In the relentless pursuit of personal growth and self-fulfillment, the journeyBecoming the best version of oneself is a path worth embarking upon.This self-improvement guide is a roadmap designed to...
Maintaining your fitness and wellness habits can be challenging, especially when life gets busy. However, developing simple and effective strategies will help you stay on track and keep your health a priority. This article will provide you with a comprehensive guide to staying fit and healthy, complete with tips and techniques that you can implement in your daily routine.
Build in Daily Exercise
One of the easiest ways to maintain a fitness routine is to build in daily exercise. Even if you’re busy, there are several ways to fit in exercise that won’t take up too much of your time. For instance, try parking farther away from your destination and taking the stairs instead of the elevator. You can also use your lunch breaks to take a brisk walk or run.
Challenge Yourself with a Running Coach
If you want to take your fitness routine to the next level, consider working with Brad Minus from Inner Fire Endurance Sports to build your endurance. A coach will push you to achieve your goals and hold you accountable for your progress. Additionally, they will provide you with personalized advice and tips to ensure that you’re training in the most effective way possible.
Give Yourself Positive Affirmations
Incorporating positive affirmations into your daily routine can help you stay motivated and confident in your health journey. Start by telling yourself positive things in the mirror every morning. Repeat phrases such as “I am strong,” “I am healthy,” and “I am capable.” Before long, you’ll start to believe it, and your mindset will shift toward positivity.
Set Healthy Boundaries
Setting healthy boundaries is crucial if you want to maintain your fitness and wellness habits. This means saying “no” to things that interfere with your workout routine, such as late-night plans that will make you too tired for an early morning workout. Prioritize your health and protect your boundaries to ensure that you won’t be distracted or derailed from your goals.
In today’s digital age, it’s easy to be consumed by technology, making it even harder to find time for exercise or self-care. However, it’s essential to unplug regularly and give yourself time to recharge, both mentally and physically. Try taking a break from social media for a day or two or turning off all electronic devices in the evening to help your mind unwind.
Create a Clean and Organized Home Environment
Maintaining a clean and organized living space is essential for promoting a healthy lifestyle. A clutter-free environment can contribute to a sense of calmness and reduced stress levels. Additionally, having ample space in your home allows you to easily incorporate physical activities like workouts or yoga sessions into your daily routine.
If you struggle to keep your home clean and organized, there are a few tips and tricks that can make it easier. Try to minimize clutter by getting rid of anything that you no longer need or use. When vacuuming, make sure that you empty your vacuum regularly to maintain full suction power. Next, establish a daily cleaning routine, such as doing a load of laundry each day or washing your dishes immediately after using them.
Maintaining your fitness and wellness habits requires a deliberate and consistent effort. However, incorporating simple and effective strategies into your daily routine can make a significant difference. Building in daily exercise, unplugging from technology, and maintaining a clean and organized home environment are all essential components to staying fit and healthy. By implementing these tips and techniques, you’ll be on your way to achieving your goals and living your healthiest life.
Tips for Quality Run Training
- Train no faster than one pace quicker than the race you are training for. For example, 5k pace is good for an Olympic-distance race, while half-marathon pace suffices for IRONMAN training.
- Distinguish what your greatest limiter is. Is it physiological, i.e. engine capacity, specific fitness, ability to tolerate heat, ability to process calories? Or is it a mechanical ability to sustain pace? Work specifically on these limiters.
- Your greatest fitness gains will come from accumulating as much threshold and subthreshold (tempo) work as possible but see the previous two bullets again to guide you. Remember, easy running should still form the bulk of your work.
- Do anything faster, like VO2 max work, if your event needs it (like a sprint race), either on an incline, i.e. hill repeats, or on the bike such as all-out 30 second efforts.
- Try to simulate race conditions on a regular basis to see how your run holds up under those conditions, loads and speeds. Being very fit and being able to hold a specific pace on a flat course under cool conditions does not add up on race day if you have hills, heat and a tough windy bike to contend with.
- If you don’t lose a lot of speed off the bike relative to your open run ability, don’t overdo the brick-work; it’s risky training of little physiological value. Evaluate your workouts in terms of what run training you need versus running that you feel you have to do to be confident on race day. These are often not the same thing.
- Determine whether you hold your form during the course of your run in a race. You can ascertain this with early and late video during longer quality sessions. Address what shows up. It will always be related to fitness and fatigue, but the fixes may come from either more specific training or some supplemental work in the gym.
