Happy Feet? No, I’m not a dancing penguin, I’m a runner.

Progressing toward a month of over 100 miles of training, and very few days off from work, my feet are tired.  I have had to work very hard to get them some rest.  Elevation has helped a lot, as well as spending some quiet evening on the couch.

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As I struggle through the final days of training for my next marathon in a little over two weeks, my focus now is more on rest and recovery.  I need to make sure that my body is ready to conquer the next 26.2.  It was a beautiful morning today, and cool.  It was the type of morning that just screams get out and run.  I refrained.  I plan on running a smooth and pace focused five miler tomorrow morning, and I’ve run four days in a row.  Time for a rest day.

Vacation is looming.  Getting on the jet plane on Saturday morning, my thoughts are all about vacation.  I’ve worked six straight days, and work tonight, tomorrow and Friday before I can breath  a sigh of relief.  Can you believe that?  I have to work 9 days in a row leading up to vacation.  Well, most of the battle has been fought already, just three shifts to go.  The problem is that I work on my feet.  I don’t have a cush desk job.  My job is physical and demanding on my feet.  I know how to take care of them though.  This is nothing new to me.  

So my final wind down/taper is upon me.  Wow, can’t believe I haven’t even thought about how this is taper time.  Usually I go mad during the taper, but this time I will have vacation to distract me from taper blues.  

How long do you taper prior to a big race?  How do you fill those empty hours that you would have been out running?  I do know one thing, I am hoping for Happy feet come September 13th.  Happy hamstrings, too!  😉

It’s the final countdown!

Everyone around me is gearing up for Fall.  You see, I am originally from upstate NY, and up there, you could just about bet on a change in the weather come Labor Day weekend.  It would be 85 degrees the day before, and 60 the day after.  I’m sure it wasn’t that drastic, but Labor Day up north meant the end of Summer.  The start of school, the end of sleeping in.  

That is really not the case here in NC.  We will continue to have sticky, hot weather sometimes right up to near Halloween.  Fact of the matter is though that one of my kids is already a week into college, and my younger is starting his Junior year in High School tomorrow.  I’ve already hear the complaints, but I explain it like this….  As a kid/young adult you get to have Summers off.  That’s like three months of rest, relaxation, sleeping in, etc..  As an adult in the working world, you may get two, three or four weeks off a year.  Quit the complaining already, right?

Summer means more daylight hours to get my training runs in.  Sure it means more heat, but I think that training in the heat makes me more ready for nice Fall weather racing.  As we inch closer and closer to Labor Day, what does that mean for me?  First, another run in just a short bit.  Yes, training continues.  It’s winding down, but still moves forward.  Five more days until vacation remain.  A week off, then a week of work and my first Marathon of the Fall season.  Big Cottonwood is only 20 days away now!  It’s creeping up fast.  

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Summer is always a mixed bag of emotions for me.  Due to where I live, and the heat, most of the time I chose not to race.  As a result, I get really antsy, and look forward to those race days.  I haven’t raced now since June 6th.  Two and a half months ago.  That’s a long time without racing for me.  Last year I mixed in a July 4th 5k, and a Half Marathon in August in NY to keep my race legs satiated.  This year, I held back.  

Fall season is packed with racing excitement.  I’ve tried really hard all Summer to push myself, but not overdo it.  I don’t want to get injured before or during the season, so I have really listened to my body, and have maintained a good regime, yet not too extreme.  

The countdown is getting exciting.  As I near vacation and race days my mind fills with the anticipation of running, and running a great race.  I will take them one by one, focusing on having fun, but also pushing my limits.  So excited to see Utah for the first time, to run Chicago for the first time, and to run some tried and true Fall favorites here close to home.

What exciting Fall races do you have planned?  Do you get antsy when you haven’t raced in a few months? I sure do.  

Now for my RANT about the 1% in the running community

Excuse me folks, but I need to get this off my chest.  If you would please just oblige me for a few moments while I clear out the disgust I’m feeling for some of our very own.  

Every group, be it social, political, cultural, or whatever, has them.  The 1% that shall be called “HOLIER THAN THOU”.  Can I just say that I had a run in with one of those people yesterday, and it really ticked me off.  

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Yeah, a person came across as he was just better than everyone else.  A person that spreads hatred, or arrogance around like fertilizer.  I think he must have been covering up for inner shame, or a very small member.  Something!  

