Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Running Blog: Part Three of Three: Next??

Ok sorry it took forever to post this. Been doing a lot of stuff actually. Working on my thank video to my donors for SF. This really encompasses my entire reason for running. Listen closley, and pay attention! =o)

My running will always be important to me, it's the moment I feel the most free and able to do anything. I know I am not the fastest runner, but I run. For me. Next year I am going to attempt something quasi extreme. Two marathon in roughly 27 days. I've decided to do Rock and Roll SD and Rock and Roll Seattle. SD is May 31st, Seattle (also an excuse for a trip home) is June 27th I realize I may not be able to fully run the second one but that's ok. I'm going to try to. You can't accomplish anything unless you put yourself out there. So I am, step over step, mile after mile. It's the only way to right?

I also want to do the NYC marathon. Got to watch that for the first time as a runner and I realized how much I really want to do one here. One at my old home and one in my new home. I entered the lottery this year but got rejected however if you get rejected three years in a row they let you in the fourth year. So this will be attempt number two. =o) We'll see what happens, for now I'm laying low and about to get back into some running, light small runs. I'm getting ansy so I need to move along.

Here's one of the phoots from SF:

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Running Blog: In The Here And Now part two of a three part series

26.2 Is three numbers seperated by a lonley period. It's only a numbers game right? Having gone from completly inactive, and reactive to active and dare I say for the first time in my life, on the offensive trying to find what I want for me. My running means more to me than physical condition. As I mentioned in my last blog it transends who I am. Iam someone who will push himself to the edge of everything I thought I could do, and then edge out a little further. My friend Gregg asked me the day after my marathon if NY had changed me, if I feel like a different person. And I answered him, "Yes, but no and not for the reasons you think" See I've been through a lot, but what person hasn't. Running marathons, helps me find a balance that I've never had. In anything. It's why I run, it's why I will keep running. yes, I am helping people while doing it, and of course, anyone who knows me knows that too is a part of it. but for me. When I run, and I know I have 23 miles left, 21, 15, 12, 7, 4 whatever, I run in my mind for me. For all those things but also to prove to me, that I am stronger mentally. And sure, training tells me I can do this but until you do, you just don't know. See I've seen people in a lot better shape than me fall by the wasteside, get injured, on cruches, in wheelchairs. Yes it's a greulling sport. Without a doubt. But nothing worth doing doesn't have it's risks. It's why I've chosen to make this past year all about me.
In my mind when the calendar turned I told myself, you will do things for yourself, you will work on you. Better yourself, find peoople who want to be in your life, and embrace them and if they didn't they would fall by the wasteside. I'm ok with that. One of my friends here said to me a week or so ago, that I've gone cold, that my heart right now is not warming up to others. See I disagree, I'm just not willing to give it out to everyone I meet. I now gaurd it but still put myself out there to see what's out there. Running has provided me with an outlet for my anger, for my stress in a way I can't explain. I'm a stronger person that I've ever been. Am I still me? I sure think so. I have the same group of close friends I've always had. Have I changed, you betcha. But I don't fear that change anymore. I know who I am and what I can do. I know that a day of being dedicated to my causes either for me or to help others is a day better than others. But it's a balance, I can't get too caught inwardly, which is why I love Team In Training. It keeps me humble, keeps reminding me that while I run for me, I still represent others, others who can't run, others who need help and while I can't cure them, maybe with my friends and donations along the way we can. It's humbling when you sit there and here all these mission moments given by your teammates, people you soon call your friends bare their soul about why they run, fathers, mothers children dying, getting really sick. Going to hospitals to see these chidlren. It reminds you of what you have and how you need to make the most of your health when and while you have it. It can be gone like that. It's moving, humbling and drives me. I won't like during the SF marathon there was (and for those who run there usually is) a point where you have to talk yourself out of quitting, you just want to. Your body hates you, your mind doesn't want any more, but then you see your teammates who have finsihed ahead of you still their cheering you on, one of my teammates whom I had just met that season ran out into the road with me and ran with me for a mile extra. Imagine running 26.2 miles then running back out there for one more to help someone else get through another mile. She looked at me as she ran along side me and said ,"Scott I am so proud of you, you have overcome so many injuires to get here, and you are almost there. You didn't quit then, you came to all the practices, and you are 3 miles from the finish so I KNOW you won't quit now. I am so proud of you, and so are all your teammates...LOOK" At this point I shook back into conciencious and looked around and saw team mates whom I didn't even know if they knew me, or saw me before this running up the road with me, yelling and cheering me on. When you see a sea of purple yelling at you to keep pushing it gives you a second, thrid or fourth wind. I looked at my teammate who came out nodded, growled something that I assume was thank you and kept pushing. There are more miles like that, espeically as you get closer to the finish, but that one stuck out to me.
As the calendar turns, and I look back a bit I ran 2 marathons in 6 months, 3 half marathons, countless races of smaller portions and will have ran more miles (roughly 625 miles this year) than I have driven (0). It's humbling t oknow taht all those people who supported me were right. I've gone this far, what's a little more.

