Monday, November 28, 2016

Mercy Health GCM GIVEAWAY!!!

     One of, if not the best part of my duties as a race ambassador is when I help two lucky people get to enjoy the Glass City race day experience FREE of charge.  That's right, it is my pleasure to offer two people a wonderful opportunity to run your choice of the The Mercy Health Glass City Marathon, The Owens Corning Half-Marathon, or the Medical Mutual Glass City 5k for FREE. (Please note this raffle does not include an individual entry for the Yark 5-Person Relay Marathon or Davie's Kid's Marathon.) CLICK HERE to visit the Mercy Health Glass City Marathon web site to learn more about this great event!

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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Turkey Chase Race Recap

     Now that the zombie apocalypse of a weekend commonly known as black Friday weekend is coming to an end, I had a little free time to recap the Dave's Running Thanksgiving Day Turkey Chase 5K.  I woke up to mild temperatures and wet conditions from the rain that fell overnight.  Once I got dressed and ate a little breakfast I made my way downtown to get a decent parking spot and meet my fellow Mercy Health Glass City Marathon Ambassadors for a group picture.  I had to laugh when Jen, a fellow ambassador showed up in the turkey costume because I had no idea she was the turkey for everyone to chase. 

     After our group picture we all were talking about what times we were trying to hit, I really hadn't thought about it because it was my long run day, so my plan was to run the race and then go run another 7 miles when I got home.  I wished everyone luck and took off to do a little warm up jog.  This is when I noticed that I had forgot my earbuds.  I absolutely hate running without music, but this time I had no choice.  When I got done, our conversation about what time we all were trying for was bugging me so I looked up my 5k PR and remembered that was the day I won the Run the Res 5k last year.  I finished that race in 22:20 and after a little waffling I figured what the hell I'll give it a shot to try and beat it.  I made my way to the front of the pack to ensure I could get a good start with a few minutes before the start. 

     Once the horn sounded I went out like I was shot out of a cannon and feeling pretty good.  Now the weather never was a factor, but there was so much moisture in the air that it was misting the entire run.  The mist made it difficult to see as it built up on my glasses and the roads got slippery where they used tar to patch up the cracks.  When I hit the mile and a half mark, my breathing became a little labored and I noticed my heart rate was pegged close to my max.  I thought about shutting it down, but decided to keep going till I couldn't breath anymore.

     Coming down to the final stretch my breathing, even though was labored, had stayed pretty even.  I used the short downhill to help my legs kick into one more gear for the remaining tenth of a mile.  To be honest when I crossed the finish line I had no idea if I PRd this thing, but I didn't care, all I wanted to do is catch my breathe.  Now that I was breathing easier, I took a look and was stunned that I PRd by 20 seconds, which was made official later in the day when the official results were published.

     When I set that PR last year, I felt like I was in really good running shape vs now when I am 10 pounds over my goal weight and still coming back from my hip surgery.  Needless to say I was proud of myself, but knew I still had some work to do with my conditioning.  After I got home, I hit the road for the rest of the miles I wanted to get in, but I cut it down to five due to how hard I pushed running the other three.


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Hoka Experiment

     Just as the title implies, I decided to take the plunge and see what all the fuss is about with this brand of shoe with the funny name.  For the last couple of years I have jumped on the Altra shoe bandwagon and was hooked.  I loved the whole premise of the shoes, with the larger foot shaped toe box, zero drop natural foot position and the cushioning options available.  Altra shoes have been a rock star for off road trail runners and has been picking up steam on the road scene, but no where as fast has Hoka One One.  I figured if I was going to jump ship and join the Hoka camp, now would be a good time since I am not officially training for a race for another couple of months.

     Hoka One One is known for its tall soles with a plush ride that can, at times, feel like you are running on a bed of marshmallows in a light weight package.  There are several models to choose from, and after a little research I decided to give the new Clifton 3s a try.  I headed over to one of my local running stores to try them on.  In my research, one of the big complaints about the Clifton 2s was how narrow they felt, but all the 3s reviews were saying they rectified the problem, so I figured I was good to go.  I slipped on the shoes and right away they felt tight, especially on the outside edge of my feet.  I tried going up a half size, which helped, but they still felt more snug then my Altras.  In full disclosure, I have short wide feet and usually require a shoe that come in wide widths, however this was not the case for my Altras.  At the time of this write up I did not see any wide width options from Hoka, but I could have missed it on their website.   I hopped on the treadmill and right away I was hooked!  I loved the feel and the cushioning was so absorbent, it truly felt like I was running on a bed of marshmallows.  With a thirty day money back guarantee I figured they were totally worth the time to put some miles on them.

