Monday, February 28, 2011

Recovery = good

Today was a day of recovery.  Recovery days have been planned into my training schedule after every long run.  My long runs are planned for Sunday, which makes my recovery day on Monday.  It is very important to note that recovery days are not the same as rest days.  A recovery day is a day where you allow your body to recover from the torture you put it through the day before.  Ice, heat, stretching, foam roll, mobility, stability, and light exercising.  Those are the keys to a proper recovery.

I cannot emphasize enough as to how important ice is.  This morning, I set up an ice bath in my bath tub and took a cool dip.  It was pretty rough at first but I sucked it up for about 10 minutes before it became too unbearable.  Then I headed to the gym and took a dip in the hot tub.  This combination of ice and heat does wonders for the circulation and help bring much needed nutrients into the legs. 

After this it was off to the foam roller.  20 minutes of pure mashing.  Back, glutes, IT band, hammies, quads, hip flexors, and calfs.  Non-stop mashing.  When you put you body to the test as I did yesterday, regular old static stretching just doesn't cut it.  A foam roller will take those muscles in a similar way a message therapist would.  It also stretches out all of those adhesion's that occur in your muscles and fascia when we put them to the limit.  Then I moved on to some basic yoga-like stretching exercises, and some mobility and stability exercises for my ankles, knees and hips.  Rather than go into great detail about these, you should visit  The guy doing that really has a good grasp on increasing mobility and stability.  His name is Kelly Sterrett and has taken a new angle on what Gray Cook introduced with the FMS. 

Then it was off to 30 minutes of light biking on the spin bike.  The highest intensity on this was about 5 out of 10.  Nothing too much, just something to get the legs going so they wouldn't get stiff.  Then I threw in a quick workout of 10/9/8/7/6/5/4/3/2/1 of push ups and knees to elbow.  Again, nothing too intense, just wanted to get the blood going and work in some way. 

Tomorrow will be a full rest day.  Absolutely nothing will be done tomorrow and it will be everything I hope it will be.  So make sure in your own training that you plan recovery days and rest days.  Both of which are extremely important. 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Dear Mother Nature

Why?  I'm talking to you Mother Nature.  Why?  Last week when I was supposed to run 10 miles I was forced to do it inside on a treadmill because you decided to have it rain.  So I sucked it up and ran inside and realized how much it stunk to do it.  But I did it. 

Now let's fast forward 1 week.  I'm supposed to run twelve (12!) miles today.  I had it scheduled for around 2:00 (or 1400 for my military peeps).  What did you decide to start doing at about 1:50 (1350)?  You rain.  And you didn't just rain, you thundered and threw out lightning.  Thanks.  No really, thanks.  Because of you I get to take full advantage of my gym membership and run 12 FREAKIN MILES ON A TREADMILL!  Ugh.  With the help of Las Vegas Jailhouse on the CardioTheater, I made it.  For some reason, watching drunken idiots getting arrested makes the run that much easier.  But I did it and I finished in at 1:43:00.  I wasn't trying for speed at all, just wanted to finish the run. 

So Mother Nature,  could y ou do me a favor and NOT RAIN next Sunday?  Please?  I have 15 miles next Sunday and I am really stoked about it because it will be the longest I have ever run.  So all I ask is that you not rain.  I don't even care about the temperature.  Just don't freakin rain! Thank you. 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

8 weeks out

8 weeks left.  That's all I have until the marathon.  I'm starting to get that feeling that other people talk about where I don't think I'll be ready.  I have a 13 miler tomorrow.  That's half of what I need.  I spoke to a friend that has run several marathons (someone I actually solicited advice from) and she said I want my longest training run to be at 5 weeks out.  Currently I'm on schedule to have my longest training run, 23 miles, at 4 weeks from the race.  I think I'll be OK.  Tomorrow for my 13 miler I'm going to take it nice and easy and keep a 9 minute/mile pace.  Nice and easy.  If I can keep that pace and finish the whole 13 tomorrow, I will start to feel a little bit more confident about what I need to accomplish in 8 weeks. 

Today was the Anthem 5k in Louisville, it was the first leg of the Louisville Triple Crown.  The Triple Crown consists of the 5k today, a 10k in 2 weeks, and a 10 miler 2 weeks after that.  It's a pretty good running series.  I did it last year and realized the 2 week separation of each race goes by pretty quick.  My wife signed up this year and ran it today.  She has signed up for other 5k's but walked them.  This was the first one she has ever done where she ran the whole thing.  I talk about this because it solidifies the reason I am doing this blog.  She is a year younger than me and is doing something for the first time.  And she's also doing the 10k and 10 miler, both of which are first times.  The purpose of this blog is to showcase that just because you might be a little older, that's no excuse to not try new adventures.  Never would I have thought I'd run a full marathon.  Never in my wife's dreams did she think she would ever run a 10 miler.