Part Three: Where am I going?

Running Blog: Retrospective part one of a three part series

Sat on the plane ride back to SF and I thought a lot about the past 12 months, the reasons I started running, where it's taken me and who I am now. I am going to break this blog into three segments, retsopective, where I am and where I want to go with all this.
This part of course, started with a lot of pain, me in place that seems like years ago. I remember sitting in the corner of my room just aching inside. Feeling like I had hit rock bottom. There was the break up, the death threats, bar fights and of course the health scare. I truly felt like things were at the their worst and I felt like I was drowning. It was scary and for the first time I really felt...alone.
My friends, you have to know, are amazing people. They tried to pick me up as much as I would let them. I wouldn't tell everyone the everything becasue I was afraid of being exposed even more than I felt I already was. Then one day a friend whom I had lost touch with for a bit called me. Aja, said to me after I had finished telling her what all I had been through, asked if I had, "Ever thought about running a marathon" I think she really believed she thought I would laugh her off the phone because the Scott about 2 months, 3 months ago, probably would have. I admitted I hadn't. She told meshe would have the Team in Training Coordinator get in touch with me because Spring Season was going to be having a kick off and I should go. So I agreed.
This meeting I was a little nervous about going to, no one I knew was there, had really no clue what I was doing there, I was out of shape, and the furthest I had run was to the mailbox. But i went, checkbook in hand already knowing that you know what it's $80 to sign up today, and if nothing else I'll meet some people and see what happens, I can always run/walk the half marathon if need be.
Signed up for the Country Music Marathon that night, the event was April 26 so plenty of time. I literally had no clue what I was getting myself into or how much therapy I'd find in running, and how much confidence the next 12 months would bring me. I had no idea about running shoes, running clothes, fuel belts, proper gear, anything. All I knew is you put one foot in front of the other in rapid succession and off you go. So I showed up in sweat pants and a sleevless tshirt...in 42 degree cold weather. This is how I'd be remembered all season as that guy. Well at least I was memorable and hey I had an icebreaker right? So off we went. I met some amazing people. And as I ran I began to find the confidence again. I heard stories about life and death, leukemia, blood cancers and it made me realize that what I've been through while maybe a big deal in my eyes was nothing compared to what so many people were going through or had been through. Some of my running friends were running for various reasons, the cause, to meet people, going through a divorice, one even told me they just wanted to run because it was the only time in their day she felt free. And so i found my release, my therapy in these people and with every step we took Istarted to build my confidence back. it was a shaky ground for sure to start. But as we progressed I did too. I lost 20 lbs, my mile time went from 15:00 down to 11:30. I could run at a marathon pace around 12:00 minutes
About amonth before the marathon I knew I had to give something back to this Society. I had to give someone else this same experience I was having. So I applied to be a mentor. Guy who had never run more than 25 yards in the past 10 years now wanted to mentor a new group of runners and run 2 full marathons and two half marathons in 6 months.
When you run a marathon for more than 5 hours, you think about a lot of things. Like EVERYTHING. You think about the ups of life, your friends, family, the poeple who have inspired you. You think about the negative, the naysayers the people who look at you and say "You are running a marathon" with that look of disbelief and you remember the people who tried to hold you down. But you use all this as motivation to move along. You don't stop. You use everything in your aresnal because you discover that a marathon is truly mind over matter. You can will yourself to do ANYTHING.
Crossing the finish line in Nashville, was something I have never felt. I've done a lot of things, thought I felt pretty accomplished. But when i crossed the finish line hands held high in the air, I let out the largest scream I could muster as if in doing so all the demons all the things I had gone through were expelled from my body. I looked at my friend Jillian, the woman I had ran with for the last 5 hours and we both wanted to cry, but we didn't have any body fluids left to export so we just hugged for 3 minutes. I still can't put into words, fully, what that moment ment, or how it changed me. What I can tell you was the confidence laid down in those 4 months changed me forever.
I can't thank Aja enough for that day. I wish I would have gotten the chance to actually sit and talk to her in SF but she was immensly busy with her Chapter and I undestood that, but I really wanted to tell her, she changed my life again. One of my best friends in college, gave me the tool to remake myself and in a good way. It's something I'll never forget. And I'll always be greatful for that.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


