Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Fathers Day Picture Mashup

As you can imagine with a Father’s Day post that is 10 days late, the last two weeks have been BUSY! My running is heating up, a lot of big things are happening at work, and my son keeps me on my toes nearly every day. So, like I’ve mentioned in the past, instead of writing about my running, I’ve been actually DOING my running. Which, has been fun.  But, the time has come to put a wrapper around Father’s day, boast about how amazing I am at procreating, and show you all of the fun things we did. Afterall, if you don’t post about it online, it didn’t happen.

Planning Father’s Day with a 3 year old is very similar to what I imagine Basic Training in the army to be like: Very structured to account for meals and potty breaks, lots of activity to tire you out, and usually more than a few tears. Mine was certainly no different.

First things first, we ran and fed the ducks. I decided that I would sleep in a bit so it was PLENTY warm by the time that we got out.  To that end, throughout the entire run, my son “suggested” that maybe we should just “wait a minute right here for it to cool down”. (He was in the stroller for most of it, but did run about 1/2 a mile.) He didn’t really want to hear my detailed explanation that at 7am we hadn’t reached the heat of the day and that we just needed to keep going or else it was just getting hotter.

I'm making the ducks race, daddy!
(my son, after I asked why he kept throwing the bread way far away from the ducks. I'll ignore the slight animal torture for a bit....)


For some reason, when we were done running and I was giving the neighbors chest bumps celebrating my awesome run walking around gasping for air, my son grabbed his ipad and settled in for a bit of post-run Netflix…. On the motorcycle… backwards.

While the new motorcycles have navigation, 
I'm not sure the reverse iPad watching feature is coming soon



Once we were all showered, I opened my gift. I’m not a big collector of “stuff” so I LOVED what I got.  A bit of a questionnaire that I hope to continue as he gets older to see how the answers change.

What color are daddy's eyes? "Black"
What is daddy's favorite game? "Hide and seek when I have to go poop"
What does daddy like to drink? "Water" (Whew! dodged a bullet there)



Next up: COFFEE.  Errrr, and donuts for my son. Nothing says “Father’s Day” like using your son as an excuse to load up on sugar. 

Father's day coffee!  The gal behind me bought it for my son and I.  Hooray!

"Daddy, does my food look like a cement mixer??"


The main event for the day was a mini golf, go cart, bumper boat place. The go carts were a bit too fast but everything else was a HUGE hit. He is still talking about hitting the other people with the bumper boats. 


Daddy!! Lets smash them hard!!

The video version!!

Tiger woods, without all of the Denny's hostesses 

Lunch was a steakhouse which, since it is hotter than the surface of the sun here, essentially closed out the activities for the day. We then went home for a bit of relaxing before nap time. My son is transitioning out of taking a nap (but still needs one) so getting him down is harder and harder.  He fought it for quite some time, but eventually DID fall asleep (on the floor...oops).

No daddy, I'm not sleepy at all....

Well, if you're not sleeping, I'm going to celebrate

Cut to 2 minutes later.... zzzzzz

I don't like to drink in front of my son super often, but I made an exception for fathers day.  So, not only was I day drinking at 1pm, I was doing it with my feet up watching some rough necks fish for crab in Alaska. 

Hooray nap time!

Overall, Fathers day was SO much fun... but freaking exhausting.  Honestly, it was a lot more work than I remember my dad's fathers day being. Maybe my mom planned all of it? Or, maybe my dad was content with sitting around in our underwear watching NASCAR on TV? Either way, I'd do it again in a heartbeat - just maybe get a bit more sleep beforehand.

Best fathers day ever!



Friday, June 13, 2014

Running, Poop, and NCAA coaching

Consistency.  I truly believe that to have success with running you have to be consistent. Unfortunately due to a number of circumstances last week was not a consistent running week OR a consistently regular pooping week. But, this week is shaping up to be better with at least one of those……

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Last week I wanted to do 50ish miles and I logged 37 – missing 3 scheduled runs and cutting one short.  Forgotten running shoes, scheduling conflicts, and soreness all led to runs not happening. But, this week I’m on tap to run the 50 miles I wanted to run putting myself well on the way to some consistency. To be clear, this has required two days of 3:30 wake up calls and more than a few runs over lunch, but I’m making it work!  Oh but the pooping….

I seem to go in cycles where my stomach doesn’t cooperate for 2-3 weeks. I have no idea what goes on, but I am certainly in one of those now. The issue I have is that my colon doesn’t decide to wake up with the rest of my body…until about mile 4 of my run.  As an example? I went FOUR times on Sunday.  Once before, twice during my 17.5 miles, and once after. I suppose the good thing is that I was losing weight! Believe me, I’ve tried all of the normal remedies: Hydration, fiber, late night infomercial oil drilling machine (not really), but nothing helps when my body decides to make my runs a game of Russian roulette.

