Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Make it a Game

Sometimes running the same route over and over again can get pretty boring.  I try to shake things up by making a game out of it.  For example, I might try to catch up to other runners who are ahead of me and pass them.  I really like to do this at the end of my run right before the last hill.  I usually pick a point far away and see if I can beat them to it.

The game gets really interesting when I hear the footsteps of another runner coming up behind me.  First, I slow down to let them pass me.  Once they pass, I try to maintain pace with them waiting for my moment to fly past them.  Sometimes I win, sometimes I lose, but I always have fun.

How do you break up the monotony of your run?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Needing To Run

Do you ever feel the urge to just get out there and run?  The other night, we had some storms passing through and I was not sure I would be able to make it out.  There are two types of weather that I absolutely will not run in: thunder and/or lighting and ice. 

After the kids went to sleep I started pacing around and looking out the window.  My wife, getting increasingly annoyed with my back and forth across the room, suggested that I run the loop near the house.  This way if the weather worsened, I wouldn’t be too far from home.  I’ve run this loop before, and know that four times around is a solid three miles.  

Since it was a little wet out, I put on an old pair of running shoes and headed out.   The sidewalks were not as wet as I thought and there were no big puddles to avoid.  I just needed to be careful when crossing the street because the white paint on the crosswalks becomes very slippery.  Not my quickest or most exciting run, but a safe and successful run nonetheless.    

What types of weather do you avoid running in?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Triple PR!

I just checked my running log and noticed I am on pace to run the most miles over the most days within one month.  Add in the long run of 8.2 miles that I did earlier this month, this would be three personal records.  I am up to 73.2 miles on 17 days running.  In August I ran 100.7 miles and I have to go all the way back to September of last year to when I ran 22 days in one month.

This means I need to cover 27.6 miles over at least 6 of the last 8 days of the month.  This is achievable.  I’ll try to have at least one more long run of 6 miles and then a few 4 and 5 miles runs. Stay Tuned.

How are your October Goals shaping up?

Friday, October 26, 2012


I just finished reading Aerobics by Dr. Kenneth Cooper.  Some people call him the father of the modern fitness craze.  What amazed me most about this book was the fact it was written back in 1968, 45 years ago.  They were even dealing with obesity, diabetes and heart disease back then.
One of the most interesting things he mentioned was the rise of people becoming less active and sitting for many hours during the day.  At the time, daily life was becoming more automated because of the microwave, dishwasher, washing machine and other household devices.  Compare that to today and see how much more inactive we are due to computers, TV, Facebook and iPhones.

Of course I viewed this book in a most favorable way due to the fact he finds running as the best exercise to lose weight and strengthen your heart.  One of the things I took away from this book was how stress affects your health and heart.  I used to allow little things to get to me and I would always be in a rushed mode.  I have slowed down a lot, allowing myself a minute to evaluate what I am feeling and why, before reacting to the given situation.  This process has helped me to become more calm and patient.  My wife has even told me that I seem so much more relaxed!

Overall, this book is an excellent read, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in health and fitness.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


One of my favorite meals is to take leftovers from the fridge, add some eggs and cheese and cook up a delicious omelet.  You never know what will taste good together.  

Most recently, we made our bean dish consisting of eggplant, zucchini, red and yellow pepper, kidney beans, garbanzo beans and my homemade tomato sauce.  My wife asked me to try making an omelet with the bean dish.  I thought sure, why not.  After mixing up the eggs, I added a little milk and cheese and then the bean dish to the bowl.  I stirred and then cooked it like I usually make an omelet.  

We paired this with some zucchini and sweet potato fries.  It was delicious.  Sometimes, when you are comfortable making a certain dish, change it up by adding different foods or ingredients.

Which foods have you combined and were you surprised by how wonderful it tasted?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


I despise cheaters.  I think they are lazy lowlifes who simply can’t measure up to those of us who are honest.  We are better than them and they know it.  Since they can’t compete on our level, they compensate for their lack of character by cheating. 

Here is a story from Runners World about an amateur racer who used performance enhancing drugs to win numerous races and collect prize money. To make it even worse, the fact that in one of his races, he stopped right before the finish line and did five pushups before crossing, he looks like a showboat.  What a jackass.

I will never understand why cheaters think they won’t get caught.  I guess when money is involved people think the reward is worth the risk.  I have always been the kind of person who wants to earn everything in the most honest way possible.  I want every second I shave off my time, every mile I run, every dollar I earn to be because of my hard work  and not because I cheated to get there. 
In recent months, my five mile run times have decreased from 55 minutes down to 42 minutes.  I earned this.  I did this by working hard and eating right. I had nothing external to assist me.  How could I ever look my kids or wife in the eye if I cheated?  

An important lesson my dad taught me when I was younger was that your reputation follows you everywhere. 

Have you ever cheated or had the opportunity to cheat, but chose not to?  Feel free to comment anonymously.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead

I just finished watching this noteworthy movie, Fat Sick & Nearly Dead .  Not only did it keep my attention the entire time, (no easy feat), but it was also entertaining and informative.  Basically, it’s about this guy named Joe who was severely overweight, out of shape and relied on numerous pills to help him manage his medical conditions.