When you get injured, minor or major the first thought any athlete is when can I come back. Too often athletes rush back and don't listen to the their bodies, because they feel bad they are letting down their team. Some injuries, sure you can come back early and be ok. Others there's no cure unless you are 100% better. If you are like me, running for an event it's ok to take some time to heal. Better now than the actual event day. Rushing back from shin splints, ankle sprains (remember this is a running focused blog) could hamper your running, if not get a lot worse if you keep pushing on them, so relax, take a couple of weeks if need be and get better. When you show up to run, you want to be able to compete at the level you are used to. If not, you will (and I know this from my past weeks of not heeding this advice) get frustrated with yourself that you can't complete what you set out to do. Enjoy the rest, your body probably needs some anyways. You won't lose everything in one swoop, go to the gym work on your upper body, jump on the bike, you can still be active and cross train...so do it!

Patience is the key, in your event and out of it.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


Anyone who runs, knows or should know, this puts an intense strain on your body. Your feet, legs, back and so on. Some injuries (as detailed here) are easier to get over than others. You should listen to your body and pay attention to what it tells you. The legs feed the wolf. So when your legs start to hurt, and really hurt listen. I have shin splints and thought I would outline what exactly shin splints are, how they feel and what you can do to heal them as quick as possible.

According to healthscout.com shin splints are defined as "Shin splints are characterized by a pain in the front and sides of the lower leg that develops or worsens during exercise. There may also be tenderness over the shin and edema (the accumulation of fluid) of the surrounding tissues. Shin splints are a common problem to runners."

What causes shin splints? There are several ways and reasons but given this is a runners blog I will keep this answer as runner oriented as I can. "Shin splints (an inflammation of tendons and muscles of the shin) is typically brought on by the impact forces of exercise.

The shinbone (or tibia) is covered by the periosteum, a band of soft tissue that has both nerve tissue and a blood supply. Just above the ankle and below the knee, tendons help attach muscles to the periosteum. When the shin is over-stressed, problems can develop in the periosteum, the tendons, the muscle, on the shinbone or in the four muscle compartments of the lower leg, which are covered with a wall of connective tissue (called the fascia). If recurrent, this latter condition is called chronic compartment syndrome.

Shin splints are a common, often seasonal injury that usually occurs when you start to run after a long layoff. They can also result from playing a sport (such as tennis) on a hard surface, changing your style of workout shoes, dramatically increasing workouts, or gaining a substantial amount of weight and then exercising.

