Self Inflicted Sabotage… My Madison Mini-Marathon

13935151_10101081442737214_4428069229122108601_nI’ve dreaded writing this piece since I finished the Madison Mini-Marathon Saturday morning. It’s difficult to admit when your perceived failure is mostly self inflicted and, I know, to call a 2:07 half marathon a “failure” is a far reach. Let me preface this entire article by reminding everyone that running is a personal competition. My worst time could be someone else’s best. But I digress…

You see, this weekend’s shortcoming is more in the execution than the result. I knew what I should have done but did the opposite. I should have known the result would not be favorable. Every race runner knows there are a set of rules, a protocol, for race day. “Don’t wear new shoes.” “Don’t eat exotic fare the night before.” “Don’t change in-race nutrition plan with something untested.” Most importantly, “trust your training”. The list goes on and on. Well, here is where I blew it.

Broken rule #1: Don’t change attire or equipment on race day. It is no secret I believe wholeheartedly in Zensah compression socks. I have worn them from the beginning and they have become just part of the “uniform”. Well, in the recent weeks I have been experiencing heel pain that was mostly relieved by KT tape. I was always a skeptic, but the stuff really does work! So I decided, while packing, that I would forego the compression in favor of KT. My wife questioned me about it and I blew her off. Race day was a rainy, humid mess and paired with my hyperhidrosis, the tape stood no chance. While the tape had zero physical effect, you can imagine 13 miles of tape flopping on your ankle. It was a nuisance, to say the least.

14051722_10101082150084684_7357410713333816052_nBroken rule #2: Don’t change race strategy with something untested on race day. This one was just me being greedy. I have trained at a runwalkrun ratio of 2mins:30secs for some time. My body clock is in sync with it. With the temps low and my overconfidence that I was used to running in humidity, I changed my ratio an hour before toeing the line to 2min:15secs which I figured would have me breaking 1:50 and a new RWR personal best. What actually happened was a psychological mind screw that eliminated my confidence and destroyed my motivation. The humidity consumed me and my demeanor faded. This was by far my most unforgiving mistake.

Broken rule #3: Don’t break your in-race nutrition routine. I have perfected the in-race nutrition strategy that works for me. I consume one Advocare Rehydrate Gel every 5 miles. This has always worked perfectly. So, why did I consume everything a mile earlier than scheduled? I can’t tell you. I surmise it was due to the mounting stress. This caused me to be more fatigued at the end of the race and resulted in what would have been a poor mood had I not come upon my Madison Mini BFF, Jeanie, at mile 10.

Jeanie was the saving grace to the last 3 miles. She & I seesawed the entire race to the 10mile point and while I knew I was struggling, she appeared to be as well. I took to introducing her to the Galloway method and I reverted back to my usual ratio and together we pushed each other to the finish. She was a joy to get to know and I look forward to continued friendship.

All-in-all, the event itself was really well put on. 14079984_10154487631314036_6182858183681368429_nThe medal is fantastic and doubles as a bottle opener. Unfortunately, I think many participants were scared off by the forecast. There was the potential for thunderstorms all morning and while the atmospheric pressure & humidity were a mess, the storms held off till just as we were leaving the 14th mile after-party, which in and of itself was a highlight of the event!

Moral of the story is stick to routine and practice what got you to where you are.  That is never by mistake and your results, either good or bad, can never be questioned.  But if you do find yourself in a bad spot, make a new friend. It helps turn any negative into a positive!

Thanks for reading…

Run Coach’s Corner…Split Consistency

2016-08-15 12.37.22Welcome to the first installment of Run Coach’s Corner.  I will try to post quick run tips and strategies on the 3rd Monday of every month.  Let me preface this post by stating that I am NOT a physician and any new or modified workout regimen should be vetted by a doctor before commencing.  I am, however, a certified Galloway run coach.  What this means is that my advice, while applicable to all runners, holds important merit to runners practicing Jeff Galloway’s Run-Walk-Run strategy.  Let’s get started.

Fatigue is the enemy of endurance.  Once it is introduced during a run, it can never be eliminated and only grows.  This is why when you step out on your long run or half marathon race, your 8min first mile split grows to 10mins or more by the end of your run/race.  Sure, the finishing pace lands in the 9min range, but, wouldn’t it be fulfilling to finish at or near the pace you began?  Wouldn’t you like to have the energy to enjoy the finish line party or carry on with the rest of your day, pain-free?  This is where regular, planned walk intervals benefit your performance.

