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I thought the slightly milder weather this past week would bring a few more miles, but sometimes life doesn’t play out as planned. It didn’t help that I came down with something on Friday, cutting my planned Friday and Saturday runs short. Despite my head and chest cold, I did get to run one of my favorite races of the year – the Super Sunday 5-Miler put on by RaceMenu. It’s hard to go wrong when finishers are greeted by FIVE different brewers of beer, each presenting a variety of their brews. A race report is on its way.

I hope everyone got some miles in this week!

-Luau

Week 5:
January 29 5.0 miles 36:20 7:16 pace aHR 151 (surpassed 150 miles YTD)
January 30 5.0 miles 42:43 8:32 pace aHR 132
January 31  1.0 miles 09:27 9:27 pace aHR 150
February 01 4.0 miles 29:46 7:26 pace aHR 137
February 02 2.0 miles 15:40 7:50 pace aHR 182 (short mileage after debilitating head cold Friday night – don’t think the HR monitor was functioning properly)
February 03 5.0 miles 36:28 7:18 pace (Super Sunday 5-Miler – didn’t wear heart monitor – race recap coming)
February 04 2.0 miles 13:58 6:59 pace aHR 144
Week 5 Total – 24.0 miles

#AutismStreaks Total – 170.0 miles (as measured by Garmin 610) – puts me 5 miles behind my goal of averaging at least 5 miles a day. Hopefully I get it back this week.

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Waiting for the start of the Super Sunday 5-Miler – it was 22°F and snowing!

***

If you want to start your own #CharityStreak pick up the Charity Miles app and start raising money for your favorite charity simply by walking, running or biking:

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It was c-c-c-c-c-coooold this week.

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A lot of runs were in the low to mid teens, which I think, combined with a busy schedule limited my miles. That didn’t stop me from contemplating going out in a singlet…

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I’m not sure if it was that I’m starting to get back into running shape OR if I was just motivated to get done because I was so friggin cold, but that 5-mile run was my fastest (6:55 per mile) of the year.

After my 5-miler in 19ºF weather in a singlet and shorts - "just get me out of here!!!"

After my 5-miler in 19ºF weather in a singlet and shorts – “just get me out of here!!!”

Two days later brought an unexpectedly quick 11-miler that also happened to be my longest run of the year.

Hard to believe that #AutismStreaks is already at 28 days. Leaves me 72 days to reach Kelly, Michael, Kathie Lee and Hoda. If any of you know them, please feel free to pass my letter on to them!

Hope you are staying active!

-Luau

Week 4:
January 22 1.0 miles 08:32 8:28 pace aHR 114
January 23 5.0 miles 39:22 7:51 pace aHR 141
January 24 4.0 miles 28:56 7:14 pace aHR 141
January 25 5.0 miles 34:35 6:55 pace aHR 172
January 26 3.0 miles 25:23 8:28 pace aHR 130
January 27 11.0 miles 84:24 7:38 pace aHR 147
January 28 3.0 miles 23:24 7:48 pace aHR 139
Week 1 Total – 32.0 miles

#AutismStreaks Total – 146.0 miles (as measured by Garmin 610)

If you want to start your own #CharityStreak pick up the Charity Miles app and start raising money for your favorite charity simply by walking, running or biking:

Get the Charity Miles app:

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Streaking

The Streak Continues…

21 Days in the books.  Better than 1/5 of the way there.  Due to differences in GPS measurements, I’m at 116.851 “Charity Miles” miles.

Wanna help your charity of choice simply by running or biking or walking?

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Week 3:
January 15    1.0 miles   07:36  7:36 pace    aHR 156
January 16   5.0 miles   41:29   8:17 pace    aHR 134
January 17   8.0 miles   58:27   7:18 pace   aHR 151
January 18   8.0 miles   71:41   8:57 pace   aHR 116 (100 miles on the Garmin as of today!!!)
January 19   4.0 miles   39:55   9:58 pace   aHR 111
January 20   7.0 miles   55:02   7:52 pace   aHR 146
January 21   3.0 miles   23:06   7:42 pace   aHR 133
Week 1 Total – 36.0 miles

#AutismStreaks Total – 114.0 miles (as measured by Garmin 610)

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What are you eating?

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I’ve been thinking lately about diet, more specifically, about the fuel that we put in our engines to make them go.

I’ve always been pretty good about what goes into my body. The cravings I have, my wife tells me, aren’t normal. When I feel nudgy, I crave fruits, vegetables, maybe some nuts or left over salmon.  I realize that for most people, these cravings aren’t normal, but I would like to challenge what should be defined as “normal”.

There’s a series of commercials on TV right for a car company that I can’t remember that keeps stressing that we’ve been brainwashed into accepting the status quo of what car companies are producing, but HEY! Look at us, we’re breaking that paradigm and bringing you what you REALLY need! I think that train of thought can be brought into the discussion of what we eat.  There has been a certain amount of brainwashing that has been done to the population as a whole.  We have been convinced that snacks have to be potato chips or candy bars or candy bars.  What happened to the concept of an apple or an orange?

