Free Give Away Nike+ Sportband

Yes you read correctly, free!!!

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I have not had a chance to do a wear test on the Nike+ Sportband, so here is your opportunity to do that.  It’s never been used, has the instructions and everything you need is included. If you are the winner I would just ask that you email me after you receive it and let me know what you think of it!  It doesn’t have to be a super long or detailed review, just let me know what you thought and I’ll put it up on my blog.

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Free Give Away Details:

Here is how this is going to work.  I am going to determine who gets the Nike+ Sportband by random drawing.  Each person can get up to 3 chances to win the drawing.  You can earn a chance to win by following my blog, following me on twitter, or following me on instagram!  Each platform you follow me on, you will get another chance to win.  I will keep a spreadsheet of everyone and then randomly draw the winner on July 30, 2015.  Once the winner is chosen I will contact them directly for their mailing information.  (Only personal accounts qualify for entry)

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If you have already followed me on one of those platforms after June 10, 2015, you are entered in the contest.

Is this a way for me to boost my followers…yes!  But you also get a chance to win some run gear!

Remember to share with your friends!

-Veggie Fueled Runner

 

Week 2 (6/22-6/28)

Week 1 in the books, and running on the plan has already strengthened my legs, but has tired them out in the process.

Monday:  3.1 Miles (Pace 8:12)

The heat and humidity has not subsided, we are having a classic Baltimore summer!  Today I took a loop around the neighborhood, I waited till later in the evening to run but that didn’t provide any relief.

Tuesday:  5 Miles (Pace 8:30)

I’ve been doing some cross training and riding my bike a bit more, on Tuesdays I run at Tin Roof and normally ride my bike.  I went a bit early for an appointment I had and then rode to Ft. McHenry.  We normally start running at 6:45, but the skies opened up at 6:15 and there were bad storms for about an hour.  Once the rain let up, I rode home, in total I did 2o miles on the bike.  The storm had really cooled things down and it was still overcast when I started running.  That didn’t last long about two miles in the sun came out and the temps started rising again.  I did have a negative split for the run!  My quads were really sore, as I was running I was thinking about scheduling a massage for Friday!

Wednesday:  4 Miles (Pace 8:12)

Today’s training plan called for 3 miles but I decided to do 4.  On Wednesdays I normally run with City Sports Run Club, that is where I first started running with a group about 2 and a half years ago.  The group isn’t as large as it was in the past, but a few new people came this evening.  I didn’t want to turn around before any of them since there was just a few of us.  Each mile was a negative split, the run felt strong and it wasn’t as humid as it had been the last few days.

Thursday:  1.5 Miles (Pace 7:02)

So I was feeling unsure about the tempo run the training plan called for, I’ve never done one before and was hoping someone would run one with me but everyone was busy or had already ran.  I decided I would do hills with November Project and Sarah in the morning tomorrow.  Tonight I decided to do a quick mile and a half, faster than my race pace.  When I started I was thinking about a new PR for the mile but the humidity was a little much and I didn’t warm up for it.  No excuses, I just didn’t have it in me, but I was happy with the run!

Friday:  4 Miles (Pace 8:24)

Normally I’m not a morning runner, which is kind of odd considering when I was in the military I was up almost everyday at 4 am or early for PT.  Today I woke up at 5:30 to go to November Project and run with Picky Runner.  When I went outside I was pleasantly surprised at how cool it was, and thought maybe I should start running in the morning more often!  I rode my bike to Patterson Park, that is where NP meets.  I think I am finally starting to get over my social anxiety with NP, they pride themselves on being weird and I think I’m starting to get use to it.  Most people think I’m an extrovert, but those who really know me, know I’m an introvert and it takes a lot for me to be comfortable in social situations where I don’t know everyone.  In between 1/2 mile hill repeats, we did partner pushups and hoisties and every other repeat we were suppose to do ‘last man up’ sprints.  Last man up sprints use to be called ‘Indian Sprints’ but we live in a post-PC World now.  I did a variation of those exercises and ran with some new people today!  I didn’t catch their names, maybe next time.  NP has a lot of good runners and happy people, so I think I will keep going when I can.  Today was a good day of running days like today are why I run, or maybe it was all the endorphins, running releases those, It’s Science!  All this before 8am!