Runners as a community I have found to be overall very accepting, and open to all.  New runners, experienced runners, young and old, tall and short, skinny and overweight, black, white, you name the color.  We are a varied bunch, a group of people seeking fitness, health and often times in a competitive nature.  But, like every other group known to man, the 1% does exist.  

I’ve felt it before.  Haven’t you?  Standing in the start of a race, getting that holier than thou glance from someone near you.  Judging you.  

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I guess it’s common to be judged in life.  Just most of the time, it’s not fair judgement.  You know what they say about sinners and casting stones, right?  

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Let’s all get along.  Simple, right?  Well, not really.  There will always be the 1%.  I choose to stay as far away from them as possible though.  In a nut shell, let me tell you the store from yesterday.

I am a member of the running group/club called Half Fanatics.  A paid, and until yesterday, a happy member.  It’s not anything I gloat about.  When I first started seriously running a few years ago, I admired people who could run further than me.  It’s natural.  Watching folks compete in a half or full marathon was something that gave me an inner drive to accomplish something more.  Well, eventually I ran my first half marathon, and loved it.  Distance running and racing became a passion of mine.  I aspired to be able to qualify for a club such as the Half Fanatics.  I qualified in 2011.  I paid my fees, and bought a shirt.  I did it!  It meant something to me.  An accomplishment.  Something I could hang my hat on.  I’ve never worn the shirt, because I don’t need to advertise it.  In 2013 I qualified to become a Marathon Maniac, another running group.  It was then that I realized that for me, I didn’t need to pay to join a club or buy a shirt.  It’s enough for me just to know that I could if I wanted to.  

Ok, background established.  We all have different goals.  Mine are personal, as I’m sure yours are as well.  The success or lack thereof I get from running is mine.  Mine alone.  It’s internal, it’s for me.  I can choose to  talk about it or not.  I try very hard not to judge.  I’m not perfect, but I do try to be as good a person as I can be.  

I’ve seen a lot of posts, and a read a lot of negative comments from people in the Half Fanatics and Marathon Maniac groups lately.  It’s almost like it’s becoming an elitist club, or is at least taking on that air.  Yes, I know that the holier than thou attitude comes from a very few, but it really sheds a bad light on the group as a whole.  I had posted in one of those groups on Facebook yesterday, soliciting feedback from a race this past weekend that I am really considering running next Summer.  I just asked that anyone who ran it, to please share their thoughts.  I was almost immediately attacked asking what was in it for me.  I thought, can we not just share race experiences in an open forum.  Solicit feedback?  Wow!  I was so taken aback that I just deleted the post before this guy got out of hand.  I am an ambassador for the race series in question, but hadn’t run the race, and stood to gain nothing from the general chit chat other than to find out if people enjoyed running it.  I like to talk about “the runner experience”.  I want to know the good, the bad, and the ugly.  It helps me make decisions on if I will spend my money on a race.  It’s no secret that I like to share my experiences, take them for what they are.  If I can help a person make a decision to run, or not, a race in the future that is my right.  Judge me if you want, but I am just trying to spread the love of running around.  This guy was just a first class jerk, and I hope to never bump into him at a race.  If being a Half Fanatic now means that somehow I am better than you, or that you are better than me or someone else, then I want no part of it.  I am pretty sure this club was not established to drag down our running community or act as a pulpit for those to cast stones or shame other runners.  Just floored me, the ignorance.

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I guess until this feeling subsides, I will just plan on focusing my thoughts on the positivity around running and our community.  I will not let the actions of the heavy minority weigh me down.  For me, we are all out there putting feet to pavement.  Regardless of how fast or slow you are, if you win the race or come in last.  Our community should be joyful, and celebrate each other.  Let’s try to do that, shall we?

Feet Up

Finally!  I have two days off.  I’ve worked eight days straight, and deserve some much needed time off.  

I work on my feet, too, so this is how I will be spending the evening.

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…. And this is what I will look like tomorrow.

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Of course, I will be doing some training runs inbetween, but generally my feet need some rest.

Marathon day is four weeks from Saturday, so my body is kinda feeling a bit run down with all of this training, and with working so hard without a vacation all Summer.  It’s time for a break.  Luckily I have a vacation planned in two weeks, too, which I am looking forward to more than I could ever possibly imagine.

Peace out…. I will be on the couch.

