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Thoughts From A Wild Half

May 23, 2014
Hangin' out in VA with Jeff & Mandy!

Hangin’ out in VA with Jeff & Mandy!

So I completed my 3rd half-marathon last weekend – The Wild Half in Wildwood, NJ. To be honest, it was kind of a crazy weekend. 24 hours before the race I found myself in Manassas, VA so I could be a part of my godson’s 1st Holy Communion! I headed down to VA from NJ on Friday and crashed with some friends (thanks again, Jeff & Mandy!) before heading to the Communion. Once the Communion was over, I headed straight back to NJ so I could get to packet pick-up in time early Saturday evening.

Now, the race itself had some ups, some downs as well as some learnings:

* I was all alone for this race – which was a first for me. My wife was across the country and Wildwood isn’t close enough for my peeps to just wake up and cheer me on… it’s a few hours from home. So I ended up flying solo on this one, which was one of the harder things I’ve had to do.

* I did not train as hard as I did in previous half-marathons, and honestly it showed. I did pretty good the last few weeks before the race itself but, overall, training alone I had slacked more than I would have liked.

IMG_20140518_115635* Worst time ever for a half for me but between a mid-race ‘nature break’ :), less than stellar training as well as bad, bad memories from the last time I did this race, I definitely can’t complain about my performance. I felt great when I was done (the following days were a slightly different story ie: DOMS.)

Now, there’s a common denominator in all of this… ALONE. I gotta be honest with you guys – training alone pretty much stunk. I didn’t enjoy it one bit. I missed my wife and my friends. And, because I didn’t enjoy it, I didn’t push myself as hard as I should have (or have in the past.) I took more breaks, walked more, stopped more… I definitely noticed a difference.

And all of those feelings made me realize something – I don’t wanna do that anymore.

I didn’t enjoy training for a half-marathon alone. Those 2-3 hour training runs by myself were TOUGH, because I wanted to be anywhere BUT doing the run. So, it’s time to change some things up. My wife, brother AND brother-in-law all have told me the same thing – strength training will result in better weight loss, better physique, etc. I know they’re right… but I’m comfortable running, so I wanted to do it. As I’ve discussed before, I’m not comfortable in the gym. But, at this point, I have to embrace the change.

So, for now, I’m retiring my hydration belt and laying off of any distance running. I’m going to train smart, devote myself in the gym and try something, for me, that’s difficult and uncomfortable. I’m gonna try some shorter races… races that are different and fun. May even finally get that bike I keep putting off buying and do a duathlon with my wife. But, mostly, my time will be spent in the gym chiseling myself into a healthy, fit man.

I’ll keep you guys posted on how THAT goes… :)  For now, here’s me crossing the finish line after 13.1 miles (coincidentally, in those HORRIBLE shoes that you should NEVER wear.)

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My Shoes Suck*!!!

May 8, 2014

Words out, people! Running barefoot SUCKS. Vibram just settled a huge lawsuit because they lied about their shoes!*

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(* – they don’t suck… and just like the  fun, ‘shocking!’ Fittish headline that prompted this post, it’s intended strictly for shock value and has nothing to do with the actual meat and potatoes of the post.)

OK… let’s get past the BS and dive into what actually happened with Vibram, and how that will adversely affect me as I continue running.  In a nutshell, Vibram was sued for false advertising. They claimed that their shoes could “reduce foot injuries and strengthen foot muscles” (their words, not mine) which, in fact, they can’t. They said something that was false, and they got caught.

And now they’ll pay customers – 3.75 million dollars to be exact – as part of their settlement on the suit.

Fittish also quoted a study done last year which said “This study showed that increases in bone marrow edema [the precursor to a stress fracture] are more common in subjects who were transitioning to the [Vibram FiveFingers]“

Now I wanna point out a few things:

IMG_20140508_174058* Fittish is a part of the Deadspin community, which is not only AMAZING (one of my daily reads) but is over-the-top on how they report stories. It’s part of the allure. That being said, here’s the actual report, without snarky opinion or judgement.

* The 2013 study talks about the injuries being most common when transitioning into Vibrams. I’m sure that’s true, because ANYONE transitioning into ANYTHING workout-related runs a higher risk of injury when transitioning into it. It’s simply common logic. They push too hard, aren’t using proper form, etc… there’s a bunch of reasons why that would be the case.  That being said, they’re all ‘user error’, not a fault with the product. I had just finished a half-marathon when I decided to start with barefoot running and I started with 2 weeks straight of 2 miles maximum. Did I think I could do more?  Of course – I just finished 13.1! But, the plan said 2 miles for 2 weeks, so that’s what I did. When I had longer runs? I carried my regular shoes with me in a backpack and literally changed shoes mid-run. It takes discipline to transition into barefoot shoes… and lack of discipline equals “…increases in bone marrow edema [the precursor to a stress fracture]… in subjects who were transitioning to the [Vibram FiveFingers]“

* I never started using them because they would “reduce injuries or strengthen foot muscles”… I used them because, for me and how I run, they are FANTASTIC. I’m by no means a speed demon, have a very wide foot and big toes that tear through the toe box on regular running shoes so everything about them is great for me.

* This type of thing is exactly why I never recommended them to anyone other than my best friend. I told people how much I liked them, how great they worked for me but, outside of Joe, not once did I say “it’s better than regular shoes, you’re an idiot if you don’t do it.” My go-to line is “if you’re comfortable when you run… don’t even need to try ‘em.” So why did I recommend them to my best friend then?  Simple – the dude walks around barefoot/ in sandals more than anyone I know besides myself… maybe even more. And he was never comfortable running. So he gave them a shot – and he also likes them.

