Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Am I ready?

 I haven’t really been posting that much about my race schedule or race updates this year because, well to be honest, there hasn’t been any.  It is the end of April and I have yet to lace up for any race this year.  Not a marathon, half marathon, triathlon, or even a 5k.  I think this is the first time in about 5 years that I don’t have a race under my belt this late in the year.  It’s a little weird for me but I haven’t really missed it so much.  I know I have a few races coming up and ones that I’m looking forward to, so maybe I’m just focused on that.

As for my next (first) race, it was exactly 1 month from this past weekend.  As I mentioned a few months ago, I qualified for the Rev3 Age Group Championships in Knoxville May 18th.  Since my ranking is in the top 10 nationally, I am racing the event.  If I was ranked any lower, I wouldn’t go since there would be no way of me breaking the top 5 in the country and just see it as a way to get people to come to their events.  But since I am ranked and know that at least 2 people ahead of me are not racing, I have a decent chance to hit one of my goals for the year. 

So the logical question I asked myself at the month mark was, “Am I ready for the race”?  Not having raced this year, I don’t have a benchmark to go off of.  And not having a race to prepare for this race, I’m going in blind.  I don’t like doing that and pretty nervous for the little things that go on in a race.  Things like nutrition, transition, packing the right items, etc.  All are important but don’t fall into a category of swimming, biking, or running.  I’m pretty confident that by now I know what to pack and how to fuel my body for the race, but I would have liked to get a test run beforehand.

The biggest fear I have is that this is the first race that I am going to be packing up my bike and bringing it with me.  This means that I need to disassemble it and put it back together when I get there.  I have no clue what I’m doing.  Literally, no clue.  I have this vision that I wont put the bike back together properly and I will break down in the middle of the race.  I keep watching videos, going into bike shops to talk to them, but this will definitely be trial by fire.

Finally, I need to ask am I ready to race the distance.  I haven’t taken my bike off my Kickr yet since I feel like I am getting so much better workouts, but I definitely need to get some outdoor rides in, like ASAP.  I’ve logged 2 plus hours on the bike so I know I can handle the time, but its so different being on a trainer and being outside.  It’s a 40 mile bike which should put me somewhere in the 1:43-1:54 range depending on the course and how I’m pushing it but I still need to get outside to prove to myself that I can do it.

Then comes the run.  A month ago I would have said it’s a piece of cake.  I was clocking off unofficial PR’s for a half marathon and still feeling good.  Now, I’m getting so bored on runs and still having good times, but I feel like I’m regressing.  For me to be competitive in this race, I have to be able to run around a 6:20 mile for the 10 miles.  I can do it, and have done it for longer distances, but everything changes race day.  Previewing the course, it looks to be relatively flat and I have been training on the hills of Central Park and averaging about 6:18 miles for anything between 6-13 miles so I hope that translates to being able to handle what the race throws at me.

So basically I have about 10 days to finish off my training before I have to start my tapering.  In my mind I have to have a really good long run this weekend, and then a good long bike the next day.  If I can pull that off this weekend, then I think I’ll be able to tell myself that I am ready and that I should start focusing on race day workouts and specific that I need to go over.  But until then, I have to ask myself if I’m ready for the race.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Runner's World Big Book of Running for Beginners Review

Book cover
(click on the link to learn more)
A few weeks ago, Runner's World released their latest book, "The Runner's World Big Book of Running for Beginners".  As a result of my relationship with Runner's World, they sent me a copy to review and give my thoughts.  If you recall a few months back, I reviewed their entry into the cookbook world.  I thought that was a huge success.

So what are my thoughts on their new book?  First, let me say that the title says who this book is targeted for.  This book is for the individuals who want to get into running or make the next steps in their racing careers.  This is not for individuals who have been running for years, do races every year, know what their training plans are, and how to set a routine.  So if you are an experienced runner and expect this book to be your new training bible, you will be truly disappointed.  While there are definitely tips and tricks that we have forgotten over the years in this book, the intention is to help ease people into the sport of running.  If you take that approach, then this book does the job.

I won't go over chapter by chapter for you since that will get you not to read the book, but there are sections about the Basics, Nutrition and Weight Loss, Staying Healthy and Managing Injuries, and everything in between.  There is also the Foreword by Amby Burfoot, Introduction by Jennifer Van Allen and Bart Yasso is a key contributor in the book.  If you don't know those names, then that's perfect.  This means this book is for you.  As you start your journey into running, those names will seem to pop up quite often.

So reading this book is really quick.  As in, you can go cover to cover in about 1-2 hours if you just read it.  You aren't bogged down with some heavy information that will confuse you.  Where you will find yourself spending time is when you have questions and you want to go back and check on things, make sure what you're feeling is normal, and if something pops up for you, it's in the book.  That's a true benefit of this book.  It's easy enough, but when you need something, the answer is in there.

