Category Archives: Guest Post

Your First 5K

So you are about to go on a 5k run for the first time? This article is for you.

I see many people saying all the time that they’re going on their first marathon, a simple 5k – many times as a special event, a family gathering of sorts or even for a good charitable cause.

 

Now, that’s all fine and I’m sure you’ll have fun as much as you will feel good after running BUT… even if you signed up for that 5K just for a good time with friends you still HAVE to prepare your body first. Specially if you’re not a regular runner! Many times we see 5k’s advertised but no one takes the time to insert a small indication of “caution: you have to prepare yourself before!”. I’ve had countless friends who were not physically active at all go for a 5k (because it was a special occasion type-of-marathon): some fainted, others quit, those who finished lay in bed for several days after. You CANNOT go for a 5K, just for fun, without preparation.

 

If you are indeed close to running your first 5K (which can be a painful 3.1miles if you aren’t used to it) or you just signed up for one, follow this guide to keep you safe and painless (as much as possible)! — Create a running and walking routine the weeks before the race.

 

You have to get your body ready some weeks before the actual race. Target two months as optimal for getting yourself completely ready. You have to get some endurance and you have to learn how to maintain a steady pace and not losing your breath while running (efficient breathing is one of the key factors to running as you know).

 

 

The 8 Week Routine Cycle

 

Spend some time figuring out a routine that you will carry for 8 weeks and it should go like this:

 

(ALWAYS heat up those muscles, don’t walk or run without proper exercising)

 

  • You will walk and run for half an hour every day (except a day to rest);
  • On the first week, give yourself a break while alternating running with walking — you can run 20 seconds for each 40 seconds walked. Or even less if you’re really unprepared (10 seconds being the minimum). Walking is as much important as running;
  • As you feel more comfortable with the running cycles, prolong that time — instead of 20 seconds of running and 40 walking, make it 30 seconds each. See how your body deals with those bursts and maximise the time you spend running;
  • Keep this cycle going in your week but do have one day a week of rest for your muscles to relax. If it’s been a bit hard on you, you can add a “softer day” after the rest day — just walk after relaxing, don’t run the day after. The other 5 days of the week should be spent on a steady cycle rhythm with increasing times of running vs walking;
  • If you want to see what the distance is really like or how it really feels, walk those 3.1miles in a steady pace. It’ll give you a chance for having a better perception of the true distance and how you are going to approach it;
  • In the final week you should spend the same amount of time on walking and running (30 seconds cycles);
  • Through all preparation time you should add blocks of running for 5 or 10 minutes.

Don’t forget! Besides the physical preparation in motion you have to eat healthier — have more frequent meals with less quantities – bet on more lean protein, fruits and vegetables and a bit of fat too (you’ll need it for combustion).

In the week of the race day

Let’s say that your race is on a Sunday – how should the last days of training go?

  • Thursday (3 days before race) — it should be your last day of running before the race. Go for a 30 minutes training with balanced time between walking and running;
  • Friday (2 days before race) — go on your 30 minutes training but don’t run — just walk at a steady pace, keeping velocity and controlling breathing;
  • Saturday (1 day before race) — give your body a break and rest. You’ll need to repair and relax all your muscles before that stretch. No running the day before!
  • Sunday – Race day! Try to not be late, get your attire ready and get the most comfortable running shoes. Have fun and be healthy!

 

From Gametiime to FitFam

I was first attracted to Gametiime for its search capabilities.  As a runner, triathlete, and coach, having a comprehensive, nationwide, race search platform is incredibly handy.  There are a fair amount of sites out there that to a decent job of compiling lists of races. However nothing comes close in terms of total races and ease of use as Gametiime.  Boasting 130,000 plus races (road, trail, ultra, triathlon), and peak monthly total of 100,000 unique visitors, this site has done a great job making it easy to athletes to find races of all distances.

Gametiime is a Seattle based start-up, created by fitness enthusiasts.  Their goal is to empower people of all abilities to live a healthy and active lifestyle.  With the huge amount of growth in running and triathlon in the past few years, there has been a similar boom in websites, fitness tracking apps, blogs, podcasts, forums, and social media outlets.  Add in the amount of technology available such as gps watches like Garmin, and on-line training calendars like Training Peaks and the Final Surge, and it can get confusing pretty quickly for new runners.  When I first started running, I put on an old pair of New Balance, a Timex watch, a sweatshirt, and grabbed my Sony Walkman.  Now runners have access to all kinds of tracking technology (GPS, heart rate, pace, elevation, and cadence to name a few) via smart watches or through their phones, and various ways to listen to music or podcasts while running.  The social component has also grown tremendously with sites like Daily Mile and Strava.  Runners and triathletes can post their workouts, find friends, share, and comment.

