Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I Digress: A Return To The "100%" Mantra

I am going to take a brief intermission from my questions in order to return to something that I posted about several months ago: my committal to living and doing things in my life at 100%.

I doubt anyone remembers this little diatribe of mine, but I just wanted to quantify my efforts, both in fitness and life in general. I therefore put a goal of 100% on everything I do on a daily basis. I know 100% is hardly possible with everything, especially considering how subjective this is. Regardless, many days I have caught myself slacking in one department or another, and I try to steer the ship back in the right direction. On a day like today where I am in a bit of a funk (I suffer from light seasonal depression), giving myself a bit of an evaluation seems like a good choice. Here is where I think I stand in a few categories:

Fitness: I would give myself about a 90% in this area. I am sticking strong to my marathon plan, I am cross-training on most of my "rest" days, and I am hitting my runs/workouts with an alright amount of ferocity. Still, I think I could do more, and I want to do more. Today I did a one-mile time trial, and I think I could have pushed a bit more to get under 6 minutes - just an example, but I want no regrets come May.

Job/Career: I love to teach, but I am not a kindergarten teacher by trade. The job market for teachers here in Ohio is abysmal, so I was forced to take what I could get for a daily paycheck, while stilling getting an experience for my résumé. Some days my patience is paper thin, but I can honestly say I am doing my very best about 80% of the time. That other 20% comes on days where, for whatever reason, I just get worn down. This is an area I can always improve in, and I think I have, especially since my last 100% update. I just really need to get a job in grades 4-9! With that said, I love my students, and there is no way I could go in, everyday, rain or shine, sickness or more sickness, unless I thought the world of my little crazies.

Friendships: Yikes - I am throwing this on here and just now thinking about it, and I am an awful friend. I don't like to talk on the phone, so that is a big strike one. Most of my friends live farther away, so that is strike two. Strike three comes because I just don't really have the time to do much! If my friends lived close, and if they were runners, I don't think this would be a big deal. I just need to really address this! The Super Bowl will be a good chance! I will give myself a 65% because friendships are a two-way street, and I feel like I do the vast majority of the effort when it comes to making plans or getting ahold of someone. Sometimes I just feel invisible!

Relationship: Psh, like I am going to talk about that on my blog! ;) If you want drama, head on over to ABC and watch The Bachelor.

Diet: If this category were on a graph, that piece would look like a bloody roller coaster! I think this is an area I will always struggle with, but I am learning a lot, and I think I am continuing to improve, especially in the area of balance. I will give myself a solid 75%.

Final Thoughts: I think these scores all give me an ample opportunity to improve. If I took the easy way, and simple gave myself all 100%, where would I be able to look to in order to get better? Hopefully this kind of positive self-criticism is a helpful tool for someone besides me, but if not, it is certainly helping me during these tough, dark, cold times.

Week's Training Thus Far:

Monday I modified the above crossfit WOD in order to better fit my needs, and to avoid congestion at the gym. I had to look up the wall ball shots, and there was just no way I could pull that off in a crowded facility like mine. The same went for the double unders because jump roping didn't seem practical. I also eliminated the kettlebells because I wasn't working my shoulders. The rest I completed, some all at once. Some I had to do in a few sets, but that is okay. I also added I a few of my own tricks and machines in order to round out a chest, back and core day. I also liked the exercises that used my legs so that I was getting a workout without too much pressure on the knees.

Tuesday: I don't really want to say what the above route looked like on my Tuesday run (hairy nuts), but I will say that this was an amazing run. I started off sluggish, and I was regretting wearing my FiveFingers. This feeling didn't last long because after the first mile, I was off to the races! I went from a sore 8:56 mile to 8:16 overall. I could have gone more, and I even added a mile over what I was scheduled for. Sometimes you just gotta go a little farther, especially in unseasonably warm temps. I followed the run up with some arms, shoulders and core. I can't really remember much from the gym, so it must have been fairly unremarkable.

Today: As you saw, I did a time trial today after a mile warm up. The weather was still just warm enough to be in shorts and a short sleeve running shirt, but I was a bit cold to start. I am not unhappy with my time, but I need to improve before March and impending 5k/10k season! I think I just need to really pick up my speed in my weekday runs, include more speed work, and even do more short mile runs. I will go sub-20 this spring!

