Thursday, April 23, 2015

On a Running Funk

I hate this part. But the good thing is, that usually when this things happen you come out better and stronger on the other end so I have that to look forward to.

I'm in a running funk.

After the Puerto Rico Half Marathon, I've been having a lot of problems with my runs. Everything hurts, I can't sustain speed, everything feels wrong and weird. I'm hating every minute of it.

Some of it is the temperature change. As it gets warmer here, performance goes down along with it but there is more to it than that I think. It doesn't hurt that my work schedule has been absolutely crazy the past few weeks. The lack of continuity is surely adding to the situation. I was also sick recently so a lot of stuff going on right now.

But worry not my friends! Things like this happen all the time and this too, shall pass. Next week, registration for the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend opens to the general public and finally signing up for the Goofy Challenge should light the fire under my butt that I need to get out of it.

How about you guys... anyone doing Marathon Weekend in 2016?

Friday, April 17, 2015

Four Ways To Energize Your Day & Clear Your Brain - Jeff Galloway Tips

OK gang here is another set of great tips from the Main Man, the Michael Jordan of running, the Purvaeyor of the Run/Walk Method, Jeff Galloway!

It's natural to become focused on the big things in life, and worry about outside forces, building stress.  A few simple lifestyle adjustments can result in greater control over attitude and energy, while reducing stress and fatigue.  Yes, you can exert more control over your life, produce positive attitude hormones, and blend together body, mind and spirit by planning and taking action.
•        Walk or run, one day and a walk (or cross train) the next.  While the exertion will wake up the muscles, you're away from the phone, allowing the mind a little freedom.  Most who start with a blank mental state, finish their exercise session with the day planned, and a few new ways to deal with problems.  Others like to walk/run during lunch hour, while munching on an energy bar.  This can clear out morning stress and prepare mind-body for the challenges of the afternoon.  Many evening exercisers believe that the weight of the day's stress is erased or contained with the after-work workout.  Scheduling these outings gives you control over your existance.
•        Don't sit--walk!.  The addition of a few extra short walks, throughout the day, will energize the body and activate the mind.  Park farther away from work, the food store, the transit station, etc.  Many of my clients use a step counter for motivation and calorie counting.  It helps to find one that is consistent and reliable (usually @ $30).  Shoot for 10,000 steps a day.  You are rewarded for  getting out of your chair (or  the couch) more often.  These short walks burn fat, which adds up (up to 30 pounds a year!).  The best reward is the head clearing effect, which can power you through the mid morning or mid afternoon energy crises.  Even a 3-4 minute “recess” walk at work, can result in clearer thinking, more energy, and greater self-confidence.   
•        Eat more frequently.  Each time you eat, even a small snack, you'll boost your energy level. The longer you wait to eat, the more likely your metabolism will slump into drowsiness and laziness.  This also means that you're not burning many calories.  If you divide up your daily calorie budget into 6-9 snacks a day you'll burn more fat (up to 10 pounds a year).  Eat a snack every 2-3 hours, and you can feel better all day.  It helps to choose foods that have (percentage of calories vs total calories) about 20% protein, about 15% fat and the rest in complex carbohydrate.  This combination will leave you satisfied longer with fewer calories consumed.  To experience a fat loss, consumption can be managed through websites or journals.  For more information, see A WOMAN'S GUIDE TO FAT BURNING by Jeff and Barbara Galloway.
•        Help someone exercise. The psychological benefits are significant when you help someone improve the quality of their life.  Offer to walk (run, hike) with your spouse, parent, friend co-worker, child—or all of the above.  My books WALKING & GETTING STARTED have proven programs with motivation which can lead you  and your “coach-ee” through the training. 

Be sure to visit for more information.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

To get the medal... or not.

One discussion that often pops up over at Team Run Disney (and if you are even mildly interested in Run Disney events you should check it out) is the "Should I get a medal even if I don't finish the race?" question. To put it softly, it is a very controversial issue. Not only do people feel very strongly about whatever position they have taken on the matter but they also defend said position with passion and warfare.

Just in case you don't know what I'm talking about, let me frame it for you: You are running a race. For the sake of making things more interesting, lets assume that you have invested a lot of time, sweat and effort training for this race. As luck would have it, you are forced to cut it short and not finish. This will probably be a hard blow to take after all you have invested to get to that day. Then, a race official hands you a medal even though you did not finish. What do you do?
My first race medal
This is a particularly hot topic in Run Disney circles because, while in many races you don't even get the chance to choose whether to take it or not, it seems to be Disney policy (based on the experiences that many have shared on this subject) to give you the medal no matter what. In fact, many people have taken the medal only after much insistence from the cast member handing it to them, having declined to take it many times over. I'm only assuming here. I don't know what is the official position on this but my guess, this is just Disney being Disney. They could very well be thinking "Hey, you paid for the medal. It was part of the entry fee so you should get what you paid for." I could be wrong of course.

