Sunday, August 2, 2015

Liberty Memorial Stair Workout

If I'm not completely dead the day after a long run, which is Sunday for me, I like to mix in a workout that's a little different than normal.  And usually, I try to make it some sort of plyometric activity.  I'll throw in some box jumps and burpees here or there, but today, I had a rare opportunity to do a stair workout at the Liberty Memorial National WWI Museum.

In something that I rarely do, I drove 20 minutes to workout on the downtown streets of Kansas City.  I love the city, and I'd planned for a while to do my recovery work there on a Sunday morning.  So I started the day with a light 8 mile recovery run through the streets of the KC metro.  And then I ran 20 repeats of 50 stairs up and down the East side of the Memorial.  Stairs are such a good workout for the hips, glutes, and quads, and frankly I don't get to do them as often as I'd like.  I've got a few small sets of stairs here and there in Lee's Summit, but nothing like the ones at the Liberty Memorial.

Plus, you can't beat the view I had this morning during my workout. The Liberty Memorial is a local landmark featuring a beautiful view of downtown Kansas City.  It's also the only World War I National Museum in the United States.  It's an absolute Kansas City treasure.

All in all it was a good weekend of working out.  And hopefully I can incorporate more stairs into upcoming marathon training.
... Be Great Today!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

She My Track Queen

No, Michael didn't actually go to the track with me this morning for day Track Tuesday, but if she would've, she'd of course be my "Track Queen".  Couldn't resist.

As far as the track session, it was pretty good.  I sound like a broken record by now but it was suffocating again this morning ... 82F & 75% humidity at 5:00 a.m.  Friends, that's literally like trying to run under water. A slowly bubbling black pot of steaming boiling water.  So my times were a little slower than planned, but overall, it was a good workout.

It was still a while before sunrise when I started, so I also brought along my shop lights.   They do a good job of illuminating the lanes and giving me a focal point in the darkness.  It just seems to make the run go better when I have them with me.

Here is the workout ... basically just 4 one mile repeats with two minutes of rest between:

2 mile warm up + 4x1mile repeats (6:05, 5:56, 5:53, 5:52) + 1 mile cool down for a total of 7 miles

I've really tried to focus on my form lately and not heel strike so much, which I've slowly eased back into.  The track is a great place to work on that.  My form is good here in the photo, but mostly I was posing and using the best shot, so of course it looks good, ha.

In the afternoon I got in four very slow recovery miles.  It was 98 degrees in KC, so I made sure I ran in the shade, got plenty of water, and really really slowed my pace.  But it was good to get the second run in.  Pretty good day of running!  Hope your workouts are going well too!  I'll be in da kitchen cookin' pies.
... Be Great Today!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Get Your "Feel Good" On!

Man, there's nothing like a great run to get the weekend started right!  Ya know, when you feel like you could run for days, and the pace doesn't feel too unmanageable.  Well, I had one of those days on Saturday ... things just really seemed to click.  The end result was 22 miles at a 7:49 pace.

I woke up really early at 3:45 a.m. because I couldn't sleep.  The first thing I did was check the weather and it was literally 81F & 84% humidity for a "Feels Like" of 87F ... AT FRIGGIN' 3:45 a.m.!!!  So I begrudgingly hopped in my car and drove my course route to leave water-bottles for later.  It actually cooled off a little before I began running to 80F & 81% humidity, so that was nice.  My clothes were saturated by the second mile.

I tried to start slow and keep my pace very manageable since I was losing fluids at a rapid rate.  The couple of miles were over 9:00, but I started feeling pretty good, so I picked it up a little.  I ended up running 18 of the miles at 7:35, and miles 17-20 at 7:17, before dialing it down for two final recovery miles.  The end result was 22 miles in 2:54:06 for a 7:49 average overall pace. Really good run considering the conditions.

Michael snapped this picture of me post run and you can tell I still felt pretty good, although most of the fluids were missing out of my body.  I know I post a lot of pics of "lil ol' me", but bear with me.  While yes, I am pretty self-absorbed, ha ... I actually use them for reference later on.  I can usually tell by my running form and my physical appearance if I'm in good shape or not, and compare it to times and photos later.  I'm in pretty good shape right now.  Have a great weekend!
... Be Great Today!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Instagram & A Really Good Tempo

Wednesday morning easy 8 mile recovery run
Hey, I'm on Instagram!  And so far I really like it.  Mainly because it's a site dedicated to my favorite thing in the whole world ... PICTURES OF ME!!!  Since I've been active on it for a few days, I've found that it's mainly another social media avenue to feed my constant need for attention and approval from internet people I've never met. But honestly, I love photos and photography, so actually it's a pretty cool way to check out other pics and share a few of mine.  So, if you want to see endless pics of me and my family, and probably quite a few of Jack our chocolate lab, you can follow me at ...