Side Notes From Life:
I will make this brief, but part of my frustration today was caused by this little gem this morning:

Yeah, that is my ceiling crumbling to the floor! We got a bad rain storm last night, and that area had been leaking for awhile. We had called to get it fixed well over a month ago, and no one had come out. So, now they ultimately will have to tear up a huge section of my kitchen! I am not pleased, and the piece falling scared my dogs. Not cool nature, not cool.

If you were to rate yourself on a 100% scale, how would you be doing?

I want to hear about your training! Let me know.

Ever had your roof leak, or have you had any home-owner issues?

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Sunday, January 27, 2013

This Is The Life

Why did you get out and run today? Was it to show your kids the importance of a healthy lifestyle? Were you trying to erase a few extra holiday pounds? Are you trying to achieve a goal that everyone said was impossible? We all have our motivations for running and continuing our lifestyle, and I don't known if there are any truly bad ones, as long as you aren't going overboard!

I got some great responses to people about why they do what they do, and I am just so impressed with the resolve of my fellow runners/athletes. Let me be the first to tell you, you are amazing, strong, and maybe a little insane. Just a little.

One inspiring and influential runner, Holly, over at Run With Holly, was kind enough to share her motivations. Holly told me that fitness has been a gradual change for her over a long period of time. "I grew up in a family that valued activity, although not necessarily formalized fitness. I had my fair share of failed athletic pursuits until I settled on swimming in my teens."

Each phase of Holly's life brought a new motivation for her to maintain her lifestyle. "I went to college, and wanted a way to avoid the "Freshman 15" that the cafeteria threatened to provide. I was busy, and the treadmill offered the highest calorie burn for 30 minutes of exercise. I ran exclusively on the treadmill during my entire freshman year. That summer, my younger sister (a cross-country runner) finally persuaded me to run outdoors with her, and bingo - I was hooked. I ran 3-4 miles, 3-4 days/week in college."

Being a relatively new runner, I am intrigued by those who have been doing this for extended periods of time, and seeing how they continue to love this little sport of ours. It is one thing to get hooked, like Holly, but it is quite another to stay that way! Holly continued her journey well beyond college: "I moved to Rochester, NY - and got hooked up with a running community there. I trained for my first half-marathon, became a hard-core trail runner, trained for a marathon, became a coach, and have done all sorts of running things since. Gradually, 40-50+ miles weeks became my "norm", and I was heading out for full-day trail running excursions with my trail buddies. I swear, the whole thing just crept up on me, I swear! ... So I "wasn't always this way", nor did I have a single "epiphany moment". It just happened.... And now, it's such an intertwined part of my life that I don't think I could extricate the two if I wanted to."

Maybe the key to true motivation is the true integration of running into our lives (in a balanced way, of course). If running is intertwined into who we are, we have no choice but to do it and love it. Personally, I am not to that point yet, but I wish I was, and I look forward to the day where running is simply a part of who I am. Unfortunately, this also means avoiding running becoming "simple" and not exciting anymore. Like in Born To Run, running has to be fun, or it is just a chore, and you will just end up injuring yourself.

Personally, I am just trying to find my groove again. I have had periods of activity in my life, like swimming in high school, and training to try out for the crew team in college. For whatever reason, this just never stuck! I am now trying to fully integrate running and fitness into my life, and I think the passion I have for it is the missing link I didn't have before. Time will tell, but I think I turned a corner somewhere.

As for the rest of you, no two journeys are the same. Some come from years of experience, others are just starting out, like me. Either way, if you love the act of running, or you love crossfit, or you love barre, do whatever it takes to hold on to that feeling. When you are having trouble getting motivated, just remember what made you love it in the first place.

Marathon Training Week 2:

Today I wrapped up week 2 of training with a 7.1 mile run. On three other days this week, I put up 4 miles, with a few miles of walking here or there. I am actually writing this update while walking a few cool down miles on the treadmill (I also wanted a few more miles for the Chilly Challenge). My legs feel good, though I was a little stiff yesterday. I will take a rest day tomorrow.

End Of The Chilly Challenge:

I am sad, but the challenge is ending in a few days. I have met a lot of great runners and fellow bloggers along the way, but now I won't know what to do with myself; if anyone has any similar things going on in February, let me know.

