts, people chewing tobacco, cowboy hats, etc.  in my life.....

Friday, January 16, 2009

TGIF Foto Friday

This is my contribution to Nikemom's TGIF Foto Friday. This is from a trip that Lisa and boys took last summer to Lincoln, Illinois, and they visited the Abraham Lincoln museum in Springfield. See if you can find the "real" people in the picture.
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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Possession of Bob...(Biggest Loser)

The Biggest Loser

Last night I had a TV dilemma--3 things were on that I wanted to watch, and my DVR can only record 2 things at a time.

We hardly ever watch live TV anymore, it's always DVR'd, unless it's sports. I love not having to watch the commercials. If you don't have a DVR, you should get one. You can watch an hour show in about 40 minutes, it saves so much time. Anyway, so here is how I tackled the dilemma. I ended up watching the Kansas State vs KU basketball game live (K-State lost unfortunately), then we watched the premiere of American Idol and then Biggest Loser.

Since there was so much TV to watch, I ended up fast forwarding through some parts of Biggest Loser, mostly the background stories and such. But, I got to see most of it and I am really glad we watched it, because I think it was a great episode.

When Bob got upset at Joelle and started screaming at her, I was thinking "man, he's lost it." It was so out of character for him. And then when he said at the weigh in that he "got possessed by Jillian" I thought that was hillarious. Totally true. Jillian is always the one that screams and get irate and pushes her group, and Bob is usually the calm, easy going one, so it was funny to see the switch. But hey, he got Joelle to do the 30 seconds on the mill, right?

It seemed like everyone was upset with Joelle and was hoping she would fall below the yellow line. But, it wasn't to be. The bottom two were Jerry (the oldest guy) and Daniel (the heaviest guy). Sad because, in my opinion, these are probably the two that need to be on the Biggest Loser ranch the most. So, it was too bad that either of them had to go home. I think they made the right choice, though. Daniel has so much weight to lose, and I think he really needs the support and encouragement from the show. And Jerry has a wife that will be able to help him back home continue his weight loss. It was great to see at the end that Jerry had lost 84 pounds! Very inspirational. Just confirms that you can lose weight at home, and you don't have to be on the BL ranch.

As for the temptation, $25,000 would sure tempt me to step across the line. Joelle definitely was close to giving in. I am glad none of them did, and I think mentally it reinforces for them the reason they are there and their own commitment to losing weight and getting healthy.

Other Biggest Loser thoughts:
* It was sad to see Daniel's friend eating french fries and hot dogs back home. If that is any indication, I don't see him doing too well. But, they may have just been showing him in a moment of weakness for TV effect. At least he had a glass of water to wash down his fries and dogs.
*Has anyone noticed the blatant product placement on the show this year? Last week it was Breta water filters, and this week it was Extra sugar free gum. Pretty hilarious.
*Jerry's wife throwing away all that food from her kitchen cabinets? Couldn't help but wish she would have taken it to a homeless shelter or food pantry or something.
*Can't believe Tara only lost 1 pound. She is the one I really thought would do well on the show.
*It was fun to watch Jillian's reaction when Bob got upset. He's going to need to do some yoga and take some blood pressure meds after his outburst.
* I hate it at the weigh in when they cut to commercial and everyone is shaking their heads like it's awful

Did some core workouts last night while watching the game.

Today the Smart Coach training plan called for Speed Work. This was my first time EVER doing speed work, and I think I have a lot to learn, mostly in terms of pacing (see yesterday's blog). I also don't think I like speed work.

Anyway, my run looked like this:
1 mile warm up
1 mile at 7:15 min pace (was supposed to be 8:56 pace, went way to fast and I was spent)
1/2 mile jog
1 mile at 8:20 pace (closer to the 8:56 pace goal)
1 mile cool down

I think I am going to tweak my training plan, as I think I have a half marathon picked out for this spring. More to come on that later.

Even though K-State lost the game, I got a cute pic of my 6 year old, who came out during the game and said "I'm going to kill KU." (The duckies in picture are apparently his version of Jayhawks.)

Monday, January 12, 2009

That Was Easy?

I'm sure you've seen the Staples red buttons that say "That Was Easy" when you press them.

I think I need one that asks the question "Was That Easy?"

I started a half marathon training plan, about a week ago, even though I am not sure what half I am going to do this spring, I'm just pretty sure I'm going to do one, so I wanted to get to training.

