Wednesday, December 21, 2016

12/21/2016 First day of winter, running with Justin Macaluso

Ironically, I went outside for a run on the first day of winter and it wasn't that bad.  I headed out for about 4.75 miles at a comfortable pace of 8:45/mile.  I ran today with Justin Macaluso, from Never End the Fight.  My former student, Justin created the team as I have talked about during our sit down last year (check it out here).

2016 Fair Lawn 1st Day 5K
Besides sharing a good run, we chatted about running, racing, the holidays, and our race last New Year's, the First Day 5k in Fair Lawn, New Jersey.  It was freezing, and also my wife was 9 months pregnant.  She was a trooper bringing the kids there in the bitter cold to watch me and the other members of Never End the Fight.  I'm hoping this year is a bit warmer.

Tanner Dec. 2016
It was also the day before Tanner was born.  I wonder if the cold induced what followed, she was in the hospital roughly 8-9 hours later, and gave birth the following day.  I have to say it again, Maura is a trooper.

I have talked about motivation a lot over recent weeks.  I am low on it, with the weather like it is.  However, running today with Justin helped.  Commiserating about weather, talking about races, kids, and just sharing the run made it bearable.  I run solo all the time, so it was a good change.

If you have a chance and want to know more about Justin's story and his thoughts, check out his page here, Never End the Fight, or go to the post I linked in the first paragraph.

Maybe we will see you for the First Day 5K in Fair Lawn.  Look for the team and come say hi, introduce yourself.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Product Review and Giveaway: Rechargeable Hair Trimmer and Sonic Toothbrush @ToiletTreeProd

Recently, I was sent a couple products from the good people at ToiletTreeProducts for review.  I was given the choice of products, so I decided on two rechargeable ones, a sonic toothbrush and my favorite, the hair trimmer.

The company sent them immediately, and I received it in 2 days.  That is a good start, fast shipping.  I followed the directions on both products and set them both up for a first time, full charge.  Each is designed to hold a nice, long charge, if setup properly.

The Sonic Toothbrush, as pictured, is nearly silent.  It has three operating modes.  Clean, soft, and massage all do a nice job on the teeth, but I prefer the massage mode.  It is my first sonic toothbrush and I like it a lot.  It does take getting used to.  You have to keep the head away from your other teeth as it rattles them a little if some part other than the bristles hit your mouth.  That being said, when you do it right, I honestly feel like they are nearly dental room clean.  I love the feeling of clean teeth, there is nothing better.

Another great quality of the toothbrush, it is nearly silent.  I admit, when I was about to turn it on the first tie, I was expecting a bit of sound, like an electric shaver sound.  I have no idea why, but I was pleasantly surprised when I did turn it on and I could barely hear it.  The toothbrush comes with multiple heads as well.  I have not worn one out yet, but I did attempt to change them because I wanted to see if it was difficult.  It isn't.  Simply slip the head off and slip the new one on.  Done.

The second product, the rechargeable Hair and Beard Trimmer is awesome.  As a guy that shaves his head, this is everything I want and more.  After charging, I used the clipper with no guard to shave my head and it was painless.  Most clippers like the barbershop ones, have a metal body that runs along your head.  This one, has a plastic one which does such a much smoother job and does not hurt at all.  It is a lightweight clipper that is shaped well and easy to hold.  The best part is that there is no cord to deal with when clipping.  I don't have to swing the cord over me or around me, it is so much less to deal with.  The trimmer clipped my hair close and took very little time.  It is dramatically quieter than the barbershop clippers I normally use.  I was expecting this after using the toothbrush beforehand, and was happy to be correct.

It does come with 4 guards to determine hair length, a comb, cleaner brush, and scissors as well.   I am not a beard guy, but the small size of the trimmer as well as the cut of the hair would make this a good choice.

Both of the products hold a good charge as I was able to use them and continue to use them without needing to dedicate a set aside time to charge.  That is the nature of both products.  I fully recommend both products and the company was a pleasure to deal with, from first ship to our conversations afterwards.

They have generously offered to allow 2 lucky readers in the U.S. to be picked as winners.  I will choose a winner for a sonic toothbrush and a winner for the hair and beard trimmer.  Winners will be chosen on January 8th.  I was not compensated for this review, I was simply given the product to test and provide my honest opinion.

a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway

12/20/2016 Tuesday run and nutritional laziness

Besides the 40 minute run today, the other topic on my mind is my nutrition.  To be honest, I have been a straight up train wreck for the last month and a half.  I am eating like crazy and it shows.  I need to trim this gut down.  Even beyond that, I just feel like crap now.  It's no secret that eating at least somewhat healthy dramatically improves how you feel physically and mentally.  Here are some of the simple things I am going to focus on starting now to turn around my nutritional momentum:

1.  Water, not soda.  Not that I have been drinking a lot of soda, but I haven't been drinking a lot of water, like ever.  I need to up it a bit.  Well, to be honest, one glass a day would be upping it, so I need to be somewhat more significant that that.

2.  Less crap carbs.  This is where all my weight gain has come from.  I have been housing the crap carbs.  Crumb cake, brownies, chips, pretzels, fries, everything, except the good ones.  I am dropping the crap carbs and the excess sugar along with it.

3.  More vegetables.  I like and eat a large variety of veggies when I am taking the time to involve them in meals and recipes.  The problem is, I sometimes just don't include them.  I need to get back on the spinach road, along with some of my favorites like brussel sprouts, broccoli, edamame, etc.