Page Update:

Finally, I wanted to mention that I have begun to update my diet page. There isn't much to it, but I go into a bit of detail into foods that are working for me these days. Go ahead and hit that up, especially if you are new to my blog.

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

United We Are Strong

First, I just want to say how happy I am to know all of you who have been kind enough to take time out of your busy lives to read my rants. I love interacting with other runners, and though I don't have time to post as much as I would like, this is an outlet for me. To be honest, most of my friends are not runners, and that is fine, but I found that I needed people to talk shop with because those non-runners were getting annoyed with me. This is where my previous post's question, "What kinds of issues do you come across with non-runners? Do you have a lot of non-runners in your life and how do they take your habit?" came from. Don't get me wrong, the people in my life are supportive, but they aren't understanding; you can't understand how amazing it feels to run past 10 miles unless you have done it. This blog is where I can share my feelings and experiences without boring people. Hopefully, I don't bore you all!

As for the question, thank you for your responses! I will get to many of the questions with time, but why waste so many blog topics at once! Plus, eventually I have other things to talk about! For now though, let's delve into those around us who do not run. My new friend Melanie, over at 4Kottez Runs For Itt, said it well when describing her situation: "Luckily I have a great support system with my 'habit'. They cheer me on and are proud of my accomplishments." Non-runners make the best cheerleaders for us, and we couldn't do this without them. If everyone around us ran, how would we have any perspective on our accomplishments? Non-runners may not know our deep connection to running, but they do understand how hard it is. Whenever a loved one looks at you like you are crazy, or gives you a hard time, just remember that they are doing it because what we do isn't easy: embrace that.

Nadiya, over at Milk And Honey On The Run, also had a great perspective on this ordeal: "Being around non-runners is hard and especially those don't eat healthy or exercise. Before I used to live with a few friends who lived the typical student lifestyle- pizza, pepsi, cake, no exercise, watch TV. I kind of felt into that trap too although to a small extent. I felt like I was always judged when I cooked or went for morning runs." This reflects how I feel sometimes, although in a less college-like way. The idea of judgement is something I feel whenever I try to order something healthy off a menu, and I often get comments like, "What, are you trying to make us feel fat?" I get frustrated, but I have to remind myself that I was there too. I think the key is to just do you, and eventually everyone will just let you go by your rules. (Definitely check out Nadiya's blog because she is one smart cookie!)

Finally, another brilliant runner, Mallory, over at Sit For Your Job, Run For Your Life, had another view of the question: "I get frustrated sometimes when people talk about becoming fit or losing weight but yet don't do anything to change it. Then I remind myself to stop being a jerk and just be supportive and encouraging because that's what they need. Everyone in my life is supportive and encouraging." We are role models my friends, whether we like it or not. I would say, for the most part, most people would love to have the motivation that we do, or to have the ability to go out and run 13 miles on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in April. Perhaps, through our actions and support, we can get some people to become more healthy or even a future running buddy. I know I have encouraged a few people to get out there, and that is amazing to me. People may give us a hard time, but just remember how powerful an image you create on every run. Mallory is a great example of a runner and a person, so make sure you check out what she has to say!

Is It Acceptable To Wear Toe Shoes To The Gym?
As the picture illustrates, I have been wearing my Fivefingers to the gym in order to get some barefoot training runs in on the freezing cold days. I am curious as to whether you all think this is acceptable or whether you would just look at me like I had lost my mind? I think it is a bit odd, and I feel weird, but it is just too cold without normal shoes. I really want to do a good portion of my training runs barefoot in order to work on my form and strengthen my calves. I doubt I will change my ways, but I open this up to make fun of me ;)

So far, I have put in 8 barefoot miles this week, but unfortunately, both days were on the evil treadmill. I really need things to warm up around here, but at least I got a 2-hour delay from work on Tuesday! I've also put in some weight lifting for cross-training, and I am loving having whole workouts to devote to this. I love how much arms are looking, and I am making huge gains in my chest. I will give more detail to my workouts this weekend when I finish up week 2 of training.

How is your week going? Anyone running one of the many marathons on May 5? I know of at least 3, including where I will be.

Anyone else in a winter funk? I am having a hard time getting through it because I love running in the spring and fall so much.

