Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Did you order medium or GINORMOUS?

I've been trying to eat more healthy lately, but every once in a while I find myself on a time crunch, unprepared at lunch and settle for fast food. The other day I ended up in just such a predicament and ended up grabbing  a sandwhich from Wendy's. I ordered a medium size combo and was surprised when they handed me my drink. When did medium become synonomous with GINORMOUS!??! I thought they had made a mistake but was told, no their medium drink is now 32 ounces! How big is a large you ask? 42 ounces! No wonder obesity and type 2 diabetes are on a steady rise in adults and teens. A small drink is now 20 ounces, which is what I was expecting to get for a medium, and that's probably even a little big. There is the argument that you don't have to drink the whole thing, but I'd be willing to bet most people do because it's there.

I used to drink quite a bit of pop but have cut back considerably the past few years in favor of water, coffee, and tea, but you better believe I found myself finishing that "medium" Dr. Pepper without any problem. I think that is a problem though because I'm sure I'm not the only one who has done that without even noticing and on a regular basis. I'm pretty sure no one needs that much sugar from a drink, which for the record is 240 calories and 66 grams of sugar. If you're on a 2000 calorie a day diet that's a little more than 10 percent of your daily calories from one drink! If I'm going to get 240 calories from a drink there better be hops, barley, and yeast involved :) I definitley don't count my calories and probabaly wouldn't hurt any from taking in a few extra, but it's something to think about next time you're ordering your lunch.

I believe Mcdonalds drink sizes max out at 28 ounces now for a large. After the movie Super Size Me cast a negative light on the fast food giant they phased out their super size drinks. Wendy's used to have Biggie and Great Biggie drinks and fries. They did away with name but in my opinion this was the wrong thing to do. At least with names like Biggie and Great Biggie one expects a massive amount of cola. Anyway that's my rant for the day. Guess I should have stuck with iced tea. That or water. Side note, is it just me or does anyone else think that almost nothing compares to how amazing water tastes when drank after eating ice cream? I may be looney, but something about the way it cuts through the creamy taste that's left in my mouth. I imagine the only time it could taste better is if you're dying of dehydration.

Onto other things, my head cold came back this weekend grrrrrrrrrr!!!! Thus once again a week of no running. I'm really getting sick of being sick. Apparently next year I'm going to have to go south for the month of February and avoid cold and flu season. It seems like everyone I work with has had some kind of ailment over the last month. I have found myself getting mad at them for not covering their mouths when then sneeze and cough and I have no qualms about sharing these feelings with them too, since they have no problems sharing their germs with me. I've become the "wash your effing hands and cover you damn mouth" nazi. It would also be nice if our employer gave us sick days so people didn't come in when they are infectious. I'll stop before I get stuck on a soapbox.

On a plus note Saucony posted this lovely tease of a picture on their facebook page (even though I've seen full pictures on other websites)
I'm excited for the Kinvara 3's to come out this spring. I'm hoping they fit as well as the 2's do and that I can get a pair broken in before the Kalamazoo 1/2 marathon in May but it's gonna be cutting it close. Even if they don't feel right though, I'm guessing the 2's will go on crazy sale when the new model releases so if need be I can stock up on the predecessor for "cheap" (relative)

I also got new pictures from the Snowman's Half Marathon today and added them to the recap so feel free to click on over and check them out. I almost forgot how cold that day was....almost.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Fresh Look!

I've been wanting to revamp the look of this blog for a while now, and as you can see, I've finally done it! I wanted to change the title and decided that while I was at it, a new look would be nice. I felt like Running Reboot doesn't really fit anymore since it has been 3 years since I returned to running. I hope you like the changes. I'm pretty happy with them, and it was fun playing around with paintbrush and Photoshop. Along the way I came up with a couple of other designs that didn't make the cut. I thought you might appreciate those too, so here are the rejected ideas.
A little too day time tv drama

I hope you all like the new look!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Sinners Like Me

I had every intention of running last night after work. At least until I scored free tickets at work to see Eric Church and Brantely Gilbert in concert last night! I was supposed to see Eric Church a couple of years ago but ended up getting the flu the day of the concert so when I heard that I could get tickets for free I dove for the phone to dial the extension to claim them!

