Archive for June, 2012

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The 2 5K’s in 1 Day Challenge

June 30, 2012
Mission accomplished.

A few weeks ago I mentioned that, based on a suggestion from Jennifer, I was going to challenge myself in a… different… way on June 24th – and invited anyone willing to join she and I to do the same.  That day, we were going to compete in two (2) 5K’s.  From a mileage standpoint I didn’t think it would pose a problem… what concerned me was the time between the two – one started at 9:00am and the other started at 6:15pm.  I’ll dispense with the formalities and drama… we did it!  It was the perfect end to one of the best weekends I have had in recent memory, so here’s the breakdown.
RACE #1
NAME:  The New York Giants Run Of Champions 5K
LOCATION:  Giants 🙂 Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
TIME:  33:34 (PR – previous best 34:40 set 5/20/12)
TOTAL B2R PARTICIPANTS*:  11 (!!!!!!!!!)
TEMPERATURE:  475 degrees Kelvin
* – “B2R Participants” = me and my friends 🙂
It was SO friggin’ hot.  First of all, it started at 9am; there is only one complaint I can make about this race and it’s that it started so damn late on a day in the middle of June.  Plus, it was mostly in the parking lot of a football stadium… how many trees provide shade out on those?  Yup… ZIPPIE.
And who wears LONG SLEEVES to run this race?  Yup… this guy.  See, after the nipple chafing episode a few months ago, I like to wear an Under Armour shirt of some kind underneath my regular shirt.  Well, I only have one sleeveless one… the rest have sleeves.  And since I’m running two races I had to decide which one I would wear long sleeves at.  9am or 615pm?  I went with 615pm – and that was the wrong way to go.  (** I was reminded that I could have probably washed the sleeveless shirt in between the two races… yeah, didn’t think of that.)
It was sweltering.  And there were 3,000 people running.  But there were 10 of my friends running with me.  ELEVEN OF US TOTAL!!!  Jennifer, Nancy, Martin, Joe, Amanda, Brian, Courtney, Mai, Hiba and Sara (** along with Hiba’s friend and Sara’s husband!)
Sara – 26:59 (SERIOUSLY?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!)
Mai – 29:13 (OK, y’all up here with these sub 30 minutes race times…)
Hiba – 30:03 (Close enough… I’m lumpin’ you in with those two)
Courtney – 30:19 (COME.  ON.  REALLY?!?!)
Brian – 31:55 (Brian after the race (I’m paraphrasing): “It was so hot, I had to run fast so I didn’t get suburn.” He really said that.)
Joe – 33:25 (Should have been WAY faster, but he had this chubby dude he was pacing…)
Gach – 33:34 (… the chubby dude Joe was pacing)
Nancy – 34:30 (Another PR for my original running partner!)
Martin – 35:16 (TT coming back strong from his toe injury)
Jennifer – 36:22 (2nd race back from a foot fracture… plus she was plotting for bigger things later)
Amanda – 44:54 (Not only was this her 1st race EVER, she stopped to assist a fallen competitor!)
I PR’d so I had an awesome run – and it was those people listed up there that helped me do it.  The finish line was the endzone of the football field.  I had grandiose plans of doing the Deion Sanders as I crossed, but was too damn hot and tired to even remember to do it, let alone pull it off.  Just an awesome, awesome race with the best running group I’ve ever been a part of.
But… the day wasn’t done.  There was another race to be run in a few hours.
________
RACE #2
NAME:  Fitzgerald’s 1928 Lager Run
LOCATION – Glen Ridge, NJ
TIME: 36:33.75 (Chip Time)
TOTAL B2R PARTICIPANTS: 2 (Jennifer and I)
TEMPERATURE:  More reasonable
So Race #1 ends and Jennifer and I immediately start plotting our next moves to properly prepare ourselves for the next race.  
4 beers and a few wings later, we’re ready for the mid-race nap.
(Did you seriously think we were gonna do anything different???)
So after the power nap we head over to the field, ready to accomplish this AMAZING UNHEARD OF feat of competing in 2 5K’s in 1 Day.  Jennifer’s in full-out Beastmode, rockin’ her freshly earned NYG 5K Dri-Fit Runners ass-kicking shirt.  Me?  I did something I still, a week later, can’t believe I did.  I wore compression shorts.  That’s it.  Just them, no shorts over them like I normally do.  I wore them alone.  
As you can see in the pic it’s not THAT horrific, but still… I understand the thought of me in those tight shorts is a little unnerving.  But I actually didn’t feel that uncomfortable.
That is until we got to the race.
Two things happened when we arrived:
1)  There were maybe 15 people minimum rockin’ the SAME freshly earned NYG 5K Dri-Fit Runners ass-kicking shirt Jennifer was… so this thought that we were doing something so crazy original and out-of-this-world was ripped from us – and honestly made us a little :(.
2)  Although the race had almost 2,000 less people than the morning run… this race was STACKED with ‘runners’.  I mean matching track uniform/ team runners.  There must have been half a dozen race teams there.  While the Giants race was all about fun and celebrating the Super Bowl champs, this was apparently NO JOKE.