All this can be a lot to take in.  And athletes come in all shapes, sizes, ability levels, and level of competitiveness.  Its easy for a new athlete to feel intimidated by some of the more technical forums, blogs, and experienced athletes who have a level of intensity that can feel unrelatable.

This is why I like Gametiime.  On November 10th, they will relaunch as FitFam.  The mission is the same.  To empower the everyday athlete to take charge of their fitness in a fun and interactive way.  This is not a site where anyone will feel excluded or confused by a slew of metrics.  FitFam will continue to have the fantastic race search capability.  With the rebrand, athletes can join virtual events, challenges, and brands can start the process of hosting their own virtual events.  The social component includes adding races to your profile, collecting badges, finding and following friends, and group discussions.

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Gametiime has already hosted a handful of virtual events, two of which I took part in.   I like virtuals because often they are for a good cause.  The Puppy Run benefited animal rescue, and also allowed for registration of your canine friend.  The swag came in the mail and included goodies for your registered dog.  I love this type of thinking outside the box when it comes to a virtual.  As someone who runs with her dog, the novelty of registering her as well was great fun.  And isn’t that why we do this?  For enjoyment, live a healthy lifestyle and feel good?  The other virtual I did was to benefit Northwest Boxer rescue.  Virtuals are great for people who have limited access to races due to geography, time, or cost of race.  Virtuals by their nature are less expensive and while there isn’t the feel of a large race, sometimes this is a good thing.  Crowded roads, lack of support and lack of choice of the course aren’t a factor.  The Gametiime virtuals had sites where participants could add Garmin (or other GPS) data to show their exact time and distance.  This capability is important in terms of legitimacy.  A verifiable race result is key in virtual racing.

thepuppyrun

Gametiime has worked with Nuun hydration, Clif Bar, ENERGYbits and Orca.  The Nuun virtual run had a Facebook group where all the athletes talked to eachother.  This company is clearly invested in making running and triathlon accessible and empowering healthy lifestyles.  There will be an Ambassador program for 2016, and in full disclosure, I will be taking part in it.  I have kicked around the idea of applying for Ambassador programs in the past, but this one speaks to me as it aims to be incredibly interactive and the #movethemission philosophy mirrors the training philosophy I hold as a coach.  Everyone is welcome, everyone is included, and everyone’s journey is unique and important.  For more information and sign up go to http://www.fitfam.com/

nuunpeople

Thump Fin IPX8 Review

The Thump Fin IPX8 is a waterproof, 8G MP3 player advertised for swimming.  I add the qualifier “advertised for,” as the instructions indicate that this MP3 player can be used for both swimming and dry land activities.

The Thump Fin has “headlock design,” guaranteed not to fall off.  It looks like this:

thumpfull

It is worn like a headband, but on the back of the head (like sunglasses in reverse).  You can adjust it up or down on your head for comfort.  Nothing would actually prevent it from being worn like a headband on the top of your head except it feels a little tight that way to me.  For swimming, wear over the cap with the controls in the back.  The fit is snug, but not tight.  While swimming, I forgot it was on my head at all.

The Thump is a basic MP3 player, very easy to use.  The design is clever, the back unsnaps from the band, showing a USB, in which you plug into your computer, and then you can easily drag and drop MP3 music files and sync to the Thump.

thumpback

The front looks like this:

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Here we see the power/play /pause button, volume up (+) and down (-), and arrows that skip forward to the next song, or back to the previous.  Note that the smaller button is the reset button.  The brain intuitively wants to use that button as the power on/off, but the unit is actually turned on by holding the play/pause button, which is the large circle in the middle.  The blue indicator light blinks when the unit is on.  Hold the + button, and the unit switches to FM radio. The green indicator button blinks.  Use the arrows on either side of the play/pause button to scroll through radio stations.  Hold the + button again to switch back to MP3.  A full charge lasts up to 10 hours.

The Thump comes with 6 sets of earbuds.

earbuds

The instructions say the spiral design buds are for waterproof activities, while the other buds are for dry land/sport activities.  I don’t see any reason why they couldn’t be interchangeable, and the Thump website advertises 5 interchangeable buds (the box I received had 6) for the most flexible fit for swimming.

