Running, Biking, Triathlons, Swimming, Snowshoeing; what's next? Sal's does it all.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Big News! (actually more like little news)

The news is in regard to how much I currently weigh. Today's official weigh-in, 179.4lbs! I haven't seen the 170's on my scale since November 2014. That is a 10lb weight loss since January 10th. The pounds aren't exactly flying off my body, but at least the scale is generally going in the right direction.
My short-term goal is four more pounds off by March 14, the day of the first "spring" race, Johnny's Running of the Green in downtown Rochester.

What is the secret to my current weight loss you ask?
1 - Running on the treadmill at Monroe Community College where it is about 70 degrees and I sweat like summer time.
2 - Only moderate alcohol intake over a week, saving many empty calories and bloating.
3 - No desserts, except for a night once or twice a week where I eat 2-3 cookies.
4 - More salads for lunch and sometimes dinner.
5 - Lifting weights consistently and for longer time.
6-  Continuing my February running streak of 1-8 miles everyday.
7 - Convincing myself I really don't need a doughnut or cookie or cake someone brought in to work and put in the break room for sharing. (the cake was chocolate, 5 inches high, lots of frosting and looked delicious - it was hard to walk out of the room without a piece).
8 - More protein in my diet, a bit less on carbs.
9 - Liking being able to move up to another belt buckle hole instead of stretching the belt to fit at all.
10 - Jan providing motivation by bouncing her hand off my previous Buddha Belly and saying she has never seen me so fat.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Weight for me

The Running Times article "Your Fastest Weight" discusses why losing some body weight, and how much to lose, may be beneficial to your race times. Of course not overdoing the weight loss and proper nutrition are also key. Being "skinny-fat" isn't going to help in the short or long-term.

Using the Racing weight calculator my current weight, age, approximate body fat (yes it would be better to know this exactly) and a 10k race time from November 2014, it was calculated that I should weigh 163lbs. This is a far cry from my current 180, which is actually down 9.6lbs from my record high weight during the first week of January 2015.

If I think back through the thirty plus years I've been running, 163lbs on my 6'1" frame makes sense for me being able to run as fast as possible. Besides being young, my best times were when I was 160-167 pounds. I'm not the kind of athlete who can race well carrying any extra weight.

My pants size will drop, a rib or two may show, but if I'm racing fast for my age, at least being relevant in my current age group, that's okay with me.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

It's All About Gym

It's six degrees outside (again) with 20-35mph winds. I opted to run during my lunch hour at work. Yes I am lucky there are one or maybe two days a week I have this opportunity. I realize that.

My February streak of running everyday is still going strong after 19 days and it's a 21 day streak if I include the last two days of January. My mileage is not high, but I have been running anywhere from one mile to seven miles everyday. My best seven day period is 31 miles, not bad, but I would like to see my average be 35-40 miles. If I only do one or two miles it's always on my treadmill and then I bike or more likely, lift weights.

The weather in upstate NY has been horrible since I decided to begin this streak. Right now we are having the 5th coldest February in recorded history (after the next two days we might move up a place or two - yippee!). We have had around 40 inches of snow to go with it. Yesterday I ran five miles outside. The neighborhood streets were like running on quicksand, just sucking my feet in and getting no traction.

Today there were a mix of students and staff in the fitness room, maybe 15 people total. While I was running I looked around a little and found it funny that in between sets or when slowing to a walk on whatever machine they were on, people were checking their phones. Maybe they were selecting new music? Reading a text? Facebook? I didn't ask. As the oldest one in the room it's probably no surprise I have no idea what they are connected to. Me, I'm connected to the noise that naturally occurs in my head, with some background music vibrations coming through the speakers in the room.

There is one television, but it's not in a location where I can see it without hanging on to the treadmill. Of course listening is out for anyone. The tv is on, but there is no closed-captioning or sound, I'm not sure what the purpose is?

Years ago in high school we always had to be concerned about the clock in gym class. Get dressed into gym clothes fast, learn/play a sport, back to the locker room, shower (mandatory) and dress all in 40 minutes. That was ridiculous. Depending on the sport I was still drenched in sweat going to the next class.

At work it's about the same. Hurry to the gym (5 minute walk), dress for running, run for 30-40 minutes, sometimes shower (the showers at MCC are not good, no water pressure), get dressed again, usually still sweating on the way back to the office, trying to make it in an hour. There are tall high dryers in the locker room, I guess for people who have hair? I used it today thinking my balding head might dry but also wondering if it would make me sweat more. It's a tossup, plus I look kind of silly.

I have run on treadmills in several fitness facilities and hotel "gyms". Why is the heat always so damn high? And you aren't supposed to have a water bottle? Is this some kind of Turkish Torture Chamber? Years ago I asked the fitness manager at one facility if he could turn the heat down. He said no, the weightlifters like it warmer and besides, most people didn't sweat like me. I took that as a compliment even if people kept two or three treadmills away from me. Sometimes I like my privacy. 

Tomorrow (Friday) the gym is closed, I'm not sure why. The high temperature is going to be about 6 with wind chills in the minus 20's again. I think it will be another treadmill day, this time at home after work where I can turn off the heat in our basement and watch my own tv without sound or crank up the radio and not listen to my own weird thoughts. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Down But Not Out

Yesterday, February 9th, was the eleventh day of my running streak, ninth if we are just talking about running all of February. Mother Nature is against me. Since I declared my goal of running everyday in February we have had at least 28 inches of snow, with two 24 hour periods of 10+ inches each. February second the storms were bad enough to close all the county schools and community colleges.