So we get to the starting line, move away from all the Prefontaines and get ready.  Race starts, and we decide this is gonna be nice and smooth and we’re just gonna enjoy the scenery and chat and hang out.  It was a nice time and a really great easy course to run; 99% flat, got to see a bunch of the gorgeous houses in Montclair, the homeowners come out and turn their sprinklers onto the street to keep runners cool, and kids set up their own water stations on top of what the race sets up.  Just a nice, relaxing run.

Until we hit the track.

The race ends as we enter the local HS football field and do 2/3 of a lap around.  The whole time we’re running together, chatting, having fun… and you know what Jennifer does?  

The #’s never lie:

Jennifer: 36:33.52
Gach: 36:33.75

Yup, she BLEW PAST ME AT THE FINISH to cut the tape and whup my butt at the end.  I was left there… stunned and shocked at what just happened.  She was laughing and pointing and laughing some more…

OK, that didn’t really happen.  But we did do the whole second race together and it was a ton of fun.  We followed that race up the same way we followed up the first one… with beer.  2 free ones after the race and 2 at Friday’s after that.



I want to thank EVERYONE who made the races on this day super fun – so many great pics and memories I’m gonna have for a long time.  But… a special thank you to Jennifer for sticking with me all day and doing something, no matter what we saw at the 2nd race, that was truly unique and special.  We did 2 5K’s in 1 Day… that’s just beyond awesome to say.

Mission accomplished… what’s next.
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Trust The Process

June 13, 2012

So, as we already know, the 1st ANNUAL BLUBBER TO RUNNER ‘JUST SHOW UP’ VIRTUAL 5K is happening on Sunday, August 19th – with training on the Couch to 5K plan for everyone who wants to participate starting next week (woo hoo!!!)  With that being said, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about various stages of training, diet, conditioning that all center around 1 theme… enough that I felt like I needed to post about it.

That theme is ‘Doubt’… and a lot of people seem to have it these days.
I’m getting a lot of variations of it:
“I don’t think I can do…”
“I’m gonna wait until I do…”
“I’m not really sure I can handle…”
“I’m not positive I can…”
So, because of that, I want to address one of the other ‘mantras’ I have: 
To achieve anything… you have to have a plan in place to do so.  I don’t care if it’s getting Epic gear on World Of Warcraft (for you non-gamers, that’s not just ‘cool’ gear… that’s an actual level of gear you can obtain), getting an ‘A’ on an exam, or running your first 18-mile race.  You have to have a plan in place.  
But that’s really the easy part. 
Figuring out HOW you’re gonna do something requires minimal effort.  The effort comes in when you actually EXECUTE the plan.  THIS is when it starts to get tough.  But you need to remember that you put together this plan to achieve your goal, so you need to trust that plan through to its full execution in order to reach the finish line – literally or metaphorically speaking.
You need to:
Let me talk about my running shoes.  You’ve heard me mention them several times before – Vibram Five Fingers.  They are 100% minimalist running shoes.  No padding in them… in layman’s terms they are essentially Aqua Socks w/ treads on them.  Now, you don’t just decide “Hey, I’m gonna run barefoot!” and go out and run 5 miles because that is what your half-marathon training plan says.  What do you do?  
*say it with me*
So I researched.  I learned the exercises I needed to do every day.  I learned the different muscle groups this would now work that I needed to make sure I stretched properly.  I learned about 1 mile weekly increases in my runs – and carrying my regular shoes to switch into when I was on a run that was longer than my minimalist transition dictates. I read the book on them – literally – and educated myself about the good and bad regarding making this transition and deciding if it was where I wanted to take my running. So I picked a day (2 days after my half-marathon) and started the transition.
Now pay attention, because HERE is where trusting the process comes in.
Did I feel like I could run farther than 2 miles in those shoes in week 1?  ABSOLUTELY.
Did I feel like I could run more than 3 days/ week in those shoes in week 1? OF COURSE.
Did I feel a little bit of pain in some areas I wasn’t quite used to after week 2?  UHHH… YEAH.
Got the new kicks comin’ this week!!  : )
But I trusted the process, knowing all along that THIS is the way to do this right if it’s what I really wanted to do.  Not that there’s a ribbon-cutting ceremony for it or anything but, I am a 100% transitioned minimalist runner at this point.  I can easily run a half-marathon in those shoes now and, unless a freak injury occurs, I will never go back to running in any other style of shoe.
I didn’t go over 2 miles that first week… I didn’t do more than 3 days that week… and I knew the pain I was feeling wasn’t bad, it was just part of the transition.  I trusted the process and, in the end, I achieved my goal of becoming a minimalist runner.  I did this because the goal was to transition to these shoes, NOT to do my half-marathon training plan in them from Day 1.  Can I run more than 2 miles?  Yes.  But that wasn’t the point of what I was doing.  The point was the transition, so I trusted that process… and it worked.
So… when you’re doing the Couch to 5K plan and, after week 2, can’t figure out how you’re gonna run more than 30 seconds straight by the end – TRUST THE PROCESS.  Or… if you’re debating about doing a run – a run that you introduced me to by saying it was always your dream to run it – because you can’t do 3 miles straight yet – TRUST THE PROCESS. 
No matter WHAT you are doing – if you have the plan in place… all you need to do is see it through and…
*say it with me*
_ _ _ _ _   _ _ _   _ _ _ _ _ _ _   (you fill in the blanks)  🙂
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Just Show Up

June 5, 2012

‘Just show up.’

