"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -- WOW-- What a Ride!"

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

6 Training Tips to Help You Speed Up | Active.com

6 Training Tips to Help You Speed Up | Active.com

Some good things for me to think about in there. Specifically, I know I need to incorporate more variety. Also, getting more quality rest would be helpful for me. Feel free to leave a comment below if you find anything helpful in the linked article.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ran 6.5 miles this evening.  My wife and daughters are off visiting grandma so I went for my run right after I left work.  I saw the sun set and observed a couple of robins cavorting in some spruce trees.

It looks, sounds, and smells like spring is finally starting to claw it's way in.  Once the snow and ice are gone it'll really feel like spring.  For now I'm just enjoying the milder temps and some extra sunlight.

I started out tonight very slow and stiff.  After spending 12 hours at my desk that's to be expected.  Once I got warmed up I could pick up the pace pretty well.  A few tweaks and twinges, but I'm 42, those are expected.

Hope you all had a fabulous Tuesday!  No questions for you today.  Please feel free to tell us how great (or not) your day was though.

Monday, March 28, 2011


Just weighed myself for the first time in about 2 months.  I'm up about 3 pounds :-(  Just goes to show that you can't outrun the calories.  It's time for me to hit the reset button, get back on track and quit letting stress dictate my eating habits.  That's what got me where I was in the first place.  No more!  While I may run because I enjoy pizza and buffets, I need to remember that moderation is the key.  No foods are inherently bad.  I just need to remember that some things are best savored in very small servings.

In other news, today was a rest day.  I did some Wii Fit stuff as my XT for today.  I like to do free stepping while watching television.  I also really enjoy doing Super Hula Hoop.  Don't ask me why, I just do :-D

This morning I tried some 7-grain oatmeal for breakfast.  Yum!  It was really good and stuck with me pretty well.  It's got some of the texture and nuttiness of steel cut oats without the long cooking time.  Tomorrow morning I'll have it again, with a banana and less brown sugar.  I need to cut back on the sugar anyway.  I'm not really sure what brand the 7-grain cereal is.  It was from a bulk bin.  The ingredients sound suspiciously Kashi-like but I don't think it's Kashi brand.  Have I mentioned that oatmeal is in my top 5 favorite foods?  Oh yes, we're going to get to know oatmeal pretty well ;-)  I almost wish there was such a thing as an oatmeal buffet.

What's your favorite breakfast food?  Do you like to customize it?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday Sunday Sunday!

Sunday is long, slow, distance run day in my running calendar. Today couldn't have been much better with temps in the 20's and clear skies. The roads were in good shape as most of last week's dumping has been cleared from the roads.

Today's run was 9.5 miles. I informally timed it at about 1:40:00 based on when I left home and when I returned. Today marked three personal bests: 1) Longest run; 2) Most miles per week; 3) First 100+ mile month ever.

Here's some pics from today:

From Running Pics

This is "nemesis hill". Last fall I could barely make it up this hill without slowing to a walk. The picture is deceptive because as one crests the first section that can be seen, the road flattens out for a little and then starts up again. Whew! This hill has been my nemesis, hence the name. I now can run all the way up. Who's your daddy now nemesis hill? ;)

From Running Pics

This is supposed to be sort of panoramic as I topped the highest point in my run today. My little cell phone camera doesn't really do it justice. It was a pretty neat view. It made the last mile or so of hill climbing straight into the wind worth it.

Today I tried a Soyjoy bar for the first time. Pretty tasty and got along with my stomach very well. I'm going to keep them in mind for pre and mid run fueling.

Has anyone tried Osteo Bi-flex to keep their joints healthy? I'm getting towards the older end of the spectrum and could use all the help I can get.

How was your weekend? Ready for Monday?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Today is a rest day.  Whew.  After two nights in a row running in January-like temperatures I am ready for a break.  My nose is still cold from last night.

This morning I went to work for a bit.  Had to get some stuff done.  While I was gone my wife made some awesome homemade cinnamon rolls.  Yum!  Thank you sweetie!  You're the best.  I'm going to have to run some extra miles next week to work those rolls off.

Last night I tried the Subway buffalo chicken sandwich on flat-bread as pre-run fuel.  It actually worked pretty well.  I wasn't getting an encore performance of the flavor while I ran.  I'll put that in the "OK before a run" category.