4.  Better proteins like eggs and beans, less of the traditional meat proteins.  Again, I enjoy different proteins, but I can be lazy about them.  I need to get the soups and hard boiled eggs going again.

5.  Smoothies need to be fired up again.  I have an awesome blender and a decent ability to make a tasty, healthy smoothie.  However, when I fall out of the rhythm, I don't utilize this power packed meal in a glass.  

I am not reinventing the wheel here.  The stuff above, are the basics that can help you achieve a base level of nutritional moderation.  Most of the issues I have, along with millions of other humans, have to do with simple laziness and poor planning.  When I am organized, I eat well.  Plain and simple.  Time to get organized and feel better.

Oh, by the way, the 40 minute run was fine, but inside again.  F

12/16/2016 Better late than never, Friday's run

Friday, I ran for about 45 minutes.  That put me at 3 runs for the week.  Nice, even though the weather blows and it will continue to, I will get my running in.  I might have to do some of the runs inside, but it's better than nothing. 

The main problem I have running inside, besides the boredom, is that I never feel stretched out.  It feels confining indoors and I can't stretch out the legs and move.  Running to me has always felt freeing, so this confinement is disappointing, but necessary sometimes.  It does make you appreciate getting back outside though.

I'm still stuck as to what racing I want to plan for 2017.  This lack of focus has me in limbo with my running.  I am still trying to figure it out.  Also, my 2017 goals are coming together nicely.  This post should be out soon.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Great looking bars delivered today, review to follow, thanks @zingbars

The nice folks at Zing Bars were kind enough to send me a few bars to try out. As you can see in the pic, a nice, professional looking pack. I'll review soon and have a couple runner friends give me some feedback to share as well.

Great looking bars delivered today, review to follow, thanks @zingbars

The nice folks at Zing Bars were kind enough to send me a few bars to try out. As you can see in the pic, a nice, professional looking pack. I'll review soon and have a couple runner friends give me some feedback to share as well.

12/15/2016 Today's run and motivation creeping up

It's funny how, after a few years of running and now almost 3 writing about it, I am so in tune with my motivation level.  I am a bit of a mood swing kind of guy, so my motivation can swing just the same.  After NYC, I needed some time to rest and let my motivation level drop.  It has taken awhile to get it back this year, more than normal.  However, during today's run and over the last 2-3 days, I feel it building.  I ran for an hour today, comfortable pace, no idea the miles.  It was just about running and thinking today.

I think it has to do with getting a couple runs in and what's going on here, at The Daily Fitness Journal.  January will mark three years for me in the blog world.  In the past six months, it has started to really take off.  I am currently breaking the 1K mark to my total reach (barely, but it still counts) and it wasn't long ago when I would go onto the analytics side of the site and hope for like 15 page views.  With the increased success of the site, I have more and more I want to do.  I have an interview coming soon with a well know author in the field, as well as some great product connections to share to you, the reader.

Over the coming weeks, I plan to train more and harder than ever, reaching for a great 2017.  I have some real goals in mind and some are lofty.  More to follow on that when I nail them down.  For now, I leave you with this video.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

12/13/2016 Today's run in the cold

What I feel like when it's below 50.
It's like 35 degrees outside and I got out for a basic 5 miler.  This, in itself, does not seem particularly earth shattering.  However, when you recall my cold weather wimp status, you should know that I feel like a champion for doing it.  I hate the cold.  
I thought about it the whole time I was running today that, if I lived in a warm climate, I would probably be a 3:00 marathoner.  I do not mind if it's 90 degrees outside, I just do not like it less that 50 degrees.  I feel like my father, except he has a sweet spot of about 72 degrees and partly sunny.  At least with me, anything about 50's and I am good.

The real focus however, should be the run.  I did a 5 miler with a pace of around 8:30/mile, give or take.  I don't really care about pace right now.  December and January are tasked with building miles again, speed will return in February or March.  I have to keep after myself to get out and run, I haven't died on a cold day yet.  

Monday, December 12, 2016

Sickness and low motivation go hand in hand

Wow, I'm a wimp.  I have a little cold, which doesn't happen often, but I want to shut down.  Maura is tougher than me :)  I am attempting to push through this cold, an eyelid virus, and a lack of motivation.  I will get out for a run!!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

12/07/2016 Wednesday walks, looking for a race

Well, I was in a bit of a rush this morning and ran out of the house without a jacket or my gear bag.  Consequently, no gear equals no run at lunch.  To keep from being idle today, I am going to do some 10-15 minute walks throughout the day and keep moving as much as possible.  Also, I am going to do some sets of push ups here and there.  Building up motivation keeps mind mind going so I want to capitalize on it.  

Moving forward, I am focused on finding a race now.  I am leaning towards the half marathon distance as I am beginning to think that might be my sweet spot.  Translating my speed over that distance has been doable in the past and I think I can really get my time lower than my PR (1:34 even) if I train hard and pick a flatter race.  The race I've done twice, Franklin Lakes Scenic Half Marathon, is great, but definitely hilly.  I want to go sub 1:25 for a half.

