Thursday, July 31, 2014

Three Keys to Health and Fitness: Moderation Accountability Consistency

This morning I posted on Facebook that I've lost 11lbs and getting closer to my racing weight goal. This sparked an awesome conversation amongst my FB friends about weight loss and racing. I have a goal to lose about 15lbs in prep for my Philly Marathon in November.

With owning my own business and having just written my first book, I began devoting less and less time to my own fitness needs. As a results I added a few pounds. More than that, my fitness level just began to wane. I could tell it in my runs. So, about a month ago, I started being more accountable with my diet. No drastic changes. No weird diets. Just being more cognisant of what I was eating, how much, and when. And I started making sure I was getting in daily "me fitness" be it running or resistance training.

One month later, I've lost 11lbs and my body composition is changing. I can already feel it in my runs. I gave my son Duncan a good run on the latter half of last Saturday's long run hitting a 6:10 pace up a rather hilly portion of the greenway. Not too shabby when about a month ago an 8:30 pace felt labored.

My point in sharing is that, you don't have to make drastic changes to make changes. Moderation. Accountability. Consistency. These are the three keys to good health and fitness. Dropping 5-10lbs can make a big difference in how you feel on your runs as well as make a difference in your overall pace. I'm not saying you have to lose weight to run well. Far from it. But, if you've gained a little and you've let your fitness level slide then getting back on the fitness and good nutrition wagon will make the differences you want to see happen and happen more quickly.



For more reading on racing weight, author and athlete, Matt Fitzgerald, has an awesome book titled, Racing Weight that delves more in depth into finding your racing weight. He also has a companion book just out titled, Racing Weight Cookbook with lots of great recipes.

Are you working on your fitness and weight loss? I'd love to share your before and after pictures and the story of your journey. Send your pictures and stories to runnerdude@runnerdudesfitness.com and I'll feature them on the blog.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Where did the .2 Come from?

Did you know that the distance of the first modern Olympic Marathon in 1896 was 24.8 miles. So why is it
26.2 today?

King Edward VII and Queen Alexandria
You've probably heard the legend of Pheidippides, the Greek who ran from the city of Marathon to Athens to deliver a message that they had defeated the Persian Army. You also probably know that upon reaching Athens, he staggered and exclaimed, "Rejoice! We Conquer!" and then collapsed and died. Nice story, huh? Really motivates you to run a marathon. LOL!

But I digress....why is the distance for a full marathon today 26.2 instead of 24.8 miles (the real distance from Marathon to Athens)? Well, in 1908 when the Olympic games were being held in England, King Edward VII and Queen Alexandria requested that the race begin at Windsor Castle. Why? They wanted to Royal family to be able to see the start. I guess when you're King, you can pretty much get what you want.

1908 London Olympic Marathon Route
The distance from the castle to the Olympic Stadium in London was 26 miles. So what about the .2? The distance was extended 385 yards (.2 miles) around the track at the stadium so the runners would cross the finish line directly in front of  Edward and Alexandria. Pretty swanky huh?

The marathon distance in other competitions kept varying in length until 1921 when it was decided that the official distance would be 26 miles and 385 yards, or 26.2 miles.

So, you can thank Edward and Alexandria for the extra 1.4 miles.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Clean Kicks!

Do your running shoes need a room of their own after a few summer runs? Mine do. They don't stink like teenage locker room stench, from rampant athlete's feet, but they do get a sweaty smell that can be quite overwhelming, especially after having been left by "accident" in the car overnight.  So, what's a runner to do?

WASH THEM!

I know, every time I tell people I wash my running shoes I get all kinds of flack about how I'm ruining them. But, I don't really see how my run yesterday which left me squishing in my shoes from the sweat pouring down my body and into my shoes is any different from me rinsing them with clean salt free water. Or how is it any different from the tempo run I had last week when 3/4 of the run was during a monsoon during which I had to run through a foot of water because a street drain was clogged.

Not really that much difference. Water is water.
Soak in cold water with mild detergent for 10 minutes,
then rinse thoroughly.

However, I am careful what I wash them in. I prefer something like Woolite. I also like detergents such as WIN and Sports Wash that are designed to get sports related odors out of clothing. Sometimes, I'll put the shoes in the washer on the delicate cycle using only cold water, but normally I just fill a sink with cold water, put in some detergent, pull out the insoles and laces and soak everything for about 10 minutes. After soaking, gently rub the fabric to loosen any dirt still hanging on, then rinse them thoroughly with cold water and squeeze out any excess water. Be sure to thoroughly rinse the padded areas in the back of the shoe near the heel area. Detergent will often collect in the padding. Rinse until you no longer see any bubbles emerging from the padding.
Use a Magic Eraser cleaning sponge to
clean the soles.