Feel free to answer my last posts questions. You can find them here.

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Sunday, January 20, 2013

One Down Without A Frown

Who doesn't love a good rhyming title? I am a big big fan. What else am I fan of? Koala bear fights, yes (YouTube that!). King Cakes, yes. The movie Taken, yes. I also love me some marathon training! I completed week one this afternoon, and considering I have been under the weather, I came out strong all week. I love having something specific and big to work towards because I have added motivation on a daily basis. Now I am not just running, I am running for a reason. My mileage this week hasn't been amazing, but it wasn't supposed to be. I did some cross training and extra miles here and there, but I do wish I didn't have to travel to Cleveland again on Friday because I would have liked one more day at the gym. I will just have to make up for it next week.

Since my miles were down, I have had some extra time to kill. Here is one of my recent exploits:

Yeah, I am super good at Angry Birds, and I am not sorry about it. I don't really want to say how much time I have spent on this, and my other most recent addiction, Temple Run 2 - are you kidding?! So addicting.

Basically, I am a waste of space over long weekends, but at least I still got out for my miles. I also blew my diet out of the water, but that is what happens when you are around non-runners all the time. I need to work on the whole will-power thing.

I also need to work on explaining/helping others by talking about my weight-lifting. I usually just say what I worked on, and I don't go into detail. This coming week I promise I will go into my workouts with a teaching mindset and then report back to you. I think my work at the gym is going to give me a huge edge come the spring. This coming week I am going to really hit my chest and back because I am really starting to like how it looks and feels. I am also going to destroy my core in a good way: stay tuned.

Finally, I also want to feature some of my followers in the coming days/weeks. I want to pose a few questions to ponder, and then you can email me what you thought of. From there, I may take your responses and throw them right here to help others. I am also going to answer these questions, so it will really be helpful I think. Here you go:

What is the most important lesson you have learned since first becoming a runner and what is the biggest newbie mistake you made?

What is your primary motivation/inspiration for your healthy lifestyle? Have you always been this way or did you have to make a drastic change?

What do you think you most need to work on with your running or fitness?

What kinds of issues do you come across with non-runners? Do you have a lot of non-runners in your life and how do they take your habit?

Would you say running and fitness defines you? If not, how big of a role does it play? Can you be too into running?

If I have more ideas, I will throw them up, but you can email me at I am looking forward to hearing from you. I won't hesitate to link you up and shout you out! I love promoting fellow bloggers.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Cross Train Like A Boss

So far so good when it comes to my first week of marathon training. I mean, starting the week off with a rest day was nice, and it made me feel like this:

It also wasn't bad going into yesterday with only a 3 mile run on the calendar. I out some effort into it to make myself feel better, and I also walked 2 miles later on. In between, I cross trained like a boss, hitting the weights with some ferocity. I love working my chest and back, and I need that area aesthetically more than most things. I also got some core work in with some weights, machines and planks. I want to cross train is as much if my free time, away from running, as I can. I also want to use my new running form, even in my Brooks, as much as possible, so I did my entire run that way. I definitely made sure to wear my compression sleeves!

I am not sure what the overall "coolness" factor, or lack thereof, there is with that look, but I am pretty lame as it is. Oh, and I don't run in those shoes, don't worry - those are just a knee injury waiting to happen!

Today was a "rest" day, but I still got weights in to keep the cross training alive. I worked on the sides of of core, obliques, arms and shoulders. I always try to keep my workouts varied, but I always focus on certain muscle groups (chest), and within that, I try to pair up those groups with similar but opposite functionality (biceps with triceps, pectorals with lats).

I feel bad this week, despite my marathon excitement because I miss putting up more miles for the Chilly Challenge. I even let Amy know that I wouldn't be holding my end, so hopefully the rest of #teamescapades will hold me up! Unfortunately team giraffe put the hurt on us early this week, going from 100 behind to nearly 500 miles ahead - whaaaaat?! Good thing I love the people on both sides of this epic conflict. Again, sorry team! I will be coming back up soon! I just want to keep my legs fresh and healthy.

Speaking of love for my fellow runners, someone tweeted this gem today, and I had to steal it! I really need to start high fiving fellow runners because I would be juiced if someone did this to me.