Saturday:  11.1 Miles (Pace 8:59)

I decided to move my long run to today.  After a few hours of delays and wishful thinking that the weather would clear up, my friends Cat and Elizabeth convinced me to go running, well I suppose we all convinced each other.  The weather had finally cooled and was in the 60’s!  When we started the rain had stopped but it was cloudy.  The wind started to really pick up in mile 3, by mile 4 the rain had started but wasn’t to bad.  Somewhere around mile 6 the sky really opened up and it stayed that way the rest of the run.  At first it really didn’t bother any of us but by mile 9 our shoes and clothes were soaked and we just wanted dry feet and to not be weighed down by our clothes.  Around mile 10 is when we all came to the consensus we were miserable, but Cat was trying to talk me into another 3 miles.  I just didn’t have it in me, my stomach had started hurting a while back and I just wanted to finish the 11 and call it a day, that is what happened.  Even with the rain, it was a good run and it was nice to run with Cat and Elizabeth, we are pretty much the only ones left that started (other than Theo) running together 2 years ago.  Today, I wondered, and I imagine all distance runners do at some point, why am I out here doing this?  I’m not sure there is an answer to that, today the answer was because my friends are out here doing it with me and my legs need the miles!

*Note, my phone didn’t survive this run 😦  I’m now on the market for a new phone, but I’m not really sold on an iPhone 6 upgrade…decisions, decisions.

Sunday:  3 Miles (Pace 9:28)

Today I only wanted to run a mile, but I ran with my best friend John.  He is training for the upcoming Heritage 6k next week and wanted to run farther.  After the run yesterday, I really didn’t feel like it but once my legs loosened up, I knew I had 3 miles in me.  The pace was slow and that was fine with me, it let me go a bit further.  We picked up the pace the last mile and I took off in the last half mile, I just wanted to stretch my legs out.  It was a good end to week 2 of marathon training!

Total Miles:  31.7 

Week 2 Photo

Week 1 (6/15-6/21)

Marathon Training has begun!

Monday:  3 Miles (Pace 7:47)

The training plan recommends running slower than race pace.  I’m not sure if that means for all your runs or just your longer runs.  Today I decided to run negative splits for the 3 miles.  It was hot and humid, and I was glad to get it over with.

Tuesday:  5 miles (Pace 8:12)

Today was awful, this had to be one of the most humid days yet!  I ran downtown with Tin Roof Runners, I wanted to start off at a slower pace but my friends took off right out of the gate.  I forgot my Sweatgutr and sweat was pouring into my eyes and stinging horribly.  Every time I ran by a restaurant I looked to see if there was a napkin I could grab to wipe my forehead, no such luck.  The only thing that kept me going was knowing water was at the end!

Wednesday:  1 Mile (Pace 8:19)

I was really busy today and pretty dehydrated from Tuesday’s run.  I diverted from the training plan and got my mile in to keep the streak going!

Thursday:  3 Miles (Pace 8:09)

I wanted to run a more relaxed pace today, to get ready for my upcoming long’er’ run.  My quads were pretty sore and it was also suppose to be a hills day, but I planned to do some hills on Friday morning with November Project, so I just did a loop around my neighborhood.

Friday:  3.5 Miles (Pace 8:17)

Hill Repeats!  I did quarter mile hill repeats near my house, I didn’t make it to November Project.  I should have gone though, they run at 6:30am when it would have been much cooler.  I saw one other runner out, I think most people are running early morning or late evening when it is a little cooler.  My quads were a pretty sore after the run today!

Saturday:  7.1 Miles (Pace 9:14)

I moved my long’er’ run to today because I was going to be busy Sunday.  It was really humid, I wanted to follow the plan and get in 10 miles, but after 5 I knew that wasn’t going to be possible with the scorching heat and humidity.  I was running much slower than normal and just trying to get in the mileage.  When I knew quality miles weren’t going to happen anymore I decided to cut the run short.  I had an encounter with a driver who didn’t know the rules of the road in Mile 1 which quickened my pace more than I wanted early on.  (There will be a blog about the encounter)

Sunday:  1 Mile (Pace 9:02)

Mile legs were really sore after the first week, I used today as a shake out run to loosen up my quads.  In the plan it does say you can modify the runs if needed.  I don’t want to go to far off the plan, but today was one of the days I needed to, I just wanted to get a run in and keep the streak alive.

Total Miles: 23.6

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Through the Winter…end of the streak?