If anyone has any suggestions that aren't too far away, send them to me in the comments sections, on social media, or email.  Nothing too soon either, at least March.  The West Point Half is a possible, if they ever update the site.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

12/06/2016 First run since the training cycle begins

12/06/2016 Sweet, new shades from @OpticNerve_

Check out my new sunglasses from my favorite company, Optic Nerve.  These Desoto glasses in matte black look great.  I will wear them for a week or so and do a few runs in them before I post my review.  However, my first look is awesome and I will tell you that they come with multiple, interchangeable pairs of lenses.  I love them.  Optic Nerve was also generous enough to provide me with a couple pair to give away to a couple lucky followers( one man and one woman).  More details on the sunglasses and the giveaway soon!

Optic Nerve Desoto, matte black

Monday, December 5, 2016

12/05/2016 Need a quick 30 minute workout? Here it is!

Slowly, the motivation is coming back.  Today, I was motivated to workout, but not in the cold.  Tomorrow, I will suck it up and run outside.  F.  However, for today, I decided to jog 10 minutes as a warm up and then do 2 times through the following exercises.  On a side note, the 10 minute jog did feel great.  I felt rested, smooth, and free of nagging aches/pains.  I guess that it's a sign to get out there and use these strong legs.  Here is the circuit:
Front Plank

25 Jumping jacks
25 Push ups
1 min. Wall sit
1 min. Plank ( 1st set I did a left, then a right side plank, second set I did front plank)
2 min. Farmer's walk
25 Crunches
25 Push ups
25 Box jumps

At the end, it worked out to be just about 30 minutes total.  I didn't rest between exercises, but I took 30 seconds between the 2 sets to catch a breath and sip my water.  

Guest Blogger, Jeremy Basis and the Wheat Belly, @WilliamDavisMD

Here's a quick story, but a strong one from my friend Jeremy.  You may remember him from a blog post a couple years back when he ran the 2014 NYC Marathon and did a guest race report.  Here he is again, sharing an interesting take on nutrition and his own attempts to be comfortable with his weight.  Enjoy!

My Journey To Find My True Self:

My journey to find my true self has been a long and bumpy one. Like many people who struggle with weight fluctuations I never had any problems losing weight. The tough part for me was always keeping it off. I have gone through multiple body transformations in the past 20 years but this one feels different. I was always an athlete as a kid and into my adult years but it becomes harder to keep up when you're carrying extra weight. Another damper on my adult athletics was that I was diagnosed with gout about 6 years ago. Those that have gout will tell you that most days you feel fine and don't even know it's there, but when you're in an attack it's a nightmare. 

In April 2012, I got married and during my engagement, I had set out once again to lose weight and look my best for the wedding. That was when I found running races and extreme races like mud runs. I was hooked right away. I loved the rush of running and completing them and you had to train hard to even compete them so it forced me to train. I signed up for one every month. I enjoyed it so much that I continued them even after the wedding. I was at a decent weight at that time but when I would get on a scale I would still be puzzled that it didn't seem like the work that I was putting in was equating to losing pounds on the scale. 

A bunch of friends and I went out to Vegas in spring of 2014 to run a Tough Mudder and the unthinkable happened. I got a gout attack the day before the race and I had to sit it out. I was devastated. Someone who is an athlete and trains for events but also has gout never knows if the gout will flare up at the time of the event and anybody with gout knows that there is no toughing it out through an attack. You can barely walk. When I got back to LA I went to the doctor and he prescribed me a daily pill to help keep my uric acid levels down and I started taking that every day. For the next 2 plus years I didn't have one bad day with gout. Over that time my wife and I had a baby boy in December of 2015. Those with kids will tell you that it's pretty easy to let yourself go when you have a newborn. I did. 

Skip to the beginning of summer 2016 and I went in to the doctor for a routine checkup. He asked how the gout was doing and I was happy to report that since I got on the daily pill after the Vegas debacle I had no issues. He did mention that I could stand to lose a few pounds which is something I already knew. Two days after I had that appointment I had a gout attack. It was at this point that I told myself that I needed to take hold of my situation and find my true self. 

I started doing some reading online to see if there was something I could do differently and I came across an article that talked about gout patients and how they should stay away from wheat because it's better to deal with gout when you aren't carrying extra weight. After some more reading, I came across a book called, "Wheat Belly," by William Davis. I rushed to Barnes and Noble and picked it up. It struck a chord with me because in the beginning of the book the author talks about how his wife is into extreme races just like I was and when he goes to support her he noticed that a large number of the people competing are overweight. Here are people training and burning tons of calories and they are overweight. The reason that he derived is that these people are all eating wheat to carb load and eating tons of it because they feel they are doing so much training.  This was what I did during my training as well. I always felt that I should be able to eat what I want because I was working out like a madman. 

I read the book at the end of June and decided to eliminate wheat starting the beginning of July. 5 months later I dropped 30 pounds and feel great!  I am under 200 lbs. for the first time since college. I don't think I could've done this without the book because it framed it in a way that made sense to me. It illustrated what kind of poison today's wheat is and why we shouldn't be eating it.  That was enough to get me through the really difficult first few weeks of not eating something that has been such a prominent part of my diet for my entire life. I highly recommend giving this book a read. Especially if you're someone who just cannot seem to lose weight or keep weight off. It'll change your life and lead you to your true self!!

Friday, December 2, 2016

A practical gift guide for the runner in your life!

