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What a weekend! Running on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk

26 Aug

Ahhh. The beach!

Ahhh. The beach!

This was one incredible weekend!   It was the final weekend of my kid’s summer vacation, and we decided to do something AWESOME for them!  We got up in the wee early hours of Saturday  morning and headed down to Virginia Beach.   We didn’t let them know WHERE we were going  until we were in the car, and they didn’t know we were spending the night until we pulled into a hotel (while 4 hours is a long drive, we have been known to do those as day trips).  I don’t think there is anything that has quite the energy (or grants as much energy) as being on and in the ocean!

It did not take the kids long at all to jump right in! You could say it took exactly as long as it took them to get their shirts and shoes off!

And They are OFF!

And They are OFF!

I won’t lie, they aren’t the only ones that love the beach! Continue reading 

#Juneathon Weekend 8,9 and 10

10 Jun

Seems three days is becoming my normal Juneathon blog…  I’m pretty sure that isn’t how the “rules” read…

So what did I do?   Well on Saturday, I drove an hour (And a bit of change) out to Virginia (opposite side of DC from where I live) and picked up a Bowflex XLT for 75 bucks!

see? it fit nicely in the car!

see? it fit nicely in the car!

It was a pleasant enough drive, although a 5 buck toll on the road that goes to Dulles International Airport seemed a bit steep to me, especially since there was another 1 dollar toll to get OFF of the road! WTF?  But the drive was pleasant, and even with the addition of the cost of the tolls – the price was great.. Continue reading 

Fixing the Antique.

22 May

I’m sure you have been wondering all day… What did the Once and Future Runner do yesterday, since he (probably) still can’t run, and is incompetent when it comes to basic bike repair?  Did he do another long boring walk?

Well, Wonder no more!  I am here to answer ALL your Once and Future Runner questions.. Yesterday, on the way home from work I decided I would stop and get a new tire tube for my bike.. After all, Max pointed out that a flat tire doesn’t mean you need a new bike and I suspect my wife would have agreed with her so it seemed the logical thing to do.  I had gone to one LBS  (that means local bike shop according to Max.  She is my new unpaid consultant on all things bike related) a while back, and wasn’t all that impressed.  They were condescending, and difficult to get any real help.  Plus they seemed far more interested in up-selling, rather than helping us out.

Well, yesterday I headed out to a different one to see if that was the norm, or if they were more friendly.

Local LBS

Local LBS

I went into the Bike Doctor, and almost immediately was welcomed by one of their employees.  Continue reading 

The Insanity of it all.

5 Mar

giveupMy 3rd Anniversary here on wordpress seems like a great time to start faithfully blogging again! As I mentioned in my previous blog posting, it seems the perfect time for a change of attitude and direction in my fitness goals.  As everyone reading this blog knows, I am a runner.  This is my form of exercise.  I run.  I added in Yoga to help with my flexibility, but even that was simply a cool down from my run.  No Run = No Yoga.

Well, I’m bored.  I am still limited to a treadmill many times (just due to child care and timing), and its boring.  I enjoy watching the Walking Dead, but its STILL boring.  Tie this in with the fact that my wife has started doing Krav Maga, running isn’t going to be enough.  Now, I think the running is still important (after all, I may need to run away from her and her new-founds skills!), and it is still my preferred form of exercise – but I want something more.  I have debated picking up a total gym/bow flex – and neither of these are off the table for the future (ju$t for the pre$ent if you catch my drift), or joining a gym.  As I weighed (See what I did there?) these two options, it occured to me to pick those Insanity DVDs up, and give them another shot.  They say the third time is the charm right?

I totally needed this yesterday

I totally needed this yesterday.

So, I have completed the first three days of Insanity, and I have to admit – I am able to walk much better today!  Yesterday, If you could have seen me walk up stairs – it would have reminded you of your grandfather!  But today, I am back to super tired muscles, instead of agonizingly-painful-to-move-in-any-way-at-all muscles.  This gives me 2 months to decide on the Gym or not.  With a 2 mile warm up before starting it (that I will be increasing as time goes by), it is really going to help me build up my stamina and core!

My thought is to consult with a physical trainer at the end of the Insanity to help me decide the best path from there!

exercisingI heard a fantastic phrase recently.   “Dieting helps you look better in clothing.  Exercise helps you look better naked.”   Since I want to improve both – it seems that diet and exercise will continue to be a factor!

Back at it! Did you miss me?

22 May

Thanks for all the help Joe!