I first used the Thump at the pool, with the smaller of the two spiral (long) earbuds.  I was highly impressed with the sound quality.  Sound quality has been an issue in years past with waterproof MP3 players, although Finis has done a great job with the new Neptune (although Finis uses bone conduction instead of an earbud).  The sound from the Thump was more clear, and richer than the older versions of the Finis Swimp3s that I have used.  The Thump fits well and does not go anywhere, even during speed sets, drills, and flip turns.

My main issue was that the buds kept falling out of my ears.  My solution to that issue was to keep putting them back in, trying each time to push them a little further so they would stay.  Just when I thought I had it, one of the buds fell off the unit.  While I was retrieving it, I realized that the other bud was jammed into my ear canal, and I was unable to get it out with my fingers.  Fortunately I found a sympathetic woman in the locker room (who just happened to be a nurse!) who was willing to get her tweezers from her car and pull the bud out for me.  Note: as with any ear bud, be very careful not to push it too far into your ear canal.   I did change the buds to the larger spiral, and had the same issue, where the bud would not stay.  I rigged them by pulling my swim cap down over my ears, which mostly got the buds to stay in place so I could enjoy the high quality sound, but I don’t see that as a solution to the issue.  I had the same problem with the other interchangeable buds, both in the pool and on dry land.

Thump does have a wraparound waterproof Bluetooth headset, the Thump Xtreme.

WetThumpX3_480_320_grande

It would be great to see this design (no earbuds) on the waterproof/non Bluetooth version.  This would solve the issue of the earbuds popping out.

The Thump website has testimonials of swimmers who have successfully used the MP3 player in the water as the unit was intended, with the earbuds staying in place, while keeping the water out of their ears.  I was disappointed not to be able to get the buds to stay in, as this product has great sound quality and a lot of promise.  The design is smart, the device is light, and the USB stays covered and dry.  I turned this on and off many times in succession, and it was never glitchy or refused to play like other waterproof MP3s I have used.  If it weren’t for the earbud issue, I could see using this model for many different activities.  Swimming, workout out on the spin bike, running, lifting weights or doing any other gym activity.  It would also be great for working in the yard or taking a walk, listening to the FM radio function, without worrying about wires or having to carry a phone.

Review: New Balance Zante

I was in the market for a shoe that was lightweight but had a good tread pattern for both roads and trails. While shopping in the New Balance store, the salesman explained that they have a new shoe that is named “2015 Shoe of the Year” by Competitor Magazine. Could this be the “Saucony Kinvara Killer” so many companies have tried to make? I was a bit skeptic since the Zante was only on the market for 2 days but I decided to check out what all the hype was all about.

Overview

The New Balance Fresh Foam category got a nice facelift this year coming out with two new Fresh Foam models: the Boracay, which basically a revamped Fresh Foam 980, and the lighter, more race-friendly Zante. Measuring 23mm in the heel and 17mm in the forefoot making for a killer 6mm drop half-marathon, marathon and possibly beyond shoe! Weighing in at 8.1 ounces (men’s size 9) the neutral support Zante is a great option for a lightweight shoe that can go the distance without weighing you down. Is it the right shoe for you? Continue reading to find out!

zante-worn

Upper and Fit

My immediate reaction upon sliding my foot into the shoe was, “Holy smokes this upper mesh is soft!” The no-sew upper truly wraps around your foot, hugging it snug while leaving plenty of room for your toes to splay in the toe-box while running on technical terrain or roads.

The upper breathed well in both humid East Coast heat and dry California heat. My only concern is that the upper is so minimal that your feet would not be too happy in the winter months in the more frigid temperatures.

zante-heelcup

Midsole and Ride

My experience with Fresh Foam midsole material began with the 980 last year. They marketed the shoe as a highly cushioned, soft shoe but yet this was not the case. The Zante feels more cushioned than the 980 with a more supple and responsive ride making for a great race or up-tempo shoe.

Overall the midsole is softer in the heel and firmer in the forefoot to create a more responsive ride. When I run I usually am a midfoot strike and there was plenty of cushion to support a runner wanting to use these in marathon distances.