We all know the phrase, you are what you eat. I’d like to modify that phrase a little to say you feel like what you eat. That’s because, to a very large degree, if you put good things in your body, your body will feel good.  If you put crap in your body, you’re gonna feel like crap.  Plain and simple.  It’s pretty straightforward.

But hold on.  What qualifies as good?  and what qualifies as crap?  and what about the things that are in between?

That’s where things get hard.  It’s easy to say to people, “eat right and you’ll be fine” or “don’t eat unhealthy food or you’re gonna get fat”.  How does that help people?  Most people have no idea what eating right really, truly means.

For a lot of people eating right means severely restricting calories.  There’s a little bit of truth buried in that, but I’m pretty sure that’s not quite right.  For others, it means eating fat-free, sugar-free foods from the “health & diet” section of the grocery store.  I KNOW that’s not right.  And yet for others it means eating only things that taste like cardboard and taking the joy out of eating. THAT is definitely NOT right.

So what’s a person to do?

Two words:

Be.  Present.

That’s it.  For a lot of people, eating has become either this orgiastic festival of gluttony or a mindless process of excess.  Either way, there is a detachment that has happened that doesn’t allow your brain and your stomach to work together in concert.  By being present, you pay attention to what you are eating and how you are eating it.  Eventually, if you are aware of every bite you put in your mouth, you will realize that you are not hungry and will hopefully stop.

For those that can’t, there is then an extra step – the food log.  It takes a lot less time than you actually think – literally 60 seconds after every meal or snack.  You write down what you’ve eaten and note how you’ve felt since you last meal or snack.  For those who say I don’t have the time I say, Are you frakking kidding me? Almost every adult I know has enough time to check their email, post to Facebook or tweet on Twitter after a meal.  Guess what? You have 60 seconds to write down what you ate on your mobile device. There IS an app for that.

By keeping a log you will have the ability to go back and discover what IS good for you and what is not.  Every person’s bio-chemistry is a little different.  Yes, there are broad similarities that allow lifestyle diets like Paleo, South Beach and Blood Type to generally work for a lot of people, but in the final analysis, we are all individuals who don’t fit perfectly into that cookie cutter mold.

That is why by being present, you can customize your diet to fit the needs of your unique physiology.

I love spinach.  A lot of people eat tons of it.  Unfortunately for me, by being present I have come to realize that I can only eat it in smaller doses without it having an adverse effect on me.  Unfortunate that I can’t eat it in large quantities – fortunate that I can avoid unnecessary unpleasantness.

So, are you aware of what you are eating?

Are you present?

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Last October I ran a marathon with my friend Brendan.  We had the same goal, a BQ.  We both felt good going into the race.  In the end however, he fell off the pace a little bit and missed qualifying for Boston by a mere 33 seconds.  A heart breaker.  That’s enough to crush a guy, especially after putting in hours upon hours of sweat and pain.

In November, another friend of mine, Logan, ran a marathon in Georgia, hoping to make his way to Boston in his first marathon.  Through 13 miles he was on pace to hit 3:12, a BQ with room to spare, but part way through the second half, the wheels came off the bus and he had to settle for a 3:54 marathon debut. Having had the exact same devastating experience, I could relate.

Over the past 3-4 months, I’ve watched both of these guys transform themselves.  They are different, stronger, faster.  I recognize their change because I went through it myself after what I perceived were failures as a runner.  Sure, I may still have a BQ on both of them, but at this point, I think that they may both be better and faster runners than I am.

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Running is not necessarily about competition.  A lot of people do it simply for the health benefits, both mental and physical.  But when you enter a race, or follow friends who are runners, there is always a part of you that is comparing what you are doing to what they are.  In a race, the comparison is glaring (you are passing or getting passed, leading or following).  On social networks like dailymile, it’s a little more subtle, but it’s still there.

As I’ve watched both Brendan and Logan evolve, I’ve felt the urge to tweak my training, go a little faster, train a little harder.  They are in a different category than I am when it comes to mileage (I’ve been doing 40 – 55 miles per week, they are in the 50 – 70 range).  The temptation to take it to their level is, well, tempting, BUT I know that although we compare ourselves to each other and each other’s accomplishments, ultimately, we are only racing against one person – ourselves.

Even if your name is Ryan Hall or Kara Goucher, you are still competing with the runner that you want to be.

***

And so, somewhat begrudgingly,  I stick with my plan, following the program that is laid before me.  I have a goal for Boston 2011, and that personal goal takes precedent over all other running goals.  If I start chasing the likes of Brendan and Logan, I am likely to crash and burn.

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The reason I write this post is for those just getting into this marathon thing.  Don’t go comparing yourselves to others.  You are racing against you and what you are capable of.  Hopefully you have a few road races under your belt.  If you do, I would suggest going —>>>HERE<<<— to find out what the numbers say.  It is a pretty accurate measure of where you are and what you are capable of.  From here, come up with a plan (I’m happy to help) and then stick with it.

