Monday, December 22, 2008

Quote of the Day

"If you don't bring forth what is inside you, what you don't bring forth will destroy you."

Jesus of Nazareth
c. 5-38 CE, Jewish Prophet, Mystic, Founder of Christianity
in The Gospel of Thomas

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Today's Run


Today's run is 3 miles. Here are my goals:

1. Learn to control my cramping with breathing exercises.

2. Concentrate on nothing but pace for the first mile or 10 minutes.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sorry I'm Late

I feel like I've let the two readers I have down by not posting about how my first race went. I apologize. I'll try not to let it happen again, promise.


4:30 Leave my house. I'm feeling excited and a little nervous.

4:45 Arrive at Ault Park, the venue for the race. Traffic was a pain but I was able to secure a good parking space close to the start.

4:50 After registering, getting a wrist band, race number and t-shirt, I start wandering around.

5:10 Run into my cousin Patty who was getting ready to drive the pace car.

5:30 Run into running buddy Dave. We start to head toward the starting line and find a spot about 3/4 of the way to the back

6:00pm: The race starts, kind of. It takes a while for the pack to move to past the start. It took me about 2 minutes to reach the line from when the gun went off.

Here's where everything turns into a blur. I started off really strong and thought I was maintaining a decent, but safe, pace. When we came to the first major hill, I was confident that I'd be able to conquer it and I did. I saw what I thought was the top and made that my target. The "top", however, wasn't the top at all. It was a turn onto another street that had an even steeper hill. At this point I was kicking myself for not running the course before hand like I had planned. I had to stop on the second hill for a second and from there on out ran-walked the rest of the race. My time was 33:04. Not bad for someone who's only been running for a few months, but not at all where I hoped to be.

Tonight is my first run since the race. I'm restarting my beginner 5k plan and going to try and get back on track with my nutrition so I can reach my weight goal.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Race Day is Almost Here!!

My first 5k race is only two days away and I'm feeling pretty good about my chances of finishing it. I went running with Dave and his friend Glenna yesterday and felt pretty good up until the 25 minute mark or so when I got one of those pesky side cramps. No idea what causes those, but I've always been fairly susceptible to them.

I'm going to take it easy today and then walk the race course tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Picking Up The Pace

Monday's' run didn't happen so I tried to do 3 yesterday at a faster pace than normal. Apparantly I went too fast and gassed after a mile or so. I then slowed to a near crawl but was soon overtaken by a cramp in my side. I need to figure out how to prevent those from happening. I also weighed myself yesterday :221.2

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sore Ankle

Yesterday I woke up with a sore ankle. I'm not exactly sure why it's sore, as I didn't run the day before and it felt fine. It might be the shoes I've been wearing a lot lately, which offer very little support. If I can, I'm planning on running 3 today, 2 tomorrow, rest Wednesday (my running buddy, Dave, is out of town), 3 Thursday, 3 Saturday, 3 Sunday.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I'm Back!

It feels like it's been forever since I've last posted, but I'm still here and running. As you may have heard, southern Ohio got pounded by remnant winds of hurricane Ike. While my house was luckily left unscathed, I was without power from Sunday evening to this afternoon.

Today, I went for a little 2 miler since my running buddy Dave was feeling under the weather and couldn't make it. Yesterday I did 3 miles.

I weighed myself last night and came in at 220 even.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

New Plan!

Ok so after looking at some different plans online I think I've settled on my next one. Since's Couch-to-5k plan has been good to me and since I actually still don't have that much running experience, I've decided to start Cool Running's Beginner 5k Program.

I thought about going for the 10k, but I haven't even run my first 5k race yet and I still feel like a beginning runner.

If you take a look at the plan, it is very similar to the Couch-to-5k, except that it adds two more days of running, one of which is very light. It also adds a runs that are decide to improve speed, like hill runs and fartleks. I'm really not sure how my body is going to react to the added days, but I guess I'll find out soon enough!