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Finally, “at will” employment states are interesting. Those are states in the USA that can fire you for essentially anything as long as it doesn’t have to do with race, religion, or gender. Firing you for something like running the Boston Marathon for example. Such was the case for Matt Aguero, the cross country coach for a small Christian private college. He ran the Boston Marathon and was fired because of it. Matt coached this team before Easter, flew to Boston the day before the race (Sunday), flew back the day of the race (Monday, which was a school holiday). While I’m pretty sure that there are factors that aren’t reported, on the surface it seems REALLY silly to fire a cross country coach for running a 2:35 marathon and coming in the top 200 at Boston.

From what I can tell, Matt went against his bosses orders by running which is what ultimately resulted in the firing.  What makes this one interesting, however, is that the athletic director said flat out that the coach’s personal running was taking his focus and attention away from his student’s running.  To me, that logic doesn’t exactly compute.  I’m not sure how running for 90 min a day in his free time would in any way detract from his work responsibilities. But, I guess I’m not an elite runner or NCAA coach. Read the stories in the links above or here here and here.  Let me know what you think.

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Finally, one of my favorite pics from the past week or so. Happy Friday!


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Running Plan and CurrexSole RunPro Review


A week or so ago (okay, maybe like 3 weeks) I posted about my running comeback. The last year of little structure and less discipline had taken their toll.  I was still running, (frankly, still running somewhat fast) but I lacked the consistency needed to really see any performance gains - let alone maintain my speed as father time quietly tugged at my jockstrap. You can fake your way through a 5K, but the New Jersey marathon (and the NYC marathon before it) were painful reminders that I had been faking my marathon training for quite some time.

My comeback is a three pronged approach: EPO, vodka, and cheeseburgers Having a plan, making it a priority, and setting small milestones. Or, essentially the strategy for doing like 90% of things that are hard.  Since I rambled on and on in the previous post, I thought I’d give a real live running update on my running blog and talk about having a plan.

Having a Plan:
When I was actively coaching (I’m not now) I lived and died by my own personal schedule. I’d slave away on a long term plan and saw some really good results by following it. Of course, I’d adjust for feeling sore or god forbid coming down with the man-flu, but for the most part I stuck to it.  Because of various reasons, I can't be that rigid now, but I'm finding that having a set plan has done wonders for my consistency and sanity.

Here is how I went about building a high level schedule:
I actually don't currently have a "goal" race, but I know that 75% of marathons are in late Sept / Oct so I'm building toward that time frame.  I also knew that I wanted to get up to around 65 miles per week with a handful of speed days thrown in. Easy!  Unfortunately, a month ago I was consistently doing about 25-30 miles a week in 3-4 runs. Sooooo, I was going to need a few months to build up to that kind of volume.  Here is what I came up with for a high level schedule.

May: Build miles with 4-5 days a week ending up around 50 miles per week
June:  Start to add marathon paced and tempo workouts once a week, end at 60 miles per week
July: Maintain 60+ miles a week, have two quality tempo and marathon pace days a week OR one speed day
August: RUN ALL THE TIME!!!! Tempo, speed, 65-70 miles, 6x a week
September: Race!

Is it perfect? No. Have I already deviated from it? Yes. But, it is a plan and I'm TRYING to stick to it.  I need to sketch out June, but this is what it looks like:



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Another thing that I'm doing as part of this training cycle is allowing myself to try a few new things before I get too wrapped up in miles and miles of training. I don't require a lot of "gear" to run but just kidding a freaking love running gear and that first part was a total lie.

I get a fair amount of companies reaching out to me to do reviews of one form or another and for the most part I turn them down.  I wont try out a product I don't need or wont use and buy again.  Since I am a tight ass thrifty, that list is pretty small. However, I've battled off and on with pretty bad shin issues and have always wanted to try inserts to see how they would feel. Just the tip. For a little bit.

Enter: CurrexSole and their RunPro inserts. I was sent a pair of these to try out a few MONTHS ago and am just now getting a chance to type up the review.  Since nothing makes me more frustrated than seeing a review along the lines of "I just got these in the mail today and tried them on my 2 mile run around the block! Obvs I'm an expert so here is my review" I've put ~50 miles on these inserts over the course of those few months.