    After only 20ish miles and one 10k PR I am going to return them.  Why you ask?  Well for me its the fit that concerns me.  I really think it is just a matter of the width of my foot and the lack of width in the shoe, because if this shoe came in a wide version, I would be keeping it.  I was noticing that the top of the toe box would rub the top of my two outer toes with every stride.  With the longest single run of 6.2 miles in these shoes, the rubbing never became an issue, but I am envisioning what will happen when I am out for a 20 mile long run.  I really want to minimize any issues during my marathon training and the potential for blisters or worse can be controlled with the right fitting shoes.  I decided to give my Altras a quick try again, just to be sure I wasn't over reacting, and while there was a slight touch, it was nowhere near as bad as it was with the Hokas.

     So in conclusion, if they offered this shoe in a wide and it fit with no toe box rubbing, I would make the switch, I loved them that much.  I didn't feel like the shoe was to tall, and while the super soft ride felt great, I never felt like I was sacrificing performance.  At the end of the day, you need to be comfortable in your shoes regardless of brand or style.  Even thought things didn't work out with the Clifton 3s, I'll keep my eye on Hoka, and maybe down the road they will accommodate those of us with wide feet, but until then, I'll stick with my Altras.   


Sunday, October 9, 2016

McQueen's 10K race recap

      If you were designing the perfect day for a race, today would be the exact representation of that day.  By the time the race started it was in the high 40's to low 50's, clear skies and virtually no wind at all.  The race was scheduled to start at 9:00am so I made sure I was there about 45 minutes prior to the start so I could get warmed up and check the place out.  McQueen's Orchard has been a staple for the Toledo area for more than 55 years, and plays host to many of fun family events throughout the year.  To be honest I couldn't tell you how many years they have been hosting this event, but it felt like they had been doing this for years.

     Once I got there I walked around and checked out the grounds, which were filled with cars, people and small carnival rides for the kids.  I found several of my fellow Mercy Health Glass City Marathon Ambassadors prepping for the race near the start line.  We got together for a few pictures and to talk about what our goals were for the race.  I finally got to meet Brian, the only other male ambassador this year.  Brian is a firefighter in the Sandusky area and is quite well known because every run he does in full firefighter gear to bring awareness for his fallen brothers and passes out stuffed animals to the young spectators along the course.  He has run almost 60 races including several marathons as well.

     Race time came and we filed into the starting coral to ready for the starting gun to send us on our way.  I was planning on hanging with a local running coach, Chris Peiffer who I hadn't met till today, but we follow each other on Instagram.  He was pacing a few people for this run as they were using it as a training run for another race.  They were going to run a 9:45ish pace, however they were feeling pretty good and made the game day decision to push their pace by about 30 or so seconds.  

     If I had a complaint about this race, the only one would be how small the starting coral was.  We were packed in so tight and for the first few hundred yards there wasn't much room to spread out.  It took me almost a mile and a half before I caught up to Chris and his group, where I just hung out till we hit the last 1.2 miles.  I was feeling really really good and felt like I could push myself harder, so I slowly started to kick it out and pulled away from the group.  I went from a 8:56 pace in mile five to an 8:21 pace for mile six and was able to finish officially with a time of 55:59 @ 9:01 pace.  I knew at the time that I had PRd my 10k time since the last time I ran a 10k I was well over 200 pounds.  Based on my Garmin Connect account, today's race was 12.5 minutes faster than my previous PR.  

     As far as the race course goes, it was a very flat race on country roads and neighborhoods.  I was a little worried when we hit the end of mile three and made a right turn back where we started from.  I was thinking we were going to run the exact same route we just did, however this was only the case for a mile where we turned off the original route and started through some of the nicer neighborhoods in the area.  We made several left and right turns before getting back on the original route for the last half mile to the finish.  At the end we were treated to cold water, fresh picked apples, apple cider, power bars and fresh baked sugar coated cake donuts.  I grabbed a donut, a power bar and an apple to celebrate my new PR.

