29 Jan

To headphone or not; that is the question

Young person listening misic running in city street

Hi, my name is Sean and I’m addicted to my headphones.

I’ve been running with headphones for almost three years.  Music pumping, beats thumping, it carries me to a different place while I run.  I love it when the 30 Seconds to Mars’ song Kings and Queens comes on my playlist and charges me up.  If I’m alone, I will sing out loud.  Sometimes I even forget that I’m not alone and you’ll hear me hum a tune!

I couldn’t live without my headphones!

Or so I thought.

After training and competing in the Redman Half Ironman last year, I realized that I wanted to be much more involved in triathlon.  And for the sake of safety, triathlons do not allow headphones, earbuds, or music of any kind during competition.

I’m not here to argue that point.  I totally agree with them.  Triathlons are dangerous and allowing a racer to wear earbuds while riding a bike at 40+ mph is downright reckless.

I use my headphones to help me with my cadence while running.  I set up a playlist that contains the beats per minute I want to achieve.  As I stride along, I can rely on the music to keep me at pace.

But all of this changed on January 1st when I dumped the headphones, and I’m so much happier I did.

The addiction was real.  There was separation anxiety, depression, nausea.  It all led to loss of appetite and experimentation with controlled substances.

Ok, I kid!  But seriously, the addiction was quite real, and it was tough to overcome.  I had to come up with new ways to handle my rhythm and cadence.  Since breathing correctly is so important in long distance running, I’m having to work at it very hard and come up with creative ways to stay on track.

There are many reasons I dumped those headphones, the main reason being triathlon.  But running without them has many benefits that just outweigh the need to wear them.  I can now hold a conversation with my running partner.  Before, I was alone in my own little world where I would escape.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but running on a busy road or trail while daydreaming about the song blasting in your ears can be dangerous.

A recent study found that injuries among pedestrians wearing headphones tripled between 2004 and 2011, with most accidents occurring in urban areas.
NY Magazine

When I was in the military, I started to realize why the drill sergeant would call cadence.  It wasn’t just so we would all stay in formation at the same pace.  Calling cadence helped our breathing; chatting with your running partner has the same benefit.  Yes it’s tiring.  Yes you will find it difficult.  But so what?  There’s benefit and that’s all that matters.

My advice?  Dump the headphones.

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Make the change slowly.  I think you’ll eventually get to the point where you’ll love it.  And the best benefit is that I can now hear that car….or dog….creeping up behind me!

22 Jan

#16WeeksToGlory: Week 3 recap

Marathon.

I know, I know….I’ve been slacking this week.  But I’ve been busy as hell so that’s my excuse!

You might notice I skipped week 2.  I did this because things will just get boring and redundant doing this every week.  The fact of the matter is, training is kind of boring.  So I thought I would do every other week to capture the progress of our runners.

So here’s week 3…..

Chad Hetrick

ChadAge: 32
How many miles did you run this week: About 30.  I went on vacation and missed a few!
Are you experiencing any injuries or pain? Just the usual hip, calves, PF, and I’m sure I’m missing something.
Since your mileage is increasing, how has your speed fluctuated, if at all?  I’ve been able to keep it pretty constant or increase a little.  I’m still trying to hold back when I can.
How are you handling nutrition on your long run? What has worked and not worked for you? I won’t lie, I currently suck at long run nutrition. I’ve been experimenting and talking with several people about fueling strategy. I’ve found that eating Gu or Shot Blocks every 30 minutes doesn’t work for me at a hard effort. I cramp under my ribcage. A couple people recommended eating more frequently to keep my GI system from shutting down so I’m going to try that. Can we just make it stylish to wear bike jerseys while running so I can carry all my snacks?

Christy Taylor

ChristyAge: 42 (will be 43 in January)
How many total miles did you run this week?
I was only able to run around 4 miles.
Are you experiencing any injuries or pain? Yes. After the first training run, I experienced slight swelling in my knee. The following Monday I ran 5 miles and within an hour of completion my knee was the size of a cantaloupe. I have the dreaded “runner’s knee”. I spent the next 10-12 days practicing R.I.C.E.  Not being able to run, I have begun swimming and elliptical. I’ve managed to slowly start running again, but as you can see, my mileage is way down.
Since your mileage is increasing, how has your speed fluctuated, if at all? N/A
How are you handling nutrition on your long run?  What has worked and not worked for you? N/A
Anything else?  I will be adding cycling to my training, as well as, strength training to hopefully aid recovery. I’m definitely behind the ball, but not willing to throw in the towel.