Tonight I think will be movie night so I can watch my latest arrival from Netflix (Casino Royale I think) and be lazy on the couch and fuel up with some kettle corn.  Tomorrow I have a 15K (9.3 mile) run planned.

What sorts of random stuff do you think about while running?  One would think with all that time alone a person would think of some pretty interesting stuff.  I find most of what runs through my head is pretty mundane.  It might go something like this:

Me:  "Say, how's it going?"
Myself:  "Meh, fair to middlin'.  Kind of tired."
Me:  "Yeah, me too."
Myself:  "How about this weather?"
Me:  "No kidding.  I'm freezing.  Where's spring?"

On clear nights I've taken to looking at the stars.  I like to check http://earthsky.org/tonight before I leave to get a feel for what to look for on any given night.

Are you dealing with this early spring cold snap?  Any special weekend plans?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday, March 25, 2011

Driving in to work this morning it was -4F.  Wha...?!  Did the clock suddenly turn back to January?

Last night's run was the coldest I've experienced in awhile.  The temp was 12F when I left and I could actually feel it get colder as I went.  Brr.  Winter has been fun and all, but I'm ready for spring.

On my easy runs I like to have jam bands in the playlist.  One of my favorites is the String Cheese Incident.  This little lyric clip always sticks with me as I run:

...the rhythm of the road
holds the answer to the questions on our minds.
I know that we can keep the faith
and things will all work out in time (String Cheese Incident, Rythym of the Road)
 Plus it has just an absolutely perfect guitar solo for an easy run.

More to come later.  How's everyone doing this morning?  Got your coffee/tea/water/beverage of choice on yet?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Busy day again.  The days really fly by when there's lots to do.

Tonight the plan is for 7-8 miles, depending on the road conditions.  Yesterdays foot-ish of new snow is going to require some adjustments on my part I'm sure.  I'm not really looking forward to the temps in the teens once the sun goes down either.  I'm planning a flat route and to not time it so I can keep the pace real easy.  I want to save something for tomorrow and crank up the pace a little then.

Fuel for the day so far has been oatmeal with a banana, plain yogurt with granola, a navel orange, and some dry Honey Nut Cheerios for a snack.

Hope you all are having a great day!

What's your running/XT plans for today?  How'd it go if you did it already?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Where did this day get to?  Goodness.  Today was/is a rest day.  It's been snowing since last night and we've got about a foot of new snow.  I thought it best to take the day off from running and let the snow plows do their job.  I'll be back at it tomorrow with either 7 or 8 miles planned.

Last night I ran 6.3 miles of hill repeats.  In a snowstorm.  I had a great run and posted negative splits for each lap of my 2.1 mile neighborhood route.  Here they are:

Lap 1 - 24:04
Lap 2 - 24:01
Lap 3 - 23:49

Just as I finished that 3rd lap there was some lightning and I scurried into the house.  I'll run through a lot of things, but lightning isn't one of them.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Had a great rest day yesterday.  Did some stretching and planks.  Man those things are hard.  Core strength is important for running on trails though.  I need to keep after it to improve in that area.

Tonight I have 6-7 miles planned.  We'll see what happens.  We're under a winter storm watch for tomorrow so I might try to bank an extra mile or two ahead of the oncoming storm.  Winter is not giving up without a fight in my neck of the woods.

Run safe everyone.

Is anyone enjoying spring yet?  Care to share about it so I can enjoy it vicariously through you?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Beginner's Corner

For the benefit of other beginners like me, I am starting an irregularly recurring feature to be known as Beginner's Corner.  Together we will explore some of the basic running concepts.

First up:  Easy Pace

Easy pace means running at a comfortable, conversational pace.  If you are running with someone, you should be able to comfortably carry on a conversation.  If you can't do that, you are probably going too fast.  Slow down and enjoy the journey :)  When I'm running alone, I'll test this by talking to myself a little.  Yeah, it looks/sounds weird, but I want to know if I'm trying to push too hard.  Trust me on this:  Nothing looks weirder than some guy out running at night in reflective gear in a snowstorm, so talking to myself isn't exactly a big stretch of weirdness.