After setting a PR in early December it was clear winter was on it’s way.  I bought a new winter running shirt from Lululemon, made from their Rulu fabric, it felt really soft and when I used it for the first time I knew it would keep me warm even in the coldest of weather.

The year before there were about 8 of us that ran together all through the winter, it really helped to keep each other motivated and in shape for when spring arrived.  We became known as the ‘Core 8.’  This year the Core 8 wasn’t around, some had moved away, life changes didn’t allow them to run as much, and this winter seemed to be even colder than last so people seemed a bit more reluctant to run, even though the year before we had ran in 7 degree weather!  That being said, this winter I had a lot of solo runs, which I don’t mind but on some of the days it would have been nice to company.

Winter has arrived
Winter has arrived

The run group I run with on Tuesdays, Tin Roof Runners, continued to run through the winter, but the numbers dwindled.  (Sidenote:  Do you know there are only 3 words in the English language that begin with the letters ‘dw’, do you know the other two?)  I managed to keep the run streak alive, but it wasn’t easy.  I like to run when the sun is still up and with daylight being shorter during the winter, that meant I had to run at night sometimes, this year there seemed to be a few more storms than the year before.  On day #130 of the running streak we had a winter storm that left snow and ice, I was sliding all over the place trying to run.   I knew I had to do something so I wouldn’t fall, I went to City Sports in Harbor East and one of the people I run with sometimes recommended Yaktrax.  Yaktrax are basically crampons for runners, they worked great, didn’t change my stride, and I could barely tell I was wearing them on my shoes.

YakTrax
YakTrax
Great gripping power!
Great gripping power!

The rest of the winter continued and so did the run streak, pretty uneventful.  As the weather warmed up I started to incorporate some hill training in preparation for race season.  This year I had picked four races I wanted to do; Philadelphia Hot Chocolate 15k, Frederick Half Marathon, Baltimore 10-miler, and the Baltimore Marathon.   Though the Hot Chocolate 15k was a relatively flat course I was already looking past that to Frederick and some hills, hence the hill training.

Hills of Patterson Park
Hills of Patterson Park

In the beginning of March, I started to feel some pain in my right knee.  During the run streak I have had pain on and off in different areas of my legs from running so much, so I figured the knee pain would go away in a few days.  It didn’t it only got worse, it became very hard to start a run without limping or wincing with pain; it was time to make a doctor’s appointment.  I asked Sarah, who her Sports Medicine doctor was, she has had to deal with injuries before and I remember her telling me she had a really good doctor.  She recommend a doctor from Johns Hopkins, I made an appointment, but would have to wait a few days to see the doctor.  I really contemplated ending the streak because I didn’t want to jeopardize my race season.  I decided to cut back on the miles, run easy, and wait to see what the doctor said before making any decisions.

Trying anything for support
Trying anything for support

March 24th, after a physical exam and getting some x-rays I waited for the doctor to come back into the room and give me a diagnoses.  When she did, she told me I had Patellar Tendonitis, runner’s knee.  She said I would need to go to physical therapy twice a week for a few weeks and I should be alright.  She recommended the physical therapist that was right down the hall.  I asked about running the 15k on April 4th and she recommended talking to the Physical Therapist to get their opinion, but she did say I could keep running but stop if the pain became to much.  The earliest appointment I could get at the Physical Therapist was April 3rd.

April 3rd came and after an evaluation from the Physical Therapist, he told me I couldn’t race the next day, I pretty much figured that was coming so it wasn’t a huge disappointment.  He was worried it could do more damage and set me back, putting the run streak in jeopardy.  When I asked him about running everyday, he said I could still run, but no hills and I was limited to a mile a day for now.  I asked about the Frederick Half and if he thought I would be ready?  He said he thought so but he didn’t want to rush my recovery, so we needed to wait and see once the race was closer.  Over the next 6 weeks, I went to physical therapy twice a week and did exercises at home, hoping my knee would get better.  Several times I thought about ending the streak, in hopes to expedite my recovery, but I did not.  Each week the therapist said I could run a little further if it felt comfortable and the pain started subsiding around week 3.  By the end of week 6, the physical therapist gave me a clean bill of health and the okay to run the Frederick Half Marathon, which was in about a week.