Stay frosty out there folks! Keep those feet moving, and it will be spring soon enough!

Do you wave to or high five other runners?

How are your miles? Are you training?

What cross training do you do while training? How often?

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Monday, January 14, 2013

A Real Rest Day

Temperatures here in southwest Ohio have returned to their normal frigid state today, just in time for my 3 mile training run tomorrow, and I am mildly okay with that. Don't get me wrong, I love me some warm weather in January, but it is also a bit of a tease. I need to just get out there and have to work for every mile in the cold, and then I will get used to it. If it gets warm, it is awfully hard to get used to anything!

Obviously I will talk more about my training later this week, but here is my schedule going forward in week 1 of my 16 week cycle:

I am not too intimidated by much that is to come aside from the cold and the impending long runs. The farthest I have ever gone is 18 miles, so 20 will be a whole new area for me. Luckily, it should be warming up a bit at that point. Other than that, I already do intervals, speed drills, and other assorted training-type runs. I am very excited to be guided through the process, and then be able to discuss it with all of you. I can't wait to see what kinds of things work for me, and what kinds of things I will change in order to suit my own tastes. I am also looking forward to turning quite a few of those rest days into weight-heavy cross-training workouts. I plan on having my whole body be prepared for the rigors of 26.2 miles. Finally, I am looking forward to incorporating barefoot running into my training to increase my foot, ankle, knee and calve strength.

Today though, I am going to do next to nothing. I wrapped up my pre-training training with 102.94 total miles during the first two weeks of the #chillychallenge - I wanted to make sure that I was entering training with a killer mentality, and a no quit attitude. I also wanted to tell my body that marathon training is just one step in a much longer journey in my running career. Some people train for a marathon and then they move on with life, and I intend to do the opposite. Rather, I want this marathon to be the first of many, and I want to be able to go even farther and accomplish more things on my "impossible list." If I can come away from the training and the race stronger and healthy, I will have the confidence to work towards becoming an iron man; I just need to take that first step.

A note on my dietary exploration: chia seeds are going well! I have used them in my morning oatmeal, and I tried them in my yogurt for lunch today. I thought the added texture would throw me off, but it really wasn't a big deal, and it didn't ruin or alter the taste. These seem to be a super easy way to incorporate some seriously bad ass nutrients into my diet. I put about half a tablespoon into each thing, and the serving size is one tablespoon. I think more than that in a little bowl of oatmeal or a cup of yogurt would be too much.
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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Form Fitting And Some Diet Schtuff

Much like the compression clothes that we squeeze into on a daily basis, our running form needs to be just as form fitting. Now that I have confused myself with my own metaphor, I will simply say that our running form is part of who we are. To be honest, when I started running, I had no idea that there was a right or wrong way to run; I simply thought that if you stretched regularly, improved slowly and ate right, you wouldn't get injured - yeah right!

So, if our form is part of us, what if that form is also wrong? Turns out, that was the case for me, and my joints started to feel it. Now, I have to change my own natural stride for the all-around natural stride. This explains my shift to barefoot running, and my obsession with tweaking my form. This brings me to my next step, which may involve a book I finally got my hands on: Chi Running - A Natural Approach To Effortless, Injury-Free Running by Danny Dreyer. I had heard about this book, and I understood the basic premise: run with a meditative approach, run with better form, be relaxed and live the run by using your core more.

I have only just opened the book, but I am already impressed with how much it makes sense, and how much overlapping it has with the principles discussed in Born To Run. Essentially, the more I love running, and the more I know about the "art" of the sport, the healthier I will be in the long run. This is all going to come together in the end for me, but for now I am just excited to enter training with so many concepts and skills to work on and experiment with. Dreyer was all about figuring out the mechanics of his own body in order to get the most out of it, and I have that same kind of mentality. Stayed tuned for more!

I also wanted to discuss some dietary things I am doing moving forward into next week. The first is the use of chia seeds in the things I eat. This morning I put half a serving of them in my oatmeal to try it out, and essentially it tasted the same; I have no problem with that because I am still getting the benefits. If you don't know about this new phenomenon, then let me enlighten you with what I know: chia seeds are a super food, much like avocado. The sees are fill of things like omega-3 and they can be out into all different kinds of food, or used to make different things as the main ingredient. I've heard of these seeds on blogs, and they are mentioned, along with quinoa, as a great food for runners in Born To Run. I am going to use these sparingly, as they are pretty expensive, and I had to get them from Trader Joe's, which isn't right down the street. Still, I think oatmeal and my lunch yogurt will be my primary places to add them.

