Quote of the Day

You need to aim beyond what you are capable of. You must develop a complete disregard for where your abilities end. Try to do things that you’re incapable of… If you think you’re incapable of running a company, make that your aim… Make your vision of where you want to be a reality. Nothing is impossible.
 
Paul Arden

Quote of the Day

You know, I really miss sex scandals. They’re generally colorful. They almost never mean anything over the long run. And while they’re going on, the people who actually keep the government running are let alone to go about their business. Good old sex scandals.
 
Gail Collins

The Core of Running

I am ectomorphic. I have a naturally lean physique. I have never had to worry about any extra weight on any body part. I also have a very hard time trying to put on weight of any kind. Muscle or fat. 

This is the bane of my existence. Many people tell me I am lucky. These people could never be more wrong. 

Being too thin is just as bad as being obese. 

I know what your thinking, “Your nuts. Thats just not possible.” 

Well my friend, I am here to tell you, its true. 

Fat builds up around the heart and liver, increasing the chance for diabetes. Anemia, osteoporosis, from brittle bones, immune deficiency and fertility problems are just a few problems that arise when you are thin. 

Now, I am not rail thin. I do have some meat on me. I attribute this to the running and the weighted R.O.M. exercises that I have to do. Thankfully for planks, I have a very trim core section.

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Here is an infograph I found recently to help you transition into working on your core. 

As a runner, I need to have a solid core. It helps move me along when it comes to my running. 

A solid core, strong glutes, abs, and lower back, are very important when it comes to stability, power, and endurance for your miles of running. 

I used planks and push ups as a alternative to smoking. These helped curb my cravings. Another benefit was the V leading down to my pubic area got more defined. And to the gentlemen out there, trust me, the women love it. 

I DO NOT do crunches. They are bad for your back, abs, and neck. You are putting unwanted strain on them, and pulling them out of their natural posture. 

I hear that with the increase strength in your core, you increase speed, stamina, and reduce your chance for injury. I will never find this out, as a previous leg injury is not allowing me to discover these newly added benefits. 

If you are enjoying these benefits, please let me know what you do, and how they have helped your running. 

Be a trailblazer my friends. 

As Henry David Thoreau says, “Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

Cold Weather Run

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Single digits.

Single digits with 20 m.p.h. winds.

How do you go for a run in this weather?

Simple. You dress for it and hit the trails.

How do you dress for this weather?

Long underwear, wool socks, t-shirt, shorts, hat and gloves, and a good wind breaker. And in this weather, I do switch over to running shoes. Most importantly, MUSIC.

I will spend hundreds of dollars on my foot attire, but I have found that a regular pair of Hanes long underwear work fine. The best lesson I have learned is to dress in layers, not expensively.

I say most importantly, because music will take your mind off the fact you are freezing your butt off. That is until your body temperature rises. Also, it helps regulate your breathing.

Are there any benefits to running in the cold? Of course there are.

1) You Don’t get Hot

Because of the cooler weather, your are less likely to overheat. Your body readily releases any excess heat that builds up. To maintain a constant body temperature, you need layer of moisture wicking clothing.

2) It Helps Keep off the Winter Weight

Maintaining your routine tricks the body into switching your metabolism over to the store up for winter mode. Also the added benefit of not having to stress over getting ready for “swimsuit season”.

3) It Helps from Getting the Winter Blues.

Everyone hears about the down side of winter. Being cooped up inside all day, away from the sun and fresh air makes many people depressed. Getting out in the brisk air and running, helps release endorphins and keeps you motivated. For someone like me, who switches over to running during the day, I still get time in the sun. When its out of course.

4) Mental and Physical Endurance

Your stamina is increased thanks to the increase of blood circulation. Your body will adapt to the adverse conditions. It will become more hardy. Getting out in the cold is a trial all in itself. Running everyday in the winter, will help to push you to get in that extra mile, or finish the race a few minutes quicker.

When your friends are sitting at home complaining about the cold, snow, and extra weight they’ve put on since they’ve locked themselves inside, you will be bouncing around with the extra energy your daily runs have given you.

So when you feel depressed because of the cold, don’t fret, a little run can turn that frown upside down.

Barefoot Running

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I love this time of year, and I hate this time of year. 

It has not gotten above 35 degrees where I live in almost a month. To a runner, this is ideal weather. Even with the brisk weather, it still feels good to run.

Your sweat isn’t running down you in rivulets, it is a better work out for the lungs, and for me, I get to run during the day. 

The downfall is I have to start wearing shoes. I don’t own the traditional pair of running shoes. I own the Merrell Barefoot Vapor Glove, and a few others. They are all minimalist running shoes. 

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I looked into the Vibram FIveFingers, but decided against it. 

I have read countless articles on the benefits of barefoot running vs traditional running. I find most of the findings to be bullshit. 

In my opinion, it helps with fatigue, muscle strain, and injury. I do not care what these so called “experts” say. They can survey thousands of people, and will never come up with a correct answer for this question. 

You and you alone are the only one who can determine what is best for your running style.

If you see who is doing the bashing of the running style it is people who are monetarily linked to a product. 

If someone is promoting a new running shoe, of course they are going to tell you that minimalist/barefoot is bad for you. They want to see you fork over the cash for new shoes. Because lets face it, as a runner, we have more running shoes than any other style. 