Do you have any other tips for training?
Please leave a comment with your tip
Leading up to the Chicago Marathon 2016
The Chicago Marathon provides an excellent course, plenty of support and, for me, a chance to visit home for a few days. It was no different for me this time, with one small factor. I was not nearly as trained for it as I should have been.
In my previous recap for Ironman Augusta 70.3, I detailed a very painful half-marathon run. It left me deeply concerned running the Chicago Marathon. The focus for the following two weeks was on recovery. My runs were limited to the Zero-to-5k course I coach at Tampa General Hospital which came to a total of eight miles.
Meanwhile, I completed a thirty-minute session with the foam roller and dynamic stretching, coupled with at least one twenty-minute session with an Electronic Muscle Stimulation machine from Therapeutix. I followed this routine almost every day.
Even with the focus on recovery, I still had issues with my calves and Achilles tendons in both legs. My concern for finishing the Chicago Marathon did not change as I stepped off the plane on Friday, October 7th.
I visited with my parents in Bartlett, a suburb located about 20 miles west of downtown Chicago, on Friday. Saturday, I utilized the local train system, Metra, for transportation into the loop where I checked into the Kimpton Allegro Hotel and made my way to meet up with friends before heading to the expo.
Pete, Kari, Maria, Danny and I had a bountiful breakfast at a local diner and proceeded to grab a couple of cabs to the McCormick Place Convention Center for the expo.
I am always amazed at the smooth flow that is set up for the Chicago Marathon. I stepped up to a table where they scanned the QR code that was emailed to me. All of my information promptly displayed on a monitor. After verifying the info was correct, a booth number appeared and a volunteer directed me to that specific location.
Even though the area was mobbed by runners, loved ones, volunteers and staff, I was able to quickly make my way to the booth where the volunteer already had my packet waiting for me. She verified my identity with my driver’s license and directed me to the main hall where I fought the crowd to the back. Within a couple of minutes, my gear bag and t-shirt were in my hands.
With the requirement for check-in complete, I was free to wander around the expo. The Chicago Marathon expo is always a highlight for me. It is by far one of the biggest expos I attend with a plethora of vendors and products.
The nagging calf and Achilles tendon still had me worried. I risked breaking one of the number one rules for big races. Never anything new on race day.
Hoka One One claims performance and high cushion without sacrificing proprioception. As one of the first on the east coast to review Hoka One One a few years ago, I felt their technology may aid my finish the following day.
Other reviews led me to the Clayton. The middle line of their cushioning but extremely light. Slipping my foot into the shoe, and immediately the feeling the wider toe box and soft EVA foam positively indicated this approach was the right decision.
I palled around with my friends for a while, before I noticed the time. It was 1:00 PM, which meant the Ironman World Championships had already started. I excused myself and headed to the hotel. I spent the rest of the afternoon, with my EMS machine and tablet watching the race in Kona.
Later, I met up with Pete and the gang at Ryo Sushi. Dinner was a great combination of carbs, good fats, protein and extra sodium hidden in a spicy tuna roll and beef udon. After the hugs for luck and “good nights” it was a quick walk back to the hotel, a gear check followed by some light reading before entering dreamland.
The next morning, I awoke refreshed and ready to face the day. Anxiety plagued my core as it usually does prior to a big race. However, this time it was heightened slightly with worry due to my lack of volume, and the tightness in my lower legs.
My consumption of oatmeal and a power bar settled the hunger pains, as I dressed in my T2PKD singlet, shorts, socks, new Hoka One One Claytons and my Moxie Multisport hat. The temperature, estimated at 54 degrees, encouraged my purchase of a very inexpensive hoody and sweatpants which would keep me warm prior to the race.
All of the major marathons collect discarded clothes after the race and donate them to the homeless. After I shedded mine, these clothes would have a good home.
With that, I headed to the lobby, where after grabbing a cup of coffee and a banana, I took the 20-minute walk to Grant Park and the “E” Corral.
Right around 7 am I entered my official Chicago Marathon corral. After 30 minutes of chatting up some runners from the Ronald McDonald House Team, and an operatic version of our national anthem, the gun went off. It took 14 minutes to reach the start line, and we all began our 26.2 mile journey.