You are never too old.  If you want to try a marathon, do it.  If you want to run a 5k, do it.  If you want to participate in the CrossFit Games, do it.  If you want to play in an adult kickball league, do it.  Stay young, stay strong, and refuse to give it.  My wife did it today.  I'll do it in 8 weeks. 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Don't be that guy

I am a certified personal trainer and have been for almost 10 years.  I have been a member of numerous gyms and have trained at numerous gyms.  I have a bachelors and masters degree in exercise physiology.  I've been a strength coach at 3 different high schools.  I was the Athletic Officer and PRT Coordinator for my ship in the Navy.  Through all of my travels, I have learned a lot about gym etiquette.  There are a lot of unspoken, and spoken, rules and regulations that everyone should know in regards to proper gym etiquette.  For me, the single biggest piece of etiquette that EVERYONE should follow is this: DO NOT OFFER ADVICE UNLESS YOU HAVE BEEN ASKED!!!  I consider myself very knowledgeable on how to train, what works, and what doesn't work.  I frequently see people doing the weirdest things I've ever seen and often scratch my head in wonderment as to what the heck they think they are doing.  But I NEVER EVER walk up to someone and just offer advice on what they should be doing.  That's just wrong.  Today, that boundary was crossed by someone to me. 

I ran into an acquaintance at the gym.  I know the guy but I wouldn't say we are buddies.  We've spoken to each other but nothing much more than the obligatory "hey".  Well today was my off day from running and I was doing the elliptical and rower today to keep my cardio up but save my joints.  They guy just happened to be on the treadmill behind me and when I got off of the elliptical I turned around and we smiled at each other.  I thought that was going to be it but he started talking to me.  He asked about the upcoming Triple Crown races and I said I wasn't running them and that I was training for the full marathon.  I shouldn't have said that because I know he has done a couple of Ironman Triathlons and a number of full marathons.  He initially said that if I needed him, he'd be more than happy to help.  You know what, that's fine, I'll accept that.  I have no problem with him being nice and saying that.  I started to walk away and he kept talking.  Uh oh.  He then started offering advice on how I should run the race and how I shouldn't have too high of expectations on how I'm going to perform.  Whoa whoa whoa whoa!  That's quite enough.  First off, I didn't ask for the help.  Secondly, don't freakin tell me not to expect too much from my performance!  The way he was saying things he was basically implying that I'm barely going to finish and I need his help.  As the title of this entry is called, DON'T BE THAT GUY! 

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love getting advice on my training.  I have sought the counsel of numerous people on how to get ready for this marathon.  But the key is that I have looked for the advice.  So let this be a lesson to you.  Do not ever offer unsolicited advice at the gym. 

Oh yeah, and put your weights back while I'm at it. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Planning for success

Periodization is funny word.  Just the word invokes confusion.  Especially when you throw in all of the different types of periodization and methods, and theories.  In a nutshell, periodization is the use of scheduling in your training in order to get the most out of it.  It is breaking your training down into specific cycles so that you can get optimal performance at competition time.  Depending on which person you are reading from, there are a lot of terms associated with periodization.  Macrocycle, mesocycle, microcycle, preparatory phase, competitive phase, general training, sport specific training, general adaptation syndrome (GAS), recovery phase, blah, blah, blah, blah.  I can see your eyes glazing over already.  Believe me, mine do to when I read about it.  The purpose of this entry isn't to teach you the fundamentals of periodization, you can do a simple Google search and do that.  My purpose today is to talk briefly on planning and execution, which in essence is what periodization is all about.  
When you set out to do something, whether it be run a marathon (stupid), train for the CrossFit Games, or train for the upcoming kickball season, you need a plan.  You need to have an end result, the competition, and a beginning, today.  Every single day in between can and should be held accountable in some way to help you reach your goal.  It doesn't matter if you are training for something in 4 weeks or 4 years, like the Olympics.  Every day should have a goal.  Even rest is a goal.  When you have a clearly defined plan on how you are going to train, you have no choice but to be successful as long as it is well thought out and carried through. 
Do you notice how I said "well thought out" in the previous paragraph.  I truly meant those words.  Your plan must be researched.  In other words, you need to devise a plan that fits your own schedule, needs, and ability.  In my marathon training, I am not about to schedule myself for 3 long runs in a week.  Due to work and family commitments, I simply don't have the time for that.  So based on the amount of time I have, I only schedule 1 long run and 1 medium run.  All of the rest of my training comes in the form of high intensity intervals (thank you CrossFit Endurance).  You need to research what is going to work for you and commit to it.  It really is that simple.  There are numerous websites out there that have a lot of information regarding training (so do I, all you have to do is ask).  Research what will work for your needs and you can then put the pen to the paper and write out a plan.  I feel the best way to start your plan and schedule is to start with the end result first and work your way backwards.  For example, I started with April 30.  That is the day of my marathon.  Then I went backwards in weeks and came up with the various cycles and workouts I need to be doing. 
I guess what I'm trying to say is don't waste your time.  Come up with a plan and execute it.  Do a very basic search on periodization and write out a schedule for whatever it is your training for.  And you know something else, this doesn't just hold true for athletic events.  You can do this for anything in your professional life as well.  Try it.  I think you will find yourself better off for doing so. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Taking care of the joints

I'm 35.  Yep, that's right, 35.   I know that's not that old, but I'm not exactly built for a lot of physicality.  When I played football in high school I was about 140 lbs and was a running back for a team that ran the ball about 50 times a game.  For my breif stint in college football, I was a 155 lb reciever attempting to play division I with some of the best athletes in the country.  In both places, I was the smallest guy out there and I got my tail kicked all over the field.  I get a lot of silly nagging injuries and I attribute that to my time playing football and the fact that (saying in my little girl high pitched voice) I'm just a little guy.  Throughout the years I've had two shoulder surgeries, a reverse curve in my neck, a slight case of spondylolysis (I think that's how it's spelled), and my knees are showing signs of fatigue.  Oh yeah, and I have an undiagnosed rotator cuff injury on the other shoulder.  The neck hurts every single day and the more I run the more I feel it. 

