Running week of March 28-April 3

So this week was my last week of training before my first half marathon of the season and I think I was pretty well prepared.  I trained hard and did some speedwork to keep up my endurance.  I took a couple of extra rest days only because I had to travel ( Excuse).  I just cannot wait to train for the next race in better outside weather.  Personally, I think that the treadmill does have it’s benefits but nothing can replace actual running on the road to prepare a runner for real world running.

Monday 3/28
7 miles at 8 minutes 26 second average
Treadmill run
Nike Air Zoom
3-28-16 (2)

Tuesday 3/29
5 miles at 9 minutes 1 second average
Savannah Trail Run
55 degrees and sunny
Nike Air Zoom
3-29-16

Wednesday 3/30
3 miles at 8 minutes 27 seconds
Treadmill run
Nike Air Zoom
3-30-16

Thursday 3/31
Rest Day

Friday 4/1
Rest Day

Saturday 4/2
Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon
Springfield, Illinois
Nike Air Zoom
Mile 1     8:46
Mile 2     8:58
Mile 3     9:02
Mile 4     9:09
Mile 5     8:58
Mile 6     8:48
Mile 7     9:27
Mile 8     9:26
Mile 9     9:21
Mile 10     9:24
Mile 11     9:48
Mile 12     9:49
Mile 13     9:41
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Sunday 4/3
Post 1/2 Rest and recover day!

Weekly Mileage
28.1 miles and first race of the year!
PR for my 1/2 Marathon at 2:04:16

 

Running week of March 21-27

So this week was to get in some different running locations and work on trails to get ready for Battlefrog in May.  The new trails in Fort Sheridan are absolutely perfect for it with just enough mud to make it fun.  Each lap is right about 2 miles and it’s about as scenic as it gets.  I remember growing up there and playing golf on the old course.  It’s changed completely since the course closed many years ago but the scenery of trails, trees, and bluffs are just beautiful.  I will definitely be frequenting this locale for morning runs a lot in the near future.  Speedwork was also something I’ve been dedicating my training too.  I think I’ve become faster in the shorter runs (@ 5 milers) but hope to continue the progress into my 6+ mile runs.  Next week is my first half marathon of the season and I’m hoping to PR with a sub 2 hour run.

Monday 3/21
5 miles at 8 minutes 25 seconds average
Treadmill run on duty
Nike Air Zoom
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Tuesday 3/22
5 miles at 9 minutes 19 seconds average
Fort Sheridan Trails
Nike Air Zoom
3-22-16 (18)3-22-16 (37)

Wednesday 3/23
Rest day

Thursday 3/24
4 miles at 8 minutes 22 seconds average
Treadmill run on duty
Nike Air Zoom
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Friday 3/25
4 miles at 8 minutes 19 seconds average
Treadmill run
Nike Air Zoom
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Saturday 3/26
5 miles at 9 minutes 7 seconds average
Savannah Trails Run
Nike Air Zoom
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Sunday 3/27
5 miles at 8 minutes 24 seconds average
Treadmill run on duty
Nike Air Zoom
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Weekly Mileage
28 miles

Running week of March 14-20

So this week I was determined to start off strong and build the mileage and get over 30 miles.  I started out great and though the weather wasn’t cooperating I still managed to put in some miles.  By mid-week, I was starting to have some dull pain and fatigue in my legs so before injury came about, I decided to take a rest day on Friday even though I was supposed to do 10 miles.  Well Saturday morning I still had that same general pain and opted for another rest day.  I continued to stretch and massage the legs and wear the compression sleeves to sleep on Saturday night.  Sunday morning, my legs felt great!  So I hit an 11 miler and slowed my pace down to actually enjoy the run.  I still had over 30 miles and I’m good with the results.

Monday 3/14
6 miles at 8 minutes 25 seconds average
Treadmill run
Nike Air Zoom
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Tuesday 3/15
6 miles at 8 minutes 23 seconds average
Treadmill run at the firehouse
Nike Air Zoom
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Wednesday 3/16
3 miles at 8 minutes 23 seconds average
Treadmill run
Nike Air Zoom
IMG_6718

Thursday 3/17
6 miles Mountain Biking against the high winds
5 miles at 8 minutes 27 seconds pace
Nike Air Zoom
IMG_6830   IMG_6861

Friday 3/18
REST DAY

Saturday 3/19
REST DAY – yep I needed two in a row

Sunday 3/20
11 miles at 10 minutes 52 seconds pace
Savannah Trail Run
Nike Air Zoom
3-20

 

Weekly Mileage
31.2 miles – not bad but the legs started to have some general soreness so I rested them up for a couple of days and used my @2XU compression sleeves with some great success!