With all my concerns, I did not start the race without a strategy. Even though I kept hearing Coach Jon in my head telling me, that there was nothing to worry about, and that I had enough experience in my legs to finish the marathon, I still didn’t want to go in strictly by feel.
Using past data, temperature, results and a bit of feel, I put together a simple strategy of allowing my legs to do what they wanted in combination with brisk walking through the aid stations. I told myself that no matter what I would walk every water stop from the first flag to the last flag and then run again. Therefore, looking at the pace on my watch would not be positive. I would check very infrequently the total time, but otherwise, I would use the clocks on the mile markers to figure out my timing.
This Chicago Marathon strategy also included a return to my “Happy Place”. The past few months had been a draining journey of mixed paces, disappointments and workout failures that deprived me of everything I loved about running. I needed a win, but more so I needed that peaceful euphoria that kept luring me back to this sport I loved. That feeling of freedom that I continually coach in my students and clients.
In The Beginning
The first mile was a little faster than I intended, so I slowed down a bit for fear of hitting the wall way too early. Passing my mile 3 I realized that even with walking twice I was running slightly faster than a 9-minute mile. This revelation amazed me. I truly anticipated more of a ten to an eleven-minute mile, being as I did not have the training volume. To be running so easily at this speed, was a confidence booster, to say the least.
Everything seemed to be rolling along just fine. For the majority of the race, I was listening to a custom station on Slacker radio, calculating times, chatting with runners and just enjoying the familiar sights.
My times consistently were 9-minute miles, so I decided to modify my strategy to include just that. The test would be what would my half marathon time be. The voice inside me kept insisting I had at least a half marathon in me. However, the test would be afterward. In the meantime, I needed validation that I could sustain this strategy for at least half the race.
At the 13-mile mark, my the clock read 2:08. Of course, I started 14 minutes behind the first wave, which
meant that my time was actually 1:56. I did it. Sub two-hour half marathon and I still felt strong.
Assessing my body after that, I only noticed some slight tightening of my hip-flexors. Everything else felt great.
As I passed mile 16, I was still amazed at how I felt. I still stuck to the strategy and had not walked except for where planned.
My quads and calves started to tighten up a little more at the 18th-mile aid station. I felt it more passing the last flag of the aid stations when I re-started running. To be honest, I expected it earlier than that.
The real pain hit at mile 21. My quads screamed, my hamstrings ached and my calves were on fire. I kept fueling with what was on the course, which luckily included some bananas. The potassium seemed to relieve a little of the pain but not the tightness.
With 4 miles left to go, my inner dialogue argued with me from aid station to aid station. It expressed I needed to walk for a bit, however, the idea that I could run a sub-4, intrigued me, so I continued on.
At the 35k marker, I noticed my slow down to over a 9-minute mile. I would have to go sub 8:30 to finish under four hours. The uncomfortable tightness and pain in my lower extremities expressed that it was not realistic. However, that argument did not include seeing how close I could come.
The 24-mile marker did include an extra 100 yards of walking before the need to complete this challenge took over. My inner thoughts reminded me of the final miles of my completed Ironmans. Everything hurt, but the desire to cross the finish line, triumphant, began overwriting the pain signals to my brain.
I picked up the pace a bit at mile 25. The pain was intensifying. Luckily, so was the perseverance, and the reminders of all the times encouraging clients, to run through the pain. That it isn’t about knocking down the obstacles of life. It was about how many obstacles life could throw but to still keep moving forward. The pain was just another obstacle.
I turned the corner and my legs turned over a little faster identifying the sign practically yelling at runners, “400M(meters)” to go. All I could think is one, more time around the track and it’s over.
The 300m sign also brought the finish line into my view. At that point, all the pain just went away. It was over. I crossed the finish line with my arms up in the air. I did it and just slightly over four hours. Final time: 4:04:17
Limping through the chaos of the Chicago Marathon finish, I realized that even including the worry and pain, this experience was amazing. While the people, runners, and logistics were all wonderful, it was my internal struggle that made it great.
What breakthrough story do you have either in training or racing?
(Please feel free to share in comments)
Carpe Vitam! (Seize Life)
If you didn’t have an opportunity to read the epic writing in the previous post, I discussed the reason “why” I ran the NYC Marathon, then I highly recommend that you do. Not just because the writing was fantastic, but it is my hope that the recap will be more emotionally moving.