     All in all, if you are looking for a fun, flat 5k or 10k race in the fall then this race is for you.  If you are one to dress up in your favorite costumes and think, "it would be fun to run dressed like this" then this race is most defiantly for you.  I'll leave you with a few pictures I grabbed off of Dave's Performance Footgear's Facebook page so you can see some of the fun times from the day!  

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Run for Your Life 10k / 5k / Kid’s Run Preview

      I have heard great things about this race, but never had the opportunity to run it.  This year is finally my year, so I signed up for the 10K and now, I have to decide if and if so, what costume I plan on wearing.  This should get interesting, considering I really am not the costume kind of guy.

     For those of you that haven't heard of this race it falls one week after the annual MacQueen Orchards Apple Butter Stir Festival, and the race is called the Run for Your Life 10k / 5k / Kid’s Run, which is presented by NAIFA Toledo.  We don't really get a lot of 10k races in our area so when that elusive area 10k is available, you take it.  They encourage you to get ready for the Halloween season by coming as a family and trying out your costumes during the run.  The course starts and finishes at MacQueen Orchards and travels through the scenic, paved Holland roads.  The orchard is located at 7605 Garden Rd, Holland, Ohio 43528 and you can sign up for the race by clicking HERE but you better hurry, because prices increase after this Friday!

I grabbed a couple of pictures from their Facebook page to give you all an idea of how much fun this race looks to be.  Oh and I forgot to mention, donuts are waiting for you at the finish line.  I  did the math and if I run the 10k at a ten minute mile average I will burn roughly 840 calories.  The average donut has 198-330 calories depending on type and toppings, so that means I can eat between 2 to 4 of those tasty devils.  

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

December 19th

     What does December 19th mean?  Well for most it means it's Monday or just six more days until Christmas, but for me its the start of an 18 week journey to the Mercy Health Glass City Marathon.  
     Minutes after I crossed the finish line of my first marathon I knew deep down this wouldn't be my last, its all I could think about actually.  I made the decision that the Mercy Health Glass City Marathon would be my next attempt, but due to severe IT Band pain I wasted most of my training time trying to solve it on my own instead of seeking professional help.  Finally after weeks of trying different shoes, exercises and gimmicky products I listened to my friends and sought out professional help.  Alisha at Elite Sports and Orthopedic physical therapy got me fixed up and I was able to get enough training in to not only complete the GCM Owens Corning Half Marathon, but I PRd the shit out of it.

     Shortly after that race I was in Milwaukee for work and was able to meet up with Rik from the Fat to Finish line documentary who, at the time, lived in Milwaukee.   Super quick back story, Rik was on a podcast talking about the documentary and about his weight loss journey and for some reason it really hit me and stoked the fire under me to get my ass moving and lose the weight.  Rik and I became friends on Facebook and while I was in town we were able to get together for a run and hang out.  Trust me I am getting to my point here, so anyway we were talking over dinner and he had mentioned that he has a goal of running a marathon in all 50 states and I'll be damned if he didn't do it again with the inspiration thing.  I rode the motorcycle on this trip which allowed me plenty of alone time from my co workers to think and while on the way home that was all I could think about.  I came to the conclusion that a long, long term goal will keep me striving to stay healthy and engaged in running, so I signed up for the Detroit Marathon to kick off my 50 in 50 journey.  What better way to knock the second state off my list than go and complete the marathon of the first half marathon I ever ran.  Well for those of you that continually read my ramblings that never happened.  A couple weeks into my training the pain in my hip surfaced and my race hope was extinguished with the need for hip surgery.  

     When I toe the line on April 23rd, 2017 it will be roughly two and a half years since I have attempted 26 miles 385 yards, so I pretty much consider this to be my first ever marathon all over again and the start to my 50 in 50 state marathon journey, at least that is how I am going to approach it.  The plan is to just having fun at the race and taking it all in, with no pressure to finish in a certain time like I should have done the first time around.