I'm not talking about all of this to draw attention to myself.  My point is that I have learned to take care of my joints.  I wish I had half the knowledge of joint care that I had when I was a teenager that I have now.  I recently graduated from the University of Louisville with my Master's Degree in Exercise Physiology.  I took 4 semesters of classes, most of which were geared towards research and labwork.  But my final class there was taught by the Director of Sports Performance and her team of strength coaches and it was easily the most useful class I took.  It's that class that I truly learned about mobility and stability and importance of taking care of muscle imbalances and deficiencies before moving on to progressing to more advanced movements. 

This way of looking at training is called the joint by joint approach and was first introduced by Gray Cook and Mike Boyle.  In a nutshell, it says that your body is one kinetic chain of joints that all affect each other.  If one goes bad, it is likely to cause problems in the joint above and/or below it.  Each joint is either uniquely designed for stability or mobility.  Ankle is mobile, knee is stable, hips are mobile, and so on.  When this concept is truly understood, you can start applying numerous different exercises to help the deficient joint. 

I have 2 issues.  I have terrible ankle mobility and terrible thoracic spine mobility.  The ankle mobility, or lack thereof, causes me to lean forward on squats which is hard on my lumbar spine and knees.  My lack of t-spine mobility is the culprit of why my shoulders are torn apart.  Since incorporating exercises to improve these areas, I have felt much better and have improved my mobility in those joints and stability in the surrounding joints.  Recently, my knees have been a little sore from all of the running I'm now doing.  It's more running than I have ever done.  Even with the interval training, I'm still racking up the miles.  So I really need to ensure I'm getting plenty of ankle and hip mobility training and knee stability training to ensure I keep everything moving smoothly.  Believe me, a foam roller has become my best friend. 

In a nutshell, take care of your joints.  Below are several links to check out if you want to learn more about mobility and stability.  Even the boys over at CrossFit have jumped on board with this and Kelly Sterrett is leading the way.  It's something you need to pay attention to and incorporate in your training.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

10 miles...on a treadmil

Yuck!  That's all I have to say about that.  I was fully planning on hitting part of the route for the marathon today for my run.  That's my plan for every Sunday because I think it would be a great idea to get as used to the route of the run as much as I possibly can.  Today it wasn't meant to be because it started raining for a little bit this morning and my lovely wife had an engagement in the afternoon which made my outside run impossible.  So, there was a treadmill at the gym with my name and 10 miles written all over it. 

I made the first 6 miles easy.  In fact it was so easy that I thought I might be able to go ahead to do 12.  Then I got to 8 and I had just about enough of that stupid treadmill.  Fortunately I had Talladega Nights on the CardioTheater in front of me which made things a little easier.  I wasn't trying to break any speed records today.  I ran the 10 miles in 1:25, which is about an 8:30/mile pace.  My goal for the marathon is 8:00/mile.

You can't go out and speed train every run you do.  You're going to wear yourself down and burn yourself out.  I had a speed day a couple of days ago when I did four 1-mile sprints.  That was great.  This week I'm scheduled for four 2-mile sprints.  That one might not be so great.  We'll see. 

Next week is the first leg of the Louisville Triple Crown.  It's the 5k portion and my wife is participating.  She has been training well and is currently battling a bit of a neck injury so I'm hoping she will be OK.  Good luck to all participants on that one.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A little catch up

It's been a couple of days since the last post.  With the way my work schedule has been and the way life goes sometimes, it's not always realistic to write every day.  I have been staying active though so I haven't been a complete turd. 

Wednesday night I pulled "sprint" workout out of my bag of tricks.  I did four 1 mile sprints with a 3 minute rest between each one.  It felt really good and I thought I ran pretty good.  My average sprint was about 7 minutes.  The first one absolutely sucked because I hadn't really warmed up or anything after work.  I got out of my car, walked for about 5 minutes, and ran.  I did that one in 7:08.  I did the runs at Seneca Park which is nice because one lap around the wide open park equals about 1.25 miles.  The park has a couple of soccer fields, tennis courts, and a playground for kids.  Needless to say there are plenty of things, people, dogs, and even birds to look at while running. 