Delta carried us to New York City and back with no issues. I was upgraded to the business class on my departing flight, and returned to Tampa in economy class. Even with my average size, I felt extremely cramped in economy. Scott and his six-foot-one-inch frame looked extremely uncomfortable. It is obvious, that Delta increased their upgraded business class at the expense of the comfort of the economy class passengers. My suggestion to anyone flying Delta to the NYC Marathon, just include the cost of the upgrade if the flight it over 3 hours.
The plans were made well in advance for room and board. After each of us declared our opinions for a hotel of choice, one of our teammates found a condo in Chelsea that would accommodate all of us comfortably and provide a full kitchen to save a little money on meals.
Per an email from VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner) we were to pick up the keys at a local pizza restaurant located next door to the building housing the condo.
Team Tampa PKD arrived around 4 pm and the employees working that afternoon had absolutely no idea what we were talking about. Of course, we called the management company and were basically told they did not receive the contract. When we had the contract in hand we called the agency back but no one would answer our calls.
Here we were, in New York City, on marathon weekend, not to mention the third and fourth game of the World Series, homeless.
Teammate Kevin O’Brien to the rescue. Kevin works for a landscape development company and happens to travel quite a bit, which was lucky for us. With his Hilton Honors status we were able to procure two rooms at the Hilton Garden Inn located in Tribeca. Thank you Kevin.
The rooms were updated, immaculate and comfortable. Another, nice little value add of the Hilton Honors was the choice of extra points or free breakfast. Kevin being the generous person he is, opted for the free breakfast for us which again helped save a little bit of money. Again, Thank you Kevin.
With all of us now settled, we headed to the Javits Center to pick up our NYC Marathon packets. The bibs numbered up to 72,999. It still amazes me how easy it is to retrieve a bib, swag and t-shirt at the expo. It runs like a well oiled machine.
There is a booth for every few thousand bib numbers. The athlete walks up to the booth that includes their bib number, shows ID and their registration card. Then they receive their NYC Marathon bib and other instructions, verify their info and then walk towards the t-shirt area where on the way, they pick up a plastic swag bag that also serves as the gear bag for the race. The official NYC Marathon t-shirt area is well-marked with a line for the different sizes and within a few minutes of walking into the expo, the athlete has bib, swag and t-shirt.
That isn’t the most exciting part of the NYC Marathon expo. There are vendors from all over the country whom give runners have the opportunity to try and buy the latest gear and gadgets.
One aspect of the expo I really enjoy, is the aura and feeling of the environment. There is an excitement in the air of the larger expos that increases my heart rate a little and excites me to race. It is probably one of my most favorite parts of any race weekend.
The following day we made another visit to the expo simply to walk around and make some purchases. I found a couple of vendors that I had met at other races and made some new contacts for product reviews. Stay tuned.
I have loved New York City since the first moment I stepped into Manhattan years ago. I have a lot of friends here, and I just really enjoy the pace and excitement of the city.
There is always one place, that is mandatory to visit, at least once, every time I am in town. John’s Pizza. I couldn’t believe my ears, when Rich and Kevin decided not to partake. It was their loss, so Scott and I headed over to John’s for lunch. Carb loading, baby, I just love it.
I could write a full post on John’s, so I wont go into the heavenly scrumptiousness of their pizza here, but trust this self-proclaimed, pizza connoisseur, when I say the explosion of flavors that emanate from each bite, redefines the word delicious.
Saturday night, we were scheduled to have dinner with the PKD Foundation and the other runners from different areas at Carmine’s. Scott, Kevin, Karen and I were all pretty familiar with the city and had even known of Carmine’s as it is pretty well-known.
That night we entered the subway and got off at 42nd street in order to head over to 44th where Carmine’s was located, as we started up the stairs from the station, Scott mentions the address which made Kevin and I do a double take. 2400 W Broadway, which was Broadway and 90th street. At the moment we were on 44th st which means we were 46 blocks away. That was a few miles from where we were at that point.
Of course like men we decided that maybe the address was wrong and went up anyway. As it turns out, it was correct. There was a newer Carmine’s uptown and we were in the wrong place and already fashionably late.
It ended up working out for us again. We caught the subway up to 86th and when we arrived, food was just being served. How long could this luck hold, right?
The dinner was fantastic and we met a bunch of really amazing people who were just as passionate about running for PKD as we were.