Jan and I shoveled all day. Actually we have shoveled snow almost everyday this month. Our driveway piles are almost five feet high. But I have kept running, with a minimum of one mile and a maximum of seven so far. I'm lucky as we have a treadmill in the basement and I can sometimes use one at Monroe Community College where I work. But I have also gone outside, usually running in my shoes with screws in them for traction.

Our roads are not clear of snow or slush, making for a messy, slow, sloppy, cold-footed run. Yesterday at 2pm at work I didn't feel like running. I could see my short streak ending. I had a mug of coffee which helped a bit with my energy level. I went home and shoveled the 5 inches of snow that fell during the day (Jan and I had already shoveled 4 inches in the morning before work).

Still I was undecided. Wine, Bourbon or run? I decided I could at least go in the basement and do 10 minutes on the treadmill. I got to five and stopped to answer a text message. I began running again and made it to 12, another text. But the texts were okay, mentally I just needed a break. Then I decided I could at least do two miles even if it was slow. Soon I was at 3 miles and then 30 minutes. I was tired again for some reason. I stopped for thirty seconds and thought, just get to four miles, it's only another five-six minutes of easy running. And I did it. Four miles on a day that could have been an easy 0.

It's nice looking at my running log book and seeing no empty spaces, no zero miles days. Now let's see if I can keep the streak going through this weekend when we will have high temperatures of 2!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


Sorry, this is not about streaking naked through the village streets, but rather my February goal of running everyday. I was inspired to begin a running streak by a friend who made it through the month of December running at least one mile everyday. For now let's call him Mike. At the suggestion of his wife, when motivation began to lag a bit, Mike would hop on the fitness facility treadmill and get in a mile, which made continuing the streak easier from a physical and mental perspective.

Most weekends Mike would get one run in of 10-15 miles, so it's not like he was going a short distance just to say he ran everyday. Mike ended up running a half-marathon in January, finishing in the top 3% of his age group, so there seems to be some correlation between the streak and racing well.

I would like the same result to occur from my streak (racing well beginning with Johnny's Running of the Green 5 mile race). It is now Monday, February 3rd, but my streak actually began on Friday, January 30. Of course the Rochester area had 15 inches of snow on Monday with schools closed and side roads covered all day. Instead of my treadmill though, I felt the need to get outdoors and run. With my Brooks Running shoes that I equipped with 8 metal screws traction wasn't an issue. My 33 minute run was at a slow pace yet due to the snow seemed like a track workout.
I think there are 10 reasons for me to continue on my running streak:

1. I only lost 5lbs in January, the streak may help get rid of the next 12 lbs.
2. My legs and aerobic capacity will improve.
3. February is 28 days, much easier to continue the streak than the 31 days of some months.
4. If I go to the treadmill on days I'm not motivated thinking I just need to run a mile, maybe it will end up being a three mile run, which will be good for me. If not, I still get the mile.
5. My weekly mileage will naturally increase, which I need to get faster.
6.The month, which began with brutal weather and seems to be continuing with that pattern for at least another week, might go by faster?
7. My neighbors will think I am nuts. It's okay to be different, I embrace that feeling.
8. I can bring out one of the new pair of running shoes stored under my bed on a day motivation is lagging. New shoes always make me feel like I'm light-footed, running easily on air.
9. My mental outlook has already changed and hopefully I can stay positive about the streak and not like it's some burden.
10. I'll have something to brag about. Not that most people care, but it'll make me feel good anyhow.

Question - Does snowshoeing count as running? In the past I have recorded them as separate activities. What do you think?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

And the Winner is....

Yes, I won the WROC-TV week 15 Pigskin Pickem online contest. Each week hundreds of local NFL football fans like myself picked the winners of every game. The tiebreaker was the final score of the Monday night football game.
Well, week 15 I only missed picking one game correctly (shear luck). It came down to the tiebreaker, which I lost. Extreme depression overcame me knowing how close I had been to being a grand prize winner. But then today, January 28 I received an email from the television station stating that the first place person never picked up their prize, so it is mine!!
Go ahead and make fun of me, but soon Jan and I will be feasting on our large party size pizza and two orders of boneless wings from Mark's Pizzeria and another day a Moe's Restaurant meal via our $25 gift card.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Growth of Road Races

Can you guess the most popular race distance for 2014? The 5k still holds the number one position with 15,200 races. There were 3,200 10k's, 1,020 8k/5mile races 1,900 half marathons and 850 marathons. There were also 4,400 races of "other" distances.

That is one heck of a lot of races. Half-marathon finishers grew from 612,000 in 2006 to 1,960,000 for 2013, a 300% increase! Sixty-one percent of half-marathon finishers are female. The One America Indiana 500 festival led with 34,000 finishers. The median time has slowed by 3 minutes for males and females, from 1:58 in 2006 to 2:01 in 2013 for men and 2:16 (2006) to 2:19 (2013) for females.

The biggest increase has been the number of people who take longer than three hours to finish - a 13:44 pace. It comes as no surprise to me that 3 of the top 5 half-marathons with the most number of 3+ hour finishers are; Disney Princess (11,000), Walt Disney World (7,343) and Disneyland (6,400). The two others making the top five are San Francisco and One America 500 Indiana. Disney usually doesn't have to worry about public roadways to close down, has lots of staff to assist with the races, built in safety and security personnel and wants to make sure you enjoy the experience. For every person finishing the race there are probably another three who come to the park.

On a semi-related note, a new race timing organization has come to the Rochester, NY area. Racewire. They are currently in thirteen states and, for this region anyhow, seem to be competing directly with YellowJacket Racing and Score-This! They already took Vino & the Beast and Mind the Ducks 12 hr races away from YJR, or maybe YJR just didn't want those races anymore? Hopefully the competition is good for runners and doesn't just benefit the timing companies.