Like new! (Yes, I realize this is my left knee)
Like new! (Yes, I realize this is my left knee)

My knee felt strong and ready to go, but I wasn’t sure if I was race ready.  My longest run since the beginning of March had been 7 miles and I only did that once.  I couldn’t do a long run now to see where I was at, it was to close to the race.  I would have to rely on my base of running and pace myself a little more than I may have if I hadn’t been injured.  I was really happy to be able to race and that I didn’t have to end the run streak!  My next challenge was in front of me…the Frederick Half Marathon…

How was your experience running last winter?  Have you had a running injury, what did you do?

-Veggie Fueled Runner

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2 Countries, 1 Day, 1 Run!

December 21st, Day #57 of the running streak!  I had ran about 3 miles earlier in the day, it was Sunday and I wanted to make sure I could enjoy the Ravens game without worrying about running when the game was over.  I met a few friends at Tin Roof, it is a bar in downtown Baltimore, near Power Plant Live.  There wasn’t much I could eat there, bars never seem to have vegetarian options.  There were a few things on the menu I could get one being a quesadilla with avocado, various peppers, mushrooms, and cheese on it, so that is what I ordered.  My friends and I watched the Ravens get run over by the Texans, it was a lackluster game to say the least.  Towards the end of the third quarter an idea popped into my head to take a spontaneous trip!  I had the next two weeks off from work and nothing really planned, so I started googling places to go.  Airfare was pretty steep for most places since I had waited till the last minute, so I started thinking about places I could drive to.

“Who wants to go to Niagara Falls?”  It was an open invitation to my friends at the table, some looked at me puzzled and one asked me when?  I said right now, it’s only about a 6 hour drive!  I almost got my one friend to go but then she decided not to.  I was trying to convince someone to be spontaneous with me, but it wasn’t working.  The waitress came and asked if we needed anything else, I said “May I ask you a question?”, she replied “Sure”.  “Are you spontaneous?”, I asked.  She said, “Yes!”.  So I followed up with, “If someone asked you on a whim to go to Niagara Falls, would you?”.  She quickly replied, “Yes, I’ve never been there.”  So I figured why not ask.  When I asked her to go it seemed like she actually considered it for a second or two, then declined.  I told her I would take my check, I had to get on the road!

My friends didn’t believe that I was going to go, but I was!  I stopped at my house and packed a change of clothes, some running gear and I was on my way.  My check oil light had come on, so just to be safe I stopped and got some oil to put in my truck.  I am glad I did, somehow my truck had burned almost 5 quarts of oil, so I could have had quite the problem had I not stopped.  After filling up the oil basin I was on my way to Niagara Falls.

When I left Baltimore, it was about 8 in the evening so I would be getting there really late.  I don’t mind driving at night and I don’t mind long drives.  Most of the time I actually choose to drive, instead of fly, given the option.  I don’t have anything against flying, I just like that when I am visiting somewhere I can drive if I need to run to the store or something.

I used the Waze App for navigation, it took me on some backroads through Pennsylvania, I stopped to get gas in a one stoplight town along the way.  While I was on the highway about 2 hours outside Niagara, I saw a glowing in the sky, it looked like a huge fire in the woods.  It was getting brighter and seemed very large as it reflected off the low cloud cover, after about 10 mins of driving, I could tell it was an oil refinery burning off something.  Thank goodness it wasn’t a wildfire.  My drive up to Niagara was pretty uneventful, I was surprised when I got close to Buffalo I could still pick up a Baltimore AM radio station, WBAL 1090.  I guess other than the cloud cover near the oil refinery it was pretty clear and the signal could carry really far.  Yes, I do listen to AM radio; at night when I’m driving I usually listen to Coast to Coast, for a good laugh and just to keep the drive interesting.

As I got close to the Falls there was some construction going on so I followed the detour signs and at just about 3am, on what would be Day #58 of the running streak, I pulled into the parking lot adjacent to Niagara Falls.  Surprisingly the park never closes, not surprisingly I was the only one there and it was cold.  If I remember correctly I think the temperature was close to 16 degrees.  When I stepped out of my truck I could hear the Falls raging as the water flowed over.  I decided I would walk around a bit, so I bundled up and went for a stroll.  It was icy along some the pathways because of the mist from the falls.  There were huge ice chunks in the river, which was cool to see.  The lights were not turned on at the Falls, I found out later they turn those off at 11pm.  I couldn’t see a lot of the Falls but as I walked closer to were the water goes over, the noise from the raging water grew louder and finally you could see the edge where the water drop into the abyss.  There was lots of ice and it was so cool to Niagara like this.  I hadn’t been here in more than 15 years.  I walked around a little more and tried to take some photos, but the flash on my phone wasn’t working, so they didn’t turn out so great.  It was getting late or early depending how you look at it and I was pretty tired after the drive.  I have a pretty spacious truck, so instead of getting a hotel I opted to find an empty parking lot close by where there weren’t any parking restriction signs and get some shuteye.