Church is my buddy Jeremy's favorite country artist so I knew he'd be in for sure, and I was right. I texted him to see if he wanted to go and his reply was "Is that even a question?" Apparently not. The concert started at 7:30 and was about a half hour away so we decided to get there, park and then get some food at a brew pub around the corner from the arena. I had one of the best pulled pork sandwiches of my life for dinner and then we made our way to the arena. It was about 8 o'clock already so we missed the first opening act and we were told we didn't miss much.

We found awesome seats

We grabbed a couple of over priced beers and stood towards the back of the floor section watching the beginning of Brantley Gilberts set. I didn't know much about him so I was indifferent to hearing him before we got there but he put on a good show. I also didn't realize he wrote a lot of songs for Jason Aldean and other artists so he played a few of those songs too. While watching him we saw some kid puke on the floor right next to us. So close to us in fact that it almost hit Jeremy's feet haha. We moved a few feet away and then laughed for a while watching people unsuspectingly slip and slide their way through the pile. Inconisderate maybe. Entertaining, definitely.

We ended up wandering to the bathroom about half way through the set and on our way back into the arena we decided to cut through by the seats. It's a pretty small venue, that reminds me of  a small college gymnasium with seats on both sides and the stage at the front of a standing floor section. It was all general admission so if we found open seats they were ours. We lucked out and found two seats in the very first section of seats, putting us about 20 feet from the band. Effing sweet, free tickets and then badass seats. The couple sitting next to us said they got in line at 3 in the afternoon...suckers haha.

It ended up being a great show, I wish he played Sinners Like Me because it's my favorite song by him but he did play some good ones and I'd go see him again next time he's in town. I'd even play this time haha.

We got some snow last night and it made for a fun commute to work! I was cruisin along....aparently faster than I should have been, because all of the sudden the back end of my car decided it wanted to lead the way! NOT GOOD! I was doing 70 mph on a three lane highway with plenty of other cars and semi trucks around. First the car went halfway around to the right, then back to the left, and I almost thought I saved it but then it went back to the right...all the way around donut style across three lanes of traffic and finally coming to a stop in a snow coverd slight ditch between the highway and an exit ramp! How I didn't hit anything I don't know but you bet your ass that my ass was puckered when I was doing 65 mph backwards and sideways watching my view change from road to wall to semi trucks facing me to more road to more wall and finally ditch. I sat there for moment shaking like a leaf and started thinking about who to call. Then I realized the car was off, so I restarted it and then I realized I was facing the right direction and since I hadn't hit anything that maybe I'd get lucky and be able to drive out of the ditch and be on my merry way. SCORE it worked! As I was driving out of the ditch I saw a coworker drive past. When I got to work he said he saw the whole thing from a distance and that it was awesome.....haha.

The red line represents the right side tires, blue the left haha

So since apparently the last 24 hours I have been more lucky than ever before you better believe I bought a lottery ticket!

Tomorrow I have a 16 mile run on tap, 2 mile warm up 12 miles at pace and 2 mile easy. Hopefully we don't get anymore snow tonight because that would make running at pace a bit more of a bitch.
I hope you all have wonderful weekends, and I hope this lucky streak continues!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

c'mon lungs, pull your sh!t together!

The un-wintery weather we've been blessed with in Michigan this year continued this weekend.
Sure it still says 34 degrees, but there are only a few stubborn piles of snow around and the sun was shining brightly, just teasing me to get out and run.

I hadn't run since last Saturday's 20 miler due to this cold that struck Monday morning. I was surely going run crazy and after a morning of reading running blogs, and seeing friends post about their amazing sunny runs this afternoon, I couldn't take it anymore. I took a few snorts from my Vapoinhaler, laced up my shoes and I was out the door.
Today's run is made possible by:

I was hoping I'd get an easy 5 miles in but a mile and a half in I was realizing my lungs were not pleased with my current course of action and I decided to turn around and make it a 3 mile run instead. I really don't want to push it and end up not being able to run for over a month like last year.

