Racers On Your Mark, Get Ready, Get Set, Go

Running 1 Comment »

The big day is finally here.  Well it will be tomorrow, the 2008 St. Jude Memphis Marathon.  It’s bitter sweet.  Although I’m very excited about finishing tomorrow, I’m somewhat sad. I’ve spent the past 5 months training, 11 if you include the Germantown Marathon (when I got sick two weeks before the race). After tomorrow, there won’t be anything to train for until March.

Well, I’m sure that I’ll find something to train for, or take that time to find a new power song.

For those of you who are braving the cold weather, enjoying the sunshine, the cold beer afterwards, and having your spirit lifted by the patients, parents, and loved ones at St. Jude . . . GOOD LUCK!!!!

Only 21.097 km (13.1 miles) to go.

A Perfect 10

Running Add a Comment »

This year’s St. Jude Memphis Marathon is coming up fast, December 6th, 2008.  This race can’t get here fast enough.  Last year was my first half marathon and while it was a huge personal accomplishment I definitely felt the pain of being a rookie.  Wearing the wrong socks, not hydrating enough, and not running enough before hand.  I believe that I only got up to 9 miles during training and my mid-week runs should have been taken more seriously.  I paid for those mistakes by feeling hung over almost day and two blisters.

However, I was to not be beaten.  This year I have trained not only harder, but more efficiently.  I completed my 10 mile run yesterday and it felt great.  Most importantly I felt great afterwards.  The key being that I brought food with me on my run and ate a little bit around mile 4.5 and mile 8.5, along with staying hydrated with a mixture of Gatorade.

It was the perfect 10.

Only 3.1 miles to go.

Garmin Forerunner 305 vs Nike+ Sport Kit

Nike+, Reviews, Running, Technology 1 Comment »

Last month my wife brought home a Garmin Forerunner 305 that her company wanted her to test out.  She didn’t have the time or the energy to test it herself, so she asked me if I would be their guinea pig.  I couldn’t jump in that mouse maze fast enough!  It was the perfect opportunity to perform a head-to-head comparison of the Garmin Forerunner 305 vs the Nike+ Sport Kit.

The calibration for the Garmin took about two minutes.  You have to be outside when you turn the Forerunner on so it can sync with the GPS satellites.  After I zeroed everything out and strapped on the heart monitor, I was off to the races.

The course that I ran was relatively straight and covered a distance of 1.2 miles.  When I finished the Garmin had recorded a distance of 1.27 miles and the Nike+ chip had recorded a distance of 1.19 files.

So, at the end of the run, which one was better?

Unfortunately there isn’t a definitive answer, not from this weekend warrior.  Personally, I prefer the Nike+ chip because:

  • It has an easy setup
  • The music
  • Better online community
  • Less hardware to manage
  • Much cheaper

However, the Garmin Forerunner 305 does have:

  • Heart rate monitor
  • GPS mapping
  • Lap history
  • Slightly more accurate distance

I would recommend the Garmin Forerunner for the serious, hardcore athlete who models their training after a chapter in Lance Armstrong’s book.  For the everyday runner, I can’t endorse the Nike+ Sport Kit enough.  For the price, I don’t think you can beat the Nike+ experience.

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot

Running, Tips Add a Comment »

While I was training for the half marathon last year, I was fortunate I didn’t have to experience any extreme temperatures or humidity. The day of the race I think it got close to 70 degrees . . . in December.

This time around I’m having to experience extreme Memphis heat and humidity. It doesn’t matter if it’s 6 am, 12 noon, or 8 pm, it’s always hot and muggy. Even when I’m done with my run and get cleaned up I still can’t seem to stop sweating for at least 2 hours.

I completed a 5 mile run last week and I felt as if I’d run a marathon. Even with all the Gatorade and water that I carry with me on my runs, the hot weather is a formidable adversary.

In order to keep up with my training obligations, I’ve been reading up on how to run SAFELY through the hottest parts of the year. Here are some tips that have come in handy:

  1. For long runs that are held on Sunday, preparation should begin on Saturday. Eat light and drink LOTS of water.
  2. Slow down. When it’s extremely humid outside, sweat won’t evaporate as easily.
  3. If you’re new to running in the heat, start in the hottest part of the day, and start slow. Take a short walk or run a few easy miles a couple of times a week for the first few weeks. “Spending all your time in air-conditioning and then expecting to run well outdoors in the heat is not going to cut it,” says William Roberts, M.D., former president of the American College of Sports Medicine and the medical director of the Twin Cities Marathon.
  4. Wear socks made of synthetic fibers that wick moisture away from your skin to help prevent blisters and athlete’s foot.
  5. Drink adequate fluids 30 - 45 minutes before you exercise and then a cupful every 10 - 15 minutes while exercising. After exercising, drink more fluid than you think you need. Sport replacement drinks are superior to water, especially if you’re running longer distances and times (over 60 - 90 minutes). The electrolytes and carbohydrates in sport drinks will help speed your recovery from the stress of fluid loss and your long distance run. Sport replacement drinks also taste great, encouraging you to drink more than you otherwise might.
  6. Dress lightly and wear light-colored clothes. Avoid cotton t-shirts, which will become soaked, heavy, and prevent evaporation, which is how your body cools itself.

Mini Me

News, Nike+, Websites 6 Comments »

MINI Me - Cory

Man, it’s been so long since I’ve had time to sit down and write I almost forgot my login. Nonetheless, I was able to navigate the archives in my head to bring you what I humbly believe is one of the greatest features of the Nike+ site. No, it’s not the new online training program (the one that will set a custom training program up for you), nor is it any of the various widgets that are available for download (desktop and screensaver flavors). It’s the “My Nike+ Mini“, truly the greatest thing since sliced bread.

