Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Running Without a Watch

Has anyone else given up the watch for good?  Has anyone tried to run once or twice a week without the watch to change up your routine?  How has your running improved?  If you haven’t tried Running Without a Watch, what is stopping you? 

I know that I am in the best shape of my life.  I am running faster, farther and more consistently than ever before.  How about you?

Monday, July 30, 2012

RIP William Staub

William Staub, the man responsible for bringing the treadmill into houses and gyms died at the age of 96.  

The treadmill had a tremendous impact in running career especially when I first started over 10 years ago.  I remember working out in my apartment complex’s gym, when I first wanted to lose weight.  When I moved apartments having a workout room was a huge factor in deciding to rent that apartment.  

I remember the first treadmill I purchased.  I used that machine so much that we had to have a repairman come and fix it more than once.  Eventually, it died on me.  I remember we set this up in the second bedroom of our apartment.  We also had a DVR cable box.  I would return home from work at 5:30pm and be on the treadmill from 6:00pm to 7:00pm each night.  I would then have a chance to get showered and have dinner cooking before my wife would arrive home from work around 8:00pm. 

I also can remember when we moved into our house. We placed the treadmill in the basement. By then, I had a DVR cable box and a DVD player.  This would ensure I would always have something to watch, especially what I call a “treadmill movie”.   Our first child was born by this time, so my routine changed.  Instead of working out after work, I would get up at 4:30am and be on the treadmill by 5:00am.  I would then watch the news, a movie, or a show I recorded and be off by 6:00am.  Most days, my workout would be complete before the rest of the household became awake. 

Whenever we went on a vacation or when I traveled for business, I used to make sure the hotel included a workout room with a treadmill.  I can still see the cool blue of the Atlantic when I would exercise on a cruise ship. 

RIP William Staub and thank you for the treadmill.

Do you incorporate the use of a treadmill in your workout?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Ode to the Fanny Pack

When I go running, I take my wallet, bus pass, phone and keys with me.  Some days I also carry my sunglasses case depending on the time of day I head out.  Since I carry so much with me, I discovered an easy solution.  I found an old Fanny Pack in the closest and have been using it ever since.  

I keep my phone in the outer most pocket for easy access in case my wife calls while I am out running.  My wallet, bus pass and keys all fit in the middle pocket.  Last but not least, I place my sunglasses case in the inner most pocket.   

The Fanny Pack even provides a built-in incentive.  As I started to lose weight I got to make the fanny pack tighter to keep it from falling down! 

What do you use to carry all of your items when you run?

Thursday, July 26, 2012


I am sure most of you are like me and want to pass on healthy habits to your children.  Many of us have been overweight or out of shape at some point in our lives and do not want our kids to go through the struggles we did.

I feel I am doing a good job.  My kids know about my running and are looking forward to the day when they can join me.  They assist me in my stretching when I am done and they do their own mock stretches as well.   I have mentioned this previously in “Exercising and the mini you’s”.

But as many of have learned, exercise is only half the battle.  You also need to eat right and not stuff yourself with junk food day in and day out.  However, there is a fine balance between teaching your kids to eat healthy while not depriving them of foods they crave.   I covered this in “Monkey see, Monkey Do”.

Once a week when we go to the mall, they can have one cookie and maybe a small slurpee.  They are content.  They do not need five cookies each or the extra-large slurpee. We do not keep cookies or ice cream in the house and they never see me snacking on junk food.  I am usually snacking on a piece of fruit or vegetable. 

The funniest thing happened the other day.  My kids were eating their homemade popsicles and I was eating carrot sticks.  They both put down their popsicles and wanted carrots instead.  Also, when they decided to watch a video, they start asking for an apple.  

Children want to be like their parents.  If they see mom and dad sitting on the couch eating chips, drinking soda and watching T.V., they will want to also.  If they see you go running every day and snack on fruits and vegetables, they will as well.

Which healthy habits have you passed onto your children?   

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Life Happens

The number one accomplishment that Running Without a Watch helped me to achieve is that it changed my view on running.  Running is now part of my life rather than being my life. As much as I want to run every day, life happens and I am not always able to get out there. 

Take last week.  On Monday one of our cats started showing signs of not feeling good.  We took her to the vet.  She didn’t improve and we took her back Tuesday night.  They ran some more tests.  On Wednesday we got the call.  It was cancer and the vet described it as “a bad cancer.”  His next words were, “I can take care of this tonight for you.”  It was that bad.  We went back that evening and put our wonderful loving member of the family to sleep.  It was a hard decision, but the correct one.  She has been with me for over 10 years.  She adored my children and my oldest called her “my kitty”. 
A pet doesn’t care if you are fat or if you run fast or run slow.  All they want is for you to pay attention to them.  Maybe even a belly rub.  