Some coaches feel that 80-90 percent of our weekly miles should be done at an easy pace.  As beginners most likely we're closer to 100 percent of our miles being done at an easy pace.  When we're in the base building phase, that's ok.  The important thing is just getting out and logging the miles.  We're trying to build fitness and endurance without getting hurt and running at an easy pace helps us do that.

That's it for this episode of Beginner's Corner.  If you have any suggestions, questions and/or comments, please leave them in the comments below.

Booty Kickin' Trail Run

Whew, yesterdays trail run kicked my booty.  The trail still had a foot-ish of snow over it.  Mostly hard packed.  On the uphills, just as I would get a good foot plant, the snow would give way and my foot would slide back a bit.  Since the trail was either uphill or downhill and not much flat, I spent a good amount of time just trying to get decent footing.  I ended up only going 7.1 miles.  I had a hard cutoff of two hours running and when I hit 1 hour I turned around.  I must've made good time coming back because my total time on the trail was 1:43.

Today is a rest day.  The rest of the week is up in the air.  I'll make up the running plan as the weather allows.  We're supposed to have a pretty decent winter storm move through Tuesday night-Wednesday that's bringing ice and snow.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Today I'm headed back to my forest trails that I haven't run since this picture was taken (just after last Thanksgiving). After I took this picture the snow piled up and got too deep for running. Perfect for skiing or snowshoeing if you're into that sort of thing. A week of 40 degree temps has taken care of much of the winter snowpack and this trail should be runnable again. I can't wait to get back out there. The plan for the day will be 9 miles or 2 hours, whichever comes first.

From Running Pics

What's your plan for today?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Fueling up

Fueling up for tomorrow's run tonight by eating pizza from B.C. Pizza.  Some of the locations have an awesome buffet, but we just brought it home.  It was the Patrolman special for us tonight.  Yum!

Here it is in all it's pizza goodness:

Picture from http://www.bcpizza.net


Woot!  It's Saturday.  That means I didn't have to get up early.  It also means my morning is filled with Barbie, Littlest Petshop, Playmobil, American Girl, and hugs from little girls.  I have two daughters, ages 9 and 5.  For the moment they are watching a Phineas and Ferb rerun on Netflix.  Soon they will fill the house with commotion and happy little girl noises.  Good times.

Last night's run was really good.  I set off with the idea to throw in some fartleks.  I'd felt that this past week I was in too much of a rut running wise.  Boy did it feel good to drop the hammer.  No, I'm not as fast as quite a few of you, but I am lots faster than I was a month ago.  I know speed will come eventually.  Just keep running.  Anyway, I was really pleased with where my overall pace ended up.  I'm afraid my 7 miles turned into more of a tempo run than an easy pace run with fartleks.  It was fun though.

Beautiful almost full moon last night.  It was my constant companion over my shoulder as I ran.  It had what looked like a rainbow circling all the way around it.  Pretty cool.

Plan for today is a rest day.  Watch the kids this morning while my wife teaches swimming at the Y, then work this afternoon for a little bit.  Sunday is church with the family and then my long run for the week at some point.

What's up with you all?  Racing?  Relaxing?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday, March 18, 2011 Daily

The plan for tonight is 7 miles.  Our weather is more spring-like than winter-ish, so it should be a pleasant run.  Temps by run time should be around 35, cloudy, winds out of the NW around 5-10 mph.  Pretty normal weather for northern Michigan at this time of year.

Some new running gear arrived yesterday.  I now have a brand new reflective vest!  My old one was just wearing out.  If I figure out how, I'll post a pic later.  It doesn't matter what it is, new gear is fun.

My first race of the season is about 6 weeks away.  I am running the Road Ends 5-mile in Pinckney State Forest near Ann Arbor at the end of April.  It'll be my first ever official trail race.  I know the distance will be no problem.  I'm sure I'll be slower than half the field, but that's OK.  I race for the experience, to mingle with other runners and to test myself.

Lunch time edit:  Lunch today was a salad of baby lettuces, spinach, kale, tomato and chicken with salsa.  Awesome!