Anterior shin splint is due to a muscle or tendon injury (that help to lift the front of the foot) and results in pain and tenderness on the front outside of the leg. Posterior pain (a soreness that radiates along the back and inner side of the lower leg or ankle) is typically caused by stressed muscles that help support and stabilize the arch of the foot."
What can you do to self medicate well at the first sign of pain in the shins, stop your activity. Trying to exercise through the soreness will only aggravate the condition and cause it to worsen.
Immediately massage the area with ice to reduce inflammation and irritation. The ice acts like a quick-acting, anti-inflammatory medication.

For pain relief and help to decrease the swelling, your physician may suggest taking ibuprofen, as directed.Do not apply heat to the area. Shin splints are an inflammatory condition, and heat will only irritate the area even more.

Healing time can be as little as two to three weeks (if you cut back on your exercise and begin aggressive self-help measures), but in some cases, recovery can take as long as 12 to 14 weeks before pain subsides.

So what can you do to prevent shin splints?
Replace or repair exercise shoes that are worn down to the heels. Switch to well-fitting shoes with plenty of impact-absorbing material in the forefoot and heel area. Remember that your running shoes may lose much of their shock absorbency after as few as 500 miles.
Warm up before running by first walking, then gradually increasing your speed to a jog.
When you raise your heart rate and lightly perspire, stop and stretch your calf muscles with a wall stretch. One way to stretch out tight calf muscles and Achilles tendons after warming up is to walk slowly on your heels for 100-200 yards.
Whenever you go for a run or walk, do it on dirt, grass, cinder or a rubberized track to minimize shin trauma.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Second Time Around Is Harder Than The First

Hi Everyone,

Miss the blog? If you have you are in luck. I'm back. So it's been just over a month since my last post. I've started training for my second marathon, this time in SF for the Nike Women's Marathon on October 19th. I have to admit I took a week off and then started back into training. Thus far it's been frustrating. I've only been able to run between 4-6 miles. My legs feel like weights and it's humid out now. It's amazing how the conditions can make this more difficult than the first time around. I'm working on resting my legs as much as possible and I have plenty of time to get them back however it's frustrating all the same.

They say to allow yourself 1 day of rest per every mile you run. So 26.2 miles=26/27 days off. I gave myself 10 days. Yeah.

So give yourself sometime, let your body heal and then lace it up. That doesn't mean by the way you can't run during that time, it should be shorter runs however.

So there you go. A quick update! Just keep on running!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Running My 1st Marathon Experience

So I completed my first marathon. I have to tell you it feels amazing. I know I've talked to most of you since it's happened but I really wanted to do some recaps.
My Time, I honestly had no real care about my "time" whatever i ran would A) be ok and B) would also be a personal best sooo either way win win. But my times and placing are at the bottom.
Overall including half marathon runners there were more than 30,000 participants of those 30,000 only 4373 participated in the full marathon. So what went ... during and after the race? Well here's an idea of the kind of stuff I use during the race:

  • peanut butter and a bagel

  • water...lots of water
  • Gatorade don't just drink water! Replentish the electrolytes!
  • Your bib...duh
  • Stop watch I use mine to make sure I'm not going too fast out of the gate

  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Your singlet
  • Fuel belt, in case you get thirsty before a water/Gatorade station

Here is my time for the marathon, this includes different mile markers as well:

  • Full Marathon Time: 5 hours 18 minutes 58 Seconds
  • Average mile time: 12 minutes 10 seconds

Time at the following markers:

  • 5k: 36:58
  • 6 mile: 1:11:44
  • 10 mile: 1:58:15
  • Half (13.1 miles): 2:37:20
  • 20 mile: 4:02:18

