Sunday, February 28, 2010

Love the Run Your With 5K

I just got home from Pacers Love the Run Your With 5K!

I didn't race, instead I decided to go out and volunteer with the Pacers Ambassador program and despite the cold weather I had a great time cheering on the runners and working the water stop at the half way mark.  Early on we set up the cups and poured water and really were wondering if anyone would even want the water with hold cold it was outside, but believe it or not a lot of runners wanted their water...I even saw one that poured some over his head!

As the runners started coming past us a Pacers sponsored runner was leading both the men and women races and they both had a pretty clear lead, don't know if they won but I think it was a safe guess that they did.  A lot of runners were out, the race sold out and I think they all had a pretty good time.

If you haven't already signed up, Pacers has another race coming up, the Four Court Four Miler and you can get more information here.

Also, thank you to Potomac Runners for running the water stop and making us feel welcome!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Feburary 27th - Long Run (ish)

Time: 1:27:14
Distance: 9.4
Weather: Started off a little chilly but it was pretty sunny
Temp: 34
Time: 9:00 AM
Terrain: Rolling hills pretty much non-stop.  I ran on back roads most of the route until the end when I had to run on snow covered sidewalk or main highway.

I decided that today would be my return to trying to get in a long run on Saturdays, but I wasn't willing/able to wake up in time to run at 8 AM with the Pacers Fun Run Groups.  I mapped out a 9 mile route around a lake near my apartment, figuring it would give me a chance to see my new neighborhood and figure out my way around it...well the first part turned out to be right, I got terribly lost on my run!

This route, when mapped on appears to be flat and looks like it'll be a nice and scenic run, wow are they wrong on the flat part.  Nearly every side street I ran down featured a decent accent and decent...though I felt like I was really getting robbed on my descents and was not getting nearly enough rest.  I was also supposed to be able to turn left at one point and cross a bridge...well I never saw it and ended up on a main road.  I turned back into the community but didn't recognize where I was at all, so I asked someone walking a dog how to get back onto the Columbia Pike, the road I live on.  She gave me directions but I was so far back on a main road that it made the last 2 miles quite nerve wracking since sidewalks were non-existent under the snow and running with cars going 45 miles an hour next to you is not the greatest of feelings.

Overall I'd rate it as a pretty decent run, I thought I was going at a faster pace than I was, but I think I lost a lot of time on the hills.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

January 23 - Pacers Greenberry Fun Run

Time: 44:18
Distance: 5.3
Weather: Stopped raining, but paths had slush because of it!
Temp: 34
Time: 5:00 AM
Terrain: Pretty flat except near the the end.  The paths were mostly clear of snow but some areas were still covered.

This morning I made my return to the Greenberry running group and realized that it's about the same distance from the new group I joined, which is great because I can jump between groups depending on my schedule now!

The paths were mostly clear but we definitely encountered a few areas where the paths have not seen much sun and the snow still was covering the path.  I ran at a pretty comfortable pace but at the end as I made my climb up the large ending hill I was definitely feeling it and doing everything I could to keep the running going.  Overall my time was 44:18 so I went at ABOUT 8:18 a mile, which isn't as fast as the other day but this time I had some hills to deal with and I was going at a comfortable pace with a friend.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Adidas miCoach - Part II

Last night I went to the Adidas store in Tysons Corner, because they were having a special event to try and sell you on the miCoach, and it would give me a chance to learn more about it before deciding if I want to put down the $140 to buy it.  Last week I was sold, hook, line, not so much.  Here are some of the things that I learned that I wasn't entirely crazy of.

During a race I really think they should have a setting that says I want to run a 3:30 or whatever, and if you're not on pace it tells you occasionally that you can speed up or slow down.  During the marathon's I liked having a friend wearing a Garmin (I think) and he was able to tell us if we were ahead or behind or estimated finish based on his watch.  When they come out with version 2, I think this is something they should definitely try to include.

If you want to hook it into your iPod their is no way to connect it and strap it down to your arm together.  The saleswoman made it seem like if I wanted them connected I would all but be destined to hold it in my hand for the duration of my run...which once in a while I don't mind but that can get old and annoying really fast.  It makes sense though, one of their sales points is that it works with ANY mp3 player, so they'd inevitably leave some of the mp3 players in the cold by not making a case that fits their product as well...but iPod is the biggest mp3 player so you should make that accessory.

