Thursday, November 27, 2008

Winter Hydration

Just because it’s almost winter doesn’t mean you can forget about keeping yourself well hydrated, especially on long runs. Runners tend to focus more on hydration during the summer months when (if they’re like me) they sweat profusely. Just like in the summer months, your body still heats up and fluids are lost through sweating.

If you’re an avid runner, keeping yourself well hydrated (summer or winter) should be an ongoing process. I’m bad about only thinking about hydration about an hour before I run when I gulp down a bottle of water. But if you’re doing long runs of more than 8 miles you should actually be thinking about hydration a few days before. If you’re well hydrated then your urine should be pale in color and you should be voiding around 6 times a day.

Christine Luff from Running and Jogging suggest drinking 16 to 24 ounces of water or other non-caffeinated fluid about an hour before running. That will give you time to void before you run. You can drink another 4 to 8 ounces right before running.

On long runs carrying water and/or sports drink along on the run is often a good idea. During the summer I like using the handheld bottles. I often run shirtless and the belts tend to irritate me. During the winter the handheld bottles are too cold to handle, so I wear a belt system. I’ve tried several brands of hydration systems, but I’ve found that Amphipod’s products work best for me. They have a handheld bottle that’s flat and is easier to hold than the round bottles. They also have belt systems where the bottles snap on and off, making it easier to use while in motion. What hydration systems have worked well for you?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Well it was inevitable. The first really cold run of the season hit last Saturday with the temp hovering around 20°. Actually wasn't too bad, once we got going. With the cold comes a whole different set of running concerns. Check out these cold weather running tips by Christine Luff from Running & Jogging

1. Watch for Frostbite
On really cold days, make sure you monitor your fingers, toes, ears, and nose. They may feel numb at first, but they should warm up a few minutes into your run. If you notice a patch of hard, pale, cold skin, you may have frostbite. Get out of the cold immediately and slowly warm the affected area. If numbness continues, seek emergency care.
2. Pay Attention to Temperature and Wind Chill
If the wind is strong, it penetrates your clothes and removes the insulating layer of warm air around you. Your movement also creates wind chill because it increases air movement past your body. If the temperature dips below zero or the wind chill is below minus 20, hit the treadmill instead.
3. Protect Your Hands and Feet
As much as 30% of your body heat escapes through your hands and feet. On mild days, wear gloves that wick moisture away. Mittens are a better choice on colder days because your fingers will share their body heat. You can also tuck disposable heat packets into your mittens. Add a wicking sock liner under a warm polar fleece or wool sock, but make sure you have enough room in your running shoes to accommodate these thicker socks.
4. Dress in Layers
Start with a thin layer of synthetic material such as polypropylene, which wicks sweat from your body. Stay away from cotton because it holds the moisture and will keep you wet. An outer, breathable layer of nylon or Gore-Tex will help protect you against wind and precipitation, while still letting out heat and moisture to prevent overheating and chilling. If it's really cold out, you'll need a middle layer, such as polar fleece, for added insulation.
5. Check With Your MD
Cold air can trigger chest pain or asthma attacks in some people. Before braving the elements, talk to your doctor if you have any medical conditions or concerns about exercising outdoors.
6. Avoid Overdressing
You're going to warm up once you get moving, so you should feel a little bit chilly when you start your run. A good rule of thumb: Dress as if it's 20 degrees warmer outside than it really is.
7. Don't Forget Your Head
About 40% of your body heat is lost through your head. Wearing a hat will help prevent heat loss, so your circulatory system will have more heat to distribute to the rest of the body. When it's really cold, wear a face mask or a scarf over your mouth to warm the air you breathe and protect your face.
8. Get Some Shades
The glare from snow can cause snow blindness, so wear sunglasses (polarized lenses are best) to avoid this problem.
9. Don't Stay in Wet Clothes
If you get wet from rain, snow, or sweat in cold temperatures, you're at an increased risk for hypothermia, a lowering of your body temperature. If you're wet, change your clothes and get to warm shelter as quickly as possible. If you suspect hypothermia -- characterized by intense shivering, loss of coordination, slurred speech, and fatigue -- get emergency treatment immediately.
10. Stay Hydrated
Despite the cold weather, you'll still heat up and lose fluids through sweat. Cold air also has a drying effect, which can increase the risk of dehydration. Make sure you drink water or a sports drink before, during, and after your run.
11. Remember Sunscreen
Sunburn is still possible in the winter because the snow reflects the sun's rays. Protect your lips with lip balm, too.
12. Take it Easy When It's Frigid
You're at greater risk for a pulled muscle when running in the cold, so warm up slowly and run easy on very cold days. Save your tough workouts for milder days or indoors.
13. Be Visible
It's best to avoid running in the dark but, if you have to run at night, wear reflective gear and light-colored clothing. Dress in bright colors if you're running in the snow.
14. Run Into the Wind