I personally have 6 pairs of running shoes, 2 pairs of sandals, 2 pairs of dress shoes, and 2 pairs of everyday shoes. All of my other foot attire combined equals the amount of running shoes I own. 

We are a strange breed, us runners. 

Also, I think anyone can be a barefoot runner. Just like running, you have to train yourself into running barefoot/minimally. Yes, at first it is going to feel different, you are trying something new. 

Eventually, like everything we practice, we achieve greatness. And if you find out barefoot running isn’t your style, you can always go back.

I have been running since I was 8. I didn’t start barefoot running until I was 15. 

When I first started, it was a quarter of a mile, gradually working my way up to where I am today. 

I remember my track coach telling me I was going to lose my arch, get shin splints, and damage my hamstring. I can say 20 years later, none of that has occurred. 

One added benefit to my running barefoot, is that I learned how to run on my toes better. My heel barely ever touches the ground now. This is good for your quads and calves. 

Every runner should try to change their running style. We all plateau at some point. There is no gain when you have reached this point. You have to spice it up a little. 

Running Partner

I don’t keep track of my time anymore. I have run since I was 8, and after the accidents, I can’t really run like I use to. 

Nevertheless, my friends still ask me why I run if I don’t keep track of it. As I explained in my last blog about running, I do it for the health benefits.

During the summer, I was at a benefit for my towns Fire Department, and a friend said something to me about wanting to run. I told her that if she wanted she could join me. 

A few weeks later, I was walking to my starting point, when someone came up behind me. I listen to music when I run, well because who wouldn’t. Anyway, it was the girl that mentioned something to me about wanting to run. 

She asked if she could join me. I asked if she had everything she needed to run. She said yes. 

I told her O.K., but we are going to start with a jog. 

I asked her when the last time she ran a mile was. Grade school was the answer I got.

The first thing I told her, was we were going to have to build endurance. We were going to start with breathing and keeping the feet moving. 

My first 3 tips: in through the nose, out through the mouth. It doesn’t matter how slow you go, just so long as you keep moving. Lean slightly forward. 

She asked about coming off the toes or heals. I told her, it didn’t matter, whichever is comfortable. I am a toe runner, but thats from years of running. 

We got maybe a quarter of a mile and she was panting pretty hard. I told her if she needed to, we could walk. We started walking, but we kept moving. 

2 weeks later, and she was running 2 miles non-stop, while having a conversation with me. 2 months later, we entered our first 5K together. She made her goal. 6 months later and she is still able to keep up with me. 

We now run 4 to 5 miles together.

When she feels like she can’t run, her husband tells her to go. It will make her feel better and put her in a better mood. 

I remember the first time she didn’t want to go. She texted me and told me she was tired and didn’t feel like going. I told her running would make her feel better and make her sleep better. She agreed.

When I arrived at her house, she asked if I had talked with her husband. I said no, why? She told me he said the same thing I did. I told her maybe he notices the differences too. 

That earned me a punch in the shoulder.

To run again

In October 2010, I was in an accident that messed my knee up. The orthopedic surgeon said therapy could help repair it, so I didn’t need surgery. 4 months later, he told me I could no longer run. Not news someone whose ran for 20 some years wants to hear. I had to switch to riding a bike and taking walks.

In February 2011, I was in another accident. I should not have survived this accident. I was a passenger in a truck and we hit an icy patch on the road and hit a tree 10 yards away at 30 m.p.h. I woke up in the hospital. The left side of my body and the right side of my face were pretty banged up. After I was released from the hospital, my brother and I went to look at the truck. The front passenger side of the truck was shaped like a tree trunk. 

I went to my doctor and he recommended that I see my orthopedic surgeon. The ortho was surprised to see me again a month after my last visit. Physical therapy was schedule for as soon as I could stand on my leg again. The Physical Therapists weren’t as surprised to see me. 4 more months of PT and I was informed yet again, that I could not run. 

For those who run, you know my pain to hear this. What most people don’t realize, is that runners are a special breed. If something has us upset, we can’t figure something out, or we just feel like we’re being dragged down, we go for a run. Running helps release oxygen, endorphins, and calms the nerves. It also allows us to have a few moments of the day to ourselves. 

Not being able to run, makes me feel sluggish. I cannot explain this to people that don’t run, but I’ll try. It feels like everything on me weighs about 100 pounds and I have a hard time moving. My body is conditioned to expect the release of oxygen and endorphins when I feel this way. To not be able to run, was like literally killing a big part of who I am. 

Fast forward 2 years later. 

I am now running again, against my doctors, surgeon, and therapists advise. I don’t get to run like I used to, but at least I can still get out. In October 2011, I had a rotator cuff surgery due to the accident. I informed my surgeon than that I was running again. He gave me a look that said, I’m gonna see you again in a few years for a knee replacement. I explained to him how I had slowly worked my way back into it. With much trepidation, he gave me the O.K. He also gave me a lot of restrictions too. 

I no longer run the distances or at the speed I once did, but I still get to enjoy the oxygen and endorphins. Plus I no longer have to feel lethargic. I also no longer get to run everyday. The surgeon told me every other day and on the off days, walk or ride the bike. During the summer, I ride the bike, but with winter almost upon us and snow already on the ground, I go for walks. It is a fair trade off in my opinion.