Just my 2 cents on the product, mind you I do not own one.  I'm a low budget runner and I want to make sure I'm going to really like what I getting if I will be spending a decent dime on the cool new gadget.

To see my original blog entry on the Adidas miCoach, go here

If Adidas wants to send me a free one to review, I'm open to that idea haha

*please let me know if any of this information is incorrect, it is based on my conversation with a salesperson at the store.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

6 Miles on pavement!

Today marked my return to running as the snow is finally starting to melt and show signs of pavement.  The parking lot around my apartment complex is clear and is a half mile loop, so decided I'd take advantage of the warm weather today and go out on a 5 mile run...which turned into 6 because I was having so much fun.  The parking lot is a .5 mile loop and it has a slight incline on the first .2 miles which I never realized before.

I started off at a pretty quick pace for not being out running in 2 weeks, but I think part of that was just the excitement of getting to run again.  I ran with the iPod my sister gave me since mine broke a few weeks back and it helped me get through the run, and I was able to use the timer on it to keep checking my pace.  Overall I was happy with my splits, they were APPROXIMATELY:
Mile 1: 7:15
Mile 2: 7:45
Mile 3: 8:00
Mile 4: 8:00
Mile 5: 8:00
Mile 6: 7:20
Total: 46:20
Average: 7:44

After about mile 2 I was thinking to myself, well I haven't run in 2 weeks...maybe I'll do 3 miles and go home but then I decided I'd punish myself for thinking about giving up and add a mile at the end, and try to do it hard.  For miles 4 and 5 I decided let's just relax and enjoy the run and then go as hard as possible on mile that's unfortunately all I had left in me!

It's nothing that will qualify me for Boston, but it was a good run and I think I'll be able to get out running more often and bring down my pace quite a bit.

After the run I had a nice strawberry-chocolate protein shake...yumm

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Baby Clothes!

As you probably know, my wife is due with our first baby on March 19th. Being a running fanatic I was thinking to myself, 'I really need a onesie that is running related.' I then thought to myself, maybe I'll get a onesie that has the Pacers logo on it or something for when my wife gives me permission to bring the baby to a race.

Well, today I got a little more into the search and went to one of my favorite sites for clothes with funny/cute sayings across every spectrum, Cafe Press! I figured I would share some of the funny ones, maybe I'll be able to convince Erin that I need one or two of these.
I still think that I want to get a onesie that says Future Pacers Runner or something...but for now these are some cute ideas.

To see more go here

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Boston Marathon Update!

Believe it or not, we are only a little over 2 months away from the 2010 Boston Marathon...and since I am not qualified to run it, I will be watching it online (hopefully).  Today was an exciting day for everyone that get's excitement out of watching a Marathon, the Boston Athletic Association and John Hancock announced their elite athlete additions to this year's race.
"John Hancock Financial today announced the return of 2009 Boston Marathon champions Deriba Merga (2009) of Ethiopia and Salina Kosgei (2009) of Kenya for the 114th running of the race on April 19.  John Hancock has also signed past champions Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot (2003, 2006-2008) and Catherine Ndereba (2000, 2001, 2004, 2005) of Kenya, Dire Tune (2009) of Ethiopia, and Lidiya Grigoryeva (2007) of Russia."
In the men's race they already had two great American runners, Ryan Hall and Meb Keflezighi (2009 NYC Winner).  In New York City Meb got a win over Cheruiyot, but he is a four-time Boston winner and holds the course records at 2:07:14.  Deriba Merga, the defending champion is a real strong runner and could definitely pose a significant challenge to Meb and Hall.  American's have not won Boston since since 1983, let's hope this year is different!

The Women's field also got a big boost with today's announcement, they will now have almost all of the former winners over the past 10 years.  I think the best part of the Women's announcement is that they have both Tune and  Salina Kosgei back at it this year.  Their finish as the closest women's finish in the history of the Boston Marathon.  We haven't had an American woman win the race since 1985, and with the absence of Kara Goucher it is unlikely that this year will change that trend.

To read more go to the Boston Marathon's Official Site or go to

Wii Active Workout - February 11, 2010

Day #7 of being stuck inside...when I woke up I decided that it was time for another Wii workout, even though my quads are still a bit sore from the hard workout 2 days ago.  Today I did the legs and lung workout again, but this time on an easy so it was only 18 minutes or so instead of almost 30.