Time For A New Plan

This week marks the end of the Couch To 5k running program I've been on for the last 8 to 9 weeks. Yesterday I went out and did a flat 3 miles in just over 30 minutes. I even managed to do a couple of "fartlek" runs, which are basically random periods of time where you run fast. It was by no means easy, but I can tell I'm improving, which is awesome.

So what should I do next, try to increase my distance or improve my time for 5k?


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Strange Times Indeed

Yesterday Dave and I met up for our weekly run. It was super hot out so we avoided big hills. I was doing fine until I hit mile 2 and got a major cramp in my side. After that, we run-walked the last half-mile or so. Pretty disappointing but at least I did something. I also couldn't find my fancy running watch, as it is still packed in a box somewhere in my house, so I ran without one. Strange as it may seem, a watch can be a big motivator so I need to find it before Friday.

I tested my scale again right before I went to bed last night and then right after I woke up this morning. Last night I weighed 219 and this morning I weighed 220. So, not only did I miraculously lose 11 pounds in a couple of days, I gained a pound overnight without eating or drinking anything. Crazy.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I've Been Bad

Very bad. I haven't run since last wednesday. Moving to a new house pretty much took over my whole weekend. I tried to schedule a run, but when the time came I was too sore from carrying boxes and furniture up and down stairs. My plan for tonight is to run two miles and then go for three tomorrow with Dave. The upside to the break is that it gave my Achilles some rest.

As you can see by mt chart, my weight also went up considerably over the weekend, which is crazy because I really didn't eat that much. I'm guessing most of it is water weight, that or my scale is really messed up.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Enemy is Mine

I finally conquered Enemy Hill on Wednesday. It was tough but I stuck it out and made it to the top. My legs were burning fierce and I felt like I was on autopilot for a while afterward. To make it up the hill, I set little goals along the way. Each telephone pole and street sign became a target and I would tell myself, "If I can only make it to that stop sign, I'll be almost done."

After the run was over, I felt pretty good but the Achilles tendon area on each leg was sore. I think they're ok today. I'll have to see how they feel when I start running.

Tonight I'm going to do the same route I did Wednesday to make sure it wasn't a fluke.

I forgot to start the 100 pushup challenge yesterday. Hopefully I remember tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

100 Pushups - Initial Test

I took the 100 pushups initial test late last night and boy was I shocked. I'm weak! The last time I did pushups, I was able to squeak out 15 before it started to get tough. Last night was a completely different story. I could only do 4 comfortably and then could only manage to do a couple more after that. Because of my sorry performance, I'm going to start at level 1, the bottom, and work my way up.

I am really looking forward to tonight's run. Since my Monday run was done in the morning, It seems like it's been forever since I last ran. I'm even starting to feel guilty about not running. Is that normal?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Switching to Distance

Over the past 7 weeks of the plan, I've always measured my running activity using time. Starting on Wednesday I'm going to start measuring by distance AND time to make sure that I'm making progress in both areas. As I'm running for longer periods of time, I'm don't want to be slowing my pace.

Wednesday calls for 28 minutes/2.75 miles. I've got the run mapped already and it includes Enemy Hill. Should be a blast.

Two In A Row

So I got up early again to go run. This time I actually woke up at 6:00am! I was able to get the full 25 minutes done but I was feeling a little dehydrated near the end. I ended up choosing a flatter course since the Enemy Hill course isn't well lit and doesn't have sidewalks in places. Not a good idea when it's dark out and you don't own any reflective clothing.

Wednesday begins week 8 of the Couch to 5k plan, which means I'm going to be bumping my time up to 28 minutes.