Now, I’m not gonna lie – that headline pissed me off. And having friends FB/ text/ e-mail me about it maybe feel like some of them were laughing at me for it. I know, for most of you, it was done to be courteous and let me know about what was going on… that’s my issue (and in turn my therapists responsibility :) ), so please don’t think I’m mad at ANYONE for sending me the link – I appreciate it! When I saw the story Wednesday afternoon I figured I’d hear about it – and boy, was I right!

But I’m not stupid. And I’m not a sucker. And that headline offended me, because I did A LOT of research before deciding to first try it, then stick with it.  So congrats to Fittish for the eye-catching headline… you accomplished exactly what you set out to do.

As for me? I’m gonna slip on my Komodosport L/S and do what I’ve done for 1 half-marathon (and a 2nd coming next weekend), 1 18-mile race and countless other miles in 5 and 10K’s… I’m gonna run in my Vibrams.

2014-04-06 13.26.47

 

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2 Weeks To Go!

May 3, 2014

As I promised in my last blog, here’s my 2 week, consolidated half marathon training. Now, don’t forget – I’VE BEEN TRAINING FOR 2 1/2 MONTHS. I just haven’t been as happy with my focus during it, so I’m crunching an intense couple of weeks at the end to help me get right in enough time for the race!

Couple of points:

* ‘Short Run’ is between 3-4 miles, I’m just gonna go by how I feel, where I am, etc.

* ‘TM’?  Training Mask! (It’s baaaaaaaaaaack! :) )

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Well I’ll Be Damned!

May 1, 2014

(NSFW language)

So I’ve got about two weeks before my 3rd half-marathon, and to say that my training hasn’t been consistent would be an understatement. Not to say that there’s been no training, but my runs haven’t been amazing, my diet has matched my runs… it’s just been very underwhelming.

ImageWhy?  To be honest, I wasn’t very sure.

Until today.

I went for a run today – it’s a beautiful day, wanted to do 4-6 miles. So I got started, and I was all over the place – my brain was just going NON-STOP with information. I couldn’t stop thinking… couldn’t shut it off. What was my pace… how far had I gone… I’m not gonna be ready for this race… how am I gonna hydrate for the race… maybe I should just not do it… is everything ok with my hotel room… how am I gonna do this race by myself… so I stopped and sat down.  I had been running for only about 6 minutes.

And then I had a gahdamn epiphany.

Seriously – for some reason, something clicked for me…

I AM THINKING WAY TOO DAMN MUCH.

I’m in my own fucking head sabotaging myself. And what’s crazy is that I’m doing it in EVERY PART OF MY LIFE. I talk myself out of so many different things even before I do them; I talk myself out of job opportunites even before I walk into the interview. I tell myself I don’t want to try X or Y because I already ‘know’ I won’t enjoy it – or people won’t enjoy me being there. I don’t write anymore because seriously, nobody wants to keep hearing about me this much – plus I tell my wife everything I’m feeling… we talk about it, and that’s that.

I mean, I can literally talk myself out of ANYTHING – and it’s debilitating.

So I decided to stop worrying. And I’m going to keep trying to not worry. And it started with my run.

I turned off my RunKeeper, I turned off my running playlist and I just ran. I have no idea how far. I kinda have an idea of how long. I just ran until I didn’t want to anymore, then I stopped and walked back to the car.

AND IT FELT REALLY, REALLY GREAT.

Now, I know this whole issue with the “voice inside my head” isn’t a new thing… I’ve been fighting myself for years. Sometimes it gets the better of me, other times I beat it’s ass back. But right now, in this moment, I’m making a conscious choice to not listen to the negativity and change the voices attitude to one of positivity and motivation.

So today I’m putting together a quick 2 week half-marathon plan… just to help me get the endurance & stamina up again before the big day. Every day starting this Saturday will have either a run, a workout, or both. All helping me get to this race.  Plus, I remember that I started writing for me… and I kinda forgot that.

So I’m probably gonna write some more. Take a few pics. Post some motivational shit on my page. Because you know what? I NEED IT. I hope you guys like it too, because I think you guys are great. And I’m sorry I haven’t put myself out there as much I had been. I go in and out of my head a lot… it’s not easy for me!

(PS – sorry if this is kinda all over the place… I’m ridin’ the wave!)

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Our Vision

November 18, 2013

So…

Lots of things goin’ on over here.  And this post is regarding the most important – my marriage.

:)

Yes, the marriage that began in this here blog has FINALLY happened!  I have a couple of pics of my bee-you-tee-full wife and I on our awesome wedding day throughout the post… couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day.

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One of the things we have learned together on our journey was that we really need to make commitments.  Commitments to ourselves, our relationship and, eventually, our future family.  To that end… instead of traditional vows at our wedding ceremony, we instead decided to write out our Vision and share it with our friends & family.

1469952_10151772296207828_1224371045_nOur vision is not set in stone – we’ll be adding as our life changes and grows together.  But, for where we are right now, these are the things that are important to us.  And, since this blog really played such an important part of our lives together, I think it’s only fair that I share that vision with you all!  This is very personal to me – and to us – but all of you reading this are such a major part of what I’ve been able to do with my life, I want you to help hold this vision for us as we start our life together.

Without further ado, Our Vision:

“Today and always I commit that I will hold this Vision for our journey through life together.

I lead a healthy and active lifestyle.

I stay grounded and connected to the divine within me and all around me.

I nurture ever-growing passion, intimacy and connection with you.

I grow through life’s challenges with grace and integrity and will learn from every lesson.

I use the gifts I’ve received from all of my relationships to create a loving, bonded and healthy family.

I know that my willingness to allow abundance to flow will create a prosperous life for us.

I will be my best, do my best and give my best.

I show up for me, for you, for us and our family.”

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Thank you all for being such a great support system for me… I can’t easily express how much I truly appreciate it.

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