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I woke up around 7am to the sound of some construction worker replacing some sort of piping at the end of the parking lot.  I decided I should go see the Falls during the day.  I was in awe, it was better than I remembered it.  It is an amazing site to see that much water constantly flowing over crashing onto the ice, rock, and river below.  I walked around for about 45 minutes, crossed a bridge to Green Island and then Goat Island and got a view of Niagara from the other side.

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Niagara River
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Edge of the Falls

I was getting pretty hungry so I started to head back.  I spotted a small family owned hotel and restaurant, which I have forgotten the name of, and stopped in for breakfast.  I ordered a veggie skillet with toast.  I made small talk with the waitress and she was surprised that I had just driven up, but commented she wished she had that spontaneity.  When my breakfast arrived I was stunned how much food it was, there were going to be leftovers.  After I finished breakfast and boxed up what was left, I was tired again, so I decided to take a nap.  On my way back to my truck, I spotted a Park Police officer and asked him if there were any running trails around, he gave me a few routes to run, I thanked him and then went and took a nap in my truck for about 2 hours.

My Skillet Breakfast
My Skillet Breakfast

When I woke up the air was much warmer but it was still in the 30’s, it was time for a run.  I changed into my running tights and shirt, I took some gloves, hat, and a baclava to cover my face.  After about a half mile of running I didn’t need those anymore, my body was warming up and so was the air.  I ran around the American side of Niagara Falls, back to Green Island, Goat Island, and Three Sisters Island which is a bit farther up river.  Seeing the falls from so many different angles was great, I had to be careful in some areas because of the ice, the ice closed some trails that were lower down, that was a bit disappointing.  I made my way up to the American observation deck, that was enclosed by glass, it was a bit unnerving but was a great view of the Falls.  After exploring the American side it was time to make my way over to the Canadian side, I had brought my passport just in case I wanted to go into Canada and after running around, I wanted to see the Falls from the Canadian side too.  I ran across a long bridge that connects the US and Canada, it was awesome, it was about 300 feet off the water and you could see both the American and Canadian Falls.

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Ice covered paths from the mist
View from Goat Island
View from Goat Island
American Observation Deck
American Observation Deck

As I got to the end of the bridge I entered the Customs and Immigration building.  To my surprise there wasn’t a line.  I walked right up to the Canadian Immigration Officer and handed him my passport.  He asked my purpose for visiting and I explained, I think he thought it was odd that I came up just to run for the day, but he didn’t make a big deal about it.  What he did make a big deal about was that I had been to Liberia in March.  I explained it was before the Ebola outbreak.  He asked why I was there, when I told him it was for a medical mission that didn’t help my case.  That is when he started to get really concerned.  He said he would have to call his supervisor and asked me to stand in the corner by myself.  From a distance he asked how I knew I didn’t have Ebola, I went through the entire medical explanation of why it wasn’t possible for me to have it and finished with, “Plus if I had contracted Ebola, I would have died months ago”.  I don’t think he found that reassuring and he didn’t share in my love for sarcasm.  Finally after about 15 minutes of standing in the corner and watching people pass by he spoke with his supervisor who gave me the all clear to enter Canada.  He apologized for the delay and said he was concerned because I came into the building sweating (which can be one sign of Ebola, high fever) and he saw Liberia on my passport and thought the worse.  I told him I understood and knew he was only doing his job, with that I was out the door and into Canada!