I will refrain from calling them “breaks” so as not to upset the runners who hold a stigma for the practice.  These short walk intervals allow your muscles to recover to a point that prevents fatigue from taking hold.  When allowed to complete each run interval at maximum effort, you nearly eliminate the pace lost at the end of the run due to fatigue.  Studies have shown that runners actually IMPROVE their finish times in races by utilizing the Galloway method.

2016-08-15 16.22.01To hold true to the topic of split consistency, we will use a recent 4 mile run I completed.  I run my intervals at 2min:30sec (meaning I run for 2 minutes and walk for 30 seconds).  I can tell you from experience, had I run those same four miles through, my pace would have been relatively the same but my splits would not have been consistent.  My first mile would have been really fast and only trailed off from there.  The key benefit was how GREAT I felt when I was finished.

RunWalkRunstrategiesThis strategy can be used by runners of all skill levels.  You can apply your targeted pace to the applicable run-walk-run strategy using the chart to the right.  For an even more accurate estimation of your target, a magic mile drill can be used to determine your expected finish times for all race distances.  We will discuss the “magic mile” in a future installment, but you can find the basics at www.jeffgalloway.com.

I hope this piece helps you become a more consistent runner and makes those miles a walk in the park.  If there are any questions regarding the Galloway Method or how you can get more information, drop me a message HERE.  Don’t forget to click the follow button on the left to be notified of new posts and exciting content!!!

Thanks for reading…

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Scott is one of a handful of run coaches in the US certified by Galloway Training Programs to train runners using the Galloway Run-Walk-Run Method.

A Father in Transition…

13879319_10101066104949264_4077684795836514742_nIt’s really easy to write about the joys of fatherhood when you have a cute little bundle of energy trying to run circles around you on a daily basis.  Truth is, toddlers are fun, living, breathing toys.  So long as their bellies are full and their diapers are clean, their sole desire is to make their parents smile.  Scotty does that…A LOT!!!

As our kiddos grow, so do their needs and wants until they spread their wings and fly the coop.  Our job, as parents, is to work ourselves out of that job.  We raise our kids until they don’t need us anymore; or so we think…

2016-07-17 08.53.28My oldest, Darrian, is days away from his 20th birthday and weeks away from leaving for Marine Corps boot camp.  We have lived ups and downs and, to this day, there isn’t a thing I wouldn’t do to help him succeed.  Once he leaves in October, his life will be his own to make and mold.  As an overbearing father, that terrifies me.  Have I taught him everything he is supposed to know?  Will he be able to call on this knowledge when he needs it?  These are the worries, I assume, every father has when the oldest leaves the nest.

13879407_10101066572911464_8274763419983837047_nMy daughter, Lauren, is starting her senior year in high school.  She has aspirations of heading off to college next fall.  There is no doubt she will be a success at whatever she chooses to do or be.  She is already an accomplished world traveler and has seen more of the world in her 17 years than I have in 40.  She is independent to a fault.  Seeing her grow and regularly make the right decision, at the right time and for the right reason makes me happy with the role models her mother and I have surrounded her with.  Soon, she will leave and make her mark on the world.  I want her to forge a life that makes her happy and to settle for nothing.  Fellas, don’t cross her! She may not bite but her Dad DOES!!!

All the while, I will be here watching them both grow into contributing citizens, ready to catch them when/if they fall.  In the meantime, I have Scotty to make me smile when I’m sad and laugh when I’m mad.  That IS what toddlers are here for, right?

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Thanks for reading…

A Honey Badger’s Favorite Things…

I’m asked frequently about the run/fitness tech I carry and other items I recommend.  I have the luxury of trying a variety of items, from supplements to sunglasses.  Some stay in the rotation, most get returned.  Here are a few of my favorites…

GPS Activity Tracker: Garmin Forerunner 235

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How I lived without this wearable tracker prior to April 2016 is BEYOND me!  I was an Android Wear early adopter and really wanted it to work for me.  Unfortunately, the requirement of having your smartphone source the GPS function made for many issues; most notably: battery drainage.  Having the GPS built into the FR235 has enabled my phone to only source music which allows the phone battery to outlast any distance.  Conversely, the battery on the FR235 lasts DAYS.  I have worn it 96hrs straight before a charge is needed.  The heartrate sensor was the deal sealer for me.  I had been in search of a reliable HR sensing wearable for years.  The HR sensor on the FR235 provides a running 4hr history as well as your average resting heartrate.  I’m not looking for medical accuracy but it gives me a pretty good idea of the training zones I am regularly working in.  The FR235 also acts as a daily step counter and syncs seamlessly with the Garmin Connect app on Apple or Android OS.  Retail $329.99