Thursday I was able to get in a strength workout along with my run.  That felt great.  I just did some single leg deadlifts, snatches, and incline dumbell press.  Oh yeah, I threw in some toes to bar also.  Felt great.  After that I replenished with some chocolate milk (gotta love Ovaltine), toast with peanut butter, and a pear.  Then it was off to Cherokee Park for the run.  Generally, one lap around Cherokee and its hills is about 2.4 miles.  I decided to challenge myself a bit more and incorporate "dog hill" into the run...4 times.   Dog hill is a really steep hill that I'm guessing is just a shade under 1/4 mile.  It absolutely sucks.  For my people from Davenport, it's a little shorter than Brady Street hill but steeper and in dirt and grass.  All in all, I covered about 5 miles in 43 minutes.  I was happy with that because of the repetitive hills I had. 

Friday I decided my legs were tired and didn't run.  I knew I had a volleyball game in the evening so I would still get something in.  Lazy?  Maybe.  But I decided to listen to the body for once.  We lost the volleyball game but I had a lot of spring in my step and my serve was on point so I felt pretty good about my play.  My girl Katie came and played with us and she definitely provided a bit of a spark.  But as I said, we still lost so that sucks.  I think next week we will be Ok and get in the win column because we are very close to coming together as a team. 

One final note, I want to give a shout out to my nephew Brandon.  This week he was diagnosed with diabetes and he is in his early 20's.  Very Jay Cutler like.  Diabetes is no joke and it's something to take very seriously but through the texts I've had with him so far, his attitude is incredible.  It would be very easy to feel sorry for yourself and be mad but he is simply saying it's just a new lifestyle he'll have to figure out.  My wife and I are going to do everything we can to help educate him on his new lifestyle and what he needs to look out for from now on.  Big love goes out to him and his great attitude so far. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I digress

We all need rest days.  Tuesday is my scheduled rest day and I very much look forward to it every week.  Today I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.  I have noticed one thing about myself since I have started training.  My hunger is sky high recently.  Especially in the mornings.  I am hungry.  But that's expected I suppose.  Really, I don't have much to say about my training today because it was an off day.  But I must digress for a second. 

Growing up in the 80's I was a huge pro wrestling fan.  Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper, Macho Man, Andre the Giant, Ric Flair, Rock & Roll Express, The Four Horsemen, I loved them all.  Then the 90's rolled around and I stopped watching it for a while.  Then Stone Cold Steve Austin hit the scene like a ton of bricks.  Along with him was The Rock.  These guys were the best things to happen to wrestling since Hulk Hogan (pre reality show Hulk Hogan).  I came back to watch wrestling in the late 90's because these guys were extremely entertaining and because I am a big giant nerd deep down inside.  Then the WWE started getting a little too soft core porn, I had kids, and just stopped watching.  The Rock and Stone Cold left to do movies, albeit bad ones. 

I haven't really paid much attention to it in recent years mostly because I have attempted to grow up and show some signs of maturity.  But last night I was transported back 12 years to a time where I loved watching it.  The Rock showed up on Monday Night Raw last night and brought the house down.  I don't even have cable to watch it but it was on numerous websites today and I watched it, several times.  It was absolutely the best wrestling moment in years and made me a nerd again.  Sorry Kate. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Speed intervals and protein

I've had a productive last couple of days of training. 

On Sunday, I had all of the intentions in the world of going 10 miles.  That was going to be my first day of getting into the double digit miles and would be well on my way.  I even went to Iroquois Park and incorporated the hills.  Great run, right?  Well, I didn't quite get the full 10 miles.  I finished at 7 but only because I ran a point to point from my car to the park and back.  I easily had enough in me to do a couple of more miles but I stopped at my car.  It felt great physically.  I was slightly disappointed with my distance but felt great.  I guess I could've gone faster too, I finished at an 8:25 mile.  My goal is 8:00 mile. Hmmmm, maybe yesterday's training wasn't as productive as I would've like. 

Today I got up at the butt crack of before dawn (0430 AM) and headed to the gym for some intervals.  Today I went for 10 rounds of 1 minute sprints, 2 minute active rest.  Now THAT felt great.  That was exactly what I planned on doing and I finished.  It was pretty good and got my ATP-CP and glycolytic systems fired up pretty good.  Tomorrow I have a much deserved rest day.  I am going to do absolutely nothing. 

Regarding my diet, I've been pretty clean lately.  No, I haven't gone full paleo, that's probably never going to happen.  But today was full of pork tenderloin, taco meat, peanut butter, (red bull, oops), grass fed hamburgers (mmmmmmmmmmmm), corn, and last but definitely not least sweet potato with bacon.  Oh yes, I also had eggs, hash browns, and bacon for breakfast.  Lots of protein, moderate fat, and low carbs.  I feel full of energy and I think it will fully help with my recovery day tomorrow.  I'm excited for this rest day if you haven't been able to tell. 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

It's volleyball season

This week I was asked to play on an indoor volleyball team by some coworkers of my wife.  Since I am in the mindset of never giving up on my youth, and I CLAIM to be a great volleyball player, I immediately jumped at the opportunity. 