One word of caution: there is a very distinct bump, called the Toe Spring by New Balance, near the forefoot. This bump feels like your foot is hanging off a ledge and does not feel natural but the feeling dissipates while you run. The bump put my foot in a mid-foot gait more naturally than with other shoes.

zante-side

Outsole

A fascinating feature of the Zante is how the weight can be 8.1 ounces yet have a full outsole. Many shoes in this category feature little pods of rubber for traction and the rest of the outsole is EVA foam like in the Saucony Kinvara and Hoka One One Clifton.
The full outsole is a low profile tread that can take the abuse from many road and trail miles. I ran a lot of trail miles in this shoe both in dry, dusty and sandy California as well as muddy Virginia trails after a fresh thunderstorm and the shoe gripped very well in all conditions for a road shoe.

zante-outsole

Conclusion

I bought this shoe as a “door-to-trail” shoe meaning I can run on the road to the trails and back all in the same shoe. I decided to wear this shoe at my last trail 50k while visiting family in California and the shoe held up wonderfully. The lightweight upper allowed my feet to stay cool and the full tread gave me plenty of confidence on the fast and steep downhills. The Fresh Foam midsole was protective enough on the rocks and roots to not leave my feet feel banged up after so many miles. It passed my final test with flying colors.

Is this the right shoe for you? The answer is yes if you are looking for a shoe with:

-A soft yet responsive neutral ride that can double as a daily trainer and race-flat.

-Has an upper that is sock-like.

-Has enough room in the toe-box for good toe-splay.

-You can run on the road or the trails with a full tread that will protect your feet through the miles but only weighing in the low 8-ounce mark.

This new lightweight cushioned option is what I believe to be the “Saucony Kinvara Killer” that New Balance needed to produce to stay relevant in today’s competitive shoe market.

Mitch-Purisma Crossover-452

You can find the New Balance Zante at our affiliate Amazon link below:

Review: Mio Fuse

What is it?  The Mio Fuse is an activity tracker and heart rate monitor.  It is a pretty nifty little device.  As an activity tracker, you can set goals, monitor your heart rate, and keep track of steps, calories and distance.  It will show you, via the app, how many steps you have taken, and how many you need to reach your goal. The heart rate monitor is an optical sensor.  Meaning it shines a little light on your skin and the sensor pick up heart rate.

My interest in the Mio Fuse is primarily as a heart rate monitor.  As an athlete and coach who trains with heart rate based periodization, heart rate is an important piece of information.  Each athlete has their own individual heart rate zones.  No two people are alike.  Using a standard formula for everyone does not produce individual zones and is not useful for training (and in fact could be detrimental, as too much time in the wrong zone, or too high a zone can lead to burnout and injury).  I want to run in specific zones in my own training, and when I write workouts for athletes, they are assigned zones based on the intent of the workout (endurance, tempo, or recovery for example).  As a woman prone to chafing, I have some serious issues with the Garmin heart rate strap.  For me, it causes painful chafing under the sensor (for other people it can cause chafing anywhere under the strap itself).  Its not possible to put anti-chafe under the sensors, as that interferes with the signal.  The Fuse seemed to be the solution to this problem and I was excited to give it a try.

The Fuse comes in two sizes, depending on the size of your wrist.  I chose the small size and as you can see, even while wearing the Fuse high on the wrist (more on placement later), I have enough extra band.  The Fuse has 3 buttons, or touch points.  The two on the side scroll through time, calories, steps, distance and goal.  It will also display your heart rate.  The midde touch point is for finding your heart rate and starting, pausing, and ending an activity.  The Fuse finds heart rate pretty quickly.  Touch the middle point, it will say “find” then wait for heart rate to pop up.  To start a workout, touch the same point again.  It will read “go” as the timer starts.  Touch it again to pause, then hold it down, when paused, to end an and save an activity.

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Pairing the Fuse with the Garmin was easy.   Put the Fuse on and find your heart rate.  Then set your watch to scan for the heart rate device.  It pairs quickly, and since the first pairing,  Garmin finds it right away (no scanning again required).  Heart rate will then show on your Garmin/watch screen.  The Fuse does not have an “always on” screen, which I would like, but I imagine this is a battery life issue.  You can customize your zones in the app (which “talks” to the Fuse via Bluetooth) and the Fuse will vibrate for a split second to let you know when you have changed zones.  It will display heart rate at that point, so in that way you can see on the display when you putting out too much heart rate effort, or not enough, and stay in your proper zones.