If your shoes have white soles, use a Magic Eraser cleaning sponge to get rid of those lingering stains and smudges.
Hang to dry.

Next, clip the tongue of each shoe to a hanger, loop the laces around the hook and hang them to dry. Prop the insoles by an air vent to dry.

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER PUT THE SHOES IN THE CLOTHES DRYER!!!

Next day, I have clean, fresh smelling kicks for my next run.

Greensboro's Greenways: Proud and Saddened

RunnerDude's Fitness is so lucky and proud to be situated along one of the newest stretches of the Yadkin
Heading north into the Yadkin & Atlantic Greenway
tunnel underneath Cone Blvd.
and Atlantic Greenway in Greensboro, NC. The greenway is a part of an old railway (The Yadkin & Atlantic) that used to bring granite from Stokesdale, NC, into Greensboro. There's quite an impressive tunnel that was built underneath W. Cone Blvd.so runners, walkers, and cyclist could avoid having to cross 4-lane Cone Blvd. Granite-like blocks lead into the tunnel tying in the railway's history. Inside is a wonderful mural painted on both walls running the length of the tunnel as well as the ceiling that incorporates the native vegetation and animals as well as local landmarks.
Me running inside the Cone Blvd. Tunnel past the awesome
mural painted inside the tunnel.
RunnerDude's Fitness has a kinship and sense of ownership towards this 1.5-mile strip of greenway that begins at the Pisgah Church Rd./Battleground Rd intersection (at the CVS) and running south parallel with Battleground. You may not have realized it's there, but it's behind all the shops on Battleground such as Papa John's, Stamey's, Rice Toyota, Taco Bell, Texas Roadhouse, and Office Depot. It emerges and ends in front of the Golden Corral at the Target shopping center on Lawndale. Eventually this stretch will connect with the downtown greenways. On the northern end of this strip, the greenway crosses over Pisgah Church Rd, and dips behind the Methodist church picking up with an older stretch of the greenway that runs all the way out past Bur-Mill Park, currently ending at a tunnel that's under construction at Hwy 220. From RunnerDude's Fitness, heading north you can easily get in a 13-mile out-n-back run. It's awesome!
Trash collected along greenway on June 22.

Because of this kinship and sense of responsibility, RunnerDude's Fitness is in the process of adopting this stretch of greenway. We've had two clean-ups which is apart of the official process. The last clean-up was on June 22. We had an awesome group show up and we picked up quite a bit of trash.

Since that clean-up I've been very aware of the trash along the greenway. Kind of like when you buy that new car that you think is so special and unique and then after you buy it, you begin seeing it everywhere. Well, now every time I run the greenway, I'm very aware of the amount of litter scattered about. The past week or two, I've noticed quite a bit of trash in the tunnel. So, today I slipped on some rubber gloves and grabbed a 30-gal trash bag and headed out to clean up the tunnel. Trash trailing out of the tunnel along the greenway kept me moving north picking up litter. An hour-and-a-half later, I returned to the studio with that 30-gal bag completely full. I was dismayed and saddened. How could that much trash have been left since June 22. It's not even been one month. Also, the group clean-up on June 22 (see picture above) covered the entire 1.5-mile stretch of greenway from Golden Corral to CVS. My clean-up today covered only the mile from RunnerDude's Fitness to CVS.

What did I find? Just about everything. I found the expected beer cans, beer bottles, and cigarette butts,
Trash I collected today.
candy wrappers, fast food containers and Styrofoam cups. Some of the debris you could tell was from some of the area homeless population, but I was very disheartened to find Gatorade bottles and GU wrappers. I also, picked up nicely tied up bags of doggie poop (these had been there for days). I'm not thinking that the homeless population bags up their critters' poop.

Reaching  CVS, my 30-gal bag full, I turned and headed back to the studio. On the 1-mile walk back, I collected a few pieces of trash I missed. Then something white caught my eye about 200ft down the greenway. As I got closer, I realized it was a CVS bag of trash that someone had discarded in the middle of the greenway within the few minutes since I had just been in the area. My heart felt heavy as I picked up the bag and added it to the rest of the trash I had collected.