Sunglasses: Oakley RadarLock Path

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I have been searching for a quality set of sunglasses built for running in all elements.  My Oakley Juliets have always been my go to and I love them.  Problem is, with all the sweating I do (I suffer from hyperhidrosis), my frames were always gunked up when I would wear them socially.  Also, viewing my smartphone screen through polarized lenses was sometimes a problem.  Enter Oakley’s RadarLock Paths.  These sunglasses were developed with the runner/cyclist in mind.  The frames are lightweight and the hinges sturdy enough to hold even in the sweatiest conditions.  The biggest plus to this set is the SwitchLock feature which easily allows you to change lenses depending on the terrain or condition without damage or scratching.  Throw in Oakley’s Prizm lens technology and you have it made in the shade!  (See what I did right there?)  I am currently sporting the Prizm Road lenses.  I am a firm believer that you CANNOT go wrong with Oakley.  Retail $220.00

Running Stroller: BOB Revolution Pro

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This is kind of a no brainer being that our Bob has been featured in quite a few articles I’ve written on the site.  However, no “favorite things” summary would be complete without it.  Now, my opinion is based on the 2015 model, however, the 2016 model has only improved on its predecessor!  There isn’t anything NOT to like in this jogger.  The seat is plenty big enough for Scotty to grow.  The stowage compartment fits more than I need to carry.  There are enough accessories available to customize the Revolution Pro to your liking.  I have the handlebar console and the snack tray.  If I had any complaint, it is that the seat recline function isn’t a one handed operation and BOB corrected that in the 2016 model!  This single piece of gear has provided Scotty and I hundreds of miles of enjoyment over the last 18 months.  He knows what time it is when the Bob Revolution Pro comes off the rack!  Retail $448.00

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There you have it!  Three of my very most favorite things running and fitness related.  No one ever said run tech is cheap, however, I would recommend shopping around.  The listed prices are purely retail.  I got all of these items for WELL BELOW the list price, so, shop smart!

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If you have any questions regarding any of these items or if you have suggestions for your favorite items you’d like me to try, feel free to drop me a line in the comments.
Thanks for reading…

 

Pokémon Go Caught Me…

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“Hi, my name is Scott & I am now a PokemonGo-aholic.”  I didn’t mean for it to happen.  I actually swore it off the first week it was released.  I couldn’t get my head around the game & my ignorance created a stigma.  My oldest son, Darrian, was a huge Pikachu fan when he was younger.  He had toys, bedding & games all based around the game & cartoon.  That was my extent of knowledge of Pokémon.

Darrian & his friend Drake were early adopters.  They started playing from the day it was launched, running around the city catching pocket monsters.  Did I mention they are 20!?  I found it amusing, as did Drake’s parents.  It was unavoidable.  As a runner, I saw kids who would not have ANY interest in being outside, let alone walk 2-10km (which is the distance you must walk [or run] to hatch your various Pokémon eggs), walking around the park ad nauseam.  I saw entire families socializing and having fun.  I wanted in; if for no other reason but to write this article!

It all started at 10pm two nights ago.  I had just finished reading my last tutorial  on the game (Thanks, Android Central!) & was ready for action.  I employed my first learned 2016-07-14 10.29.41trick so that I could impress Darrian.  I walked away from my initial offerings of Pokémon a few times until the beloved Pikachu was added to the offering…SCORE!!!

I now had one I knew he would be envious of.  I then walked to my “nearest” PokeStop (the place you replenish your stock of various items needed in the game).  At that point, as a level one trainer, I went to bed.

To make a long story short, 36 hours later, I am a level 10 trainer with over a hundred Pokémon.  It didn’t take long for me to pick up the game play. I continued to see people (especially kids) outside being active which is ALWAYS a great thing!  I saw people interacting with other people, sharing guidance & direction.  I saw local businesses being frequented.  I saw parents spending quality time with their kiddos.  I for one, spent one of the best hours with my oldest son, just listening to him geek out over Pokémon.  He REALLY knows his stuff!