As far as actually running and training to complete "50 after 40", I had a really good and extremely positive Tempo Run this morning.  I've felt like most of my speed and leg turnover has been pretty good this summer.  But to run fast marathons in the fall, I really needed to start linking together some faster tempo mileage for longer distances.  As a rule of thumb, if I can run 10 consecutive miles at a 6:30/avg pace, I typically end up with a pretty solid marathon.  So for the last few weeks I've been trying to build to that standard.  I'm nowhere near where I need to be, but this morning's run went really well as I put together 7 miles at a 6:27/avg pace.  Here are the splits ...

Running through downtown Omaha on Thursday morning

Thursday Tempo Run - Omaha, NE
2.5 mile warm up
1.5 mile cool down

It was only about 68 degrees this morning in Omaha, Nebraska, with about 86% humidity ... so really not bad conditions for running.  I warmed up in downtown Omaha, which is a little hilly, but ran the 7 faster miles across the Missouri River in Council Bluffs, IA, which is really flat.  Plus, I'm 100% certain I avoided contracting a venereal disease, or being inadvertently stabbed by a junkie's stray hypodermic needle while in Council Bluffs ... which is always a bonus! (worst city ever ... no apologies!!!)

Averaging 6:27 over 7 miles is a really good sign for my training.  In full disclosure, I did stop the clock once for about 30 seconds to track down my water bottle, but other than that, it was a pretty legit run.  It was obviously tough, but I didn't feel dead at the end, like I could have squeezed one or two more out at this pace if necessary.  I'll recover with 4 very easy miles tonight after work.

So it was a good morning running in Omaha!  Now, if you need me, I'll be snapping more selfies than a teenage girl!  Have a great weekend!
... Be Great Today!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Do Nipples Need Air?

I was going to insert a picture of one of my nipples here, but I think
we've all seen enough of those in previous posts. Instead, here's a picture
of my new Brooks Ghost 8's, I'll probably review them in a later post
On most given days, if you ran up to me, shouted "America!", and then pulled my shirt up and exposed my bare chest, there'd be a little surprise waiting for you.  No believe me, it's not a perfectly carved pectoral set, or tattoos, or chest hair manicured into the shape of Sponge Bob ... nope, none of that.  What is it, you ask?  Well, it would be two missing nipples.  Actually, they're there, but on most days they're hidden underneath two small circular band-aids.  Which leads me to my question for you today ... do nipples need air?

This  might seem like a silly question, but it's one I've been pondering for a while.  You see, in the past to avoid painful friction during a run, I used Body Glide everyday on my nipples.  But that stained pretty much every running shirt that I had, resulting in two large discolored circles on my chest, resembling giant areolas.  So for the past six months or so, I've been using Band-Aid brand Clear Spots.  They're about the size of my nipples, waterproof, and seem to adhere really well.  And even though a box of 50 is only like $3 at Walgreen's, they're too expensive to use a new one everyday.  So typically I'll just leave them on for two or three days before changing them.  Genius ... right?  I mean, I usually wear a shirt in public, so who would really know except for my wife.  And on the rare occasion I'm forced into the dreaded outing at our neighborhood pool, I just take them off so my nipples blend in with everyone else.

But here's the issue,  since I basically leave my nipples bandaged all day everyday, they never get any air.  When I finally remove the Band-Aids, on an off day from running for example, the poor little guys looks wrinkled, and pale, and sick.  Like two of those weird white raisins you sometimes have to settle for when the store is out of regular raisins and they're not getting any in until Wednesday.  I really worry about them.  I've been doing this for a while now and there don't seem to be any adverse effects, but I just thought I'd throw it out there for discussion.

So what do you think?  Do nipples need air?  Should I change out the Band-Aids after every run?  What type of nipple protection do you use?  I assume most women just use their bra's because they don't seem to rub like the loose shirt of a guy, but who knows.  Well, that's about tit. (haha ... pun)
... Be Great Today!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

It Gets Tougher Every Year

As an aging endurance athlete, I receive a wide variety of comments everyday regarding my lifestyle.  And as a male in the construction industry, I've come to expect most of those comments to be somewhat less than uplifting.  It's mostly good-natured ribbing from friends, but jabs like "Are you crazy?", "Running is so stupid!", and "You need to eat a sandwich!" are pretty typical.  It's okay, I use most of them as mental fuel during workouts.   But I also get number of positive and encouraging comments as well.  Those mean the most, and I'm always appreciative.  But whether folks are trying to discourage, motivate, or simply making a simple observation about my training regimen, one thing's for sure ... most probably have no idea just how hard it is to maintain year after year.  And I've noticed lately, that it's becoming harder than ever.