Running week of March 7-13

I thought after reading my friend Katie’s blog that a weekly update on my running would be a good idea for me to keep a “journal” of how my weekly fitness is going.  I think by logging the mileage and how I feel after each run and at the end of the week will definitely help me to see what’s working and how I need to adjust.  Wish I started this a couple of years ago so I’d have a much better idea of how training is going.  My next race is the Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon in Springfield on April 2nd.  I know that I’m well prepared and my goal is to hit a new PR of below 2:00.  We shall see…

Monday 3/7
5 miles at 8 minute 22 second average
Treadmill run
Nike Air Zoom
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Tuesday 3/8
6 miles at 9 minute 21 second average
Savannah trail run
Nike Air Zoom
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Wednesday 3/9
3 miles at 8 minute 26 second average
On duty at the firehouse treadmill run
Nike Air Zoom
IMG_6616

Thursday 3/10
5 miles at 9 minute 14 second average
Savannah trail run
Nike Air Zoom
IMG_6659

Friday 3/11
Rest Day
Legs were definitely a little sore in the Achilles area

Saturday 3/12
5 miles at 8 minute 23 second average
On duty at the firehouse treadmill run
Nike Air Zoom
IMG_6683

Sunday 3/1
5 miles at 8 minute 13 second average
Rainy day treadmill run
Nike Air Zoom
IMG_6685

Weekly Mileage
29 miles
Less miles than I planned but this weather just isn’t cooperating and I think I’ve been pushing it a little.

2XU Racing Vectr Socks & Compression Sleeves

Disclaimer: I received the 2XU Vectr socks and Compression Performance Run Sleeves to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I was fortunate enough to try out the Vectr racing socks and compression sleeves thanks to BibRave and 2XU.  Being a big fan of most of 2XUs gear, I was excited to try them out.  So, we’ll begin with the socks…

IMG_6058     IMG_6055

I kind of laughed when I first saw the L and the R on the socks but then truly appreciated the ergonomic feel to it.  So what makes them special?  Well, I like the low profile and stability of the sock.  It actually stands up on its own due to quality design.  As advertised, other features include X-Lock technology which keeps that sock in place as well as reducing the risk of blisters due to constant rub.  They are extremely durable and I have tested them thoroughly while running inside/outside as well as trail runs in the snow and sleet.  I do like how they feel in most conditions and appreciate the heel cup for cushion during my type of running.  The design (though not crucial in my purchases) is pretty darn cool too.  I do wish that there were more color choices to vary things up.

IMG_6050     IMG_6053

The Performance Run Calf Sleeves are a new thing for me over the last year and I can honestly say that I’ve become a fan of them.  Compression sleeves have become a staple in most runner’s arsenal and for obvious reasons.  With a long list of benefits such as greater oxygenation of blood for quick recovery, faster muscle warm up, reduced fatigue from less muscle motion, reduction in muscle soreness, and minimizing the long term overuse injuries.  2XU has excelled at the design of their sleeves.  There is a great color selection and they are pretty darn durable after many uses.  The UPF50+ sun protection is just a plus.

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So how did they work together for me?  When you combine an ergonomic properly fitted sock with the benefits of a compression sleeve, how can you go wrong.  They seemed to work best for me after the first 2 miles of any run.  Without them, I used to get some mild irritation in my Achilles tendon and needed to occasionally stop my runs and stretch them until the pains went away.  Wearing the 2XU sleeves has virtually eliminated that need to stop and stretch.  I like the way it fit me and compressed in the right areas.  You need to have the properly fitted sleeve for the compression to actually work for you and the sizing chart is spot on.  After my long runs, I wear the sleeves again and definitely appreciate the lack of muscle soreness I get.  It keeps the swelling to a minimum and cuts my recovery time in half.  All in all, I like the way they feel pre run, during the run, and especially post run.  I probably put in close to 100 miles on my current pair in both running and OCR training and am impressed with the durability.  You will get a quality product in 2XU.