The first run I did with the Fuse, I experienced long dips (into the low 100s when I should have been in the high 140s), and conversely, spikes into the high 170s/180s when I should have been high 140s/low 150s).  This happened after about 3 miles of perfect heart rate numbers (compared to rate of perceived exertion, which I know quite well, having been a heart rate based athlete going on 5 years now).  This was disappointing.  I then did a run wearing two Garmin watches (910xt and 110).  The 110 was paired to the strap and the 910xt was paired to the Fuse.  Here are the results.  You can see the Garmin strap (top in both examples) is accurate, whereas the Fuse has dips and long surges.

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I called Mio and left a message (there is an option for a call back, but if you just let customer service ring it will put you to voicemail).  Surprisingly I received a call back in a few minutes.  The rep made a couple suggestions.  One, put the Fuse on your wrist, with a little room on the strap. Then “snug” it up your wrist about 3-4 inches.  Let the strap conform to you, instead of putting it on tight.  The Fuse is meant to be worn high on the wrist, as it needs enough surface area to get an accurate reading.   Being female with small wrists, I need to wear it on the high side to get accuracy.  He also suggested wearing it on the inside on the wrist, although I did not find that in practice to be accurate.  The last suggestion was to wear it for a few minutes before pairing to the Garmin and starting a workout. On my next run, I did as suggested and the Fuse was accurate.  The take-away – wrist placement is key for accuracy.  I find I have to wear it high and a touch off center.  It does sometimes slip down and needs to be gently nudged back into proper position.  After wearing it for a few more runs, if it is place in the right spot, it is highly accurate.  When it deviates (either error in putting it on or it slides around), that is when the dips and spikes occur.

The Fuse will record distance a bit low.  For example, an 11.2 mile run on the Garmin read as 9.69 miles on the Fuse. The Garmin had another at 11.01 mi. with the Fuse reading 8.92 mi.  But not always.  A different time, Garmin had 10.22 mi. to the Fuse at 10.8 mi., and my 10k (with mile warm up) came up as Garmin 7.34 mi. and Fuse 7.35 mi.  Again, not a big deal for a runner using the Fuse paired with a GPS watch.

I also used the Fuse on the bike for trainer rides.  The weather hasn’t been conducive to outdoor riding so I have tested it indoors only.  The accuracy is 100% on the bike, most likely because your arms are in a more fixed position than when running.  The accuracy is the same whether the ride is recovery (low HR), endurance (Zone 2) or tempo and intervals (pushing into Zone 4 and beyond).  This is very encouraging and the Fuse getting very sweaty did not affect accuracy.  Again it paired easily with Trainer Road via Ant+.

TRMio

The Fuse was a pleasant surprise on the swim.  Unfortunately, the Garmin 910xt does not have an available heart rate data field under the swim function.  So there was no way to to pair it for a swim, and no way to get a heart rate graph from Garmin Connect.  I wore the Fuse by itself in the pool.  It stayed in place pretty well, and the heart rate readings were accurate as compared to perceived exertion.  The distance is not correct, but that doesn’t really matter, as athletes are typically following a written swim workout.  One swim I did was 2500 yards, it recorded .91 miles.  The next at 2600 yards recorded .89 miles.  Not quite right, but again, not an issue.

Mioswim

The Fuse needs to be synced via Bluetooth to the Mio app on your smartphone.   Cloud/web capability is currently in the testing phase (according to Mio).  Implementation with 3rd parties such as Garmin require business agreements and such.  This is good news, as hopefully a few months down the road (from publication of this review) there will be a way to export Fuse data.  It has a limited amount of storage, and if you don’t sync it frequently it won’t be able to record an activity.  This is no problem, syncing is fast and easy.  The app is easy to use.  You can set up your profile and customize heart rate zones, or set daily goals.  All very straightforward.  Where the app lacks currently, for me, is data analysis.  Select an activity (it asks you to confirm, you can choose from running, road biking, walking, mountain biking, climbing, swimming, rowing and hiking) and click on it.  Then you can see the stats (avg HR, time, distance, calories, most frequent zone, time, speed and pace) but for Android users, no heart rate graph.  It is shown only on the iOS app.   According to Mio they are testing this and it should be available for update for Android in the upcoming weeks (from publication of this review). A heart rate graph will be very nice to see, particularly for the swims (as there is no heart rate data field option on the Garmin 910xt, you can pair Mio to the 920xt in open water swim mode, not as a data field but it will show up in analysis on Connect). It sounds like Mio is very aware of what consumers want in terms of functionality and data analysis, and are in the process of making that happen.

All told, I am impressed with the Fuse and would recommend it to any athlete who is interested in an alternative to the chest strap, or to any active person interested in activity tracking.