It's a coed league which means a girl has to hit it at at least once before going over the net.  Not a problem.  The two girls that played with us turned out to be not to bad and I was pretty happy with that.  Plus, I got another friend of mine from grad school coming next week and that'll help out a lot.  The match itself didn't quite go as planned.  We lost all three games.  I started very slow in the first game.  My timing was not there, and it never really got there, and I'm not the highest jumper in the world so setting me to spike isn't necessarily the best idea.  But I got warmed up and started really playing well in the second game.  Then the third game came around and I stunk again.  I hadn't played volleyball in a long time and I forgot how much timing is involved in pretty much everything.  Timing, anticipation, angles.  It's not just hit the ball over the net.  I knew that.  But my timing was just way off.  The strength of my game is really my serve.  I've taken a lot of pride in having a really good serve.  Unfortunately, that too was a little inconsistent.  I finished the first game with a 9 point streak and was really starting to feel good.  Then we switched sides, and I switched to an uncoordinated goofball.  I hit a few the rest of the time but the consistency just wasn't there. 

Overall, I'm pretty upset about the performance I had this week but I see what needs worked on and I will definitely work on that this next week.  The guys I play with are fairly good and I think we have a lot of potential.  We all just need some consistency, and a little bit better communication and teamwork.  But that's expected when you bring 5 or 6 people who've never played together.  I feel pretty confident about our next game.  And I feel really good about me getting my timing back and becoming the Karch Kiraly of this league! 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Keep Showing Up

My legs were heavy today.  I am a (former) sprinter that is trying to convert all of those type 2 muscle fibers into type 1.  That's not very fun.  I have been totalling quit a few miles recently and even with a scheduled rest day, my legs feel heavy.  But, I am dedicated to my goal.  I read an interview today where the person was asked about how to achieve goals. Below is what I got out of it:
  • Clarity, commitment, discipline
  • Surround yourself with successful people
  • Visualize success over and over again
  • Keep showing up
  • Eliminate negativity
The biggest thing I got out of that was to keep showing up.  When you don't want to do it, just keep showing up.  When you don't feel like it, just show up.  When you feel like your training is not working, keep showing up.  When you feel like everything is going your way, keep showing up.  No matter what...keep...showing...up.  It's all of those little things that add up to huge accomplishments.  Keep showing up.  This is such a simple thought.  But it hit me like a ton of bricks.  Keeps showing up. 

The other bullet points are very good also.  In order to achieve your goals, you must have clarity of what it is your trying to accomplish, commitment to what you are doing, and the discipline to follow through with it.  You must also surround yourself with successful people.  Surrounding yourself with negative people only brings you down.  Successful people breed success and will only allow encourage you to be more successful.  And success doesn't equate money.  Success is accomplishing whatever goal you want to accomplish.  Visualizing success means to continuously see yourself succeeding in the situation you need to be in.  When Joe Montana won his first Super Bowl, someone asked him what it felt like.  He said it felt exactly the same as all of the others.  The reporter inquired about all of the others.  Joe said all of the times that he won it in his backyard growing up.  He visualized his success over and over again. 

But the biggest thing was to keep showing up.  Amazing.  For the rest of this marathon training, that will be my mantra.  Keep showing up.  Simple, yet amazing. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011


As part of my job, I help people every day achieve their wellness goals.  That's right, I said wellness.  This encompasses  fitness, nutrition, combination of both, stress management, smoking cessation, or helping them manage blood glucose, cholesterol, or blood pressure.  When I got into the exercise field, this is not the population I wanted to work with.  I really wanted to work with athletes.  High performance individuals that were extremely motivated and ready to eat kettlebells if that's what I told them to do.  But that's not what I got.  Most of the people I have trained and educated are of the population that has very little motivation.  Some of them none at all.  It's for many reasons (excuses).  The most common reason is that they don't have the time, but I also get cost, family commitments, underestimation of how unhealthy they really are, or any combination of these reasons.  These people motivate me in my own health and fitness.  My only wish is that I can motivate them as much as they motivate me.  After I talk to these people all day long, I can't wait to get to the gym.  I don't ever want to life a life where I have a triglyceride count of 300, a blood pressure of 150/100, a BMI of 35, or the mere thought of performing strength training makes me want to take a nap.  I can't wait to hit the gym tomorrow.  I can't wait to eat clean tomorrow.  I can't wait to run my marathon.  I can't wait to find something else to participate in. 

Motivation is something we all need.  What is your motivation?  Do you exercise to show your kids how important it is?  Do you want to buck the trend of genetics in your family and get out of that pre-disease state?  Do you want to impress the opposite sex?  Or do you simply want to you use your body for what God intended and make it work as hard as it can?  Whatever your reason is, be proud of yourself and let your drive and motivation never die.  Be strong and never let yourself quite. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Hills stink

The wonderful people that design the Derby Mini Marathon have re-routed the course and have taken the hills of Iroquois Park out of the equation.  Fortunately for me, I still get the great pleasure of doing it with the full marathon.  YES!  So I went out in 20 degree weather, slightly snowing, and ran Cherokee Park today.  I would've gone to Iroquois but it's much to far in the wrong direction from my work to my house.  I knew going into the run that I wouldn't be breaking any speed records today but I got 3.55 miles of hills in the cold at a cool 26 minutes.  Felt great (sarcasm) and I can't wait to do it tomorrow (more sarcasm). 