In all the experience was unlike any other. Running for that long feeling so totally free of life and problems. There was mental challenges and rough spots along the way, but in all my training was wonderful the coaches and everyone did a great job of prepping us for what laid ahead and honestly I couldn't have imagined preparing for a marathon, especially my first without the coaches. It was incredible. Crossing the finish line, all the reasons I started down the path to running and all the reasons I know now why I am running for rushes to my head and if I could have cried, I would have. I was exhausted mentally & physically at the end. I called 5 people and couldn't compose a decent sentence I don't think, it was overwhelming. I still can't really put into words what it felt like to run 26.2 miles. If you've never run you may not understand it, or what I'm talking about. If you have then you understand. It transcends words and emotions. All I know is I'm excited to run again, excited for another season of TNT and to continue to run for Robert Schultze and his family. I'm sure I'll post a follow up with race pictures soon once they become available. But I really want to send a big thank you and everyone who donated support, effort, energy, time and money. It means the world. Just think, we do it all over again in a month! So if you didn't get a chance to donate...there's another opportunity for you! =o)

Here are some other photos from my marathon experience:

My inspiration to run and start training for my second marathon in October

Words of encouragement from friends, mentor and my personal everyday inspiration "Silly"

My TNT Friends, great group of peeps!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Race Anxiety

So I wanted to take a general step back and talk about something I'm experiencing, mostly because I believe most runners, well new runners (I'm not sure if experinced runners get this too) but I will tell you this much it is pretty much the most nerve wracking experience of my life. Why? Not because I don't feel prepared but just the magnitude of running 26.2 miles. It's wild, and crazy to think about. It's always something I've said no way, could never even run to the mailbox to do.

Physically I've lost weight since I started nearly 5 months ago, but I don't feel I look all that different. One thing I've really discovered about running, is that it's truly more mind over matter. That there are points in a race where you have to will yourself to keep going. Yes you have to listen to your body still but there are times where you want to stop and say "fuck it, I can't go on" but it's at that point you have to really dig deep. See running a marathon is more about your mental conditioning as much as it is physical conditioning.

Some tips that I've found VERY comforting. Surround yourself with good supportive people because you will freak out a little, and it's good to have some reassuring friends, drink water and gatorade after all water is good but remember to replace all the things water flushes out, eat right, pasta and carbs are good! =o) Most of all enjoy your experience as you get to the start line look around and remember how far you've come and now all you need to do is go another 26.2 miles. Hey you've done all the hard work, ran step over step and mile over mile. This is just a formaility for you. Enjoy it, bask in the moment because they don't come around very often.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Knowing When To Listen To Your Body Continued...

Sorry for the delay between posts. But I'm back posting and continuing on with what I promised. More about your injuires and what can be done to help you through them.

This week I'm talking about the Hip Flexor. I just went through a bout with mine so I thought I'd share a bit of my injury and then tell you more about it in general and ways to help yourself heal it and hopefully prevent it!

So three weeks ago I was running hills in Central Park (yes for those of you outside of NY there are rather steep hills in the Park). It was down pouring rain and so the terrain wasn't ideal but as a team we were there to train. As I came down for my last few sets of up and downs on the hill my back started to feel discomfort but it wasn't a terrible pain so I kept running until I got done I didn't realize how bad the pain had become. So I made my way back home and took it easy. The reaminder of the week I noticed I was feeling some discomfort in my hip area, but it wasn't impossible to manage so on Sunday I ran 16 miles. That's when I felt a pain. I was told by my coaches to take the rest of the week off from running as it sounded like a hip flexor strain and to do some stretches to help me with my hip. By the end of the week it felt better adn was able to put in a near 12 mile run pain free on Saturday.

So what happend? When I experienced my back pain, what happend was I started to compinsate in my running form and thus put extra strain on my hip, particularly the hip felxor. The hip flexors are a group of muscles that move the hip forward when running and walking. A great deal of stress is applied to this muscle group when sprinting and kicking.