So, I have been quite quiet as of late!    The good news is that it isn’t due to any unforseen disaster with my Mother in law’s heart surgery.  She is doing AWESOME!  They kicked her out of the hospital earlier than planned, as she was doing so well!  She was glad to be home early – that is for sure!  My brother-in-law Joe stayed up there with her to help take care of her.  We headed up every night with food and to visit.

Friday we brought Joe down to the Philadelphia Airport so he could fly home to Texas after being away from his wife and kids for so long. His coming up certainly made life easier on my wife and I (thanks Joe!) Continue reading 

The Insanity Continues with a pending shoe delivery!

8 May

So last night, I popped in the next DVD for Insanity.  The flavor of the day was Cardio Power Resistance!  Granted I had a break that Shaun T. hadn’t worked into his schedule, but this one seemed significantly easier than the Plyometric Cardio Circuit.  My primary thought is that as I am a runner I have pretty strong hamstrings, while I know my quads aren’t all that.  This workout seemed to be more focused on hamstrings than quads (based on what was getting tired/sore.)

As if to support this – I am only sore today, not in agony and walking like an 83-year-old man.

Some of the exercises: 
Power Jumps – down to  a squat, jump up with your hands over your head, then land softly
Hurdles – Run in place, then on Shaun T.’s command jump as if you were going over a really short hurdle Continue reading 


4 May

So, in theory I am “allowed” to start running again this weekend. The Podiatrist said I could give it a shot. This leaves me running in the “improper” shoes however, and my new (although still not what the podiatrist ordered – it is closer) shoes will not be here until next friday.    I have stated I am going back to exercising – even if I can’t run – so it raises the question of WHAT to do?

Well, some of you may remember (that is if you are the one person that read my blog back then), that I once thought about doing P90X or Shaun T.’s Insanity.  At that time, in the long long ago, I did the fitness test for Insanity.

I hurt for four days.  I mean, I hurt ALOT for four days.  I decided I wasn’t insane enough to continue. Continue reading 

Injury free Running seminar at Binghamton University

12 Mar

I find it difficult to believe that there are many runners out there that wouldn’t like to run “injury free.”. I especially think that any runner who pulled their calf muscle five times last year AND got shin splints that hurt enough that even the doctor thought it was a stress fracture REALLY needed to attend a seminar called “Injury Free Running,” by Mathew Nark of Plaza Fitness in Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany NY.   The evening of the St. Patrick’s 4 mile run I had the opportunity to go to just such a seminar that the Triple Cities Runner’s Club sponsored.  I was bound and determined to walk out of there with at least three big things I could change, and I was not disappointed.

Probably the most fascinating piece of information I got out of it was the idea of muscle activation.   Mathew stated something along the lines of (I don’t have an photographic memory) “About half of the people I see come in for injuries – aren’t injured.  They have muscles that simply aren’t firing properly.  Think of an army with 100,000 people. If only 20,000 are working – then it isn’t going to be doing its job well.  This is also true with Muscles – if only 20,000 of 100,000 muscle fibers are working – the muscle isn’t going to work as well.”  Muscle activation is the idea of increasing the number of “working” or activated muscles fibers.  Even if you only get it up to 60,000/100,000 fibers – you are going to be able to do MUCH more than if you were at 20,000/100,000.  He then demonstrated with someone who had a recurring IT Band problem (and stressed that this is not guaranteed to be someone’s issue just because they have IT Band pain, but that it WAS worth looking into if you did) come up as a “volunteer.”  With this person, he Continue reading 

Added lifting in.. Again..

21 Feb

So, I once before stated that “Someone told me that Runners need to do more than just run.“  At the time I started to lift at the YMCA while my kids were doing swim lessons there, but as their drown-proofing classed ended, so too did my lifting.  Well, in my ongoing project at home – to turn the kid’s play room from a disaster area where we shove everything, into a useful room that they can play games/watch TV AND I can work out in – I may have created a solution!  My imitation total-gym is now set up and useable!

Now, I paid a whole whopping $20 bucks on Craigslist for this thing – and was able to use it briefly.  For obvious reasons, my wife was not pleased with the idea of having this set up in her living room.  She IS OK with it being setup in a room that she hardly goes into and consequently won’t see it.  With this in mind I am going to add lifting in two to three times a week in my routine. Last night I did chest, triceps, and of course – abs.  Today it hurts to sit up or move my arms in anyway. I am such a wimp.

If i can manage to keep it up – I figure the strength training will really help my running, as well as the goal of looking good when I go to the beach!