Several physical changes take place as we age, but the thing that really seems to affect my conditioning more than anything is a slower metabolism. I just really fight keeping weight off. However, most dietitians maintain that our actual metabolism stays fairly constant throughout our lives, and it's other contributing factors that result in a perceived slowing down process.  For example, most of us become less active and don't burn as much of our "fuel" on a daily basis with each passing year.  Plus as we age, our muscle mass decreases a little as our body fat percentage increases.  Most experts estimate that we lose about 10% of our muscle mass per decade.  This results in an apparent slowing of the metabolism.  But whether "perceived" or not, I can tell you that it's a WHOLE lot tougher for me to lose weight with each passing calendar year.  Like I was sharing with my friend, Paul today - in the past it was no problem at all to drop ten pounds within a couple of weeks, but now, even a pound here or there seems to be a struggle.

Another challenge of staying fit as I age, is there are fewer and fewer "challenges".  A lot of days, I really struggle with a "been there, done that" attitude.  I've raced a lot over the past few years, and there just seem to be less "first times" for everything.  And as a result, my motivation is often challenged. Plus, I'm very competitive with myself.   And it's always important for me to do my best.  In the past, when I've done "my best", it's resulted in faster and faster times on the clock.  But in the many of the distances, 5K, 10K, half, etc, I'm afraid my fastest times might be behind me.  I'm not throwing in the towel just yet, mind you.  But I'm 46.  And realistically I know that there will most likely be very few PR's in the future.  I've never necessarily let a race time define me or my performance, but it's often an indicator of where I'm at physically.  So the challenge in the future will be finding other ways to measure my personal success besides the clock.

However, there are a few advantages to being an aging and experienced athlete.  The main benefit is I know what my body responds to, and what I need to avoid to prevent injury.  Mostly from trial and error, I've learned there are certain steps that I have to take for a peak performance.  This is key in time and workout efficiency.  I feel like I can train with a little more focus, with less wasted energy.  Plus, I feel like I know what to expect.  When there's a certain ache or pain, I've probably experienced it before and know how to most effectively remedy it.

Even though youth is not necessarily of friend mine any longer, I can tell you wholeheartedly ... I have no intention of slowing down.  Honestly, at times it can be a little frustrating that it takes twice the effort to produce the same results, but I fully embrace the challenge.  And even if my pace continue to slow, or I fall further back in my age group, it doesn't matter.  With each new gray hair, I know that I'm reaping the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.  And hopefully with continued good health, I'll feel great for many years to come.
... Be Great Today!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Dip It Good

Ever want a bigger chest?   Fella, do you ever say to yourself, "Boy, if only my shoulder muscles were a tad more pumped up, my wife would bake me that peach cobbler"?  Ever drop a 10 pound bag of potatoes at the market because it was just too darn heavy?  Well don't worry friend, help is on the way. (Not sure who I'm chatting with here)

Introducing our new Dip Station!!!  Hooray!!!  Check it out ... totally looks like steel doesn't it??? Well the jokes on you, because that's silver painted PVC plumbing pipe you're looking at.  Michael was gone this week and I was really bored, so I made it by simply assembling plumbing pipe and fittings ... and VOILA ... a new piece of fitness equipment for our home gym.

As a runner, I actually try to keep my upper body fit so I don't look like a complete stick figure walking around in my everyday life.  Although, at 46 years old, that's probably a losing battle.  But I do a lot of core work, and I also try to work my chest and shoulders as well.  Dips have always been one of my favorite exercises because they really work the chest, triceps, and anterior deltoids.  So I built a homemade dip station to add the exercise to my weekly routine.

How do you build it, you ask?  Easy.  I bought 10' lengths of 1-1/2" PVC plumbing pipe at Home Depot, as well as eight 90 degree elbows, ten "T's", plumbing glue, and spray paint.  I also bought yellow athletic tape from a sporting goods store for the handles.  I cut the pipe into the specific lengths I needed with my power miter saw ... and honestly, the plastic dust was pretty messy to clean up.  But with some planning, you could actually have the pieces cut to length at the store. The whole project cost about $35-$40, but a professional one would have ran about $75-$150.

The first thing Michael asked was, "Is it sturdy?", which I was concerned with as well.  And frankly, when the pieces aren't glued together, it's a little wobbly.  But since I used 1-1/2" pipe, once I glued all the pieces together, it's rock solid.  There is no wobbling or shaking at all (except in my arms when I'm on it).  It's sturdy enough to use everyday for dips, and a few other movements as well.

So there's the new addition to our home gym.  Exciting, huh?  Sorry there wasn't anything running related here, but I'm really happy with how it turned out and anxious to get started using it.  We're going to Hawaii later this year and hopefully with a little work on my new dip station, the bullies will no longer be kicking sand in my face on the beach!  Eh, we'll see ...
... Be Great Today!