If you head out into the wind, it will be at your back at the end of your workout, when you're sweaty and could catch a chill.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Shoe Woes?

On the previous blog poll regarding your favorite brand of running shoe, no one brand surfaced as the most popular. Nike, Adidas, Asics, Brooks, and Saucony were all equally represented. If you’re like me, you’ve probably tried an array of different running shoes and brands of running shoes. About 15 years ago I was a Brooks fan, then did a few years with Adidas, then Mizuno and Saucony. Each time I found a shoe that worked, the company would do an "upgrade" and make modifications to the shoe or just discontinue it alltogether. Very Frustrating because rarely ever does the newer version seem to work for me like the original. Then there was the whole thing with me wearing the wrong type of shoe. Many years ago, I had my feet evaluated at a running store in Durham and was told I needed stability shoes because I over pronated. Then about 2 years ago, during a visit with the sports doc about a running-related injury, I was told I had a neutral gate and didn’t need stability shoes. He told me that what I needed was a good cushioned shoe (my feet have very little natural padding). The doc also told me that I should always replace the flimsy insoles that come in the shoes with a ones that have more cushioning. I found that the Sof-Sole Adapt Custom Insole works really well. You actually stick them in the oven for about 2 minutes. Then, while still warm, you pop them in your shoes, slide your feet in, and the insoles mold to the contour or your feet. I’ve recently changed to Reebok’s Premiere Verona because I needed new shoes and it was given good reviews by Runner’s World for value and cushioning. Plus they were pretty cheap! $69.95 online at Holabird Sports. So far, so good. What shoes work for you?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Meet the Youngest BlueLiner

From AARP to Middle School, The BlueLiners have it all! Have you noticed that new, young, speedster on our Saturday long runs? Why that's the newest BlueLiner, Ryan. This 11-year-old 6th-grader has been joining his dad (Will) on some recent runs. What Ryan likes best about running is that feeling after finishing a long run or a short, fast sprint. He recently ran his first 5K—The Great Pumpkin Run—directed by his dad. He breezed through the course in 32:07. He ran the race with his P.E. teacher, who he credits for helping to improve his time by encouraging him during the race. Ryan feels that overall, that was probably the most fun, wet, and well organized race he's ever been to. He's into wrestling right now and practice is every day, so he can't run as much as he'd like to, but when wrestling is over, he says he'll be back at the blueline. Welcome to the BlueLiners, Ryan!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Blueliners Shine at OBX Marathon

Les, Neal, and Wayne took the Outer Banks Marathon by storm last Sunday. Neal (2nd-time marathoner) and Wayne (first-time marathoner)—ran strong races. Veteran marathoner, Les, ran strong as well, placing 2nd in his age group! Awesome job Blueliners! Read below for a recap from each runner.

For some, the conditions might have been perfect but for me it could have been about 20 degrees cooler at the start (like Myrtle Beach). If I'm not shivering in a singlet, it's too hot! The split times on the website tell the story of my race. My first half marathon was at 3:20 pace and I was feeling pretty good but up to 20 miles I was down to 3:25 pace and in the last 10K things fell apart. Everything was going quite smoothly until I hit the ups and downs of the trail section. The surface under foot was nice and cushioned but I think it was harder work on the soft surface and my legs started to feel heavy. On emerging the woods, I could feel the sun sucking out the energy and there was no shade on the course after that. It felt like most of the course was uphill, just like Myrtle Beach, but there was definitely a tough hill (a high bridge) in the 23rd mile that almost finished me off. I saw a poor runner who had collapsed being loaded into the back of a pick-up, which worried me a little, but I was determined not to stop. The rest of the course was flat and I kept thinking that if I can run the last mile on a Saturday morning over Herbie's Hill I can finish this course. I stumbled into the finish with a slower time (chip 3:34) than hoped but pleased that I'd run the race without stopping to walk. Interestingly, I see I got 2nd place in my age group. The guy who came first in my age group did a 3:05! I think they need to check his birth certificate!