Like good little runners we went back to the hotel and retired for the night in anticipation for the NYC Marathon the next morning.
As I mentioned both in the last post and in my NYC Marathon recap from last year; the logistics for this race are not the most convenient. It involves a ferry to Staten Island then a bus to security, a decent walk to the assigned village and finally another walk to the specific corral.
An announcement came out from the NYC Marathon staff, about two months prior to sign up for transportation to the start and of course we all missed and ended up getting assigned the 5:45am ferry to Staten Island. Since three of us had already experienced the ferry and knew that there was no accountability, we decided to just take the 7am ferry instead, not only giving us a little more time in the morning, but also keeping us out of the chilly temps for a couple of hours.
The lesson I learned here was there are two choices, either go by the scheduled time and arrive with a lot of time to spare, sit around have some coffee and bagels while waiting for the start, or go a little later and hope to make it to the corral at the time of your scheduled start.
We took the latter ferry and ended up having to wait for two ferries to get over to the island and then when finally getting on the bus, the traffic was so heavy we ended up having to rush to the corrals in order to make the 9:40 start. It was probably perfect for the rest of the team that had later starts, but for Rich and I it was a little tight. Personally, I do prefer the latter.
I found my green village, dropped off my gear bag with my long sleeve shirt and pants, and headed to the corral just prior to the 9am cut-off to enter the corral. Now I had about half-an-hour to stretch and use the portlet one last time.
I was talking to a woman from Basel, England when I heard my name being called. Ryan Wallace, was a Facebook friend and runner I met at last year’s race. A really fun guy to hang with, so after chatting for a bit we found we were looking at accomplishing the goal of 3:50 or better. Score! Someone to run with.
They opened up the corral to head closer to the start line around 9:30am, and just after the final note to one of the most beautiful renditions of our national anthem I have ever heard, sung by opera singer (and runner) Susanna Phillips Huntington, and announcements by the executive director, the gun went off and we were running.
The NYC Marathon is the largest marathon in the world. Largest meaning the most athletes run the course of any marathon in the world.. This year there were over 50,000 finishers. It boasts spectacular views, fantastic support from the spectators, and a challenging course. The route takes the runners through all five major boroughs of the city, starting in Staten Island, crossing the Verrazano Bridge to Brooklyn, heading north into Queens crossing the 59th St bridge, then into Manhattan crossing the Queensboro Bridge, north into the Bronx over the Willis Ave Bridge, turning south back into Manhattan over the Madison Avenue bridge and then finally the incline to the finish line in the heart of Central Park.
The experience this year was better than last, as the temperatures were much better as we started around 55 degrees Fahrenheit and just a little breeze versus the 30 degree temps and 33 mph winds from 2014.
Ryan, his friend, and I started the NYC Marathon conservative for the first couple of miles, but as we rounded the first 5k I noticed we started to increase our pace. I only was witness to it due to calculating my 5k under 27 minutes, which being under a 9 minute mile that soon, concerned me a little, but I was feeling really strong.
The spectators in the NYC Marathon are everywhere and they clap, yell and scream not only for their family and friends, but for any one they seem to be inspired by. Statistics pretty much show, that even know there were over 50,000 athletes running this race, and hundreds of thousands of finishers in marathons all over the world, less than 1% of the population has finished a marathon. In other words there were a lot of people to be inspired by during this race and the spectators expressed that.
Ryan and I ran together up to about mile nine, constantly telling each other to slow down, yet neither of us could hold a slower pace for very long. About that point, a pressure emanating from my bladder was increasing to a point where I was just not comfortable any longer, so I speeded up to the mile 10 aid station to relieve myself. My thinking was speed up, use the facilitates and then speed back up just enough to catch Ryan again.
Unfortunately, we didn’t cross paths again during the race. I was out there on my own, all by myself. It was just me and 50,000 of my closest friends.
There was plenty to see as I continued on my NYC Marathon journey. Achilles International volunteers were out in droves this year with guides helping blind and other challenged runners through the race. Guides would run in a formation with one tethered to the blind runner and then three-to-four others running on each side of them constantly helping to clear a path through the crowd. It was so motivating, that I knew somewhere down the line in my own journey I would have to help like that in some way in the future.
As I crossed the 13.1 mile marker of this NYC Marathon, and saw the clock I realized that I had been running for an hour and fifty minutes. That for me was fast, but I was still feeling really strong. The sights of the area’s architecture, parks, people and the smells of the local restaurants were consistently keeping my mind occupied as I just let my legs decide what they were going to do.
I was concerned though. I know enough about myself, that keeping this pace would have it’s consequences toward the final miles.
My favorite bridge on NYC Marathon course is the Queensboro bridge. It feels like it never ends, but the view of Manhattan and the Hudson is spectacular. Not to mention, the completion of the bridge is a u-turn with a horde of spectators that it feels like a roar of excitement is exuded from them. I felt a boost of energy when I crossed mile 16.
I was actually a little impressed with myself as I hadn’t really slowed as of yet. It is usually around this mile marker that begins the stiffness of the previous miles.
The next checkpoint for me is usually mile 18, but that too came and went without any real pain. My inner dialogue started having delusions of grandeur of possibly finishing the race around the 3:40 mark which be a huge PR for me.
As I crossed the Willis avenue bridge, I felt the start of a twinge in my left leg and a smile crept across my face and out loud I said to myself,”There it is.”
The NYC Marathon mile 20 clock showed I was two hours and fifty-two minutes into the race, which was already better than last year. My thinking at that point was that I could pretty much slow to a ten minute mile at this point and still cross under four hours, but that didn’t happen.
Mile 21 came at just three hours which was a first in a while for me. I am usually only at 20 by three hours and here I was a full mile closer to the finish. My period of optimism was cut short by a stiffness in my right leg that quickly became painful.
I walked though the next NYC Marathon aid station and grabbed a banana from the hand of a volunteer thinking just get some more glycogen to my legs so I finish this last five miles.
What little stride I had became periods of walking between miles 22 and 23 as the pain started to sear and engulf the rest of my leg. It was getting harder and harder to bend my right knee as the stiffness was setting in.
Central Park came and the crowds were getting louder and more dense. I did not want to walk through the park with all these people. I wanted to run in strong, but the pain was getting more and more intense. I actually yelled at myself, “C’mon legs. WTF are you doing!!!”
My mind drifted to Erika at that moment. As I was trying to run stiff-legged and just suffer through this intense pain, I thought that this frustration and uncomfortable feeling must be what Erika feels all the time. The disappointment at feeling run down, the pain that comes with these huge cysts on her Kidneys and the eternal uncomfortable feeling that keeps her from sleep and just enjoying life, must be one hundred times worse that what I was feeling.
If Erika had to continually go through this pain, then I could at least endure it until I reach the finish line.
I didn’t stop running, no matter how much it hurt. I thought about Erika and the last couple of years of misery she must have been going through, and how Jennifer would also have to also have a painful times ahead through her recovery from donating a kidney. It kept me going as I really felt like I was going through it for them.
I am not a totally idiot, I know that running the NYC Marathon of which I enjoy doing, really would do nothing for either of them. It was the fundraising and support where we as a team were doing the most good. Maybe it was for me. Maybe because I was not able to donate my kidney, that I the pain I was feeling now was so that I could empathize with both of them.
The NYC Marathon finish line was just as glorious as the other marathons I have completed. I was extremely happy to cross in 3:56 and at least beat my time from last year by about 10 minutes.
My official NYC Marathon finisher was medal handed to me, I was congratulated by a volunteer and ushered through to take continue the long mile walk to retrieve my gear bag. I was engulfed on all four sides with athletes as we all did the marathon shuffle through the park. There was a sense of peace and a little giddiness that filled the air.
We all did something extraordinary today. Whatever the reason “why”, we were bound at that moment by the accomplishment and conclusion of a journey that started with the decision to embark, the hours of training and the final step across the NYC Marathon Finish LIne.
Once dressed in dry clothes, I found Rich and we headed out to The Keg Room which was where Team Tampa PKD would gather back together. As Rich and I were in the first wave, where he PR’d at an incredible time of 3:27, we arrived first. Kevin, whom was actually in the last wave to take off, showed up next followed closely by Karen and finally Scott. Everyone finished and accomplished what they set out to do, but I was most proud of Scott.
Scott had micro tears in his gastrocnemius muscle (Calf) and had been trying to rehab it for the last couple of weeks. I really didn’t think he would finish the NYC Marathon and we all told him it would have been ok if he didn’t . He did though and under 5 hours with walking. He also said that he felt like he didn’t feel like he did anymore damage.
I am proud of the whole team. Team Tampa PKD was able to raise over 20,000 for PKD, finish the NYC Marathon and, most importantly, find a kidney donor for Erika.
What kind of challenge are you partaking in or plan to journey towards?
My Why – PKD
The human brain is an advanced computer that controls many different systems. The body is like a room full of servers each independently managing a different system with one major system, the brain, as the master controller for all of them.
When the master controller has a difficult task to undergo, the systems will cluster together in order to complete the task as efficiently as possible. If one of the systems begin to fail, it doesn’t mean the task will not be accomplished it just means another system will take over the lack of work. The work may not be handled as efficiently, but nonetheless, it will be completed.
Only when the master controller issues a command to stop will the other systems desist what they are programmed to do. The question would be “Why did the Master Controller issue the command?”
This long analogy comes right down to a quote I use all the time. Internally, and with my client athletes. “The mind will quit 100 times before the body does.” Every excuse will come to mind while an athlete may be suffering, but it is the reason “why” they are challenging themselves that will override the mind’s command to stop.
My 15th Marathon was the 2015 New York City Marathon, and my “Why” was tested.
In 2014, at the completion of the New York City Marathon, I said to myself, “Self, I am really happy I did it. It was a tough race, in tough conditions (sub-40 degree temperature with 33 mph winds), but we did it. It may not have been the time we wanted, but scratch the largest marathon in the world off the list. I will probably not do this one again.”
My reasoning was the logistics of the race.
First, it is located in New York City. That just says a lot of $$$ is going to be spent.
2) Getting around the big apple in a timely manner is difficult for someone not living there.
3) I have a lot of friends that live in the city and I want to see them, which means, more travel, meals and more $$$ spent.
4) The race doesn’t start until 9:50 which at 4 hours means 1:50 which is after the usual 12 pm checkout time. Again, more $$$.
5) In order to pack the corrals with 50,000 runners, it is required to be in the runner villages close to 3 hours early, and in sub-40 degree weather for someone from Florida is somewhat uncomfortable.
6) After leaving the finish line when the legs are burning and everything is getting stiff, it is another mile to get to checked bags and then another half mile to get out of the park where there are no cabs. Then another 5 block walk to the subway.
Other than that the race is amazing.
This year, the reasons above meant nothing to me, because I ran this race not for me, but as a member of Team Tampa PKD for Erika Bragan, Jennifer Thomas and all of the other people affected by Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD).
In 2009, Scott offered me a chance to run the Chicago Marathon for the Polycystic Kidney Disease. At the time we were both in a boot camp class at a Lifestyle Family Fitness. He mentioned it to a few others as well, so I brought up the idea of a team concept, where we could organize events to raise awareness and funds for PKD and then split up the money so everyone could reach their goal. it actually worked for the 10 of us that competed that year, as we raised around $26,000 for the PKD Foundation.
In 2011, we resurrected the team and signed on twenty-two members and raised over $56,000 for the foundation. Again in 2013 we had just Five members and raised over 25,000 that year as well.
This year, we again signed five members. Scott, Rich, Myself, Kevin, and Karen. we raised over $25,000 again, but this year we also accomplished something else. Over the last few years, Erika’s kidney functions were reduced to less than 5% apiece. A normal human being can survive on 5% of one, but with PKD it is inevitable that the kidneys will fail.
Erika had already been put on the donor list for over a year, but it had yet to pan out, so we added not only raising as much financial assistance for the foundation but finding a donor for Erika as well.
For over a year, Erika has been in pain, not sleeping and basically been in a state of misery. Scott has recounted this for me numerous times, so when he said that it was time to start thinking about a transplant, I immediately asked him for the details to get tested. I wanted to help any way I could and if it meant giving up a kidney so be it.
The Bragan’s waited to see if being on the donor list would pan out, but as Erika’s kidney functions continued to deteriorate, family and friends stepped up to be tested as donors.
I was tested as a kidney donor, with the preliminary tests proving positive, meaning I was a match.
However, the secondary tests diagnosed protein in my urine which is common in endurance athletes. Unfortunately, for the medical staff, it is a risk for kidney stones which have a small probability to clog my ureter and if that was the case now, I would have another kidney to fall back on. If I donated one, it could be fatal.
I was heartbroken when I found out, but I understood the reasons.