But the fact remains that you are being handed the medal. Do you take it?

This is where it gets ugly. There are many people who feel they should not take it. No matter what. Their position is very simple: The medal is a symbol of completion. You earn it for finishing a race. You don't finish, then you should not get the medal. This, I feel is completely fair and understandable. In fact, this is where I personally stand on this issue. If I were handed the medal in that situation, I would not accept it. Even if the person handing it to me insists, believe me, I can insist right back. No medal for me. Period.

Now this is where it gets a bit complicated, because if the reason for not accepting the medal seems simple and straightforward, the reasons people have for taking the medal are as varied and numerous as there are grains of sand on a beach. Furthermore, I think they are all valid as well.
The brass ring
I'm one of those people who likes to look at both sides of an argument so even when I feel strongly about where I stand personally, I can totally understand why someone would feel the opposite way. In fact, I will often defend the "other side" just to stir up friendly discussion sometimes. I have talked with, and read many stories of people -some who I admire very much- who have been swept at Disney races and were handed the medal and they have taken it and I understand the reasoning behind every single one of those stories. Like I said, there are many reasons but to mention some of them, people have taken the medal as reminder to do better next time and try harder. To them, the medal becomes a symbol as well. Others have given them away to people they feel deserve them. Heck, some have even taken them just because they don't want to argue with the cast member and they accept them just so they will shut up. I can totally understand that.

And you know what? It could just be that you felt  you paid a lot of money to run this race and you just want something to show for it. Disney races are expensive! I might not agree, but heck, they are indeed expensive. More power to you.

And yet, the discussion pops up and people get upset. I don't understand this. If you would not take the medal, fine. But if someone else does, why would that upset or anger you? You didn't take it. You followed what you thought was right. The fact that someone else did will not change that. Worse yet, you might not know the reasoning behind that person's decision to do so. When I hear about someone taking the medal, my immediate question is "what happened?" Not to argue with them, but because I really want to hear their story. It does not upset me at all. 

Me, taking the medal after saying I would not. Now, that would upset me. Then again, like Dennis Miller used to say: "That's just my opinion. I could be wrong."

Monday, April 6, 2015

Clapton is a Runner

Eric Clapton is not a runner. For the sake of clarity, Eric Clapton is a British guitar player. A very good and famous guitar player. He became famous way before my time, around the 1960's and had a kind of resurgence in the 90's after filming an MTV Unplugged. (Do they still do that?) I admire this man as a guitar player. He once released an album of blues covers called "From the Cradle" that I still listen to today. Great stuff.

Back in the 60's, when he first rose to fame graffiti started to pop up all over London that said "Clapton is God". It was the 60's and whoever wrote that was probably a big Clapton fan and doing a lot of drugs but it stuck and it became kind of a thing during the time.

Anyway, fast forward to the 1990's and Guitar World Magazine is interviewing Eric Clapton about his new album (the aforementioned "From the Cradle") and they asked him what he thought about the whole "Clapton is God" debacle. He started laughing and said "Well, I felt it was quite justified to tell you the truth."

He was joking of course, but he went on to explain that to him -especially during that time- perfecting his craft was everything. He took guitar playing very seriously and often got mad when his peers did not. They would play to be famous, for the parties, for the drugs, for the girls... " I was playing to save the f@#!ing world." (his words) It's not that he felt it had to be important to anyone else. It was the most important thing to him.

That interview always stuck with me and reviewing my feelings after the Puerto Rico Half Marathon, I'm reminded of it once again. Also, I have been sick these past few days so it could just be the meds talking here, but I understand perfectly what he meant by that because I feel the same way about running.

I am constantly talking about my issues during races and how it all amounts to me leaving everything on the race course like my life depended on it. 

My running is not gonna change the World. It's a speck of dust on a speck of dust in a universe of things happening on this planet. It's insignificant and if I stopped running today no one would care or notice. It's not like I'm gonna win and even if I did would it really mean anything? However, when I toe the line at a race; I don't care if it's the local 5K or the Disney Marathon, I run it like the fate of the entire World depended on it. I take it very seriously. From the moment the National Anthem starts to be played, I switch to "Freak Mode" and everything else doesn't matter. Sometimes to the detriment of my race strategy.

After pondering the events of my last race race, I have decided that this is not a bad thing.

Sure, it might get in the way of some well laid-out plans once in a while but that just means I have to work a little bit harder to achieve some goals. Also not a bad thing. Sometimes I think that if I lighten up a bit about it, not take as seriously, things would be a little easier come race time. Losing that passion, even if it is on something as trivial as running, that would be a bad thing. If it didn't mean so much to me, I probably would not be doing it.

So adjustments will be made and I will try to improve and train smarter but come race time, I will run like if I was one of the elites in the front corral. I will run like cute puppies will be tortured if don't. Yes, I will run to save the f@#!ing World because someone has to after all.