I got home and had a delicous bagel with Nutella and peanut butter, and an orange. Which is about as addicting as I imagine crack to be....

I'm really hoping I didn't set myself back big time by running today but I was feeling like a total bum. So anyway here's the stats from the jaunt:
I hope you all had wonderful weekends! Hopefully next time I write it's to tell you how wonderful I'm feeling!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Time out!

Last week went pretty darn well running wise. Coming off a very low mileage week I was pleased to hit 49 miles Monday-Saturday with only taking Thursday off and I got some great info from my gait analysis. Saturday despite the sub-zero temperatures at the beginning of the run I got in a pretty good 20 miler with the group. (even if the last two miles were struggle-city).

The downside to all this awesomeness is I'm starting to get sick. Did I do to much? Possibly, all I know now is my throat is all kinds of scratchy and my nose is running more than my legs are. I'm pumpin the water and vitamin C so hopefully it's a quick turn around. I took today off from running and I'll probably do the same tomorrow. Stay tuned, I'm determined to not let this become a repeat of last year's two round fight with pneumonia!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Gait Analysis

I belong to a local running group that called the Kalamazoo Area Runners and one of the perks of running with their winter training program is being able to attend free clinics from time to time. Last night I attended a gait analysis and core strength clinic.

Ever since I started running long distance in high school people have comented on my running form. Not in good ways either. They didn't have horrible things to say, just that it was different, flawed and definitely unique. One thing I remember hearing most often was that my right foot would kick out to the side as my leg came back, another mention was that my knees almost touch each other every stride. Needless to say I was ready for the guy doing the clinic to have a laundry list of problems but this wouldn't be necesarily a bad thing. I was looking forward to finding out how I can improve.

I've been looking at pictures of me running and I couldn't really find any good side profiles to display what I'm talking about so you'll have to use your imagination. If you want to see what good form (according to some) looks like, a quick google search for Ryan Hall running will give you plenty to watch.

The gait analysis went like this. I ran on a treadmill at long run pace (7:30) while being observed by a guy named Mark. I ran for about 7- 10 minutes and he watched from the side, front and back observing all aspects from my posture, to my arm swing to my leg movement. Sometimes when you have this done they'll actually video tape you (and you can do that yourself on a treadmill) so you can watch the video back and actually see what they're seeing.

Here's a list of the things he went over while I was running:
  • Posture
  • Arm Swing
  • Foot Strike
  • Cadence
With good running form you should have good posture. You should be able to draw a plumb line from your ear through the center of your shoulder, to the center of your hip, through your knee all the way to the ball of your foot. If you heard someone say you should lean forward when you run, they're right *but* the lean should take place at your ankles not your waist! A slight lean is what helps give you your speed and keep your momentum forward.
Your shoulders should be relaxed and not creeping up and tense. Nice and square with your hips. He also mentioned that it's normal for the shoulder of your dominant hand to be ever so slightly dipped lower than the other. As he said this I noticed in the mirror ahead of me that this was true haha.

He said my posture was right on; POINT ME!

Arm Swing
Your arms should be moving forward and back, not side to side. If you imagine a center line protruding from you navel to sternum, your arms should never cross it. Your arms should make roughly a 90 degree bend at the elbow and your hands should move from hip to mid/low chest level.

He noted that while I don't cross the center line I do swing a little more side to side than forward and back. I also don't come all the way down to my hip and if I were to do that I could develop more power. Mark pointed out that I should watch the videos of Ryan Hall for a good example and that Ryan says he trys to brush his thumb against the outside of his hip as it comes back. This is a good reminder and way to check if you're coming back far enough. I've got work to do!

Foot Strike
As your foot contacts the ground it should be close to your center of gravity. Remember that plumb line you ran from your ear to the ball of your foot? There's your center of gravity. You should land on the ball of your foot, not your toes and not your heel. When you land on your toes, it adds time as the rest of your foot contacts the ground before springing back up. Heel striking actually acts as a brake sending all of the force of your landing up through your knees and your quads and can start to cause unnecesary stress on the joints musceles.

