Sunday, January 23, 2011

Run to Lose and to Rid the Blues!

In June of 09, I weighed 215 lbs and had high cholesterol, elevated blood pressure, and didn't feel good about appearance, so I decided to try to do something about it.  I thought I was already running about 4 miles a day, but boy was I wrong.  I was eating whatever I wanted and I had a 38 to 40 inch waist.  Those damn chips!  I knew I had to change my habits or else!  I heard through a friend about the NIKE+ product Nike + iPod Sport Kit - White, ONE SIZE that would enable you to track your training, so I decided to give that a shot along with a significantly different diet.  The first time I used NIKE+, I started with my standard run only to find out I was running about 2.5 miles and at over 9 minutes a mile.  This was the start of a significant change in my life...
     On July 2nd, I started a training and diet program.  My goal for training was to increase my runs to 5 miles and not worry about anything except getting through it.  It took about 6 months to get my runs up to 5 miles.  I usually ran 5 days a week, but at some points would go 10 days in a row.  My times were coming down to around 8:30 minute mile and my weight came down to about 195.  I would log my miles diligently with NIKE+ and enter an occasional challenge here and there for motivational purposes.   Tiger Woods Microsoft Xbox 360 Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12 The Masters - PGATOUR12 would whisper in my ear...Congratulations, this is your furthest run yet!  During this time, my dieting became pretty strict.  I didn't count calories, but just tried to eat right.  Typically, I ate fruits, cheerios, and yogurt for breakfast; salads, soups, and flat bread turkey sandwich for lunch; and soups, salad with chicken, and whole wheat anything for dinner. I only drank water, milk, and coffee on a regular basis.  I also only drank light beer or red wine for dinner.  If I ate poorly the night before, I would train extra hard the next day to balance it out.
    During the spring of 2010, I entered a few races and increased my mileage per week and maintained my diet.  I also entered the NIKE+ Human Race and my first half marathon for motivation purposes.  During the spring, my weight came down to around 180, my waist size came down to 32 and I was feeling pretty good about myself.  I dropped my times down to around a 8:10 minute mile.  At that point, my NIKE+ system start to intermittently have problems (including Tiger ;), so I decided to give a Garmin GPS GARMIN Forerunner 210 GPS Enabled Watch with Heart Rate Monitor Bundle Pack, Black - Non watch a try.  Garmin actually maps your route and provides you details on mile splits and elevation.   This proved to be just what the doctor ordered. 
     In June 2010, I registered for my first 20 miler to be run in late September, so I started training relatively hard.  At this point, I did back off my diet by adding the occasional pizza, steak, burger, and, YES, THOSE DAMN CHIPS to add the extra fuel necessary to compensate for the extra miles.  During this period, I would alternate runs every other week.  The first week, I would run one 10 miler, four 5+ milers, and one 13+ miler.  The second week, I would run one 10 miler, and five 5+ milers.  During the period, my weight stayed about 180-183 and one month before the race, I got a pretty bad sinus infection and couldn't maintain my program.  I managed to get in four to five days of work, but at much lower mileage.  The last three weeks before the race, I tried to ratchet up my program and at the end of September, I successfully ran my first 20 miler at an average pace of 7:50 minutes a mile.  This was a great spirit lifter, but also I wasn't prepared for the after effects or the toll it would take on my body.  I started running two days after the race, but with much wear and tear.  I didn't know that you should back off for about a week or two before getting back into the mix.
    Since October, I've been running six days a week averaging just over 30 miles a week with times consistently at or below an 8 minute mile.  I have kept a fairly consistent diet, but have not been as strict (CHIPS).  My weight fluctuates from 182 to 185 and I am somewhere around between a 32-34 inch waist.  Now I'm ready for the next stage and have decided to sign up for a 10 miler in April to get it going.   My goal for 2011 is to improve my time, lose a few more pounds, and to start dieting and training for my first Marathon in October 2011!  MCM or Bust!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

What to Do, What to Wear....Winter Running is Here!

Are you hot or cold blooded?  I believe you should dress based how you adapt to the weather as you run. You should always layer up.   I am one of those people that always have cold feet, hands, and ears.  As I run, all my extremities heat up.  I prefer cold gear by Under Armour and dry fit loose fitting running tight by Nike,search,c-1+100701/pn-1/sl-dri%20FIT#l=shop,pdp,ctr-inline/cid-1/pid-364672/pgid-364674.  I also like to wear a cotton 'T' over my cold gear so as the cold gear wicks, I still am protected from the elements. 
Some other apparel to consider are running socks, head protection, gloves, and shoes.  I believe cold gear socks such as North Face*I7&GUID=a5f3302012d0a0aad5421fd2ff5f11dc&itemid=150417156588&ff4=263602_309572 are over-rated.  The material makes my feet sweat twice as much, then get cold during the run as air blows through the top of shoe.  I prefer thick cotton socks.  In terms of head protection, I use a balaclava by Spider  It serves two purposes.  For 15 degrees Fahrenheit (F) and below, I use it as advertised with a Nike dry fit Under Armour beanie.   For temps above 15 degrees F, I double up the neck piece of the balaclava and use it as a head band.  It works great and fits snugly over ears.  In terms of glove choice, I prefer cotton gloves by Adidas over the dry fit.  As with cold gear socks, dry fit gloves make my hand sweat and then run cold while running.  For shoes, I prefer a neutral, sturdy shoe such as Nike+ LunarGlide,search,searchList-lunarglide&ef_id=eWFNONCAAgAAwrw:20110121002353:s#l=shop,search,searchList-lunarglide or Brooks Ghost 3  This keeps your feet from getting injured on those hard winter surfaces.  I hope this helps those that keep it going during those dark cold winter months.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Clips or Tie?