Greensboro is so lucky to have more than 90 miles of greenways and trails networked together for everyone to enjoy. Let's encourage everyone to play a part in taking care of this treasure.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Eye Protection Important for Runners

We often hear about the importance of wearing sun screen to protect your skin from the dangers of sun
exposure. I should know. I had the scary experience of having melanoma, the most aggressive type of skin cancer. Luckily it was discovered in time and I had it successfully removed. The 4-inch scare down the middle of my back is a constant reminder of the importance of protection from the sun.

Your eyes are equally susceptible to the dangers of too much sun exposure. The Mayo Clinic says that UV radiation from the sun can damage not only the skin of your eyelid but also the cornea, lens and other parts of the eye. UV exposure also contributes to the development of certain types of cataracts and possibly macular degeneration.

The Mayo Clinic suggests that when choosing sunglasses, look for UV-protection details on the product labels. Look for sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of both UA and UVB rays. Don't purchase sunglasses that neglect to offer details about their UV protection. The color and degree of darkness sunglasses provide have nothing to do with the sunglasses' ability to block UV rays. Wraparound sunglasses or close-fitting sunglasses with wide lenses that protect your eyes from all angles are best.

Your local eye care professionals are a great source of information in helping you select the best pair of sunglasses even if you don't need prescription sunglasses. I do wear prescription eyeglasses and I've had a hard time finding sunglasses that wrap around and fit close to my head for running.

I had trouble that is until Eye Care Associates contacted me about testing out a pair of sunglasses. They scheduled me for an exam at the Eye Care Associates location at Friendly Center in Greensboro, NC.  Dr. Laura Painter did an excellent job in giving my eyes a thorough exam. She actually discovered the beginnings of a cataract in one eye. All the more reason to get protective eye wear for my many runs.

After the eye exam, the awesome staff helped me find the best pair of sunglasses for my running. I decided
on a pair of Oakley sunglasses. I've always had sunglasses with dark grey lenses, but I was introduced to some amber lenses that I ended up liking a great deal. I run early in the morning and later in the afternoon. The amber lenses help me still be able to see when the sun hasn't fully risen or when it's begun to set. I've had several runs during the fall for which I needed sunglasses to block the setting sun, but before I could complete the run the sun would dip below the horizon making my footing a scary guessing game the last mile or two. The amber lenses makes that much easier while still providing the protection when needed earlier in the run.

I've been running with the Oakleys for over a month now and they're awesome! The stay snugly on my face with no slipping. They provide great coverage and I'm loving the amber lenses.

GIVEAWAY!!!
June 27th is National Sunglasses Day! In honor of National Sunglasses day and to help promote healthy eyes among the running community, Eye Care Associates is providing a $200 gift certificate that can be used for a routine eye exam, retinal photos, non-prescription sunglasses, prescription eye wear, and/or contact lens materials at any Eye Care Associates office.

To participate, you'll need to be within driving distance of one of the many Eye Care Associate locations here in North Carolina. Click here for locations. Enter below for a chance to win the gift certificate. You'll have until end of Day July 1st to enter. The winner will be announced on the blog on July 2nd.

A huge thanks to Eye Care Associates!!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, June 20, 2014

Running Inspired Tattoos: A Way for Many to Express Their Running Accomplishments

According to the Smithsonian, the oldest tattoo on a human belongs to the Iceman discovered in the Italian-Austrian border back in 1991. He was carbon-dated at around 5,200 years old. Now that's a lasting tattoo. Iceman was sporting tattooed dots and small crosses on his lower spine and right knee and ankle joints. Because these locations correspond to areas of strain-induced degeneration (their words not mine), suggested they many have been applied to alleviate joint pain, so basically they were probably therapeutic.

Jump ahead about 1000 years and we find Egyptian women sporting tattoos. All through history tattoos have been a part of many cultures. Some cultures used tattoos as a sign of nobility and others used them as a sign of ownership of a religious sect or to another owner.

Some cultures such as those of Polynesia use elaborate tattoos that have been developed over millennia. These feature geometric designs sometimes covering the entire body. Captain James Cook encountered such cultures on his 1769 British expedition to Tahiti. The islanders referred to the designs as "tatatau" or Tattau" which meant hit or strike....hence the birth of the modern term tattoo.

Today, tattoos are still important parts of many cultures around the world. They've also become popular ways for many modern-day individuals to express themselves. From inspirational phrases to illustrations of family members, tattoos usually carry great meaning for the person sporting the tattoo.

This is no less true in the running community. From the Ironman logo to the iconic 26.2 image, you'll find many runners with running related artwork on their torso, calf, thigh or arm.