 

Zella Classen

ZellaAge: 22
NOTE: Zella started a week after the rest of the runners.
I ran 18 miles.  My shorter runs have gotten a tad faster and I’m feeling great!  And I haven’t really experienced with any Energy yet. I will this week!

 

John Doddy

JohnAge: 50
How many total miles did you run this week? I logged 26 miles in Week 3 which is down from 31 miles in Week 2.
Are you experiencing any injuries or pain? On Saturday, January 17th, I started experiencing some pain in my left foot arch during a 10 mile run. I believe it is plantar fasciitis so I have started doing stretches and deep tissue massages of the area.
Since your mileage is increasing, how has your speed fluctuated, if at all? My pace has increased by approximately 20 seconds to 7:45 per mile.
How are you handling nutrition on your long run? What has worked and not worked for you? So far, I haven’t needed any nutrition during my long runs. However, I plan to figure out my nutritional needs in the coming weeks.

 

Lexi Garrison

Lexi
Age: 31 (32 in February)
How many total miles did you run this week? 20 miles
Are you experiencing any injuries or pain? None of either! Maybe a little bit of shin splints when I run on the treadmill but nothing to complain about.
Since your mileage is increasing, how has your speed fluctuated, if at all? My speed actually improved on my long run this weekend!
How are you handling nutrition on your long run? What has worked and not worked for you? I am back to using “goo” after using blocks for a but. I use one every 4 miles but may need to increase to 2 every 4 miles.

10 Jan

5 tips for running in hella cold weather!

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A runner looks at a penguin as he takes part in the Antarctic MarathonI like the winter….well, more specifically, I like a mile winter that provides temps in the low 40s in the early morning and mid-50s by the afternoon.

Lately, we’ve been experiencing hella cold temps that start in the 20s and teens in the morning and barely crack freezing by mid-day.  And while I’d much rather run in the cold instead of the hot, running in cold weather takes special attention to clothing.

The best way to handle running in the cold is to become Canadian, or befriend a Canadian, or, as a last resort, run on the dreadmill.  Use that last option as a last resort.  I repeat, LAST RESORT!  Becoming Canadian is still your best option.  But I understand not all people can make that transformation.  We’re Americans!  We’re loud, brash, obnoxious, arrogant, and idiotic; everything a Canadian is not!

Anyway, here are five other tips for running in the cold that will help you out since you probably can’t become Canadian!

  1. Get a good pair of tights.  I scrimped on these things and my legs hate me for it.  I bought some cheap crap at the outlet mall and when the temps drop below 30 my legs freeze until I get totally warmed up.  I’d suggest some good Nike tights.  Disclaimer: I fucking HATE Nike, but I bought some Nike tights at Red Coyote and I love them.  They also have a great zipper pocket in the back instead of that crappy pocket that comes on the inside of most shorts.
  2. Dress in easily shed-able layers.  For our long run this morning, the start temp was around 22.  I wore a long sleeved tech shirt, a long sleeved wind shirt, and a long sleeved pullover.  By mile 2 I was shedding the pullover to wrap around my waist.  However, it was easily removable while I ran.  The zippered front allowed me to get it over my head with my hat on and not screw up anything else on my body.
  3. Dump your gloves for mittens.  I wore two pairs of gloves this morning.  That was a huge mistake.  My fingers were hurting they were so cold.  I yanked my fingers out of the finger slots in the gloves and turned them, essentially, into mittens.  By mile 2 my hands were sweating.  I was using my own body heat to warm up my fingers.  I will be stopping at Red Coyote this afternoon for a new pair of mittens.  The fingered gloves will now only be used in moderate weather.
  4. Wear a thermal headband under a hat, not a skull cap.  This goes back to the layer thing.  If you wear a headband, you can roll it or ditch it and still wear your cap.  The cap helps retain some of the heat you’re losing from the top of your head.
  5. Pay attention to your fluid intake.  Trust me, you’re still sweating, even though it’s probably drying up faster than it would on a hot and humid day.  You can get into big trouble on a long run if you ignore this.

Stay warm out there and keep on running!

06 Jan

#16WeeksToGlory: Week 1 recap

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And we’re off!