You know a runner? Are married to one?  Have a brother runner? Know a couple old mother runners?  If you do, check out the following gifts for that person, or yourself.  When I think about what to include on my gift list each year, I keep it simple.  I promote the stuff I use/love because I think others will feel the same.  I won't say that everything is cheap, but I won't be promoting a $300 jacket or sunglasses that cost $250.  I think there is a place where affordability meets quality and that's where I like to be.  I also like to promote brands or companies I believe are good for the sport, or products simply good for the runner's soul.

If you have anything to comment on or want to add on, leave it in the comments.  Here goes.  Find something on the list and go check it out.

1.  RoadID--It will always be number one on the list, every year.  I think it is is the single most important piece of equipment every runner/cyclist should own and wear 24/7.  It is cheap, easy, and may save your runner's life.  Go here for a chance to win a gift card to RoadID.

2.  Optic Nerve Sunglasses--Also will be a list entrant every year.  Great sunglasses that work well for leisure or for sport.  Two things I don't like about sunglasses, high $ and when they bounce or move during activity.  Optic Nerve sells pairs that range from $30-115ish.  I wear them during running, softball, and everything I do with my kids during sports.  They stay on, period.

3.  Top 3 books for runners--

Running with the Buffaloes- non-fictional season with the Colorado Buffaloes Cross Country team.  It is an amazing book, following the team, coaches, relationships, tragedy, triumph, and more.  My favorite running book of all time.
Once a Runner- fictional tale of running, it's a cult classic among runners.  The sequel, Again to Carthage is good too, although not a top 3.

A Race like No Other- Non-fictional book about the 2007 NYC marathon, the book tells the story of several professional and non professional runners, each on a quest towards something great.

4.  Augusta Active Circuit Pants--God I love these pants.  Augusta Active is great all around.  I have tees, pants, jackets, water bottles from them and love everything.  Why specifically the pants then?  They are comfy, fit well, and with this week's code, Cyber40, are only like $16.50!  Most brands charge like $50 for comfortable sweats with pockets and open bottoms.  These are awesome!  Plus, I can't handle the new skinny leg sweats rage.  It's weird.

5.  Aftershokz--These headphones are a game changer.  They go in front of the ear so no need to
worry about fit, and you care hear your surroundings as well!  Safer listening and running!  Plus, at $30-$120, they won't kill your wallet.  There are wired and wireless options.

6.  Gift card to one of the following stores.  We runners are picky about sneakers, clothing, just about everything related to, well, running.  No runner every got mad about a getting a running gift card!

Running Warehouse
Road Runner Sports
Zombie Runner
Gone for a Run

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

11/30/2016 Wednesday's Workout, a little HIIT time

Well, since the marathon, I have been the poster boy for post marathon lack of motivation.  It happens to even the best, a total lack of motivation.  I did however, have a major motivation factor for eating in these recent weeks.  Yikes!  I'm fat.  That being said, I am feeling the motivation coming back, not only to run, but to be fit again.  Consequently, I decided to reverse my normal course of action today and workout rather than go for a run.

I do feel good after running, like I accomplished something.  However, knowing that I do not love to cross train, when I get that in, I really feel good about it.  It's like I have overcome a major obstacle.  So, for 23 minutes today, I was the man!  Ha, kidding.  I need to keep at it.  I am a little weak these days.  

Today's workout, as I like to keep it with cross training was really simple, but challenging.  I warmed up with 5 minutes of jump rope, then did 2 times through the following circuit.  I finished up with a 10 minute walk at the end.  Total time was 33 minutes.  Short and sweet.  

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Just in time for the holidays, win a free $35 gift certificate from @RoadID @DeanKarnazes

Every year, I write up a gift guide for the runner in your life, or cyclist, whatever.  At the top of the list, is a product that every single active individual should wear.  The RoadID could be the most cost effective life saving device you could own.  It is an ID bracelet, shoe strap, neckwear, pet, anklet, or watch accessory that provides your personal information in the event that you cannot give it to someone yourself.  The RoadID pictured is the Slim model, the one I wear.  There are several variations in size, color, and also shoe versions.  RoadID now has the identification badge available that connects to the watch band of some of the more popular active watches/activity monitors.  These include, AppleWatch, VivoFit2, VivoSmart, Fitbit Alta, Fitbit Blaze, and more.
RoadID Slim

In addition, RoadID sells accessories for your ID as well as visibility gear for safely enjoying your favorite activity with some piece of mind.  Check out some of the accessories here!  

Purchasing your RoadID is simple.  Go to the website, pick out the model you want, and fill out the corresponding information for the ID, complete your transaction and in a few days, you have your product.  The folks at RoadId were generous enough when I contacted them to provide me with a $35 gift card to the website for one lucky, US reader.  Please enter the Rafflecopter (starting midnight 11/30) below and check out the website for more information or to purchase your RoadID today!  Once a winner is chosen, I will email him/her the gift code I was given by the company.

I was provided nothing for this review, except for the gift certificate to giveaway.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Race Report, Philadelphia Half Marathon by John Altieri

The following is a race report by a friend at work, John Altieri.  He has a good perspective and has a wide range of races under his belt.  I am happy to share his view of the Philly half marathon and look forward to sharing his future races as well, even if he doesn't know it yet :)

Philly Half Finisher's Medal
Last month, I decided to do one more half marathon before the end of the year. Through September and October, I had been joining friends as they trained for other races, including marathons (big thanks to you Gary!). Talking about everyone's racing plans was great motivation to get out there for another day. I had the long runs under my belt so signing up for Philly was an easy choice.