On July 10, my friend and Team Tampa PKD teammate, Rich O’Dea was on a blind date at the Imagine Dragons concert. While getting to know each other Rich made mention of Team Tampa PKD, the marathon and Erika. At first, it seemed a nonchalant question when she asked how to get tested, so Rich took as her just being nice, but even after she ended up returning to a long relationship, she still communicated with Rich she wanted to get tested.
Her preliminary tests proved she was a match, and the secondary tests proved she was healthy enough to donate, so on Friday, Oct 23, the Tampa General Hospital Transplant committee approved the living donor kidney transplant from Jennifer Thomas to Erika Bragan, and scheduled the surgery for the 18th of November.
When I found out that Jennifer passed the second round of testing, I was absolutely ecstatic that she would be able to do what I and three other people could not. I am still absolutely overjoyed that Erika will lead a longer more normal life and Scott, Madison and Spencer will continue to have their wonderful wife and mother.
While in an interview with ABC, Jennifer was asked why should give up her kidney for a total stranger. Without skipping a beat, or even taking a breath she said, “Why wouldn’t I? The more important question should be, why is it so shocking that I would.”
I happened to be in the room when she was getting interviewed and I just about fell over. Without trying to sound conceded, or take away any thunder from her, but I felt like Jennifer was someone who actually thought just like me.
Jennifer’s medical bills will be taken care of 100% by the Bragan’s insurance, but the recovery time may cause a little bit of financial hardship.
Of course, Team Tampa PKD is stepping up and hosting an event called Tailgate for a Transplant prior to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs New York Giants NFL Football game on November 8th at 1 pm. (If you would like to help, but cannot make it to the tailgate please click here)
This is my “Why”.
What is your ‘why’?
Happy Hump Day! Workout Wednesday’s will consist of favorite workout of mine that I either have prescribed to my clients or have been assigned by MY Coach. It might also be a favorite of yours. Feel free to send me any workouts you like. There will be an objective for every workout for specificity.
Run Strength – Hill Repeats
I am not a huge fan of weights or being in the gym. As the summer wore on and Florida continued to increase in heat I found myself spending more and more time in the gym and on the treadmill, but I still prefer to be outside. This workout will work leg strength as a replacement for a gym resistance workout or a supplement to. It can be done either on the Treadmill or outside with a hill that takes 2-3 minutes to run up, or here in Florida we use parking garages.
MS (Main Set):
Hill Bounders on uphill
Recover for 30 sec – 2 minutes
Speed over strides on Downhill
Repeat for up to 30 minutes
CD (Cool Down): 1-2 miles @ conversational pace
Lunges & Static Stretches
Objective: Leg strength, Aerobic capacity, Form Development & Confidence on Hills
Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE): 5-7 on the uphills (Talking should be very difficult)
Description: Run a hilly course. Do not try to run fast on the uphills but rather concentrate on a good knee lift, strong arm swing, uplifted chest and full push-off extension in your back leg. Practice running efficiently on the downhills with high turnover and enough of a forward lean that your front leg lands directly under you.
Hill Bounders: go up the hill with a bouncy action and a good posture, concentrating on a good knee lift and arm swing with a “snap” with your ankle. You should be thinking Spring up the hill. Jog until recovered at the top.
Speed Over striders: Run down the hill with out breaking but increasing your cadence with the steepness of the hill. Instead of completely striding out elongating your stride, focus on increasing your cadence with a normal stride.
Biggest Mistakes: Running too fast up the hill rather than concentrating on form. Running too hard up the hill and getting into too much oxygen debt. This is not desirable in this phase .Putting more stress on the legs than they are ready for with too much bounding or downhill running and getting injured. Precipitating your peak with repeated speed bursts. Some people tend to develop speed very quickly once they start doing the hill circuit. If this is the case, go very easy with downhill striding and on the stride-outs. You’ll still have plenty of time to develop speed to maximum. Premature speed development would only lead to premature peaking and this should be avoided.
Warning: The first week of hill training is one of the times where injury is most likely to occur. This is a very demanding exercise, so be overly cautious and feel your way gradually. After about 2 weeks in this phase your legs could feel very tired and you may feel you’re actually slower. This is normal and will pass within a couple of weeks of consistently completing the workout.
I hope you enjoy this one. I know I do.
What kind of workout do you do for run strength?