Archive | Running RSS feed for this section

At 36

15 Mar

I turned 36 this week. I’m now closer to 40 than 30 and closer to 50 than 20.

I feel like I’m healthy at 36 – certainly more than I was half a life ago at 18. At 18, I was close to 30 pounds heavier than I am now. My diet consisted of a lot of snack foods and fast food (that’s what the typical American high school or college student eats).

At 36, I’m more than a year and a half following the Paleo diet, to the point I don’t really think about it anymore. I’m able to subsist on longer fasts when I need to because my blood sugar is really stable through the whole day.

But it’s not without mental and physical challenges.

My last physical showed increased total and LDL-C blood cholesterol. It has lead me to make additional dietary adjustments – a little more awareness of fat intake, and increasing my carbohydrate intake away from what was frequently very low carb dieting (although I’m still in what would be low carb compared to my old diet).

My biggest plan for the next 4 years until I turn 40 is to be aware and to continue making small changes for performance and longevity.

Being Unremarkable

6 Jul

Wednesday, July 4th marked my second anniversary as a runner.

I ran in the 2010 Peachtree Road Race on a borrowed number.  Following that race, I started running regularly and have since completed multiple 5k and 10k races as well as two half marathons.

This year was the first year I failed to improve on my times from the prior year.  I ran thirty seconds slower (46:13 finishing time) and finished nearly 200 people later in this year’s edition than last year.

Since being young, I think I’ve chased the need to be remarkable.  I think nearly everyone does.  In high school, we are told we need to stand out to attract the college admission we want.  In college, we need to differentiate to gain access to the best job.  After college, we do the same to try and gain promotions at work.

Outside of work, we compete for possessions and friends.  My dedication to running the past two years probably was another attempt to find some aspect of my life to be exceptional.

However, not everyone can be extraordinary.

In truth, I’m probably an average runner (despite my finishing times).  More than ever though, I’m accepting being less than exceptional in the view of the world.

What I do at work will never cure the problems of our country, or the world.  But for the people I work with, I can create contributions that help them be more successful and help our company find new success.

What I did as a soccer coach didn’t stand out.  My teams weren’t anymore successful than any team we played against and they lost more than they won.  But perhaps in the several seasons I coached I showed parents and children a great youth soccer experience.

With my own sons, I can’t claim to have created two great athletes.  I have fostered a love of sport that for their ages is fairly deep and hopefully will endure (or will transfer to other arenas).

Success is relative to the goals you set.  I’ve felt directionless lately in my health and fitness quest.  While I’ve maintained my Paleo diet, I’ve cut back on running and missed a lot of weightlifting sessions since April 1st.  In hindsight I know my goals have been foggy and without good definition.

I don’t know where I want my weightlifting and training to take me – but I need to figure it out to get back on track.

Opening the Running Season

27 Apr

Yesterday I started my Spring and Summer running season.

It had been a month since I last attempted to run.  While on business travel to Asheville, I tried to get a run in but failed due to a combination of lack of daylight, familiarity with the area, and lack of sidewalks or shoulders to use.

Previously I had run one run more than five miles this calendar year, and that was just after the first of the year.

Yesterday marked sixty-nine days until the Peachtree Road Race – one of the largest 10k races nationally and the biggest event in the Atlanta running community.  I won my lottery place into the race back in March – and with my qualifying time from the Atlanta Half Marathon last Thanksgiving, I’ll start from the “A” group.  That places me just behind the Elite seeded and sub-seeded runners.

I’m looking to improve my 10k Personal best (45:07), my Peachtree record (45:43).

I found last fall that despite reducing my mileage, I still maintained and actually improved my times in the Half Marathon.  Based on my run Thursday, I can expect similar results this summer.

Thursday’s run took me through the hilly Virginia-Highlands area of Atlanta’s Midtown during the mid-morning – normal traffic levels and traffic lights included.  I finished 6.42 miles in 51:29 (just over 8 minutes per mile).  That puts me on a similar or better pace to my runs late last summer – after running the Peachtree and several weeks of training.

I’ll probably stay with a lot of weight training for another few weeks – and then start switching in a couple days of running at differing volume and pace to prepare for the race.  I’m trying to stay relaxed about accumulating specific distances or anything measurable with running right now.

Fitness Metrics as of April 1, 2012

1 Apr

Diet: Paleo Plus Dairy

Seven months of Paleo eating are done.  At this point, it’s become easier to maintain the current path than to switch back to a Standard American Diet.
One of my best finds during the month was taking advantage of a American Express Sync With Twitter deal to help stock up on Grass-fed meats at Whole Foods.
Weight Lifting

I lifted weights 11 days during March, down from 13 in February.  I had several days of travel during the month, but the bigger factor was taking the last week of the month off from weightlifting and attempting to get some additional rest.

My maximum squat has increased ten pounds to 260 pounds (a little better than 1.8 times body weight).  My maximum deadlift has increased by twenty-five pounds to 250 pounds.  .