It's great to see how many people will come out to run far; big city races give you that. This was a solo trip for me, though you're really never alone at a race. Friendly folks in Philly, lots of cheering and some great signs. A good one said "Motivational Sign." Just true.

Heading to the center of a big city for packet pick-up, you may know, isn't the easiest, so staying somewhere downtown, or making a night of the pick-up can make it much easier. I guess I wanted to make it a little harder on myself (easier on my wallet) so I stayed just outside of town. Friday night, instead of keeping my parking spot and getting dinner in the city, I made a trip out to the "Fermentaria" at Tired Hands Brewing Company for some "carb loading" and a bite to eat. The next morning I drove into town. Parking was really easy considering how many people were racing. One of the pay lots listed in the race guide was open with plenty of room just a few blocks from the start. $10.

Not long after that, standing in the first corral, the race started only a couple minutes late. Folks were really upbeat and a whole lot of cheering for wheelchair athletes and the police out to support the event.

Elevation Chart
There were a few changes to the race this year. I had done the full marathon here a few years ago (without training... ouch!) and really enjoyed the course. One change for 2016 was that the half was held on Saturday rather than having the half and full on the same day. With so many people and the road being tight at the start, it was good to give each race a day.

Another change is the new course. We did 5k of racing downtown before the course brought you north of the city, leaving more mileage in the parks along the Schuylkill River. It would've been nice to spend more time downtown, but the change gives the course a new feel. At the 5k point we came back around and passed the starting line. I heard them sending off the penultimate wave of runners 20 minutes after the first wave. The "waved" start seemed organized and helped the foot traffic on the course.

Soon I came to a well known hill people speak of just north of town. I took it easy-ish. I was not expecting the three other solid climbs a little ways after that. One climb reminded me of trail racing, and had me thinking that a lot of us would be walking had we been on trails. This race sure put the "hilly" in Philly! ;-) My hope of breaking 1:30, usually a very doable goal, was in question.

With a mile and a half to go, the 1:30 pace crew caught up to me. I was slowing down. My mile-by-mile calculations that put me just under 1:30 weren't so accurate. My math abilities might have been compromised by my high heart rate. Hills! I heard the pacers discussing how the course was running long (I ran 13.4 based on my Garmin) and that the hills were slowing people down. I kept those guys in sight and came to the finish line in the usual red hot, huffing pain / joy. Finish lines are great thresholds.

Official time was 1:30:00. Ha! I didn't break 1:30 - but it's a nice round number. A rewarding day. Results put me in a usual spot percentage-wise, so I wasn't the only one hurting on the hills. This is not necessarily a PR course, but still a really nice challenging race. Water stations were done just right, volunteers well trained and supportive, and the course was well marked, although a bit long. If I head back next year I'll probably stay in town. Thanks, Philly!

Race Report: Team Never End the Fight at the USR 5K

It's been awhile since we heard from Justin Macaluso and his team of runners, Never End the Fight.  Thanksgiving Day would provide the team with a chance to race together at a local, popular 5K Turkey Trot in Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.  Here is a quick recap of the race by Justin.

Thanksgiving morning, Never End the Fight was back at it for the second year in a row at a large, local 5K.

The race, formally known as the Dick Meighan Memorial 5K Run, is now called the Upper Saddle River 5K.  The race was in Upper Saddle River at Cavellini School.  There were just about 2000 runners this year.  It was great weather to run in, with the temperature at around 40 degrees with no wind.  The course certainly proved to be difficult with multiple hills along the way.  The race starts with about a third of the mile on a long uphill incline.  Team Never End the Fight was 5 strong in Upper Saddle River with myself, my father, William Rice and Steve Greenblatt and his wife Gere Ann Waters all on the course. 

As a team, Never End The Fight took 21st out of 69 teams with an average time of 25:29. Individual times are listed below.

Justin--  20:42
85th overall and 15th out of 78 in age group

William--  25:33
355th overall and 16th out of 41 in age group

Steve--  30:12
872nd overall and 68th out of 121 in age group

Jim--  30:53
951st overall and 50th out of 102 in age group

Jere--  43:26
1732nd overall and 66th out of 76 in age group

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Bananas and potassium right? Here are 6 common foods that beat the banana at it's own game

So, coming off marathon week and the necessary build up of potassium in the body, I was reminded of an article I had read about the banana and how it is synonymous with potassium, even though it can be easily beaten in by quite a bit of foods.  Consequently, I did some research and came up with some of the most common, tasty alternatives to the banana.  You have to remember, not everyone is into bananas and their consistency.  A banana provides about 9% of the recommended daily amount of potassium.  For most, it's a love/hate thing.  Here are some choices that trump the yellow guy:

1.  Sweet Potato-  There are a lot of people that dig these babies.  A medium with skin, about 10% RDA.

2.  Tomato Sauce-  This obviously can vary, but the red stuff can give you around 16-18% of the RDA.

3.  Watermelon-  My favorite of this list.  It is about 14% of the RDA for a couple slices of watermelon.  A bonus is all the lycopene in it too!

4.  Black Beans-  This bean is a superfood if there ever was one.  The list of positives is long, especially the 16% RDA of potassium in a cup.

5.  Frozen Spinach- Not only cheap on the wallet and easy to deal with, frozen spinach packs about 11% in a cup.  Toss it in a shake or even your pasta sauce!