When I started up it didn't want me to do a workout since I've done 2 days in a row, but luckily I was able to override that and do a workout anyway.  This workout had a lot of the same routines as the first day, alternating lunges, reverse lunges, jumping lunges (I HATE THESE), squats, and an inline skating bit.

I was able to get through most of the workout fine but when it came to the jumping lunges...I was struggling and I think my legs are looking forward to the 2 day break when I travel up to New Jersey this weekend.  Hopefully if I find a shovel I can get outside and shovel my car out too, that will be another good work out today!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wii Active Workout - February 10, 2010

Today was day 6 of being snowed in and I decided it was time to do another Wii Active workout, 2 days in a row.  I woke up feeling sore for the hard leg workout I did yesterday so I went with a light workout advertised as a "low impact" routine.  It was pretty good!

They had me doing mostly lunges which I've already grown to hate and some squatting...then they mixed in some other stuff that was strange like dancing and tennis.  The workout was only about 20 minutes and I did not really feel like I really broke a sweat, but my legs got a decent workout, I think I will call it a good recovery.

Within the next week or so I think I'm going to do the 30-day challenge, it will help me with my leg workouts, adding to my normal runs but it will help me build up a core (hopefully).  I think I'll start to wake up just a LITTLE bit 4:45-5ish and get in a good 20 minutes to start my day...we'll see!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Wii Active Workout - February 9, 2010

I am DEFINITELY become restless in the apartment and was dying to get a workout in of some sort, so I woke up a little early this morning to get a workout in using the Wii Active before Erin woke up.  I honestly haven't used this thing in like 10 months or more, mostly because I always relied solely on running but let me tell you...this thing kicks your butt!

I did a 25-30 minute workout that claimed it would be intense on the legs, and boy was it.  The best part of the workout was they had a portion where you did "inline skating" where you would have to jump ramps, sound fun?  Well this was just their way of making you squat for long periods and then jumping out of them.  I was REALLY feeling it from that point forward, especially in the lunges.

All in all, I think on days I can not get out and run, and even on my rest days maybe doing the 20 minute light workout will have to become part of my workout regimen, especially if I want to get myself in shape to be able to run another marathon and get a new pr anytime soon.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Adidas miCoach

So today my pregnant wife had a craving and there was only one way to satisfy it...her craving?  The shopping mall!  No need to worry the fact that we got over 20 inches of snow and the DC area has no clue how to plow...she had a craving and it had to be met.

With that being said, I think I found something that I REALLY want but want to do some research before going out and dropping the money on it.  What is it?  The Adidas miCoach, it is a new workout tracker thingy somewhat similar to Garmin, but not NEARLY as expensive and without some of the fancy bells and whistles.  While at the Adidas store I kept looking at it like a 5 year old looking at the window of a candy store, and since getting home and reading a review about some of what it does, I think I'm it's just trying to sell the wife on it!

Here's some of the parts of the review I REALLY liked...feel free to share your opinions with me.
The $140 miCoach Pacer combines a pedometer, heart rate monitor, calorie counter, and real-time coaching into a device that easily connects to your iPod (or another audio player). Equally important are the online coaching tools that you sync the device with to keep track of your workouts and advance you along a fitness regime that can range from learning to run to improving your marathon time.
 So this part is my FAVORITE part, it has a coach that will bring you on a training regimen, Boston here I come...or just a 3:30 which is my next goal!

There are two options available via a switch at the top of the Pacer: Free mode, where the device will simply gather data; and miCoach mode, in which the virtual coach will supply audible feedback through the headphones. Another 'fast-forward' button on the top can be used to select different workouts in the miCoach mode, such as a recovery run or intervals speed training.
So this adds to the last part, when I don't want to be told what to do and just want to run and do what comes naturally, I can!  I can tell the thing to shut up and just let myself run and it will still record everything for me.  And lastly...
After the run, the Pacer connects via USB to a Mac or PC and uploads your data (you'll need to plug it in before your first run and install a small software program to enable synchronization, as well as register with the miCoach Web site). The Web interface coupled with these devices is often where they trip over their laces, but not in this instance. The miCoach site is easy to navigate, and includes just about everything you need in order to track and improve your running. The dashboard shows your latest workout time, calories burned, distance, pace, heart rate, and stride rate along with a preview of the next workout and overall achievements (such as mileage) to date.
I love that I can analyze all of my workouts on a web application, right now it's not something that will be able upload onto the blog, but it's data that I can definitely use for posting and looking at old workouts.