Week one is behind us and our runners have left the starting gate….well, all but one!  Zella is actually starting this week….but we’re putting her in the 16 week class! :)

Overall our runners are progressing as expected.  There aren’t any major injuries and everyone is handling the cold well.  Chad is exactly like me: I LOVE the cold!

To be honest, I expect the first few weeks of posts to be rather vanilla because we’re just starting out.  Once we start digging into the meat of training and the mileage increases, the body starts to experience different things.  Injuries and weaknesses are exposed.  Nutrition problems arise when you get above 13/14 miles.

This should be interesting to see how a group of really fast runners handle the mileage when we creep into the 16 & 18 mile runs!

Chad Hetrick

ChadAge: 32
How many miles did you run this week: 30.5 miles
How does your body feel: My body feels good. My calves are a little over worked from messing with my foot strike and I fought a little bit of a cold bug but other than that great.
Was the cold a factor: I love cold weather. I’d choose 20 degrees over 80 any day of the year.
Did you keep the pace you were expecting: I haven’t focused much on pace during runs yet. I’ve just been running by feel and putting in the miles. Looking back on my week today I’m happy with where I am. I’ll pay more attention to it next week when I start doing track workouts.
Any injuries: Nothing new or out of the ordinary. I constantly do strengthening exercises to keep last year’s hip injury from flaring up. If I quit it starts to come back.

Christy Taylor

ChristyAge: 42 (will be 43 in January)
How many miles did you run this week: I ran a total of 17 miles this week.
How does your body feel after running this week:  Body feels good!
Was the cold a factor: 
 The cold wasn’t bad. I have not been training regularly since November and have noticed my endurance has taken a hit. I expect to have that restored within the next few weeks.
Did you keep the pace you were expecting: Faster/slower?  I averaged at a 8:38/mile pace. Considering the amount of slacking over the past month, this is what I expected.
Any Injuries:  I had some swelling in my right knee (this is new). I took a few ibuprofen, elevated and iced it last night. The swelling is almost gone.

 

Zella Classen

ZellaAge: 22
Week 1 Recap: Zella is starting this week!

 

John Doddy

JohnAge: 50
How many miles did you run this week:  26.4 miles
How does your body feel after running this week: Was the cold a factor? Overall, I felt great during and after running. The cold was only a factor on the really cold and windy days because it made breathing difficult.
Did you keep the pace you were expecting? Faster/slower? My training pace was about what I was expecting at this point. I ran the Opening Night Finale 5K and was really pleased with my 7:06 per mile race pace.
Any injuries: No

 

Lexi Garrison

Lexi
Age: 31 (32 in February)
Week 1 Recap: “After my holy cow it’s time to start training again moment earlier this week coupled with the holidays and deciding to run the full, I would say this week was a success. I did only get in a total of 9 miles between two runs and my intention was to start out this week at a slow pace since I hadn’t run since the Rt 66 half. The weather and my schedule had me putting my miles in at the gym, so I’m looking forward to next Saturday! No injuries either!”

02 Jan

Let’s rock some goals in 2015!

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After reflecting on everything that happened in 2014, I realized that one of my biggest mistakes came in setting goals and attempting to follow through with them.  The year started out really well with the training session for the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon.  But when I DNF’d the race because of unforeseen circumstances, it did more than just hurt my pride.  It was a slap in the face to all my training.  And no matter how much I tried to keep on training, that DNF was sitting in my head and just wouldn’t go away.

I mulled up enough strength to get through the Redman Half Ironman in September.  But I still had issues completing the race.

When I first started running, I would set small goals and work very hard to accomplish them.  I’m talking about running 500 yards and using my inner monologue to push me to run 1000 yards.  Those little events pushed me to run farther and faster.  But along the way, I seem to have dismissed those little events and goals as beneficial to my training and racing.

2015 will be different.  I try to hold back from making resolutions, instead opting for generalizations to help me achieve goals.  In 2011, I vowed to get healthy  in 2012.  That’s it.  No details.  It worked because I ended up setting tiny goals that worked into habits over time.

That being said, I think I will approach my 2015 goals in the same fashion.  If I say I’m going for a 4 mile run, push it a little farther to say, 4.50.  If I want to run an 8:50 pace, push it a little farther to an 8:40 pace.  For me, little things like that help me meet the original goal.  If I run the 4 miles and I don’t push it to 4.50, I’ve already made 100% of my goal.  Anything more is just icing on the cake.