Compatibility of the Mio Fuse to other devices and apps can be found on its product page. It can be purchased directly from Mio or at Amazon with the affiliate link below:
Save 20% on Mio heart rate monitor watches with promo code Mio-Bucks at checkout! Valid through 3/31/15 11:59PM

Restoration of a Burnout

I will come out and say this: I do not practice what I preach. For years I have read and told many new runners, “Recovery is important and after a long, hard race one must actively recover to benefit fully.” For my entire running life (past 7+ years of running) I have failed to recover correctly after a long training run or race. I kept wondering why my gains were not where I needed them to be and why my feelings of burnout were ever growing.

I was young, invincible and winning age group awards at most of my California Ultra races. My usual training pace was reckless and never below a race pace. I decided to make a New Years Resolution to run one Ultra marathon every month for a year. During that year, I ran nine 50k trail races and two 50-mile trail races. I kept PRing in the 50k distance going from a sub 6 hours to mid 4:40’s. I made the decision to run a 100-mile race: the 2012 Rio Del Lago 100, finishing 3rd in my age group and feeling immortal! After the high faded along with the aches and pains, I tried to go out to the trails and train for my next race.

This is when I noticed something was off. My race times soon were much slower and my ability to psychologically tell my legs to move was no longer there. I have read many times on various running websites that too much mileage without much recovery is unsustainable. I did not think this would happen to me because, frankly, I am a young and healthy. But it did happen and my fall was hard and sudden. I suddenly could not run more than 10-miles at a time and my ever-growing love for this sport was ever fading.

It took nearly 2 years to regain my love of the sport. It started by training my wife from a newbie to a competent trail runner and seeing the spark grow inside her reminded me of the wonderful memories I had of “the good ol’ days.” Every step further was a new adventure eventually building her up to an 11-mile long run. Soon we were making plans to train for a trail half-marathon when we go back home for Easter.

While I was training my wife I helped her push through the highs and the lows that every runner has felt. The grit and the determination to finish a training run in the Shenandoah mountains made me incredibly inspired and wanting to take my training to the next level again. As I continued to support my wife with her new distances, I would break away once or twice a week to run a longer run – usually in the 20-30 mile range. For the first time in a while I was enjoying the sounds, smells and textures that nature offers. The finishing time didn’t matter anymore as the experience left a more lasting impression within my own psyche.

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After a few months I made up my mind that I would run a 100k race in North Carolina. I decided to run a 50-mile trail race down in Tennessee called the Lookout Mountain 50 Miler as a training run for quality time on the feet. I was meeting an old California friend and we would run the first 20ish miles together and then run our own race. He ended up destroying me, passing me at the 24-mile mark and finished about 20 minutes ahead of myself. But my slow, methodical pace allowed me to feel “fresh” at the finish line with zero pains and most importantly: a positive attitude.

When I continued my training for my goal race two days later, my wife’s slower pace forced me to actively recover instead of letting my lactic acid continue to pool in my legs by being a couch potato or going too fast too soon. I was training her to become a better runner and she was training me to slow down and fully recover; it was truly something special. Instead of my usual race pace 30 miler the following weekend like I did a few years back, I was now running a conversational pace 10 miler. The recovery time to feel 100% went down to just a week and a half because of lowered intensity. It was something I have never thought about trying because before my head was far up my bum to listen to it.

mitch-beerA few weeks later came race day! I was amped up and ready to enjoy the entire day (and partial evening) ahead. I took the first 40 miles incredibly relaxed, taking pictures of the views and talking to all the runners and aid station volunteers. When I came to the 40-mile turnaround I learned that I was in 8th place overall and a few runners were just a few miles ahead. I ran harder than I think I have ever ran during this last 21.5 miles, catching 4 runners moving me into 4th overall by the finish line! It was by far the best race I have ever experienced but not because of the place. It was because of the no pressure attitude I had, enjoying myself and when it was time to put in work, I did.

Since training my wife, running is no longer monotonous or a chore. It is enjoyable because I can challenge myself sparingly while coaching my wife to become even better. When she crosses the finish line at her first half marathon this April, I will probably be just as excited as she will. The look on her face will once again reinvigorate my drive to feel the way she is at that moment. So we will continue to train together and lean on each other to keep each other healthy; for her physically and for myself mentally. I was able to learn how to recover not only my legs after a long run, but also to recover my love of this simple, yet so very complex sport of running.