So what is a hip flexor strain? A hip flexor strain is the result of an overly forceful contraction. This can occur during a sprint or a series of sprints. The strain can also be the result of overuse (kicking/ sprinting) and associated "micro traumas". A micro trauma can be considered a tiny imperceptable tear. These tiny tears accumulate over time and eventually result in a strain and pain. a 1st degree strain involves stretching (or very minor tearing) damage to the muscle or tendon. A 2nd degree strain is associated with partial tearing of the muscle or tendon. And, worst case scenario, a 3rd degree strain is a complete tear. Regarding injury progression, playing with any strain can easily lead to further damage and function loss. This is particularly true when the injury is related to overuse and has a gradual onset. Athletes often try to play through this, with no rehabilitation, and it results in a grade 1 strain becoming a grade 2.

Treatment: As always, ice bags over the painful area for 20-25 minutes after training is a good place to start. Time off from aggravating activities may also be necessary, but this depends on the severity of the injury and when rehabilitation has begun. Athletes with a grade 1 strain can usually continue to participate as tolerated, implementing ice and rehabilitation. Athletes with a grade 2 injury will require some time off and rehabilitation. Time missed can vary from a few days to a few weeks here. Grade 3 hip flexor injuries are rare and will probably be season ending.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Knowing When to Listen to Your Body

A key part of running is knowing how to listen to your body. When it's time to slow down, speed up, continue to run through pain and when to stop. You may not know at first what's small aches and pains you can run through and what you should stop yourself before it gets too serious. Every person is a bit different. For me I experience a pain in my knee it's not an overwhelming pain but I can definitely feel it as I run. But I've gotten used to having this small twitch in my knee (usually it's my left knee). Where as when I started to run early on with a wrong pair of shoes I had a pain on my Achilles. Turns out after resting it for two weeks it was totally fine again however if I had kept running on it, I could have done some long term harm. There are some knee injuries that are there but aren't long term and are more about conditioning your body to getting used to running. Today I will focus on some common knee pains you may incur early on. According to coolrunning.com some typical knee pains will include:
Runners knee: This occurs when your body get around 40 miles a week if it's never run before you will experience these pains around your knee cap area sometimes behind your knee cap. Even after taking a few days off, the pain seems to come right back, sometimes even intensifying, after the first few miles of the next run. The pain often feels worst when running downhill or walking down stairs. The test for runner's knee: sit down and put your leg out on a chair so that it's stretched out straight. Have a friend squeeze your leg just above the knee while pushing on the kneecap. Have your friend push from the outside of the leg toward the center. At the same time, tighten your thigh muscle. If this is painful, you've got runner's knee.
Iliotibial Band Syndrome: Pain on the outside of your knee (not usually accompanied by swelling or locking). The pain may be sporadic and disappear with rest, only to reoccur suddenly, often at the same point in a run. Depending on the individual, this could happen at four miles, two miles or just 200 yards. The pain often goes away almost immediately after you stop running. The cause is that this is an overuse injury. The iliotibial band is a band of tissue that begins at the outside of the pelvis and extends to the outside part of the knee. The band helps stabilize the knee. If it becomes too short, the band rubs too tightly on the bone of your leg and becomes irritated. The tightness is usually the result of too much strain from over training. So what you can do to prevent or reduce this? Patience. This one takes a while. Give yourself plenty of rest, reduce your miles and ice frequently. You can keep running, but cut your run short as soon as you begin to feel any pain. Cut way back on hill work, and be sure to run on even surfaces. Look into some deep friction massage with a physical therapist. Patience. This one takes a while. Give yourself plenty of rest, reduce your miles and ice frequently. You can keep running, but cut your run short as soon as you begin to feel any pain. Cut way back on hill work, and be sure to run on even surfaces. Look into some deep friction massage with a physical therapist.

You will typically have an instinct on when you need to slow down your running and what's acceptable pain. If you are at all like me, who's never really run before (regardless of body type) start with smaller mileage, go at your own pace and don't worry about mile times. You should enjoy your running. It's meant to be fun, and a way for you to do something for you. Next week I'll focus on other types of injuries you can face, but for now this is a good spot to begin. Remember run and have fun but go at a good pace for you, not what your friends can do, and listen to your body!