6.  Edamame-  The soybean is a plant-based protein wonder.  Add to that its 14% value of potassium and it just got better.

There are a number of other foods you could go for as well.  I just picked these as they represent a variety and are common in every store.  I'm not big on having to go to a tiny specialty shop just to get healthy food.  Feel free to comment on a healthy addition to this list!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Featured Post: Product Review & Giveaway! @AugustaActive Avail rain jacket

Recently, I was provided with an Avail pullover rain jacket from the good people at Augusta Active.  The details of the jacket can be found here.  After joining them as an ambassador and reviewing a few products, I was sent this to try out.  

I was able to wear the jacket a few times in the rain, for running and casual wear.  Here are some of the things I noticed.

First, it is clearly well made, stitched, put together, etc.  Although it doesn't come with the price tag of the big name brands that I will not mention, it does come with as much, if not more craftsmanship.  The zipper, cords, hood, stretch elastic are all well done and comfortably in place.
Check the zipper placement

Second, a BIG deal for me, was the zipper placement.  I LOVE that the zipper tops out at the neckline, with the hood behind, unobstructed by the zipper being closed.  I cannot stand when jackets have the zipper completely closed in a higher position like in the mid neck or chin level.  I find it constricting and uncomfortably lost in Neverland.  Also, when the zipper is that high, it can cause the hood to be bothersome when putting it up or down.  The Augusta brand does a nice job placing the zipper at the top of the neck and it is less restrictive, while also allowing the hood a full range of motion to go up or down.  

Finally, the performance of the jacket in rain conditions was spot on.  It was 100% able to resist water on a run and when used in casual conditions.  When I took it off when I was done being in the rain, I shook it off and all the water was off.  I found the medium size true to fit and it was a comfortable jacket to wear.  In hind sight, I may have ordered a small to wear on a run so that it was a little more fitted, but I do like the medium's feel.  I found the jacket enjoyable to wear on a run and it looks nice enough to wear casually as well.  Sometimes, running apparel can be limiting because of style, color, or fit to the primary purpose.  I like the dual ability of the Avail to kind of go anywhere.

The company was nice enough to extend me the ability to offer one lucky reader a free Avail jacket as a giveaway on my blog.  Please fill out the RaffleCopter below.  I was given the product for my review and received no compensation what so ever.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Featured Product Review & Giveaway: GoGo Squeez Yogurtz @GoGosqueeZ

Recently, I was provided with a few sample of the squeezable yogurts by GoGo Squeez for my kids and I to try out.  We were given the banana and the berry flavors to sample.  Here is a link to the  berry variety and a link to the banana variety and the specifics of the products we tried.  The company also has products like applesauce and fruit and veggie packs, as well as mixed packed available.  

My kids are ages, 12 10, and 7.  I gave them the berry yogurt squeeze for lunch one day and the banana on another day and told them I was asked that they try them and tell me what they thought, good or bad.  Here is some of the information I got when they came home from school that day.

"I like it because you can squeeze it and it's not too much!"  
Connor, 7

"I thought it was better than regular yogurt and I didn't need a spoon."  
Megan, 10

"It was better than then the other brand yogurts you always give us, it tasted more like fruit." Emma, 12

We also, talked about the product in detail, but I thought those were telling comments.  My son's big complaint with yogurts is that he doesn't want as much as a whole one, often 6 ounces, can be.  The 3 ounce pack is perfect for him.  Megan is a fan and the spoon thing was a selling point.  She also liked that the pack is slim and doesn't take up the space of a big yogurt cup.  Finally, Emma is not generally a fan of yogurt because of the chemical taste she often mentions.  We have tried a bunch of them, from kid's yogurts, to organics, to fruit on the bottom, etc.  She does like the creamy taste of the GoGo Berry.

As far as the banana flavor, this was my favorite.  I liked the taste and it was exactly like banana creaminess.  If that makes sense.  All three of my kids preferred the berry, but I would have bet a million dollar on that as none of them generally go for bananas.  Interestingly, my oldest, Emma, said she would have the banana flavor on occasion if we got it.  She said it was good.  I found this interesting because, of the three, she likes bananas the least.  The consistency does not agree with her.  She does like the flavor of the yogurt in the squeeze though.

Personally, I like the products and would buy them for the kids.  The novelty of the pack, and the slim container when packing a kid's lunch is great.  Also, nutritionally, with only natural ingredients, this is a smart choice for your family as well.  These packs are available in all major stores and the prices vary, but are competitive with all yogurt brands, and even better on sale!

I was provided the products to try and submit a corresponding review.  I was given no compensation in any form for my opinions.  The company has been nice enough to offer a couple boxes as a free giveaway to one lucky reader!  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 7, 2016

2016 NYC Marathon Expo Video, @Zensah @AthleteonFire @GoPro @DirtyOldSneaker

Here is my first attempt at a self made video.  I owe thanks to Eric at DirtyOldSneakers for his tips and advice.  He is a GoPro master.  

Also, thanks to Scott Jones @athleteonfire, for motivation, support, all things awesome in the world of endurance and action sports.

11/07/2016 The aftermath of NYC and some tidbits

Just like a wedding you plan for all year, the NYC Marathon has come and gone.  All I have left is a medal and some F-ed up legs!  Not really, the whole point of running NYC for me, is the amazing experience of it and how it really speaks to what running means to so many people.  I love the event, and hope to continue to do it as often as possible.  