How's everyone doing?  How's the running and/or cross training going for the week?  Who's ready for their LSD run this weekend?  Get any new running stuff lately?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

SwimOutlet.com & Garrett Weber-Gale's Nutrition for Performance Series (part 4)

Woot! Carbs for a bedtime snack. I'm all over that :) I do actually enjoy munching on some granola or dry cereal in the evening. Little did I know it was doing me some good.

SwimOutlet.com & Garrett Weber-Gale's Nutrition for Performance Series (part 3 )

Even though this is focused on swimming, the information is equally applicable to running. Tried and true nothing new, right? We don't make big changes in our gear right before a race, so why would we in our diet? Garrett makes some really good points.

I make a similar steak, but I use a cast iron pan. Get that cast iron skillet hot. Really hot. It works better to start with a room temperature steak. Salt a little on each side with kosher salt. Throw that steak in the pan and leave it alone for 4 minutes. Don't touch it. No matter what it does. Then flip it. Once again, don't touch for 4 minutes. Then, pull the steak and the pan is ready for deglazing if you like to make a sauce. You will end up with a nice, medium, tasty steak. I use a lean cut of beef, venison or buffalo (bison). I usually use a 1 inch thick steak. Thicker or thinner cuts will require adjustment of the cooking time. Serve with your favorite sides. For me that would be a salad and a baked sweet potato.

On the Road Again

As part of my job I travel quite a bit.  Thankfully most of it is not overnight travel.  Still, being out for the day and eating at bars, greasy spoons and convenience stores takes it's toll.  Today is a travel day.  I'll be working with a client in a small community in central Michigan.  The only choices for lunch are a bar and a gas station.  Hm.  I know the bar has good chili.  My other choice is to snag a granola bar on my way out of the office and munch on that.  I don't like to eat just to eat.  I want it to be awesome.  Maybe I'll just skip lunch and have an awesome dinner at home later.

My new fueling strategy of a bigger, higher carb lunch on run days worked well from an energy perspective.  From a settled tummy perspective, not so much.  Last night was the first time ever I've had my tummy start doing flip flops during a run.  I just pulled back on the pace and kept going.  After a couple of miles my tummy calmed down and things were all good again.  Weird.  On a positive note, last night was my first shorts run for 2011.  I headed out just after 7:15 p.m. and it was still 50 degrees!  By the time I finished at 8:45 p.m. it was in the low 40's.  Definitely much nicer than -5 with blowing snow.

Today will be a rest day.  Some stretching and core work later.  I can't believe this week is almost over already.

What are your running-related plans for today?  Any plans for celebrating St. Patrick's day?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011 Daily

The plan for tonight is 8 miles.  This week I'm shaking things up a little.  The last two weeks my program was 6, 7, 8, 9 miles.  This week it's going to be 6, 8, 7, 9.  I don't want my muscles getting into a rut.  Oh, and yeah, I normally run at night.  A headlamp and reflective vest are normal running wear for me.  I feel naked without them.

Last night's 6 miler was pretty awesome even if the time doesn't show it.  At several intersections I had to stop and wait for cars.  Not just one or two cars either.  Lots of them.  So weird for the little town I run in.  The weather was great.  At the time I ran it was 37 degrees with no wind.  It felt really warm compared to those sub-zero windchill runs I was doing a month ago.

My wife made baked chicken and cornbread for dinner with an awesome salad that included baby lettuce, spinach and kale.  Cornbread is my carb of choice any day of the week :)  Lunch today might be leftover chicken diced up on a salad.  Dinner tonight is on my own since by the time I get home my wife and daughters will be at church.  I'll have to see how creative I can get.

So, what's up with you all?  Any running plans for today?  If you ran yesterday was it awesome?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011 Daily

Today's plan is for a 6 mile run.  Just because of the way things work at our house it will probably happen sometime after 8:30 p.m. this evening.  Daylight savings time or not, it will be dark by then so high visibility wear and my headlamp will be the uniform of the day.  Forecast is for sunshine and temps in the mid-40's today.  That will help clear lots of the remaining ice off the paths and sidewalks.

Last night I did my light stretching and planks.  I did 3 planks x 1 minute.  That's the first time at 3 planks and I felt like a noodle after that.  Whew!  Those things are deceptively difficult.  What do you think is better, more, shorter planks or fewer longer planks?