Like anything, some people hate tattoos, some love them and sport many, while others are indifferent to them.

I've been pondering a running related tattoo for several years. I think it's time for RunnerDude to take the plunge. The RunnerDude motto is "Trust. Believe. Conquer!" I'd love to somehow incorporate the motto into a tattoo. I'm thinking the location would be the back/center of a calf. Nothing too big, but big enough to be seen and possibly motivate.

I'd love to see your ideas for a "Trust. Believe. Conquer!" RunnerDude tattoo. Sketch your ideas and email a picture to runnerdudeblog@yahoo.com by July 4th. I'll post all that are sent and I'll let the readers vote on their favorite.

I'm excited to see your ideas!

New Runner's Cheat Sheet

 If you were like me when I first started running, you probably felt a little lost from all the running terms andwere hesitant to ask the more experienced runners you knew what the heck they all meant. Took me a while to get up to speed, but I finally became running-term literate. Hears a little cheat sheet to help you out if you need it.

• Easy Run—a slow run done at a conversational pace
• Fartlek—a Swedish word for speedplay; workout includes faster running mixed with slower running; can be done in any setting—track, trail, or road
• Repeats or Intervals—type of workout where a set distance is run repeatedly with a recovery jog between; for example 6 times 400 meters with 100 meters recovery jog; typically done on a track
• Cadence—the number of footstrikes made within a minute
• Foot strike—how your foot hits the ground (heelstrike, mid foot or flat foot, and fore foot)
• Speed Work—short, fast intervals with recovery jogs between; increases your leg turnover and maximizes your stamina and race confidence
• Tempo Runs—workouts where you run at a steady pace that is around 70% to 80% of your max aerobic capacity; near race pace, but not race pace
• Hills—workouts where a runner runs up a hill fast and jogs down then runs up again; helps develop leg power and aerobic capacity
• Long Runs—longest run of the week; usually on the weekend
• Recovery Runs—slow to moderate running to recover from hard workouts or races and/or maintain aerobic conditioning
• Cross-Training—low- or no-impact activities such as swimming, cycling, and using the elliptical at the gym that increase conditioning
• Pace—the measure of the speed of running; usually quantified as minutes taken to run a mile; for example a runner may run a 7:00 per mile pace for a marathon
• PR—Personal Record or Personal Best; fastest time a runner has run for a given distance
• Junk Miles—runs used to reach a weekly or monthly mileage total rather than for a specific benefit
• 5K—race with a distance of 5 kilometers (3.1 miles)
• 10K—race with a distance of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles)
• 15K—race with a distance of 15 kilometers (9.3 miles)
• 20K—race with a distance of 20 kilometers (12.4 miles)
• Marathon—race with a distance of 26.2 miles
• Half-Marathon—race with a distance of 13.1 miles
• Bandit—a person who runs a race without paying the registration fee
• BQ—a Boston qualifying time or a race that's a Boston qualifier
• Carb-loading—eating a high-carbohydrate diet (60%-70% of the total calories) at least three days prior to a race to fill the glycogen stores
• Chip time—finish time that's recorded by a computer chip typically worn on the shoe or around the ankle. Tracks each runner's time from when they cross the start line and finish line.
• Kicks—running shoes
• CR—course record
• DNF—did not finish
• DNS—did not start
• DOMS—delayed onset muscle soreness
• Elite runner—a person who has reached the highest level in his sport
• Gun time—finish time that begins when the start gun sounds until the runner crosses the finish line
• GU—a brand of sports gel that's a concentrated sources of carbohydrate (fuel) and electrolytes
• "Hitting the wall" or bonk—a time during a race when your glycogen stores become depleted and fatigue overwhelms you. Typically happens around mile 20 in a marathon.
• Master—a runner 40-years-old or older is classified as a Master in the US. In other countries the term used is Veteran
• Negative splits—running the second half of a race faster than the first
• NR—national record
• Pace—the measure of speed of running; usually thought of as the number of minutes it takes to run a mile during a race
• PB—personal best
• PR—personal record
• Road Race—running contest that takes place over streets
• Singlet—a tank top for running
• Snot Rocket—the act of closing off one nostril while blowing forcefully out the other nostril to clear it of...well...snot, while on the run
• Streaker—a person who runs at least one mile on consecutive days never having a day with no running
• Taper—reducing your mileage several days to a few weeks prior to a race
• Ultra—any race longer than a traditional marathon which is 26.2 miles
• USA Track & Field—the national governing body for running in the US
• WR—world record