I printed off a training plan from the Runner's World web site, and today called for a 2 mile "easy run." I actually went 3 miles, and tried to go at an easy pace (according to the plan, 11 min miles), but I ended up hitting like 8:45-9 min miles, but there were parts of it that felt easy. I am no good at pacing. I can never tell what pace I am running at. And I think there is very little difference in what I "feel" from a 8:30 min pace to a 10 min pace. So, that will make it tough to keep my runs on track with the "prescribed pacing" during my training. Right now I am more concerned with getting the miles in than the pacing, but with the longer runs I know that pacing will be imporant.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Let's Just Walk Everywhere....

Cars are great.  I mean, I don't know how we would survive without them.  They help us get places faster, they allow us to have jobs further than a few miles away, they keep us connected, etc, etc...I love the fact that someone invented cars.

But, as one who lacks automotive repair skills, when I have to fork out $600 for car repairs, like I did yesterday, it makes me wish that everything was in walking distance.  I know that is not realistic, although I have heard of people turning to biking/running to and from work.  Not sure I could do that.   Just not practical for my situation.  For those that can do it,  I think it's great, and I am jealous.   If I lived closer to work I might actually consider it.  But I don't.

I ran 6 miles with my friend Adam yesterday.  It was a good run, at a nice easy pace, except that it was cold and my mustache/beard ended up with frost/ice in it.  The first half was into the wind and cold.   This was really my first time running with somebody.  It was pretty fun, we talked the whole way.  He is training for the OKC marathon in April, and I am thinking about joining him for the Half.   Not sure I want to bite off doing a full just yet.  Hopefully we'll get to do a few more runs together since we live so close to one another.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

How Old is Your Brain?

Here's a little game that a buddy forwarded to me. I scored a 31 on my first attempt and a 23 on my second. Below are the instructions. So I guess my brain got 8 years younger in a matter of 10 minutes, according to this thing.

The site instructions are in Japanese, so read below
1. Click "Start"
2. You'll see a count down of 3,2,1 and then a series of number will flash
3. Memorize the number's position on the screen and then click the circle from where you remember seeing the "lowest" number to the "highest" number.
4. At the end of game, the computer will tell you the age of your brain.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Can you play basketball in running shoes?

"Want to play some basketball?" was the question my pastor asked me a couple weeks ago. My first thought was "can you play basketball in running shoes?" and then my next thought was "hey that might be a good cross training activity to break up all the running." So I said yes. I figured I would show up, hang around by the 3 point line and take a shot every now and then, and get some exercise. Maybe even play defense once in a while. I didn't really plan on doing too much because I didn't want to twist an ankle by playing basketball in my running shoes. I haven't had basketball shoes for years.

What I didn't know at the time was that this is a competitive men's league that plays in a church. Some of the churches "recruit from the outside" and bring in really big, strong, ultra-competitive players. I almost backed out when I learned this, but since I had already committed I felt obligated. Besides, there were 8 other guys on the team, I probably wouldn't even play that much.

So I showed up for our game and the other team is already there, with matching shirts, running lay-up drills. They were big, and they looked good. We looked like the Bad News Bears compared to them, and I was certain we were going to killed.

And there are referees. Two of them. Wearing official referee shirts. With whistles and everything. Yes, for a men's league at a church.

My plan to hang around on the perimeter and not do much was thwarted when our coach told me to play down low and "put a body on the big guys." I tried to just stand there and get in the way as much as possible.

None of us had played any basketball for years, and we never had played together, so the first half was pretty much just feeling out the game and each other and trying to remember what we were supposed to do. We were down by 4 at the half, and were happy to have kept it that close.

The second half, though, we came out firing. We kicked it up a notch on defense. We tied it with about 4 minutes to go.

In the end it came down to free throws and making shots, and we actually won the game. By ten points. I was in shock.

Of course I didn't do too much. I played pretty poorly. I made 3 shots I think. And missed about that many. Including an air ball. And I turned the ball over a couple of times. But overall I had fun and got a good workout running up and down the court. I could tell that I worked out many muscles in some new ways that I wasn't used to working.

So the answer to the question "can you play basketball in running shoes?" is "yes." But if you are me, not very well.

It's Great to be a Florida Gator....

I love college football, and am sad to see the season come to an end.......

I was fortunate this year to be able to see both Florida and Oklahoma play in person. I saw Florida beat Arkansas, and OU throttle Kansas State.

After seeing both teams play, I really thought OU was going to win the game last night. But it wasn't to be. Tim Tebow played great, and literally willed his team to victory.

My brother-in law in Orlando is celebrating, I'm sure. But I really think perfect 13-0 Utah, who finished ranked #2 behind Florida, should have been #1, or at least been given a claim to share the championship. They had a great season.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Biggest Loser Thoughts......