Training week recap

I can’t believe it, but I actually got all of my planned training in this week.  A real relief considering the wacky week overall.  Tons of work, and just sort of a week that felt like I barely had any time to myself to think, much less run.

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Have you ever had one of those weeks?  Boy, I’ll tell ya.

I got in some great downhill training this week.  Five runs, all focused on downhill training.  Look out Big Cottonwood, here I come!  I also got in a long run of 17 miles, which considering the heat and humidity here in the south, is just awesome.  We actually had a bunch of rain and cooler temperatures this past week, and for the cool off, I am grateful.  

I can really feel the training in my feet at the end of the day.  And quads.  Increasing my pace and stride on the downhill portions of my runs has been key.  I am hoping that factor alone will propel me to an amazing finish in Utah in a few weeks.

Big Cottonwood Marathon is four weeks away now.  The time crunch is ON!  

As I head into another week of preparation for my upcoming BQ attempt, I need to throw a bit more focus on my eating habits.  Time to start really watching my snacking, and my water intake.  More water, less snacking.  Simple!  Well, not for me.  I am a nibbler.  I promise not to buy any corn chips for the next four weeks.  Oh, who am I kidding, that will never happen.  I just have to cut back.  Way back!  I also will limit my nighttime indulgence in ice cream.  My downfall.  I promise to eat it just two times a week.  I must adhere to this!  I really want to drop about five pounds in the next month with better overall eating.

So, that is the plan.  Better, more healthful eating, and sticking to my training plan.  

The only way I am going to see the results that I want to see, is to maintain this focus.

Have a great week everyone!

Run Big Cottonwood with me!

With 37 days and 20 hours until the race begins, the time is now to make the commitment to run!  @runrevel race series offers fast and beautiful courses located in Utah, California and Colorado.  

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I am running Big Cottonwood on September 13th, and probably the other two races in 2015.  A price increase is coming up within the next week for this race, so if you want to run with me, the time to register and save a bit of money would be now.  Follow this link to save:  

http://brooksee-events.appspot.com/bcm/register?team=6306024403238912

You can register as a part of my ambassador team and save $5.  There is also a $5 Facebook discount during registration.  

Current pricing is good until August 14th, which is next week.  You can register for the Half for $84.95 minus the discounts, or $104.95 minus the discounts for the Full.

Registration Includes:

Free race day photos, a free personalized highlight video, an epic medal, the best technical shirt ever, great swag that you will want to keep, gloves and Mylar blanket for the start, great food and fun at the finish, and a very generous transfer/refund policy.  

Check out the website at http://www.bigcottonwoodmarathon.com

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Another great race planned

With such a huge focus on my upcoming marathon in Utah, at Big Cottonwood, I can’t forget that just a week later I have a beautiful Half marathon to run in Tennessee.

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A National Park series race, put on by Vacation Races.  The event, named the Great Smoky Mountains Half Marathon, is an inaugural race this year.  With a race course extending from Maryville to Townsend, TN, this race should be a beautiful run.

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I have been working hard trying to find the perfect accommodations for my trip to the a Great Smoky mountains.  I have looked a quite a few properties, but a few necessities are a must.  Trying to find them all in one property is proving a bit challenging.  Pet friendly is a must.  I have two dogs that will bark at a bear in an instant!  A hot tub for pre and post race, is a must as well.  A nice, fully equipped kitchen for preparing meals.  A comfortable king bed.  How about a really nice view, too!

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Looking forward to taking part in this race, and spending some time in the mountains of Tennessee.

Wet Dog

I know it’s Summer.  I also know that thunderstorms happen quite frequently here in my neck of the woods, but seriously.  Why do I work all day, look forward to getting my run in after work, to have it rain nonstop all afternoon and evening.  Today isn’t the first time it’s happened either.

It really bums me out, because I truly despise running in the rain.  The heavy rain tapered off quite a bit in the early evening, but I was just not into it by then.  Plus… it was still drizzling.  Not a fan of that, either.  Not a fan of getting my running shoes wet.