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As I made it down to the footpath parallel to Niagara Parkway the Falls came into view, it is true what people say about a better view from the Canadian side.  Just an amazing view of the power nature has!  I decided to try and FaceTime my Mom and surprise her at where I was, FaceTime didn’t want to cooperate so I called her.  When I told her I was in Canada she wasn’t all that surprised, I’ve taken random trips like this before.  I text her a few pictures and told her I would be home sometime late that night, as all Moms do she told me to be safe.  I started running along the path taking pictures along the way.  As I went further along it seemed like it started to rain, but it was actually the mist coming off the falls, you could even see rainbows forming, the mist was that heavy.  I ran the entire length of the path which stopped on the other side of the Canadian falls a little way up river.  I sat for a few minutes took some more pictures and then started to head back.  On the way back I wanted to try and avoid the mist and dry out a bit, although I was wet I wasn’t really that could.  The sun was shining and even though it was in the 30’s it was a nice day.  On the way back I stopped in the visitors center and viewed the Falls from there, most of the attractions were closed since it was the middle of winter and a Monday.

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I made my way back across the bridge and into the US Entry Point building.  This is the part of my trip where I got a little irritated, in order to get back into the US, I needed to pay 50 cents for an entry fee.  I only had a $20 bill.  It was a turn-style booth, like in the subway, but no one was working there.  I thought about jumping it but cameras were all over the place.  There was a phone off to the side with a number to call for assistance.  I called and explained I only had a $20, the person said someone would be up to help me.  After waiting for about 10 mins, someone finally came with change and I was back in the US, my pockets 50 cents lighter.  It really bothers me as a citizen and a veteran I have to pay to come back to my home country, but I don’t want to digress to much.

I entered into the US Customs and Immigration building and approached the customs agent.  He looked at my passport, he asked me about Liberia, I went through the whole explanation again.  He understood, he asked me how long I had been in Canada, I told him an hour or an hour and a half max, this is when the red flags when up.  He asked what I was doing I told him I went for a run, he asked where was my car, I told him where it was parked, he asked where I lived, when I told him Baltimore, we started the whole series of questions again.  He also asked me several questions about my motives for coming up here, why only for a day, was I smuggling anything?  I felt like telling him, I’m wearing a pretty snug shirt and running tights, where do you think I’m hiding something.  Using my better judgement I thought that wouldn’t be a good idea.  After about 5 minutes of questioning, he literally threw my passport back at me and told me to proceed through.  I was a bit taken back but wasn’t going to let his lack of professionalism bother me.  I left the building and ran back to my truck.

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All total I ran about 6 miles on day #58 with amazing views!  I was glad I decided to be spontaneous and drive up to see Niagara Falls.  I changed out of my damp running clothes, finished my leftovers from breakfast and decided to take a nap before driving again.  I slept for another 2 hours, when I woke up I took one last walk around and took some final pictures.  I left Niagara Falls at about 4pm.  Other than a little hale on the way home the drive was pretty smooth, I got back at about 10:30pm.  It was a day of running to remember!

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Bridge to connecting US and Canda; Maid of the Mist in drydock
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Maid of the Mist

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Have you ever taken a spontaneous trip?  What is your favorite running adventure?  I’d like to hear about it!

-Veggie Fueled Runner

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No Pain, No Spain

On Dec 6th, 2014 I decided to enter a 5k.  I had run this race the previous year and did okay, but I was eager to see how and if my race pace had improved since starting the streak and becoming a vegetarian.  I had run a 5k race about a month before on Day #9 of my running streak and wasn’t pleased with the time.  My body was still adjusting to running everyday, and race conditions were rough on that day, lots of wind and pretty cold.

Today was Day #42 of the running streak and I was feeling strong!  Whether it was psychological or an actual effect of becoming a vegetarian, I felt less stressed and more energized.  My legs were feeling great and by this point I had lost close to 12 lbs.  When I was running on my own or with my friends my average pace was getting faster so I was ready to see where I was at on an official course.

The race commonly known as “No Pain, No Spain” is actually the Patterson Park 5k and Fun Run hosted by the Patterson Park Public Charter School.  The proceeds from the race go to help students travel to Spain for a summer program.  My friend Pat is very involved with the school and is a past board member, so I had an extra reason to participate.  Pat and I have a friendly competition and the previous year he had beat me by a decent margin, 3 mins.  (As I mentioned in a previous blog the year past hadn’t been that great for running)

The weather was overcast, cool, and drizzling on and off.  Whenever it rains, even a little, I wear a hat with a brim to help keep the rain out of my eyes, I also wore a long sleeve Lululemon 1/4 zip vented shirt, and Lululemon running tights.  As the race welcome ceremony got underway I chatted with Pat and told him I wasn’t really looking for a specific time, just wanted to gauge where I was at and to have a solid race.

5k Course
5k Course

The race starts in the middle of the ‘big Park’ on a slight downhill, some of the Charter School students were the race starters and the race was underway just after 11am.  I like the later start, at least in the cooler months, you get to sleep in a little and the weather warms up slightly.  The first mile of the race was pretty smooth, Pat and I were running stride for stride.  I thought we were going out a little fast but I felt good so I didn’t say anything.  At approximately, the half mile mark you cross over into the ‘small Park’, you need to cross a street but the race staff has it closed to traffic.  This begins the first hill of the race, it isn’t a big one less than a quarter mile.  Anyone who knows Patterson Park knows there is going to be lots of hills!  As we peaked and began the decent I was still feeling strong but started to get a little warm, so I unzipped my shirt a bit.  As we completed the half circle around the ‘small Park’ we crossed the street again back into the ‘big Park’ that was mile one.  Pat and I were still side by side our mile pace was 7:20, pretty fast for me but other than feeling hot I was still feeling strong.  The next mile would be the challenge.

Mile 2 of the race is pretty much an uphill climb and gets pretty steep about half way through.  Starting mile 2 I remember thinking I wish I didn’t have this hat on, it was keeping heat in and I had pulled down my zipper as far as it could go on my shirt.  I thought about taking my shirt off and tying it around my waste but I was worried I would be too cold, I decided to leave it on.  As Pat and I started the climb I asked him if he had been doing any hill training, he said not much, to which I replied well I haven’t done any so if you feel like you have it, go for it!  We ran together for a little longer then Pat started pulling away, I just needed to keep him in my sights if I wanted a chance of redemption for last year.  Then I thought wait I’m not racing Pat, I am just want a solid race…we all know no matter what you say you are always comparing yourself to something in a race, whether it is the clock, another competitor, or the place you finish.  Halfway through mile 2 I could still see Pat but the incline was getting steeper, I passed some spectators and threw them my hat.  I had to get rid of it, I figured I would try to track them down after after the race and get it back.  On the steep climb up to the Pagoda I really slowed down, I was just trying to stay steady and make sure I had enough in the tank to finish strong.  Three other runners had passed me and I really couldn’t see Pat anymore.  As I crested the steep hill it flattened out and began to go downhill and mile 2 was behind me.  My pace had really fallen off, my mile 2 pace was close to 8:30.

Mile 3 began with a steep downhill, which was welcomed relief after the last mile.  Running downhill pounds your quads but gave me a chance to get my breathing back into rhythm.  In my mind I set a goal over the next mile to catch those three runners that had passed me.  The course had long straight-aways in the first portion of mile 3 so I could see how far ahead of me they were.  I got back on my pace, my breathing settled in and I started to bear down on the runners who had passed me, one by one I caught up to them and then passed them.  When I passed that 3rd runner I felt great!  I had set a small goal, mid-race and pulled it off.  As I came around the second to final turn I could see Pat again, he had a pretty good lead on me, I wasn’t sure if I could catch him.  As I rounded the final turn I entered the final ascent of the course.  An uphill finish, always makes it interesting.  With a 1/10th of a mile to go I started to kick, I wasn’t going to catch Pat but I could hear steps pounding the pavement behind me.  Out of the corner of my eye could see a female runner coming up along side of me, I tried to kick harder but the hill in mile 2 and catching the three runners had taken a lot out of me.  I watched as she passed me and I didn’t have enough in the tank to catch her.  She crossed the finish line just before I did, turned out she was the 2nd place female finisher.  I crossed the line and felt I had a solid race and given it my all.

My time was 23:34, it was a Personal Record by 13 seconds!!!  I didn’t expect that especially with my slower second mile and the hilly course.  I was stoked, even though Pat had beaten me again, but only by 30 seconds this year.  My overall pace was 7:36 per mile.  I felt really good about that.

After chatting with Pat a bit, I went to try and find my hat as I cheered on other runners who were still out on the course.  I found the person I threw my hat to and they said they had given it to the race director.  Pat knew who that was, so I figured I’d find her later.  We cheered on the rest of the runners and then went to the home brew beer tasting, which was included in the entry fee.  The beer tasting was something new that was added this year and it was great to taste several unique home brews.  Some of the students had formed a band and they were performing some covers as well as some original songs, they were awesome (I wish I could remember the name of their band).  I finally found the race director and got my hat back, Pat and I hung out for a while enjoyed the music and beer and then called it a day.