     I sit here now typing away and I realized that if I am successful the GCM will in fact be my second marathon as I always planned it, but I can't help but wonder why the detour.  Was it just bad luck or did the good lord truly have a plan in place?  I don't know, but what I do know is, I have 13 weeks to get myself ready for the training cycle.  Starting next week, building a solid running base, strength training and trimming a little body fat are my biggest priorities for when December 19th rolls around. 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Yeah, We Are Crazy Like That!

     Well what can I say, my wife and I just can't get enough joy out of having cute little dogs running around, so without further ado, meet Mekah.  She is an nine week old short haired red dapple dachshund, that so far has fit in perfectly.  We have slowly transitioned away from chihuahuas into dachshund lovers, we must just love sausage parties! (#)  Sorry I had to say it!

     How we came about getting another dog you ask, well this one, like them all, was all Mandy.  She trolls this website that has all kinds of stuff for sale, kind of like craigslist, but seems to be a big site for pets.  She came across this listing for Mekah and we both instantly fell in love with her and there was no way I could say no.  If you are wondering why we would buy a dog when there are so many great dogs that are in need of adoption, well when you are interested in a specific breed it is harder to find a one that way and believe me when the time is right we will have a rescue dog in our family.

     Mandy came up with the name from a short lived character of a little girl on the Walking Dead after we were re-watching all of the seasons on Netflix.  This will will be the first girl dog since Buffy our Cocker Spaniel we had when I was a little kid.  She is definitely a daddy's girl and is working overtime to wrap me around her little paw.

Now for the gratuitous cute puppy pictures.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Boston and Running Out Of Town

     I was driving to work yesterday thinking about my latest work trip to Boston when the genesis for this post hit me.  Running has allowed me to experience a city more than I ever would have if I wasn't a runner.  When I look at my trip to Boston as a whole, if I wasn't a runner I wouldn't have seen more than my hotel, the convention center and the couple of blocks we walked to a restaurant for dinner.  I know this was a work trip and NOT a vacation so I didn't expect to spend any time "site seeing", but when you are a runner all things are possible. 

     A city like Boston with so much history I was able to experience some of it, when most everyone one else is still dreaming with bags of feathers beneath their heads.  On day one I was able to visit the Marathon finish line and site of the bombings.  While out on my run I came across a statue of Edgar Allan Poe and I even got a little lost and wound up in their section of Chinatown.  Day two I ran by the Boston Tea Party museum, found a statue of Paul Revere statue and house, and ran around an area with narrow cobblestone streets just like they were back when horse and buggy was the main mode of transportation.  


     It was a fun adventure that I wouldn't have been able to do if I didn't run.  With this new found freedom I was able to run in Milwaukee, Nashville, San Antonio, and Las Vegas.  Running also took me to Southern California with my Ragnar team, and even though I was recovering from my hip surgery I was able to get out to see Phoenix and the surrounding area.

     Here are few tips if you plan on running in a city you are not familiar with.

1.  Contact someone who knows - Before every trip I hop online and take a look at where my hotel is located with google maps.  Then look for running shoe stores around that area and either call them or email them.  I tell them when I will be in town, the hotel I am staying at and the estimated time when I would be out running and ask them if they can recommend any safe areas to run.  

2.  Plan your runs - once I get info from the locals I use google maps to look for any historic or interesting things to see while in town that may be in those safe areas that were recommended to me.

3.  If you are traveling with others and they don't run, let them know you will be out running early - having someone that would expect you at a certain time in the morning will know something is wrong if you don't show up on time.

4.  Local Laws - check local laws if you plan on carrying anything more than your fists to protect yourself, you'll want to know.  Also check about J walking and other local laws you may unknowingly break.

5.  Prepare for weather - Check the weather before you leave so you can take the proper gear.  While it may be sunny and 65 where you are, it could be 100 and rainy or 30 and snowy where you are going.

6.  Take your phone, ID and some cash - Of course you'll want to take pictures on your runs, but if you have an emergency you'll want to call for help.  You never know when you'll need to prove who you are so take your ID and cash is a must because you never know when you could get injured and a cab could be your savior to get you back to your hotel.

Here are a few pictures from some of my sights while out, burning up the road.