Enough about me.  I had the pleasure of having an email conversation with a co-worker today.  She has a goal of running a marathon in all 50 states and her next one is in Eugene, Oregon.  WOW!  Bowerman!  Prefontaine!  Are you kidding me?!?!  And she gets to finish the race at Hayward Field.  Double WOW!  Needless to say I am slightly jealous.  I might get to run through Churchill Downs but she gets to run through the Holy Land of all track and field stadiums.  Sigh...

Anyway, she gave me a few pointers about what to try during my race.  I'm going to lean heavily on her and a few other people I know that have done the 26.2.  I know it's still 11 weeks away but I'm feeling really good about my training so far.  This coming Sunday I have an 10 miler to do.  Wish me luck, I'll need it in the cold weather. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Not much happens on my rest day.  Tuesdays are always my rest day and I get back into it tomorrow.  As much as I don't want to I have to get up at 5 in the morning and go run.  Ugh.  I got 5 miles of hills tomorrow.  Ugh.  But I guess that's what it takes to get ready for the marathon.  This thing better be worth it.  I spoke to a coworker today that went down to Miami 2 weeks ago and ran a marathon.  She ran a great race but said she hasn't done anything since then.  Talk about detraining.  I look forward to rewarding myself with a full week off. 

Again, not much happens on a rest day.  I got some feed back from several people regarding the blog and I appreciate that.  I'm very glad I got some people reading.  Hopefully, you are all getting a little bit out of it.  My girl Sam seems pretty happy that I'm gluten free.  Trust me Sam, so am I.  But I'm not going full Paleo.  Sorry.  I enjoy my chips and salsa too much.  I also enjoy the BLT sandwich on GF bread that I had for dinner tonight.  But I have made the full commitment to eating cleaner, cutting out gluten, saying no to the High Fructose Corn Syrup Devil, and more veggies.  The dark side will have to wait for me for a while ha ha ha ha!. 

Another friend sent me an email addressing a very common problem.  She said that with her kids being young, she simply doesn't have enough time, or motivation to get the workouts she needs.  I completely understand that I and I talk with people like that every day as part of my job.  The key to this problem is simply finding a way to incorporate more physical activity into your day, no matter how you do it.  I am very fortunate that I have a gym membership that takes my kids so I can get my workout.  I am also very fortunate that I have a wife that understands what I am training for and allows me the time I need.  But if these aren't options for you, simply find more physical activity opportunities.  Whether it's parking further away from the store, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or doing squats and pushups during commercial breaks on TV, you can always find ways. 

So thank you all for your feedback.  Keep on reading and hopefully I will be able to motivate you to lead a somewhat healthier lifestyle in my quest to become that athlete I want to never stop being. 

Monday, February 7, 2011

A little about my diet

About 6 weeks ago I gave up gluten.  I was not presenting with any celiac symptoms or intolerance but I have been reading a lot from Robb Wolf lately and decided to give it a go.  There are lot of things gluten does that you don't think about.  The main problem with it is that gluten, which is a protein found in wheat, gets stuck in the microvilli of your intestines and causes inflammation.  I don't want to bore you with science, but I found that was enough of an argument for me to try and do without it and see what happens. 

Tell me if this sounds familiar.  You head to Subway and decide to eat just a 6 inch sandwich, because you don't feel like making a pig out of yourself.  But even though it's only a 6 inch, you walk away feeling bloated.  You feel you stomach distended and you feel "full".  Well, that feeling "full" is not full, it's inflammation.  You intestines are inflamed and not allowing proper digestion of everything you just put into your gut.  Well now that I have cut out gluten, I no longer feel that "full".  Even though I have eaten sandwiches with gluten free bread (rice based), I simply don't feel that anymore and it feels great.  I participated in this thing over at where you give up gluten for the month of January.  Outside of my trip to Chicago where I took in A LOT of Chicago style pizza, I felt incredible all month. 

Another side effect of this was energy.  I used to be absolutely addicted to Red Bull.  Oh yes, the caffeinated God.  But having cut gluten out of my diet, I have a ton more energy.  My body is actually digesting the food I am taking in and using it for what it is supposed to be used for.  It's incredible.  That was something I was not expecting. 

So how does this tie in to my marathon training?  Carbohydrates.  The might USDA tells us that we need to get about 5-6 servings of whole grains as per the food guide pyramid.  They say this because they think we need a diet of ~60% carbohydrates.  The whole grains also are supposed to provide fiber.  Well, when you don't have the sticky inflammation in your intestines that gluten, whole grains, cause, you absorb all of the rest of the carbs from fruits, veggies, and other rice based products.  I have taken in a lot more fruits and vegetables lately and feel I have enough carbs.  My body is successfully processing the fats and protein I take in.  Gluconeogenesis, converting fats/protein to glucose, occurs easier also.  It's because once the inflammation is taken away, everything in the digestive process occurs easier.  It's amazing. 

WHile my guy Robb Wolf would like me to go full paleo diet, I don't see that happening.  At least not yet.  But I am amazed at how I feel.  I encourage you to give it a try.  Give it 30 days and see how it feels. 

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Sundays are my scheduled long days.  It's the day that I build my week up to.  Sundays are long, Tuesdays are rest, Wednesdays are crosstraining and strength.  Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday are mixed with various time trials, intervals, tempo runs, extra rest days, hills, and whatever else my crazy mind can come up with.  So I went out with the intention of running 9 miles today.