I will be launching my first video soon of the race expo from Thursday.  Please keep in mind it is my first one and I am shaky to begin with.  I am well aware that some parts look like I downed 12 Mountain Dews and had a few No-Doz's before I started filming.  That being said, I am no professional.  I also took video and stills during the marathon, but haven't gotten to them yet.  A video will come out before next year's race :)  

Some of the funny signs I liked yesterday include, but aren't limited to because I was out of my mind after like mile 16:

1.  Get running, Negan is behind you!! (With a pic of Negan on the poster)
2.  Milk was a bad choice!
3.  Run like Phoebe!
4.  Never trust a fart!
5.  Run random stranger!
6.  Because running 26.3 would be crazy right?!?!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Today, I joined the Clean Sport Collective, #cleansportco

After seeing a video of Michael Wardian, the strangely bionic spuper runner able to drop 2:34 marathons every weekend, joining the Clean Sport Collective, I went over to the site to check it out.  It is an organization that promotes clean sport through athletes, brands, teams, coaches, trainers, and anyone in and around sports.  

There is a simple pledge form to fill out and also a page where you can attempt to get clean sport certified, mainly for pro athletes and brands I'm sure.  There is also a donation page, but I love that it isn't required.  If you want to, you can, but the pledge starts with the individual, not their money.

For myself, it is not only about being an athlete I think, but also about promoting the clean sport initiative on TheDailyFitnessJournal and my social media.  

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

11/01/2016 4 days left and ready to go...

I am 4 days out from the marathon and I feel ready to go.  I ran an easy 3.5 miles this afternoon and about 8:20/mile pace.  I'm just trying to keep the legs loose at this point.  I need to try and increase the sleep and water intake.  We'll see how that works out over the next few days.  

I spent some time today trying to find some song options for the video I am going to shoot of the marathon.  I listened to about 40 songs today, still not sure.  I guess when I see the video coming together, I'll get a song match.

Thursday, I head into NYC for the Expo at the Jacob Javitz Center.  It's an easy trip in as I will drive to Weehawken, take the ferry over the river, and walk a block from the terminal on the other side to the Javitz.  The weather should be good, so the ferry and the walking about should be nice.  I have some specific ideas about the expo this year as I want to touch base with the Zensah people as an ambassador, as well as a couple other brands I want to get together with.  Last year, I had a great time ther, but I didn't connect my blog/site to anyone.  This year, I am hoping to connect with some people.

Over the next couple days, I am going to run a couple more small jogs as well as get some walking in.  I'm not trying to win the race, but I do want to enjoy it and finish.  I do need to do a little more practice time with the GoPro.  I am going to bring it to the Expo and shoot some video and maybe do like a 30 second to a minute highlight video.  

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

10/25/2016 Couple days off, relaxing, checklist time

After a weird ending to last week, I ran today for the first time since last Wednesday.  I started with no real plan about what I wanted to do, trying to decide between a 5, 6, or 8,9 miler.  As I settled in, I started comfortably at an 8:27 for mile one.  As I got in a groove, I felt pretty good.  The only downside was that I was running a 1/3 mile loop around the turf complex while my son, Connor, was practicing with his U8 soccer team.  I turned in mile two at 7:55.  

I decided during my run, that I was going to run a nice 5 miler, progressive splits.  For me, that means each mile split gets a little faster.  I was feeling strong, but I didn't want to overdo it, in case I decide to go long tomorrow.  Mile three, I registered a 7:39, followed by a 7:29 for mile four, and I finished with a 7:23 final mile.

I included the word relaxing in the title of this post because, not that I need to relax, but more appropriately, that I have been stressing about my lack of a real "long run," during this training cycle.  I had a great 15 miler a couple weeks ago, and had two aborted 18 milers last week.  Now, I am only 12 days out, and going back and forth about what I want to do about sneaking in a final 18.  I will let you know what I decide tomorrow.

Finally, today I began to set up my final checklists for race day.  As I get a little closer and rewrite the list a bit, I will post the checklist and review the stuff going with me.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Ugh, not sure what is going on here

Today was my second attempt at my final long run.  Last week's 15 miler went well, I should have kept running that day.  Today, all I could muster was a slow 10 miles in about 1:30.  My best guess is that last weekend and the massive amount of physical labor, just zapped me and I have yet to recover.  Add that to the mileage I am still doing, even though it's difficult, and I must just be depleted and getting worse.  

I do not know whether to get some more miles in later today, or what.  I think I might need an extra day off this week.  Tomorrow may be limited to a walk for a bit.  I have really kept it together physically these last couple months of training, I don't want the wheels to fall off so close to the race.  

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

10/18/2016 Today's 7 miler change with tomorrow's final long run

Today, I decided to change my final long run before the marathon with tomorrow's 7 miler.  I am still beat up from the weekend and building the Great Wall of Wyckoff Ave.  I'm actually more sore today than I was yesterday.  I was hoping yesterday's 6 miler would shake out the soreness and the lactic acid, etc.  However, not so much.  When I got about 5 miles in today, I knew a switch made sense.  I want my last long run to be positive.  

It doesn't have to be record breaking, but the long run can have a psychological effect on you.  I want the positive feel of banging out a good 18 miles at race pace heading into my final 2 weeks of prep and taper.  Today, I capped it off at 7 miles at about 56 minutes.  It was a solid 8:00/mile pace.  I am looking to pace the marathon at 8:30/mile, give or take, depending on GoPro shooting time :)

10/17/2016 Running with @GoPro for the first time, kinda cool!