No change on bench press – still holding at 160 pounds (1.1 times body weight).

Running

One run, totaling about 3 miles in February.  I tried to run while in Asheville on business but between the time change and the area around the hotel I couldn’t find a safe route.  I’m in the Pacific Northwest this month and plan to run while there – adding to my “States I’ve run in” total.
I did register for the Peachtree Road Race on July 4th in Atlanta – so I’ll be building some mileage as well as speed workouts leading up to then.
Soccer
League start is just around the corner.  I’ve had a couple of kick-arounds with my new team, but also spent a lot of time in the yard with my sons working on all of our skills.  Evan has shown a lot of determination on his juggling (Keepy ups) so we’ve both been working on those.  I can hit 10 or more consecutively consistently.

Sleep

On weightlifting days, I’m still up at 4:40 AM.  But when traveling or on weekends I’m trying to sleep later.

Weight: 144 Pounds

I’m up two pounds from my weight in March.


Product Review: Nike Rio II Soccer Jersey

30 Mar

I’ve worn moisture management fabric shirts while exercising for more than ten years.  Before that – it was the cotton tee shirt.  But once I discovered moisture management fabrics, I became a fan of Nike’s Dri-Fit and Russell’s DriPower clothing.

However, I’ve noticed prices have gone up as these items have become more popular – but the shirts haven’t been adding any additional features or becoming significantly better performers as far as I could tell.

Through several retailers, I became aware of Nike’s Rio II Soccer Jersey (and many other styles of shirt as well.)  Without a club badge and number, the Rio shirt looks like any other exercise apparel – available in four youth and five adult sizes and ten different colors.  But it’s added functional feature: it has a back made completely of mesh for airflow.  The white front insert panel is made of the same type of mesh.  The back is very effective at keeping you cool while exercising.

The fit on the shirt is great if you fall into the athletic cut.  I have a problem buying most athletic retail styles – they either are too short through the body or too large through the chest, shoulders, sleeves and torso (this applies to a lot of other clothing as well.)  In the case of the Rio, I can comfortably wear a size Small and it provides plenty of length but a fitted appearance.

There’s also a long sleeve version with the same construction.

I recommend the shirt if you are in the size range that retail styles don’t fit well, and if you are looking for added features in your sports apparel.

Fitness Metrics as of March 1, 2012

1 Mar

Diet: Paleo Plus Dairy

Six months of Paleo done!  I keep trying to expand my palette of food I eat.  This month’s new foods included reintroducing Beef (grass fed from a local farm) and trying Goat’s Milk as an alternative to cow’s milk.
The advertised image of the brand of goat’s milk I selected includes a claim of grass-fed animals – and a higher price tag as well.  I’m hoping that grass-fed in this case also means lower-confinement than the typical conventional dairy operation.  I didn’t notice a lot of difference from cow’s milk dairy – just a slightly sweeter, more milk-like flavor to it.  It is ultra-pasteurized however – so there’s a tradeoff in terms of processing.
I planted a few more varieties for spring vegetables – more Arugula, Spinach and Kale along with a new addition: Brussels Sprouts.  The peach trees started blooming the last week of February so we should see the fruit ready in June.
Weight Lifting

I lifted weights 13 days during February, up from 9 in January.  My travel and meeting schedule has been relaxed versus last month and December.

My program changed from my own design to doing Crossfit Football.  Some of the workouts I’ve modified to my own strength limits, and I don’t always do the workout from the specified day.

My maximum squat has increased five pounds to 250 pounds (a little better than 1.7 times body weight).  My maximum deadlift has increased by twenty pounds to 225 pounds.  I attribute a lot of my increase on deadlift to increasing the limits of my grip strength through Farmer’s Carries.

Maximum bench press increased by five pounds to 160 pounds (1.1 times body weight).

I’m enjoying the Crossfit Football program – it’s a new challenge each day in the gym.  What’s interesting is that I’m doing less each day in the gym than I did before – fewer sets and fewer exercises but seeing better results.

Running

One run, totaling about 3 miles in February.  It was a sprint workout at that.
Soccer
I played two Sundays this month – out of four in the month.  I think my league season will start some time in March.

Sleep

I’ve continued to burn the early hours – rising at about 4:40 each day to lift weights before work.

Weight: 142 Pounds

Consistent with February’s beginning weight.


An Unforced Rest Day

8 Feb

Last night I sat down and put together a sprint workout.

3×800 at a target time of 3:10 per interval

2×400 at a target time of 1:25 per interval

1×200 at a target time of 40 seconds per interval

But today it just didn’t feel like the right thing to do.  I had run sprints Sunday, and then lifted Monday and Tuesday.  Today was my rare unforced rest day as a result.

In the last two months, my rest days have come more as a result of the needs I have away from training.  It’s a result of my work calendar and my family’s needs.  Today was a result of feeling tired and putting rest above the compulsion that I have sometimes to get out and exercise.

Tomorrow is another day, and I’ll be back to lifting.  But not before another night of good rest.