But first, lets get the things in my shoes, which wasn't hard at all. They actually fit surprisingly easily on the first try.  I had the "medium" arch profile in the normal running inserts, they also had a high and low arch profiles and a minimalist style that is much thinner.

These kind of instructions I approve with. IKEA would be proud

"I'm going to send you this free product, please cut it up. Thanks"

If you've taken the normal insoles out of your shoes, you know that they are pretty basic. These CurrexSole have all sorts of features that normal insoles don't. Read about them here. They're deeper in the heel so your foot stays where it should, they are sweat wicking, more supportive in the arch, and has a bunch more cushion....which the CurrexSole people call "rebound".  It lowers the fatigue on your calves which ultimately makes you faster.  Also, there is a part of the insole called "Medium Rebound PORON cushion" which I think we can all agree looks just a little bit too much like the word porn.

Everyone knows bigger is better

Also, more colors are better, obvi

Overall I like the inserts with a few caveats. They did exactly what I thought and hoped they would do. They provided a blister free supportive run that was cushier than my normal one. I did notice that there was a bit more spring in my step, but I can't totally confirm that it wasn't all in my head.  I didn't see a TON of the faster times that were promised (but honestly did see a few), but I also wasn't brave enough to try them in a marathon when I was all out either.

The caveat that I have is that I've been trying to get away from a super cushy shoe and into a more neutral one. I'm also varying what brand of shoe I wear in an attempt to keep my feet strong and not weak in a certain area because of a shoe brand. Because of that, I won't wear the insoles on every single run, but instead will try to rotate them in like I do with various shoe models.

Additionally, I'm going to use these as a bit of a way to try to add more life to older shoes. If I can get even 50-75 miles out of shoes that would otherwise be tossed, I think it is money well spent.  Well, and at $50, these certainly aren't cheap, but if they reduce injury and help me extend the life of shoes, they are well worth it.

 So, they get my seal of approval! I need to look up how long they "last" but I'm planning on getting at least one more pair when these wear out. You can pick them up on Amazon, Running Wearhouse, etc.

I got these for free. I'm legally required to put that by the man. I'm also legally required to tell you that no one told me to give a positive review.  They did, however, tell me to cut their product with scissors.  So, lets call it even.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Monday Mixins

Some time back, a good friend Morgan @ Redhead running started three things Thursday.  Then someone started five things Friday.  Either way, I haven’t blogged in so long that I think that you’re going to get “as many things as I can think of [insert the day you read this here].”

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I’m still doing the pic a day thing over on Instagram. It is really fun and I haven’t had to use too many pictures of me pantsless, passed out on the couch – so yay! (or boo, depending on how you like your middle aged white guys…. I actually happen to like mine pantsless…)  I really need to figure out what I’m going to do with them all.  A collage for sure, but maybe a youtube video or something.  Hmmm….. Any suggestions?

Sweet corn for dinner? YES! No corn prong things? NO PROBLEMS!

Running shirtless with my son. Best time EVER

Movie in the park... I'm smiling because Frozen hadn't started yet

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Running has been clicking along quite nicely. This week was a bit of a scheduling disaster step back week, but I’ve been able to log 38, 39, 44, 37 week miles with that last 37 being the stepback. I’m not doing a ton of speed, but right now focusing on pushing my mileage up without getting hurt. That is, except for the 4 miles I ran Thursday in 25 minutes and the half marathon I ran in 1:32 yesterday.  I’m only getting in 4-5 days a week, so as soon as I can clear my schedule for a consistent 5 or even 6th day, I should be hitting close to 60 before I know it.

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Sometimes I wish I looked good in hats. I just look douchy or like a 12 year old kid. Or maybe just like a douchy 12 year old.

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So, it is hot in Phoenix.  Like….. 111 degrees hot. Balls hot (do girls say boobs hot?).  So, while I used to often run after work (I generally try to be at work by 5:30 or 6am or so… which means running before isn’t happening) but running when it is 110 is less “epic” and more “emergency room”. So, I’m considering either getting a treadmill for the house or possibly strapping a massive ice cube between my legs. Swing low, sweet chariot.

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WHAT is up with all of the tank tops in clothing stores right now?? Other than maybe Ryan Gosling, who, let’s be honest looks good in about everything, I have YET to see someone that looks decent in them. Hipsters, I’m looking at you….

Cool story, bro. Do you even lift?!

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Finally, I held out long and hard, but I finally broke down and watched the movie Frozen with my son. The first time was in a park on a projector and the other was at home. I know that people are raving about it, but I thought that it was average at best (but it did have a lot of good messages). Of course, now I’ve realized that I just gave a serious review to a cartoon movie made for 7 year olds.  Lovely.