While at Joe's, I also picked up some great looking organic broccoli because it has some great benefits as well, not the least of which is being a anti-inflammatory. I wanted to avoid this scene at my local Kroger:

Yeah, way to suck Kroger. Who needs to eat healthy anyway?

This is by no means a food blog, but I am looking forward to experimenting with some new things and telling you about it.

As for the Chilly Challenge, I am still trying to pull my weight. Today I did a total of 8.45 miles, 5 of which were on the road in my Fivefingers. Yesterday I did 4 in my Fivefingers. Total for the week, so far, I am at 42.67 miles, and I feel good. I gotta say, my calves are finally starting to come around, and they are recovering much faster. Hopefully I can put up a 50 spot this week. Go team Escapades!

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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Chilly Challenge Update And The Calm Before The Storm

Howdy my fellow asphalt-addicted lunatics! I figured I would use the greeting of the south in honor of one of my favorite fellow bloggers, Missy, over at Southern Girl Running. Missy is doing the Chilly Challenge with me, and she has become one of my primary motivators, and I just wanted to thank her for that. In fact, I have met a bunch of great people through Twitter, and I am having a great time. I still recommend anyone to sign up and do it; it literally takes two seconds to put your name and handle on a spreadsheet.

As for me, I feel good about my overall contributions so far. I have put up a grand total, in one and a half weeks, of 71.77 total miles, 19.52 of which are from this week. Today I went out an increased my distance in the Vibrams to 3.25 miles! I had a blast out there, especially because the weather was unflippinbelievable! I was out there in a short sleeve tech-shirt and running pants - amazing! My feet stayed warm, and I am super happy with how my calves feel. I wore my compression sleeves on my calves, and I really think that helped. I also followed the run up with a trip to the gym where I put up an additional 6.42 miles on the elliptical. I think the added distance on the elliptical really helped keep my calves loose, so they feel great right now. Don't ask me why I didn't get a even 10 miles today because I don't know; I think I just lost track of mileage - woops.

I am really excited to move forward with the challenge, and I am meeting incredible new runners and bloggers everyday! I am also looking forward to logging some solid marathon training miles next week! This week is weird because I am caught between two two: my normal flexible routine and my future scripted routine. Both concepts will be in play next week because I am going to keep lifting and cross training, but I am excited to have a proven set of goals and methods at my disposal. I like knowing that what I am about to embark upon will genuinely help me run my first marathon and run it well!

Barefoot/Vibrams update: I really love those little fingered torture devices! My calves are sore, my feet hurts, and my form is still in transition, but I really love the feeling I get when I run in them. I am also confident that the transition will get easier with time, and that my experience in minimal shoes will help me. I have done some running in my Brooks, and I already notice a difference in my technique and form. This is a part of my journey that I am looking forward to; I just wish everyday was as warm as today!

Site Update: I may not have updated the blog with posts in a few days, but I did update the "my story" page, so you can read a little about me (I don't know why you would, but who doesn't love options?). Additionally, I updated my future races with a few (there will be far more as more races start coming around in March and April (I need to find a 10k for March! Any ideas?). I am slowly trying to make this blog a little more professional and less unseemly. Thanks for hanging in there!

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Sunday, January 6, 2013

Some Reviews, An Update, Looking Towards The Pig

Good afternoon my fellow runners psychopaths. As another week comes to an end, I wanted to create a summation of my last week of freedom. Tomorrow it will be back to the every day grind of creating tomorrow's leaders. I have enjoyed the last week because it has given me an opportunity to rest AND get back to my fitness routine. I actually hit this week pretty hard, both because I wanted to help in the chilly challenge, and because I wanted to start working off those holiday calories as fast as possible. Beyond all that I did some reading and watched some movies.