Tomorrow I begin two new routines to balance my running. One is the 100 Push ups Training Program and the second is a series of stretching exercises. I haven't come up with a list of the stretches I need to do yet, so if you have any ideas let me know. Eventually I'll be replacing the stretches with yoga. The community center in my neighborhood offers yoga classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which fits in nicely with my Monday Wednesday Friday/Saturday running schedule.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

First Morning Run

I'm not a morning person, never have been and likely never will be, but somehow I was able to wake up at the crack of dawn (ok maybe it was 8:30am) and go for a run. Following the Couch-to-5k plan, this was technically day two of week 7, so I had to run for at least 25 minutes. I plotted a 3 mile route using that put he Enemy Hill (see previous post) right at the beginning of mile 2. As I approached the hill, I was feeling pretty good, my legs were loose and my breathing was relatively controlled. By the time I got up half-way, however, my legs were screaming and I was panting like a dog in heat. I tried to motor through it but I had to give up at the 3/4 mark. I only had to walk for about a minute or so and then began slowly running again. One good part about the Enemy Hill is that afterward is a slight decline for the next half mile or so. That gave my hamstrings a little bit of time to recover as my quads took most of the load. I finished my time ok, even tacking on an extra minute at the end to make up for the minute I had to walk. After the run I was thinking only one thing: the Hill is mine on Monday.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Challenging AND Fun

Wednesday's run showed me how fun running can actually be. I experienced a sense of exhilaration as we were maneuvering through the nature preserve. You have to be more mindful of your running on trails so as to not break an ankle or get whipped in the face by a low-hanging branch. I definitely need to incorporate more trail runs into my routine to mix things up a bit.

The hill at the end of Wednesday's run was a different kind of fun,the punishing kind. That hill is my new enemy and I'm vowing to beat it within the next couple of runs.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Yesterday's Run

Dave and I met up again at our normal spot. We then ran to and through a nature preserve that's in our neighborhood. It was my first time there and I was surprised how big it was and how many hills it had. There some spots on the trail that were kind of tricky, requiring us to slow down to a crawl. We also had to hop a couple of fallen trees. Once we exited the preserve we decided to tackle a street know for its long, painful hill. Dave did fine on it but I died about a quarter of the way up. All in all we ran about 30 minutes (which included about 3 minutes of walking) and probably did about 5k.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

What's The Weight?

One of the benefits of running that I hope to realize is weight loss. Right now I weigh 229, which is not horrible for a 6'4" male, but I'm still considered overweight.

As a former gym rat, I for one, know the absurdity of "ideal weight" and why the BMI isn't perfect, but I also know the value of benchmarks and points of reference.

According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute's online calculator, my BMI is 27.9, which is considered overweight. Playing around with the calculator, I discovered I would need to drop to 204.5lbs to be at the high-end of normal (24.9). In my opinion 205 would be really skinny. To demonstrate the inaccuracy of the BMI stat, Cincinnati Bengal's WR TJ Houshmanzadah is 6'1", 199lbs and is fit but skinny. His BMI however is 27 meaning he's overweight.

Does he look overweight to you?'s ideal weight calculator states that someone my height should weigh 202lbs. I think that's pretty low, but I've seen some charts that put my ideal weight at 197.

I honestly don't know what I'd look like at 197, probably like a competitive marathoner, which I'm not sure I want to look like (no offense to competitive marathoners). Lets get down to 215 and go from there.

To track my weight loss, I took another page from Abelfarei and created a graph widget which will be permanently displayed in the right column of this blog. I plan on weighing myself once a week. I'd do it more often, but I'm afraid I'd get a little obsessed with it.

Here's a graph showing the starting point measured Sunday early evening.

Get your own graph at skinnyr

Exciting eh?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Sunday's Run and Mean Dean

Went out and did the 2.25 mile/25 minute run with no walk break that I mentioned Saturday. The first mile went pretty well, but at the 11 minute mark I got a stomach cramp that I thought was going to force me to start walking, but I powered through and it eventually subsided.

When I run during the week, it's usually on an almost empty stomach. Last night, however, I ran about a half hour after eating some sushi. Lesson learned: I should wait more than a half hour after eating a meal before going on a run.

From this point on, the Couch-to-5k plan gets a little simpler, but not easier. Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday will all be 25 min/2.5 miles.