Back later with a fuel update for today.  Dinner last night was pasta with ground turkey and plain old Ragu for sauce and a salad of iceberg, spinach and carrot.  Simple and quick, but pretty tasty as well.  My wife baked some honey whole wheat bread.  Yum!  She bakes that bread 2-3 times per week.  So awesome!  Way better than store bought and we know exactly what went into it.  It was so good I had to have a little toasted with cinnamon sugar on it for a snack :)

What are your plans for today?  How did yesterdays workouts or cross-training go?  Did you eat anything completely awesome lately?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Monday, March 14, 2011 Daily

Hooray for high viz clothing! On yesterday’s run I had three cars that looked like they were going to run a stop sign stop suddenly after they saw me. Good thing I was watching them and stopped until their intentions were clear.

Got my 9 miles in yesterday which made 30 miles for the week. That’s only the second time ever I’ve cracked 30 miles for the week. I have less tiredness in my muscles than I did last Monday so I think my fitness is improving. I’ll stick with 30 mpw for at least another couple of weeks to take full advantage of fitness improvements.

Today is a rest day. The plan for tonight is some light stretching and planks. Nothing serious. I want to make sure to get to bed early to get some good rest. This time change thing really messes me up for a good week or so.

Today’s menu was Quaker old fashioned rolled oats with peanut butter, banana, cinnamon and brown sugar for breakfast; ½-can of Campbell’s Select Split Pea and Ham soup, an orange, and a handful of almonds for lunch. Dinner is still TBD. Whatever it is, I’m sure it will be awesome. My snack this afternoon is some dry Banana Nut Cheerios.

What do you all have going on today?  Have you adjusted to the time change?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

SwimOutlet.com & Garrett Weber-Gale's Nutrition for Performance Series (Part 2)

Part 2

SwimOutlet.com & Garrett Weber-Gale's Nutrition for Performance Series (Part 1)

Part 1...

Plan for Sunday, March 13, 2011

Today is my long run day and I have 9-ish miles planned.  I like to plan it a little long just in case my measurement was a bit off.  Here's a link to today's route:

Once I finish my run today I will be at 30+ miles for the week.  That will be the second week in a row I have cracked 30 miles.  Ever.  I'm starting to feel a little fitness improvement over the week as my body adjusts to the distance.  I'm thinking at least another week or two at this distance and then I'll see about adding a few more miles.

It will be awesome once the snow melts and the trails open up so I can do my weekend long runs in the woods again.  I'm really starting to miss that.  Running the sidewalks and roads has allowed me to build fitness over the winter but it's not the same as being on the trails.  By the looks of the extended forecast I might get to run in the woods again next weekend.

Fuel for today started with a Chinese buffet last night.  I didn't hit anything hard.  Just sampled my way through the sushi, salad, crab legs and dim sum.  I'm not real big on the fried, heavy, saucy dishes anyway so it was perfect.  Breakfast today was a big bowl of steel cut oats with banana, peanut butter, cinnamon and brown sugar.  Lunch was a salad of iceberg lettuce, spinach, and tuna with Chi Chi's black bean and corn salsa.  Dinner plans are still to be determined.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Today's Running Content

Today is a rest day (RD).  That means I did no running today.  I might still do some light stretching and some planks.  Basically I just took it easy today.  Once I am past tax season and my working hours come back to something normal I'll work in some cross training on my off days.

Will Run for Food

This is a blog to collect all the random stuff I think about while running.  I started running in July of 2010 and I'm just getting to where I run for extended periods.  That means I have a lot of random thoughts.  I wasn't sure I'd enjoy spending 60-90 minutes with myself, but I'm growing on myself.

People ask "Why do you run?"  I guess my answer would be I run for pizza and Chinese buffets.  I like to eat.  My job (accountant) is pretty sedentary.  I need to do something to get off the couch and keep moving to burn the calories.  Once I started running I found I enjoyed it, so I stuck with it and have been working on building my distance.  In the meantime I learned to eat healthier most of the time and managed to drop 70 pounds.  Weight loss is like climbing Mt. Everest.  When you get to the summit, the trip is only half over and the most dangerous part is still to come - the descent.  I managed to lose 70 pounds, but my journey is only half over.  The most dangerous part, keeping it off, is still to come.