 My longest training run so far has been 5 miles.  I didn't think 9 miles was too far of a reach.  I have been dealing with a bit of bubbly guts lately but I didn't think it would be any issue.  I was wrong.  I started feeling my bubbly guts at about mile 3.  Cardio wise I felt great.  My legs also felt great.  My guts did not.  I just told myself to get one more mile, one more mile, one more mile.  I made it to mile 7 and had to stop.  That was all my intestines and would allow.  But I averaged an 8 minute mile which is exactly what I want for the marathon.  If I do that, I'll finish in 3:30.  I would be very happy with that.  I'm starting to the get the mindset of not simply finishing but finishing well.  That inner competitive athlete that I have inside my soul is starting to get hungry and it wants a good time. 

On a related note, my wife Kate is training for her own races in the Triple Crown.  Today she went 4.5 miles and the Anthem 5K is 3 weeks away.  I see a great race out of her and so far I am very proud of her. 

Tomorrow I am going to focus my entry on nutrition and what has been helping me.  Be sure to check back in then. 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Stupid weather

One thing about this time of year in Louisville is that you just can't predict the weather.  I had all good intentions of running outside today.  But Mother Nature decided to rain, sleet, and snow this morning.  So unfortunately at had to head to the Y and wade through all of the people there and hope that I could get a treadmill.  Fortunately I was able to find one and completed my run.  I modified the workout and did 3 rounds of 8 minute sprint, 4 minutes walk.  It was pretty good.  For the strenght component I did 3 rounds of 10 deadlifts, 10 pullups and then 3 x 10 of pushup with a dumbbell row.  Pretty good but not exactly what I had planned. 

Tomorrow I got the weekly long run of 9 miles.  Definitely not looking forward to that but I guess that's what I got to do to get ready for the marathon.  I haven't decided on the strength component yet but I'll let you know as soon as I got it. 

On a completely unrelated note, I have begun reading the 2010 USDA Guidelines for nutrition.  It's 112 pages worth of interesting reading and if you really want to go to sleep, I suggest you get a copy of this.  There is a lot of interesting recommendations in there and a lot that I find very questionable.  The gist of it is to increase whole grains (booo), increase skim milk, increase LEAN protein, decrease solid fats, and decrease sugar.  I am only 33 pages into it and I know I have a lot more to go, but I have found something very interesting.  One of the topics they are hitting hard in these guidelines is obesity and type II diabetes.  I have yet to find the word "Insulin".  I find this extremely intriguing.  They have said glycemic index and sugar, but absolutely nothing on insulin.  Wow!  If you are going to address obesity and type II diabetes, how can you not even mention insulin.  Now, I'm only 33 pages in and I'm hoping that it's in there in the next 78 pages.  Anyway, if you get a chance, I would suggest reading it, or at least skimming it.  Whether you think the USDA is a bunch of money hungry politicians (my thoughts) or if you think they genuinely have the American public's best interest in mind, it's good to know exactly what they are putting out there. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

New route

For those of you who might be running the Derby Mini or full Marathon, they have redesigned the route.  Details for the course can be found at  One great thing they have done is take the route around Iroquois Park out of the Mini.  Of course, they were nice enough to let that bastard stay in the full marathon course.  So I got that going for me.  I guess I better change my hill training from Cherokee Park to Iroquois.  Grrrrrrr.  I hate that place.  I remember that thing in the Papa Johns 10 miler, needless to say I hated it.  Oh well. 

Tomorrow I am pulling a two-fer.  I am going to run 3 miles in the morning around 7:00.  Then in the afternoon I am going to workout with the wife and get my strength training in.  As far as the commandments of endurance training are concerned, strength training is definitely at the top of the list.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

I am not Shaun White

Last weekend my buddy Justin asked me to go snowboarding with him.  My answer, of course, was a resounding yes.  I agreed to this knowing full well that I have never snowboarded in my life.  I have gone skiing a number of times and I consider myself a fairly decent skier even though I have only gone maybe a dozen time.  So I said yes to Justin and thought that I am never too old to learn new tricks.  That is, after all, the purpose of this journal. 

The first thing I do is text my nephew Brandon.  He has been snowboarding for quite a long time and so I figured he could give me a few pointers over text.  All he said was, and I quote, "Take a lesson if you can, it will help out ALOT and it doesn't lower your street cred.  And fall on your ass, not forward."  Interesting.  I take 2 things from this.  One, I have no street cred so I am definitely not worried about that.  Two, falling on my tail doesn't sound too difficult.  So I tell Justin to give me some quick lessons when he get there.