I picked up Dean Karnazes's new book, "50/50: Secrets I Learned Running 50 Marathons in 50 Days" yesterday and just started to read it. I really enjoyed Karno's last book, "Ulatramarathon Man" because of the running/racing anecdotes and I hope "50/50" contains a lot more of the same.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Friday's Results

Yesterday's beautiful weather made for a decent run. I was able to complete the time requirements relatively easily and completed a total of about 2.25 miles with the walking portion taking up about .30 miles. So I walked a little fast and ran a little slow, but that's ok. I'm happy with it. I actually feel like I could have gone some more, but I'm sticking to the plan.

So, Monday's run is scheduled to be:

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2-1/4 miles (or 25 minutes) with no walking.

I think I'm going to actually move it up to tomorrow and then take Monday and Tuesday off. This will give me more time to recover from the long run before the NRC run.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Today's Plan

Since Wednesday's run was more of a free-run with Dave. I'm going to complete the Couch-to-5k's Week 6, Workout 2 today.

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

* Jog 1 mile (or 10 minutes)
* Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
* Jog 1 mile (or 10 minutes

I used (thanks to Lisa from I'm a Runner? for the tip!) to map out my route. It's going to be mostly flat with the only hilly part near the beginning.

Afterwards it's shower then to Fountain Square again to catch The Buffalo Killers.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Designing a Route

I recently came upon a cool website called GMaps Pedometer that allows a user to plots points on a Google map. The site then calculates the distance between those points. This is a perfect tool for creating running routes.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Heart Rate Monitors

I took a trip to a local Sports resale shop and found this on sale for $40. I've never used a heart rate monitor before and the idea of wearing a nylon strap around my chest while running doesn't sound too appealing. So this seemed perfect, but it may be too good to be true. I will be trying it on my run tonight and if I'm not happy with it, I can return it for a full refund within 30 days.

I did try it last night a little bit before going to sleep and my heart rate was 80 bpm. Anything between 50-100 is considered "normal" for a "normal" person. Extremely fit people, like Lance Armstrong, have resting heart rates in the 30-35 bpm range.

New Logo!

Tonight is the second meeting of the Northside Runners Club and it should be fun. The weather is supposed to be great. Some of Dave's friends might show up, so we might actually have more than two people! We are growing every week! If we maintain this growth rate for a few more months, the entire city of Cincinnati will be part of the club.

Clubs need logos, so I created one. Tell me what you think and be honest.

I also created a myspace page for the club: Please be our friend.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Whoah! Comments!

When I started this blog, I didn't think I'd get many comments and I already have two! Thanks readers. I might actually start asking for reader input on products, training techniques and other hodge podgery (just made that up).

Here's the first question. I already have an ipod shuffle and a pair of brooks running shoes. Should I invest in a ipod nano and a new pair of nikes and join the Nike+ fad? Is there a better, more economical option? Pleas share!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Shameful Sunday

Sunday was a nightmare, and I only have myself to blame. I made the mistake of staying out late on Saturday night, really late, and thus overslept on Sunday and missed the 5k I was supposed to run. I then proceeded to stink up the field (well, just the batter's box) for the last game of the summer.

I'm not as down on myself as it may seem though. I began reading the NY Road Runners Complete Book of Running (home of the original Couch-to-5k Plan) and realized that running the race might have been a bad idea anyway. I need my mileage to increase a bit before I attempt a 5k.

Today I start Week 6 of the Cool Running's Couch-to-5k Plan.

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

* Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
* Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
* Jog 3/4 mile (or 8 minutes)
* Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
* Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)

The weather tonight should be great, low humidity and temps in the mid-70's.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Ahh Fridays!

I love Fridays. So much hope and yearning for the weekend builds up during the day and by the time it's five o'clock, you're ready for anything. What a perfect time for a run!

The Couch to 5k Running Plan prescribes a 25 minute jog, which should be doable with the surprisingly beautiful weather we're supposed to have today.

After that, I'm heading downtown to Fountain Square where my buddy's band will be performing. Should be a good time.

Only seven and a half hours to go!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Running With Dave

Went on a short run with David today, well short for him. Dave ran the Flying Pig Marathon earlier this year which he was able to accomplish with the help of Team In Training. I might look into joining TNT to train for a half marathon. Anyway, tonight we may have done two miles. There was some intermittent walking and a lot of huffing and puffing on my part. Slowly but surely.

So now there's two people in the Northside Runners. That's a 100% increase over yesterday. We are well on our way!

Why Doesn't Anybody Tell Me These Things?

Apparently there is a 5k race being held this weekend less than a qtr mile from where I live.

The 9th Annual Spring Light 5k Walk/Run
Spring Grove Cemetery
Sunday, August 10, 2008 at 8:30 am.

Looks like my first attempt at 5k is this Sunday.

Back To The Program

Jill and I were able to get a little bike ride in, which was nice despite the nasty humidity. I'm contemplating adding cycling to my regular routine, though I'm having difficulties fitting running into my schedule as it is. I'm often guilty of trying to do too much to soon and then burning out before I get anywhere. I'm trying to restrain myself as much as possible with the running thing, because I want it to be a long-term activity that will help improve my health and fitness. I'd like to eventually be able to run a marathon and then a triathlon, but those goals are way off in the distance. For now, I'm just sticking with the coolrunning "Couch to 5k" plan until I can complete a 5k. I'll worry about what's next later.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

We Need It, But....

Today was my day to do a bike ride with Jill (after a short run), but it looks like it's supposed to rain all day and night. I guess I'll be heading to the gym instead. I'm hoping there's a yoga class going on tonight. I've only done yoga a couple of times and I really like it, but I've always had a problem finding a place that offered classes that fit my schedule on a consistent basis.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Heat Schmeat

There's a heat emergency on for Cincinnati for the next few days. I braved the sweltering temperatures and humidity after work and got in a little 20 minute jog. The new Champion moisture wicking shirt I bought the other day did a pretty good job. I wouldn't call it fun, but I felt good afterward. I might try it again tomorrow.

Attention Northside Runners!

I'm looking to form a local running group to meet once or twice a week. Day and time will ultimately depend on interest and availability but I'm shooting for one weekend morning and one weekday evening. All levels welcome.

If interested contact Me (Mike) at northsiderunners AT gmail DOT com

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Cool Running

When I started running this summer, one of my first goals was to be able to run a 5k by October. The race isn't just any 5k though, it's the Reggae Run and it holds a very special place in my heart. The Reggae Run is held in memory of my cousin, Maria Olberding, who was inexplicably killed while running in the usually very safe neighborhood of Mt. Lookout. At the time she was training for a marathon and running was a very important part of her life. Maria also loved children and reggae music, so when the family was deciding how to honor their oldest daughter, they chose to combine all three of her loves and created the Reggae Run.

The race is held on the first Saturday of every October in and around the beautiful Ault Park and proceeds go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The race has become a favorite of runners from all over the country for a variety of reasons. One of which is the course, a beautiful yet relentlessly hilly jaunt through Cincinnati's historic Hyde Park neighborhood. Most people know it, however, because of the massive party held directly following the race. Reggae music is featured throughout the night, and there are also a ton of food and beer vendors. The best part is that everything is included with the race registration fee.

Running Around Bases

I guess it's fitting that I should start this blog on a day when I'm not scheduled to run. For the most part, Sundays have meant baseball this summer. I made the decision to join an 18+ league after 15 years of not playing the sport. To say it's been a rough go is an understatement but it's been fun and I'm slowly getting to a respectable playing level.

I do have to thank baseball for inspiring me to start running though. I've never been a runner and have always avoided the activity at all costs. That all changed once I stepped on the field and realized how out of shape I was. Thats right, I was too out of shape TO PLAY BASEBALL!

Luckily I found a great beginner's program on the the ol' internets and it's working just fine for now. The plan is called "The Couch-To-5k Running Plan" located at and I highly recommend it for people just starting out.

I just started Week 6 of the 9 week plan and I'm feeling good about my progress. I should be in pretty good shape to run my first goal race in the first week of October.