Today, I started the week with a nice 6 miler at a comfortable pace around 8:15/mile.  I brought my
friend's GoPro with me for the first time and tried some shots and video.  Although I feel that I look and sound like a dork on it, I do think it's kinda cool.  It did make me take note of the surroundings a lot more and be in the moment with my run.  On a recovery run or just getting some mileage in, I would be good to go.  I don't see myself wanting to deal with it on a tempo, training, speedwork session, etc.  

First impressions:

1.  After watching a video for about 5 minutes on Youtube, I felt comfortable trying it out.
2.  About 5 minutes into my run, I felt great about using it, switching between picture and video modes and handling the camera.
3.  Holding it steady is not easy for me.  I'm not steady handed.
4.  It's fun and I can't wait to use it on the race and soak up the crowds, sights, sounds, etc. of NYC!

My next task is figuring out how to take all the little vids and pics and get them into a coherent little video montage.  I am thinking IMovie and some sweet tunes in the background, not my voice!

Friday, October 14, 2016

10/14/2016 Best week in awhile, second recovery run

Today ends my running week.  I hit a total of 39 miles for Monday through Friday.  It is easily my best total miles, as well as the quality of miles.  Here is the recap:

Monday- 8 miles
Tuesday- 15 miles
Wednesday- 5 miles
Thursday- 6 miles
Friday- 5 miles

Tomorrow and Sunday, I will be performing extreme cross training as my brothers are coming dow with their wives and we will be building an 85 foot retaining wall.  The wall will be my of 700 blocks, each about 22-23 lbs.  Monday morning my legs will be good to go, but my upper body should be shot.

Looking ahead, next week will feature my top long run before the marathon, as well as my biggest week at roughly 40-45 miles.  Twenty-four days to go.  NYC here I come.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

10/13/2016 Building my best week in a long time

Tonight, I ran a nice 6 mile recovery run.  My overall time was 55 minutes and change.  I averaged around 9:15ish per mile.  It was exactly what I needed.  I got some miles in and kept it slow since I am coming off 8 on Monday, 15 on Tuesday, and a hard 5 miler yesterday.  

At 34 miles for the week, I am a little tired now, but still feel good.  I am looking at another easy 5 miler tomorrow.  Although I will not be running this weekend, I am doing some serious work at the house building a retaining wall that will be approximately 700 blocks.  Each block weighs roughly 22 lbs.  Thank God my brothers and sister in laws are coming to help.  

Heading into next week, I will max out my mileage in training before I start to taper the following week.  Next week will be about a 40-42 mile week.  Tomorrow I will post some information about the marathon for those spectating and that may want to follow me on the race course.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

10/12/16 Faster run, gotta be the shoes, @asicsamerica

Tonight was my third run in 3 days.  After 8 miles one Monday and 15 miles yesterday, I was planning on taking today off.  However, I had a good opportunity to get a run in and some more miles, so I took it.

I ran for 5 miles today and I decided to wear my Gel DS Racers to change it up a bit.  I haven't worn them in awhile and I do like running in a lighter shoe.  The Racer is my ideal shoe.  It's light, fast, a little bit of cushion, but barely, and they feel fast.  It was obvious right from the start that I was going to run faster than I had in weeks.  Here are the splits:






Negative split each mile, finished 5 miles in 34:27.  That leaves my pace at a nice 6:53/mile.  The rest of the week, I am going to slow it down and recover, a couple easy 5 milers.  Twenty-Five days until the marathon, and it feels like it is coming on light a freight train.  A good freight train though :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Surviving the gauntlet on my long run

Long run day and done.  I am a little behind distance wise for my long run going into the NYC marathon.  I know most people have gone 16-20 by now and today, I peaked at 15 miles.  However, I do have one more long run in me and I will get to 18-19 miles during that run.  Having done 26.2 miles already before, I am fine with my long run topping out there.  Also, the strength of my runs right now is great, so I have to be satisfied with where I am.

Today's run was 15 miles at an average pace of 8:13/mile.  My total time for the run was 2:03:21.  Overall, I negative split the run and had 4 of my final 5 miles under 8:00/mile pace.  I purposely ran harder at the end as I often do.  

The gauntlet I referred to in my title is shown in the picture.  I spent a good deal of my run on a loop around a nice field.  The only problem was that every lap, I ran into two small sections of black walnut death trap.  The one pictured is actually the easier of the two.  I guess the agility training and ankle strength building will serve me well.

Monday, October 10, 2016

10/10/16 A perfect fall day for a run

Sometimes, everything just works out in your favor.  The weather is sunny, cool, and a little breeze.  There is no traffic to deal with.  Everything feels a little crisper and more healthy after the rain yesterday.  Today was the perfect day for a fall run.  I took full advantage of the conditions and ran a strong 8 miler at a nice 8:01/mile pace.  I include my splits here:








The second column is i the running time, and the third column is the mile time for that mile.  As my fitness builds, it is good to see me being able to tick off the miles at a reasonably steady pace.  This is usually a good indicator that I am building well.  I typically have pacing problems when I am not fit or trying to do too much too soon.  Tomorrow, I am going to hit 15 miles at a little slower pace and try to stay balanced.