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See my fellow BibRave Pros reviews here:

Rachel, Jessica R, Mark, Sarah M, Samantha, Laura M, Jeremy H, Heather, Lisa, Haley, Christine, Ang, Erica, Shannon, Chadd, Eric, Jen S, Jessica B

Running and Nutrition

Now I don’t need to preach to you about what you put in your body everyday as most people know that a piece of fruit is a better choice than a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup!  Yes, I get it that it tastes great but realistically, I am looking at the long haul as opposed to the quick fix.  I’ve had my dietary problems for years and after I began my running adventures, I found myself opting for better choices and how they make me feel when I do run.  This is coming from someone who had an unreal metabolism and could burn off anything I put in my body!  Over the years, I entered hot and spicy contests and ate so many foods that I never realized would affect me in the long run. (Pun)

A few years back, I was diagnosed with incredibly high cholesterol and triglycerides as well as Gastric Esophageal Reflux Disease.  I blame working at the firehouse and not really having a choice and what we ate.  Most of the time, we had to eat quick unhealthy meals in case we had extended calls.  Well, sadly, that catches up to you.  Of course I was prescribed meds for both the cholesterol and reflux and hated how they made me feel.  I know they did their job to an extent but still made me feel horrible.  After a couple of years on the meds, my numbers didn’t really come down to where we’d like them.  This is where I decided to make some changes.

I started running and while I was slow at first, the constant exercise just made me feel better!  I minimized (not stopped) my love for Dr. Pepper and stopped eating highly acidic and damaging foods.  Over the last 3 years, my running intensified and my diet changed to stay in line with my training.  I began juicing and eating more salads and fruits.  I even convinced some of the guys at the firehouse to try new healthier meals.  My cholesterol and triglycerides and back down to safer levels though I still have a hereditary factor to contend with but off of medications!  I no longer wake up with stomach pain and a horrid taste in my mouth.  I contribute that to what you hear every day…DIET AND EXERCISE!

IMG_6056  SAD        IMG_6057 HAPPY

That brings me to my running nutrition…

Weeks leading to races – less pop, more fruits and vegetables, and basically a healthier choice of meals with few refined sugars and oily choices.

Couple of days before races – Starting to build on my simple sugar carbs with pastas and high fiber fruits/vegetables

Day before races – Smoothie breakfast (recipe below), Sandwich lunch (some sort of sub with turkey, bread, veggies), and a medium sized carb dinner (pasta with meatballs and a light sauce like pesto)

Morning of races – I’m not usually a big breakfast person but only during big events like races or OCRs I’ll have a bagel with honey or peanut butter a couple of hourse before that activity.  I’ll hydrate well before a race but still take a drink during the race.

Post races – Depending on the type of race I did (OCR, 1/2 marathon, 5k) I am usually brutally hungry!  I’m more apt to splurge and eat heavily to refuel.  Right after races, I always opt for a water and some sort of fruit like the usual apple or banana.  But that night???  I am eating like a pig!  This is where I’ll be opting for my muscle rebuilding proteins like meat filled pizza, steak, burgers, chicken marsala, or seafood.

So, I’m still learning what works for my body and I feel it works for me, I still understand that it can be tweaked and adjusted to make it better and more effective.  To be continued…

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My recipe for my favorite morning smoothie:

1 jalapeno

1/2 cucumber

1 banana

1 peach

1 handful of kale

1/4 cup of cilantro

1 cup of rice milk

10 blueberries

Squeeze of lime

Either 1/2 cup of watermelon or pineapple

MeStrength

Disclaimer: I received a 10 pack of MESTRENGTH to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I was lucky enough to participate in trying the MESTRENGTH drink mixes that I’ve heard so much about.  I don’t have to preach the importance of proper hydration in not only your fitness but everyday activities.  For the most part, I’ve usually been a water only kind of runner and athlete.  Lately, I’ve been craving anything that not only replenishes what I’ve I’ve lost but also has some memorable taste.  That’s where MESTRENGTH came in.

So why this brand and what does it do?

Well, simply put, it’s a sugar free and zero calorie drink that gives the body some much needed refueling.  And, it’s gluten free, vegan, and vegetarian!  I am definitely a fan of a drink additive that has no chemicals or unnecessary sugars.  Plus, giving you a kick of 5 electrolyes and 5 gms of creatine for that extra boost of muscle energy.

Now onto the taste…with the package I received, it came 2 packs of 5 flavors.  While all of the flavors are great, I became seriously addicted to the Kiwi Strawberry.  There is just something about the distinct taste and it’s not sugary.

IMG_4906

I’ve always been pretty good about staying hydrated in both summer and winter and I know just how important maintaining an equal balance of water in and out is.  I’ve drank the typical sports drinks out there during my sporting life but never finished one as it just tasted too sugary.  I always ended up watering it down just to make it tolerable.  MESTRENGTH has given me what I need and tops it off with being tops for the amount of added electrolytes and flavor all in the absence of chemical additives, preservatives, and sugars.