To begin the creation of your little sidekick, click on the “My Nike+ Mini: Create Your Own” image, in the lower right-hand corner of the Nike+ website, beneath the “Last Run” dashboard (If you can’t find the link, try looking under the “Runs” menu). From there, the creation wizard makes it easy to customize the look of your Nike+ Mini. You’re able to customize from a stock selection of hair, eyes, mouth, nose, shoes, clothing and even facial hair.

After you’ve created your “Mini Me”, you have the option to download it as a screensaver or to add it as a widget to your Facebook account. All the more reason to pick up an iPod nano and a Nike+ Sport Kit. Who needs challenges when you can create a flash version of yourself? Note: likeness will vary.

I hope this is just a sample of many new features to come from the Nike+ website.

Going the Distance

Challenges, Nike+, Running Add a Comment »

Going the DistanceUsually, when I login to my Nike+ account, I view my personal challenges and the 400mToGo challenges. However, the other day I was cruising around some of the other Nike+ content and I came across the Distance Club.

Distance Club Milestones
100MI, 500MI, 1000MI, 2000MI, 3000MI, 4000MI, and 5000MI

The the basic mission of 400mToGo is to appeal to Nike+ runners of all abilities. When I came across the Distance Club, I couldn’t believe the tremendous distances that some of my fellow Nike+ runners had logged. I was especially amazed at how many people have reached the top three milestones:

Milestone: Number of Runners
3000MI: 105
4000MI: 34
5000MI: 14

User ChuckJonard, one of the 14 at the 5000MI milestone, has logged a total of 8,728.13 miles at an average pace of 19 minutes 32 seconds. What an accomplishment! I’ve definitely found my newest source of inspiration. These amazing accomplishments prove, with persistence, patience, dedication, and determination, nothing is impossible.

A Change of Pace

Running, Tips Add a Comment »

Ever since I purchased my Nike+ kit I’ve been relying on the collected data not only for motivation, but to track my training as well. I’m currently on hiatus from any serious training until June, when I start training for the St. Jude Memphis Marathon. My fellow bloggers and I have all expressed the need to train smart. Part of my “smart” training strategy is to give my body a break - especially my knees.

My current regimen now consists of three types of running:

  1. Up to 4 miles outside
  2. Running to the gym (~1.12 miles from my house), working out, and then running home
  3. Up to 4 miles on the treadmill

This has been my routine since early March and it feels great. My knees are holding up and I haven’t had any problems with motivation due to the fact that each workout is different.

This change of pace is helping keep me on track.

The Weekend Warrior - We Salute You

Running Add a Comment »

It seems the past two weeks have been almost too much to bear, not just for me, but for everyone I’ve spoken to - my co-workers, my parents, the waitress at the bar last night, etc. The weather’s been horrible, work’s been piling up, and there’s definitely some sleep deprivation in there too. Despite all these obstacles, I still find myself running and working out, as do my colleagues, friends and acquaintances.

I’ve been thinking about the dedicated and talented athletes that will soon be participating in the Olympics. They’re the elite of the elite and have dedicated their entire lives to training and preparation. The recognition these athletes and their trainers receive is well deserved - medal or no medal. They made it to the highest level and should be proud.

You know who else should be proud? All of the weekend warriors out there, who, despite having kids, jobs, and other obstacles of life in their way, still lace-up their shoes and step onto the pavement. You might not receive a gold medal or have the national anthem playing for you in front of the entire world, but you’ve accomplished something just as worthwhile. We don’t have all the time in the world to train and may only be able to go running when it’s convenient, but we do what we can when we can. So, the next time you finish a race or just jog around the block, remember that you’ve accomplished a GREAT feat - you’ve stepped up to the challenge.

Champions do not become champions when they win the event, but in the hours, weeks, months and years they spend preparing for it. The victorious performance itself is merely the demonstration of their championship character. — T. Alan Armstrong

Zen and the Art of Running

Running, Tips 1 Comment »

Last week I was talking to a friend of mine who pays $120 an hour to a psychologist in hopes that the past, present, and future frustrations of his life will go the way of the dinosaur. Not to sound too much like Tom Cruise, but I told him that maybe he should try running.

Granted running isn’t for everyone, but it definitely isn’t as expensive as most forms of therapy. And, many people, yours truly included, receive the same results - the same clarity and relief that most professional psychotherapists offer. All you need is a good pair of shoes and the time you want to spend. Whether you want your “therapy” sessions to last half an hour, an hour, four hours, etc. is completely up to you. You can go any time of day that best suits your schedule. If you need to reschedule, no problem.

So, if you’re looking for the best form of meditation to help in all of life’s troubles and transgressions, lace up your shoes and hit the pavement.

The doctor will see you now.

2 Out of 3 Moms Recommend

Nike+, Reviews, Running Add a Comment »

For as long as I can remember, my mom has been a runner. So, what better gift to get for her birthday than a Nike+ kit. Now my mom, as I’m sure many other moms, isn’t the most technology-proficient person on the planet. At first she was a little hesitant in wanting to set it up and use it. However, after a bit of encouragement and salesmanship from me on the benefits of using the chip, she went off on her first run. Now with three runs logged, she is HOOKED.

Be creative with Mother’s Day this year and get her the gift that keeps on giving. Two out of three moms recommend the Nike+ Kit.