Mark told me what I kind of assumed. I have a slight midfoot to heel strike. He said it wasn't bad but the closer I can get to the mid strike the better. He cautioned trying to use minimalist shoes and lower drop shoes too quickly as a way to counteract heel strike though because making the jump too quickly can lead to big problems like plantar fasciitis among other injuries.

So how do I fix my heel strike? One thing he mentioned is that when I bring my foot back I only come about knee high. If I work on bringing it back farther to just below my butt, I will not only lengthen my stride but it will also help fix the foot strike. He mentioned that a lot of times when people try to lengthen their strides they do it in front of their bodies by over striding and this causes a big time heel strike.... Kind of like this:
Notice how my heel is the first thing to touch the ground? This is no bueno. This was taken at the end of the Riverbank Run last spring as I was trying to stride it out and pick up speed. Now I know I should have been pulling back farther instead of pushing forward more.
Mark said working on pulling my hand back to my hip will help with pulling my legs back farther too so I can work on two things at once.

I've heard from a few different sources that good cadence for a distance runner is 180 foot strikes per minute. The easiest way to calculate it is to count the amount of time your right foot hits the ground for 30 seconds then multiply that by 4.
I didn't count mine last night so I'll have to check that during my next run.

While observing from the front and back while I was running Mark pointed out how close my knees get. He says this could be do to tight hip flexors and week glute muscles. He pointed out a few of the core exercises that they went over in the strength clinic that I should focus on to strengthen my butt muscles as this should help rotate my knees out more so they go forward and back instead of diagnoly into each other *fail*. I asked him about my foot kicking out to the side which apparently has gotten somewhat better over the years because it wasn't nearly as noticeable in the mirror as I knew it used to be. He said this was related to the knee issue; as my leg comes back the foot goes out and then when it comes forward it angles in so If I strenthen my glutes it will help straighten things out.

So I've got a few things to focus on during tomorrow's long run and subsequent long and easy runs. Arms forward; not side to side. Hip to mid chest. forward and back. Landing with a midstrike by pulling  my foot back farther in my stride and not pushing forward and overextending out in front of my body. Strenghten that ass! Besides the fact that it might help fill out the tights during these winter runs it will help fix my stride. Form and function!

Here a website that gives some more insight and probably better information about proper form.

Good Form Running - This is really the best and they cover everything from above and depending on where you live they offer classes at a lot of specialty running stores where they'll actually do a video analysis for you!

*disclaimer* I'm not a doctor, professional, or in any other way qualified to offer advice on what you should do for your running form. I'm simply passing along infromation that was passed on to me. For proper coaching and technique I recommend checking out the Good Form Running website posted above. But that's just my oppinion.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Doldrums

It's Thursday and I haven't posted anything since last Thursday. I'm sorry I've kept you waiting, but you have been patient, and if you've been following this blog for very long you are surely aware by now that I've been known to take much more than a week off. Hopefully you weren't waiting on pins and needles for the latest update, and I would find it hard to believe if you were haha. So what's been going on? Well it has been a busy week of running, work, and school. These are all good things though, especially the running.
A week ago I didn't do much running so it's a very good thing that I got back out there ever day this week! Last week I only ran on Thursday and Sunday. You may remember this post last week when I said I was going to run a couple of miles on Friday and a pace run on Saturday... well neither of those events took place. After work Friday I was too beat from the long week to think about running but I went to bed that night fully intending on running the planned pace run with my usual group. The alarm went off at 6:30 and I promptly turned it off, rolled over and went back to sleep. As I assumed I would I got texts from a few running buddies, jokingly giving me a hard time about not showing up (we do that to each other....helps keep us honest haha). When it came down to answering why, I didn't really have a reason other than "I just wasn't feeling it".
Milo and Tock from Norton Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth
Do you ever have days like that? When I was in 6th grade we read a book called The Phantom Tollbooth. Have you read it? I thought it was a book most every kid had read, but when I started asking friends and co-workers this week they all had the same look on their face as if I had just asked them if they had read Qur'an. I hope you've read it because this will make a lot more sense if you had. Funny side note: thinking about this book this week caused me to order it from Amazon so I can read it again because there are a lot of puns and other idioms that I think I'll understand more now. Okay back to the book because I did bring it up for a reason! Saturday I felt like I was in The Doldrums surrounded by 'Lethargians" (really people read the book!) In the Doldrums, you're not allowed to "do" anything; no thinking, no laughing, nothing. That's how my day went, at least until 7:00 PM when a few running friends convinced me I needed to get out and meet them at a new bar that opened in the neigborhood. I just felt burnt out and wanted to sleep in on a Saturday for once. It seemed like it had been ages (overdramatic I know) since I had done that and I clearly had nothing better to do all day than peruse Netflix. It was a day that was apparently needed but hopefully not again for a while!