I’m happy to report that my first marathon is in the books and I lived through it as well. Ran 26.2 miles in 4 hours and 8 minutes. In my opinion, the weather couldn’t have been any better… a bit chilly but not too cold for me. I was in the 3rd corral (9 to 11 minute pacers). The energy and excitement in the air was excellent and made for a great start. There was excellent local support along the entire course. Music, pirate costumes and beautiful waterscapes abound. My plan was to go with my body and keep my heart rate in the 160 to 170 range, which puts me right around a 9 minute pace. Having a pacer/running partner would have been very helpful for this event! I had been warned about the sand section but there was also a technically challenging trail segment, which wasn’t much fun. At times it was only wide enough for a single line of runners and very steep in some places too. This concerned me greatly since my feet don’t like trail running (Salem Lake proved that to me). Yes, I ran the absolute entire bridge! Cursed it the entire time but ran nonetheless. All in all my body held up surprisingly well and although I didn’t break 3 hours I was still very happy with my finish time. It was interesting to see many people gingerly walking about as I was.
55 or so degrees at the start, little to no real winds to speak of, and about 65 or so at the finish. Not a cloud in the sky—100% sunny. My time was a little below 4:30, but I ran comfortably, had about 8 minutes of breaks, and there was a wacky trail run for 3.1 miles at mile 10 that I wasn't focused on!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ultra Trail Trekers!

I need to backtrack a little and give some much deserved recognition to Lucy and Ben who ran the Triple Lakes 40-Mile Trail Race in October. This brother-sister team smoked the trail in awesome style. They made a great team by supporting each other throughout the race and crossing the finish line together in 8:22:30! Lucy and Ben each received 2nd place in their age/gender divisions and they placed 28th and 29th out of 45 runners overall. Lucy and Ben said they really appreciated the support they got from several Blueliners they encountered near the stretch out to Strawberry Rd. I think this brother/sister duo has caught the ultramarathon they're talking about doing the Frosty 50 at Salem Lake! Congrats you guys!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Rich Conquers Ironman!

One of the Blueliners, Rich Mayer, recently ran his first full IronMan (Beach 2 Battleship) and did a hell of a job!
2.4 mile swim: 00:59:01
Transition 1: 00:13:48
112 mile bike: 06:22:44
Transition 2: 00:06:57
26.2 mile run: 04:30:37
Total: 12:13:05

Overall placement: 151/337
Age group: 11/31

Rich's Experience
The race went surprisingly well. Except for colder than expected air(39 degrees) and water (67 degrees) on race morning, the conditions were perfect. The swim started at the south end of Wrightsville Beach and ended at Sea Path Marina near the Wrigthsville Beach Town Hall. The cold water caused my legs to cramp up several times on the swim. It also left me a little loopy at the end of the swim. It was difficult to just stand up at first and very difficult to change into biking gear—hard to think—hard to use your hands. To make matters worse, the changing tent was packed—chairs around the side and other than that—standing-room only. Luckily, I was able to get a chair to sit on after several minutes. That transition took me almost 15 minutes. The bike was 99% flat and smooth with little to no wind. Temps for the bike started around 40 degrees but must have ended in the high 60's to 70. I stopped three times on the ride—first at about 40 miles to peel off some clothes; next at 60 to peel more clothes and mix up some more drinks (Accelerade), and one more with about 20 miles to go to call my family and give them a heads up that I would be in transition soon (use of electronic devices is prohibited, so please don't tell the refs!). My biggest fear was the run, but it went well too. None of my intermittent hamstring, knee, or hip issues cropped up. I kept a fairly consistent pace throughout. I walked only occasionally at aid stations at which I ate mostly gels, orange wedges, and/or pretzels. I carried my own drink. My parents were at the T2—the battleship—so I saw them at the start and halfway points of the run (it was two 13 miles laps). My wife, Janet and son, Dave were in downtown Wilmington at miles 3 and 16. Dave ran with me a few blocks each lap. All were at the finish. On the first lap, I was just looking forward to finishing it and figured that if I made it at least that far I could consider it a successful outing. Then, once I actually got a few miles into the second lap, I knew I would finish one way or another—I certainly wasn't going to turn around or backtrack! On the second lap, Dave met me near the 24 mile mark and ran over the bridge to finish with me at the battleship. I felt pretty good at the end. But the next morning it was hard to get out of bed or even roll over. I guess the 6 Ibuprofen I took the day before had worn off! I'm feeling pretty good now. It was fun, and although I wouldn't say "never", I currently have no plans to enter another.