Something about this time of year…

Now I’m still young enough to enjoy living in the Midwest and experiencing all four seasons.  But I continue to get those winter blahs that January and February bring.  Oh I still manage to get what needs to be done by running almost every day.  I think that my last two coast-to-coast adventures have spoiled me a bit.  The breathtaking views of running along the Pacific coast in Monterey haunts me quite a bit.  I never thought I’d be a fan of California but after visiting and running along the serene trails, I contemplate going back frequently.

I’ve done a few races and plenty of runs mid-winter around here and dressed accordingly so I know I’m able to do cold runs.  Looking at my running times over the last few years, I’m seeing where I’m strongest and more effective.  Surprisingly, the intense heat brings me my best!  Maybe it’s because I hydrate properly or maybe it’s because I’m a firefighter and used to incredible amounts of fire.  It really shocked me as the times were noticeably better.

Having certain goals seems to be helping with these blues as being signed up for a race gives me something to look forward to.  I find myself starting out looking for a local race but veer of course and look for races out west or south.  Hmmm, maybe my destiny is to be out of the Midwest and somewhere more scenic.  Time will tell…

What looks more enticing?

2XU HYOPTIK Thermal Compression Tights

Disclaimer: I received a pair of 2XU HYOPTIK Thermal Compression Tights to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Make the 2XU sponsored #BibChat on JAN 26, 2016!

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I decided to put off today’s run until a little later when I was fortunate enough to receive a pair of these to try out thanks to Bibrave and 2XU.  The delivery guy dropped them off around 3:45pm and I was out the door by 3:50pm!

So what are they and why use them?

Ok first, I never thought I’d be the type of male runner who wore running compression tights.  I also never thought I’d be a runner.  But then the more I ran, the more I understood the equipment and proper uses of them.  Considering I put in close to 1800 miles this year, I thought I’d make a pretty good assessment of the HYOPTIKs.

Upon first opening them, I thought that they may be a bit too small, but after putting them on (I’m 5’10” and 185lbs) I found the medium to actually fit pretty well.  They felt comfortable and looked pretty darn good.

So again, why compression?

  • Oxygenates the blood for fast recovery
  • Faster warm up of muscles
  • Reduces fatigue through less muscle movement
  • Reduces long term overuse injuries
  • Reduces muscle soreness

Well that’s a lot of promises but I can assure you that they are all true!  As soon as I started my run, I could feel them doing what they claim.  They kept my legs warm and though the temps were in the 30’s for my run with a decent headwind, my legs felt great.  The winds did a number on my thighs last week but after tonight’s run, I can positively say that I’m a huge fan.  I ran a quick 6 miles in them to break them in and really like the way that the HYOPTIKS kept my muscles from vibrating and seemed to compress at just the right level.

After the run, I kept them on a short while to cool down and really felt as if my legs weren’t even challenged during the run.  I usually get a slight soreness after my runs and either ice massage them or just stretch but I didn’t need it tonight!  Now, they weren’t the easiest things to get off but then again, what is after a run?!

All-in-all, I’m very happy with the look, the feel, the reflective logos, and the experience with them.  I look forward to building in some miles with the HYPOTIKS and if they are anything like tonight’s results, I will be getting more out of the product line!

You can use the code: “Run20″ to get 20% off all their gear! Hurry, because the code expires February 29th.  Be sure to follow them on Twitter @2xu_usa, #RunHyoptik, and #bibchat.

Check out these other Bibravepro reviews:

Cass, Mark, Sarah, Erin, Katherine, Heather, Josh, Jeremy, Brie, Lisa, Allison, Christine G, Ang, Amy, Gina, Abbie, Jen S, Sarah M, Chadd, Jessica R, Jenny

 

 

 

2016 BibRavePro

BibRave-Badge-1

 

I’m so happy to selected as a 2016 BibRavePro!  I’ve followed some of the pros for years and feel fortunate to part of it.

I cannot wait to start contributing to such a reputable group and sharing my experience with running races, trying selected vendor products, and participating in the Tuesday night #bibchats.

I will be reviewing races and gear and sharing them with social media on Twitter https://twitter.com/fjnardo, Instagram https://www.instagram.com/fjnardo/, and of course on http://www.bibrave.com. 

Yiannis Christodoulou

European & National Aquathlon Champion (Age Group), GB Aquathlon team captain, 2021 National Sprint Triathlon Runner Up (AG) Representing Great Britain in the 2022 World & European Triathlon Championships (Age Group)

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