Pat and I after crossing the finish line.
Pat and I after crossing the finish line.

When I checked the race results I was really happy to confirm my PR time!  Overall I was 18th out of 197, and 7th out of 35 in my age group.

A PR is always great, but it is even better when you weren’t expecting it!

Have you had a race that you were running for fun and it turned into a PR?  Have you had to adjust goals during a race?

-Veggie Fueled Runner

Sweat Gutr

Here in Baltimore, like most places it is getting warm, instant update, it is getting hot!  In the summer Baltimore is known for summer days with high humidity and today was on of those days making it a great opportunity to wear test a new piece of gear I bought, the Sweat Gutr (pronouned Sweat Gutter).

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I’ve actually known about this product for a few years.  My dad would always complain about sweating when he would cut the grass or go bike riding.  One Father’s Day a few years ago I saw it in a bike shop and bought him one, he loved it (I did Dads have to like anything you get them for Father’s Day).  I had never bought one for myself until a few weeks ago.  I ordered it on Amazon, using my prime account, thinking I would get it the next day and I could try it out before an upcoming race.  Not so, I haven’t had much luck with the things I’ve order on Amazon Prime, it arrived about a week later.  I didn’t have time to give it a good test before the race and testing out new gear during a race is not a good idea, so I didn’t use it.

When it arrived I took it out of the heavy envelope it arrived in.  It smelled a little funny, I think it was because it is all rubber.  I looked over the instructions quickly on how to adjust it to your head and how to wear it.  The manufacturer recommends about a finger space above the eyebrows.  It is very easy to adjust with velcro tabs and elastic bands to keep it tight against your forehead which is key.  On the front there is actually a gutter that catches the sweat a then lets it flow back towards your ears and is suppose to keep the sweat out of your eyes.
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So many times when I am running or biking I am removing my sunglasses to wipe my forehead, usually with my shirt, or rub my eyes because sweat is getting in them.  The last thing you need when you are running is more discomfort.  Today Picky Runner and KBT invited me to go for a bike ride and I thought it would a great time to try out the Sweat Gutr.  I’ll admit it doesn’t look all that stylish, but I was hoping it would work.  It took a little bit of adjusting on my head to get it under my helmet and not interfere with the temple part of my sunglasses.  (The temple is the piece that rest on your ear, I actually had to look up what it was called).  After it was adjusted we were off and riding, we rode some pretty hilly sections of the city, at a decent pace for about 28 miles, the sweat was pouring off of us, but not into my face!  Surprising the Sweat Gutr really did work and it was comfortable to wear.  I only adjusted once during the ride when it was bothering my ear, but that could have also been the sunglasses.  It was great that I didn’t need to keep removing my sunglasses while riding to wipe away the sweat.  At a stop light near the finish Picky Runner said she could actually see a salt line where the sweat was being channeled away.

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Me and Picky Runner (KBT on the camera)

I didn’t stop the wear test there, after all I am on day #231 of my run streak and I hadn’t ran yet today.  Would it hold up the same during the run, with more bouncing and movement?  It was really starting to heat up it was almost 12:30 and near 90 degrees by the time I hit the pavement to run, we had stopped for breakfast as well.  The Sweat Gutr held up during my run just as good.  In the pictures below you can actually see the sweat being channeled away from my face.  I did have one sweat droplet make it past the Sweat Gutr but that could have been that is was full.  I recommend angling it slightly to the rear of  your head to help the sweat move out of the gutter.  When I tilted my head back I could feel the sweat moving away and down the side of my head.

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Sweat going down the side of my head

With something that is going to get covered in sweat you want to make sure you keep it clean and since it is all rubber that is easy to do as well.  After I was done I simply ran it under the water with some soap and laid it on the counter to dry.

Overall this a great product if you are looking for a way to keep your eyes and face free of sweat, I would definitely recommend it to anyone.  Amazon has it listed for between $10-$123, I have no idea who would pay $123 for this, I bought mine for $16 and the Sweat Gutr website has it listed for $19.99.  It is definitely worth $20 and will be the last headband you need to buy.

Sweat Gutr Rating:  5 Veggies out of 5 Veggies

Do you have a problem with sweat when you are running?  How do you deal with it?  Let me know your thoughts!

-Veggie Fueled Runner

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