Monday, February 11, 2008

These aren't gimmicks

I used to always doubt products that claimed they rejuvenated or added something to your body during workouts. I always thought they were claims (and yes being in advertising I know there's always certain hype behind products). Two products that I've found to be of great help during my first half marathon this weekend were the following 1) Gatorade and 2) Under Armor.

I'll start with Gatorade. Along the way of running any race from 4-5 miles up to a full marathon there are water stations along the way. There are also Gatorade (at least during my event) as well. When I got to the first water station I grabbed two cups of water (new runners practice grabbing two cups between your index and middle finger and your pinky and ring finger, then take one cup and squeeze the top so it makes a funnel and then you can control your water intake). Anyway I grabbed the water and only water and downed it and kept running. Early in the race you should have enough energy where it won't matter as much what you drink, just as long as you keep yourself hydrated. By the second water station I saw the Gatorade and grabbed one Gatorade cup and one water. Drank them both pretty quickly. Third water station I grabbed only Gatorade drank both of them. I did start to feel energy returning. Gatorade returns electrolytes and carbohydrates. See what happens during a longer run is towards the back half of your run, your body runs out of carbs and electrolytes to burn. So what does it burn? Muscle. That's not good. So it's why they created those gels and blocks (as I mentioned in my last post) definitely have at least one if not two of those ready for your half. You'll need it. Another thing about Gatorade or sports drinks in general is a study that was released from Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise that concluded, "athletes can stave off fatigue 37% longer if they drink sports drinks -- the kind with electrolytes and carbohydrates in them. They also run faster, have better motor skills, and are mentally sharper"

What you will want to avoid, on the flip side, are caffeine drinks. Soft drinks don't really replenished anything the body needs so if it's not going to help, why add it? it won't help and during a race/half marathon/full marathon it's all about efficiency in your body SO add things that will add that and not take away or have no effects.

Under Armor. Ok we've all seen the ads, buff athletes yelling and screaming wearing what appears to be spandexish clothes. Now I bought two under armor shirts for $40 each. Yeah they are expensive but I have not even once regretted buying them. One thing it does is keep your body heat in. This is key as a runner. A runner will heat up about 10 degrees during a run, and if you start training in the winter it's important to keep that heat in, in addition it does a good job of keeping the sweat in as well. I sweat a lot when I run but under armor does a superior job of keeping me drier and my body heat in. Even during hotter runs you want to pay attention to your body, the beauty of Under Armor is that in heat it keeps you regulated better than a T-shirt or a sweatshirt. It's definitely worth the investment in a pair or two. I'll break down Under Armor for you as they have different types of things for different types of weather:

ColdGear is Under Armour's most technical line featuring a double sided fabric that wicks moisture from the skin and circulates body heat. ColdGear provides warmth without weight for long days in the field.

HeatGear is engineered with a microfiber blend fabric featuring the signature Moisture Transport System and reliable compression. It's designed to fit tight to your skin, under your outerwear.

LooseGear gives moisture management and core temperature regulation in a generous cut for comfort. The ultimate solution: LooseGear, features the signature Moisture Transport System in lightweight microfiber blend.

If you are going to train in the winter do so the right way. It's all about efficiency so invest in the things that will make you more efficient.

Catch you next week!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Fuel & Hydration for the longer run

It's been interesting what I've learned over the course of running shorter distances to going longer distances. I'll break this blog into two, the first section is about eating properly before, during and after.

When you run 4,5,6,7,8 miles you can typically go without having to eat a breakfast before you run (at least an hour and a half before you run). As you stretch out and go longer 9,10,11,15,20 it's important to bring things to "snack" on during your run. Before you go to run, you should eat something, I typically chose a bagel toasted and I put peanut butter on it and I'll eat that. I'll head down an hour later and go to the park and start my run (takes me around 30 minutes to get to the spot in the park where I run).