A few days ago I finally finished reading Born To Run by Christopher McDougall, and I am just now getting around to writing about it. To be honest, I have been reading this for months because I only have so much time in a day to do that sort of thing. When I read, I need to just be reading, and I rarely have time to myself where I am not being interrupted. Luckily, I had time in the car during holiday travels, and I gotta say, I can see why this is one of the most highly recommended running books out there. I would say that the best thing I can say about the book is to simply look at my new passion for barefoot running; my new quest is has been greatly influenced by McDougall because the book makes such a great case for it. The book contains a central story about a race, which I won't spoil, but it weaves in medical and training advice based on facts, research, first hand accounts, trials and the authors own experiences with running. The book essentially explains how to run and stay healthy doing it. I could never read a book just about facts and research, but with the central story, I found myself ale to get through the whole thing. I recommend this book, as most people do, but I would say you should definitely do so if you are thinking of going minimal or barefoot in the future.

Now I have moved on to Runner's World's Marathon training book. I am not reading this cover to cover because I am not a total newbie runner. Additionally, I know exactly what information I need right now because I am gearing up for the official start of my training cycle, which is a week from tomorrow. I will still be able to come to you with a review, but it won't happen until after I run the marathon. I want to see how well this training works compared to what I was already doing. I am already surprised by how many rest days are included. I have only given myself one rest day for the majority of my training, but the book does say that I can include cross-training - I think that will happen because 3 rest days will make me restless. I am super excited to get started!

I am getting extra geared up thanks to the chilly challenge. You can find a link to this on my previous post, but team Escapades continues to hold a leads over those dastardly Giraffes (sorry readers who are Giraffes, I still love you). So far this week I have put up 46.05 total miles towards the cause. This is a combination of outdoor and elliptical running. I think I am going to go outside and give myself an even 50 miles, but I need a rest from the gym. I feel good about my contribution for the week! Yesterday was a little rough, and my legs are somewhat tired; that is when you know it is working! Keep up the good work team!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Fivefingers, A Return, And A New Year

Today I returned whole-heatedly to training. The Flying Pig is officially in my sights. Additionally, I have a half-marathon in April to gear me up. I plan on slowly filling up my weekends throughout the spring, but those will be my two big races.

Workout: elliptical - 65 min., 11.3 miles/ strength train - 3 min. plank, 15 minutes core, 30 minutes chest/back

I made sure to start strong for two reasons; first, I wanted to come back like I hadn't stopped, and second, I wanted to put up some numbers for the chilly challenge. This is a challenge put on by two members of the blogging community, and each member has a respective team. I chose Team Escapades, with Amy C, who is a great blogger and great runner. I recommend you all go and sign up on the spreadsheet linked above. Each week has mileage totals, and you can help your team while possibly winning prizes. Additionally, this is some great motivation heading into two of the toughest months of the year. After signing up, shoot me a tweet (@therunginger) and let me know you are on the team. So far the Escapades are winning!

Beyond the challenge, I also wanted to provide some humorous motivation for my fellow bloggers. These pictures are courtesy of an Adidas ad campaign; I came across them as I was killing time on Stumbleupon. I think they are hilarious. Google them, and you will see a few more.

I felt like the guy in line at the bank today. I had just been at the gym, so I was instinctively flexing my knee out. I hate standing still, so I feel his pain. We runners are truly odd birds!

Finally, I wanted to talk about my first running experiences with my Vibram Fivefingers. I have only put 4.2 miles on these puppies, but I can already tell that my calves are going to hate this whole journey! I have been icing, massaging, and doing everything possible to get my calves to recover faster, but they just get totally worked by these shoes. The best part: I love every second of it! Sure, after two miles my feet are frozen, but those two miles are some of the best I have felt. The whole experience is like making your feet come alive. The Vibrams make you do things your body has trained itself against for years, and that is when you know you are doing the right thing. Again, I am only 4.2 miles in (took a calves rest day today), but I know this is going to be fun. I will report more as time goes on.

Did everyone have a good New Years? I spent mine at Oakley Square in Cincinnati. I love the feel of the area, though it might be a bit too hipster for me to actually live there. The problem arose every time we needed a cab. We didn't get back to our hotel until 3:30am, but at least one of my good friends lives right by the square, so we had some where to kill time. I think this picture of my buddy and me explains how the night went. I don't even know what kind of a grin that was.

How is your new year's training going so far? Are you trying anything new?

What are you training for?

What are you using for motivation?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad