Friday, July 12, 2019

Don't Forget To Shop Local

Small Business Saturday is in November, but you don't have to wait until one special day to support local businesses. Today while buying my morning coffee, I realized I was basically a small-business billboard today. Almost everything I was wearing was purchased locally and I myself am the owner of a small business. It's easy to be lured to the big box stores or the online giants, but small business is a vital part of the local economy. Many small business invest back into the local community. Be sure to check out Team Smiley Apparel, Threshold Athletic, Mindful Supply, Green Bean Golden Gate, Omega Sports and of course RunnerDude's Fitness

Team Smiley Apparel is a family run, community based, and fitness driven apparel company established in 2017 in Burlington, NC. In 2007, the family moved from the Miami Valley of Southwestern Ohio to the Piedmont Triad of North Carolina, where they live today. "Team Smiley" started as a name they had given themselves. Something that united and bonded them in the adventure of living in a new state, outside of their comfort zones. With every passing year and every new sports endeavor, their bond as a "Team" grew. As they referred to themselves as "Team Smiley," other members of their fitness community would inquire what it would take to belong to the "Team Smiley" family. What they have provided through their family unit is for individuals to feel a part of something larger and bigger than themselves. "Team Smiley" provides an individual encouragement to achieve their personal goals both inside and outside of their fitness endeavors. Each purchase of a "Team Smiley" apparel item enables Team Smiley to reinvest back into the community. Be sure to check out the Team Smiley products at

Threshold Athletic was born out of their love of activity, fitness & sportswear. They are passionate
about being active, sharing experiences and motivating other individuals to achieve the best version of themselves possible. Therefore, they wanted to develop and produce products that support their customer’s experiences. Whether it’s hitting the road, hitting the trails, or hitting the gym, Threshold Athletic is dedicated to providing effective & quality products that exceed the expectations of their customers. Threshold Athletic Products are Sold and Distributed exclusively by Genesis Textiles, LLC in Gibsonville, NC. Be sure to check them out at

Omega Sports began when two friends who dreamed of creating a new kind of sporting goods store 
founded Omega Sports in Greensboro, North Carolina in 1978. Since the very beginning, Omega has been a family-run company committed to local community, quality gear, and outstanding customer service. They are still a family-run company, and their foundational values are as important to them today as they were in 1978. Omega has grown steadily, and they are now part of 14 communities across North Carolina. They’ve helped two to three generations of North Carolinian’s. Be sure to check them out at one of their area stores and online at

The Green Bean opened their doors in 2002. Now owned by Joe Van Gogh, they are still an 
awesome part of the local Greensboro community with their cafĂ© at Golden Gate Shopping Center on Cornwallis Dr. and their downtown coffee shop on S. Elm St.  I’m a frequent customer at both, but I bet if you go to the Golden Gate location and ask anyone who works their if they know Thad, they’ll probably say, "He’s the Green Bean Bowl guy, right?"  If you haven’t had it, man, you need to get there quick! Delish! Be sure to check them out at

The Mindful Supply Co slogan is “From Dirt to Shirt.” That’s because they literally are involved from the growing of the cotton to the finished product sold in their store or online.  The cotton for their shirts is gown in Stanley County in Richfield. The cotton is ginned in New London, it’s spun into yarn in Thomasville, and knitted into fabric in Lumberton.  Those are all NC towns!  The fabric is finished in Gaffney, SC and cut and sewn in Hemingway, SC. The graphics are created by the Mindful Supply Co owners Derek Glass and David Grubbs. TS designs in Burlington, NC take care of the dying and printing. Every step of the production process happens in NC and SC businesses employing over 700 people. Be sure to check them out at their store front location at 335 S. Davie St. in Greensboro, nc as well as online at

RunnerDude’s Fitness is a running coaching and fitness studio in Greensboro, NC. After I was laid off from a career in educational publishing for 
13 years back during the Great Recession in 2009, I had to reinvent myself. Being held to a non-compete contract, I was not able to work in my field for 18 months. I know, crazy, huh? So, instead of trying to fight it, I decided to pursue my passion—fitness and running--and I went back to school. I got my RRCA running coach certification, my USATF running coach certification, my American College of Sports Medicine certification, and completed a 500hr diploma program at the National Personal Training Institute in Raleigh as well as competing 100hrs of nutrition education. Then on blind faith, I opened RunnerDude’s Fitness. Almost 10 years later, I’ve worked with hundreds of runners from beginning running to ultra marathons. I’ve also worked with hundreds of clients improving their personal fitness levels. I’ve also had the awesome opportunity to work in corporate fitness, providing running and fitness classes to VF Corp, Syngenta, and Volvo Group. If you’re looking for customized fitness and/or running plans, boot camps, other group fitness classes, a in-depth video running stride analysis, running related workshops, personal training, small-group personal training, and more, be sure to check us out at

Saturday, March 16, 2019

What Type of Race Trainee Are You?

Life can get crazy when you're training for a half or full marathon, and sometimes life and throw things at you the can affect your training. If you are working with a running coach, remember he has created a plan for you. Also remember that your training plan is a guide, a guide created specifically for you and your goals.

As a running coach for going on 10 years, I've come to realize there tends to be four types of race trainees—the "Sporadic", the "Checker-Offer", the "Ignorer" and the "Communicator."

The Sporadic trainee tends to use the plan as a suggestion. He'll keep his normal run routine and then decide to throw in some of the workouts in their plan. Or they use the plan for a few weeks, then go rogue for a while and then maybe get back to following the plan. This runner often wonders why they are not seeing the progress they expected.

The Checker-offer trainee is that runner that has to do every workout in the plan regardless of circumstances that might dictate otherwise. For example, if the runner can't get in his/her long run on Saturday and moves it to Sunday (which is fine) he/she will still do the speed workout scheduled for Monday (which isn't good), just because it's on the plan. The desire to check off every workout overrides common sense or what they're body might be telling them. This runner feels like a failure if every workout is not checked off as completed.

The Ignorer trainee is the runner that ignores the signs of injury. The Ignorer tends to use the not-so-useful sayings, "run through the pain" or "no pain no gain." This runner has trouble distinguishing the difference between regular delayed onset muscle soreness or discomfort and pain. And... sometimes they know the difference, but keep on running because of fear if they take time off, they'll lose everything they've gained. Often this runner will keep running through pain until a serious injury occurs.

The Communicator trainee is the runner that uses his/her plan as a guide. This person communicates with his/her coach when she has to miss a run and not sure if or how she should make it up. This runner will communicate with her coach when she's been sick, when she's experiencing pain that's affecting his running. This runner will ask questions about fueling and hydration. This runner will text, call, instant message, and talk in person with her coach.

Can you guess which of these four types have a higher risk of injury?

To the Sporadic trainee: Your plan has been crafted by your coach just for you and your goals. The plan is created with consistency as it's foundation. Doing the runs and workouts as prescribed on a consistent basis will help you safely reach your goals. Running hot and cold isn't going to help your reach your goals.

To the Checker-offer trainee: Your plan is a guide. Yes, it's important to get in as many of your prescribed runs as you can, but that doesn't mean doing every single run just for the sake of having a check mark on each workout. If you miss a run, sometimes it can safely be made up, but other times it's better to miss the run completely rather than squeeze it in just for the sake of completing it. For example, putting two hard runs back-to-back is not recommended. Keep in mind that long-and-slow is "hard" and short-and-fast is "hard." So, if you miss a long run, don't try to make it up by putting it the day before your speed workout. Maybe instead, you do the make-up long run, and then either rest or run easy on the speed workout day. When in doubt, consult your coach. He/she can help you figure out how/if you should make up the run.

To the Ignorer: Communicate with your coach when you're experiencing pain. He/she may have some initial suggestions for how do deal with your issue. Or he may say you need to check in with the doc. Better to be safe than sorry. Instead of putting off seeing the sports doc or physical therapist, schedule that appointment. Much better to find out it's nothing than let things linger until you have a full blown injury and you're off running for several months. You'd be surprised how many times, I'm not aware one of my runners has had in issue until I see them in a boot. Listen to our body. Taking a rest day is much better the plugging through a workout just to get it done. Use the following pain scale to help you decide what to do when feeling discomfort or pain.
1-10 Pain Scale for Runners
Mild Pain: Rating 1-3, is the type of pain you feel when you start to exercise but it usually goes away as you start to warm up and continue running. The pain may be inconsistent and moves around the body, or you feel it bilaterally (in both knees, for example). Mild pain or discomfort is common and considered safe to run through. Apply ice at any areas of concern after your run. A bag of frozen peas works really well.   
Moderate Pain: Rating 4-6, pain that doesn't cause you to limp or alter your stride, will probably respond well to a couple days of rest, pain-free cross-training, and icing as needed. If it doesn't, go see the doc.

Severe Pain: Rating 7 to 10, requires immediate doctor attention. This kind of pain you feel before, during, and after the run. It usually starts at the beginning of a run and increases until your stride altered or you stop. Don't let it get that far. 

It's not that the Communicator trainee will never get hurt, but because they are keeping in constant communication with his/her coach, they are more likely to head off possible injury. Be proactive when training. If you're in a group training program, your coach may be working with dozens of runners. Never think he/she is too busy for your questions. Also, don't assume he knows exactly what you're going through. Communicate with him. That's what he's there for.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Silage Patches to Horror Books

It’s been two years since my dad passed. He was, for the most part, a quiet man. Quiet and reserved unless he was in the pulpit or watching football on TV.  Dad had his everyday voice and then his pulpit voice. His sermons were not all fire and brimstone, but he’d definitely get animated and this deep bellowing voice would come out of him deep from somewhere. I remember he used that voice once when I was squirming around as a kid in the church pew during one Sunday service. I didn’t squirm much after that.

When I was in elementary school, we lived in a small community, Mt. Hermon, near Snow Camp, NC. My dad was the minister at the Methodist church. We lived in the parsonage, a small little house beside the church. Cow pasture in front of us. Cow pasture beside us. Silage patch in the woods behind us. The church on the other side of us. In case you’re wondering, silage is fermented moist fodder (in our case, corn I believe) stored in a pit dug in the ground and covered with a heavy black plastic tarp that can be fed to livestock. Man, in the heat of the summer, whew! The smell of the fermenting silage was horrid. I can still smell it up in my sinuses to this day!

It’s odd the smells you remember as a child. Among mine (some more pleasant than others), include the stench of fermenting silage in the heat of summer, cow dung in the fields beside us, the fresh smell of my grandmother’s (Mama Mac’s) pound cake, my grandfather’s (Papa Henry’s) oil paints, the Sir Walter Raleigh tobacco my other grandfather (Papa Mac) put in his pipe, the  pungent sweet smell of fallen rotten apples from the trees that lined our yard,  pop corn and non-filtered cigarettes at the little league games, magnolia blooms from my great Grandma Stewart’s yard, and Sunday after-church pot roast with carrots and potatoes.

Certain sounds stick with you as well. I remember the cows mooing in the fields around us, my grandmother (Mama Henry) who’d reply “Woooo!” whenever you’d be looking for her and call her name, the absolute nighttime quiet of living out in the “country”, and my dad cursing at the lawn mower. My dad rarely ever cursed, but when he did, it typically was at the lawn mower. Another rare time (other than when in the pulpit) when I’d hear that bellowing voice. That same bellowing voice would be conjured up during football viewing on TV too. During football season, I’d be tucked in my bed surrounded by stuffed animals waiting for the next, “Ref, are you Blind!” “Go! Go! Go!” “Get it together!” “Woohoo!” “WeeDoggie!” Hey wait. Weedoggie? Is that where I got that from? Hmmm…

It was hard to sleep during those nights. I was startled more than scared, never knowing when the next bellow was coming. Remember, it was a small house. Dad was like that at my brother’s baseball games too. Those poor refs. So, as a result I spent a lot of time during games at the concession stand. Now that I think of it, that may have been when I started gaining weight as a child.  I remember going off with kids I didn’t know, digging in the dirt, playing tag, climbing rocks, making and throwing dirt bombs, and I’m sure lots of other things I’ve blocked from my memory.

Times certainly have changed. I can’t image when my kids were young, letting them wander around with strange kids and just expecting them to be back by the end of the game. Of course, we didn’t wear seat belts, got left in the car in the summer at the grocery store (windows down), and 16-year-old high school students drove our school buses, too. Somehow we survived. A different time. 

I do remember one eventful ball game when the game wasn’t the highlight. The featured entertainment was one of the ball player’s mom who started fussing at and whooping-up on her husband who had been cheating on her with another mom. It was like a live episode of All My Children. Yep, right in front of the bleachers and all the metal green and white woven fold-out lawn chairs. I remember it got dead quiet, except for the yelling mom. Everyone stood still, eating popcorn and staring. Kind of like an early Housewives of Alamance County. Another night, I remember my dad helping break up a fight between two other dads at the game who happened to be members of our church. Who says small town life is dull?

Sort of no big surprise that I never got into team sports. I did play two years of little league baseball and a year of midgets football. Did they really call the league midgets? It was the 70s. My brother was bitten by the team sports bug (baseball, football, basketball), but somehow I missed that bug. Maybe it was all the Avon Skin-So-Soft my mom put on me that she was told made good bug repellent.

Another thing I never got into as a kid was horror movies. My brother loved them. Of course we’re talking about the 70s. This was well before Jamie Lee Curtis, Jason and the Halloween movies of the 80s. He would beg my parents to let him stay up to watch whatever scary movie of the week was on TV. Cable didn’t exist back then, so these “scary” TV movies didn’t come on very often, but when they did, he wanted to stay up and watch it.  One time he bargained with my parents. He’d come home from school, take a nap, so he’d be able to stay up longer to watch the movie. It worked. Funny thing is that most of the time he stayed up, I did too (without the nap bargain). I was about three years younger and too scared to watch the movie, so I’d sit at the kitchen table reading the Sears catalog.

Our house had a family room and kitchen all in one, so the table was in eyesight of the TV. I remember peeking over to see the TV and when it would get too scary, I’d dive back into the toy section of the Sears Catalog. I spent a lot of time at that table with a catalog. Oddly enough, I can’t help but think I gained some early insight into concise text and layout design. Used those skills for 13 years as a writer/editor at a publishing company and still use those skills today owning my own business with developing promotional materials, creating and maintaining various websites, writing my blog, and my book.

Another thing that’s odd, yet funny too, is that while I was a bright kid, my reading was a little delayed. I could read and comprehend fine, but my reading ability was slow. In my mind I had to read every word and being a reflective kid. I’d get distracted by the words and content. So, while other kids would zip through a book, I’d still be on the first chapter. Today, I’d probably still be stuck in 2nd grade. Seems like today, they want kids reading in kindergarten. I actually got to play in kindergarten. Even took naps on those red and blue trifold mats. And yet again, somehow I survived. No Accelerated Reader, no Dibels, no end of year tests, don’t even think we took the CAT test back then. But here I am, a pretty functional adult….I think.

I use to stockpile books. I loved going to the library at school. One time my mom took me to the public library and I thought it was amazing. But because my reading was a bit labored, I never actually read many of the books I hoarded. Ironically the first novel I read completely from cover to cover was a horror novel in middle school. Yep, the kid reading the Sears catalog at the kitchen table to avoid the scary movie his brother was watching, picks a work of horror for his first book. Amityville Horror was my first read. No work of literary fiction, but the story line mesmerized me and I couldn’t put it down. Once I realized it didn’t matter how long it took to read a book, I became a ravenous reader.  And like anything, the more practice I got, the faster and better I got. The love or horror resurfaced as an adult during my Stephen King phase when I read all his early Bachman books as well as his classics like Pet Cemetery, Carrie, Cujo, Christine, etc. Then I had a Southern fiction phase. Yes, my reading is diverse. Clyde Edgerton’s Walking Across Egypt still makes me laugh when I think of the seat of the woven cane chair breaking, leaving poor elderly Mattie Rigsbee stuck, bottom hanging down, legs in the air. Love that book!

Reading really helped me as a teenager and young adult. It took me places I had never been. Taught me things I didn’t know. Expanded my horizons. As a kid and even today as an adult, I often felt like a fly on the wall looking down at what was going on instead of being immersed in the actual living of life. Books helped me experience life. Helped me gain confidence. I still hoard books. It’s really hard for me to part with a book once I’ve invested time with it. It’s like it’s become a part of me. Why would I want to discard it? 

My father liked books too. Of course he had a ton of books on religion, but he also enjoyed western novels. He loved Louis L’amour books. He also was an avid reader of nonfiction-history, politics, religion, true crime. Guess I got my diverse reading from my dad.

Not sure why this is all on my mind, but it’s good to take time and reflect on the things that played a part in making you who you are today. Silage patches to horror novels. Not sure what that says about me, but I’ll take it.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

One More Chance To Join the RunnerDude's 1000 Mile Club!

Awesome news! Junction311 Endurance Sports has partnered with RunnerDude's Fitness and will be providing special RunnerDude's 1000 Mile Club medals to all members reaching their 1000 miles during 2019! WeeDoggie! So, all club members get the t-shirt and magnet and those reaching their 1000 miles now will receive this awesome medal! And don't forget, those runners that reach 1500 miles will receive a mystery bonus! (Actual medal design may vary.) I've extended registration until Feb 3rd (my birthday!). For more info and/or to register go to