No, I’m not begging some chick to hang out w/ me so I’m not the 5th wheel at a social outing I need to attend.  This is the answer to a very simple question – and the question I probably get asked more than any other:

“How do you do it… how do you stay motivated?”

Losing weight and getting in shape is not easy… we all know that if it was we’d be a world of David and Victoria Beckhams just hanging out and being skinny with 0% body fat.  It’s tough, and sometimes you really need to dig deep to remind yourself just how tough it is.

When I first started this back in 2010, I did really well for a while – then fell flat on my face b/c I got complacent… which ultimately resulted in me being in even WORSE shape than I was to begin with.  I was lost, I didn’t know what to do and I was searching for someone to tell me something – ANYTHING – that would sink in and convince me to get back on the horse again.  And I found it:
‘Just show up.’
Take a second and say those 3 words, and then think about anything and everything you do that’s important to you.  The 1 constant that ALWAYS exists with those situations is simple – you show up.  Whether it’s simply ‘appointment TV’, your job, the bar after work, time with your significant other.  Now, there is not ‘one thing’ that’s more important than anything else – it can really be anything – but it’s simply what’s important to you.  And not just physically… you’re emotionally present in the moment as well.  You’re invested.  Nothing else matters after that point, but you were able to push anything and everything out of the way and ‘just show up’ to be where you wanted to be when you wanted to be there.
There’s a lot of ways to look at that phrase but, for blog purposes, I’m strictly looking at it from my perspective regarding this experience:

*  PHYSICALLY – No on ever regrets doing workout during or after they’ve done it.  Most people regret skipping a workout if they had one scheduled and bailed on it.  It’s really that simple.

*  MENTALLY – Know that, deep down, the feeling of not wanting to go will go away once you’re at the gym/ park/ track
*  RESPECTFULLY – Plain and simple: You commit to it, commit to it. Unless something completely uncontrollable happens (I mean that literally too), be where you’re supposed to be when you supposed to be there.  This may or may not apply here, but it’s a pet peeve of mine so I included it.

The biggest problem people tell me they have when it comes to (not) working out is time – “I just don’t have time to work out for 30 minutes every day.”  Well, I hate to break it to you… you do.  The REAL problem is that you don’t WANT to have time to do it yet, regardless of the words coming outta your mouth.  Just like anything else, if you want it bad enough you will MAKE the time to do it.

In my opinion, the easiest way and most consistent way to get it in is, by far, before you normally wake up – ESPECIALLY this time of year.  Just wake up 45 minutes earlier – I KNOW… “Blashphemy!”  But again… if you want it bad enough, you make the time.  If this means you go to bed earlier, which means missing a show you like or not going to that extended Happy Hour then so be it.  This will show you what’s more important in your life at this point – getting fit, watching Dance Moms or Vodka.  All you really have to do is just change your mentality to one that’s accepting of the facts – you are super happy you’re waking up at 5 instead of 6 so you can throw on your sneakers and knock out a 30 minute walk.  BE HAPPY ABOUT IT.  There are obviously other ways (after school/ work, lunch breaks, before bed, etc.) but from a consistency standpoint I feel waking up earlier gives you the most control and ability to manage the time needed to get the work out in.

I’m gonna put this out there – if you think you have a reason of why you don’t have the time to work out… I wanna hear it.  I can guarantee you that it’s not a reason… just an excuse.  I know working moms w/ 3 kids under 6 years old that run marathons.  I know dudes working 12 hour shifts with 2 hour commutes each way to work that list ‘bodybuilding’ as a hobby.  I’m not criticizing how busy you might actually be – quite the contrary actually – I’m just trying to show you that you CAN make the time if getting in shape is really important to you.

And you can do it if you:

(Oh, yeah… totally put it on a T-shirt. Click HERE if you want one too!)

** PS: I’m officially ON FACEBOOK!  Well… the blog is I mean.  I made a fan page so it’s easier for me to share stuff and not annoy people I’m friends with that aren’t interested in the blog with constant posts about it.  This way, if you choose to ‘Like’ the page, you’re asking to be annoyed!  🙂  So anyway, give the page a like and say ‘Hello!’… don’t be afraid, I won’t bite.  Unlike some people I know. **

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