Here’s to 2015 being a spectacular year!

31 Dec

#16WeeksToGlory – A Journey Through Marathon Training Season

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Route66MarathonIn the fall of 2012, I ran my first marathon at the Route 66 marathon in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  It was a hellish experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything.  I was in the wrong shoes and completely under-trained.  I had to take 2 painkillers in the middle of the race because my feet hurt so badly.

But at mile 20 all I could think about was how the next marathon was going to be better!

The next marathon was the OKC Memorial Marathon in April of 2013.  I finished a dismal 5:46:48, almost five minutes slower than my first marathon at Tulsa.  After those horrible races, I vowed to get serious about marathons and train properly.  I took an entire year to run another full marathon, which would be the 2014 OKC Memorial Marathon.

I trained my butt off.  I was pushing hard on the long, 20 mile runs.  I was doing hundreds of squats and lunges each week to strengthen my legs and I could feel my body getting stronger.  I was on pace to run a 4:20:00.  That’s almost and hour and a half better than my last two marathons.

What I didn’t account for was a horrific change in weather.  A storm ripped through and delayed the race two full hours.  Once the race did start, I was dehydrated and my nutrition was screwed.  I knew at mile 6 I was going to DNF.  I lasted until mile 17 where I fell into a medical tent and had to have my wife come get me.

I decided that the Baton Rouge Beach Marathon would be my redemption marathon in December.  Unfortunately, I blew off training and ended up running the half.

All of this got me thinking: How do other people train for their first marathon?

I decided to find out.  I put out a call on my running club’s Facebook page and found five people willing to share their training stories with me for sixteen weeks of training, culminating in the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon.

Their stories will be tracked on the 16 Weeks To Glory page on this blog and through the #16WeeksToGlory hashtag on Facebook and Twitter.

Head on over to read their stories.

 

23 Dec

2014 Milestones: What were yours?

Photo Dec 21, 4 11 34 PM

A lot happened in 2014 in my life.  We finally got the carpet cleaned.  I had a new fence installed.  I might, or might not, have touched myself a record number of times.  That’s for me, my god, and a few security cameras to know!

Oh yeah, and I completed a Half Ironman in September.

Two and a half years ago I never would have imagined I would compete in triathlons.  Hell, I never thought I’d run a 5k!

2014 was the year Kurt was born.  It was a year of COOP F5, a wonderful IPA I hated for many years!  I now have a slight addiction!

2014 brought two failed marathons and personal records in half marathons.  It brought PR’s in 5ks and kidney failure in triathlons.

And out of all of this, it was the best year ever.  I accomplished more this year than I ever thought I would in my entire life.

But what makes this the best year ever is the presence of new friends.

I hate the state of Oklahoma.  The right wing, psychopathic, homophobic, greedy, idiotic politics of this state combined with blind religious philosophy is sickening.  But I can’t leave.  And the ONLY reason I can’t leave is because of my social circle.  I can’t beat it.  I have the greatest friends in the whole world.  Most of them are just as insane as me and that’s why I love them!

So what did you do this year?

Here’s to 2015!  Let’s make it an even better year!

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22 Dec

The 2014 Santa Pub Run

Photo Dec 20, 7 58 58 PM

Ever wonder what “drunk” looks like running through the streets of downtown Oklahoma City?

Wonder no more.  I have pictures to prove it…..and I’ll leave it at that.

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12 Dec

Crispy Tofu: It’s not gross….like you’d think!

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My wife and I eat at Lemongrass a lot.  Lemongrass is a Thai restaurant in Edmond, Oklahoma with some amazing food.  Since we’re vegetarian, we don’t eat any of the meats that come with the dishes, instead, opting for tofu.

Well, I do….Jen won’t eat soy products!

I only order the Pad Thai with tofu, 1 star for the “spiciness” because anything over that will set you asshole on fire.

The tofu has a nice crispy texture on the outside that I love.  However, when I try to make the same type of tofu at home, I can’t ever get the outside to crisp up like Lemongrass.

Well, Slate.com has come to the rescue!  This morning I opened up Slate to find a video on how to make your tofu crispy like restaurants do.

Who knew the freezer would do the trick?

On another note, I’m sure you’ve noticed my recipe section is missing.  For some reason I can’t get the search function to work properly.  So, until I find a solution, I will not display the recipes.  I hope to find something soon.

Happy cooking!

{feature image stolen from here!}

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