For those of you who are starting to get into running, I commend you.  It's a big step.  There are plenty of reasons to get into the sport and not one of them is a bad reason.  The only thing that matters is that you have taken that first step.  This book will help be your bible to help you stay on course.  It's a new journey for you and you're bound to get discouraged, injured, elated, lose weight, and have major questions.  This book will help you.  Whether you want to make sure your form is proper on the treadmill, what Heart Rate zones are and how to use them, running etiquette, how fast or slow should you run, why hill running is important and how to do it, and if you want to follow a training plan to help you along your journey, this book has it.  I found myself checking off things while I read it to see if I do them or I knew about them. 

There is also a big section on nutrition and how your body needs to fuel itself.  I think this is a huge part of the book.  As you get more into running, you want to find out what your body needs.  Often times, we over-estimate how much we need and then we gain weight.  For example, you end up going for a 6 mile run and then think you can order a full pizza pie and finish it and since you ran those miles, you won't gain weight.  Yeah, that's not true.  This book will help you understand energy expenditure and how much you should be putting into your body.  Or we don't know what foods we should be eating before a run.  This book has tips for all of those answers.  It gives you a good shopping list for the grocery store (which I found myself guilty of not having enough on this list).  One of the biggest mistakes I made during my first racing season was not hydrating enough.  I thought it was "weak" if I drank water or a Gatorade type drink.  I crashed and burned hard that year.  This book explains how to properly hydrate yourself and would have come in handy for me if it would have been around.

This book has true benefits for the runner who just wants to be able to get out and run every day, a few times a week, a mile, or build up from a 5k to a marathon and everything in between.  If you want to make the next steps and don't know how, pick up a copy of this book.  I haven't even begun to go over what this book has in it because that would defeat the purpose of you reading it.  But I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more and figure how to get to where you want to go by running.

If you are interested in the book click below:
note: I don't get 1 cent for you clicking on that link.  This is not about me selling this book, collecting any money, getting recognition.  The link will send you to the website where you can find out the best way for you to get more information on the book.  Whether it be an e-book, hard copy, or anything in between.  I felt it was important to let you know that there is no connection between myself and the book and I do not profit in any way.  It is my way of trying to help my fellow runners (or future fellow runners)

With that, Happy Reading, and more importantly, Happy Running. 

Friday, April 11, 2014


In order of #FitFriday, I compiled a couple of favorite images for the Skora Fit.  hands down the best shoe I have ever run in.

Next week will be a full review of the Skora Fit.  My initial review was from a couple of weeks ago, but I have logged over 400 miles in them already so it's time to let everyone know how I feel about the shoe (hint…i love them)

I figured I would do the pattern of Feet, Body, Feet, Body, and then some great awards and recognition of the Fits.

Enjoy #FitFriday everyone

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Favorite Day of the Year and a much needed vacation

Today is my favorite day of the year.  It's Opening Day of the Baseball season.  Baseball has always been my first love in sports.  I follow it religiously and love the Yankees.  As time has gone on, I've started to pay attention to other sports more like Football, but baseball and the Yankees are always #1 in my heart.

Opening Day brings a sense of hope to every fan for their team.  No matter how bad they were the year before, its a fresh start today.  It also signifies Spring and better weather is coming.  Riley is way too young to go to a game, but I can't wait for when he is old enough and him and I can go to Yankee Stadium, grab a hot dog and peanuts (once he gets rid of his peanut allergy), ice cream in a helmet cup and sit back and enjoy the game.  My father always reminds me that I never really sat still at Yankee games.  Even though I loved the games, it was an eating fest for me and I always was shoveling something in my mouth during everything inning.  After I was full, he would tell me that I wanted to get the coolest souvenir.  So maybe I'm not soooo excited to take Riley when he gets older. 

But it is Opening Day and I love it.  It's such a great time of the year.

The second part of the post is the wife and I are taking a much needed trip to Aruba at the end of this week.  It's only for about 4 days, but it is the first time the two of us are taking a trip since the wife was pregnant with him.  And let me be the first to say, no this isn't a babymoon and she isn't pregnant.  The wife will gladly be drinking while we are away.

We had originally booked this trip a while ago and then with some thing going on with me, we cancelled it, but now that issues have calmed down a little bit, we figured "why not", lets get away and sit in the sun and relax for a couple of days.  Neither of us have ever been to Aruba but we know a lot of people who have and they keep telling us how great it is. 

I'll also get to cross off another country that I go running in, which is cool.  This trip will definitely have some working out mixed in as I cant let my fitness completely go away.  Even the wife will get in on the act and workout while we are there.

So with that, we are excited to get some sun and head out and relax.