In the past when something like this occurred in my life, I would wind up eating myself sick and then feel too stuffed to go out for a run.  It was a cycle that would sometimes last for a week or two.  Not this time.  I didn’t go running for 4 days straight, but on the fifth day I got back out there without missing a beat.  I did not make any poor choices with food.  

Is running your life or part of your life?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Confessions of a Runner’s Wife

This is a guest post by my wife.  I wanted her to give a spouse’s perspective when married to a runner.

Confessions of a Runner’s Wife

DO recognize that running is an essential part of his life.

DON’T hesitate to ask him to take a night or two off for some much needed quality time together.

DO eat his delicious pre-run banana bread stored in the freezer; it’s a tasty and filling snack for a mom on the move.

DON’T tune him out when he talks about miles and minutes for the millionth time, even after a long day taking care of three small children.

DO make good use of his energy when he returns from a great run; it is the best time to ask him to do chores and other tasks around the house.

DON’T forget to congratulate him on smart decisions like cutting a run short when it is exceptionally hot or taking the night off to rest a sore knee.

DO show him that you are his biggest fan when it comes to running, as well as every other aspect of his life.

How does your spouse view your running?

Monday, July 23, 2012

100 Miles or Bust

I have been looking at my training log for this month and I noticed there is a chance to make it to 100 miles.  I am up to 59 miles with 9 days left in the month.  100 miles in a month has been a goal of mine this past year.  My original plan has been to run the next 9 days and take off the 31st.  We are having family come stay with us who will be arriving the evening on the 30th.  When I was mapping out my schedule, I realized I will be at 96 miles on the 30th if I make it out every day.  I am contemplating just getting out there on the 31st for a 4 mile run to make it an even 100. 

Today I was trying to get out there and do 5 miles, but my legs were starting to feel tired.  I really wanted to push it and finish 5 miles.  I have in my head the amount of miles to run this week to make it there.  Then I took a step back and remembered what Running Without a Watch is all about.  It is about just getting out there.  Not focusing on whether I should do 3, 4 or 5 miles.  Not worrying about whether I am running 8 minute, 9 minute, or 10 minute miles.  

I think this is the reason I do not race.  I cannot handle the pressure of feeling like I need to do a certain amount of mileage on a day when maybe my body is telling me to go less.  

Do you put unnecessary pressure on yourself to run a certain amount of miles each day, each week or each month?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Banana Bread

After yesterday's article about homemade baked goods, I wanted to share my banana bread recipe. It makes 10 servings.  I eat a piece of this right before I head out for my run.  This provides enough fuel to keep me going for 60-90 minutes. Enjoy!!!


½ cup of canola oil
½ cup of sugar
2 eggs
2 cups of whole wheat flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 ripe bananas (mashed)

  1. Preheat Oven to 350F or 180C.
  2. Mix the oil and sugar together in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Next I beat the eggs in a separate bowl and then add to the mixture and stir.
  4. Next, I add the flour, baking powder and cinnamon and mix.
  5. To mash the bananas, I add to a separate bowl.  I use my potato masher, but you can also use a spoon.  After mashing, add the bananas to the mix.
  6. I place the mixture into a greased loaf pan (I use PAM).
  7. Bake for 50 minutes.
  8. After 50 minutes, I take it out and slice into 10 pieces.
  9. Next, place in the oven for 5 more minutes
  10. After they have cooled down, I wrap each individually in foil and freeze.
  11. To cook.  Place in the microwave for about 45 – 60 seconds or for a morning run, place in the fridge overnight. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Homemade Baked Goodies

One of the tools that I have incorporated into my health plan is baking goods from scratch.  During the past 10 months of Running Without A Watch I have baked numerous items including, whole wheat bread, bagels, pizza dough, pancakes, pita, challah, granola, and banana bread.

Baking some of these items have become second nature and are made every week or two; pancakes, granola, pizza dough, and banana bread.  Others were more time consuming and will be made every once in a while; whole wheat bread and challah. 

I started a goal of trying to bake one new item each month.  While I did not succeed each month, it was something that I strive to accomplish.  One item on my list that I hope to make during the next 10 months is homemade pasta. 

What are some items that you have baked from scratch that turned out easier/harder than you expected?