Rich, I think I speak for all the Blueliners....awesome job and what an inspiration! You da man! Lucy and Ben do an amazing 40-mile ultra trail marathon. Andy sets a marathon PR. Kelly qualifies for Boston and then Rich completes a full IronMan! What's next for the Blueliners?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Shoe Lacing 101

There's a lot more to lacing your shoes than what I was taught in kindergarten, or so I've learned. Did you know there's a whole science to lacing your shoes? There are over 30 different lacing methods each designed with a specific purpose. I was introduced to the world of shoe lacing when the race director of the Ridge to Bridge Marathon , suggested the runners use the "lock lacing" method. You see the first 14 miles of this race are downhill and this method of lacing prevents your laces from loosening from the constant pressure of downhill running. I tried it and it worked really well. It's also just good for keeping your laces snug for regular running. I did a little digging and discovered a really cool site, Ian's Shoelace Site, which provides illustrated directions for every kind of shoe-lacing method you can imagine. Need to relieve pressure on the top ridge of your foot? Try the Straight (Bar) Lacing method. Laces too short? Try lengthening them by using the Bow Tie Lacing Method. Check out Runner's World's article on lacing too. Happy Lacing!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Good Luck to The OBX Marathoners!

Best of luck to all the runners headed to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina for the OBX Marathon on Sunday! I especially want to send well wishes to my running buddies—Les, Wayne, Neal, and Jonathon. They've trained hard and are going to represent the Blueliners well. You guys are awesome! Don't forget to enjoy the view while you're running. Supposed to be a beautiful course!
Two other running buddies—Andy and Kelly—and I recently ran the Ridge to Bridge Marathon in Morganton, NC. This race was on the other side of the state in the mountains. The first 14 miles were down hill! Was a tough race. Kelly and Andy both set PRs. Kelly even qualified for Boston! Wasn't my day. I had to drop out of the race. But it was a beautiful course nonetheless. It's a small race (only 150 runners) and extremely well organized. I'm always looking for new races, especially marathons and half marathons. What are some of your favorites?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Get Out And Vote!

I don't know if either candidate—Obama or McCain—are runners, but even if they're not be sure to get out and vote on Tuesday, November 4th! The lines may be long, so be sure to pack your Gatorade and a Power Gel to aid in your endurance! :-)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Race Pace Solution

Do you find it hard to juggle keeping up with your time and pace during training or while racing? I sure do. In the past I've used pacing bracelets but they usually get soggy and are hard to read by about halfway through the race. I've even tried covering them in clear packing tape and that helps but eventually it still gets wet. Remember those temporary tattoos that you decorated your body with as a kid? Well recently I discovered an awesome new tool called PaceTat 2.0 that takes those kid tattoos to a whole new level. You just apply it to your forearm before running and your equipped with an easy-to-read listing of your pacing times that will last the entire race! It even has mile splits with metric splits every 5 kilometers so that you can use them in shorter races as well as marathons. They're only $2.99 a piece (if you buy 10 or more you get a little discount). The tattoos come in 14 different pacing times from 3hrs to 5hrs. I highly recommend you check out PaceTat. This video clip showing how to put on one of the tattoos is pretty cool too. Also check out what Runner's World has to say about PaceTat.