To Justin's credit, he is a very good instructor.  He's not a big time snowboarder but he did a great job explaining to me what needed to be done and had a lot of patience with me at the bunny hill with all of the 6 year old kids flying by.  After a few trips down the hill I asked Justin what the next step was.  He motioned to the "Family" hill which is a bit longer than the bunny and at the end it transitions to a much larger, longer hill.  So we go down the family hill twice and stupidly I tell Justin I'm ready for the transition and the big hill.  So we hit it and I find out real quick that I can go REALLY fast if I just stay in a straight line.  This is the point where ignorance is bliss because while I am flying down this hill after very minimal practice, I remember what Brandon told me.  Fall on my butt.  Well, see, the thing is if you don't know what the heck your doing, and you are flying at speeds you didn't think were possible and you find yourself in a situation where you start feeling out of control, falling on your butt isn't necessarily the easiest thing.  The front of my board dug into the snow and I go flying, literally, and land face first on the hill and continue to spiral until my limp body finally comes to a stop.  This is where my ignorance of pain stopped.  For the rest of the night, pain was at the forefront of my mind, not to mention my wrist, shoulder, butt, face, abdomen, hip, and finally my head. 

My attempts at the multiple hills became increasingly frustrating because I was simply focusing on controlling my speed and being able to stop when I wanted to.  But I think at some point fatigue set in because I simply couldn't do it anymore.  We hit one of the intermediate hills, which if I were on ski's I would've been completely OK.  But I don't think I can count the number of times I fell.  Finally I hit the back of my head behind my ear and immediately got a headache.  I told Justin, the nurse, about this and he starts asking me about concussion and symptoms of a concussion.  I knew I didn't have one but the headache was there nonetheless.  At this point I was tired of getting killed on the hill and with the headache I had to stop.  Justin and the other 2 guys we were with continued for about another hour but I was done. 

I had an absolute blast and my need for an adrenaline spike definitely got satisfied.  But I realized I might need to stick to ski's, much to the dismay of my nephew.  Next time Justin calls, I'm using the ski's.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Unanounced Rest Day

Tuesday is my designated rest day.  I use this day because my wife is also training for something, the Triple Crown series here in Louisville, and she has to get to the gym in the morning on Tuesday.  Unfortunately due to my work schedule, I can't get there after work.  So I make that my regular rest day.  Got to give the body a day to recover from the damage I do throughout the week.  Well today wound up being a rest day also.  I was supposed to run 6 miles at a 5 mile pace.  My strategy right now is to build my speed while building endurance.  But I didn't get there because my much better half missed her workout yesterday and I gave her this morning.  Oh well.  I don't have to be to work until the early afternoon on Thursday, so I think I will be able to get a good one in the morning.  Here's my plan for tomorrow:
Tabata deadlift, pushup, inverted pullup, and dips

Then the plan is to rest and recover for about 20 minutes.  Maybe I'll take in some shot blocks to help with the 6 mile run. 

Marathon Training
6 mile run at 5 mile pace. 

Will it hurt?  Yes.  But I think it will be worth it in the end when I finish that marathon.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

An Introduction

I used to be an athlete.  Well, at least I think I used to be.  I grew up playing baseball, football, and running track throughout all of my schooling years.  I also played a little golf, tennis, kickball, ghosts in the graveyard, and tag when time would permit.  That's just what I did as a kid growing up.  My parents gave me no choice.  I thank them for that.  Because of that, I have a lifelong love of physical activity.  I'm a 35 year old child that still loves a game of pickup basketball, golfing with my buddies, running the occasional race, and maybe even a game of tag.  I have dedicated my life to physical activity, fitness, wellness, and an overall healthy lifestyle.  I have obtained an MS in Exercise Physiology and I earned my Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist from the NSCA.  I have used this education to help others become healthy, fit, and reach physical goals they never thought were possible. 

The purpose of this blog is to showcase my love of physical fitness.  I vow to never stop being the athlete I once was, or at least thought I was.  So at the age of 35 I have decided to participate in athletic events I never thought I would.  Whether it's a marathon, mud run, duathlon, triathlon, CrossFit competitions, MMA, handball, cricket, ski-ball, whatever.  I am going to spend the next few years showing that you are never too old to do new activities.  Also, I'm a little bored now that I have my master's degree so I need something to train for.  This blog will chronicle the events I am training for, what I am doing to get ready, my training schedule, my nutrition, setbacks, injuries, family support, and whatever else comes with training.  Hopefully I can keep you interested, make you laugh, and possibly even motivate you to participate in something new yourself.

Please feel free to ask me any question regarding my training that you might have.  And I welcome any input you might have also.  While I have dedicated my life to physical fitness, I do not know everything.  In fact, I have so much more to learn and I am amazed at the knowledge I pick up from people like Eric Cressey, Mike Robertson, Teena Murray, Robb Wolf just to name a few.  So please interact with me.  I love learning and love seeing what you might be doing in your own training. 

All that being said, I am currently training for the Derby Marathon in Louisville, KY on April 30.  I have never run a marathon (why would anyone purposely run 26.2 miles?)  but have always wondered what it would be like to complete one.  I have participated in 2 half marathons and finished both under 2 hours.  Not to shabby for a sprinter in high school who thought anything over 200 meters would make my legs fall off.  I am 2 weeks into my training and feel I am about 2 weeks behind, so I'm kind of behind the 8-ball on this one.  But with smart, proper, effective training, I think I'll be able to finish this beast without walking.  I don't have a time goal, I just want to finish.  So check back in tomorrow and I'll let you know how my training is going and what ideas I have for what I need to do.