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I am looking forward to seeing how Brendan and Logan do in their Marathons this Spring.  I have no doubt that they will not just BQ (like I did, by a mere 1:40), but will smash through to the other side.  I’ll see you guys in Hopkington in 2012!

And at that point, it’s ON!!!

***UPDATE 02/19/11*** Today Logan smashed his previous marathon PR by 45 minutes, completing the Myrtle Beach Marathon in a scorching 3:09:19 (exactly 10 minutes faster than my BQ at Smuttynose).  A well deserved BQ!  I’ll see you in 2012! Congrats Logan!  Brendan, you are on the clock!

***UPDATE 02/20/11***Today Brendan ran the Hampton Half-Marathon in a blazing 1:29:34, nearly 4 minutes faster than my fastest half-mary.  Now true this does not automatically qualify him for Boston, but it does get him into a race that is even harder to qualify for – New York City, Brother!  I also checked the McMillan’ Race Calculator – his half-marathon time puts him at a 3:08:54, 11+ ahead of a BQ.  Way to rock it today Brendan!

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With my goal of 1500 miles for 2010 out of the way (I passed it last week) and the end of the year rapidly approaching, I want to take a look back on my running goals of 2010 and then look ahead to those of 2011.

Last Christmas, the wife was thoughtful enough to give me a leather-bound journal to use as a running log. One of the first things I wrote in it were goals for 2010. They included the following: 5K – 20:00 (check! 19:27), 10K – 40:00 (check! 39:29),  Half-Marathon – 1:30:00 (nope! 1:33:47),  Marathon – 3:20:00 (YES! 3:19:19),  Total Miles – 1500 (check, I should finish the year at around 1550). I am happy to say that I was able to accomplish 4 out of 5 of my goals (just missing on my half-marathon goal).  Not bad for my second year of running, right?

In the process of accomplishing much of what I set out to do, I ran 12 races – 2 5K’s, 2 10K’s, a 5-Miler, 2 Half-Marathons, a 20-Miler and 4 Marathons.  Along the way I set 9 PR’s and was in striking distance of a 10th.  I got to run Boston and then I qualified 6 months later to run it again.  I was asked to join the RaceMenu/mix1 racing team, which I have been running for since April.  I even had a few podium finishes (both overall and in age group).

It has been a fantastic year of running.  When much of my world around me seemed to be going to hell in a handbasket, running kept me centered and grounded.  For that I am grateful.

A few days after I passed 1500 miles for this year, I realized that with no chance of accomplishing a 1:30 Half-Marathon in the remaining days of 2010, maybe it was time to look ahead to 2011.   So, I pulled out my running log and began to jot down some numbers.

5K – 18 minute handle
10K – 38 minute handle
Half-Marathon – still 1:30:00
Full-Marathon – 3:15:00
Mileage – 1800 miles

All respectable goals I think.

But I got to thinking, should my running goals continue to be solely number related?  Yes, numbers are a big part of what we do.   Their importance varies from runner to runner, but there is a reason why we wear stop watches, count miles and run races.  Numbers have meaning to us.  They show us whether we have made progress or not.  Sometimes we use these numbers to see how we compare to others, but 99% of the time, we use these numbers to measure our current state against ourselves.

Still, something continued to tug at me, so I turned to the people I knew would have the answer – You!  On Twitter I asked the question, “what are your running goals for 2011?”  I thought that I was going to receive a flood of responses related to race times.  What I was surprised to find is that for most, it had more to do with race location than race time (although a BQ was on many people’s lists).  Another popular answer was to stay injury-free.  Of the responses I received that had to do with numbers, the most common one was that people hoped to run more consistently from month to month.

So, based on your wisdom, I have revised my goals somewhat for 2011.  I am still hoping to accomplish the times I have set for myself, but I want to run at least one race this year in a state I haven’t run yet (not hard to do considering I’ve only raced in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York).  I would like to remain relatively injury free for the next 12 months.  I would like to run more consistently from month to month.  2010 saw me run a monthly low of 75 miles in May to a monthly high of 210 miles in March.  My goal for 2011 is to run a consistent 150 miles per month, every month.  Finally, I hope that I can run at least 12 races in 2011, ranging in distance from 5K to possibly taking on the mountains of Vermont in a 50-Miler.  I already know where I’ll be come SuperBowl Sunday (the SuperSunday 5K/10K is a fabulous race located in the heart of Boston) and on Patriots’ Day (the Boston Marathon – this time I won’t be the very last starter of the second wave).  Boston 13.1 in June (where Autism Speaks will be the sponsored charity)  and the possibility of the Vermont 50 in September aside, the rest of my calendar is wide open.

Do you have running goals for 2011?  Maybe it’s just to start running?  Whatever they may be, I wish you the best of luck in the New Year!

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