Sunday Funday
Sunday morning I met a few friends for a nice 8 miler, followed that with breakfast and homework. I went to a friends place to watch the Super Bowl, where I probably had too much wine and played more Euchre than actually watched the game and I'm okay with that.
KAR Member reception run nice and easy!

Monday night I attended the Kalamazoo Area Runners member reception fun run 5k and won a water bottle as a door prize! Can't argue with free running gear!
Morning Madness!

Tuesday morning I resumed pre work running with my buddy Jonathon. We put down a brisk, morning 8 miles, which I of course followed up with Panera breakfast :-)
Midweek Midlong...

Wednesday night I decided I needed a good midweek midlong (probably not a word) run in. I'm trying to follow the paces from the mcmillan pace calculator better so I was aiming for a 7:30 pace and was pretty close to it for the 10 miles.

Today was a rest day and well needed too. I'm at 21 miles for the week already and tomorrow morining I'm meeting Jonathon at 4:45 for an easy 8 miles. Add to that Saturday's planned 18 mile long run and that will put me just a little under 50 for the week.

Tonight I attended a runners gait analysis and core strength clinic, a benefit of being a member of the Kalamazoo Area Runners. This post is already long enough so I'll go into more depth about it in the next post but surprisingly my form wasn't as out of wack as I assumed it was!

I hope you're all having wonderful weeks, and if not well tomorrow is Friday and the weekend is never far behind!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Splits I Wanted Last Weekend

It was 45 degrees tonight at 5:30 when I went for my run. This makes me happy. I wore shorts and a long sleeve shirt and it was perfect. Where can I move to that has winters like this every year?! I had not run since last Saturday's race so I wasn't sure how today's run would feel. After the race I was a little sore and with going to Ohio for a couple days I just wasn't feeling it so I decided a few days rest wouldn't be a bad thing.

I didn't really have any expectations or presumptions about today's run. I decided on a 7 mile route that could easily be cut shorter if I wasn't feeling it. Thankfully it felt pretty good. In fact I was able to find the speed I was missing during last weekend's race. Big difference - no ice!
I'm probably just weird but I like how the distance, time, and pace are all nice round numbers.

I felt great and was happy with the results. My hip was a little sore afterwards but fine during. I stretched and used the foam roller afterwards so hopefully that will help loosen it up some. It seems like I forget about stretching and using my foam roller pretty often. I'm going to try and make that more of a habit.

It was a little hilly today

Saturday's planned long run is a pace run so I'm going to try and get a few easy miles in tomorrow after work so I'm not stiff on Saturday. The pace run is going to be a 2 mile easy - 12 miles at pace  - 2 mile easy. I think our plan is a 7:00 pace but I really need to figure out a schedule. 7 is faster than my intended full marthon pace but slower than my half marathon pace so....yeah..... kinda hard to decide. It doesn't help that I'm planning on racing a half marathon the first weekend of May and then pacing one the last week of May. I've been running higher miles like I would if training for a marathon but as I discovered last week I need to start working on speed for the half. Kind of the reason I pushed the pace a little during today's run. I guess I'll just see who's doing what in the morning and go from there. That usually seems to work out haha.