We watched the premiere episode of the Biggest Loser the other night. Here are some of my thoughts:

---the big guy that had the gastric bypass (can’t remember his name)—just goes to show you that those procedures aren’t guarantees to lose weight…he was huge…and I wonder if him having had that procedure gives him an unfair advantage
---this season definitely had the biggest contestants so far….it will be interesting to see how much weight is lost
---I didn’t like the fact that they sent 9 contestants home after the first week….sure, they can come back in a month if their partner does well, but of those that went home, how many of them do you think will slip right back into old habits and not lose the weight that they really need to lose?
---the grandfather that fainted on the first day—wow, I am sure they put the contestants through a battery of tests before allowing them to be on the show, so I was surprised that he passed out so quickly…….I really didn’t think that they would keep him on the show, but he ended up losing 25 pounds…gotta hand it to him…
---during the weigh in, did that one girl really say that she doesn’t even let her husband see her that way?? Really? In shorts and a sports bra? Wow….

Looks like it will be another good season of watching people turn their lives around by learning to eat right and exercise. Watching the show always inspires me. I love the ones that have the right attitude, heart, and determination. There are several this season that I think fit that mold.

I heard an interview with Phil from last season of Biggest Loser….apparently him and his wife have a weight loss business now ( anyway, he was saying that on the compound there are no mirror and no scales, so when they have the weekly weigh-in they really have no idea how they are doing. I always thought they kind of knew how they were doing and what they would weigh, but I guess not.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Mission for Nutrition..

I’d like to learn more about nutrition, and how to best balance my eating and running so that my body has the fuel it needs without gaining weight….I’d like to lose another 20 pounds or so, and I know that diet will be a big factor in that….right now I try to watch what I eat, but regularly find myself eating foods that I shouldn’t eat---cookies, cakes, and my weakness—chips and salsa. I would say that I eat healthier today than I did a year ago, so I am heading in the right direction, and I am happier too. While I am eating healthier, it is not the healthiest all the time. Maybe that is okay. I think one of the things I like about running and regular exercise is that you can indulge yourself every so often.

With that being said, the holidays were brutal and I had way too many big meals where I walked away feeling stuffed.  I ate way too many sweets that I would then try to run off.  I am recommiting myself in this new year to eating healthier foods, the right foods, and the right amount of them.  

Monday, January 5, 2009

Plantar's Foot?

I have been dealing with a pain in my left heel for a while now, that only occurs when I get out of bed in the morning, or after I've been sitting/resting for a while and then get up to walk. After consulting my friend Mr Google, it seems I may have something called plantars faciitis. Apparently this is a common runner's ailment.  

The treatment seems to be--aspirin, cut back on running or lay off altogether, and stretching. Uck.

Have any of you running bloggers out there dealt with something like this? If so, what worked for you?  I saw in the latest Runner's World that there is something called Kinesio Tex Tape, that is supposed to help, but I'm not so sure.  I have been trying to stretch my left heel/foot more often throughout the day, but am not sure I am stretching correctly.  What stretches work the best?

I hate to cut back or stop running, but I also don't want to further aggravate an injury. Help!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

My New Spider Man Shoes

These are the shoes that I won from the giveaway. They are Asics Gel Nimbus 10's. I got them yesterday morning, wore them around all day yesterday, and then went for a nice 8.5 mile run in them today. They felt great. I think I actually like them better than my Nikes. Very comfortable and just the right amount of arch support for me. I will definitely be logging more miles in these. Thanks OnlineShoes!

Friday, January 2, 2009

New 5K PR

So I ran the Frosty 5K yesterday on my son's birthday (he gave me permission). Since I am still getting over my head/chest cold and coughing up phlem during my runs, I really was just looking to get in some miles and enjoy the day. I ended up getting a new 5K PR in 27:24, about an 8:50 pace. I know that is not very fast compared to what many of you run 5K's in, but for a new runner like me, it was proof that I have been improving. My first mile was in 8:06, my second and third were in about 9:20....still would like to go our slower and get faster as I go along.

I ran in to my friend Brian at the race. It was great to see him, although he is much younger and faster than me.

One frustrating thing that happened was that right as the race started, one side of my headphones stopped working, so for the whole race I could only hear in one ear. Nothing major but it was something I wasn't used to, and just a bit annoying. And now I think I need to get some new headphones.
I skipped the post-race chili and opted for a birthday lunch with my son, which was great.

Thursday, January 1, 2009


My son turns 8 years old today. Yes. He is a new year’s baby. His birthdate is 01-01-01. On that day, Kansas State beat Tennessee in the Cotton Bowl, we drove to the hospital and had our first child. It was one of the best days of my life. His name is Ariston, which is a Greek word that means “best.” We think he’s pretty special, but of course we’re biased. Happy Birthday Ariston! And a very Happy New Year to all my runner friends in the blogosphere!

The smoking thing in the picture is his volcano desert.