He started changing his habits by beginning with a juice fast for 60 days.  He drank nothing but juice made from whole fruits and vegetables.  Usually, I am 100% against these gimmick diets, but it turns out that he wasn’t just looking for a quick fix.  His whole premise was to include more fruits and vegetables into his diet, and this was the most efficient way.  Plus, he totally stopped the juice fast after 60 days.

I really related to his approach to weight loss, because I also believe that one of the keys to maintaining my weight loss and improved health is the amount of fruits and vegetables I eat during the day.  I eat fruits and vegetables for snacks, desserts, and especially when I am bored and find myself rummaging through the refrigerator.   

At the end of the movie, he had an interesting quote.  He stated that his goal is moderation and not perfection.  I interpreted this to mean that he tries to eat healthy all the time, but is not so rigid that it becomes obsessive.  

Overall, this movie was enjoyable and very motivating.  It’s only about 90 minutes and could easily be broken up to watch while you’re on the treadmill or bike.   

Now where do I buy a Juicer?

Monday, October 22, 2012

A New Personal Best

The other night, I went out and ran 8.2 miles and it felt AWESOME!!!!!!!!  I wanted to try a new route to incorporate a very challenging hill.  This hill is a mile long with an increase in elevation of 400 feet. Trust me, it is one tough hill.  Even though I have walked this hill many times while also pushing a double stroller, running it is a completely different ballgame.
Including this new detour added about two miles to my usual run, for a total of approximately 6.8 miles.  As I was nearing the end of it, I was feeling really good and felt like I could reach some of my new October goals.  I’ve been wanted to attempt some longer distances, like 7 miles, 7.5 miles and 8 miles.  I decided to go for it, so I went once around my loop, giving me a total of 7.5 miles.  I was still feeling great and went around one more time, which gave me 8.2 miles, a new record for distance.  I wanted to keep going and maybe get to 10 miles, but the little voice in my head begged me to stop.  There have been times before when I went too far too soon and wound up hurt.  

I’m thrilled to report that my legs felt so great afterwards and into the morning, that after taking the kids to school, I went for a fantastic five mile run!  That’s 13.2 miles in the span of 16 hours, a half marathon completed in one day.  This is giving me the confidence that the half marathon coming up in March is not a far-fetched idea.  

To top it all off, before I took the kids to school, I was telling my boys that I did an eight mile run.  In his cutest two year old voice, my son screamed out “WHY?”.  I answered, “Because it is fun!!”

Also, I want to give a shout out to my sister.  She reached her 2012 goal of 600 miles last week.  Way to go baby SIS!!!  Eight of those miles we ran together. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

100% Plant Based Diet

After watching the film Forks Over Knives and reading Veganist by Kathy Freston, I have been thinking about moving to a 100% plant based diet.  I know it sounds drastic, but what a healthy way of living!  Especially nowadays with the struggling economy, I often wonder what companies are willing to compromise for the sake of the bottom line.  For instance, how well are the animals really treated?  What chemicals, hormones and preservatives are added to the chicken and beef to improve presentation and taste?  Just recently I bought chicken breasts that were extremely salty; it was absolutely disgusting and I haven’t been back to the meat counter since.
Making this kind of change will be easy in some ways and difficult in others.  Red meat hasn’t been a part of my diet for a while now, and for the past few weeks I haven’t eaten any chicken or turkey either.  In place of these protein sources, I have been incorporating beans into my lunch and dinner meals.  That’s the easy part; now comes the hard part.  I eat a lot of cheese, fish, and eggs.  In fact, a can of tuna is my go to meal when there is nothing else to eat.
As with all other aspects of Running Without a Watch it’s important to set small, realistic goals, and allow yourself to make adjustments along the way.  For instance, I am going to experiment with more kinds of beans, and finally incorporate tofu into my repertoire.  I also hope to finally use the food processor to make some delicious bean burgers that my wife and kids will really enjoy.  Finally, I will continue to avoid the pre-packaged processed foods whenever possible, since I can’t even pronounce most of those ingredients! 

So far, this sounds like a recipe for success.  Even if I don’t move to a 100% plant based diet, I know that incorporating more natural foods into my diet is healthy.  And, it’s always fun to introduce myself to some new foods and tastes along the way.
Has anyone made the switch, and what tips can you offer me?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Not Running

Here is an article from the Wall Street Journal talking about Olympic athletes who take a five week break from running in order to improve their performance.  I agree that a five week respite will work for someone who has the resources to get back in shape and whose livelihood depends on it.  Since running is his job, it makes sense for him to take this break.  Think of it as a vacation from his job.  How refreshed do you feel after your vacation?

However, I believe that for us mere mortals, taking this kind of break will be more detrimental than helpful. Taking a day off to rest your legs and knees is important, but if someone decides to skip working out for a month because of this article, they may be headed for trouble.  

Just remember that everyone’s training will be different and what works for them may not work for you.