All this for $140, I hope Pacers starts to carry it soon...Feel free to send me reviews, to read where I got my information from, go here

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Making your shoes "Screw Shoes"

Getting screwed: Dan Vega screws Paul DeWitt

When the snow starts to get to a managable amount and they FINALLY start to shovel our sidewalks, I know you will be itching to get back out there and running.  Here is a quick how-to that comes to me with good recommendation on how to make your shoes "screw shoes" so that you can run on the hard packed snow and ice with ease.  ENJOY!

Screw Screw Screw Shoe Screw Screw
By Matt Carpenter

Do you run on packed snow and ice? Are you tired of slipping and falling? The Screw Shoe is one solution to the problem! By inserting some screws into the bottom of your shoes you will be able to run in the worst conditions. The process is quick, easy and costs next to nothing:-)
I did not invent this concept—it is something that has been passed around from runner to runner. My goal is just to show you how easy it is to make your own Screw Shoes.
Selecting Screws
Sheet metal screws are awesome because the head on them has a lip that really grips well on ice. This is important because the screws are inserted from the outside into the bottom of the shoe and it is the head of the screw that provides the traction—not the point! 1/2" long screws work fine in most shoes because they do not go through the shoe yet they are long enough that they don’t come out too easily. 3/8" screws might be a little safer in the fronts of some shoes. If you have a very thin shoe, or you are just paranoid about how thin the front of your shoe looks, then you can use 1/4" long screws. Be sure to buy a lot of them however because they come out rather easily. No matter what, do not use the screw pictured on the right!!!

A screwdriver will work but the “fun factor” disappears after about two screws. Further, using a screwdriver to start a screw into rubber may have you using your entire four-letter-word vocabulary!!! A ratchet screwdriver with a 1/4" socket will at least ease the task of starting the screws.
A cordless drill with a magnetic tip and a 1/4" socket can do a shoe in less than a minute and makes the project almost fun! A neat trick here is that most magnetic tips are 1/4" so you won’t even need to track down the 1/4" socket. This setup is so slick it may be worth a trip to the neighbors to borrow theirs if you don’t have one. Or, since most shoe screwing is done in the winter, this could be the perfect x-mas gift for that special crazy runner!

Drill + 1/4 inch socket = Happy!!!

However you go about it, do not over tighten the screws! Stop screwing when the head of the screw touches the rubber so it will stay in longer. I have also heard the claim that pre-drilling a small pilot hole for the screw will help it stay in longer. I tested this theory by pre-drilling one shoe and not the other. Both sets of screws seemed to stay in equally well and the occasional screw that did come out did so randomly from either shoe so I really don’t think this step is worth the extra effort. Now one could argue that pre-drilling would make starting the screws with a screwdriver easier but I would question why anyone who has access to a drill would not simply use it to insert the screws!?
Screw Placement
Screw Shoe: The best way to run on packed snow and ice! Pretty much anything goes unless you have “air” or “gel” shoes in which case you will need to be more selective when placing the screws. I have 18 screws in each shoe just because someone else had 17. They had 17 just because someone else had 16, etc. The shoe on the right is my wife Yvonne’s. She has 19—we runners are a competitive lot! As you can see she placed the screws on the treads because placing screws in-between them would be pointless. If you look closely you can see the lip on the screw that was referred to above.
For me the screws in the heel are more important than the ones in the front because I hate falling on my butt when coming down a hill. On really nasty days the Incline Club has been known to bring a box full of screws and a cordless drill to the club runs. The assembly line looks something like this:

That is all there is to the Screw Shoe! I use them mostly in the spring when the warmer days melt the snow and then the water turns to ice during the colder nights. This seems to happen a lot on trails that get a lot of use like the Barr Trail on Pikes Peak. Others use them all winter long on ice covered roads.
Oh, speaking of roads, I usually have to run a mile or so on the roads to get to/from the trails. Other than a hearing a “click, click, click” Screw Shoes work just fine on roads. Yes, it does wear the screw heads out a little faster but again, the screws are cheap:-)
Once winter is over you will not need to buy new shoes because you can just remove the screws. Unless of course you put a bunch of miles on your Screw Shoes—they wear out just like all running shoes!
Happy screwing and running:-)
If I left out something or something is not clear please let me know!

Pacers Ambassadors

So I've been busy at work this weekend even though I'm snowed in.  Last week I found out that I would be a part of the Pacers Ambassador program for 2010.  Pacers is the local running store, which I can honestly say has pushed me through the training for both my marathons and does a lot to serve the local running community (fun runs, tons of races, etc).  The Pacers Ambassador program will allow me to help publicize Pacers and in turn they will provide me with some running shirts and possibly free entry into some races, which for me the low budget runner is greatly appreciated.

So since getting selected for the program I have tried to increase my online presence, I now have a flickr account where I'll publish all my running pictures and I'll probably try and take pictures at various races and ambassador events so it's not JUST my 2 marathons.

The Pacers Ambassador program also has a new blog that will be a work in progress, but it will be updated by many of the ambassadors, check it out at  I'll be publishing on there for sure!

I'll be at an event with Pacers Wednesday night, hopefully I'll be shoveled out by then and the storm they're PREDICTING for then won't come!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Running in the cold

So I'm stuck inside because we have one of the biggest snow storms in the history of the DC area coming through.  All of this snow has me thinking about cold weather running and how to get through it.  It's been pretty cold in DC as of late, I've been typically out there running in 20-30 degree weather.  My legs don't mind the cold so I usually wear shorts through the winter but my upper body, it gets pretty cold.  Luckily, this year for Christmas my Aunt and Uncle got me a great piece of clothing, the Under Armour Cold Gear Mock Turtleneck.  The past couple of runs that I've used this on I will just put a t-shirt over to brighten me up since it's still pretty dark and it keeps me pretty comfortable.   According to the Under Armour web site:
"Two layer brushed fabric combines enhanced thermal protection and moisture transport. Compression fit for bolstered muscle support and increased circulation resulting in higher efficiency output and increased stamina."
In other words, it keeps you pretty warm!
"Anti-Odor Technology prevents the growth of odor causing microbes."
 And doesn't smell!
Here are some more reviews of the Under Armour cold gear

For more on winter running, here's a link from the February Runners World magazine

Friday, February 5, 2010

About time for new shoes

I'm getting close to the time that I need a new pair of shoes. I always put off buying new shoes until the last possible moment, because who really wants to shell out $90-100 for a pair of shoes they'll go through in about 8-10 weeks (I usually try to make them last about 3-4 months at least). I am pretty happy with the shoe I have now, the Mizuno Wave Rider 12 but I'm not sure if I want to continue with it or go back to Brooks. Here are two different shoe reviews that both seemed to interest me.

The first is for the Mizuno Wave Rider 13, it's similar to the 12 when it comes to the sole of the shoe but they tweaked the top of the shoe.

The second one is a brand new shoe, haven't heard much about it yet but I'm probably going to do some research and get some opinions on it. It's the Brooks Launch, it looks like a great new shoe but the last time I wore a Brooks shoe I had some issues.

Regardless of which I pick I know soon I'll be trudging down to Pacers to get my new pair within the next month or two!

February 5th Pacers - Pentagon City

Distance: 5.1
Weather: Weather was nice and clear, great morning for a run
Temp: 34

Time: 5:30 AM

Terrain: Flat but there's a pretty decent hill half way through and it ends on a major downhill


Comments: I went at a pretty comfortable pace, I have not been out as consistently lately as I would like, and I think my conditioning is starting to reflect that. One highlight of the run is that early on I had a guy running in front of me that I caught up to and ran with for a few minutes. I got a chance to plug the Pacers AM runs since he seemed talkative. Maybe this will increase the Pacers runners a little bit!

Well with the pending snowstorm forecast, who knows when I'll get my next run in!

2010 Miles: 27.35

Thursday, February 4, 2010

February 1, 2010 - Philadelphia 'Rocky Steps' Run

Distance: 5.25
Weather: Nice and clear gorgeous morning
Temp: 20ish

Time: 6:00 AM

Terrain: It was a really flat route, the rocky steps were a bit of a test and there was another large hill when switching from the road to the trail.


Comments: I war running alone, and running in Philadelphia is TOTALLY different then DC. They didn't have nearly as many runners out by 6 AM! When I was leaving the hotel I was asking for clarification on which way to go and the woman at the front desk just looked at me and said "you know it's 15 degrees out right" and at that I went running outside in shorts, gloves, and my nice warm Pacers running hat (thank you Pentagon City AM Fun Runners!).

I also ran last Monday, doing a 4 mile loop in the rain, while I had a good run, it was NOT FUN. My mile total at the moment for 2010 is...22.25!