I’ve been out there in the rain before, but typically don’t start my run in the rain.  I try to wait it out.  In fact, several years ago, back when I was putting in serious training for my first ever Half Marathon.  Yeah, back when I really didn’t know what I was doing training wise, I mapped out a plan to run up to eleven miles, about a week before my first half.  I really wanted to go into that first race however, knowing that I was fully capable of running 13.1 miles.  So, on the day of my last long run, the eleven miler, I set out.  It was threatening rain, but hadn’t started yet.  I felt great.  The weather was holding.  I got up to 6, then 7, then 8 miles.  I started thinking that since I felt so good, I was going to just go ahead and tack on the extra 2.1 miles at the end and make it official.  I was going to put in that 13.1.  Miles 9, and 10 ticked by, and then suddenly…..  Hard rain! 

But, I was going to do it.  It was a damn river out there.  I fought hard, completely drenched, but knocked out those miles.  In the torrential downpour.  It felt great afterward, but I was not happy those final two miles.  I guess ever since, I am just not a fan of running in the rain.  It always makes me angry.  My feet hurt, and blister easy in wet shoes.  The rain in my eyes.  Wet clothes and chaffing.  Yep, not fun.  It makes me feel like a wet dog.  

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So, tonight’s run is scrapped.  I guess another rest day won’t hurt.  I just hope that the downbeat weather forecast is cooperative tomorrow morning before I have to head to work.  I would like to get in at least three to four miles tomorrow before my next long run on Sunday.

how do you feel about running in the rain?  Love it?  Hate it?

Eye Candy Marathons

With 44 days remaining in the countdown to my next marathon, I spent a good portion of the morning reading up on and looking at pictures of Big Cottonwood Canyon in Utah.  Of course, this is the location of my next race, the Hoka One One Revel Big Cottonwood Marathon.

I was chosen to represent @RunRevel as an Ambassador, which is quite an honor.  I am already in love with this race, and I haven’t even stepped foot in Utah yet.  Why?  I run with not only my feet, but majorly with my eyes.  I don’t listen to music when I run, not in races and not even while on training runs.  My focus is always on the “eye candy”.  The Big Cottonwood race looks to be one of the most beautiful races around.  With one of the most beautiful race courses, this race shapes up to be one that I will never forget.  42 days until my plane lands in Salt Lake City, and the picture taking begins.  I may even stop to take a photo or two during the race.  Maybe.  Yes, this is a downhill, fast course, but I won’t risk missing a BQ to snap a picture at this race.  There are millions of photos of Big Cottonwood Canyon online.  

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Check out some of these photos I found.  How can you not fall in love?  I already have.

As a race ambassador, I can offer anyone who wants to run one of the Revel races a discount off the current registration price.  The next price increase is coming soon, so if you jump on board now, you can save money.  Let me know if you are interested, and I can hook you up with a discount.

The Revel Rockies race in Denver, CO is August 17th.

Revel Big Cottonwood in Salt Lake City, UT is September 13th.

Revel Canyon City in Los Angeles, CA is November 15th.

You can check out this race series online at http://www.runrevel.com

 

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Persistence pays off

Well, I did it.  I got that twelve miler in yesterday late afternoon.  

Here’s how I survived the heat and humidity….

– two changes of shirt

– two bottles of gatorade

– three sweat buffs

-plenty of Body Glide (love this product!)

-two towels

-1 hour cool down followed by a cold shower

-relaxing on the couch for three hours

How do I feel today?  Contrary to how I thought I would feel, I woke up feeling fully recovered.  That’s what training will do for you.  I thought I was going to die, but I didn’t.  Persistence in training works.  Follow the plan.  Try to be smart about when you run, and how you run and survive it.  Give your body the rest it needs to recover, and by all means stay hydrated.  That is key!

So I feel good about the next long run already.  Training for a BQ attempt sure is different from regular training.  I know what’s at stake, and it keeps me more focused and positively impacts my routine.  I know I need to put in more work than ever before, so if I don’t, my BQ attempt will be lackluster, and I don’t want that.  I want to be ready on race day.  If that means sucking it up on really hot days, the that is what it means.  Boston doesn’t come cheap.  Especially for an aging dude that’s not in 100% good physical shape.  I don’t always watch my diet, and I should.  I have to keep focused on the prize.  Eyes on the prize, as they say.

As you step out the door during the dog days of Summer, remember that goal race.  Use that goal to get you moving.  Use that goal to better yourself, however or whatever that means to you.  Best of luck out there on the road.  As for me?  Two more long runs prior to Big Cottonwood.  An 18 and a 20 miler.  That’s all that’s left.  Well, that and about 100 other training miles between now and September 13th. image