Now I just need to figure out a good variety of exercises to keep it “mixed up” and prevent muscle memory.. Too bad it was 9 years ago that I used to go to a gym regularly! My memory isn’t that good!

Last nights run and ponderings on speed. Plus, the 100 up challenge!

8 Nov

It’s amazing to me, but my running seems much faster than it was. I have actually gone back and compared my times, and I am running consistently 1/2 a mile an hour faster than I was a month, 2 months or 3 months ago.  And it feels gooooood.  Last night I went 3.33 miles (3.52 miles according to dailymile) in 27:03 which was 7.3 mph (or 7.81).  I am very happy with this!  If the daily mile distance is correct, then my 5k time at that pace would 23:52. That is only 1 minute off of my PR – and I wasn’t running for a race!  Add in that I have been NOT running – and I am really looking forward to some spring time 5ks!  I think I may be able to get the sub-20 minute 5k – in 2012, that is one of my new goals!

The Mile breakdown according to CardioTrainer (7.3 mph average pace)
Mile 1: 8:14
Mile 2: 8:02
Mile 3: 8:15

I am very pleased with how my running is going!  My legs were sore today – but any ankle/calf/shin pain was very minimal. My quads and hamstrings were sore – in the “I was well used” sort of way.  My breathing still isn’t “quite right” – but I think that is the hardest part of returning to running from a break. It will come.

100 Up Exercise Progress:

So apparently Justin over at the Birthday Shoes read the same article in the NY Times that I (and just about every other internet savvy runner) read.  He was intrigued by the idea of the 100-up being a beneficial exercise and while he had the same thought I did of trying it – he went further and made a website dedicated to the idea of a 100-up Challenge.
Here is what he says on the website regarding the challenge:

What is the 100-Up Running Challenge

It’s simple, really. No matter where you are in your running abilities and no matter what your current training protocol is, the 100-Up Challenge requires you commit to the following:

    1. Establish a benchmark for your current running abilities — write down your last run’s time. Write down how you felt running it. Get it all onto paper in as much detail as you can manage. Did anything ache? How did your stride feel? Any problems you encountered? Commit that run to paper!
    2. Learn about W.G. George’s 100-Up drill and start practicing! — mind that you might not be able to do the preliminary version of the 100-Up perfect the first time, or maybe even the fifteenth time, but attempt the drill as often as you can, so long as each attempt strives for perfect practice (And not just getting it over with). Feel free to continue on running your normal mileage if you like, or take a break and focus on the drill. Do the drill! That’s the whole point of the challenge, and being able to determine if the 100-Up works or not completely depends on following George’s instructions as best you can and practice, practice, practice (perfectly!)!
    3. Run that same distance as in step 1. above 30 days later — now you get to see how you did. How’d it feel? Faster? Slower? Less aches and pains? What happened, if anything?
    4. Now report back on the whole experiment.

What’s the point? Well, the point is to see if the 100-Up actually makes you a better runner or not. And if it doesn’t make you a better runner, well at least you’ll have learned a new exercise and perhaps attained a bit of practice in the art of meditation.

Are you up for the challenge? If so, drop me an email at justinowings at birthdayshoes dot com and tell me about No. 1; that is, if you’d like to share your experiment publicly (though your true identity can always be obscured if you prefer!). I’ll be doing the experiment myself, so you won’t be alone.

I fired an email off to Justin and signed up for the 100-up Challenge. It seemed logical, since I was doing it anyway!

In regards to the 100 up – I had an epiphany last night. I have been doing the exercise after my run.  When I was tired.  Once I stopped and thought about it – it made far more sense to do this when I was fresh – BEFORE I ran. That way the memory of it was fresh as I went out, or if I did it in the morning (I run in the afternoon usually) – at least my muscles wouldn’t be as tired, allowing me to concentrate on the form.  Naturally this occurred to me while I was doing it last night after my run.

So this morning I did it right after my shower – while my muscles were fresh and relaxed. I did 85 reps of the minor – and each one seemed to be ideal form.  I could have done more, but figured I should quit while I was ahead.  If I get the opportunity to run tonight (its “family dodge-ball night” at the kid’s school) I plan on doing at least 50 of the minor right before hand. 

I don’t know if it is the 100-ups, or the fact I am being more aware of my form - but it does seem that I am running better.  The fact I am getting more muscle pain of the “use” type, rather than the “ow ow ow” type – would lead me to believe that my form may be better than it was as well.

As last night’s run felt good and fast – I think that is going to be one of my base-line runs for the challenge.

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