There are a lot of people poking fun at this phenomenon.  To them, I say this: “What is the harm in a game that is getting people out of the house moving, being social, stumbling upon historic sites they otherwise wouldn’t have visited, spending time with their family at zero cost (did I mention you can play this game ABSOLUTELY FREE?), patronizing local businesses AND UNIVERSALLY GETTING ALONG!?!?”  Please spare me the negative spin.  Positivity…I CHOOSE YOU!!!

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Happy hunting…

My First Subscription Box Experience…

My wife and daughter are all about the subscription boxes.  They have gotten them in many flavors; baby gear (Baby Guy Box), makeup (BirchBox), etc.  I have friends who love their boxes.  A gamer/comic lover buddy gets the Smuggler’s Bounty and the Loot Crate and is OVERJOYED every month when it arrives.  My runner friends have been telling me about StrideBox for some time and I finally bit the bullet and gave it a shot.

Stridebox has been featured in all the reputable runner’s publications (Runner’s World, Active, Trail Runner, etc.) so they aren’t anything new.  Some of the possible things IN the box can, and probably will be though!  Exciting, right!?

So, for $15 (shipping included), Stride box will pack you a box chocked full of things only a runner would love & send it to your door every month; From gels to nutrition bars to hygiene products.  I jumped last week and got my order in just before the shipping cutoff.  All boxes are shipped on the first Friday of the month and I got my order in Thursday afternoon.  SCORE!!!

My box arrived Tuesday and I couldn’t wait to get into it.  Overall, I was a little underwhelmed but I think it’s because of my inflated expectation.  I can tell you that so far most of the items seem to be high quality.  My box came with a Honey Stinger Gel (Orange Mango flavor), Klitch deodorizer bands, JimmyBar! (Peanut Butter Clutter flavor), Spidertech K Tape, Brave Soldier friction protectant, Vega electrolyte hydrator (Berry flavor) and ViterEnergy mints.

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I can tell you, collectively, I might have interest in 2 or 3 of the items in this box.  Some of the items, (I’m looking at you, ViterEnergy mints) I probably wouldn’t have picked up off an exhibit table at a race expo.  That said, the Stinger gel was tasty and not too thick and the JimmyBar is definitely something I will look for the next time I am at the Whole Foods.  The Klitch deodorizers already have a home in my locker bag.  Who knows, I may fall in love with the Viter Mints once I break them open.  I’ll let you know, but for 15 bucks, it’s worth the try!!!

You can give StrideBox a try by visiting https://stridebox.com/.

***Do you use a subscription box service for the things you enjoy???  Elaborate in the comments section***

Thanks for reading…

Racing With Purpose…

I think I’ve stated this before but Scotty and I have been on the hunt for a stroller friendly half marathon for some time.  We ran a virtual 13.1 race on Father’s Day and while there was a medal involved, the lack of the camaraderie of other competitors left us a little unfulfilled.  But I digress…

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For the US Road Running Virtual Father’s Day Half, we ran the Race13.1 – St. Louis course in reverse and finished in 2:05:20.  Out of an extremely light field, we finished 1st in my age group.  The medal was great and the weather was perfect.  It’s a race I’ve run the past 4 years and I couldn’t think of a better way to start off Father’s Day!

Next on our tandem hit list is O’Fallon, MO’s Firecracker 10k which is run every year on 4th of July morning.  It is a very well run event and is stroller friendly.  11350730_10100794019046594_2285862324853526351_n1Scotty and I took 3rd in the 5k stroller division last year and hope to place in the 10k stroller this year, but we will see…

The only thing to complain about with this event is their lack of finisher’s medals.  They claim it is because they are a charity event and “watch expenses VERY carefully”.  It’s a great event, if you want a medal you have to place in your division.

After that, Scotty and I as a team will be on the lookout for other events to run together.  My solo race schedule is booked for the year.  To celebrate my 40th birthday year, I challenged myself to run at least a half marathon a month.  Remaining on the calendar is Rock n Roll Chicago, Mohomet (IL) Half, Disneyland Half, MO’ Cowbell Half, St. Louis Half & Jeff Galloway 13.1 in Atlanta.  It has been extremely fulfilling to date.

I’m wondering, do any of you race with your kiddos?  What distances have you run and are you in search of a stroller friendly half, too?   Reply in the comments!

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Racing with Scotty is a great feeling.  I feel like not only is he getting the outdoor experience he loves but also the race action, which shows that getting out and staying fit is normal.  So far, I think I’m winning that race!!!

Thanks for reading…