From there you should remember to bring some kind of gels or power blocks with you. You will probably only need a couple but make sure to bring water. These gels like Cliff Shot Energy Gel or PowerBar Gels are good for you to run, and will make you feel energized as you hit your wall. You need to take these gels with water. My coaches recommend you try a few during your practice runs so you know which ones you like prior to your race day. Some are kind of gross and can make you gag a little, but remember this isn't to be in place of a meal rather it's meant to give you a boost in energy and keep you moving ok.

After you are done you have what they call an optimum time to eat. 30 minutes after your workout your body burns calories at the highest rate so that's the time to eat. Even if it's another bagel or something it will recharge you and you'll burn it off pretty fast (pretty cool huh?).

So I'm a bit of an odd duck when it comes to water. I hate drinking LOTS of water. I don't like the fact it's kind of tasteless. It's my hang up! Ha! In any case if you know you are doing a half marathon I recommend you start hydrating at least two to three days before your race. The reason is you are going to run 13 miles so you will need to have that water moving your body to keep you going. Guess what. You will sweat a lot. SO HYDRATE. If you are going to run longer runs, it's recommended you invest in a water belt. You can find these at most running stores for around $45.00. Some come with a pouch to hold your wallet or identification or your power gels/power blocks as well.

I hope these tips help! Keep moving, hydrate and fuel the body that keeps you moving. Remember every step of step, mile over mile takes energy so give your body the most energy it can and it will carry you!

Happy running!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Wall

You hear athletes talk about hitting the wall when they are working out. Others call it an off day. I always wondered how someone could wake up and just not have it. I realize we all have bad days and that goes for athletes and would be athletes. The web site Marathon & Beyond (http://www.marathonandbeyond.com/choices/latta.htm) the wall for a runner is hit beceause: "in the excitement of the moment, to start out at a pace that’s too fast for you. Big mistake. Your heart cannot pump enough blood to ensure a steady supply of oxygen to the muscles. At this point, your muscles have no choice but to burn glucose in the absence of oxygen. The anaerobic metabolism of glucose, as it’s called, is inefficient, yielding only about 1/18 as much energy (in the form of ATP) as aerobic metabolism,"

So...what does that mean? Essentailly by pacing yourself from the start you can save your body from being sapped to soon. Your inital pace is so key. You have to be able to contain yourself. Until this Saturday I must have been doing that more effeciently. It was my Team in Trainings first attepmpt at a 10 mile run. I admit I only completed 8.5 of it, I believe, because I started too quickly for the first 3 miles and burned out too soon. I definitley felt a tingling in my feet and weight on me I had never experienced. By mile 3 I slowed down soo much i went from the middle of the pack straight to the back. It was an experience I had never felt before and was rather frustrating. But you have to keep trying to push through I slowed down more on mile 4 and started to see my pack turn around, so around 4.25 I turned around in advance in order for me to have the oppertunity to finish within a reasonable time. I did come in one of the last people and ran about 8.5 miles (Now let me say that's still a personal best) but it was a total struggle. All I know is I'm greatful i have a good paid of Saucony's that dragged me to my conclusion. But all new runners know you will hit the wall. You will have off days where you just don't have it. And it's ok. Like my coach says "Keep pushing and if you have an off day, make the next day better"

Here's to the next day.

About Step Over step, mile over mile blog

Before I post anything I wanted to give you a little background on the author "Doc". I am a new runner. Meaning I've never run anything since High School sprints (and my last track meet was in 1996). Doing any running of distance is new to my body and mind. So I'm training for the Country Music Marathon on April 26th 2008. Before I went into training I weighed around 213 lbs and am 5'11, and I ran a 15:10 mile. As I've progressed the first two months were a bit rough, lots of being sore. My mile time in December (1 month into my training) during a 4 mile run went to 12:36. My second race (5 miler) my mile time now stand at 10:54. Subtly making improvements. At present I'm down to 205 lbs.

This blog will host to the struggles and successes that a newbie runner would face. Well at least that I will face. I will analyze certain aspects of my running and if enough people start posting questions, I will respond to those either in blogs or from the post section of this blog.

Happy running and happy readings.