Have you ever thought there was an easier way to deal with shoes than lacing them up?  Are you sick of your laces coming undone. I use clips.  Some may think its laziness, but I believe its convenient.  Here is how it works...Laces slide through slot of clip, adjust the fit, tie off ends permanently in a square knot, and cut off excess lace. Next time you run, just slide on your shoes and go.  There are several styles for shoes.  I prefer sqeezums.  These can be found on  Another innovative style, Yankz, can be found on
For a full list of different options, please try
If you are old school and want to stick to the traditional tie, you can either use the bunny ears method or Runners World suggests five ways to tie your shoes.  Please see link,7120,s6-238-267--12334-0,00.html
So whether its clips or tie, don't make that an excuse to not get out there and run!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

MJRunner 2010 Running Stats

Its nice to finish another year of training.  My goal this year was to clear 1,500 miles...Feel free to check out 2010 stats below.

MJRunner 2010 Mileage

Do you prefer wearing Gadgets or Running Naked?

When running, are you the type of person that has gadgets hanging from every limb?  I prefer running with water, GPS watch, and an IPOD.  I believe choice of gadgets is all about the type of running experience you want to have.  Many people prefer what I call "running naked."  Running naked is kind of like being granola--you prefer nature and want to enjoy the sound of your feet hitting the pavement.  The belief is that there is no need to spend your hard earned money on gadgets, when running should be an experience that stands on its own.  I'm on the other end of the spectrum. I prefer a little Eminem blaring in my ear for a pick me up and checking mile splits along the way.  Tracking the data allows me to keep motivated while showing me the progress that I'm making over a period of time.  I also need my water along the way and a headlight when running at night.  At the end of the day, I guess its all about choice, taste, individual preference, and the type of running experience that you prefer.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Running for Ideas Series - Running Mashups to Solve Obesity

While running today, I started thinking about how one could use today's running gadgets to help solve childhood obesity.  One could leverage mashups to create special communities for Kids to use running as an outlet to lose weight.  NIKE Plus, Garmin, Active and others could use their brilliant gadgets and web presence to mashup with  Its a kids technology world, so kids would relate to this idea.  For example, NIKEPlus and Apple could team up with innercity schools and donate their low priced sensor technology and outdated or refurbished 3rd generation ipods to schools.  Schools could create local, national, and international challenges with their NIKE Plus or Dailymile web presence to create competitions that would motivate kids.  PE teachers, nutritionists, pediatricians could market these competitions in the spirit of solving the obesity crisis with kids. and Healthcare companies could also be leveraged to promote this similar to the Apple model of the 80s-90's.   This mashup would be a win/win for all.  Free marketing for companies giving back, healthcare promoting what they should be, educating a healthy life at school, etc... So Run with this Idea!  Stay tuned for future Running for Ideas...

Running for Ideas

Running makes you think creatively.  Today's run below made me think of a new spin....Running for Ideas - See post to follow on Running Mashups for Solving Childhood Obesity

Running Shoe Review

Over the past 2,500 miles, I've tried several pairs of shoes to include:
By far my favorite shoe was the NIKE Lunar Trainer+ for its lightness and comfort.  The problem with Trainer+ is that they wear out way too fast.  NIKE Lunar Glide+ ranked up at the top as well.  At first, these shoes were too hard on foot.  However after going a size larger with an insert, these shoes turned out to be most durable, especially during the 30+ inches of snow and ice.  The most current shoe I'm testing is the Brooks Ghost3.  This shoe is much like the Glide+.  Hard, light, and durable.  The top of my foot is sensitive, so the Ghost 3 tougue is the best.  The best made, but worst wear is the Under Armour Spectre.  This shoe gave me high arch pain and caused IT Band problems as well!  The NIKE Dual Fusion is also one of the worst performers.  It tries to give you the Air Hurache boot fit, but you can actually feel the straps.  This shoe is not a running shoe in my opinion.  Wear it in style, but don't kick it!  Lets close this discussion with the NIKE Free 5.0.  The Free is a great shoe to wear if you want the feeling of running barefoot, but will give you blisters at first.  You must have strong knees if you go this route, but you can fly once you get the feel.  For all around best buy, I would go with NIKE Lunar Glide+.  Size up if you like more padding and go with the insert.  Beware, the Glide+ 2.0 is nothing like the original.  Its even harder!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Run with MJRunner: Running on Pillows

Run with MJRunner: Running on Pillows: "Woke up today to a surprise. Snow coated the ground. This is my favorite type of weather to run in. Running in 1/2 to 1 in..."

Running on Pillows

Woke up today to a surprise.  Snow coated the ground.  This is my favorite type of weather to run in.  Running in 1/2 to 1 inch of snow is like running on pillows!  My feet get relief from the day to day pounding.  Today I am 4 miles from reaching my 2,500 Mile mark dating back 18 months.
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